"What a lovely couple," I say in my best English accent. I know she has been up since dawn, descaling her tea pot and assembling the proper English breakfast required of such occasions.
The menu includes sausages, bacon and egg "butties," biscuits, ginger lemon cookies and something called Jaffa cakes. The telly is tuned to the BBC and Jane is singing along as some old hymn called "Jerusalem" fills the Abbey. She says it's as English as it gets. She says the same thing about curry.
I wish I was there, I tell her. Not in the Abbey. I'm talking about Jane's house just a little southwest of London, near Fort Lauderdale, where my friends and I have eaten our weight in sausages and trifle over the years.
It has been our tradition to observe any and all English occasions at Jane's house. Most of them we just make up, like Sting Night and High Tea for No Reason at All Except to Coerce Jane into Making Trifle for Us.
We insist on rigid adherence to English traditions and cuisine, bait her into anti-American ranting and eat like royalty. We have also made a very poor showing for the U.S. educational system by repeatedly losing to the English at such things as U.S. presidential trivia, but that's another story. We drink Pimm's with cucumber and after more than a decade, have very nearly learned to make tea.
And so we are here today to honor the English, who have given us so much of what makes life interesting. Like men with English accents. Camelot. James Bond. The Tudors. Also, some of my very favorite people, without whom I would have no way of knowing how to properly wear a tiara. Or anything else with the word "properly" in it.
"No tilting," Jane says firmly. But why haven't I got a nice hat with a feather in it instead? I will get one, I promise. It is not easy being English, even for one day.