Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Betty MacDonald and very exciting adventures

Betty MacDonald in the living room at Vashon on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post.

Betty MacDonald fan club fans,

we got excellent feedback regarding Betty MacDonald fan club newsletter April. 

Betty MacDonald fan club newsletter April includes several  new photos of Betty MacDonald and her great friend Monica Sone.

Anita and Eartha Kitt II are working on their new Betty MacDonald fan club project ' Betty MacDonald and Moncia Sone '.

More news on this new project very soon.

We hope Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Mr. Tigerli will be back soon with new adventures.

Enjoy a new breakfast at the bookstore with Brad and Nick, please.

I guess France, Germany or Poland will win ESC 2016.

Send us your votes, please.

Perhaps you will be the winner of two tickets for ESC Grand Final 2016 in Stockholm.

Jamie-Lee with Ghost  got over 5 million views but there are several other hot favourites.

This is our current Betty MacDonald fan club ESC 2016 TOP 10 in alphabetical order:

Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Malta, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine 

Come on. Send your votes, please. It's really very exciting.

I adore Queen Elizabeth II. 

Don't miss an unique celebration of the Queen's ninety years as she reaches her landmark birthday in April, featuring footage from the collection of Her Majesty's personal ciné films.
Take care,


Don't miss this very special book, please.

Vita Magica
Betty MacDonald fan club

Betty MacDonald forum  

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English ) 

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English ) - The Egg and I 

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( German )

Vashon Island - Wikipedia ( German )

Wolfgang Hampel - Monica Sone - Wikipedia ( English )

Wolfgang Hampel - Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia ( English )

Wolfgang Hampel - Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia ( French ) 

Wolfgang Hampel - Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle - Wikipedia ( English)

Wolfgang Hampel in Florida State University 

Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel 

Betty MacDonald fan club interviews on CD/DVD

Betty MacDonald fan club items 

Betty MacDonald fan club items  - comments

Betty MacDonald fan club - The Stove and I  

Betty MacDonald fan club groups 

Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund  

Rita Knobel Ulrich - Islam in Germany - a very interesting ZDF  ( 2nd German Television ) documentary with English subtitles 

US election 2016: Donald Trump sweeps five US states

Donald Trump has won presidential primaries in all five US states that voted on Tuesday, while Hillary Clinton triumphed in four out of five.
Mr Trump called himself the Republican "presumptive nominee" after victories in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
The results bring him closer to the number of delegates he needs before the party's national convention in July.
For the Democrats, Mrs Clinton was denied a clean sweep by Bernie Sanders.
The Vermont senator won in Rhode Island and vowed to fight to the end of the primaries process.
Speaking at the Philadelphia Convention Center after securing the four other states, Mrs Clinton said her campaign was setting "bold, progressive goals" to improve lives in the US.
"We believe in the goodness of our people and the greatness of our nation," she said.

The story of the night
Full results state by state

After his sweep of the five states, Mr Trump said of the battle for the Republican nomination: "It's over. As far as I'm concerned, it's over."He told supporters in New York he would not moderate his policies if elected president.He said: "You know I went to the best schools. I'm like a very smart person. I'm going to represent our country with dignity and very well.
"But I don't really want to change my personality. You know, it got me here."

Analysis: Anthony Zurcher, BBC North America reporter

There's winning, and then there's WINNING.
Donald Trump's night is shaping up to be the latter, as he steamrolled his opposition in all five mid-Atlantic states.
This campaign season has been punctuated with a series of theories about how and why Mr Trump's presidential ambitions would eventually be thwarted. The latest was that he'd never be able to win more than 50% of the vote as the field narrows. It appears likely that he'll easily surpass that mark across the board and claim the lion's share of the delegates at stake.
During a primary night speech that took place before the polls even closed, Texas Senator Ted Cruz promised that his campaign was now heading to "more favourable terrain". He's setting up a firewall in Indiana, but there's a Trump-fuelled conflagration heading his way.
The New Yorker still has work to do to clinch the Republican nomination, but after his latest performance, such a prospect seems increasingly likely. 

Trump and Clinton deliver decisive blows

After their victories, Mr Trump and Mrs Clinton turned their fire on each other.
Mr Trump said his Democratic rival's only advantage in the presidential race was being a woman.
"Frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don't think she'd get 5% of the vote," he said.
Mrs Clinton hit back at his accusation that she was playing the "woman card".
"Well, if fighting for women's healthcare and paid family leave and equal pay is playing the woman card, then deal me in," she told cheering supporters in Philadelphia.

