|I may be a dork, but at least I'm a DORK IN A FANCY HAT!|
|At the races in fascinator by Rachel Trevor-Morgan; turns out she outfitted Her Majesty's head that day too, which I actually saw (as attached to the rest of HRH's wee body) at a distance, ooh la la! (with thanks to my friend the IWOM for the hat loan)|
Is there any greater joy to the Anglophilic heart - ok, any woman's heart - than the legitimate excuse to wear a beautiful, beautifully silly hat? Oh, and the fun of visiting two of your best friends in your favorite city on the map?
*start boring travel philosophy interlude*
You know how people get glassy eyed when they're droning on about Paris, or New York? That's how I get about England - it is my happy place, quite literally. I can't tell you when or how it happened, but somewhere early on - probably around the 1,000th listening to some Beatles record - England got into my system. It's not at all that I'm any less glad to be American or whatever, it's just . . . well, it just *is*.
I don't tell you this as any sort of character bonus or in an "Ooh, aren't I international and sophisticated?" sort of way. If anything, this England problem is a liability, both financial and in the way that makes me prone to speaking in a dreaful faux accent a la Madonna for days upon my return. Really. I've been lucky enough to have visited a few times many years ago, but never with locals outside of the usual touristed areas.
*end boring travel philosophy interlude*
Hence when two of my bestest best friends, independent of one another, had the great foresight to move to London, as a loyal friend I just had to go visit them, didn't I?
So what if my ace babysitter squad - speaking of, my undying gratitude to the Anonymous Husband and his mama for making this trip possible - just happened to only be available during the festivities surrounding the Queen's Diamond Jubilee - that is, her 60th year on the throne (can you imagine 60 years in the same job?) (I struggle to commit myself to six minutes of the same magazine) (parentheses)
Anywhooo - I started off my visit with my friend the International Woman of Mystery ("IWOM") and her gallant partner, the Consort - both of whom wish to remain mysterious, so unfortunately you'll have to deal with photos of just ME ME ME. We meandered around charming Hampstead, their particular corner of London:
We ended up at "their" pub, where I was reminded of one of the things the Brits do better than everyone else - the neighborhood family bar, at which man, woman, child, and dog are all welcome:
|Try The Wells if you're ever in Hampstead - friendly service, and the sticky toffee pudding is to die for, most importantly.|
See those little Union Jacks dangling from the building? In honor of the Queen's Jubilee, this "bunting" was EVERYWHERE. For a nation that doesn't wear it's heart or much else on its tweedy sleeve, the patriotism was palpable.
After a delicious evening out, during which I was reminded that keeping up with ones DINK friends and their cider consumption isn't the best of travel plans, we headed home to rest up for our
(Please read in between the lines here as "OMG excuse to wear fancy hat and dress and possibly see royal types and ponies YES YES YES!")
The three of us sped off the next
|Traveling to the races - it's how we do|
If you're thinking, as I was, that horse racing in England = everyone acting hoity-toity BBC costume drama and wearing silly hats, you would be . . well, suffice to say the whole of England showed up in that crowd of 130,000. Imagine that a NASCAR race had a one night stand with the Kentucky Derby, and that's the, uh, mixed look of the crowd depending on where you were sitting; we were in the fancy dress bit, chockablock with fun hats and such, but we also saw plenty of . . . of . . .
. . . in other words, it was top hats mixed with tube tops, and if that isn't a recipe for a successful day of people watching, I don't know what is:
Yes, really. More about this the next time . . .