Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rue Brittania

*Note to reader: There's a contest at the end of this and, if you're lucky, a prize.

Wow. You are impatient.

It's something related to this post. Some re-gifting may be involved.

But trust me. It will be worth it! Pip Pip & Cheerio.

As I might of mentioned here and here, it was recently my Mamma-In-Law's 80th birthday, so as per her request, we loaded up the troops and paddled our way across the waves to our province's picturesque capital, in order to get our Anglo on. High tea at the Empress Hotel, Royal Museums, bad dentistry; you know, all things British.

The view from the ferry was just stunning:

Whoopsa daisy! Wrong album.

Here we go. Ahem.

View from the ferry:

After a relatively event-free boat ride (well, we were the subject of public complaint to the staff regarding our, um, noise level), we arrived at our destination.

The city named after this fine lady:
No, not M'Lady of the PopNFreshDoughAndRaisinFaceHelpMeI'mInAFourthRateWaxMuseum.

That would just be silly.

It's Victoria. Queen Victoria. We justed dropped the "Queen" part, because it was frankly kind of pretentious, and the crown kind of gives it away anyhoo.

So, what sort of things can one expect in this charming little city?

Well, there's a load of sights to see. Totem poles:

No one ever takes a booty shot - what a pity!

Giant sundials:
Dreydl, dreydl, dreydl, I made it out of jade...

And men in kilts (and the women who love them):

After 3 hours of stalking I still don't know what's underneath.

Victoria is also a city of culture; the streets are alive with the sound of music. It's an inclusive place - a place where there is room for both accordian...
playing a mean version of "Karma Chameleon..."

...and violin:
totally riffing on "The Devil Went Down to Death Star"

And, of course, since we were there anyways, I needed to check out the renos being done on our summer cottage:
ok, ok, it's the Provinvial Parliament Building. But a girl can dream, can't she?

With all there was to do and see, where did we begin?

Our decision was clearly made for us when we happened upon Ol' Chestnut belting out a heartwarming rendition of "Happy Birthday to You-u-u-u-u-u!" :
"...and ma-neigh more....."

It was time for a carriage ride for our fair Bubba and her three bodyguards.

Then on to High Tea over here:

The Empress Hotel. Ahhh.

Just what is 'High Tea', exactly? You would think, that given our locale, it would mean something completely different.

Here, though, the 'High' part is short for 'High Fa-lutin". The Empress is oh-so-fussy about all of this. And to their credit, they are just trying to preserve one of the last bastions of the civilized world - tea time.
There is a dress code, with a long list of Glamour Don'ts: No flip flops. No tank tops. No shorty shorts. Gah.

Poor Bubba had to rethink her entire tea-drinkin' ensemble.

There is also, I am told, a encyclopedia's worth full of etiquette that surrounds High Tea. In the vonB clan, however, we play to our strengths and present to you a couple of the High Tea Don'ts:

# 314:
Don't act like you've been offered a chalice full of arsenic. For God's Sake, it is only Earl Grey!

Don't # 534:
Don't wear the good linen on your head. Don't monkey about with the tea tins - they're meant to be quietly pilfered into your mother's handbag.

After we all reached critical mass on our fill of finger sandwiches, scones and cookies, we went in search of the miniature store - The Bubster is a HUGE miniature collector.

They say that even the small things mean a lot. Here Duke 1 and 2 learned how to make their bubba an inedible birthday cake (well I could have shown them that!):
complete with teesny weensy orange and lemon slices:

It was a really lovely weekend all around, and I think the Birthday Girl had a pretty good time.
Happy 80th, Dear Bubba. Happy Birthday to You!
So, the contest.

Write me at and tell me, "If I were Empress/Emperor for 2 days...". Entries will go in to a draw.

Deadline is August 9th, 2009.

Winner will receive all the necessary doo-dads to get your tea time on: A tin of 1908 Centennial Blend Tea from the Empress Hotel, a box of Walkers Pure Butter Assorted Shortbread, a highly-saught-after crown and sceptre, and a couple of other goodies that somehow found their way from the High Tea table into my purse.


Daryl said...

Wha? Isnt it Rue McClanahan?

Audrey at Barking Mad said...

Ahhhhh of the things I miss about living just outside Seattle was the ease of access to such a beautiful city.

If I were Empress for two days? Wow TWO WHOLE DAYS? Oh Lordy the damage I could do....

♥~♥ Nine Acres ♥~♥ said...

What a hoot!

She looks fab for 80!

I totally thought it was Come-a Chameleon.


Grandma J said...

Happy Birthday, Your Highness!

If I were Empress for two days, I would host blogfest in that Provincial Parliamentary building. Amen.

Living on the Spit said...

Happiest of Birthdays Dear Bubba! What a great post and a wonderful family!!! I love to have tea parties even though I might be the only attendee.

I will be off to email you this evening!!!

Mental P Mama said...

Oh my mother loved High Tea! Happiest of Birthday celebrations to Bubba!

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

Bubba my dear...May the Birthday fairy serve you High Tea the rest of your days!

Hope your day was glorious!

erin said...

oh my all time favorite place to have tea...i just love the empress hotel. spent many a happy trip there.

thanks for sharing with us.

mom x 2 said...

Wishing you the Happiest of Birthdays Bubba with many more High Teas!!

I'm pretty sure you should host Blogfest 2010! In Victoria at the Empress Hotel. You can work that out right?

Not Afraid to Use It said...

"Meant to be pilfered" OMG that kills me.

Empress for two days? I'd hold private concerts for myself and all my friends with all my favorite musicians. They would be obligated to come and play (otherwise, off with their heads!) so I could therefore say I saw all my favorite bands (cultural learnings) and never worry about missing out on anyone bc of crappy ticket sales again. That way, I win, my friends win and we have a hell of a throw down for two days.

big hair envy said...

Happy, Happy Birthday, Bubba!! I hope you enjoyed your tea:) When you get a moment, could you tell be exactly what a crumpet is?? UmK. Thanks!

big hair envy said...

WHOOPS! ...tell "ME" exactly...blah,blah,blah

baronessvonb said...

Countess D: Britannia is her cousin from the UK.

Countess Auds: Do tell.

Countess T: 'Come-a Chameleon'? Hah! Now who's the hoot?

Countess Grandma: Think of all the bills we could pass! Leave it to a group of women to change things around (or at least rearrange them to be more visually appealing...)

Countess of The Land Mass: Tea for one is sometimes much more peaceful than tea for two.

Countess MPM: I've been told that. Hold up - was your mother British? Or just a proper Southern belle?

Countess NNG: I will pass on your warm wishes. Thanks so much.

Countess Erin: I hope that the Victoria TravelO-Rama brought back many fond memories.

Countess Mom x 2 : Did you not read between the lines in the Gloucester-Mathews News of the World National Enquiring Midnight Globe? You are hostessing next year, honeypie! How did you not catch that?

Countess NATUI: You should see that crap that I pocketed while waiting for you guys. Enough sugar packets to bake a cake, and stir sticks to make a diorama of Fredericksberg. Oh, and lots of cutlery.

Countess BHE: Did you mean crumpet or strumpet? Because one is an English muffin, and one is me!

Country Girl said...

Entirely hilarious post, through and through! I loved it. All the photos were great and that first one, oh so funny.

baronessvonb said...

Countess Country Girl: Oh, my. My photography skills are so pale in comparison, it is surely ridiculous.
But, like I said in Mathews, there's gotta be at least one crap photog in the bunch. (Um, that would be me...)

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