Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Heading Home

It has been a wonderful holiday. As I sit here in the Delta Crown lounge (BA don’t have a lounge at Orlando), I feel so happy to have had so much fun – and two solid weeks together as a family. That hasn’t happened in years! The picture above is all of us on the Journey to Atlantis at Sea World. We are at the back of the “boat”. At that point we were plummeting fifty feet down a great big water slide (hence the expressions on our faces!). It kind of sums up the holiday really – fun chaos!!

We spent the last couple of days mostly at Disney. It was great our hotel was so close as we were able to go back and forth – and when it got really hot we could just take a break. On Sunday we spent most of our day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, returning to the Magic Kingdom after dinner for the fireworks display. I’ve never seen the fireworks over the castle before – it was spectacular! We had dinner Sunday night at Downtown Disney, in a Cuban themed restaurant. It was a really different experience. I liked the view over the lake at Disney – and also the Mohito cocktails – full of fresh mint – yummy! On Monday we headed to Epcot, and really enjoyed exploring Futureworld. We all liked “Spaceship Earth” – that was a fun ride. We headed over to the International village, having lunch in Germany at a delicious Oktoberfest buffet, and spending part of the afternoon in Canada! We headed back to the hotel when it got really hot in the late afternoon, intending to return to the Magic Kingdom later in the evening. But after another delicious dinner at the Olive Garden, we all decided we would rather go shopping, and headed back to Macy’s. It was a really successful trip for Guy and Alex, and we stocked them up on the Polo Ralph Lauren shirts – which are much less expensive over here than in England!

This morning we spent packing and then headed back to the shopping centre. This time it was my turn, although Alex had lots of luck as well. I love the clothes in the United States. They fit me so much better than the ones in England, and I really enjoy the extra help the sales ladies give you here as well. I know some people find it intrusive, but I’m grateful for the help! I got some jeans, trousers and two skirts. After lunch at The Cheesecake Factory (their chicken luau salad is amazing!), we headed back to the airport.

And here we are! There are some delays due to air traffic control problems, but so far our flight is on time. So, please God, we’ll arrive back in London first thing tomorrow morning. On one hand, the best thing about travelling is being able to go home – but on the other, I really love holidays! So I’m in two minds about it all. But we’ve got lots to look forward to over the next few months, including a visit from Canadian family, and trips to Cyprus and New York. So even though the holiday is nearly over, I’m still in a really good frame of mind!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

We headed back down to Florida on Thursday, driving through a bit of tropical storm Fay on the way, but arriving safely back at our hotel in Orlando in the late afternoon. We had dinner at The Olive Garden which was lovely.

Friday morning we went to Kennedy Space Centre. The last time I was at Kennedy I was just a few years younger than Alex is now, and I have to say it has changed nearly as much as I have. We took a “Behind the Scenes” tour which was fantastic. It showed us everything from the launch pads for the Space Shuttle to its landing strip, plus all the Apollo historical places as well. It really took me back to the days when Mom, Dad and I would all get up early to watch the Apollo launches, eating our breakfast on TV tables in front of the television. I was excited to learn that after the Space Shuttle programme finishes soon, they are starting a new programme in 2010 that will take us back to the moon, and beyond. I love space exploration! It’s so exciting. In fact, when I was a kid I always wanted to be an astronaut – until sadly my dreams were crushed by the spectre of motion sickness. It was a great day at Kennedy – we all loved it. I highly recommend it. There is so much to see and learn. You can do everything from experience a shuttle launch to having lunch with an astronaut. Also, the whole of the Space Centre is set within a wildlife refuge. We saw eagle’s nests, alligators, cranes, herons and even buzzards! I’d definitely go back again.

Today it was off to Sea World. It’s a wonderful place. They do a huge amount of wildlife rescue and conservation, and they have set the whole thing up so that you can see the animals in their natural habitats. They also arrange it so that you can see under the water as well as what is on top. It makes places like the Sea Life Centre seem very tame! You can also book loads of “experiences” where you can interact with the animals. We booked a Behind the Scenes dolphin tour, which allowed us access to the conservation areas, the medical areas and lots more. We even got to work with the trainers, interacting with and touching the dolphins. It was magical. The dolphins seem to just love people, and when it comes time for you to leave, they start jumping and squeaking to try and get your attention so you will come back. They are so gentle and incredibly affectionate. The tour was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had, and Guy and Alex expressed similar sentiments. Later in the day, we fed sea lions and seals (who are friendly at first, but become very demanding and almost scream at you once they realise you’ve got food!), rode an incredible water roller coaster and even went to the arctic (on a ride, but we got to see real arctic animals in their actual habitats). All the animals are kept in large native environments and they are all visibly relaxed and happy- it is not even remotely zoo like. As for the Shamu Killer Whale show, it was just wonderful. The whales are so affectionate and clearly enjoy performing, and the trainers clearly love them to bits. Again, Sea World is a place I highly recommend.

