Friday, 3 August 2012

Miss Whojimaflip's Norwegian Escapades 1969: 7. Britannia Rules The Fjords

'The Hotel Alexandra is named after our Queen, you know,' said Mrs Whojimaflip and in a manner of speaking she was right. In around 1892 the Kvammes Hotell was renamed after Princess Alexandra of Denmark who married Prince Edward who became King Edward VII. Done so more as a marketing exercise and as the tourists in Norway were predominantly British, you can understand the sentiment of wanting to make them feel at home.

This was the last day of Mrs Whojimaflip's holiday. Everything seemed remarkably normal. She had trouble with the plumbing, was beaten to the Cold Table by the Bunty Sisters and the huge family with the daughter who liked to pile her plate high seven times, and to make matters worse she twisted her ankle and fell into a watery ditch, getting her usual daily soaking.

In Bergen the crowds were twenty deep. 

'What is all the fuss about?' Mrs Whojimaflip asked a bystander.

'Your Queen is coming today - very shortly.'

Sure enough, H.M.Y. Britannia steamed into port. The whole Royal Family were on board. Mrs Whojimaflip climbed a lamppost and relayed instructions. 

'Prince Charles looks very red. He has sunstroke. He and Prince Philip have been fishing.' 

In the melee she got lost on her way to Bergen airport and nearly missed her plane. She hurriedly bought her duty free - 400 cigarettes and two bottles of brandy which was over the limit and on arrival at Newcastle Airport she had a heated argument with Customs before having to pay a fine. She was the last to board the plane and had to scuttle across the airfield. It was the same steward who had ticked her off on the outward journey for getting on the plane too early who was beginning to close the door.

'Oh no, not you again,' he said as Mrs Whojimaflip rushed past.

'How marvellous,' Mrs Whojimaflip said as she sat down in her favourite armchair at home. 'Back in time for tea, too.'

'How was your holiday?' asked her neighbour.

'It was just a delightful, peaceful and restful time.'

Now that is a truly British piece of understatement.  

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