Monthly Archives: April 2010

Hail Britannia’s busiest month yet

Although April has only 30 days, this April has been my busiest month on Hail Britannia — more page loads, more first-time visitors, and more repeat visitors — than any other month since October 2008. In fact, for the last year my readership has been steadily increasing each month.

And for that, I just want to offer a heart-felt thanks. I don’t run this blog to make oodles of money or to compete with Perez Hilton. I simply like to share with other like-minded Anglophiles subjects and stories that I find interesting, and hope there’s a connection or two (or okay, 200,000!) I can make. I’ve met new friends through this blog, and I’ve found out that some old friends were closet Anglophiles.

From that perspective, this blog is a wild success. Thank you!

The ad that’s making Britain weep

I read this morning that this minute-and-a-half television ad may propel Billy Joel’s “She’s Always a Woman” back on the charts. Oh no! Not one of my favorite Billy Joel tunes, which explains why I didn’t shed any tears watching this. I’d much rather listen to “Only the Good Die Young,” but I suppose that’s not the message John Lewis is aiming for.

Did you cry watching this? What do you think of the ad? I’ve seen similar ads here in the U.S. — can’t remember for which brands, though.

Last day to enter Hail Britannia’s Young Victoria DVD giveaway

At 5:00 p.m. today, I’ll be closing the comment section of the post announcing my Young Victoria DVD giveaway. You can earn three entries to the giveaway by 1. Tweeting about the giveaway, either on your own or retweeting my post that announces the contest 2. Subscribing to Hail Britannia’s feed and 3. Letting me know in the comments section of the giveaway post that you’ve tweeted, subscribed and/or just want to enter the giveaway. Click here to enter.

I watched The Young Victoria this weekend and really enjoyed it. The director took some liberties with history — I won’t spoil it for you, but one of them involves a major plot point near the end of the film — but the liberties didn’t diminish the film at all for me. My favorite part? The costuming. I loved the closeups of the hats, the petticoats, even Prince Albert’s (sexy!) linen shirts. There’s also a neat cameo in the film — Princess Beatrice plays one of Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting. Kind of cool considering that Queen Victoria is her great-great grandmother and she’s named after Victoria’s youngest daughter.

Enter today to win a copy of this beautiful film!

The Gentle Art of Quiltmaking by Jane Brocket

Last week I blogged about my obsession with British writer and crafter Jane Brocket‘s book The Gentle Art of Domesticity. I’ve just learned that she has a new book coming out — it’s already out in the UK! — called The Gentle Art of Quiltmaking: 15 Projects Inspired by Everyday Beauty. It looks like it’ll be released the second week in May.

I’m a novice quilter, but I’m much more confident with a needle and thread (or sewing machine) over a pair of knitting needles. And even if the projects are above my skill level, I’m sure I’ll love looking at the pictures; one thing I love about The Gentle Art of Domesticity (and Jane’s blog) are all the photos of flowers, food, and fabric. Yummy!

So this and Elizabeth George’s latest Inspector Lynley mystery in one month. So much to read, so little time. What’s on your Anglophile reading list this spring?

Hail Britannia’s Young Victoria giveaway

FedEx just pulled up to my house with two brand-spanking-new DVDs of The Young Victoria, compliments of Sony Pictures, one for me to use for a review, the other to give away to Hail Britannia’s readers. I’m chuffed!

I’m so looking forward to watching this movie tonight. I don’t get to the movies as often as I like to, and when I do it’s to see something my husband and I both agree upon … and this is probably a film he’d nix. (Although we did see The Devil Wears Prada, and he thought Emily Blunt was wonderful in that.)

So here’s the deal for the giveaway. Last week I won boxed sets of BBC America’s Survivors from SmittenByBritain and I liked the way Melissa set up her giveaway, so I’m, ahem, borrowing it. You can earn up to three entries in this contest by:

1. Subscribing to Hail Britannia’s blog feed with Bloglines, Google Blog Reader, or your preferred blog reader. Just click on the “subscribe” button in the upper right-hand corner of this page. (ETA: If you’re already a subscriber, you get a point.)

2. Tweeting this blog post. All you have to do is click the green “retweet” button in the upper right-hand side of this post next to the photo of the DVD.

3. Leaving a comment on this post and letting me know that you’ve subscribed to Hail Britannia, retweeted the contest/blog post, and/or that you just want to put your name in the hat for the DVD.