Tonight, after a nice dinner at TGI Friday’s, we went to Friendly’s Ice Cream Parlour for dessert. It was such fun – we all go a huge kick out of it. Tomorrow it’s back to Disney…it’s a hard life!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fay's Beginning to Catch up with Us...

Yesterday was another lovely day. We wanted to eat at Paula Deen’s restaurant, Lady and Sons, so this meant we needed to get into Savannah by 9.30am as the restaurant is so popular you have to queue up to book tables. Luckily the queue moved really quickly and we were even able to book a table for the exact time we wanted – 7.30pm.

We then took the same Tram tour, taking advantage of their “second day for $10” deal. We realised last night that this is the same company we used in Washington DC for a tour. They really are excellent. Our first stop was the Cathedral of St John the Baptist on the corner of Abercorn and East Harris. It is a gorgeous church, so light and bright, with windows I found even more beautiful than those in the Notre Dame in Paris. A lady met us at the church aisle and gave us an overview of the church as we walked up towards the altar. She was so friendly and very knowledgeable. She then left us to look round on our own. We really enjoyed the beauty of the place. After lighting two candles (one for my parents and one for my friend Jenny), we went back outside into the sunshine and heat.

After a quick journey on the tram, we hopped off at the Andrew Low house for a tour. You have to knock at the door to get in, which makes you feel less like a tourist and more like a guest. The guide, who looked to be in her seventies, was incredibly knowledgeable and very friendly. The house was beautifully decorated, and had a wonderful “feel” to it, as thought it had seen a lot of fun times – despite the fact that it’s owners’ lives were peppered with their share of tragedy. We thoroughly enjoyed our tour.

By this time we were feeling hungry so we hopped back on the tram and travelled to the waterfront area. After our disappointing lunch at Huey’s yesterday, we were keen to try somewhere else and decided on The Shrimp Factory. It was wonderful! After we had ordered, the waitress brought us a little basket of baby blueberry muffins with pecan butter, which is included with your meal. Guy and I asked to share our main courses and that was not a problem at all, with the waitress bringing us extra plates. Guy ordered the house salad and I ordered a shrimp salad sandwich. We then split both in half. It was the best shrimp salad sandwich I have ever had, and was made with shrimp, green pepper, chopped hardboiled egg and a lovely lemon mayonnaise. So delicious! Alex had a turkey bacon club sandwich which he also enjoyed. So no disappointments there!

We came back to the hotel after lunch to have a bit of a break. I put some washing in and went for a run. Conveniently the exercise room is joined to the guest laundry! I was hoping it would help against the dinner we had planned, but as I found out, no amount of exercise can prepare you for Paula Deen!

We arrived back in Savannah early in the evening, so had a wander round the Market Place and stopped for drink in one of the bars. We ended up talking to some military chaps (there is a convention on) who were really good fun. When it was time for our reservation at Lady and Sons, we headed round the corner to check in. This was my only disappointment about the restaurant, is that there is no bar and after checking in we had to wait for nearly forty minutes for our table to be ready. But once we were seated we were treated to friendly service and amazing food. Just after we had ordered our drinks, a waitress appeared and gave us each a little pancake and a southern biscuit. They were just so delicious! For our main courses, Guy and I decided on the buffet while Alex went for the chicken pot pie. It was served with a biscuit topping, and Alex said it was the best chicken pot pie he had ever had. The buffet offered so much choice, and I have to say there was so much variety I never even got near the salad bar! You could go back as many times as you liked, but I only managed two visits! My favourite things were the fried chicken, the green beans with red skinned potatoes and the candied sweet potatoes. I also had a piece of key lime pie for dessert (half of which I brought back to the hotel in a doggy bag!) which was wonderful – and it had a lot to live up to as the last time I had key lime pie was when I was thirteen and I had dreamed of it ever since! Lady and Sons is definitely a must if you are visiting Savannah – but seriously, eat lightly earlier in the day – the food is too good to skimp on. It is a very different experience, not one I would choose every day, but certainly a wonderful dining experience in its own way. I’m not really a buffet person, and I like my dining experiences slow (which this one was not), but a change is as good as a rest and even I cannot argue with Paula’s great food and down home atmosphere.

