Posts Tagged 'Royal Wedding'

A diary of cakes and tea.

It has been brought to my attention, by three separate people, that my family and I are forever eating scones and drinking tea.  Actually, it’s true.  A combination of two months of wet spring weekends, a mammoth festival of bank holidays thanks to Easter, the Royal Wedding, and May bank holidays, plus four damp days in Wales, have resulted in a string of occasions where we have found ourselves at a table, perhaps in a teashop or on a lawn somewhere, with a cup of tea and scone with jam and cream.  In fact, I’m not complaining, because it is a lovely, very British way of spending an afternoon, whether it be sunny or drizzling.  The teashops of these fair isles are a thing of wonder.

Spring started with a weekend full of picnics.  The first was a bikeride to our local Heath, and saw the début of the heart-shaped picnic basket I’d received for Christmas from my Grandmother.  The second picnic took us to Wales, the beautiful town of Conwy, for a small stony spot by the beach, surrounded by fishing boats and the wing of a dead seagull, which was only discovered after we’d eaten.

We celebrated two birthdays this Spring, both with Cake.  For one we  went for breakfast at the local teashop, and ordered Pizza in the evening, for the other we went walking in Derbyshire.  Both were lovely.  In our family we always make a special fuss of birthdays, and never let one pass without doing something special.

April 29th 2011 brought with it THE ROYAL WEDDING, and the country celebrated in true old-fashioned style.  In fact, I didn’t even have to verify that date, I just know it.  In our house we eschewed the children and beer ridden street party that our neighbours were holding, and instead had our own celebration, with cakes and tea, and dresses from Jack Wills and Cath Kidston.  We spent the night before making bunting, and had a whole day devoted to shopping for outfits and porcelain memorabilia.

We watched the event, glued to the screen, from start to finish, relishing every moment, feeling part of something special.  The only thing that momentarily robbed our attention, and only in the boring bits, was the food.  Chocolate cake, pink fairy cakes, strawberries, trifle, garlic bread, pizza, tarts and quiches, homemade pies, and everything in between.  It was a true feast.

We wanted to make it a special day, one we’ll always remember, like the wartime street parties and jubilee celebrations of our grandparents, and we certainly succeeded. I’ll always look back on it as a lovely day.  Of-course, we had champagne and lots of tea.

The Easter weekend felt like much-needed holiday, and with the bank holidays, and royal weddings, and days off, it felt like a long break.  We had a day walking in Derbyshire, with a picnic on the edge of a river, always entertaining with pensioners, walking along eating Easter eggs, and a sumptuous dinner in a beautiful hotel in Buxton.  Now that we have a child in the family, my cousin who’s almost two, we had a legitimate excuse to have an Easter egg hunt, something we’ve been doing for years anyway.

We hunted for eggs in my grandparents’ garden, on an unusually warm and sunny morning, and then we sat down to tea and cake.  My Mum had baked fairy cakes from scratch, and arrived with arms full of cake tins and Tupperware, and my Nanna made a typically eccentric chocolate cake with layers of cream and strawberries.

My Nanna comes from a family of master bakers, and was rightly proud, as was my Mum.

The past two weeks have been busy, with three beautiful but slightly damp days in Wales in a caravan, which gave us two opportunities every day to have tea and cake, an opportunity we took full advantage of.

For the record, I drink builder’s tea.  Medium strength, but with lots of milk, and two and a half sugars.  Any other way, and I can’t drink it.  Made properly, I luxuriate in tea, feel comforted by it, am taken to a higher plane by it.  I am so grateful whenever anybody makes me a drink and brings me an unexpected cup of tea, it’s a lovely surprise and kind gesture, but one thing I can’t stand is when someone makes you a drink the way they think it should be made, rather than how you like it.  The worst culprit is my grandparents.  They believe that tea should be the colour of mahogany, with a thimbleful of milk, and one sugar.  After years and years, I’ve finally succeeded in making them accept that I take more than one sugar, and they’ve gone up to two very small ones, but will never reach the full two and half.