Rivals' pact

Mr Trump's rivals, Ted Cruz and John Kasich, have already shifted their attention to forthcoming states.
As part of a new campaigning pact, Mr Kasich will give Mr Cruz a "clear path" to tackle Mr Trump in Indiana on Tuesday, with Mr Cruz reciprocating for Mr Kasich in the Oregon and New Mexico primaries.
Mr Trump has condemned their pact as a sign of weakness and desperation, and another sign of the Republican party colluding against him.
Neither Mr Kasich nor Mr Cruz has a chance of securing the Republican nomination outright. The hope of a contested convention this July in Cleveland is keeping them in the race.
This scenario would see party delegates - Republican officials and activists - choose the nominee.

Analysts believe that Indiana, with its 57 delegates, will be crucial if Mr Trump's rivals are to stop him securing the 1,237 he needs to win outright.
Opinion polls suggest Mr Trump has 39% support there, Mr Cruz 33% and Mr Kasich 19%.
Mr Cruz told supporters in Indiana on Tuesday night they could look forward to some success as the race moved to more conservative states.
His event was held at a basketball court where some scenes were filmed for the 1986 film Hoosiers, about a small-town high school basketball team that wins the state championship.
The Texas senator attempted to recreate a scene from the film but was mocked on social media for referring to a basketball "ring" rather than a "hoop".

Meanwhile, speaking in Huntington, West Virginia, after the vote, Bernie Sanders vowed to fight to the end of the nomination process, saying he would attract broad support in November's election."The reason that we are generating this enthusiasm is because we are doing something very unusual in contemporary politics. We are telling the truth," he said.But he admitted to Associated Press he had a "very narrow path and we're going to have to win some big victories".

Following in Betty’s footsteps in Seattle:

or some small talk with Betty

Copyright 2011/2016 by Letizia Mancino
All rights reserved
translated by Mary Holmes

We were going to Canada in the summer. “When we are in Edmonton”, I said to Christoph Cremer, “let’s make a quick trip to Seattle”. And that’s how it happened. At Edmonton Airport we climbed into a plane and two hours later we landed in the city where Betty had lived. I was so happy to be in Seattle at last and to be able to trace Betty’s tracks!

Wolfgang Hampel had told Betty’s friends about our arrival.
They were happy to plan a small marathon through the town and it’s surroundings with us. We only had a few days free. One should not underestimate Wolfgang’s talent in speedily mobilizing Betty’s friends, even though it was holiday time. E-mails flew backwards and forwards between Heidelberg and Seattle, and soon a well prepared itinerary was ready for us. Shortly before my departure Wolfgang handed me several parcels, presents for Betty MacDonald's friends. I rushed to pack the heavy gifts in my luggage but because of the extra weight had to throw out a pair of pajamas!

After we had landed we took a taxi to the Hotel in downtown Seattle. I was so curious to see everything. I turned my head in all directions like one of the hungry hens from Betty’s farm searching for food! Fortunately it was quite a short journey otherwise I would have lost my head like a loose screw!
Our hotel room was on the 22nd floor and looked directly out onto the 16-lane highway. There might have been even more than 16 but it made me too giddy to count! It was like a glimpse of hell! “And is this Seattle?” I asked myself. I was horrified! The cars racing by were enough to drive one mad. The traffic roared by day and night.
We immediately contacted Betty MacDonald's friends and let them know we had arrived and they confirmed the times when we should see them.

On the next morning I planned my first excursion tracing Betty’s tracks. I spread out the map of Seattle. “Oh dear” I realized “the Olympic Peninsula is much too far away for me to get there.”
Betty nodded to me! “Very difficult, Letizia, without a car.”

“But I so much wanted to see your chicken farm”

“My chickens are no longer there and you can admire the mountains from a distance”

But I wanted to go there. I left the hotel and walked to the waterfront where the State Ferry terminal is. Mamma mia, the streets in Seattle are so steep! I couldn’t prevent my feet from running down the hill. Why hadn’t I asked for brakes to be fixed on my shoes? I looked at the drivers. How incredibly good they must be to accelerate away from the red traffic lights. The people were walking uphill towards me as briskly as agile salmon. Good heavens, these Americans! I tried to keep my balance. The force of gravity is relentless. I grasped hold of objects where I could and staggered down.
In Canada a friend had warned me that in Seattle I would see a lot of people with crutches.

