Monday, June 30, 2008

All London, All the time

I’ve been going back and forth between Hambleden and London, and it’s never a dull moment, shall we say.
The Big Party happens this Saturday, July 5, in Hambleden, and people are starting to arrive (cousins from America, friends of the girls from everywhere!). Celeste (Sally’s sister and my best pal since college) arrived on Wed. and she and I have been tooling around London.
Last Saturday morning, thanks to a friend of Celeste’s who works for Universal Pictures, we got tix to see an advance screening of “Mamma Mia” in Leicester Square at the Odeon. (Mind you, the UK premiere is tonight, Mon. June 30th , and it opens in the US on July 18. Oh, and today is my godson Justin Thomas’ birthday! So HB, JT!) I have to say… the MM movie is pretty dang wonderful. I’ve never loved the stage show, but the movie is quite clever in the updates and changes it makes, and they made full use of the Greek landscapes and the Greek extras! If you’re on the fence, I’d say go…. Meryl Streep is wonderful, as are most of the others. (OK, Pierce Bronson won’t win awards for his singing, but it’s perfectly fine for the part…. And a few of the British accents are a little hard to catch for us Yankees, but those are minor complaints.)
Celeste and I also took a day trip down to Brighton, where we enjoyed fish and chips at a little beach cafĂ©, and we took a double-decker tour bus that ended up at the Royal Pavilion, which is AMAZING and I’ve never been inside it before on my other trips to Brighton. It was mostly built during the reign of George V, the one right before Queen Victoria. The outside looks Moorish but the inside is heavy Chinese. Quite a juxtaposition, with all of the hand-painted wallpapers and one-ton chandeliers.
To complete my absolute “Tourist in London” rampage, I went over to the Tower of London with my friend Bill, who works for Visa card here in the marketing department. We were both a mite disappointed with the jewels… not a tiara or broach in the lot! But knowing that the place was begun in the 11th century does kill any doubts that you’re inside a special place…
It’s been a non-stop flurry of sports here…. Mmm, my favorite thing! There was days and days of Ascot, now followed by endless days of Wimbledon… Oy. Did I mention that they place bets on what color hat the Queen will wear to Ascot on any given day?? Amazing, sort of like guessing what color dress Michelle Obama will wear to the inauguration in January 2009.
(But rah-rah to Spain, for winning the Euro 2008 soccer, I mean futbol, games!!! Aren’t you impressed that I knew that??
TV is almost loads of fun here, with “Last Choir Standing,” where choirs compete against each other (I take it there was a US version of it, which I somehow missed…). Another is “Mary, Queen of Shops” where this woman, oddly named Mary, goes round to a shop and tells the owner what he/she is doing wrong. But our favorite is “The Dragon Den,” where a group of five investors and venture capitalists listen to pitches from people selling a new idea or product, and they either decide to invest (individually or in groups) or send the poor bloke away without a penny. It’s fairly compelling, oddly enough.
And then last night, I got home to the mews house, and Sara and her friend had bought a bag of marshmallows, and they were “roasting” them over a candle flame… Sort of that urban campfire thing you read so much about…
Up next will be the complete story of the Big Party, so check back for details in a week or so! Or feel free to email me if you have any questions or comments.