If I may be so bold as to start this incredible story by quoting a verse from Fred Astaire's "Puttin On The Ritz"
If you're blue and you don't know where to go to
Why don't you go where fashion sits,
Puttin' on the ritz.
This English Garden Party brought out the royalty of "The British Car Club of Cape Breton". I must also mention that this English Garden Party came complete with fascinators for the ladies and this English Garden Party also involved Scullery Maids. Royalty, Fascinators, Scullery Maids you ask? Puttin on the Ritz. Read on.
We, Lonnie and Paula Garnier, The Baron and Baroness of Big Bras D'or. have invited the honourable members of the British car Club of Cape Breton to their Estate on the Hill of Maples, Big Bras D'or for a afternoon of pleasantries. Such pleasantries included strolling through the gardens, explore the surrounding forest, sitting and gossiping of recent events and of course to be treated to a true English Dinner. The Baron and Baroness have been extremely busy preparing their gardens for the events and all the hard work paid off. I must say, the Baron, on one particular day, felt like running home crying, he was so exhausted from the over enthused Baroness.
The day started early for the Scullery Maids, they were up and at it, toiling away in the kitchen at 5am. In the above photos the Baroness allowed the Scullery Maids time to go home and change into something more appropriate for serving the elite of the British Car Club of Cape Breton. The little one you see is a Campbell, a scullery maid in training but she had no part of that, she was out hobnobbing with the elite. Perhaps a future baroness. We shall see.
The scullery maids worked feverishly to prepare such delicacies as.
APPETIZERS = Bacon Wrapped Scallops - Cucumber Sandwiches - Vegetable and Fruit Trays
MAIN COURSE = Homemade Baked Beans - Fish Cakes - Sausages - Homemade Rolls - Tea Biscuits
DESSERT = Trifle - Raisin Tarts - Shortbreads - Oatcakes - Brownies
REFRESHMENT = Mimosa - Tea - Coffee - Lemonade
Don't let these pictures fool you, the scullery maids had flour on their cheeks and foreheads, this is why there heads are turned.
It wasn't long before things started to shape up. The Kitchen Wenches.... I mean scullery maids had the food table filled awaiting our guests. They carved a watermelon into a tea pot then fill it with chunked up melon and surrounded it with other tasty delights such as honeydew, pineapple and strawberries. Campbell tasted the strawberries to see if they were fresh enough. It seems as though they were, because she continued to visit this particular tray throughout the day.
Ah yes, finally, all is set and the baronesses can relax for a photo in front of one of her beautiful gardens. Not to be outdone, Campbell decided to relax on the very same bench as well for a photo.
Our distinguished guests started to arrive. I would like to announce Bobby and Anita The Earl and Countess of the Dominican. Their attire is rather fitting for today as the sun refused to make it's presence known. Bobby sporting a UK leather jacket and Anita in her lovely red white and blue ensemble with a British flag umbrella. Perfect, and welcome to our humble estate.
His Royal Highness Fon Fozo ll of the Awing tribe, past Commonwealth country know as British Cameroons, wished to advise that he will be represented by Mbah-ntiante, a Chief of his Tribe at our Tea Party. Peter and his Lovely wife Sandy arrived in there carriage powered by Jaguar not horses. I could write a story in itself on these two. With all the aide work Peter has done in Cameroon, his Royal Highness Fon Fozo ll dubbed Peter a Chief of their tribe. A very grand Honour and something to be very proud of. It's an honour to have both of you as our guests today.
Arriving next and being greeted by Mbah-ntiante (Peter) is Alfred and Donna, the Duke and Duchess of Ben Eoin. Both dressed very casual, Alfred sporting a English Drivers Hat and Donna sporting a a tartan cap. Seeing whereas the Beautiful B, with the great looking tan top belongs to Donna, maybe she should be wearing the English Drivers Hat.
I had to place a small heater in the BCCCB Events Tent to make it a tad more comfortable on this chilly day but I am not sure it was needed. Once the Royalty of the BCCCB arrived the place truly warmed up. Cucumber Sandwich anyone?
Once the scullery maids seen guests arriving they started their steady steam of removing and replenishing the food and beverages. This particular run was to put out the Mimosa. Mimosa is a drink of orange juice and champagne. A royal treat for sure. One of our guests commented that the orange juice was really really good. I am sure it was, as it was gone in a flash.
Next, driving up the long driveway leading to the manor, Joseph and Jean Renzi, Vicere and Viceregina of Charlotte, in their vintage British Frog-eye Sprite. Joseph, with the hot Italian blood rushing through his veins was wearing a very sporty outfit with Breeches. Very Sharp, and with the lovely Jean on his arm, dressed to dazzle, they make an outstanding couple. Welcome to our humble yet extraordinary English Garden Party.
