Day Three – Margaret Breaks The Rules And I Get Into Trouble

Growing up I always thought of my sister Margaret as the one who could be counted on the follow the rules and I think that is generally still true. You can reasonably expect her to be pretty well behaved until it seems, she has a camera in her hands. Now I’m not saying I’ve been embarrassed in any way by her public behavior, but she has been as they say here, ” told off ” quite bit. That said I want to give you an example of what I mean using a combination of our images.

Remember yesterday when I talked about our trip to Buckingham Palace … follow the picture trail below for the rest of the story.

We arrived a bit later than we should have for the changing of the guard and came right in time to be in the middle of a police officer on horseback working to keep the gates (that open) clear of people. She was not alone in this task. There were other officers on foot shouting to clear the path.

Margaret took this one of me (with the backpack to the left) as I sauntered across trying to catch a photograph of the guards at the gate without stopping. Be sure you click on this to see the police officer in the upper left corner trying to move a woman on who seems to be trying to take his picture.

Margaret managed to snap this one while the officer was shouting, ” Madam, Madam, MOVE ON Madam! ” I was watching thinking she didn’t hear him, but she later told me that she had heard him. This is where I began to think I might need to keep my eye on her.

Okay, I did climb up on the wall but lots of people do that … right?

The next thing I know Margaret is taking pictures like this one.

And a few more like this one.

Hmm, I wonder what she is thinking here.

Uh oh?

Why is she looking at this?

Margaret ?  Hello I think you’re being watched!

Pssst … I think that Guard on the right is looking at you!

Yes, I’m right he is looking at you!

Good grief, Margaret … you are so going to get us in trouble. I’m happy to pay the 17 pounds it takes to get the tour. Leave that lock alone!

One little push here and …

…. we’re in!

Seriously, this is the real way we took most of our photographs of the outside of Buckingham Palace, all except for the one after our tour where I got told off for taking a photo of her too close to the exit door into the garden.

I was so startled that it came out blurry. Hanging out with Margaret I may have to get used to being told off for trying to get the odd picture or two. Wait until I tell you what happened during our trip the V & A Museum yesterday. All I can say for now is, there’s a new way of spelling trouble and it begins with an M and ends with T.

* Update: Based on some on the concerned comments I received below and through emails, I want to clarify that this blog post was meant to be funny and in no way did Margaret do anything wrong at Buckingham Palace. She was not picking the lock at the gate, she was taking a photograph and the gate was open afterwards which enabled people to step up and pose with the guards and Palace directly behind them which the guards seemed to have no problems with at all. So as you can see, there is nothing to worry about it was  just me trying to make the story more fun than the typical series of tourist shots documenting the changing of the guard.

Day Four – Elizabeth & Margaret See Buckingham Palace From The Outside – In

My dad would have been really tickled (chuffed, excited) to know that his girls paid a visit to The Queen’s home in London. If you remember from an earlier post, my dad liked the combination of Elizabeth and Margaret and chose our names accordingly. I think it must have been because he grew up in a time when he saw more images of The Queen and her sister together especially since she was born only about eight years before him. I wish I had asked more questions about his reasons before he died.

I feel sure The Queen never even thinks about all the strangers trouping through her grand and glittery State Rooms, but I certainly had a few thoughts while viewing this spectacular part of the palace which is open each year for viewing during the summer.

I have some interesting insights into our visit yesterday along with some funny bits too which I will talk more about in a later post. I promise not to to share all the photos though because it turns out that Margaret shoots as many as I do. Between us I think we both ended the visit to Buck House with a combination of over 700 images. I’m including only a couple of mine from yesterday along with an image I took towards the end of our day when our tourist fatigue was beginning to show.

Elizabeth & Margaret Taking A Break

My Christmas Tree Tells A Story That I Know By Heart

My Christmas tree tells a story that I know by heart. Every year when I open the boxes marked Christmas, I hesitate before reaching in for the first of many memories that wait wrapped in a protective layer of tissue paper and packing. Each ornament documents a chapter or a page from the book that is my life and it is difficult and bittersweet sometimes to remember where I was in life when certain ornaments found their way to my Christmas tree.

Every year for as long as I can remember, my step-mom Cullene has given me a special ornament. She began this tradition with my dad and continued it after he died in 1990, only a few weeks before Christmas. When I was home for Thanksgiving, she gave me my latest one.  Can you guess which one came back with me in my carry on bag? If you need a hint, she wanted to remind me of my American home as if I could ever forget the people I love there, simply because there is one I love here now too.

My daughter Miranda’s tiny fingerprints grace an ornament she made as a gift when she was two and there is a green glass globe to the right with her name written in red glitter that we made together when she was seven.

If you look in the top right hand corner you can see a white crocheted snowflake that has been on Cullene’s tree for years. When my dad was living they filled their tree with them and she invited me to take a few back to the UK. I chose three, one for Miranda, one for John and one for me.

You can’t have missed the Palace Guard to the left and below the American flag. I bought it at Buckingham Palace when Miranda and I spent a week in London in the summer of 2003. It’s been on my tree since, waiting, and perhaps maybe even knowing, that it would find its way back home to England one day.

I bought a new addition for our tree during a craft sale in the village shop last Saturday. It is the first one I’ve purchased for us since we married earlier this year and I think it is a simple and lovely addition. You can’t see it in this picture but there is a hint in the title above.  If you can guess what it might be, I’ll l be back to show it to you later on Christmas Day.

It’s late here about 3:15 a.m. on Christmas morning and I must go to bed before the house begins to wake up so …goodnight everyone and Merry Christmas.