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!