So, another great day in Savannah yesterday! Today Tropical Storm Fay is closing in, and we were seriously rained on when we went to Tybee Island (perhaps an island was not the best choice with a tropical storm approaching, but hey, this is us we are talking about!). After a visit to the lighthouse there we headed back inland in absolutely torrential rain. We stopped for lunch at Applebee’s for a break from the heavy weather. Once again, we had a super meal for less than what it would cost us to go to McDonald’s back in England. Guy and Alex had hamburgers and I had a cheese, bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich. All of these were served with French fries and we all had soft drinks as well. I was so full from the sandwich I did not even touch the fries!

We have just got another “we are no longer responsible for your safety in view of the storm” letter from the hotel, so very pleased we planned to leave tomorrow. It’s a five hour drive back to Orlando, but I suspect it may take us a bit longer than that with the storm. I just hope by the time we get back there the weather will be decent. We’ve been so lucky avoiding the rain – this is the first day it has caught us! God has definitely been looking out for us!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Change of Plans....

We’ve been having a super holiday in Orlando, enjoying the delights of Disney and Epcot and generally being kids at heart. Unfortunately yesterday the hotel managed to get us all in a panic by putting a letter under the door basically saying “get the heck out of Dodge” and “we won’t be responsible if you don’t” because of Tropical Storm Fay. The letter was worded in such a worrying way we decided it was definitely time to go. So I rescheduled all our planned days out – more Disney, a dolphin experience at Sea World and a Behind the Scenes tour at NASA for later in the week – and we headed on up the coast to Georgia to get out of the path of the storm.

Am I ever glad we did! We’ve abandoned the rather unpredictable weather in Orlando for glorious sunshine in Savannah. We are going to stay here for the next few days till the storm blows out to sea. I’m in the rather rare position of having actually been somewhere before Guy in this case. He’s never been to Savannah, but I came here with Mom and Dad when I was 13. We were only here for a day though, and I remember wishing I had more time to spend here. So in a weird kind of way – a couple decades later – I’ve got my wish!

We are staying in a lovely hotel just outside of town (in fact I dare say it is even nicer than our Orlando hotel) and are looking forward to exploring. Okay, it’s a slight change of plan, but it hasn’t really interrupted the holiday, more enhanced it (except for the nine our journey in the car yesterday which was a bit tedious). So, we’re off to explore Savannah today and enjoy some of their famous Southern Hospitality. So far, so good! We’ll head slowly back down to Orlando from Wednesday.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Being a Very Proud Mum

There’s Alex, above, leaving Her Majesty’s Theatre in London after the performance last night. It all went really well, and we were very proud of him. The whole cast did an amazing job.

Guy and I had a good day as well, and went out for a nice meal at Galileo’s, just opposite the theatre, before the show. I do wish Galileo’s would try a little harder though. It’s nice, but not exceptional, and we’ve always gone because of its proximity to the theatre. But I think we’ll go earlier next time and go somewhere a bit better.

I was so pleased to see Alex. I really did miss him. What was nice was that, although he was clearly sad to be leaving his friends, he was very pleased indeed to see us. And that made me feel really happy.

Bless him, Alex slept till after ten this morning. Since then he has been catching up with his friends here, and also on the phone . His friends from last week are calling – it’s nice they all miss each other already. As for me, I’ve been washing and ironing, and trying to get packed for our holiday to Florida. It’s not long to go now.

Tomorrow Alex and I are off to the Midlands to have lunch with our dear friend Alice – and then poor Alex has to have his braces tightened. The good news is the orthodontist says he only has about six months till he can get them off and have a retainer!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Time Together

Guy suggested going out to dinner last night, and for the first time in ages we had some uninterrupted time together. Okay, it was practically uninterrupted – not totally – as Guy did take his phone with him, but he only checked it twice the whole evening. For him, that is monumental. His director had a talk with him yesterday about actually not working on holiday. Because that is what holidays are for. I’m not sure this has had any affect on Guy, but we’ll see.

