Monday, August 8, 2011

A LUNCH, A LUNCH, A DINNER, AND A DINNER

Here it is! My People Magazine style post in which I show off the beautiful and very important celebrity people I met in England.

LUNCH 1

The first three photos were taken at The New Inn in Salisbury earlier in the day in which we visited Salisbury Cathedral and heard the choir from St Mark's Episcopal Church in Berkeley, California, sing Evensong. Our friend susan s. is a member, and the choir sang beautifully at the service.

 
Tah-dah! Our own susan s.!

And what a joy it was to meet susan after conversing with her for years and years on the internet. She was just as I expected, only taller, but just as smart, sassy, and witty as she is online. And look at that fast-moving hand! The camera couldn't keep up.

Laura asked that her photo be taken down, and, of course, I respect her wishes. I should have asked permission first, but I thought since she had her photo on her blog, she would not mind.

Laura, of the blog Lay Anglicana, arranged for the luncheon at The New Inn and she and her husband Robert, pictured below, kindly treated us all to lunch. Laura is another humble lay person, who is firmly opposed to the Anglican Covenant, and dares to speak out against the document. What a breath of fresh air she was when she appeared on the blogging scene. Let no one say, 'What do lay folks know? They should fill the collection plates, fill the pews, and otherwise stay quiet.' I have news for them. We know a lot more than you think we know.

 
Above, Laura's charming and gentlemanly husband, Robert, listens patiently to me as I rattle on. Robert is not part of the blogging scene but is nevertheless an excellent luncheon companion and an attentive listener. He seemed quite interested in my responses to his intelligent and informed questions about life in south Louisiana. We also chatted a bit about the Anglican and Episcopal Churches.

LUNCH 2

 
Me (laughing hysterically) and the newlyweds, Alan and Lesley Fellowes Crawley.

Lesley blogs at (Surprise!) Lesley's Blog, and she sometimes pemits Alan to write a word or two on her blog. The two love birds make a beautiful couple. How grand to meet them. They were on their way home from Alan's daughter's graduation, and they generously made time for a long lunch with Erika, Cathy, and me. Cathy is cropped out of the pictures by her own request.

 
Me, Alan, and Erika.

Alan was outnumbered 4 to 1, by women, but we were kind enough to let him get in a word or two edgewise from time to time. I gave Lesley a bit of advice on training husbands and cautioned her that it is the work of a lifetime. After 50 years, Grandpère still will not heel.

Lesley's and Alan's photos do not do them justice. Both are quite good-looking, but the camera does not come close to doing justice to their fine appearance. On a side note, I like the picture above of me better than any taken in recent memory. Thank you, Lesley.

I sometimes wondered if Cathy was bored with all our church talk, since she's not so caught up in Anglican/Episcopal affairs as the rest of us. Hardly anyone is, except we mad few. She said no, but perhaps she was just being polite.

DINNER 1

 
Bishop Alan Wilson and me.

Alan, the Bishop of Buckingham, blogs at (Surprise again!) Bishop Alan's Blog. See how the heavenly light shines down on me when I sit near a bishop. God approves. MadPriest says I never shut up, but I can tell you that Alan gave me a good run. He's no slacker in the talk department, but he's great fun and a fine dinner companion. Also, he's a bishop who is a breath of fresh air, as those of you who read Alan's blog or follow him on Facebook already know.

 
The lovely Susan, Erika's beloved, and the lovely Rosie Harper are pictured above. Rosie is vicar of Great Missenden and chaplain to the bishop of Buckingham. What are the duties of a chaplain to the bishop? I expect one of them is to tell him what to do. Rosie also serves as a member of General Synod of the Church of England and, along with Alan, writes for the Guardian's 'Comment Is Free' feature. Last I heard Rosie was on holiday in the south of France.

Erika, Alan, and Rosie arranged the dinner at the Eagle Tavern in Little Coxwell, which was approximately half way between Erika and Susan's home and where Alan and Rosie live. Rosie and Alan were mystery personages to Cathy and me until we arrived at the pub. What a pleasant surprise when we found out their identities.

