Notwithstanding the wicked "jet lag" I got from my fear-of-flying Ativan(s), knocked back with champagne(s) stolen from the first class trolley – my England is a merry place, and home to the little bastard's Uncle Stu. While my brother is the doting, fiscally-responsible Uncle – Stu is the charming, larger than life, will he ever grow up (I hope not) -Uncle. With Stu, we visited the Tower of London – where he chased a few Swedish au pairs from the Crown Jewels to the Royal Armouries – and from there, carried on to his favourite haberdashery, favourite wine shop, favourite pub, favourite smallest pub, largest pub, The Bridesmaid's Arms, The Butcher's Arms, The Punter's Arms and finally, the Masturbator's Arms.
Wimbledon, aside from the Pimm's, was the only respite we had from Uncle Stu's generous and libatious tour of his adopted country. Wimbledon – and window shopping on King's Road.
At the time, Uncle Stu lived in Chelsea – and for those who haven't been to that part of London – think Nanny's pushing prams that cost more than my first car. Think Designer Guild, Cath Kidston and Osborne & Little. Think of delicious little antique shops, paper shops, button shops, ribbon shops, curio shops, lamp shops, and a large mirror in a shop window that said, "Blimey, do all Canadian women dress like fucking, backpacking lesbians?" I have never felt so under-dressed and under-monied in my life – but I was drunk on the unique sights, textures, ideas, and unique "if only" possibilities that is King's Road shopping.
Maritime Travel has a bloody marvelous opportunity to pop a few Ativans and head over to London's Chelsea Flower Show, May 23 to 27th. And, if Chelsea shopping and mingling with horsey toothed Burberry addicts at the Royal Horticultural Society's most famous "feast for the imagination" isn't enough to get your brolley in a bag – Maritime Travel is sending along the effervescent flower guru, Neville MacKay as your guide. There's no way in hell Neville's as fun as Uncle Stu, but the man does light up a room.
And really, who gives a shit about the flowers. Just go, and be inspired by beautiful things everywhere you turn. Plus, escorted tours are great for several reasons: You don't have to think. And you don't have to worry or plan. Someone will be there to mop up your airplane drool. And, if you play your cards right, you may learn something – like never mix peonies with lilacs.
Or champagne with Ativan.
For more information on Maritime Travel's Escorted Chelsea Flower Show junket, click on the flowers to the right or call Maritime Travel at 1.800.593.3334. Space is limited. www.maritimetravel.ca