Sunday, January 12, 2020
New Collar, and a Panto
As promised, here's a photo of Olga's new collar. Given the price, you might have expected something with more bling, or maybe even a designer label. But no -- this is the same brand and style as Olga's previous collar, and although it's a premium brand, it's probably not a name you would recognize (Harry Barker).
Olga's old collar was pink with green piping, and I'd have bought that one again but it was unavailable. So I opted for taupe with pink.
The reason this collar was so ridiculously expensive (about £42, or $55) wasn't really due to the collar itself, which was only £17.60 ($23). It was due to all the secondary costs -- £11 for shipping from the USA, plus a £5.66 customs duty imposed by the British government and an £8 Royal Mail "handling fee." If I'd known all that was going to rain down upon me, I'd have found something similar here in Britain. But oh well.
Olga is pictured on the Heath, where we went yesterday. As you can see, by the time I took the photo at the beginning of our walk, she'd already christened her new collar with a light spatter of mud.
It turned out to be a fantastic day to walk. It was cloudy and a bit blustery, so not many people were out. It felt like we had the Heath mostly to ourselves. (This is one of Olga's favorite areas for squirrel-hunting, by the way -- there are always lots of squirrels in these trees. As you can see, she's way up ahead on the path, scouting.)
This clump of early snowdrops on the West Heath is, reliably, in bloom before any others. (I take this photo every year. It's become a tradition.)
Afterwards, we walked back through Golders Hill Park, where Olga admired the bright yellow and red of the dogwood stems. (Well, OK, maybe I admired them, while she looked for squirrels.) These dogwoods are a different species from the American dogwood tree, but in the same family. They're grown partly because their stems are so colorful in winter. I don't think the American dogwood grows here -- at least, I've never seen it.
Last night, I had a new British cultural experience. I got together with some co-workers and went to a panto, or pantomime -- my first one! Pantos are small-scale theater productions involving cross-dressing actors, slapstick humor and audience participation, and they're traditional in Britain, particularly around the holidays. The one I saw was based on Pinocchio, and it was hilarious. (Admittedly, I'd had a few pints beforehand.) I realized as I watched that the well-known "Rocky Horror Picture Show," which so many of us have seen around the world, is basically a panto.
I'm still enjoying Tina Brown's book. Here's my favorite line from yesterday's reading. Brown and her husband visited Lord Lambton, a "reprobate peer" disgraced by a sex scandal in government, at his villa in Italy in 1985. She wrote afterwards: "I could see him watching me behind his shades like a horny reptile."