Next to Arrive, Dapper Don the Esquire of Englewood. Don arrived wearing a very sporty lady killer outfit with a panama hat and a blue ascot. Don's past involved crime fighting and humanitarian deployment, the blue ascot is a part of his UN uniform from a stint overseas. A very nice touch. Next arriving in true English Flare, Bill and Susan English, Knight and Dame of Howie. I see Bill and I am reminded of stories of Allan Quartermain, an English-born professional big game hunter and trader in South Africa. Throughout the day Bill and Susan explored the forest that surrounds the estate on the Hill of Maples. Bill and Susan discovered our secret brook nestled deep in the forest. One day we hope to bridge the brook and develop the trail leading to the centuries old, very large spruce. A very nice tranquil walk.
Next we have Donnie Steel and his lovely wife Ann Marie, Count and Countess of Anglia. Donnie arrived wearing a top hat and carrying a cane but Donnie felt it looked better on their Carriage. Not so but seeing that this is where Donnie placed them, I took the picture and it came out great, a true British photo for sure. Ann Marie Arrived in everyday wear in fears of a carriage breakdown along the way. Upon arrival, Ann Marie rushed into the manor and transformed into a very stunning Countess.
As the gentlemen discussed Bills travels and Carriage repairs, Norm and Joan Connors, The Duke and Duchess of Amy arrived. Norm looking very Dashing in a top hat and cane while Joan, Norms lovely wife eluded the camera. I am thinking she continued to duck me on purpose. There are a lot who are camera shy and so, a picture of this very lovely lady is missing from this story. I am so sorry.
The BCCCB events tent is filling up and I reminded our distinguished guests the they are welcome to go inside the manor if they wished. I guess the little heater kept the events tent toasty. It was either that or the fact that this is where the food and the Mimosa is. Either way the events tent was a very popular spot.
Next on the list of attendees Bill and Moragh MacDonald the Elector and Electress of Cape Breton North. Exiting their trusty steed I see Moragh is sporting a very British T-shirt. Very acceptable for an occasion such as this. Bill as well seems to have avoided the camera as I can't seem to find a singe photo of him. Next guests to arrive Mike and Mary MacIsaac the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Sydney North. Mike was undecided to wear his tux but the lovely Mary pulled out all the stops. Mary was nothing less the stunning in her outfit. Mary has adapted very quickly into the British car Experience and is willing to go the extra mile for fun. Way to go Mary, you look marvellous.
Rolling up the driveway in their freshly painted B we have on our list of attendees, Lee and his lovely wife Sheila MacKenzie the Duke and Duchess of Coldbrook. Lee is pretty much up for anything and he looks pretty spiffy in his suit, top hat and umbrella. Sheila would look good in just about anything but today she looks exceptional in her outfit topped off with a wide brim hat. Perfect for an English Garden Party. A pleasure to have you folks join us today.
Next the dynamic duo Bob Jardine and Judy Quinn, the Archduke and Archduchess of Regent. I wore a top hat and Bob a bowler but the rest of our apparel was pretty much the same. Great minds think alike. The lovely Judy is another lady of the BCCCB who would look good in anything and today she decided on playing it safe with regular clothing. Paula and I were worried that we were the only ones that will to dress up for the English Garden Party, maybe Judy thought the same thing. Anyway she looks lovely. I was so hoping that today was the unveiling day for the freshly restored B but a weak clutch master cylinder side lined the car. A silver lining to this is that the roof isn't on the car yet and with the threat of rain all day, I am sure Bob would not have been comfortable worrying about a deluge of rain on his very nice looking interior. Welcome and thank you for coming/
The next two to arrive to join in on the merriment is Barc.... Lord Cunningham of Blacketts Lake and Carol ... Lady Miller of Healey. Lady Miller arrived looking absolutely astounding. Lady Miller continues to do so much for the BCCCB that it's an honour for us to be able to have an event where she could sit and share some gossip with the other ladies of the club. Lord Cunningham arrived wearing a kilt, I couldn't think of anything more appropriate for this occasion. Don't throw this away, there may be more events such as this to follow. We'll get back to Lord Cunningham later in the story. Who is this coming up the driveway? Could it be the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge?
Ahh yes Ricky and Sharon Cousins, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The duke is quite the ladies man and a gentleman indeed, as you can see as he offers his hand to the Duchess to help her out of the carriage. My heavens what a handsome couple. Their attire for today is so elegant, very fitting for royalty of the BCCCB. Ricky, on one or two occasions today was referred to as young Winston and I must agree with those who thought that he reminded them of Winston Churchill . Now there is a little secret to the outfit the Duchess is wearing. Under her hat she is wearing a tiara that she wore when she was three years of age. A very nice touch. A pleasure to have you both with us today.,
The events tent is now full and people are mingling everywhere. Perfect! Above you see Norm greeting the Grand Duchess Mary and Countess Ann Marie on the lawn. It was a chilly afternoon but no one seemed to mind it was all about the fun and friendship. Add The Baroness Garnier and Campbell to the group on the lawn and what a sight, just look at the outfits that they wore. This is what an English Garden Party should look like. Perhaps if the sun had of came out the flies may have as well so I am quite happy with the way things turned out.