The giveaway is open to anyone living in the U.S. — sorry, but the DVD is formatted for North America viewing.  I’ll be randomly choosing a winner on Monday, April 26. Good luck, and stay tuned for my review of The Young Victoria later this week.

A 20-year-old letter from England, part 3

From Flickr/Michael Stringer

From Flickr/Michael Stringer

Thursday, August 10, 1989

Disley, Cheshire, England

I’m beginning to shake off the last of my jetlag (finally!). I could have slept for another two hours this morning, but Frances woke me bright and early for tea. She wants to feed me more, but in the summer my appetite isn’t good, plus we Americans seldom eat a hearty breakfast like our English cousins do!

It was a bright morning, and we generally had a sunny day with huge, billowy clouds drifting across the sky, their shadows trailing on the hillsides. Frances and I took a morning walk around the neighborhood; we were able to view an “aspect” of Lyme Park. [Lyme Park was used in the BBC’s adaption of Pride and Prejudice as Darcy’s family seat. I can just see Colin Firth stripping off his jacket now …] I noticed an ancient fortress on a distant hillside. Frances thought it was a place where ancient warriors locked up prisoners.

We returned to the house. At 11:30, William and Margaret arrived to take us to a pub lunch. We drove through some of the Peak District in Derbyshire. Margaret pointed out the heather for me … huge amounts covered whole hillsides — pretty! The countryside is covered with dry stone walls … some of the roads we drove on were lined with them. We stopped at the Lantern Pike Inn, a pub in Hayfield that William and Margaret had picked out the day before. It was a typical English pub, dark with a few sour-faced Englishmen sitting in a corner downing pints. I had fish & chips with a half pint of Guinness.

Before we went into the pub, William had some fun parking his car. The man who lives behind the pub was shouting out to him, “Are you parking a bus?” Margaret, Frances, and I thought it was funny, but I think William was offended. On our way back to Disley, William got lost, which furthered his bad mood. I wanted to pick some heather, but didn’t press it. Back at Frances’s place, I wrote up some postcards, then we watched tv (or the “telly” as they call it here). Frances brought out some old family pictures. She had a lot of Margaret and William’s children: Ruth*, Catherine, and Jared. Frances told me of her holidays abroad, trips to beaches in Spain.

*Ruth tracked me down a couple years ago, and knock wood, this fall I hope to meet up with her when I’m in England!

The Daily Mail timetravels to Kate and Prince William’s wedding

The Daily Mail published a tongue-in-cheek article about Kate and Prince William’s November wedding, written as if it had already occurred. The highlights about the Duke and Duchess of Connaught’s nuptials:

  • Prime Minister David Cameron and wife Samantha with newborn baby daughter attend. Bad news for Gordon, I’m afraid!
  • Kate wears Diana’s tiara
  • Kate’s cousin Gary Goldsmith can’t make the big day. No surprises there.
  • Sister Pippa lunges for the bouquet

Everyone seems to think this wedding is going to be a low-key event, but I think it’s going to be a big deal, just like Charles and Diana’s wedding was some 30 years ago. What do you think?

The Gentle Art of Domesticity by Jane Brocket

Last month I wrote a blog for The Atlantic‘s Food Channel about my obsession with British cookbooks and the best places to cookbook shop in London. One of the blog’s readers suggested that I might want to get my hands on a book called Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer: A Golden Treasury of Classic Treats by Jane Brocket. In here I’d find dozens of recipes from classic British storybooks. Unfortunately, the book is hard to get here in the U.S., and since I don’t have a lot of extra money right now for, I located another book Brocket wrote, The Gentle Art of Domesticity: Stitching, Baking, Nature, Art & the Comforts of Home at our local library.

I’ve renewed it twice, and now the library wants it back so I see I’m going to have to buy it for my personal library. It has been the prescription I needed to get me through cleaning and packing our home for our move. I haven’t read it cover-to-cover, but instead, dip into it during the day between scrubbing bathroom floors and packing books. What I like most about it are the photos: Brocket is an avid knitter, crocheter, and quilter (and blogger!), so there are dozens of colorful pictures of her handiwork. The book also includes recipes, lists of novels and movies that celebrate domesticity, and even an extensive list of sources for quilters, bakers, and “haberdashers” that covers not just the U.S. and U.K., but countries all around the world. The book is a wee bit aspirational for me, except for the baking and maybe some simple quilting projects, but hey, an Anglophile can dream.