Sunday, May 27, 2007

Proper Posh Ponies Play Polo

I'm a master of literary devices! A grammar goddess! A queen of alliteration!

In memorium of the good weather we had until this weekend decended upon us with grey skies, drizzly rain, and chilly breezes, here's a post about what we did last Sunday, when skies were blue, nothing drizzled, and the breezes were warm:

On a recent bike ride, Jason and I happened upon a polo field. Whaddaya know? We have a polo team! And they play matches every Sunday afternoon in the Spring and Summer. Living in Richmond just gets better and better. So, last Sunday - the first warm and dry day in recent memory - we hopped back on our cycles and rode over to the field to see what this polo business is all about.

On the way there, we discovered another Richmond "magic spot". Just riding along, lah-dee-dah, and SHAZAM! There's a clearing and a stunning view.



How very proper British of us to enjoy such a genteel sport.



Soaking in some Sunday Times between matches. I'm so freaking cultured I don't even know what to do with myself.




This blows my mind... I live on the outer rim of London - one of the biggest cities in the world. And we barely even get wide open spaces this big in Raleigh -the second biggest city in the Grate Sate of Nawth Carahlina.


Just looking at these pictures makes me want to cry. I didn't even bother to leave the flat today because it's so nasty out and I couldn't bear to expose myself to the elements. Laying on the sofa in my sweats, wrapped in a chenille blanket, sipping tea and reading suited me just fine thankyouverymuch.

Friday, May 25, 2007

News You Can't Use

Back when my friend Catherine visited, she was amazed at our daily "newspapers" which are total rubbish and basically amount to supermarket tabloids. Here's further proof that she was well within her rights to say such things:



Jason and I got on the District line one night last week and found this paper laying in the seat. Front page news this was. A terrier on the lam. This was the best they could do? THIS was the top story of the day??? Sheesh.

Oh, and the "Yard" to which the headline refers? That's SCOTLAND Yard, folks. As in, the top dogs of the police here in London. Clearly, London is a very safe city and there are no murders, robberies, muggings, or ASBO's to deal with. That's why the whole of Scotland Yard is free to roam about my fair city with doggie biscuits in their pockets looking for a Yorkie.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Open Letter to Tom Ford

Oh Dearest Tom Ford,

I don't know why you up and left Gucci all those many years ago right as your career with them hit legendary status, thusly turning the fashion world arse over teakettle.


But let me tell you something. If it leads you to produce a fragrance line that smells like a little slice of heaven and show up at my home-away-from-home (Harvey Nichols) to meet all of your London worshipers, then I finally accept your decision.


Yours truly, madly, deeply,
Heather

P.S. You're hot.

P.P.S. Are you quite sure you're not straight?

P.P.P.S. Because I'm certain you were flirting with me when you said how cute my Southern accent was.

Fashion Passion



This week, I took myself on a date to the National Portrait Gallery to see The Face of Fashion exhibit. It's about fashion photography (which alone, are two of my favorite subjects, so as a combo, fugghedabbouit...) and featured some pretty images and some pretty shocking images. People can say what they want about fashion being for empty-minded label whores but, to me, it's art. And this comes as close to proving my point than anything I've come across so far...

One of my favorites was by Mario Sorrenti of Julienne Moore, perfectly made up and crouched over a smashed mirror on the floor.


And a few by Steven Klein:

K-Fed


The one of Justin has a pretty interesting backstory...This was shot for the cover of a magazine called Homme Plus back in 2001, back when Justin was still a boy-bander. This was the first depiction of him that showed a glimpse of the Justin-to-come - him leaving his N*Sync personna behind. Unfortunately, this issue was scheduled to hit the newsstands on September 12, 2001 so therefore, given his beaten, bloody appearance, not to mention the US flag and the fact that the photo had been burned for effect, it became totally inappropriate and was pulled and destroyed.


I love this series of Madonna (also by Klein). It shows her in, to me, three of her most recognized performance looks. Dominatrix-ish, as in "Justify My Love". Edwardian court dress, a la her MTV Video Awards "Vogue" performance. And the last is slightly reminiscent of her John Galliano cone-underwear period during the Blonde Ambition tour.