Yes the events tent was filled with not only people but food as well, so a few of us took the show inside the garage. Here Barc, Lord Cunningham, had shown us he is a man of many hats and one of them has red hair attached to it, A true ham. His preference is the tartan hat with the MG logo on it. Lets see, a kilt, tartan hat with an MG logo in it and all the while drinking Old Speckled Hen Beer from a tankard, a true Brit for sure. Living the dream as they say.
Time for the food. Fresh homemade Buns to go with your homemade baked beans and very delicious fishcakes and sausages. How much more British can you get? While many dined inside, others milled about the luscious green lawn chatting. The Lovely Baroness of Big Bras D'or entertained both in the tent and throughout the grounds all day. The fog you see in the background just added to the British effect.
Ray and Georgian, the Marguis and Marquess of Mary Lee, Arrived in time for late afternoon tea. We don't get to see very much of this lovely couple as they travel extensively as ambassadors to our great island, spreading the good humour that the Kingdom of Cape Breton has to offer. Once again the scullery maids are hard a work supplying a continuous supply of hot English Breakfast Tea. I see scullery maid Patricia is using the tea cozy Jean, the Viceregina of Charlotte presented as a gift, over the tea pot.
Here, a couple of Photos of two very well dressed socialites of the BCCCB. Ricky the Duke of Cambridge and Mary the Grand Duchess of Sydney North. What great outfits folks. Both of you were perfect for this elegant event and it shows great club spirit dressing as you did. Looks marvellous.
The food table was a busy spot. The scullery maids continued serving food and drink, I am sure everyone had their fill. Do take note. If you look very closely you will see a few of the ladies drinking tea with their little finger extended. Now how is that for class? Without a doubt we have some very classy ladies here at the BCCCB
Just a few more notable photos very worthy of showing in this great story. First, Peter, Chief Mbah-ntiante and his lovely wife Sandy. I must have missed a photo of Brian McKeigan, The Baron of Sangaree but I do have a photo of his lovely wife Arleen, the Baroness of Sangaree and what a lovely photo it is. What a beautiful lady. With the Baroness we have the Viceregina of Charlotte Jean Renzi. Two very beautiful ladies of the BCCCB. Speaking of beautiful, Carol, Lady Miller of Healey, is both beautiful on the inside as well as out. We so much enjoy her company and she looks so lovely dressed to the nines.
Bill, the Knight of Howie Took this picture of us, the Baron and Baroness of Big Bras D'or with Campbell. Thanks Bill, the only one of us together. Also Sharon, the Duchess of Cambridge took the next photo of us with Lord Cunningham, a great photo. Paula has such a great smile but I believe here she is ready to burst into laughter. My heavens what a great day. We can't believe it went off as good as it did.
What a good looking bunch. The male Royalty of the British Car Club Cape Breton. A handsome looking lot of blokes if I have ever seen one. You know what they say. "Behind every good man is a women telling him what to do". Just look below.
And these are they, the women who tells us what to do. What a regal looking bunch. I am very proud of this club and what we accomplished but I am even more proud of these ladies of the BCCCB. Yes we leave greasy fingerprints around the house and we spend a little to much time and money on our cars and none of you smacked us yet, or at least left a bruise where others could see. You put up with our crap and look after our lives and yet you all still manage to look like you walked off the cover of Vogue Magazine. You folks are the backbone to this great club.
What a great day! The weather was cool but the warmth of friendship kept us all comfortable. If it wasn't for the scullery maids. Patricia MacIntyre (Paula's Mother) and Roxanne MacLeod (Paula's Sister), I am not sure how well this English Garden Party would have come together. Thank you so very much form Paula and I, as well as from all the members of the BCCCB who attended. A little secret I'll share with our members....... Roxanne and Patricia are already planning next years English Garden Party. They even have the menu planned. So don't throw out that old hat or that old dress and search for whatever you need that you couldn't find this year because next year will be bigger and better.
I hate to say this but you know how it goes. If you weren't there you missed it. I wouldn't do that again. Come along next time.
A BIG THANK YOU TO ALL WHO PARTICIPATED. The BCCCB is nothing without you.
A few links to help you become a true Gentleman (click) and how to act as a true lady (click).
With a tip of my top hat and a wink of my eye, I bid you good day.`