Sunday, January 29, 2017

Getting Around to the Second Installment of "The Founding Bettys Take Europe"

I am the worst blogger ever. The holiday season came upon me like a large wave upon a small dinghy. What can I say? It swamped me.

From Chawton, deep in Jane Austen-land, our plucky band travelled to Hampton Court Palace. Truly, I wish we had saved this to be the very last thing we visited it because I am in love with HCP. Like, If I were a small, rural manor house run along economical lines but needing a new roof overhaul, HCP would be my pin-up. I would drop my handkerchief and faint into its arms in the hopes of being ruined and wed.
Hampton Court Palace, you great, gorgeous pile.
One of the things I noticed since we did both France and England, is that England has a huge sense of humor about its historical sites, having great affection for them but not taking it so seriously. (England seems also VASTLY more interested in managing their tourists--telling people what they are looking at and the significance thereof in the language of their choice.) The official audio guide to HCP didn't confirm that the ghost of Katherine Howard haunted a specific hall of HCP, it only confirmed that more fainting fits happen in that hall than anywhere else on the grounds and left one to draw conclusions. That is JUST the sort of dishy innuendo I like.

Pledge Two learning about British Escandelo!
The people who are hired to stand around in rooms making sure no one makes off with historical panelling or artfully displayed armory are also fascinating if one has the nerve, as I had, to ask them to tell you the best thing they ever saw at the castle. One fellow didn't answer that it was historical reenactments or the sun glinting just so off antique glass but the vision of a toadying director bowing so low during the visit of a minor royal that he fell straight into the mud. Excellent, England. Way to be awesome.

Only one of several massive open fireplaces. This one was converted into a toilet room and then back. The wonders of home renovation!
Of particular interest to me on the visit through the palace was the kitchens. Here I learned about Grace and Favour apartments (which I knew of before. I just didn't know it was still going on for very old pensioners.) As we stood in the kitchens, the costumed docent told us in an off-hand way that Lord Baden-Powell and his wife lived (in kind of sketchy circumstances) right there in the old kitchens. My Cub Scout Den Mother heart grew two sizes that day.

They left Lady Baden-Powell's stove. Looks like an Aga.
Another semi-hot adventuring type that lived at HCP was Earnest Shackleton.
A seven on the street. A ten when you know he crossed hundred of miles in an open boat with rudimentary navigation tools.

The last thing we did at HCP was run through the maze giggling as though we were being chased by sexy sea-captain privateers with designs upon our petticoats. We only had fifteen minutes. It was the only way.

Hotness ahoy!
After this we forged onward to London. One of the first stops was Liberty of London. Let me tell you, Bettys. The prints may have a homespun quality but that is in no way reflective of the price/yard. I sucked in my breath and took a picture.
Do you want to send your children to college or do you want to make them look cute?
We took many a train in London and collected one of the toss-away daily papers. I cannot tell you what a delight they are to me. The abiding lesson from England is that these people can laugh at just about anything.
This is a surprisingly old-fashioned column. I have read newspapers from the mid-1800s with the same stuff. I wonder if it ever works. What a tale to tell. 

My last assorted thoughts on this leg of the trip, before we move on, are about food. The hardest part of travel is finding food you love and can't get back home. For instance:

The whole of the Harrod's food hall. It's like outrageous mating plumage but on a salmon mousse...
M&S Rhubarb and Custard Drops (WIN), Orange with Bits (Okay?), Walker's Smokey Bacon Crisps (WIN), Veggie Wine Gums and plain old Wine Gums (We didn't try them but I can't think why veggie wine gums exist and can't imagine they would be an improvement on plain old wine gums. Someone needs to try them and tell me.)

Until next time, Betties!