Saturday, April 30, 2011

"10.51 ????!!"

I am not, as most of you will know, a royalist but when my Italian friends and students ask if I will be watching this Friday's extravaganza, my reply is, "Yes - for the sheer, British precision of it."

When I explain further, my students do not believe me when I tell them that everything is timed not to the minute, but to the second and when I show them the timetable of events, they are even more incredulous.

"10.51??!!  Mamma mia!" they shriek when they read that the bride will leave for the Abbey at that time.  "But why not 10.50 or 10.55?" 

"Because everything is worked out with military precision", I reply, hiding, I hope, a smug, British smile.

In a country where an event planned to start at, say, 9pm can begin as late as 9.45 pm [if you are lucky] this  obsession with punctuality that the British seem to have does, at the very least, raise eyebrows and when everyone has finished being incredulous, they express a certain admiration.

Then I shrug my shoulders like a Sicilian and ask them to indulge my compatriots on this one day:  we are not good at very much any more, but nobody does precision like us!

Meanwhile, I am ready with my Royal Wedding sick bag:


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