There’s nothing quite like sheltering from the rain on a cold day, or stopping off on the way home after a long journey in a cramped, packed-up car, for a nice cup of tea and some sandwiches and cake.  Better yet, a lasagne.

I’m actually in love with tea and cake, I’ve just realised that.

These last few pictures were taken at The Davenport Tea Room, at Acton Bridge in Cheshire.  It’s down a tiny lane, signposted opposite Marco Marco and The Leigh Arms, and is well worth a visit.  In a beautiful old farmhouse, with antique tables and exquisite china, they have a wonderful menu and the perfect atmosphere.

All this writing about tea, I’m gasping for a brew!

Will it ever be alright for Blighty to have a Queen Camilla?

There’s no question, if Charles were still married to Diana, and she were still alive, they would make the perfect King and Queen.  Diana was everything a Princess should be, and everything Camilla is not; beautiful, elegant, stylish, down-to-earth, funny, and compassionate.

As is explained absolutely perfectly in Helen Fielding’s The Diary of Bridget Jones, Diana was the embodiment of the 90’s woman.  The normal woman could identify with her; in love and totally screwed over by a man and another woman, left to bring up the children as a single mother (Okay, so I know she wasn’t exactly on the dole and scraping end’s meat, she had a lot of help, but she was still a single mother), battling with insecurity and eating disorders, trying to hold her head up high while the man she loved flaunted his relationship with the woman he had always been seeing behind her back.  Every woman in Britain could see some part of themselves in her, and could respect her as a woman, not just a princess.

The situation is complicated, I know.  Charles was in love with Camilla long before he knew Diana.  He married Diana because he was told to; she was a better prospect to be mother of the future King of England than Camilla, who already had a reputation as sullied goods.  If left to his own devices, Charles would have married Camilla and lived happily ever after.  Perhaps it’s unfair to condemn Charles as the villain, simply because he couldn’t help who he was in love with.  Well, no, but what is fair is to condemn someone as an adulterer when that’s what they are.  Charles should have respected his marriage, his wife, and his children.

As a child of adultery, I know all too well that nothing is worse than parents staying together for the sake of the children.  Unhappy parents are not good parents, and no child wants their mother and father to sacrifice their own life and happiness because they think it’s what’s best for kids.  However, if someone is unfulfilled in a marriage then they should end it for the sake of the other person, and the children, rather than just going off and bedding someone else while they’re pretending to be happily married.  What any decent man should do, if he’s fallen out of love with his wife, is tell her honestly that the marriage is over, move out of the house, and then they can both find someone new in due course.  Perhaps Charles is as much a victim in this as anyone, after all he was just doing his duty by marrying who he was told, and couldn’t help being in love with Camilla.  Well, he could have told her to sod off and never seen her again, couldn’t he?  He did, however, do the selfish thing and kept seeing her.

Frankly, Diana was the best thing ever to happen to the Royal Family.  She made them glamorous, colorful and attractive, she made people interested in them.  She also gave them two wonderful young men.  William and Harry are such fantastic testaments to their mother, who brought them up to be grounded and normal.  We all remember those pictures of them on the log flume at Alton Towers, and the stories of them eating McDonalds.  She said she wanted them to be normal boys, and they are.  They are a credit to no-one but her.  When you hear them speak, they are connected to the real people in the way that she was.  In the way that she astounded us by hugging people with aids and people dying of unpleasant diseases when she was expected just to give them a polite royal nod, William and Harry make us smile by their normal, brotherly banter and down to earth values and manners, all the things Diana taught them.  When she walked through mine fields she shocked the world.  A princess, who had no need to risk her own life, and could quite happily live her life in complete protection, was walking through fields of mines which could potentially kill her.

What’s more, it didn’t feel like a publicity stunt.  Lots of celebrities and people in the public eye do great acts of altruism, but they often feel staged and like they are designed to make us feel positively towards them.  With Diana, it felt genuine.  You never felt Diana was duping you or being publicity-smart.  It always felt totally honest and genuine.  I think, actually, she was.