Betty laughed. “ It’s not surprising, Letizia, walking salmon don’t fall directly into the soft mouth of a bear!”
“ Betty, stop making these gruesome remarks. We are not in Firlands!”

I went further. Like a small deranged ant at the foot of a palace monster I came to a tunnel. The noise was unbearable. On the motorway, “The Alaskan Way Viaduct”, cars, busses and trucks were driving at the speed of light right over my head. They puffed out their poisonous gas into the open balconies and cultivated terraces of the luxurious sky- scrapers without a thought in the world. America! You are crazy!
“Betty, are all people in Seattle deaf? Or is it perhaps a privilege for wealthy people to be able to enjoy having cars so near to their eyes and noses to save them from boredom?”

“When the fog democratically allows everything to disappear into nothing, it makes a bit of a change, Letizia”

“ Your irony is incorrigible, Betty, but tell me, Seattle is meant to be a beautiful city, But where?”

I had at last reached the State Ferry terminal.

“No Madam, the ferry for Vashon Island doesn’t start from here,” one of the men in the ticket office tells me. ”Take a buss and go to the ferry terminal in West Seattle.”
Betty explained to me “The island lies in Puget Sound and not in Elliott Bay! It is opposite the airport. You must have seen it when you were landing!”
“Betty, when I am landing I shut my eyes and pray!”

It’s time for lunch. The weather is beautiful and warm. Who said to me that it always rains here?
“Sure to be some envious man who wanted to frighten you away from coming to Seattle. The city is really beautiful, you’ll see. Stay by the waterfront, choose the best restaurant with a view of Elliott Bay and enjoy it.”
“Thank you Betty!”

I find a table on the terrace of “Elliott’s Oyster House”. The view of the island is wonderful. It lies quietly in the sun like a green fleecy cushion on the blue water.
Betty plays with my words:
“Vashon Island is a big cushion, even bigger than Bainbridge which you see in front of your eyes, Letizia. The islands look similar. They have well kept houses and beautiful gardens”.

I relax during this introduction, “Bainbridge” you are Vashon Island, and order a mineral water.

“At one time the hotel belonging to the parents of Monica Sone stood on the waterfront.”
“Oh, of your friend Kimi!” Unfortunately I forget to ask Betty exactly where it was.

My mind wanders and I think of my mountain hike back to the hotel! “Why is there no donkey for tourists?” Betty laughs:

“I’m sure you can walk back to the hotel. “Letizia can do everything.””

“Yes, Betty, I am my own donkey!”

But I don’t remember that San Francisco is so steep. It doesn’t matter, I sit and wait. The waiter comes and brings me the menu. I almost fall off my chair!
“ What, you have geoduck on the menu! I have to try it” (I confess I hate the look of geoduck meat. Betty’s recipe with the pieces made me feel quite sick – I must try Betty’s favourite dish!)
“Proof that you love me!” said Betty enthusiastically “ Isn’t the way to the heart through the stomach?”

I order the geoduck. The waiter looks at me. He would have liked to recommend oysters.
“Geoduck no good for you!”
Had he perhaps read my deepest thoughts? Fate! Then no geoduck. “No good for me.”

“Neither geoduck nor tuberculosis in Seattle” whispered Betty in my ear!
“Oh Betty, my best friend, you take such good care of me!”

I order salmon with salad.

“Which salmon? Those that swim in water or those that run through Seattle?”

“Betty, I believe you want me to have a taste of your black humour.”

“Enjoy it then, Letizia.”

During lunch we talked about tuberculosis, and that quite spoilt our appetite.

“Have you read my book “The Plague and I”?”

“Oh Betty, I’ve started to read it twice but both times I felt so sad I had to stop again!”

“But why?” asked Betty “Nearly everybody has tuberculosis! I recovered very quickly and put on 20 pounds! There was no talk of me wasting away! What did you think of my jokes in the book?”

“Those would have been a good reason for choosing another sanitorium. I would have been afraid of becoming a victim of your humour! You would have certainly given me a nickname! You always thought up such amusing names!” Betty laughed.

“You’re right. I would have called you “Roman nose”. I would have said to Urbi and Orbi “ Early this morning “Roman nose” was brought here. She speaks broken English, doesn’t eat geoduck but she does love cats.”

