Risky Regencies

Anglophile Saturday

As you all know, this is the weekend before RWA. Therefore, it’s the weekend that I spend running around my house screaming “Conference is coming! I’m not ready!” before falling over on the floor, having a glass of Chardonnay, and watching Pride and Prejudice for the 2,143rd time. (Which version? Doesn’t matter. Any. All!). I could be devising a way to fit all my shoes and evening handbags into my suitcase, working on the WIP (of which I have approximately 50 more pages to write), or researching the next book (wherein I will move from this WIP’s Regency Bath to that book’s Elizabethan Christmas at Whitehall. Plus a frost fair!).

Or I could have some more Chardonnay and find some fun Anglophile things on the Internet to share with all of you. I think I will go with that option.

First up, we have Kooky Royal Fashion. Since I have an absurd love for royalty, I really enjoy this!

We all re-wear our clothes, yes? Especially fancy things that cost a lot, and which we love but seldom get to take out of our closet. Princess Anne is no different. She took the dress AND hat she wore in 1981 to Princess Diana’s wedding and wore it a few weeks ago to another wedding, that of the Duke of Gloucester’s daughter Lady Rose Windsor. Because surely no one will remember a dress/hat combo that looks like a fried egg and was worn at possibly the highest profile event EVER! I actually think it looks better now, without that big choker, but she could have at least changed out the hat…

And speaking of hats! Then there was Princess Beatrice and her butterfly hat, also sported at a wedding. I love me a crazy hat, but this one might be a bit much even for me…

I also like to waste time looking for interesting real estate in the UK. I found this one, Shakespeare House in northern Buckinghamshire, near a village called Grendon Underwood. It was built as a coaching inn in the 1570s, since it was at a convenient spot halfway between Stratford and London. Called The Ship back then, it’s said that Shakespeare would stay there on his journeys back and forth (though I don’t see how this could possibly be proven, it’s still fun to think about living someplace Shakespeare slept!). Back then, it had 20 bedrooms as well as several public rooms with large fireplaces. Even though it’s been altered since then, it would still make a good place for Risky retreats!

According to tradition, Shakespeare stayed at The Ship several times over the years, though one night the inn was full and he slept on the local church porch before being chased off by the local constable, an incident that inspired the characters of Dogberry and Verges in Much Ado About Nothing. The inn has gone through fire, neglect, and rebuilding in the intervening years, but the little room is still there, up a narrow oak staircase past a priest’s hole and blackened beams. It’s also said his image appears in the window of this room on St. George’s Day, the anniversary of his birth and death, though I think if that happened every place he ever stayed his ghost would be tremendously busy…

This is the room Shakespeare was said to stay in, with the oval window (but I prefer the lighter chamber in the other pic!)

It has a lovely garden, too, where the current owners host Midsummer Night’s Dream themed parties, and is for sale for only 2.325 million pounds. A bargain!

Speaking of Shakespeare, I’m busy planning the 3 and a half days I’ll have in London after my trip to Paris this fall. One night I have tickets to see Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Globe! One day I’m going out to visit Hever Castle, family home of Anne Boleyn, and one day going to the Harlequin Mills & Boon offices in Richmond. That leaves–one and a half days for other things. I read a travel review where a family said they had 2 days in London and visited the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, the Imperial War Museum, the Tower, Kensington Palace, and the V & A. By my calculations, they must have spent about 2 hours in each place, which doesn’t sound helpful or enjoyable to me! But I do want to make the most of my time. Any suggestions?

But one trip at a time. I will see many of you in San Francisco next week, and will keep the rest of you up-to-date on conference doings!

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Louisa Cornell
14 years ago

Amanda, your pre-conference ritual sounds a lot like mine, except for the chardonnay. With me it is chocolate. The house looks like a bomb went off in it and I only have three more days before I leave!!! Fortunately today is my last day to work and I then have two days off to run around like crazy and get ready to go!! And what am I doing now? Checking to see what the rest of you are doing!!!

Loved the anglophile stuff! And those clothes and hats!! SHUDDER!

I am so envious of your trip. I expect lots and lots of photos and a full report!

Lois
14 years ago

I think there is something more amazing in those pictures than what the hats look like (though not by much LOL) — I think it’s that the dress worn in the famous, everyone in the world watched event still actually fits, and still looks like new! I mean, how many of us can say that? And I imagine someone washed it after the first go around, and it still looks white and yellow, so no lint of hard water to complain about. 😉

Lois

Amanda McCabe
14 years ago

“And what am I doing now? Checking to see what the rest of you are doing!!!”

LOL! And I’m reading beauty product blogs this morning. Maybe I should do laundry. Or write. Noooo!

“I think it’s that the dress worn in the famous, everyone in the world watched event still actually fits, and still looks like new!”

