The Innocent Abroad


Photo courtesy of UK Mirror

Pip, pip, Huzzah!  The new, baby royal is here.  That’s what we Englandians say when we congratulate our favorite new parents, William and Kate (or as I call them, Billy and Kay-Kay.)  I couldn’t be more proud and happy for their accomplishment, and my own, small part in the success of the Big Event.

Ace reporter Peg-o-Leg here, on the ground in merry old England (otherwise known as the Land of the Rising Sun which beats mercilessly down upon the weary tourist seeking in vain for that fabulous new invention, the AIR CONDITIONER!)   Reuters, CNN, Fox, ABC, BBC, you pick a letter, and they’re here.  Seasoned journalists from around the globe abandoned all attempts at serious news reporting a week ago to descend upon London and await the birth of the royal child.  Which is why there isn’t an hotel to be had anywhere near the palace.   I’m reporting from the town of Bath, 2 hours away from London.

Reaction to the big news has been, shall we say, underwhelming, at least here in Bath.   We didn’t even find out about it until after we got back to the flat tonight after a long, lovely dinner, and that was hours after the Special Delivery.

“Hey” I asked my fellow diners at our fancy restaurant, “Any news on Wee Willy Winky?”  I got nothing.  Our Italian waiter gestured his profound indifference, the Russian table setter shrugged, enigmatically, and the German hostess didn’t even break stride as she marched past to track down our errant salads.   The Bathtonians at the next table murmured “wasn’t he the heir to the Earldom in Sense & Sensibility?”  I kind of thought, when the big moment finally arrived, somebody would leap up on a chair and shout out the news. Then the house would buy everybody a round of drinks and we’d all sway back and forth with our arms around one another’s shoulders, singing God Save The Queen and getting good and pissed (that’s what we UKelelies say when we mean “to enjoy a fermented grain beverage”.)

In a clear deriliction of duty, everybody at our table was too busy enjoying good food, wine and conversation to even surf their computer phones during dinner.   Luddites.

Little What’s-His-Name is only hours old, and already the speculation is intense.  People all over the country are asking, what’s What’s-His-Name’s name?  The world awaits the answer to that important question with baited breath.  But folks better stop baiting their breath and take a big, deep sniff because we may not know the answer for days or even weeks.  That’s the way we do it here. 

The House of Lords has to go over to the House of Commons and sneer at them for being common, and then they elect a name.  Then the Prime Minister has to defend the name choice before the Joint Chiefs of the PettiChambers, which means he stands in front of a little podium and the opposing party shouts out questions at him.  He responds, right on the spot, with some pretty witty comebacks, without a speachwriter or a teleprompter or anything besides his own wits. The opposition responds with “pip, pip, huzzahs!”, but in a derogatory tone of voice, and not congratulatory like I was using in my opening.  Then the entire chamber throws bottles and balls studded with nails at the Prime Minister while he tries to duck.  The way we do politics here in Britishville makes Mad Max’s Thunderdome look like a romp in the sandbox.

I have to say, to an outsider, dragging out the naming process looks like typical, elitist  disregard for the welfare of the masses.  By masses I mean the legions of vendors sitting on a huge investment of t-shirts bearing the witticism, “William and Kate had little (insert name here) and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.” Do you think souvenir hungry fans will buy a shirt without that name?  Remembering back to Econ 302 (which came AFTER I aced Econ 301, by the way) about supply and demand, my considered opinion is: no, freakin’ way. 

It’s not just the souvenir vendors, though; I have a lot at stake in this birth, personally.  I nailed the weight in the baby pool for His Royal Nappy Filler (yes!), but until they pin down the name, I’ve still got 10 quiddy-bobbers (that’s what we Britanicals call “money”) riding on this.

We’re heading into London tomorrow.  The celebrations are bound to be more intense and it just so happens that we’re going to have a front row seat.Our B&B is only a block from St. Mary’s where the Royal Rug Rat was just brought forth and should be leaving from tomorrow.  Who knows – maybe from our hotel window we’ll be able to see Prince William performing his first, official act as Ducal Daddy: trying to figure out how to get He Who Must Not Be Named into the damn car seat.

My only fear is that the legion of reporters camping out in the neighborhood might bribe the front desk to commandeer our hotel.  We might get there and find that Katie Couric has swiped our room.