So, after all this, she died in a car crash in Paris.  The tragedy and injustice of that accident is subject for another blog altogether, and my feelings on that incident run deep.  Whatever we think or believe, Diana died.  Then, some years later, Charles announced his engagement to Camillia.

To be honest, from a personal point of view, I can’t understand how William and Harry can be in the same room as her.  I am always dumbfounded and confused when I see pictures in the paper of the boys laughing and joking with Camilla, perhaps affectionately touching her arm.  They probably have to, to be fair.  When one is a prince, one can’t really make too many decisions when it comes to these things.  I really don’t know whether it would be within their power to refuse a relationship with Camilla.  Part of me hopes it is, because they should have the power to do whatever they like, but then part of me is disappointed, because if I were Diana’s son, I wouldn’t give Camilla the time of day.  They obviously adored their mother and it’s important to them to protect and cherish her memory, so why allow themselves  to be forced into this situation?  Personally, I find the pictures of Harry laughing with Camilla and Kate Middleton at William’s RAF graduation ceremony a blatant and ugly dishonor to Diana’s memory, and an insult to her as a mother.  I only think of how my own mother would feel if she were to see pictures of me behaving so amiably and intimately with the woman who had torn apart her marriage.  The relationship you can see in those pictures isn’t just duty, or doesn’t appear to be.

So, this week Camilla was visiting a children’s centre in Chippenham, Wiltshire, and a child asked her the question; will you ever been queen?  In an attempt to be coy but provocative, Camilla replied; “You never know.”   This comes shortly after Charles was interviewed on NBC in America and to the same question, replied; “That’s well..we’ll see, won’t we? That could be.”

It looks like the two of them are dropping serious hints.  The question is; SHOULD CAMILLA BE QUEEN?

Personally, I think not.  I also happen to think that Charles would make a pathetic monarch, and the role should go straight to William (King William and Queen Kate, yes!).  Should someone who has been so demonstrably pivotal in destroying a royal marriage, be given such an honour?  I, for one, don’t think either of them deserve it.  I think that certainly Camillia, and possibly Charles, forfeited any right to be put in that kind of position.

Adultery and home-wrecking aside, Camilla is divorced.  I realise that it’s an outdated and unrealistic view, in the 21st Century, to believe in such old-fashioned, religious values, and I don’t.  When it boils down to it, I don’t really care whether someone is divorced or not.  However, on December 10, 1936, King Edward VIII gave up the throne of England, abdicating so that he could marry the woman he loved, Mrs Wallis Simpson, a divorced American woman with no royal connections.  Edward made the choice between love of Mrs Simpson, and the power of being King, because it was unacceptable for the King to marry a divorced woman.  If Edward was given no choice but to make that sacrifice; throne or love, should Charles?  Is it fair, in 2011, to impose the same rules and views on our royal family, or indeed anyone?    (For more information, see the very popular The King’s Speech).

Perhaps, though, it isn’t about what’s religiously or morally right, or whether it’s acceptable in the eyes of God, to marry someone, or for a divorced woman to be Queen.  For me, it’s about right and wrong.  What I care about in life is the choices that people make.  I think it’s wrong to judge and condemn somebody for, say, being gay, because they have no control over that.  However, when someone chooses to act in a certain way, they should be liable to judgement and condemnation, if they choose something which is wrong, because they consciously made that decision.  Charles and Camilla carried on an affair behind Diana’s back.  They were intentionally and purposely deceitful and dishonest.  They betrayed a wife and two children.  Take away princes and princesses, thrones and monarchies; what you’re left with is a man who comes home to a woman, fresh from another woman’s bed.  He slept with his wife after he’d slept with his mistress.  He lied to his children.  In my opinion, this makes him a dishonest and dishonourable man.  Should this man be king?  As for her, I have absolutely no respect or time for a woman who would knowingly, over years and years, sleep with another woman’s husband.  Love or no, they committed adultery.  Should people like that be our ambassadors to the rest of the world?  Should they hold the most privileged position in the country, be our examples and heroes?  Our monarchy are supposed to represent us to the world, represent what it is to be British.  They are supposed to inspire, comfort and guide us.

