Monday, May 2, 2011

Doors To Manual

We arrived in London the day after Will and Kate got hitched. This is a different city from the one I left nearly nine years ago: the sun shines on bright green parks and freshly painted everything. People are feeling kind of silly, singing in the streets, waving to each another and just being happy.

Marty from Milwaukee
It's  impossible not to caught up in the dizzy gladness of it all. At our hotel bar in Park Lane we met the fabulous Marty Biland, 53, from Milwaukee who flew in with her husband Al to join the crowds in Hyde Park watching the wedding on the big screen. "There's nothing like it!" Marty enthuses over a G&T: "Nothing that comes close to this at home!" Below she's pictured on the day in her "fascinator." Who knew we would be bandying around a previously obscure term after learning that "hats or substantial fascinators" were required dress for wedding guests.

Marty in her fascinator
They're here because of thimbles. Marty started her thimble collection 22 years ago when they lived in Doncaster for three years.  When her husband recently accidentally broke a few, he promised they would return to buy replacements. When we met them they were exhausted after four days of constant celebrations and shopping, buying up commemorative shot glasses, dishes, trays and pillows for friends and family back home.

 Most Londoners joined street parties or had one of their own. We headed over to see my friend Emma at her Notting Hill flat and sip tea from her souvenir cups, admiring the Prince William champagne, balloons and streamers left over from the party.

Me and Emma

Emma's apartment in Notting Hill

Emma's apartment
Meeting Kate and Wills at the British Airway counter in San Francisco was a tiny glimpse into the weddingmania that has taken hold of England.

British Airways counter
The newspapers have been chocka with the nuptials and with 12 dailies and 12 more Sunday editions I have been in hog heaven. Most of the newspapers have attributed a joyful England to the "fun and frisky" Kate Middleton injecting new blood into the blues, though some of the sneering references to her common-ness have been bizarre.

Much has been made of her being "middle class." In fact her family have a huge mansion out in the country and she is from a very privileged upper middle class. 

In the past Kate and her equally stunning sister Pippa have been termed the "Wisteria Sisters, pretty, sweet smelling and great climbers."

"Her parents have a tarmac driveway for God's sake!" snipes one source close to the Royals. Apparently one must have a gravel driveway to be properly posh or "Yew," a reference to the Yew trees grown on stately estates for centuries.

There was amazement from some about how Kate's stunning mother, Carol, a former flight attendant (horrors!) scrubbed up good on the day and didn't embarrass anyone. Apparently through the years Wills' friends liked to tease Kate about her mother's former profession. "Doors to Manual" they would laugh doing the flight attendant hand actions.

Well as one paper pointed out, Doors to Manual had the last laugh.  She not only looked perfect in her blue suit, overshadowing Camilla, but she also appeared gracious and graceful. Another member of the Middleton family also attracted much admiration. After all eyes in Westminster Abbey alighted on Kate's sister Pippa in her lean, white contoured bridesmaid dress, 67 tweets a second from Westminster Abbey almost crashed the Twitter website.

Meanwhile the so-called "proper royals" Beatrice and Eugenie looked like main characters in a pantomime in their kooky big hat get ups. As one onlooker said: "They may be blue bloods but there's no doubt who has class."


  1. Beatrice and Eugenie's hats were to die for. Mating lobsters was the funniest description I have heard. Those girls have humour ;-)

  2. It's been an exciting weekend of wedding mania. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole shebang, including the silly hats.

    So pleased you know about fascinators now. I remember first hearing the word in 2006 when I was in a local production of Oklahoma. In the script, Aunt Eller jokingly promised to wear her fascinator if Curly accompanied her to the dance.

  3. So fun that you were there the day after! Sounds like it was a great time...makes me miss my time I lived in London! :)

  4. love the notting hill neighborhood! enjoy!

  5. How fun to be in London in the midst of it all! I have to confess to getting caught up & staying up way too late to watch it all. Loved the style & am really hoping that long sleeved dresses make a major comeback. Speaking of style - love the new design of your blog!

  6. I could not agree more with all of your post. How bizarre that the newspapers there are making such a fuss of her being a commoner. Truly, I doubt it has come up once here. But we americans are so common. Your teaparty with your friend looks like fun and I envy you for being out and about in London during the celebration week! How fun!

    xo Mary Jo

  7. How fantastic you got to be in the midst of the fun x

  8. FUN!!!!

    The 'trash talk' is ridiculous... absolutely ridiculous. She and her family looked (and behaved) beautifully. Total class.

  9. I am so glad you made it over here to share in the giddiness! Everyone is still talking about it :) XOL

  10. So much fun!! It is such a fun time to visit London :D I'll be there in 2 months

  11. We watched tv on the day from 8.30 am until Wills and Kate (oops Catherine) (!) drove the Aston Martin up the road to Clarence House! We loved it all though my son, who lives in Windsor, escaped all the 'people' for the weekend and also opted to watch on tv! I don't like Camilla but think her Philip Treacy hat was fab. Eugenie & Bea - well, aliens impaled on their heads?

  12. adorable!! i hope i one day can visit london myself :)

  13. Cant we just be happy for them, I am! I miss Princess Di and i know she is so proud of her boys and Kate! Love your post and that you found someone from the states there! Your friends apartment is beautiful, love her party stuff and the pillow!

  14. Jody- Reporting from the scene! Fabulous!

    I'm watching the wedding in little bits from a video tape. Still a little bit left, (funny how my TV declares "LIVE" on the screen!)

    I adored the whole Middletown (Middleton?) gang, and James read so beautifully...


  15. Looks like you had a fabulous time!

  16. How fun that you got to join the fun! Love your commentary too! Isn't Kate just perfection? She is a class act and seems to have always been one! The royals are lucky to her in their court. She and Williams seem genuinely nice to see that he can be close to a wonderful woman, especially since he lost his amazing mother. Love all the royal giddiness!

  17. I would have loved to been there any time around the Royal Wedding! How fun! Loved watching it from afar online at least :)

  18. You must have loved coming to London at such an exciting time.
    I enjoyed seeing your photos and hearing your views on it and I must admit that I have to agree with you about the princesses hats. Cinderella springs to mind!

    Thanks for visiting me. I always love to see what others have to say and you have a lovely blog.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  19. Ha-ha-ha. I enjoyed reading your point of view. My observation is the same. Is not it fascinating that some people are just born with class... some people just have it and others don't: no matter how blue their blood is or how many degrees you have, or how much money. Princess Catherine really seems to be born with grace and class.

    i finally am showing off your lovely wristlet on my blog today. sorry, i'm using your picture because my new camera stinks!!! all my pics come out terribly yellow. thanks again, Jody, for my lovely gift!


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