An Adventure Abroad – Buckingham Palace and Spoiling Myself

My adventure abroad is almost over and I have had an amazing time. Today I made up my mind to  be extravagant. I would buy myself something special – why? Because I’m 60 and I can!

Before going to Paris, I saw a dress in a boutique called ‘East” that I just loved but I had not yet made the decision to spoil myself.  The price tag on this item translated to more than I would dream of paying for a simple day dress!  When I told my brother and friends in Britain they all looked at me strangely and said –  Ridiculous – that is not a lot of money! Go and get the dress!  I emailed my girlfriends back home and they all replied – Buy the jolly dress!  So – today I went back to the same shop in Covent Garden only to find that they did not have my size! But I just loved that dress so tried one on in the bigger size – mmm – It looked great and I know a good dressmaker back home who could take it in just a little.  I told the assistant I would take it but wanted to try one or two other things too.   She hung the dress outside the cubicle while I tried on the other garments.   I heard another client ask, “Do you have that in a 12.”  “I will go and look upstairs,” came the reply.   She returned to say that mine was the last one.  I popped my head out and asked if perhaps there was a 10 upstairs – No – but there was an 8.  I tried it and it was perfect!  The other client was over the moon and we both left delighted with our purchases!

After this exhausting bit of shopping I just had to sit down and have something to eat but Covent Garden on a beautiful summers day is teeming with people and I couldn’t find an empty table anywhere.  At Covent Garden Kitchen I saw a single lady about my age eating alone.  I approached her and asked – “Would it be terribly rude if I asked to share your table?” If she did she didn’t say.   As it turned out we got along very well together and by the time we parted company we knew a good deal about each other!   She is from Windsor. Her daughter is getting married. She was shopping for something to wear. The wedding will be a fancy affair in France. Was the crime is South Africa as bad as she’d heard or would it be a good place for a holiday.  Yes to both questions – just be careful, as you would in London!

The waitress was delightful.  When she served me I just knew she wasn’t British.  She spoke with the right accent but something about her made me think – South African?  I can’t put my finger on what it was but I just knew. Was it her energy, the way that she moved, her manner? I don’t know. She took my order and then asked, “Are you South African? I know the accent, I was born in South Africa!”  Her father was South African, her mother Korean!   They divorced when she was 10 and her mother brought her to England.  She sees her father regularly and will be visiting him in Jeffrey’s Bay in December.  She can’t wait to have a braai and boerewors and cream soda that is green!

Anna the British/Korean/South African Waitress

Anna the British/Korean/South African Waitress

From Covent Garden I took myself off to see Buckingham Palace.   I got off the tube at Green Park and strolled through the park.   Why is it called Green Park?  Well because it is green – all lawn and trees and no colourful flowers.   It’s a place where people got to relax, enjoy the sun or the shade and deck chairs are available for hire.

Green Park

Green Park

Near the entrance to Green Park Tube station is the Diana Drinking fountain. It is the work of EJ Clack and paid for by the Constance Fund.  It has drinking bowls for both humans and dogs. The statue depicts Diana unleashing her hunting dog as in Ancient Rome, Diana was the Goddess of the Hunt as well as an emblem of chastity.  The fountain was erected in 1952.

A fountain in Green Park where people fill their water bottles.

The Diana Drinking Fountain in Green Park where people fill their water bottles.

After taking in the splendour of the palace I browsed around the souvenir shop and admired replicas of the royal household dinner services.  There was a cheap version in tin – which would be in my price range!  When the queen was still a princess  she toured South Africa with her parents and sister.  In fact she celebrated her 21st birthday in the country and was presented with a Diamond Necklace by the people of South Africa.  Swarovski Crystals have made a replica at a fraction of the price!  Today I indulged and bought myself the necklace with matching earrings.  I am afraid that is as Royal as I will ever get to be!

Me and new dress and jewels

Me in new dress and jewels

After drooling over the Royal Life Style I returned home and insisted that Nicholas and I dine out so I could pretend to be a real princess for one evening.  After last night’s excellent curry we did not fancy Indian nor did I want Chinese so Nicholas went to great effort to find me an Italian Restaurant in an area he didn’t know very well.  The food was superb and the Bulgarian waiter charming but paying the bill was an experience as they only accepted cash but allowed us to go to a wine shop up the road and use their card facility!   Perhaps it was a bit dodgy?   Who knows but we had a fabulous time.

Tomorrow I am going to see Jenny who is still very weak after her surgery.  I don’t think I shall blog again till I return to Cape Town on Saturday.  What an amazing holiday I have had!

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