Tag Archives: Winchester England

What Are You Waiting For Day

Saturday, February 28 was Open That Bottle Night. Great article in the Wall Street Journal about it, full of anecdotes, tips, and advice written by Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher, the creators of Open That Bottle Night.

They’re wine experts and they want you to quit saving that bottle of wine for a special occasion.

The occasions never seem to be special enough, so the bottle just sits. Open the wine, recall the reasons … the memories … the special events you saved it for in the first place.

Enjoy it!

Most important tip ”” be sure to have a back-up bottle in case yours has turned to vinegar. That could really put a damper on the festivities.

I really like this idea because, though I’m not a big wine drinker, I’ve started to use the teapot I bought in Winchester, England when I was a student there. It was crazy of 20-year-old me to think I could cart home a teapot, four cups and saucers and expect them to remain unshattered. But I was blessed with the optimism of youth. And sturdy luggage.

tea-set1

My teapot has always had a prominent place in the house, but for years I just glanced at it occasionally, reaching past it for some other kitchen gadget. I worried about breaking it and set it up high in the hutch twenty-some years ago when we started having kids.

But the first of these kids ”” my daughter ”” spent a semester in London recently and took a day trip full of perfect coincidence and charming serendipity to Winchester, to see this magical town where her parents lived for a short time, but talk about constantly.

Because of her trip, we’re back in touch with a zillion old Chapman College (now Chapman University) pals and seeing oodles of amusing photos from that time. Halloween costumes, unfortunate hair, shiny grins with a mouth full of metal. Ah, good times.

Anyway, memories keep flooding back. One was how my American roommate, Leslie, would put 20 pence on the porch of our house in Winchester before she went to bed and magically, in the morning there would be a bottle of milk waiting for her. We’d use the cream at the top in our tea, and she’d drink the rest. It was the beginning of my long friendship with tea. Unfortunately, I’ve lost touch with Leslie.

I noticed my teapot recently and stopped what I was doing to make a pot of tea, savoring both the warmth in my cup and the warmth of those days gone by. I’ve been making a pot of tea most evenings since then.

Why did I wait all these years to get reacquainted with my teapot?

As of this minute I am launching What Are You Waiting For Day. To be celebrated whenever, wherever and with whomever you want. The more often, the better!

Life is short ”” you never know what tomorrow will bring. Live your life … enjoy your special things … eat your hot dogs off Grandma’s china tonight … take that quilt off the wall and wrap up in it while you read to the kids … use a different spoon from your State Parks Spoon Collection to stir your coffee every day.

But remember where you got it ”” and why you saved it.

teacup

What are your special things? How will you start celebrating What Are You Waiting For Day?

Best Present Ever

My daughter certainly outdid herself this holiday.

When my hubbie and I were in college 27 years ago, we studied (and I use the term loosely) for the Fall semester at King Alfred’s College in Winchester, England, about an hour south of London. She just returned from almost the same experience, but she attended St Mary’s University College in Twickenham.

The week before she came home, she took a day trip to Winchester and saw where we lived for those months we still talk and reminisce about. She ate at our favorite pub, wandered around town, and took some pictures. But what she didn’t tell us was that she went into the King Alfred’s bookstore looking for some trinkets or memorabilia for us. She and the clerk started chatting and she told him her story, and it turned out to be a guy we went to school with there! Pictures and hilarity ensued and he showed her this book about the history of Winchester written by one of our professors! So she bought the book and went over to the college to try and track him down. People were scurrying around trying to find this guy so he could sign her book. Finally, they told her they couldn’t find him AND HE WALKED IN THE DOOR! He doesn’t teach there anymore but does occasional student advising. He’s rarely on campus anymore. So he signed her book, and more pictures and hilarity ensued.

Can you believe that?! She knew she couldn’t post any pictures on Facebook or say anything to any of us until we opened the gift on Christmas morning, so as she’s walking to the train station to leave Winchester she had to ask a lady for directions. Apparently it was complicated, so the lady just offered to walk her there. As they’re walking, my daughter, bursting at the seams to talk about her day, said, “Can I tell you something really fabulous and amazing?” And in that polite British way, the lady allowed her to tell the entire story. She agreed it was pretty amazing.

She also gave her 16-year-old brother his most thoughtful gift ”” probably ever! Before she even left for England in September, she took an old stuffed monkey of his. Then when she was out-and-about in her travels, she took a photo of the monkey at different landmarks and made a Monopoly board ”” sorry, Monkey-opoly board ”” for him out of the photographs. For the “Go To Gaol” space she got a security guard at the British Museum or somewhere to hold the monkey in one hand and pretend to send him to jail. For the “chance” spaces she put the monkey on the “Mamma Mia” sign in front of the theatre. He didn’t understand the connection, so she had to explain that one of the songs has the lyric “take a chance on me.” Which he didn’t REALLY get until he heard me play Abba’s Greatest Hits CD over and over and over and over and over and over … well, you get it … on Christmas.

We actually played Monkey-opoly the other night, but she realized she didn’t label the property squares. She didn’t think she needed to, but saw we had trouble figuring out whether we were buying and building hotels on St-Martins-in-the-Field or the National Portrait Gallery.

Very clever, my girl, but she’s really going to have to conjure up some magic next year to top this one! And, of course, she puts us all to shame.

What was your most thoughtful gift, given or received?