Lois, this is so true! It must have been sealed up in a vast, climate-controlled closet someplace. 🙂 My mother, who got married in the early ’70s, can still fit into her wedding dress (a short, white crepe silk thing), and it’s even a bit big. But the fabric has yellowed a bit, maybe because I used to take it out and play dress-up with it when I was a kid. Maybe she could just plop a bright yellow hat on with it and no one would notice! 🙂

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon
14 years ago

Amanda, I think you should definitely hit the V&A, and the Tate Modern if you have the time. Oh, and the Tower of London. But give yourself time for shopping (or at least looking at the clothes and crying because the dollar is worth nothing over in Europe). I personally like to go into Karen Millen and Monsoon to do my crying.

Elena Greene
14 years ago

Your pre-conference ritual sounds wonderful.

At present mine consists of making sure the lawn is mowed, finding my kids’ rain ponchos for camp next week, writing up reminders to feed the fish, etc… Yes, it’s a glamorous life I lead! 🙂

Amanda McCabe
14 years ago

BTW, when things get really desperate, Chardonnay AND chocolate are called for. 🙂

Elizabeth, I am definitely not planning on any shopping while I’m there! (except maybe Topshop or something like that!). But looking I can afford to do. And I always end up spending too much money in museum shops, especially ones with good book selections.

Cara King
14 years ago

I guess Princess Anne and I are kin under the skin, because yesterday I was wearing a dress I’d first worn when I was 22. (Of course, that was just yesterday!) 😉 But mine is definitely faded…

Amanda, I’m not sure if you’re trying to do researchy sightseeing, or not… IMHO the Tower would be excellent if you’re doing research into Renaissance London, and so would doing a tour of the Globe…

I tend to take in one or more museums — the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, & the Wallace being my favorites… In fact, I tend to go to the National Gallery, then the NPG (or at least its shop), then walk to the 1/2 price ticket booth in Leicester Square, then cruise up Charing Cross Road and look at the used bookshops…

And I do love me an afternoon tea at Richoux or Fortnum & Mason or Harrods (though F&M’s prices have really shot up…don’t know about Harrod’s.)

Oh, there’s just a million things to see!

BTW, I’ve never seen Hever Castle — sounds great!

Cara

Ladyhawk
14 years ago

Wow… that butterfly hat is… just wow. I can see maybe on Derby Day, but a wedding?

London, if it’s a Friday at noon, I’d be at St Paul’s Cathedral to listen to the organ recital. The Tower, Hyde Park, Trafalgar Square with the museum there, changing of the guard… so much to do, so little time.
~Judy T

Diane Gaston
14 years ago

Amanda, you should go to the British Museum and see the George III room, with the Rosetta stone and all sorts of wonderful “collections” and small sculptures, like that of Clytie.

We missed it when we went in 2003, but it is marvelous. And you can’t miss by a few hours in the British Museum, no matter what.

Santa
14 years ago

I wish I could wear hats like that. Unfortunately, or fortunately in this case, I look horrible in hats and I wear one everyday for work.

My pre-conference ritual consists of making sure meals are prepared or at least planned for. I think I need shoes and I was so hoping I wouldn’t! Plus laundry. Gotta keep everyone in undies for the week!

Jane
14 years ago

A few years ago, I went to the AngloMania exhibit at the Met. Some of the hats on display looked like birds nests.

Georgie
14 years ago

I love Anglophile stuff. I recently purchased old issues of Majesty magazine at a thrift store. I also love reading Hello magazine whenever I can get my hands on it.

Amanda McCabe
14 years ago

“Majesty magazine at a thrift store. I also love reading Hello magazine whenever I can get my hands on it.”

LOL! The local Barnes and Noble carries these, and I like to read them in the cafe there. I love them!

I’m thinking maybe one day will be a combo Tower/Globe day on my trip. I’m plotting out an Elizabethan theater-centered book in my head. Anyone know any good restaurants around there that would work for dinner? Maybe an old pub or something like that?

For the half-day, I’m not sure yet. The hotel is near Trafalgar Square, so maybe the NPG. Close by and free! I do want to go back to the British Museum and the V & A, but that might have to wait for the next trip.

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon
14 years ago

Amanda, there is a lovely pub on the Bankside near the Globe called the Anchor. But since you are going to the Globe, definitely pop into the Tate Modern. And I know tons about Elizabethan theater as a dormant professional actress!

And I love Hello! Magazine, I always end up buying it when I’m in the UK. Used to have a subscription to Majesty and Royalty Monthly.

Todd
14 years ago

Amanda wrote:

I’m thinking maybe one day will be a combo Tower/Globe day on my trip. I’m plotting out an Elizabethan theater-centered book in my head. Anyone know any good restaurants around there that would work for dinner? Maybe an old pub or something like that?

Well, it’s not super near, but there is an old surviving coaching inn called The George in Southwark which is definitely worth a look. The food is nothing spectacular, but the locale is amazing!

Here’s a URL that describes it:

http://www.pubs.com/pub_details.cfm?ID=187

The old inn that you described in your post sounds delightful, but alas! With the current exchange rate I can’t consider it. Now, if it had been 2.35 million dollars that would have been another story…

Todd-who-considers-himself-part-of-the-inn-crowd

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