Guess where I went yesterday?
No, not the Olympics but to Buckingham Palace. I'm afraid I wasn't invited to tea with the queen (although I did really have tea with her when I was young). The queen wasn't even in residence and I went as an ordinary tourist. But I'd never been round all the state rooms before and since my heroine Lady Georgie is always popping in to the palace to see her relatives I wanted to soak up as much atmosphere as possible.
And the interesting this was this overwhelming sense of deja vue. We entered through the Ambassador's Entrance and my first thought was oh yes, I remember Georgie came in this way once. We stood looking onto the huge central quadrangle and I found myself looking up at the rooms to my left--the private apartments of the royal family. Ah yes--Georgie was up there once and nearly knocked over the queen when she tripped over a footman's foot. (Now I know why they are called footmen!)
As we progressed through the rooms I kept seeing large and valuable objects that might be knocked over by someone rather clumsy like Georgie (or me?) And I was astounded that we were walking on lovely, lovely carpets throughout the palace. No strip down for us peasants. I asked one of the young girl wardens how often the carpets need to be cleaned. "Well they are good quality carpets, you know," she said.
All in all very useful (and reaffirming that I really did get it right in all the books) and at least now I'll know where I'm going when I arrive to be made a dame! (My husband commented that I'll come from a-broad to become a dame)