(One of the posts I wrote on my Swell 24.7 blog in my previous life as a gift store owner in the busy tourist town of Provincetown on Cape Cod; posts that are grouped here under the category What Else Is Swell?, and are generally about life in Provincetown, life as a retailer, our fabulous dog Jack who sat outside the store for well over a decade, and other random things that grabbed me at the time.)
I haven't lived in Britain in nearly twenty years but I've noticed that the longer it is since I lived there, the more interested I am in British goings on. The only newspaper I ever read is The Guardian on line (where I did get the one photo used here that is not obviously taken on my iPhone in my friend's house). I keep up on British art shows (how badly do I want to go to the Miro exhibit that just opened at the Tate Modern?), politics (I guess that isn't quite such a stretch) and I'd much rather watch the British version of a sit com than it's USA copy cat version (Uh, 'The Office'? Rent the original; it's way better.) I even followed the 2010 World Cup which is pretty surprising given that I never watched a single football game when I was in the UK. (To be accurate I didn't actually watch any games during the World Cup last year either but I did avidly follow the results which is almost as dedicated and still something I never did with much enthusiasm when I did live over there.) So perhaps I shouldn't be so surprised to have found myself setting the alarm for 3.30am this morning and driving to my expat friend Helen's house to watch the Royal Wedding.
I mean, I really don't care that much. And I am certainly no royalist. I didn't watch the last two. (Well I sort of got forced into watching Charles and Diana's wedding because I was staying with my aunt Vicky that day and she and her husband were renovating a house and had no TV which was fine with us except that the neighbors took pity and invited us round and we couldn't escape and so, after many cups of tea and nodding in agreement with the neighbors about how lovely she looked, while simultaneously catching each others eye and mouthing the word 'meringue' Vicky and I did, in fact, watch that Royal Wedding. But it was under duress, somewhat of a polite hostage situation, so it doesn't count.)
But this morning, I admit, I went willingly. Of course there was a full English breakfast as part of the occasion with actual British sausages and back bacon (what do Americans do with that cut of the pig because there is nothing similar here?), eggs, mushrooms, fried bread - the works. And lots of tea, of course. We watched BBC America which Helen had upgraded her cable to get just in time for the wedding. (That is a very British thing to do. Most of the village where I grew up got color TV either for the Investiture of the Prince of Wales or for the Queen's Silver Jubilee. In my house we got it somewhere between the two events and primarily because we were all tired of watching The Muppets in black and white.)
And I also have to admit that I had a great time.
We peaked at about 15 people (though never more than 4 Brits) and we somehow all ate breakfast at the same time (it was cooked and eaten during the boring parts; i.e the service after the vows and waiting for the balcony kiss). And we all made fun of the hats, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson's daughters, and the little bridesmaid on the balcony who covered her ears when the crowd roared too loudly. We all thought Kate looked fabulous, her sister possibly even better and the Queen pretty good for her age. In fact everyone looked great (except, of course Fergie's girls, and really David Cameron should not have let his wife go without a hat - protocol, people, protocol) and the Queen smiled a lot and the happy couple looked, well, pretty damn happy and that's really what it's all about. (I mean, I don't really buy into the whole 'commoner becomes a princess, fairytale wedding of the longest time period you can think of' thing, but I wouldn't want them to be miserable.)
I did tweet through the whole thing though because, after all, I do live in America now and I've been a US citizen for well over a year, so, you know, I have to balance the two nationalities. But I got to eat a slap up breakfast, pick out old politicians and celebrities who have aged a lot in the last twenty years, marvel at the calm and untrampling way the great British public filled up the Mall, and listen to the British accents for a few hours.
Of course I don't get the day off like everyone in the UK, so now I'm exhausted at work. But I'm counting the days until the midnight showing of the final Harry Potter (76) when I'll get my next British fix.