About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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52 Responses to The Innocent Abroad

  1. Al says:

    Pip, pip! Jolly good show and all that, Peg. Goodbye insurance industry…hello foreign correspondent. Eat your heart out Christiane Amanpour, if that’s your real name.


  2. momshieb says:

    I’m not sure that you feel properly awed, inspired and jazzed by the royal news about the royal new baby born to the royal young parents who now have to handle the royal diaper genii. This is a momentous occasion, Peg, you should be properly breathless and emotional as you imagine the royal binky stuck in the royal mouth so that the royal parents can get just one moment of peace and quiet, for the love of God.


  3. Janu says:

    WHat a great time to be in London!


  4. So good to hear from you, Peg! I wondered if you were taking in the awe of the royal birthing event – I had NO idea your no AC, no Wi-Fi in your B&B room, was across the street from THE hospital!!
    Have a jolly good time! When do you return, Th? Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!
    And, tell Gwen I’ve been looking for another post to her blog – it’s been 2 weeks I think.
    It’s very lonely in the bloggy world lately…
    Pip, pip and cheerio!


  5. Elyse says:

    I sure hope those Brits are enjoying your classic Irish wit, Peg!


  6. PinotNinja says:

    It’s about time someone gave this event the level of respect and solemnity that it actually deserves. Well done! Also, hope you have a fabulous trip in the jolly old.


  7. omawarisan says:

    Make sure you get her share of the room rate in advance if Katie Couric is in your room. She will stick you with the bill if she gets a chance.


  8. amelie88 says:

    Good luck finding AC over there! They don’t need it most of the year in England so it’s kind of like “Why install it for the maybe two weeks it might be hot?” There was no AC in the house we rented in Provence last summer either. I was upstairs on the second floor aka the hottest part of the house and it was pretty miserable.

    And the boy’s name will be something along the lines of: Albert, George, John, Philip, Alexander, Charles, Michael, James, Edward, Henry, Arthur, William, Louis. I’m probably missing one but you get my drift. 🙂


  9. HoaiPhai says:

    At our house our way of deciding what to have for dinner is strikingly similar to the way Englanders choose princes’ names. I do hope they go with something really British, like Trevor or Nigel, and that the young lad in swaddling ermine soon makes an appearance on a special-issue Canadian quarter.

    Thanks, by the way, for using the word “enigmatically”. It seems to not make it out in public much anymore and intend to follow your lead and work it into a post. The last place I heard that word was in a British TV show called “Bottom” on an episode where one of the two main stars pretends to be a royal and is set up on a date with a duchess by a matchmaking service.


  10. Oh, you’re over here are you! Forgive my tardiness, but…Welcome to our country! 🙂 That was a most excellent report on the royal event. It appears to be raining this morning unfortunately, but at least you may not miss the air conditioning as much today. And I’m pleased to see you’ve got to grips with the lingo over here too. Enjoy the rest of your trip!


  11. Mike says:

    Your epistolary is devoid of the requisite solemnly but otherwise an entertaining and bloody good yarn – Charlie & Cammy


  12. Thank you for the royal coverage. We’ve been missing ye! Bring us home a Mother Goose rhyme or two we Americans don’t know.


  13. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    I want this all to be over quickly because tuning into BBC World Service early this morning during a fit of insomnia was an utter disappointment. Is there really all that much to say about this spawn? Yes. There. Is. Seriously, though, it’s amazing how excited the Brits are about this event. You’d think they’d all birthed the creature themselves. I hope they recall how happy they were when he gets older and starts to do stuff that embarrasses the country. It will involve licking toes, I’m sure.


  14. Carol Russell says:


    Sent from my iPhone


  15. 40schick says:

    In Australia, I swear we’ve just watched 12 hours of static footage of a door that says ‘Lindo Wing’ If we were in any doubt there is a preface to every story that says ‘we’re here in front of the Lindo wing’

    Beyond your stake in the birth (and congrats on the baby weight pool triumph) let’s take a moment to imagine how Prince Harry feels. He’s now been relegated to 4th in line, and I’m sure that means if he does any more nudie cavorting in the US it might be a teeny bit less interesting now….

    Huzzah to the new Royal!!!

