Tag Archives: Manners

Big Girls Need Big Diamonds

1 Jun

I have never celebrated sixty years of my reign over a kingdom, and I’m certainly not implying I have. However, I have celebrated six consecutive triumphs as Spelling Bee Champion at Al Herpin School for Exceptional Children (no mean feat, I assure you) so I do know a little bit about marking important milestones appropriately.

So far the Royal Household has been doing a bang up job with the festivities. I have been loving everything so far (top marks for the Yellow Duckmarine ride in Liverpool).


Here’s what’s coming up this Central Weekend.

Saturday, 2 June

The Queen is heading to the Epson Derby. Far be it from me to offer Her Majesty any advice (and besides there’s no grey running) so I assume she’ll be calling on the spirit of the Queen Mum before placing any bets.

Sunday, 3 June

I love the concept of the Big Jubilee Lunch, though I confess I won’t be participating (I’m sure she’d understand if she met the twats who live in my neighbourhood). However, I shall be buntifying the house to show my support.


I’m slightly less interested in the boat-related activities (The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant and the Royal Barge rides) but hey, that’s me.

Monday, 4 June

It’s always lovely to involve music in any celebration, hence the BBC Concert at Buckingham Palace. However my concern can be summarised in two words: Gary and Barlow.

On the other hand, I’m well excited for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Beacons—two thousand and twelve beacons lit around the Commonwealth topped off by the Queen’s lighting the National Beacon. Brilliant idea! I would suggest refilling the Royal Zippo that morning (or having the Olympic mother flame near) just in case. One can never be too prepared.

Tuesday, 5 June

A service at St Paul’s makes sense, as does lunch at Westminster Hall. Of course, there will then be a Carriage Procession because carriages are pretty much synonymous with the grace and elegance of royalty.

Once back at Buckingham Palace, she’ll make a balcony appearance, and there will be a fancypants flypast by the RAF.

Lastly, there will be a feu de joie. I confess I’m a bit disappointed that the celebration is ending on this note: I don’t support violence and am concerned the rifles may frighten the Corgis. But I guess it’s just the done thing in these circumstances. I suppose wrapping up everything with a make-your-own-sundae party at an ice cream parlour (as I did after my sixth spelling bee win) might be seen as a bit of an anti-climax.

I’m glad Lord Mandelson announced an additional bank holiday so that everyone can thoroughly enjoy the extended weekend. However, I wish he had demanded it be a day of service, namely asking citizens to clean up the litter and vomit revelers will have left throughout the streets (yes, I’m looking at you, Camilla). I myself charitably will be hosting a small garden party for local dignitaries where I’ll be giving a talk on highlights from my writing career. It’s just another of the little ways I like to help the less fortunate of my community.

The Queen has always been a very important mentor to me, so it was a struggle to choose just the right gift to send her (in the end, I went with a book token). Even though she’s so busy, she blessed me with a quick thank you card—it’s so lovely to see that, despite her prestige, manners still matter to ER II.

I wish everyone—from the Queen and her family to Piss Stain Charlie, the tramp who lives at our bus depot—a wonderful Diamond Jubilee.

God save our Gracious Queen,
We mean it, man!

A Postcard from A Broad

1 Aug

Christopher tells me we’ve been inundated with questions about my whereabouts so I do apologize, dear readers, for my absence. I’ve had to nip over the pond for a get-together of writers I used to work with. As you know my schedule is usually too packed for last minute travel, but the chairperson of the committee organizing this reunion opined that my agreeing to attend was nearly the only thing that would guarantee the success of the event, so I decided to come. My instinctual willingness to please others will be the death of me one day. But not today.

So I am in lovely Boston, Massachusetts. The group’s first meeting was for drinks in the Liberty Hotel, a building which used to be a jail. While the architecture is gorgeous, as I sat sipping my cocktails, I couldn’t help but wonder about the lives of those who had previously called the place their home. Somehow I doubt their Singapore Slings went down as smoothly  as mine, if you know what I mean. I spent the next afternoon roaming the city streets, visiting old haunts and new shops before meeting up again with the writers to discuss our current projects.

Boston really is a terrific city and I would encourage everyone who has yet to visit it to do so. It’s a classic American city. Bostonians speak with a distinct accent and while the most appropriate adjective to describe it is obnoxious, it also has a certain charm. Many Europeans assume that all Americans shout when they communicate, but I can attest that realistically the number is closer to 83%. I will say, as well, that the binmen here are incredibly thoughtful in terms of keeping their sonic disruptions to a minimum early in the morning.

I am lucky enough to feel at home in both American and British cities, but as an experienced traveler, I can tell you it does take a little work. The most important thing to do before heading out to new frontiers is investigate and respect the customs, history and habits of the locale. Before your next trip, buy some books about your destination and read up. (If I were a different person, I would suggest you purchase my own books on this subject, but as you know, I do not like to be pushy and as I know, it is easy enough for you to find them if you are in fact interested in good writing.) It’s the little things that count the most. For example, when I first moved to England, I made certain I gave pathetically small tips to my servers. What gives me the right to lavish my substantial fortune on hard-working bartenders, just because that’s what is done in America?  Similarly, when I now come back to the States, I abandon my more British habits, like acknowledging the fact that there are other drivers on the road. One must adapt to the culture one is in, not expect it to adapt to you.  It’s just good sense and, of course, good manners.

I’m off now for a brunch with an editor friend to reminisce about that weekend he and I spent in New Orleans. I’ve a few more dates to keep while I’m here but will do my best to keep Christopher abreast of any developments. Enjoy what’s left of the summer, and I’ll be back to you soon.

Kiss kiss!