Anyway, back to the uninterrupted time together. I went out on a limb and tried Toptable, the online restaurant booking service. I’ve been registered with them for years but never used them, envisaging arriving at a restaurant to blank looks and mutterings of “you booked a table how?”. Actually, they are brilliant. Not only was my table booked, but because I had used Toptable, they kept one of the nicest tables in the house for us! (If you want to try it for yourself, just click here.)

I wanted to try a new restaurant locally, because it has come to my attention that for someone who has lived here for almost a year, I really do not know Reading at all well. This is partly because we have travelled so much this year, but also because I have been hesitant to explore as the trauma of the last year has shrunk my comfort zone alarmingly and kind of knocked my confidence a bit. So last night I decided to do something about it and booked a table at Bel and the Dragon in Gasworks Road. I had only a vague idea of where this might be, and went armed with postcodes and a satellite navigation system. Guy narrowly made it home in time for us to get there for our 8.30pm reservation, and both of us were surprised to find that the restaurant was actually across from one of the flats we had looked at (and ruled out) in September last year when we were looking for somewhere to live (during the week) while our new house was being built.

The restaurant overlooks the river and is really lovely. We were welcomed enthusiastically and had a fantastic evening. The food was amazing. If you want to read my full review of the restaurant, please click here.

It was so nice to have some time together to just relax. It’s something we’ve really been needing. It’s been such a busy year, and combined with everything that happened all these last five years with Mom and Dad, particularly since Dad’s death in November and Mom’s in January, we have both found ourselves completely exhausted. I’m hoping that Alex will find this week to have been very healing as well. He’s been completely away from home (and us!) and has been totally absorbed in preparing for his performance at Her Majesty’s Theatre. I’m hoping it will have had a very beneficial effect.

So, the weekend approaches and Guy and I have a whole day together tomorrow. The temptation is to use it to try and get things a bit more sorted out, to unpack some more boxes and get on with things. But I’m wondering if it wouldn’t be better just to throw caution to the winds and have a really relaxing day doing stuff we actually want to do – like maybe taking a walk along the river (if the weather predictions improve) or going to see a movie. We have not been to the cinema in well over a year. But we’ll see. I’m just glad to have the opportunity to spend another whole day together. It’s like being on holiday, before the holiday!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

My Constantly Changing World

I’m having one of those weeks. It’s come as a bit of a surprise actually as I had almost been looking forward to this week – okay, who am I kidding, I was looking forward to this week – as I would have some time with Guy at home and a tiny break from being the parent of a 15 year old who is a real going concern. But I find myself, a little more than half way through the week, feeling less than buoyant.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s been wonderful having some time together with Guy – except for part of last night which was spent trying to get the stupid Parrot thing to work properly (see yesterday’s entry). Apparently we need to download software updates via Bluetooth to make it work properly with iPhone – despite the fact we were assured, hand on heart, that it worked perfectly with iPhone just as it was. The added complication is that the download will not work on MACs, only on PCs, and none of our PCs have Bluetooth. Not that it stopped Guy from trying to get it to work…for about three hours of what was supposed to be our evening together last night. Today they are supposed to be coming to download it for us. I’m so annoyed I can hardly put it into words. As far as I’m concerned they lied. It works, but not as it should – the audio is a squawky and the announcements are so loud (despite volume adjustments) that they nearly make me jump out of the car. But I’m not to be concerned, as the software update will fix all that. Well, as far as I’m concerned, for what the Parrot cost, it should be making the tea by now – the fact that it is not quite working as planned and that it is shattering my nerves when it announces calls incenses me. This has caused some tension at home.

Then there is the fact that Alex has hardly spoken to us this week. The first few days I was thrilled as I figured it meant he was having a wonderful time. And it does mean he is having a wonderful time. But as time has worn on I’ve begun to miss him, and the fact that when I called him last night (okay, I know I’m being needy here) he only had about three minutes to spare me kind of hurt. Which has led me to believe that there may be some flaws in my resolution not to be bothered by the fact that he’s growing up and that he doesn’t need me as much anymore – huge great flaws actually.

