Monday, December 26, 2005

Boxing Day: it's not what you think it is.

Hi hi hi from London! Happy Boxing Day to you. Now, back in the States, maybe you don't know what Boxing Day is. That's cool. I'm gonna tell you all about it in this post.

When I went to bed last night, all tired from a long and wonderful, lovely London Christmas, John said to me, "Don't forget, Bully: tomorrow is Boxing Day!" Well, I could hardly sleep after that! Would you be able to? I think not! All night long visions of famous British pugilists like "Nipper" Hampston, Drummer McAuley and Mushy Regan danced on the canvas in my dreams. What would be happening on Boxing Day, I wondered? Would there be exhibition matches of boxing skill in Trafalgar Square? Would souvenir candy boxing gloves be given to all the chldren in the streets? Oh, I hoped so, I hoped so, so very very much!

When I hopped out of bed John asked me why I was doing little excited punching motions in the air. I told him not to worry, I would not hit Marshall or anyone smaller than me on this Boxing Day! That's when I learned that Boxing Day is actually a day of fantastic sales in all the shops across the United Kingdom that are open today. Fantastic savings of 50-75%, as the television adverts on ITV tell me. Well, as you do know, I am a little stuffed bull with a good eye for value for money so this seemed like an especially good day to be out and about.

As it turned out we actually spent a lovely day in Kensington Gardens instead of going to all the sales, which is just as well, because apparently all the stores and the streets to go shopping in looked like this! I would hardly even be able to move throughout those many many many people! (Maybe that is why they call it Boxing have to hit people to get through the crowd!) I could not manage to squeeze myself into such a big mess o' Londoners, not even for great values on everything I didn't get for Christmas. I don't know how the Queen does it.

Seriously, here's what Boxing Day is all about actually. It is also the feast of St. Stephen, so when you are singing "Good King Wenceslas looked out / on the Feast of Stephen," you are actually singing about Boxing Day! Me and Marshall like to sing that song this way, actually:
Good King Wences's car backed out
On the feet of Stephen
Anyway, instead of braving the sales, we took a stroll through Kensington Gardens to the other side up by Bayswater and met Jonas and Christine and Olivia for lunch at the Swan, one of our favorite pubs. (Although they did not have Sticky Toffee Pudding this time! What's the matter with you, Mister Swan?) But before we met at the pub we wandered around where John used to live in 1983 when he was a student: up and back through Brook Mews, where you could his bedroom window six flights up (and the ledge he used to walk down six flights up to see Mary Emerton. This was long before he met Camilla, I should point out! That ledge looked dangerous and I can only imagine he was blinded by either exceptional foolishness or a big fat crush on Mary Emerton. Silly John.) Then we looped around the front to walk down Gloucester Terrace and pose by No. 51 for photos. It's not much to look at now, and actually John says it was not much to look at then. But it was home, and it seemed very special to him. I like that there are parts of London that have so much personal history for you that you have to go visit them again and again even though there is nothing to see. That's part of the magic of London and the wonder of it all, and on a grey cold Boxing Day, that's worth a hundred store bargains to experience.

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