All in all, a rather enjoyable afternoon if I do say so myself. I really know how to treat a gal. Maybe next week, I'll take myself out to dinner.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

My baby's got sauce


I, unfortunately, have none. Fresh out of the sauce, I am. Last night we went all the way to Camden to see one of our favorite bands since the college years - G. Love and Special Sauce. While it was one of the best shows I've been to lately, I'm quite clearly too old to be doing this kind of stuff because I could barely drag myself out of bed this morning and by the time my Italian class was over, I had a full set of luggage under my eyes and could scarcely summon up the energy to get myself back to Richmond.

If I don't fall asleep before 8:00, I'll try to get the photos loaded. In the meantime, if you're not familiar, do yourself and favor and download one of the best summer jams ever: "My Baby's Got Sauce". You're welcome.

*******Updated at 9:30 pm*******


As promised...


And even some video...






G.Love - Blues Music from heathers on Vimeo

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Rollin' on Dub(lin)s

Last week, I had the opportunity to extend my tea-drinking, accessory-shopping, and show-watching to a whole new country. And Dublin shall never forget me.

And since Dublin is London's sister-city (weather-wise) it, of course, rained intermittently throughout the day. But when we arrived at the Merrion for afternoon tea and were seated in front of the cosy fireplace, rain didn't seem like such a bad thing afterall... It rather seemed like the perfect way to spend an afternoon actually.



We found this little plaque in the hotel corridor. So classic. "Almost became Prime Minister". Almost? Since when does "almost" make one autograph-worthy? Or hotel-plaque-worthy?? Hey, check me out! I almost got discovered as the next great supermodel! Also, I was almost a published author! Want my autograph? No? Really?


And of course it cleared up right in time for us to head into a theatre. Ah well, such is life on an island.


Sweeney Todd was AMAZING. And Beth and I were a bit taken aback by the fact that we were both strangely attracted to Sweeney Todd. You know, the DEMON barber of Fleet Street? The one who slashed the throats of everyone who came in for a shave and then had them chopped to bits and baked into pies that were sold to unsuspecting patrons? Oh yeah. He was smokin' hot.

Judge for yourself... On stage:


And off stage:


Mmm-hmmmm. I thought so... Beth and I just have the ability to see past the makeup...

There are no pics from Tuesday because all we did was shop ourselves silly. Chasing down Chanel Rouge Noir nail varnish at Brown Thomas. Cooing at and petting the Lanvin flats at Harvey Nics. Debating whether or not we support the running themes some designers stick to. (McQueen, we mean you. Aren't you tired of the skulls yet?? And you, Paul Smith... You like colorful stripes. WE GET IT.) Chatting to French antique dealers about 1950's diamante brooches and 1920's art-deco teacups. So on and so forth as such. Not anything you'd like detailed in photos. Unless of course you'd like a visual image of what I look like walking around the Harvey Nics cosmetic counters with two finger nails painted two shades of apricot-y orange because those blasted Chanel girls couldn't find the remover. What? Like this is rocket science? Twits.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Better late than never I reckon

Errrr, so I've sort of fallen right off the blogging bandwagon this past week. I have lots of excellent excuses though...

Monday/Tuesday - in Dublin
Wednesday - Italian class
Thursday - Volunteering and and a laundry list of errands
Friday - Pure laziness

That means there's lots of catching up to do this week, which means lots of photos.

So shall we get started with the Richmond May Fair? We arrived just minutes late for the children's fancy dress (costume) comptetion but made it right in time to see the crowning of the May queen!

Is it just me or does she seem a tad young to be a queen? That seems like an awful lot of responsibility for an 8 year old. She's lucky I didn't know about the competition until it was too late to enter. I would have beaten the pants off her. I've got May Queen written all over me! Seriously. Does anyone know how to get permanent marker off skin? Anyone?


I sure as hell didn't have anyone toting the rear end of my royal robes around when I was that age. I didn't even have royal robes. I had a BATH robe.


After the May Queen beat a hasty retreat (she saw me eyeing her crown), there was a Maypole dance, complete with ominous looking clouds threatening to ruin May Fair for one and all.



