Putting a smiley face on Olympic Games
My sister Elizabeth “Tizzie” Lambert and her husband Jack have lived in London for almost 50 years. Good for them. London ranks right up there with Chicago in world importance and history.
Don’t believe it? Go there, then check back with us.
London is wearing its best face this summer with the Olympic Games, including competition in such romantic sports as synchronized springboard diving, double sculls rowing and the ever-popular shooting of laser pistols and air-pellet rifles (what a thrill to see those little pellets fly through the air).
Tizzie, who went to Palatine High School and Wellesley College where one of her friends was movie-star Ali MacGraw of the 1970 tear-jerking “Love Story,” wrote for years for Architectural Digest before finally putting her laptop to rest. The magazine sent her around the world many times to places like Greece, India, France, Germany, Italy, Scotland and Ireland where she described the furnishings, gardens and landscaping at castles, mansions and homes of the rich and famous.
Jack, who went to Riverside-Brookfield High School, is a renown architect, having won Britain’s Local Hero Award for the restoration of the Thames River, including a complete dredging of muck and silt for boat traffic.
Tiz and Jack’s own garden is spectacular with an annual flower show that raises more than $3,500 for charity through an entrance fee, hot tea and petite cakes. How British!
They came out one morning to find then-prime minister Tony Blair sniffing the roses.
Tizzie wrote about 10 Downing St. years earlier when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister.
“Fortunately, she was home,” Tizzy said in her lovely, lyrical British accent. “We chatted it up on the stoop.”
I correctly interpreted that to mean they talked on the porch.
I learned other things about England in a 1988 trip there: They don’t buy gas; they buy petrol. They don’t mail things; they post them. They don’t watch television; they watch the telly.
Now you know.
I also learned you can’t ruffle the feathers of Royal Guards who rigidly stand in front of important government buildings and oversee functions of the royal family. I’m looking at a photo now of me unsuccessfully trying to engage one of them in conversation. I couldn’t even get him to blink his eyes. Not once did he tell me to bug off.
Tiz and Jack, who have two sons and nine grandchildren, believe in the British royalty system, saying Queen Elizabeth plays a viable role on the world stage.
“She’s very likeable,” Tiz said, adding people come from great distances just to be able to bow to her. They’re never disappointed.”
Tiz said transportation “is a little crazy right now, especially when the bicycle events are being held. Don’t take the bus if you can walk. Tickets are hard to come by. We were given tickets to the equestrian events. You never know who’s going to show up for those.”
The queen, maybe?
“Hope so,” Tizzie said, laughing.
Tiz feels Prince William will be a great king someday. “He and (wife) Kate Middleton are very popular,” she said. “Kate’s an absolute delight. She fits right in. It’s not unusual to see them out and about. (Younger brother) Harry, too.
Tiz and Jack were enthralled with the Opening Ceremony, especially when deaf children sang beautifully.
“Think about it,” she said. “How do you teach deaf children to do that when they’ve never even heard themselves?”
Overall opening ceremonies? Well done, as they say in Britain.