Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Red, White, and Blue

You know how on the Fourth of July Americans are likely to deck the house out in red, white, and blue? Bunting, flags, assorted desserts involving
strawberries, blueberries, and whipped cream. We have block parties, clubhouse events, bike parades, backyard BBQs, all trimmed out in red, white, and blue and finished off with sparklers and fireworks. (Pictures from

Now imagine that the Fourth of July never happened, but we colonists still decorated for Armistice Day, say. Houses and streets would still be decked out, just with Union
Jacks. That is what London is starting to look like a little more than a week out from the wedding of Kate and William. For locals, have you seen the windows at Peter Jones? They have actually set up red, white, and blue place settings--with stars. I've gotten used to the Union Jack throw pillows, but I've never seen the likes of this in Britain. (Image from the Daily Mail)

M&M was going to do a street party after the wedding, but she's switched to a garden party because of the hassle. Brits don't do street parties often. (Here is M&M last year on memories of 1977 and Emma Bridgewater's site on how to throw a street party. Coming from a land with National Night Out, I have to giggle.) Expecting street parties for the event, however, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea requires a permit. (Even though there are many places in London with wide sidewalks and/or small front yards, just hanging out in the front of your house isn't done, unless you are just watering your plants. It's just not British.) Among other things, the host must inform everyone else on the street and get consent for the party from everyone else on the street. If not, then the host is liable for anything that might happen during the party. If a car gets dinged by someone not associated with the party, the host is still on the hook. That's just more hassle than it is worth. Plus M&M and LeBon have a lovely London garden. In my manor grounds post the other day, when I mentioned how Brits pull off the storybook effect in small gardens too--I had M&M's backyard in mind. Anyway, here's the opening to her invitation:
After recollecting memories of parties we attended as young children for the Silver Jubilee, your positive response to my suggestion of a similar party to mark this Royal Wedding, then much consideration about our street's suitability, absent neighbours and hence unavoidable red-tape nightmares..........

[M&M and LeBon] now formally invite you to come and join their Royal Wedding Garden Party!

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