How would the ordinary man and woman feel, taking a £10 note out of their pocket, and seeing the face of someone like Camilla?  I believe, in my humble opinion, that it would insult and disrespect not only Diana, but every woman or man in the country who has been betrayed by their partner, and deceived by an adulterous, dishonest villain.

It’s possible, just maybe, that the attack on Charles and Camilla’s car in December, during the student fee’s protests (which, incidentally, took place while I was having dinner just across the street), was a window into a future of discontent with the royal family.  Taking away the fact that it was Charles and Camilla, I did feel sorry for them.  A man and woman, in their sixties, were terrified, trapped in the back of a car, in the middle of an enraged and violent crowd.  That, whatever the circumstances, and who’s right or wrong, is unfair and terrible.  However, perhaps  not all of the anger directed at that car was connected to the student fees.  Maybe it was an indication of how the country feels about the people who betrayed ‘The People’s Princess’.

What we need, and want, is a Queen we can love.  A woman wearing a black dress, dancing with John Travolta, or walking through land mines, risking her life.  It seems the only people we can lay our hope in is Kate Middleton and Prince William.

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Sylvia Plath said; "Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences". My aim in life is to find things and people to love, so that I can write about them. Putting words together is the only thing I can see myself doing. This blog is an outlet, and I hope you enjoy reading it. Please feel free to comment on posts, or contact me by the special e-mail I've set up ( with your thoughts.

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The New Remorse, Oscar Wilde.

The sin was mine; I did not understand.
So now is music prisoned in her cave,
Save where some ebbing desultory wave
Frets with its restless whirls this meagre strand.
And in the withered hollow of this land
Hath Summer dug herself so deep a grave,
That hardly can the leaden willow crave
One silver blossom from keen Winter's hand.

But who is this who cometh by the shore?
(Nay, love, look up and wonder!) Who is this
Who cometh in dyed garments from the South?
It is thy new-found Lord, and he shall kiss
The yet unravished roses of thy mouth,
And I shall weep and worship, as before.

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Music I Love (In no particular order, except that The Smiths are first)

The Smiths,
The Libertines,
The Courteeners,
Nina Simone,
Pete Doherty,
The Kills,
Amy Winehouse,
Arctic Monkeys,
Rod Stewart,
The Doors,
The Rolling Stones,
Etta James,
T. Rex,
The Jam,
The Kinks,
Jack White,
The Deadweather,
David Bowie,
The Winchesters,
The Cure,
Kaiser Chiefs,
The Kooks,
The Twang,
Kings Of Leon,
The Housemartins,
The Ramones,
Robots in Disguise,
The Klaxons,
Kate Nash,
The Raconteurs,
Regina Spektor,
Aretha Franklin,
The Contours,
Dirty Pretty Things,
The White Stripes,
New York Dolls,
Yeah Yeah Yeahs,
The Clash,
Style Council,
Velvet Underground,
The Horrors,
The Cribs,
Reverend and The Makers,
The Subways,
The Wombats,
Elle S'appelle,
The Troggs,
The Beatles,
Echo and the Bunnymen,
Florence and the Machine.

Olive Cotton, Tea Cup Ballet, 1935

Olive Cotton, Tea Cup Ballet, 1935

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Will it ever be alright for Blighty to have a Queen Camilla?

One less tree from our window each day

Vikki's bookshelf: read

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Of Mice and Men
Pride and Prejudice
The Hobbit
The Da Vinci Code
Tipping the Velvet
Wuthering Heights
The Picture of Dorian Grey and Other Works by Oscar Wilde
Bridget Jones's Diary and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
Irish Peacock & Scarlet Marquess: The Real Trial of Oscar Wilde
The Peculiar Memories of Thomas Penman
Moab Is My Washpot
The Bell Jar
The Other Boleyn Girl
On the Road
Brideshead Revisited
Revolutionary Road

Vikki Littlemore's favorite books »

Share book reviews and ratings with Vikki, and even join a book club on Goodreads.


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