Sunday, November 06, 2005

Stalking and Gawking

Having decided not to spend Friday night in Point Reyes Station in anticipation of the visit of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, we stayed home and got up early Saturday morning. After a pretty, misty drive over to the coast, we pulled into the picturesque little West Marin town at 8 a.m., found a parking spot on an easy-getaway side street, and then just hunkered down in the car for a while, reading the paper, until the farmers got their booths set up. (They wouldn't sell us any produce before 9 a.m.)
There was a definite buzz in the air, and lots more color than in recent weeks. One proprietor shouted to another, "I've never seen folks dress so nicely for the market!"
And that wasn't the only gussied-up touch: There was more food for sale. Supplies of produce that earlier seemed to have waned with the changing of the season were miraculously on hand, but the truth is, well, twofold.
1) Normally the Toby's Barn Market ends the last Saturday of October. This year it was extended a week, to accommodate the special guests.
2) Knowing ahead of time about the special guests and the extension, the farmers hoarded their loveliest crops, or chose not to even reap them for a couple extra weeks, so that Nov. 5 would be a visual (and, of course, edible) feast. I joked with Peter Worsley that he'd been holding out, and he flashed a mute, pained expression. I mean, he even had tomatoes Saturday from his own garden, and I'd never seen a single tomato there in the past. (To his credit, he gave me one at the end of the day.) Here's a shot of him sexing up his pile of delicata squash, under the blue hubbards (and we bought one of each).
And not just more food. The woman who sells beautiful, naturally dyed homespun yarn had a couple of goats on the premises! Good photo-op, eh? And yes, later on the Prince petted them. (So did I.)
But here's the deal. After we bought some jewel-like beets and some perfect potatoes, we retreated to the Western Saloon across the street. Oh sure, drinking was happening, but for the record, orange juice and coffee were being poured. Then, when a set of barricades was moved into place, effectively forming a gateway directly into the saloon, we realized the royals would be popping in for a pop! Alas, we were invited to remove our plebeian butts from the barstools and join the throng behind the barricades outside. And this is when we saw that the market had also been cleared of commoners.
Thus began the wait. Every car (official only, of course) that passed by on the street prompted gasps. At one point, two horses and a mule headed our way, right in the center of the road. All the king's horses? Ah, but no... To a chorus of boos, these hapless but well-mounted locals were diverted to a back street, which led them to where we were standing. (They had a terrific altitude advantage for watching the unfolding events — "He's turning around. They're crossing the street!" — but they had to sit directly over the organic stench that inevitably plops to the asphalt when you make a horse stand in one place too long.)
When the royal entourage finally arrived (and with deadly precision; we'd been told it would be 10:45, and it was 10:45), they strolled the market for what seemed like an hour or more. Well, yeah, it was more. They were scheduled for the Western at 12:04, and that's when they finally crossed the street to "our" side. And that's when Cranky caught the money shot.The one I posted yesterday was pretty good, too, but I have to add this one, of the ugly little pug, Fred, whom Prince Charles actually petted right in that very doorway.
The truth is, that picture I posted yesterday of Prince Charles was literally a 1-in-100. Between Cranky and me, we shot 100 pictures — not all of them aimed properly, or even intentionally, at the royals.
Yesterday's unbelievably successful shot — I'm only 5'3" — was number 99.
This is what most of our attempts looked like. Every time Charles and Camilla loomed into view, hands clutching cameras of every sort (from cardbord to Darth Vader-esque) were thrust into the air, over the heads of the crowds lining the street.
Even Cranky, who is admirably height-endowed, took an awful lot of shots of hair and sleeves. (He needs to work on his aim.)
Ah, well. So at the end of the day, I chatted with a guy outside Tomales Bay Foods. He bragged that he had shaken the Prince's hand, and allowed me to shake his, for a contact high. I told him I had petted the goats.


Greg said...

The best advice I ever heard about taking photos. Use lots of film. your bound to get at least a few good ones. Yours rival what the papers got.

Kalyn said...

Sounds fun, and both photos are great.

mrs d said...

Hahhah! I've been to so many events like this, where I just snap and snap and snap and get two good shots and a hundred backs of people's heads. The two good shots makes it all worthwhile (and yours are great!) -- that is, if one has a digital camera. Oh, man I wasted a lot of money on that technique back when I was using film...

(I should note that every so often I actually get bunches of good shots -- like a year ago Sept at a John Edwards rally. I had a great vantage point and besides, damn, he was photogenic! :-))

cookiecrumb said...

Film! Bwa-ha-ha-ha! (Greg! No film!)

... sigh ...
John Edwards. Never did tell you about a horribly drunken Nov. 2, 2004, did I?

Anyway, thanks to you all for the compliments. I'm pleased.

mrs d said...

Drunken Nov 2nd... I can only imagine. I think we about polished off the liquor cabinet and many a spare wine bottle on that night and the next.

Anyway (no, don't wanna think about it anymore), that money shot of Prince Chaz is really quite good.

cookiecrumb said...

Thanks, Mrs. D. I'll tell Papi. (That's Bean Sprout's name for Cranky. It's also Aristotle's name for Markos, and give me a wink if you grok.)

LisaSD said...

Great pic!

mrs d said...


Y'know, it's been far too long since I've seen a cute baby Ari pic on those orange pages. Someone should nag someone about that...

cookiecrumb said...

I'll nag. It worked for you, didn't it? (Write, write)
PS: I've met Ari, his Mami and his Papi! At their house. Sat on the couch!
You're impressed. : )
(Everyone else! Tell me if you know what I'm talkin' about.)

mrs d said...

Damn, girl, I am impressed!

Oh, nags my way are definitely working: I'm up to 13,148 in my word count. Over 1/4 done! Wheeee!

Monkey Gland said...

You know I've lived in London a long time and I've only ever seen a Royal once. You pop down the market and get two at once! It was quite spooky actually...I was attempting to cross a road quite late at night and a few sheets to the wind, when I was stopped in my tracks by a motorcycle policeman, the queen then cruised by in a bentley and scared the living daylights out of me...I looked around for confirmation that this had actually happened, but alas no one else was on the street! Good shot though, I think you've got a career as a paparazzo!

Jennifer Maiser said...

I think my favorite part of this story is 1) how much everyone dressed up for the market with their great produce, etc. Of course they would -- I would too! But so interesting. and 2) The fact that they spent so long at that teeny tiny market. That's fantastic. You know that he must have spoken to each and every person. Totally great.

cookiecrumb said...

Monkey Gland: Well, if you count almost being run over by the King of Pop, then I've seen three royals! But it was no Bentley, I'll tell you.
Jennifer: I got the strongest feeling they were having a really good time. They chatted, tasted, prowled. Like you, they absolutely fell for West Marin. Did you see any pictures of the church they attended in Inverness? Beautiful.