Dinner 2

 
Tracy Terry, who blogs as Petty Witter at Pen and Paper, and me. We had dinner at Marco Polo in Newcastle Upon Tyne, where we dined on tasty Italian dishes. Others at table were Neal, Tracy's beloved, who blogs as Themethatisme at Conscientisation, Paul Bagshaw, who blogs under his own name at Not the Same Stream, Chris, and Jane and Jonathan Hagger, aka as MadPriest, who blogs at Of Course I Could Be Wrong. The bright celebrity lights were shining that night!

 
Flat Stanley and me, with Paul back there in the shadows with his wife Chris hiding behind his shoulder. Tracy takes Flat Stanley everywhere with her and photographs him at every opportunity. How cool that I had my picture taken with the famous Stanley.

A few of the folks at our dinner that evening are camera shy, but I forgot all about taking pictures that evening anyway. In fact, I didn't take many pictures of people in our gatherings during the trip, because I'm interested in talking and listening, and I tend to forget the camera.

Once again, there was a lot of church talk, and I'm quite sure that certain people at the table were bored silly. Those of us who are fascinated and enthralled by the church scene probably come off as a bit strange, and we should exercise more restraint in mixed company. Erika suggests that all dining tables that seat more than four people should be round, because, in that situation, everyone can talk to everyone else, and those who are not particularly interested in one conversation are free to talk to someone else. I agree.

My readers, I know this post is long, very long, and it may put your attention span to the test, but think of it as similar to an article in People Magazine, although it's probably longer than most People articles. And, all joking aside, please do not think of the post as a brag, for I take great pleasure in incarnational encounters with blog friends whom I've come to know online. I experience few surprises when I meet folks face to face, because nearly all of them turn out to be very much as I expected.

Whoops! Before I finish, I must drop three more celebrity names with - Alas! - no photos. I had a delightful lunch with Jonathan Clatworthy, of Modern Church, at Prezzo, an Italian restaurant near Euston Station in London, while he was between trains. Our lunch lasted nearly three hours. Then I had lunch with Chris Hansen at Balans Restaurant, which I'm told is the gayest restaurant in all London, (They almost didn't let me in!) which, once again, lasted for nearly three hours. And last, but surely not least, Simon Sarmiento, of Thinking Anglicans, generously took time out of his busy schedule to share coffee with me at a café near the South Kensington Underground station.

If I've left out any English celebrities, please let me know, and I will make the proper acknowledgment.

UPDATE: I knew I'd leave someone out. Renz reminded me that I'd left out Celebrity Jack, who blogs at Why Do We Have To Do This, Sir? Jack and I had coffee and supper at a café in Headingley, and we were joined later by his daughter Anna. I was deputized to give Jack hugs from a good many folks, so I rolled them all together and gave him one big hug from me and from everyone.

26 comments:

  1. "Blogging nice" clearly brings its rewards.

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  2. I'm not always nice. Sometimes I'm naughty. ;-)

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  3. OK, I'm suitably impressed! I've upgraded your celebrity rating to AAA!

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  4. That lovely piccie of me caught every wrinkle in my neck!! Oh well, it has been used and developed in the singing trade! Love you Mimi. I will see if I can find a better picture in my travels with Flat Zoe album. Cathy was just too shy, I guess! Or she didn't want to be seen with me!?

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  5. Tim, if I visited Canada, you'd be one of my celebrities, the famous evangelical Anglican priest and folk singer.

    susan s., I love you back. Count your blessings. You may have wrinkles, but you have only one chin, as opposed to my three.

    Cathy does not want any of her photos published, although I think a couple are quite good. I'm a little sad about that, because it appears that she was not there, and she was so much a pleasant presence.

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  6. Wow and to think I know you and have seen you in person -- what an honor - sounds like you had a great time -- I always like seeing people more than tourist attractions when I travel. Nice mix.

    wv. homigh - high falutin' homeys?

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  7. It is so good to see all those people I have been talking to for dog's years. Thank you for going and posting.

    This has been a season of face2face meetings--see EM Kaeton's place and I got to have lunch with Doug Blanchard when he was in Hot TX.

    Who said there isn't good church on line?

