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March 22, 2011

Royal Weddings 101

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My paternal grandmother and/or aunts were 
always going to England and back on 
big ocean liners when I was a child.
We have family there.
(My maternal grandmother, born in London, 
always said she'd only go back when they 
built a bridge). 
Her mother, my Great grandmother, 
told me she saw Queen Victoria riding 
in a carriage during her Diamond 
Jubilee celebrations in London (1896).
Then there was the Coronation of Queen
Elizabeth II. Pomp and circumstance,
red velvet, ermine, diamonds and gold
(in black and white). Also newsreels at the 
movies showing the great crowds gathered
in front of Buckingham Palace at the end 
of WWII.
By Princess Margaret's wedding in 1960, 
My brain was bursting with the lives, legends 
and lore of Tudors, Stuarts, Hanovarians and 
Windsors and working on the Plantagenets.
Figuring, 4 years college, then a job and 
saving money, I promised myself a trip to 
London when Prince Charles married.
By the time he  decided on Lady Diana Spencer
I had already been to London several times
and followed the Queen and Prince Philip around
Philadelphia in 1976 during our bicentennial.
My reward, a brief exchange with HRH The Duke
of Edinburgh in a royal walkabout behind
Independence Hall. (More of this on a future post.)
Part: II  I'M OFF
My English friends Rosalind and Rob welcomed 
me with open arms and the news that if I intended 
to have a good spot along the procession route, 
I'd be spending the night before in St James' Park 
and should be there by early afternoon at that.

Dear Ros packed some sandwiches, a thermos of 
coffee and a pint of orange juice and took this 
picture of me (above) when we got to the Mall. 
Then I took one of her, her daughter Fiona (white 
and red dress) and Fiona's friend Caroline (lavender 
dress) and they left.
I was just across the street from Clarence House on 
the Mall where Diana was staying, as I had planned.
The crowd grew. Rented one of the wood and canvas 
deck chairs available for something like 65p for the 
duration. (which ended abruptly at 6AM next 
morning with 4 hours to go until the procession)
But I digress. 
As the afternoon wore on a potentially serious 
problem arose. Only one public loo at the far 
end of the park in the direction of the Admiralty 
Arch. And it was already very much out of service. 
Anyone who knows the area understands. No place 
to go, literally. One side, park. Other side, Clarence 
House, Marlboro House, Lancaster House, St James'
Palace. Private closed to the public, Mansions and 
The sun went down. Most folks lit out for Hyde
Park fireworks, leaving their belongings
in the care of the few like myself who remained. 
(Listen, I wouldn't have even been there if "there" 
was HERE!) And it was 30 years ago.
Shortly after sun up. we lost our deck chairs.
Tired, grubby, needing a loo, all moved
forward. We all were keeping each other upright. 
Won't bore you with the details of street sweeping
and lining the Mall with bearskin hatted guards
(facing in), police between (facing us). A guard
fainted and was instantly replaced. 
Somewhere around 10AM the procession began.
Scarlet, gold and black. On foot, on horseback,
shiny plumed helmets, sabers and boots. Warm day
for the wool jackets laden with gold braid.

Managed to snap Princess Anne (yellow hat) 
riding with Princess Margaret (orange feather 
behind yellow hat).
Not sure who this was, possibly Queen Beatrix 
of the Netherlands. It was all whizzing by so quickly.
(And I'm really needing a LOO).
The bride's coach came towards me, turning
left into the Mall. Amid clouds of cream silk a
beautiful veiled face and a waving hand and
gone down the road. And it was over.
As for the ceremony, heard Diana take "Philip 
Charles Arthur George" to be her lawful wedded 
husband on some one's transister radio, but that was
I would have given MY kingdom for a "ladies", but I 
moved up to the Buckingham Palace gates instead. 
I'd come this far. Seemed like hours before the
carriages returned and the main players came out on 
the balcony. I did my best with my pathetic telephoto
lens. But that balcony is miles from the back gates.
(The back of BP faces the Mall. The front faces
the gardens).
The wisdom of my having chosen Illustration 
over Photography as my life's work demonstrated
for all to see.
In this detail from a photo in Invitation to a Royal 
Wedding, by Katharine Spink, the yellow arrow on 
the lower left near the center is point down on the 
top of my head.
So, for those inclined to fly over and watch it all
in person, unless you have received an engraved
invitation for the Abbey be prepared as there are 
no loos, or port-a-potties of any kind anywhere near 
the route of the procession.
Hard to believe in England, a country of great beer 
consumption. But then again, the crowd 30 years ago, 
mostly foreigners. Aussies, New Zealanders, Canadians, 
Americans. Anglophile fools like me. And I think
the natives know about the loo situation.

PS: Immediately after the balcony scene, I headed down 
Birdcage Walk (on the right side of St James Park,
if your back is to the Palace).
Found an open restaurant, with a clean loo. 
Then headed back to Ros and Rob's.
Opening the door to my disheveled self, Rob commented
"In retrospect, you will be glad you did this."
Turns out, he was right.

But I will be watching this year's Royal Wedding from
my comfortable bed just across the hall from my lovely 
precious loo.

March 11, 2011

Uncle Jace's Pineapple Walnut Biscotti - They Draw & Cook

FINALLY!! Very excited to have my recipe (well its actually my brother Jonathan's recipe) that I illustrated, up on one of my favorite websites
A pretty good caricature of brother Jon (done from memory). 
Here he is a few years ago, before his forehead got a little higher 
and his hair a little grayer. (He's gonna kill me..........) :~)

March 7, 2011

Asleep On The Job

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Didn't mean to wake the cat boys from their after breakfast nap.
Or was it their before lunch nap...........  =^..^=