And now for that unexpected happenchance I mentioned in my last blog …
Cue the chilling Emperor’s theme …
I had a fair amount of time to while away after parting with Jonathan and before meeting up with Caitlin to celebrate the end of her exams. The London sky looked like it wanted to unleash a torrent, but armed with my umbrella, I decided to stroll along the Thames toward the Jubilee Bridge [which I’d have to cross to get to “my” side of the river]. Just moments earlier, Jonathan and I had chanced the weather to eat our tasty lunch outside — such daredevils were we! 😉 If the Force was with me, 😉 the weather would hold out a little while longer, and I’d make it to my destination without getting drenched.
Near the bridge I had to cross was Foyles Bookstore. I am a sucker for bookstores to begin with, yet when I spotted the HUGE array of cards near the display windows, I KNEW I had to go in to check them out. [Some of you know my penchant for writing letters and notes, and I’m constantly on the lookout for new and pretty, unique cards. 🙂 ] I also was bound and determined to find a Dr. Who novel [for someone dear to me] published in England. [Silly as it may sound to some of you, it was important to me. 😉 ] I walked through the open doorway … and I was in HEAVEN!
I spent a good hour in Foyles — choosing card after card [the stack with which I came home added a fair amount of weight to my suitcase lol], and then perusing the shelves. At one point, one of the kind sales clerks came to relieve me of my “burden”, which I appreciated very much.
Satisfied with my choices, I made my way to the checkout, placed the additional items near my “mountain” on the counter, and the clerk began ringing up my purchase. “Are you a Star Wars fan?” she inquired. I chuckled good-naturedly, and pointed to my shirt. “How could you tell?” I asked and winked. 😉
“The Emperor was in our store yesterday,” she continued. Okay, here I was in London where the residents are accustomed to talking about royalty, but the last I heard, the UK had no “emperor”. Then it dawned on me. “The Emperor … as in Emperor Palpatine in Star Wars?” I exclaimed … trying to rein in my excitement.
Ian McDiarmid charming the audience at Star Wars Celebration VI
“Yes,” she verified. “He’s so nice, not at all like the character he played in Star Wars.” Oh … My … Gosh! “Did you talk to him? Ask him for his autograph?” I rushed on, beginning to sound like a starry-eyed school girl. lol It isn’t like I know the esteemed actor of both stage and film, but Ian McDiarmid certainly seemed to be exactly as the young clerk described when my daughter and I caught his first U.S. Star Wars Fan Celebration appearance in Orlando in 2012. You’d never catch Emperor Palpatine joking around — even with Darth Vader — but the Scottish-born actor was at ease doing just that as he shared stories of his days working on Star Wars in the air-conditioned theater almost two years ago.
“No, we like to leave famous people alone when they come into the store,” the young lady explained, bringing me back down to earth. I smiled, nodded, and said, “I can see that. Famous people deserve their moments of solitude. I probably would have done the same thing … but if I had the opportunity, I would have said, ‘hi.’ ” Then I gushed: “This is so cool!” I was standing at the counter where Ian McDiarmid stood no more than 24 hours earlier! I browsed the same aisles and shelves the Chancellor-turned-Emperor browsed just the day before! Maybe I even looked at a book he handled! I breathed the same air as The Emperor. I could feel the goose bumps — and the chill in the air 😉 — on my flesh! 😉 🙂
Okay, I know I wasn’t at the bookstore on the day, at the moment the Emperor-in-regular-clothing happened into Foyles, but I’m saying it was close enough. 😉 I’ll take the near miss. lol This is my 1 degree of separation. 🙂 lol Eventually, the palpatations of excitement subsided, but I’ll tell you this — I left that bookstore with a wide grin on my face! 😀
[In case you’re wondering, I did make it back to my hotel before the clouds opened. 😉 ]
If you don’t mind, I’d just like to share one more quick tale about my trip to the UK — that is germane to Star Wars. 🙂 Once Caitlin had finished all her exams, we decided to take a short trip up to Edinburgh. It’s a beautiful city, and we enjoyed ourselves immensely, but the one occurrence that made the visit extra special was reconnecting with a Star Wars friend who I haven’t seen in a number of years. David M. lives in Scotland’s capital city, and luckily was able to spend a couple of hours with Caitlin and me the morning before we had to head back to London. The years in between visits [the last time I saw David was when he was visiting the U.S.] just faded away. He was exactly as I had remembered him [I honestly cannot say he would be able to say the same about me 😉 ], and I was sorry to have to bid him good-bye.
Truly, one of the best aspects of being a fan of this incredible community is forging the friendships that I otherwise never would have had. In this regard, I really do consider myself incredibly lucky. 😀
That’s a wrap of my tales from my adventure across the pond. 🙂 I hope you’ve enjoyed them. I certainly have enjoyed sharing them with you. 🙂 Of course, I’d love for you to leave me a comment here, or, if you’d rather, please feel free to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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