“Oh Betty, I would have felt so ashamed to cough. To cough in your presence, how embarrassing! You would have talked about how I coughed, how many coughs!”

“It depends on that “how”, Letizia!”

“Please, leave Goethe quotations out of it. You have certainly learnt from the Indians how to differentiate between noises. It’s incredible how you can distinguish between so many sorts of cough! At least 10!”

“So few?”

”And also your descriptions of the patients and the nurses were pitiless. An artistic revenge! The smallest pimple on their face didn’t escape your notice! Amazing.”

“ I was also pitiless to myself. Don’t forget my irony against myself!”

Betty was silent. She was thinking about Kimi, the “Princess” from Japan! No, she had only written good things about her best friend, Monica Sone, in her book “The Plague and I”. A deep friendship had started in the hospital. The pearl that developed from the illness.
“Isn’t it wonderful, Betty, that an unknown seed can make its way into a mollusk in the sea and develop into a beautiful jewel?” Betty is paying attention.

“Betty, the friendship between you and Monica reminds me of Goethe’s poem “Gingo-Biloba”. You must know it?” Betty nods and I begin to recite it:

The leaf of this Eastern tree
Which has been entrusted to my garden
Offers a feast of secret significance,
For the edification of the initiate.

Is it one living thing.
That has become divided within itself?
Are these two who have chosen each other,
So that we know them as one?

The friendship with Monica is like the wonderful gingo-biloba leaf, the tree from the east. Betty was touched. There was a deep feeling of trust between us.
“Our friendship never broke up, partly because she was in distress, endangered by the deadly illness. We understood and supplemented each other. We were like one lung with two lobes, one from the east and one from the west!”
“A beautiful picture, Betty. You were like two red gingo-biloba leaves!”

Betty was sad and said ” Monica, although Japanese, before she really knew me felt she was also an American. But she was interned in America, Letizia, during the second world war. Isn’t that terrible?”

“Betty, I never knew her personally. I have only seen her on a video, but what dignity in her face, and she speaks and moves so gracefully!”

“Fate could not change her”

“Yes, Betty, like the gingo-biloba tree in Hiroshima. It was the only tree that blossomed again after the atom bomb!”

The bill came and I paid at once. In America one is urged away from the table when one has finished eating. If one wants to go on chatting one has to order something else.
“That’s why all those people gossiping at the tables are so fat!” Betty remarks. “Haven’t you seen how many massively obese people walk around in the streets of America. Like dustbins that have never been emptied!” With this typically unsentimental remark Betty ended our conversation.

Ciao! I so enjoyed the talk; the humour, the irony and the empathy. I waved to her and now I too felt like moving! I take a lovely walk along the waterfront.

Now I am back in Heidelberg and when I think about how Betty’s “Princessin” left this world on September 5th and that in August I was speaking about her with Betty in Seattle I feel very sad. The readers who knew her well (we feel that every author and hero of a book is nearer to us than our fleeting neighbours next door) yes we, who thought of her as immortal, cannot believe that even she would die after 92 years. How unforeseen and unexpected that her death should come four days after her birthday on September 1th. On September 5th I was on my way to Turkey, once again in seventh heaven, looking back on the unforgettable days in Seattle. I was flying from west to east towards the rising sun.

In the Garden: A Welcome Sign of Spring

By Charles Kidder


Perhaps the first plant I could recognize and name as a child was the daffodil, a welcome sight and fragrance after a long New York winter. And although native to the Mediterranean, daffodils (Narcissus species) have been in Virginia since at least the middle of the seventeenth century.

Beginning in the 1890s, Gloucester County became a center of daffodil production for much of the eastern United States. Much of this revolved around “wild” or naturalized daffodils that were cut and shipped north. By the middle of the twentieth century, this industry was rapidly dying off for a variety of reasons. But Gloucester County still has one daffodil breeder of note and continues to celebrate its floral heritage with the Daffodil Festival on the last weekend of March. More on that later.

The various Narcissus species, hybrids and cultivars are commonly referred to as either daffodils, jonquils or even simply narcissus, the latter especially when referring to the paper whites commonly forced indoors. The term jonquil is commonly used in certain regions for any daffodil, but technically refers only to one group that has narrow reed-like foliage. The various daffodils are divided into 13 divisions—or 12, if you believe some sources—that are based on flower shape and heritage. For example, Division 1 daffodils are called Trumpets, since the central portion or trumpet is quite long. Regardless of division, colors range from yellow to white, perhaps with some pink or orange in the trumpets. If you seek out specialty nurseries, hundreds of cultivars are available.

