It was extraordinary feat. The longest serving queen. Many reading this were not born at her coronation. Probably none have lived as long as her. Even as long as she has been Queen.

She remained determined and constant in turbulent times, despite our country going to wars and her children’s antics which absorbed the media but were of less interest to the rest of us. There has been an outpouring of grief and sorrow. Perhaps the last we will see on any scale for a monarch.

In Ludlow, there are books of condolence available for signing at Ludlow Town Council offices, the Buttercross, Ludlow Library and Saint Laurence’s Church. Flowers can be left in Castle Gardens (no cellophane please).

At 4pm tomorrow (Sunday), Ludlow Mayor Glen Ginger will read a proclamation announcing the accession of King Charles III at the Peace Memorial on Castle Street.

We are in a period of 10 days national mourning. Operation London Bridge has begun in public bodies around the country. It is already becoming clear how outdated the protocol, much of which dates back to George VI, has become. Some events have gone ahead, too many have cancelled. Sports for young people, including football, is one unnecessary casualty.

We live in an age where we celebrate lives passed, rather than mourning them. Queen Elizabeth did so much, survived so much strife and inspired so many people. The cancellation of so many events and the gloomy tone of the media are not Lillibet’s style.

In her older years, the Queen surprised us all with her sense of humour, which we had heard about but never seen. The James Bond spoof for the Olympics and above all, the Paddington Bear tea party for her Platninum Jubilee.

There are some political consequences. We are all fed up to the back teeth with politics after a summer dedicated to a self-indulgent process of selecting a new leader of the Conservative Party. All political comment has been banned by party leaders until after the funeral (including probably this comment). But the world hasn’t stopped. The war in Ukraine has disappeared from the front pages but people are still being killed and maimed. Their homes and livelihoods are being destroyed. At home, the cost of living crisis dominates. There is severe drought in Africa and so many other problems that need our attention.

Yet all parliamentary business has been put on hold. Parliament was due to go into recess on 22 September. With the funeral on 19 September, there may only be two sitting days before the conference season. That means that the government’s plans to tackle the cost of living crisis will go almost unchallenged. And so much else too, including its determination to undermine human rights.

Parliamentary business is often ugly. But it is essential. We are at a time of economic crisis and so many people don’t know how they will get through the winter. Parliament should resume immediately and debate the issues of the day.

It is expected that all the political party conferences will go ahead, with the exception of the Lib Dems next weekend. That is a big loss to us liberal thinkers. The Lib Dem conference decides policy, unlike the Conservatives, where the conference is all about show and not substance.

When the Queen was coronated, most government business required laws passed by both the houses. For the last two decades, many laws passed enable ministers to make decisions, notifying the Commons and Lords by laying a paper on the table in the chamber. The bills enable but don’t detail the consequences. There will be a lot of vital decisions made in the coming weeks without public scrutiny. That suits the current style of government. It will be late October before normal business resumes.

We are in difficult times. We need parliamentary debate on so many issues. The conference recess for parliament should be cancelled.

Meanwhile, we should reflect on the life of a monarch who has been a constant in our lives. Not to mourn her but to celebrate her contribution to national and international life. All of our lives.

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