Doug and Thelma Gillespie, Betty Watts, Audrey MacPhee and Vans and Emily Bryant, all Clyde River residents, were at Dalvay on Monday, July 4th, and despite rain that was heavy at times, we were all very happy to have had that opportunity. We saw others who were there for their volunteering as well. In fact, there were enough WI members to hold a nice size Convention!
The whole day was an adventure. Even driving on a school bus from designated parking sites was new to us. Receiving ponchos on arrival warned us of the pending rain and it gave a whole new meaning to “smart casual” dress when many people looked colorful covered in pink and blue plastic.
Dalvay is beautiful at any time but to be there with other Islanders and to have a chance to see the delightfully charming and down-to-earth Duke and Duchess of Cambridge was a memorable event.The grounds looked very different with outdoor stages, cameras everywhere, and large T.V. screens. The screeens showed live viewing of the activities on the water like the dragon boat races. It also gave everyone a chance to see and hear wonderful singing and dancing by talented Islanders.
There were people from all walks of life and from all across PEI at Dalvay, and it was fun just talking to other Islanders. Lining up to sample Island products skillfully prepared and served by the staff and students from the Culinary Institute was interesting. It was well worth the wait. Islanders love to eat and talk about oysters, mussels, chowder, beef, pork and strawberries, and if you were lucky enough to eat these foods before heavy rain, they were even more delicious.
The media had great coverage of the Royal visit. That doesn’t need to be duplicated. But for local interest, Thelma and Doug Gillespie got a chance to shake hands with William. Thelma was impressed when the lady next to her wanted to give a picture to Prince William, and one of his helpers asked him to come back to talk to her, and that lady proudly deliver her picture. Audrey MacPhee and Betty Watts had a chat with him. Betty held a waterproof camera and William complimented her on this camera saying “Aren’t you clever to have an underwater camera. I use one of those when I’m doing an underwater exercise.” Betty and Audrey actually had a seat in the front row just a short distance from the entertainment stage, and all they had to do was hold out their hand for a Royal handshake. Betty was interviewed by a The Guardian reporter after the event and the excerpt is copied below.
Both of those events (the helicopter training and the dragon boat races) went off without a hitch Monday afternoon, but rain that grew steadier and heavier saw many drenched guests appearing in considerable discomfort as they did their best to watch the royal couple mingle.
Some, like a drenched Betty Watts of Clyde River, were rewarded for toughening it out in the rain.
Watts didn’t even bother tossing on one of the many ponchos that were passed out to thankful guests, replacing the sight of bright, summer attire with light raingear that came in a variety of colours.
She pressed right up against the rope as the rain fell heavily, leaving her hair and clothes soaked.
Watts, president of the Clyde River Women’s Institute, was all smiles when William reached out from under his umbrella to shake her hand and share a few words.
“ I couldn’t believe it when he was so close and he stopped,’’ she said. “ It means a lot to me.’’ (Jim Day, Guardian July 5, 2011)
The Royal couple looked like they were enjoying their time at Dalvay and they didn’t seem at all affected by the rain. It seemed like the guests were all smiles as well. The event was well planned and had lots of variety. Yes, everyone got wet, but that just made the event all the more memorable.