All daffodils have similar cultural requirements. As for the amount of sun they want, the more the better. Part sun, or about six hours per day, is sufficient, but less sun than that will lead to reduced blooming, even though the plants may soldier on for a long time. And sunlight in a deciduous woodland does not really count as full sunlight. As for soil, good drainage is important to avoid bulb rot. If your soil is unusually sodden, either amend it with gravel or put daffodils in a raised bed.

Daffodil bulbs should be planted at a depth equal to about three times their diameter, so a two-inch bulb should be six inches deep. Six inches is also a good distance between bulbs. Farther apart and they lose visual impact; closer, and they will require division sooner. Bulbs will look funny planted like soldiers in a straight line, so if you have ten bulbs, better to either plant them in two groups of five, or in a staggered double row. If you are planting a very large number, you can avoid an overly orderly appearance by picking up a handful and tossing them to the general area in which you wish to plant.

There are any number of “new, improved, back-saving!!” bulb planters out there. Use whatever works best for you, which might just be an ordinary trowel or even a garden shovel. And remember: nothing says you have to plant one bulb at a time. You can take a spade and dig up a good-sized hole with one or two punches, and then throw in three to five bulbs. For even larger areas, a rototiller might be the quickest option. And do the bulbs have to be pointy-side up? That’s the ideal, but the shoot will always get turned around and pointed toward the sky anyway. If you’re in a hurry, ensuring that the bulbs are at least on their side would be a good compromise.

Amending your soil with compost will definitely give your daffodils a boost, but there’s no need to fertilize when planting—which of course is not now, but in mid-to-late fall. In very early spring, a balanced fertilizer—about 5-5-5 or 10-10-10 is best—should be sprinkled around the plants just as their foliage emerges. (You can also do this in the fall, but that assumes you’ll remember where your daffodils are!) And speaking of feeding your daffodils, we all know what to do with their foliage, which is there to provide nutrients for the bulb, right? Doing nothing is perfectly okay. Or when the foliage turns yellow and lies on the ground, you can throw some mulch on it if the sight offends you. Do not cut the foliage off while it’s still green or tie it up in cutesy knots! That prevents movement of nutrients down to the bulb; plus, it takes a lot of valuable gardening time.

But back to Gloucester County. The annual Daffodil Festival takes place on the last weekend of March and includes the usual attractions: a parade, a queen, entertainers, a race, a car show, and of course, daffodils. (A full schedule is available on the county’s website. There’s also a link to the history of daffodil farming in this corner of Virginia.) On Saturday they will be running frequent buses over to Brent and Becky’s Bulbs for tours and shopping. Brent and Becky Heath own a business that has been in the family for several generations, at one time operating as the Daffodil Mart. Although they now sell many other types of bulbs, daffodils are still a specialty, with over 200 varieties available.

Once planted, daffodils tend to naturalize, meaning they spread slowly, but never seem to become invasive. Part of their secret to longevity might be their poisonous nature: deer and other critters don’t bother them, so you can enjoy your host of daffodils for many years.
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When we saw the daffodils pop in our neighborhood, it reminded us that Spring is just about here!
We love this time of year!

Queen's 90th birthday: when is it and how will it be celebrated?

Queen Elizabeth II head shot
Queen Elizabeth II's 90th birthday celebrations will be one of the highlights of 2016, and you can play your part by following our guide to the festivities. Events will be taking place in April, May and June, some of which are free and some of which require tickets, but the key is to plan ahead if you want to participate. We have included links to websites where you can buy tickets and where you can download forms for street parties. We will be updating this page whenever new information is available.

Queen Elizabeth smiles at the queen's guard
The Queen with the Duke of Edinburgh at Trooping the Colour, the official celebration of her birthday  

April 21st: The Queen's birthday

The Queen's 90th birthday is on April 21, and while this will not be the main focus of the celebrations, there will still be an opportunity to see the Queen for hardy royal-watchers. Her Majesty will be at Windsor Castle when her birthday comes around, and Buckingham Palace is expected to announce public engagements in the Windsor area on the 21st and possibly the 20th. Expect a royal walkabout where members of the public can see Her Majesty close up - as long as they are prepared to turn up early to bag the best places. Look out also for TV documentaries on the Queen's life by both ITV and the BBC featuring interviews with senior members of the Royal family. No dates have yet been announced.