    40s chick


  16. Thank goodness you’re over there to let us know how long it takes for William to strap that baby into his car seat. I bet you 20 quiddy-bobbers the baby’s name will be James. It’s my husband’s and my son’s name so if it’s good enough for them, by God, it’s good enough for a prince.

    By the by, this was hilarious. Pip-pip-cheerio-tastic. But WordPress won’t let me “like” the dang post.


    • Go Jules Go says:

      S’okay. I liked it enough for both of us.


    • pegoleg says:

      I love that name as well. But wasn’t there a James that tried to take over one of the lessor dominions back in the day, maybe couple hundred years ago? We Brit-faced don’t easily forget such bibble-bubblery (that means treason.)
      Hope all is great with you – I can’t log into WordPress so I can’t comment anywhere but in my own backyard it seems. Hate this tablet and “apps”. Grumble, grumble.


  17. Thanks for my morning chuckle!! This was brilliant, Peg! 🙂


  18. speaker7 says:

    I hear he poops rubies.


  19. sarah9188 says:

    I love this so hard. I’m going to put in 10 quiddy-bobbers for the name Charles. And I was wondering if you’d do the Voldemort reference since I was thinking it the whole time, and I laughed out loud when you did.

    Absolutely brilliant.


  20. Fantastic, as always. I think they should name him Pip.

    Oh, and if you check out my blog today? This is the post I’ve been talking about. You’re THAT blogger, Peggy. And this is THAT post. So good, so very good!


    • pegoleg says:

      I just commented on today’s post about how much I admire YOU Renee. I can’t believe you see anything in my scribblings to return that regards, but I’m deeply, deeply touched.


  21. joehoover says:

    Apologies for the weather today, our weather is very odd lately, a heatwave and now a tropical monsoon. We’ve become Thailand. I hope you liked Bath, I’ve only been there once for 6 hours but I loved it so much I keep meaning to go back.

    London will be on it’s best behavior for you, otherwise it’s in big trouble.


  22. rachelocal says:

    It’s funny how those people across the pond don’t think AC is a necessity, right? Shocking, really.

    I hope you don’t become a full-time UKelelie, Peg. We would miss you over here in the Land of Superfluous AC.


  23. In my vision, the reporters are actually sitting on flagpoles and won’t be allowed down until there’s a name. Please tell me I’m right.


  24. Such giggles, this! You nailed it.
    Humans must be a very bored bunch. Thanks goodness the kid was finally born – reporters were interviewing each other and some reading the 2 and 3rd books of an author’s series.
    Still I don’t begrudge anyone who wishes a chance to spend lots of their own time on this event – Life has gotten so mean and ugly, that maybe a cute couple (one with a tragic backstory) happy with their first child give a short moment of something happy and nice. I can change the channel or do something else while they coo and smile. Never enough happiness these days
    (But – yeah, enjoy your visit! – Sorry about the summer heat and crazy crowds – and that terrible heat…ugh.)
    And we can’t wait to hear the stories!


    • pegoleg says:

      You’re so right. We’re hungry for cheerful news. My daughter hung around for a couple of hours, then came back to the hotel. By the time she went back to catch the final leavetaking it was to see the girls she had been standing next to earlier grabbing great shots and all being interviewed by TV reporters. Now she’s dealing with regret.


  25. Mary K. says:

    I think I’m sick of hearing about it already but thank goodness you came to the rescue with your funny take on the goings- ons in the UK! Cherrio


  26. Laura says:

    I need to apologize, Peg. I’ve deleted about a thousand email messages today offering me “royal baby live updates”. I didn’t realize they were from you.


  27. Libertarian says:

    Judging ffrom your comments in the blog entry that came AFTER this one, it doesn’t sound like Katie Curac would want to swipe your hotel room, Peg-O-Leg!! I know I wouldn’t!


  28. Ahhhh, noooooo not another one, Really Peg. Please go to the Tower and watch a beheading or something? They don’t do that anymore? What? It is just babies now, dang.

    Guess you will just have to cover the whole baby thing then. Good going


    • pegoleg says:

      Valentine, what ELSE would we be talking about across the pond? I’m extending my stay just so I can get some souvenirs with the royal baby moniker engraved on them.


  29. As a fellow UKelelie, I think getting pissed is the only proper thing to do in this case. Well and proper pissed will do the trick.


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