I hate it when mums are clingy. There is nothing so unattractive and so hard on everyone - the mother, the child and their friends (especially friends of the opposite sex). I have always been determined to be completely non clingy. And I have succeeded – Alex will tell you that is the case as well (even when I’m not there to twist his arm!). But suddenly everything is changing and inside I’m crumbling. I suppose it does not help that Alex’s newfound independence has coincided with a year when we’ve lost so many people (and beloved pets), moved 150 miles and started a whole new life.

Even in the most staid of existences (and my life has never been staid!), change happens on an almost daily basis. Human beings in general are not comfortable with change. As for me, I’m could be the poster child for the association of non-spontaneous people who find change difficult. (No, that organisation does not exist, but if it did I’d be a charter member.) But for all I say I’m terrible at change, I seem to have managed to handle an awful lot of it in my life. I immigrated to a new country at age 23 completely by myself just for a start. And I think a lot of folks are very much like me. We think we don’t handle certain things very well, but actually they are probably the things we handle best. As Churchill said, they can be “our finest hour”.

One of the biggest risks of being a 21st Century Housewife is the chance that you will invest so much in caring for other people that you forget about yourself. And despite the fact I practically make a career of urging women not to do that, I seem to have slipped into the trap myself. The nice thing is, it’s a fairly easy trap to get out of. You just have to realise that you’ve fallen into it.

So today I’m going to spend some time thinking about me, and how I can ensure that this is one of those finest hours in my life. I need to think about ways I can better handle how this wonderful change in the life of my son can be an opportunity for growth in my own life. When he was little, I used to wax lyrical about the day when I’d get my independence back and how wonderful it would be. Well, that day is now and it would be silly not to rejoice over it. After all, even when we are all grown up, we never stop growing. That’s the wonderful thing about being alive.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

All Quiet on the Western Front...well, that is, quiet for us...

It’s been a very busy week so far. Alex is away at a Theatre workshop in London so Guy and I are on our own. Of course we’ve only had the evenings together, but it’s been nice having some time on our own, although of course we miss Alex. This is the first time we’ve been on our own in the new house (gee I’m still calling it “new” and we’ve been here over six months!!). As a result, unlike most times when Alex is away, we haven’t been taking the opportunity to go out and about, we’ve just been enjoying our “new” home. We’ve also synchronised our diaries and made some plans for the next few months which has been great fun. So far, we’ve managed to do quite a lot, including deciding where to go on holiday in the October half term (Cyprus), and beginning to plan a surprise birthday trip for Alex to New York City over the New Year. On the domestic front, I’ve also got a great big pile of things on the spare room bed ready to be packed for our holiday next week and I’ve even managed to nearly empty all the washing baskets. Just wait till Alex gets back with all his washing from this week though!

Today Guy is working from home which is lovely. Even though he works extremely hard when he is at home, and even longer hours than when he is at the office, he is here which is a real treat on a weekday. Okay, sometimes I don’t get to talk to him for hours on end because he is on conference calls, but it is just nice to have him round the house. As for me, I’m having a kit installed in my car so that I can use my iPhone hands free. It’s called a Parrot and everything was going great until we discovered the sound quality was not very good on the receiving end of calls! So the engineer is still out there in the driveway trying to get it sorted out. I love new technology, but I find it very stressful when things take ages or don’t work as planned. Hopefully it will all work fine in the end.

I’m thrilled at how my back has recovered from the little jolt it got over a week ago. I was so worried when I hurt it at the motor show, but with keeping up my exercise, and doing some extra Pilates and yoga, I got to the stage I have had absolutely no pain since last Thursday. Surprisingly, I’ve found that my personal training sessions, Pilates and yoga have all gone better this week as well. I seem somehow stronger, like not only did my back recover quickly, but the work I did towards my recovery also helped make me stronger. Whatever it was, I’m very pleased with the results!

I have to admit, I’m beginning to get excited about our holiday in Florida. This is the first real family holiday we’ve had since Mom and Dad’s troubles started with Mom’s illness in October 2003. I’m hoping it will be a lovely fresh start for us, and a real time of healing for us all.

Catching Up With Old Friends - 3rd August 2008

We’ve had a lovely day with our friends today. The picture above is of Alex helping me to get ready for their visit! I was in a huge hurry to get everything sorted out before we went to Buckingham Palace on Friday and didn’t bother to put things in the boot properly. So in the end I just stuffed all the extra things on Alex’s lap. He was very good about it!

