When you stand on a station platform in London and the train approaches, you hear a sweet-voiced lady over the loudspeaker. Mind the gap! she says with her lovely English accent. Mind the gap!
This phrase played on a loop in my noggin the entire day I spent with our Dear Duchess Downith last week. I blame it on travel-lag: fly 5,500 miles, taxi to the hotel, 2 subway lines to Waterloo Station, hop the train, until finally ….. you’re only 20 minutes in the car to the castle. Check out the guard!
I kept imagining that my Alice-in-Wonderland foot had slipped, voila, into just the right magical space. One day I’m at home making my same old cup o’ joe, trailing the dogs around the yard with a plastic baggie …. and the next I’m wandering the hinterlands of England with the Duchess, lounging on the lawns of the castle under a blue sky, my feet up, coffee in hand, yammering away and giggling like I live there.
Well. You’ve already read the particulars here, so I will merely add a few not-so-wobbly bits:
We went to a wine bar for lunch. Of course we did. I tried to order iced-tea – I did! — but the Duchess insisted there is no such thing as “tea” in England and informed the waitress I’d be having wine, thankyouverymuch.
The official photographer of this monarchy was on holiday, so in our final hour we had to stalk passersby in the car park. No, not him, he doesn’t look “right.” What about her? Or this elderly couple, quick, oh no, they’re leaving! Does that guy look like he’s on drugs? Thank god an acceptable candidate appeared before I missed my train: a sweet young girl who had to set down her giant pack of dog food to accommodate us. (yep, that’s her package on the bench behind us)
A bookstore was visited. This means it counts as a “business trip.”
Oh, and lest I forget ….. back to the wine bar: when we stopped to potty before leaving I went to flush and pulled the wrong ripcord. Damned travel-lag! How am I to know (in my wine-induced, midday stupor) that the white one is for flushing and the red one sounds the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” alarm.
Mind that gap!
Alas, just like last year, the day went by too damned fast. Next year I’m packing a bag and sleeping over. I’m guessing there won’t be a bit of “tea” in the castle when I arrive and we’ll have to send that guard on his horse out for wine.