And the finale was the Richmond Green Dog Show...

Check it out, it's Baxter! Bark twice if you're in Milwaukee! (Those leaves he's munching are so going to play a reunion tour later...)


This poor little girl's poodle wrecked her chances from the beginning. What kind of show dog wraps up your ankles in its leash???


My favorite, the pug.


This was by far the funniest, even though we couldn't get a good photo of it. He was latching onto his owner's ankle the entire way around the ring. He literally kept jumping up and sinking his teeth into the guy's jeans and being sort of drug around like that.



The crushing blow of defeat. He'll be washing down doggie Prozac with Bud Lite later...



Later this week:
Dublin Shenanigans
A Yorkie on the Lam
Polo Ponies

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Heather Does Dublin

Tomorrow I'm off to visit my very good bloggy friend Beth. There are two sets of reasons for this visit. The first is just 'cause I want to and Beth is taking me out for high tea, hi-jinks, some theatre, a castle tour and general merry-making. The second is mainly so I can say I've been to one country that Jason hasn't yet. So suck it, J-Dog. (Just kidding. I love you with all my heart and soul and I'll miss you desperately for the one night I'm away. But still... suck it.)

Photos will follow.

Also to come: Pictures from the May Fair in Richmond this past Saturday. There was the crowning of the official May Queen (who was all of about eight years old) and a May Pole dance and.... wait for it... a DOG SHOW. Oh yes, a dog show. In the rain. And a little girl got twisted up in her poodle's leash and fell right down. And one dog kept biting his owner's ankles. And we were positively howling with laughter. All this and more later this week. You stay classy San Diego.

Friday, May 11, 2007

A Midspring Weekend's Holiday

Once again, I'm astounded at my own ability to pun. Get it? Like A Midsummer Night's Dream?? Get it??? Do ya????

For the Bank Holiday weekend, Jason and I took a little trip to Stratford-upon-Avon. Everyone says it's very touristy, what with all the capitalizing on the Shakespeare thing, and well... it is. But it's also quaint and interesting and cute! Here I present my photo essay of the weekend.

Errrm, slight difference in choice of reading material for the 2 hour train ride, eh? I'm classy, he's trashy.


Our hotel was so cute. It's a tudor building and each of the rooms is named after a character in a Shakespeare play. Ours was Ariel, the sprite from The Tempest.



First things first, we got a map and I circled all the sights I wanted to see. Like Shakespeare's Birthplace, Anne Hathaway's Cottage, gardens, etc... Then Jason got ahold of it and put triangles around all the pubs he wanted to go to. See? Something for everyone! But since Jason triangled nearly all the pubs in the town, we decided there was no better place to get started than one of them for lunch.


After pub lunch and pints, we walked around a bit. And saw a statue of someone picking his nose. Sweet.


Well, I'm trying! (Notice the sign...)


This is in the gardens that now comprise the site where Shakespeare's last home stood. This is where he lived out his final years. It was attached to his eldest daughter's home. She was the last of the bloodline.


You may be wondering why his house is gone and replaced by a garden. Well, you're in luck because I happen to know... The man who bought it sometime after his death got so tired of people knocking on the door wanting to see where Shakespeare lived/died, that he eventually knocked the whole thing down. Nice. Way to destroy a national treasure dude.


To be fair, he did try moving out first but the city was still charging him council tax because he owned it. In a big "F you" to the government, he decided that instead of paying taxes on it, he'd demolish it.



We decided the photo theme of this trip would be Glamour Shots. Show me: "C'mere big boy!"


Also in the garden, they have eight sculptures by American Artist Gregg Wyatt. Each sculpture depicts characters, themes, or objects from a different Shakespeare play. It was actually kind of fun to see if we could guess each one. Wow. We really are massive dorks. I never knew how big a nerd I was till I wrote that out... You knew, you say? Oh.

Any guesses from my fellow nerds out there?


Macbeth!


This one's easy-peasy.


A Midsummer Night's Dream!

Up next? Better get on with knocking out those pubs. This one is thought to be the oldest pub in Stratford-upon-Avon.


We had to do some halfies if we were going to make it through all of them.


