UK Chelsea Flower Show and Many, Many Gardens!

I can it even remember which gardens we visited. Lots. Part two of our odyssey was very different that cruisin’ up the Danube. Some how we managed an almost perfect rendezvous with our new group, the Huron Tour….specializing in the Chelsea Flower Show but also the Munich Oktoberfest and the Westminster Dog Show. Odd specialties but they do a great job…John and Katie Kosta more or less inherited their business from John’s father who ran the show for 30 years. They are a cute young couple….he majored in poetry and he even looks like a poet and they live in New Orleans and they run a fine show.

We were whisked off to the Regency Hotel in South Kensington just blocks away from my favorite museum on earth, the Victoria and Albert and also Harrods. The hotel was also close to the tube…we made good use of our location. The tour consisted ofIMG_2722.jpg

several gardens we did not sign up for and I am glad; I just couldn’t have done more. BUT we saw the best and it was well worth it. We went to Sissinghurst, Whisley, Great Dixter, Kew, and of course, the CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW. The premier garden show. In addition to the gardens and attached castles, we had three memorable meals…white glove affairs….at Eastwell Manor, the Mermaid Inn, and at One Whitehall Place,marble_staircase_2.jpg the former National Liberal Club built in the late 1880s. All three locations were very over the top, Hollywood! Except, they were all ancient and very, very memorable. I ate my very first piece of excellent lamb at Eastwell Manor. I can no longer say, “I HATE lamb!” It was reeeeallly good…obviously, it is not something I have had before. Another thing, all the talk about how bad English food is. I don’t know…most of the food we had was good….and especially the take out food at Marks and Spencers where we had lunch almost every day.

As mentioned before we opted out of some of the group tours and did two of the days on our own. In a nutshell…we went to the Victoria and Albert for a ball gown exhibit, the Tate for an exhibit of famous foreign artists who immigrated to England, the Imperial War Museum for a moving exhibit on the Holocaust, Westminster Abbey and Cathedral, Harrods, Cambridge and punting, Billy Elliot, and Ghost The Musical. Oh, a fine, fine tea at Strawberry Hill! We tried on hats at every shop we could find….I bought 5!

You know, I just plain love being in England as a tourist. I don’t know that I would love living there. I adore they way they speak; every word is just so clever—very David Niven/Cary Grant. I also love Marks & Spencer underwear and sandwiches.

I had never been to Rye…niiiiice. We found the best hats there. We stayed in the second oldest smugglers inn in the UK. Our room was huge, the floors uneven, and a ghost inhabited the room next to ours….with the UK Ghostbuster film to prove it(?)!

I wish we could have stayed maybe a week longer so we could have taken part in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. I love that Queen and no matter what Lou Ann says, I think she looks pretty darned good to be in her 80s. You just wouldn’t want a queen that was a slave to fashion or wore her hair different every day. OH, I was actually interviewed on camera coming out of Harrod’s by what I think was Italian TV! They wanted my views on the Queen and I think they wanted me to talk stink about her. I did not.

Time to attach photos. More as I think of it later.

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One Response to “UK Chelsea Flower Show and Many, Many Gardens!”

  1. Lou Ann Weaks Says:

    Susan – I wish you had been eavesdropping on my conversation with Bill as we watched the Queen’s concert on TV Tuesday night. I said “she is a beautiful woman,” and Bill said “indeed, she is!” So there – a woman is entitled to change her mind. I thought she looked absolutely stunning!!!!!! I also looked at her handsome grandsons and thought how much Princess Diana had done to improve the royal bloodline!!!!!

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