Despite a rather dire start to the day weather-wise, we managed to get outside and have loads of fun. It was great to catch up. These folks have been our friends for years and we haven’t seen them in ages. Alex and Edward, the eldest son, were born very close together, so Yvonne and I were nervous first mums together. We also negotiated the very scary path of new mummy-dom together. When Yvonne went back to work after six month’s maternity leave I was completely lost. But as she said, at least she didn’t move 150 miles away! We did that when Alex was two, and we’ve only just moved back south recently, 13 years later! But we’ve gotten together loads over the years. It is just the last few years that we have just not had time to get together. Anyway, a good time was had by all, as you can see from the photograph below!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Drinking Champagne at Buckingham Palace

On Friday last week, Alex and I headed off to London to meet Guy for our “private” tour of the Buckingham Palace State Rooms. The private tours are taken after hours, when the State Rooms have been closed to the public. A group of not more than thirty is taken through the State Rooms on a leisurely tour with a private guide. Our tour was scheduled for 5.15pm, so we decided to head into London in the early afternoon.

Our day was quite good fun to start with as we had an experience of what it must be like to be followed by the paparazzi. I don’t know who this particular photographer thought Alex was, but as we walked down Regent Street, he began to follow us with his great big press camera. We assumed he was following someone else and it was so crowded we hardly paid any attention – until he leapt out square in front of Alex and took a photograph of him – just like that! The flash was absolutely blinding and I immediately reached for my purse, thinking it might be a pickpocket ploy. But when I got a proper look at the camera it was clear this chap was paparazzi. He then vanished through the crowd, running off as though he thought he might be pursued. We are still wondering who he thought Alex was. I wonder when he realised he’d got the wrong chap!!

We went for a coffee after that to steady my nerves as I was quite shocked by the whole experience, as I have to say was Alex, although we did laugh about it afterwards! Not long after that it was time to meet Guy and we all headed off to the Palace.

If you get off the tube (underground) at Green Park station, you can then take a lovely stroll across Green Park itself to the Palace. The tours start from the Ambassadors entrance, which is to the left of the palace if you are facing it with your back to The Mall. As tours had finished for the day, the gate was locked, but we were let in by a guide and allowed to sit in a reception area behind the gates. This caused some commotion outside as passers by began to wonder who the people were who were sitting inside the gates. It was quite funny watching them watching us!

Our tour set off right on schedule and it was wonderful. When Alex and I toured the State Rooms last year during the public tours, it was very crowded, and being fairly short I found it difficult to see through the crowds. This was an entirely different experience. With only thirty people, the guide was able to give us full access to everything, and we were able to really take in the splendour of these magnificent rooms. We were also able to hear really interesting anecdotes about life in the Palace through the years. The artwork was much easier to see as well and we were stunned by the magnificence of the collection on display. From Rembrandt’s paintings to fantastic sculptures, we were able to see everything at very close range indeed. The guide was really knowledgeable, friendly and happy to answer questions. When we reached the end of our tour, we were escorted into the Bow Room, where a footman handed us each a glass of champagne. We were then led out on to a balcony overlooking the gardens. It was just incredible. I could not believe I was drinking champagne in Buckingham Palace, in the room where the Queen Mother’s 100th Birthday celebrations were held.

After about a half hour, during which time we all chatted and admired the grounds and the back of the palace, we were escorted to the shop. And after that it was time to go home. However we were not going out through a back door. We were told we were going out through the very front gates of the palace. And sure enough, our guide led us out the doors of the palace entrance in small groups, through the red gravel courtyard (which we were told is raked daily!), and out under an arch just to the right of the balcony the Royal Family wave from on special occasions. I could hardly believe it when the guard saluted each us as we walked under the arch. The crowds behind the gates outside went mad, taking pictures of us, and pointing. I do wonder who they imagined we were! Walking towards the main gate at the side, I watched the crowds through the gate, and realised now how we must look to the Royal Family when we stand there. It was a perspective I never thought I would see and I was unbelievably thrilled by it. The police opened the gates for us, and half bowed to us as we passed by – again I don’t know who they thought we were. I could hardly believe it. I enjoyed every second of that walk, it was quite the most thrilling thing I think I have ever done. I felt really special, and it was a super way to top off the day when I drank champagne at Buckingham Palace for the very first time.