May 12 to 15: The Queen's 90th Birthday Celebration

May represents the first of two major celebrations of the Queen's birthday. The Queen's 90th Birthday Celebration will be a 90-minute long extravaganza with 900 horses and more than 1,500 riders and performers.

It will be along similar lines to the Diamond Jubilee horse pageant at Windsor in 2012, though this time video projection and theatrical lighting will play a big part. The event will be held every evening from May 12 to 15, with the Queen attending on the final evening. All 25,000 tickets for the arena sold out soon after they went on sale last November, but there is still a chance to take part by entering a ballot, opening in February, for 5,000 free tickets to watch the show on giant screens next to Windsor Castle and see celebrities arriving on the red carpet. For details click here. If you miss out on tickets, ITV will be showing the final night in a two-hour live broadcast hosted by Ant and Dec.

June 10: Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral

A weekend of events to celebrate the Queen's birthday and, unofficially, the Duke of Edinburgh's 95th birthday, will start on June 10 with a Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral. The congregation will be made up of invited guests only, but the service will be televised. June 10 is also the Duke of Edinburgh's 95th birthday, but he has specified that he does not want any public celebration of the date.

June 11: Trooping the Colour

Saturday, June 11 is the date of this year's Trooping the Colour, the official annual celebration of the Queen's birthday. Otherwise known as The Queen's Birthday Parade, it is a chance for the Queen to inspect soldiers from the Household Division. It takes place on Horse Guards Parade behind Whitehall, and is televised live by the BBC from 10am.

Members of the Royal family appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after Trooping the Colour
Members of the Royal family appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace after Trooping the Colour
The Queen and other members of the Royal family travel to and from Buckingham Palace in carriages, meaning there is ample opportunity to see her for anyone standing on The Mall. She will then appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace at 1pm to watch a fly-past. This will be the only "balcony moment" of the birthday celebrations and is another good chance for members of the public to see the Queen, albeit from a distance. Tickets for the seated stands around Horse Guards are allocated by ballot in March and cost £30. You can apply in writing before the end of February to the Brigade Major, HQ Household Division by following the instructions in this link. A rehearsal usually takes place a week before the parade, and can be seen from The Mall or the edge of St James's Park.

The Queen will travel by carriage to Trooping the Colour
The Queen will travel by carriage to Trooping the Colour

June 12: The Patron's Lunch

On Sunday, June 12, the climax of the Queen's birthday celebrations, The Mall in London will be transformed into a giant street party for The Patron's Lunch, with 10,000 guests eating a picnic lunch and being entertained by street performers and circus acts. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will take part in the event from a specially-built platform on the Queen Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace.

An artist's impression of The Patron's Lunch
An artist's impression of The Patron's Lunch Credit: Patron's Lunch
The purpose of the event is to celebrate the Queen's patronage of 600-plus charities and organisations, and 9,000 of the 10,000 tickets are being made available to those organisations. However, there will be some publicly available tickets for the event, costing £150 each. There are two ways of getting a ticket: 1. Enter a public ballot where a minimum of 1,000 tickets (plus any that are not taken up by the charities) will be made available. You can make your application during the month of March at The Patron's Lunch website. 2. Charities and other organisations that receive tickets will be allowed to auction off 40 per cent of their tickets to raise money for their funds. You can search a list of the organisations of which the Queen is Patron here.

 St James's Park artist impression on a sunny day for the Queen's 90th birthday 
Members of the public will be able to watch the event on giant screens in Green Park and St James's Park  Credit: The Patron's Lunch
If you don't have a ticket, but still want to be part of the event in London, there will be room for 15,000 people to watch the event on giant screens in St James's Park and Green Park, though they will have to bring their own picnics. Security will be tight, so arrive early. The event's organiser Peter Phillips, the Queen's grandson, is keen for the event to be replicated with street parties up and down the country and across the Commonwealth. You will need to tell your local council four to six weeks in advance, and the Department for Communities and Local Government has published a guide on how to organise a street party, complete with an application form for you to send off to your local authority.

The Patron's Lunch - a map of events for the day's celebrations
The Patron's Lunch will be held on the Mall on June 12