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  8. I just hate having my piccie taken. I don't know why. It certainly had nothing to do with you, susan s :)

    I honestly wasn't bored with any of the conversations, Mimi - Lesley, Alan and Erika were hugely lively and fun, as was Alan - I hardly got to say a word to Rosie, who talked mostly to Erika's Susan at the Eagle Tavern - but she seemed extremely intelligent and nice, as indeed did Susan, with whom I had a good long satisfying natter in the car. And you knows I love you to death and find everything you say interestin' :) And scurrilous, half the time, which is even better.

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  9. Mimi, I think you should revise that statement to 'When I visit Canada...'

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  10. Lovely post, Mimi. But didn't you spend time with Jack in there somewhere? Of the hugs from us all?

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  11. I think the dinner with Alan and Rosie in particular would have benefited from a round table.

    I didn't notice it quite so much at the lunch with Laura, Robert and Susan S, because there were 3 on each side of a rectangular table with Robert at the head, and as I sat at one of the sides in the middle, I was very able to talk to everyone.

    It was only at the dinner with Alan and Rosie, when I sat at the end of a smilar table, that I realised that it's virtually impossible to have a proper conversation with everyone.

    Our lunch with Alan and Lesley had been at a round table and it was by far the most raucous event where everyone played an equal part.

    I shall now save up to throw my rectangular dining table out and replace it with a round one!

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  12. Ann, wow! I've seen Celebrity Ann in person, too.

    Muthah, I saw that you met Doug. Isn't he wonderful?

    Cathy, thanks. I love you back, and I'm glad you weren't bored.

    Tim, all right, when I visit Canada. :-)

    Thank you, Renz! I forgot Celebrity Jack and his daughter Anna and the hugs from everyone. I'll remedy that in an update. I knew I'd forget someone.

    Erika, yes, because I hardly got to talk to Rosie or Susan at the dinner, but I had a good long talk with Susan on the ride home. And, of course, I stayed at your house. See? I already call your house home.

    I have a round table, oval with a leaf in. Even the oval is better for conversation than a long, rectangular table.

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  13. (a reverent bow as she touches the icons on the screen...)

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  14. It may not carry a lot of cachet in some circles but I think "I've met Mimi" counts for quite a bit. I feel we should have something like a little Legion d'Honneur rosette for our lapels. I try not to be too proud of being among that august group but it is difficult.

    Thanks for the report and photos. It is such a joy to share friends.

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  15. C'mon, margaret, let's not get carried away. ;-)

    Paul, you make me blush. Seriously. And you make me laugh. A rosette!!!

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  16. I do think it would have been better to have a round table at the Eagle Tavern as I would also have liked to chat more to Alan but I have to say the food there was some of the best we had on the trip. The lamb was so delicious. And that coffee dessert I had was something else. The place was a really good choice.

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  17. And I had time to read it all while sitting at the gate. How wonderful to read of all those great folk.

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  18. Mimi, BTW I am not sure the link to the Eagle Tavern is working.

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  19. I found several other links that were not right and corrected them, too, along with adding Celebrity Jack to my cast of characters. Will I ever finish with this post?

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  20. No Cathy pics?! I protest! >;-/

    the choir from St Mark's Episcopal Church in Berkeley, California

    Ah, small world: my parents met AND married @ St Mark's (so blame that parish for Yours Truly being here! ;-D) [Heh, Susan S: I'll try to trek and hour-and-a-half (from Sacra-tomato) and see/HEAR ya sometime!]

    Great meet-ups, great pics, Mimi!

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  21. How can you complain about pictures of others when you don't have any of yours anywhere?
    I look forward to meeting you when you come to Berkeley. BTW, we will be doing an evensong this coming Sunday afternoon.

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  22. Mimi, I just love reading about your travels. I know if the day ever comes when I am able to visit England the highlight of the trip will be meeting Cathy, Erika, Jonathan, Mrs. MP and all the other wonderful folks who are part of our church online.

    BTW, where was your mitre when you met with the Bishop? Did you have the same problem as our Katharine?

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  23. JCF, thanks for your kind words.

    susan s., I'm so glad that we could arrange to hear your choir at the cathedral. I still can't get over that I had to go all the way to England to meet you.

    whiteycat, I hope you do get to England and meet some of those lovely people. About the mitre, I will tell the story in due time. I have so much that I want to say about my trip that it will probably be at least a couple of months before I finish, with other posts in between, of course.

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  24. Whiteycat, it would be a pleasure to meet you if you ever came to England! :)

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