You can get a taste of English culture without ever leaving home — just sample these recent British “imports”:
• The Pokemon craze seemingly cut short Po, Laa Laa, Dipsy and Tinky Winky’s day in the sun. Which maybe isn’t so bad! Check the official British Broadcasting Company “Teletubbies” Web site for more <www.bbc.co.uk/education/teletubbies/>.
• Regis Philbin is riding on the coattails of the original British version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” (Note that the US version of the show assaulted the Queen’s English by dropping the question mark.) Here’s the Web site for the real McCoy: <www.phone-a-friend.com/data/main_f.htm>.
• You don’t have to travel to England anymore to buy a tea towel in Harrod’s green and gold: Harrod’s went online last fall <www.harrodsonline.com>.
• British author J.K. Rowling was an unemployed single mom when she invented junior wizard Harry Potter. She said the character popped into her head during an “interminable Manchester-London train journey.” The rest is bestseller history. (The fourth Harry Potter book is due this summer.) For an interview with Rowling, see <www.writersdigest.com/wd2000/rowling.html>.
Americans changed the side of the road they drive on, modified the traditional British spellings of “flavour” and “saviour” and quit calling potato chips “crisps,” but there’s still plenty of England alive in the United States. So if you can’t muster the pounds to cross the pond, check out these British-themed attractions and events:
MAGNA CARTA King John’s 1215 agreement to grant rights and liberties to all “free men in the kingdom” lives now with the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in the National Archives Rotunda, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20408 <www.nara.gov/exhall/charters/ magnacarta/magrnain.html>.
D. H. LAWRENCE RANCH/HOTEL LA FONDA When Lady Chatterly’s Lover and D.H. Lawrence’s nude oil paintings were banned in England in 1929, he sought refuge in lovely Taos, N.M. Some of his formerly scurrilous works are on display at Hotel La Fonda (108 South Taos Plaza, Taos, NM 87571. 505-758-2211). Lawrence’s ashes are enshrined at his ranch, atop Lobo Mountain off Highway 64.
LONDON BRIDGE The very same London Bridge that spanned the River Thames from the 1830s until 1968 now connects Lake Havasu City, Ariz., with the rest of the world. It took three years and $7 million – in 1968 dollars — to get the bridge across the pond. For information, contact the Lake Havasu Tourism Bureau at (800) 242-8278 or check <www.arizonaguide. com/cities/ lakehavasu/london.htmb.>
QUEEN MARY The city of Long Beach, Calif., bought the enormous British ocean liner after its last voyage in 1967 and turned it into a floating museum. Now it’s more of a wedding-reception/fancy-party place, but if you take the Shipwalk Tour, make sure to visit the Isolation Wards and aft Machine Rooms. For hours and admission, call (562) 435-3511 or check the Web <www.queenmary.com>.
BEATLES IN NEW YORK The Fab Four turned the Big Apple on its ear with their 1965 show at Shea Stadium (12601 Roosevelt Ave., Flushing, NY, 718-699-4220). And of course there’s the Dakota (1 W 72nd St.), where John Lennon’s life ended tragically on Dec. 8, 1980. Across from the Dakota, though, is Strawberry Fields in Central Park South (at West 72nd Street).
VICTORIAN HOME WALK During a two-hour walking tour of San Francisco’s posh Victorian neighborhoods you’ll learn to tell a Queen Anne from an Edwardian and an Italianate. The tours start daily at 11 a.m. at the Weston St. Francis Hotel at Union Square. For more information, call (415) 252-9485 or see the Web <www.victorianwalk.com>.
STRATFORD FESTIVAL OF CANADA (Stratford, Ontario, Canada): Shakespeare himself surely would be impressed with this internationally renowned celebration of his words. The 2000 season runs from May 3 to Nov. 5 in Stratford, Ont. For more information, call (800) 567-1600 or see <www.stratford-festival. on.ca/>.
BOSTON TEA PARTY SHIP AND MUSEUM In addition to learning more about the political and economic turmoil that boiled into the American Revolution, you can toss a bale of tea over the side of the Brig Beaver II, a full-size replica of one of the three original Boston Tea Party ships. For more information, hours and ticket prices, call (617) 338-1773 or see <www.historic tours.com/boston/ teaparty.htm>.
PAUL REVERE HOUSE If only Paul Revere knew his midnight ride on April 18, 1775, would turn him into a legend…. Today his home is a national historic landmark and downtown Boston’s oldest building. Take a tour and imagine what it was like to live in colonial America. For visitor hours and information on special programs, call (617) 523-2338, write Paul Revere House, 19 North Square, Boston, MA 02113, or see the Web <www.paulreverehouse.org/>.
DICKENS ON THE STRAND The Galveston (Texas) Historical Society turns its Historic Landmark District into a maze of men in tophats and kids with soot-streaked faces during the first weekend in December. It’s a great day of juggling, penny-whistle playing and street music. For more information, call (409) 765-7834 or check out Galveston’s Web site <www.galveston.com>.
From the June 2000 issue of Family Tree Magazine