This is where Shakespeare is buried. He paid to be buried underneath the church instead of in the graveyard because he knew if he was outside, graverobbers would try to dig him up and profit off of his remains.



Carved onto the stone marking his grave says "Cursed be he who moves my bones." Yikes.


Ice-cream break!


We went for a walk down the riverside and saw these cute little rowboats named after characters.


On the river cruise...



Up close and personal with the swans. "Stop looking at me swan!" (Big ups to anyone who can name that movie. Takers?)


There are so many things wrong with this picture. First off, ummm... weight limit, anyone? Nearly the whole boat is in the water! Also, look who's sitting back relaxing and who's rowing. Well done, "gentlemen". Good grief.


At The Swan theatre...


Ok. Let me explain. We bought two of these masks for our nieces at the theatre gift shop but they didn't even make it out of the building before I took over the pink one. (We eventually decided that maybe it was best to buy them something else and keep the masks for me.)


Last stop before our pre-dinner nap was The Dirty Duck pub.


Or is it The Black Swan? It's both! The Dirty Duck for the boys and The Black Swan for the girls.


So everyone's happy!



This Shakespeare business is hard work. Little baby's all tuckered out.


'Sup brotha?


One more Glamour Shot at dinner. Show me: "Angelic!"


Day two first stop - Shakespeare's Birthplace.




Another Glamour Shot. Show me: "Serenity in nature!"


I wonder if this bank is old? If only there was some sort of indication... I suppose we'll never know...


The back garden of "Hall's Croft" - Shakespeare's other daughter's house...


The final Glamour Shot. Show me: "I'm too cute for this tree!"


More pubbing....



The Garrick Inn is also thought to possibly be the oldest pub in town. No one knows whether the oldest is really The Windmill or The Garrick. One of life's great mysteries.


Either way, check it off the list!


A slight break from the pubbing for some afternoon tea at Hathaway Tearooms.


And right back to more pubbing... The Queen's Head. Nice sign!



And The Cross Keys.



This was hands down funniest experience of the trip. This is likely one of those stories that's funnier to the people who were there so I'll keep it concise. We took a "ghost tour" of what's said to be the most haunted building in all of England. Right at the last minute this couple walked up to join the tour. The woman was positively WASTED. Could barely stand up. Could barely hold her eyes open. Not to mention she kept telling everyone she had "the sixth sense". Yep. She sees dead people. Before the tour started, the guide told us that spirits often manifest themselves as cold breezes or cold pockets. Therefore, if all the sudden, you felt cold, you were probably standing next to a spirit so you should just step aside. You may see where this is going... Every few minutes, drunkie would pipe up and slur that her "feets are like blockssh of icshe" or that she felt "a cool breezsh" or that she could "feel a preschense". I looked at her several times and she was standing there with her eyes closed swaying about. I was PRAYING she would just topple over at some point.


What do you think happens when Jason and I have 5 minutes to kill to allow time for my hair appliance to cool down before packing it? I don a cat mask and perform scenes from Romeo and Juliet. What else?!?



Here's the link if the video isn't working from here...



And here's the link if the video isn't working again...

Last day - We went to see the last two of the five Shakespeare cottages. This is Anne Hathaway's (his wife). The gardens were so amazing.




And a perfect setting for one last Glamour Shot. Show me: "High school graduation photo!"


This was so cute. There was a little duck family climbing out of the water and went waddling down the trail. All the sudden, we heard this high pitched little chirping/quacking noise and saw that one last baby duck was struggling to get up the bank. The mom came running back and made sure he got out ok. Once he got on land, we could see that one of his feet was all wonky and he couldn't walk very well. So sad!


From wee ducks to huge chickens... Seriously, have you ever in your life seen chickens like this?



Umm, ouch? Mannequins. You all know what this means. And if you don't, see our Bruges trip last August...


I never saw a mannequin I didn't want to immitate.


Mind your head? Mind your HEAD?? How about mind the entire upper half of your body?


Nearly finished with the pubs! "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can..."



Last one! We did it! We did it!!



And it left me with just enough of a beer buzz to put me right to sleep on the train home.


The finished product...