Friday, February 11, 2005

HRH Camilla and a few other things Brit

So they've taken the plunge a few months before the general election and Britain's not on fire! England might perhaps as the civil ceremony draws closer, but not the rest of Britain I think. As someone weaned in Northern Ireland who grew up with one eye on the Republic of Ireland and the other on Britain, I'm neither pro nor anti-monarchy. I've become irrevocably apathetic.

Sure I see Lizzie, Charles, Harry and William on the telly, but they've become meaningless in my life, as they have with an increasing number of intelligent Brits. It's precariously close to comedy watching them stoically arrive for receptions peopled by grinning sycophants, launch a ship or open another wing attached to a crumbling NHS hospital. They look so stiff, so confined, so uncomfortable--well, everyone except the queen thanks to the power of pastels. I really think they should be officially retired now when the dears are still somewhat near the top of their game.

I realize this may smack to some of being anti-Brit. It isn't. Not at all. I happen to love the Brits, by that I mean the English in this instance. I went to law school with enough of them and later lived among them in a West London suburb long enough to know that. My love for them isn't like an American's love, which I suspect revolves around scarlet military uniforms, shouts of 'hear-hear' from the House of Commons benches, horsey smells, imposing building facades and glass coaches.

They're a flawed bunch, as are the Irish too, except the flaws of the English originate from a sense of superiority that's got something to do with their aristocracy and upper middle-classes banding together to conquer indigenous nations long since become independent. I love the English for their humanity and sense of humor, particularly the working class English. There's nothing better than being in an English pub with a good pint for a bit of fun. (For those planning to go over to England soon, pub hours are likely to change shortly so that pubs can opt to remain open 24/7 if they wish. Their equivalent of our Right Wing or Religious Right or whatever they're called--not that Europe, except for Northern Ireland which has Rev. Ian Paisley, has an exact equivalent today--are naturally up in arms about it, and right wing newspapers abound with arguments to the effect Britain will be doomed if the laws are changed, blah, blah, blah...They're the same people and newspapers that reported Britain would be ruined by the introduction of a national lottery a few years ago.)

I also love the Brits for looking on the bright side when things go wrong, although now I've lived in America for nigh on fourteen years I'm not at all sure I'd stand for twenty or thirty minutes in a queue waiting for a snotty postal or bank clerk or likeminded employee to get off his or her arse and do what they're paid to do. On my trip to London two weeks ago--I hadn't been there for two years--I was shocked to see the changes there. For starters, there were NO Brits (neither English, Indian nor Pakistani) manning the newspaper kiosks in the underground or on the streets. No, I tell a lie here--the old lady and her hubby at the entrance to the Gloucester Road tube selling the London Evening Standard were English. Restaurants, even the fancy hotel I stayed in at Gloucester Road, didn't have a single Brit waiter or waitress. I really missed that. (Admittedly, the English were never very big on waiting tables, but one was guaranteed to see a few of them serving in restaurants.) Instead, the place was awash with Poles, Russians, Lithuanians, and other people from Eastern Europe. All were very efficient, spoke good English, but they had no sense of humor. I couldn't pass a wry comment. It also set me pondering: where hell are the Brits? What kind of work are these former wait staff and vendor employees doing? Are they all living on the dole?

Anyway, back to Camilla, because I really want to congratulate her for her staying power. She's never lost sight of the goal, has got her man now, and shortly a title. When she transmutes to duchess--with the gift of HRH appended to it to boot--let's give her a warm hand from this side of the pond and wish her well with the ship launches and new hospital wing openings. Cheers!

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Ned said...

Yes, welcome Camilla.
As one who has myself sneered at his choice on occasion,(for who didn't find Diana charming and engaging?) I have come to the conclusion that this is true love and sometimes nothing can stop that, no barrier will prevent it and who are we to say it nay? Yes, I think Charles needs a little happiness, it could do wonders for him. Let's face it, it's the most human thing we know about him.

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