by Elaine Carlson

I was happy after I woke up and stumbled into the kitchen to learn that right away I could fix my coffee. For about the last three weeks I have been grinding my own coffee beans. I am sure those freshly ground beans make much better coffee than the coffee in the cans I used to buy. 

I can barely think of a more horrible way to start a day than to realize that the night before I forgot to grind any coffee. I know it doesn't really take me long to do that small chore but any wait to get coffee into my system causes a strain. 

Besides using my grinder yesterday, I cleaned my kitchen. While I am sitting and drinking my coffee I look at and admire my clean place - such a pleasure.

I went around and put stuff into those sturdy trash bags with ties. As I went through the kitchen (and to a lesser extent the rest of the house) I kept saying, “This has to go.” But seven bags? That just means I buy too much.

I also started a pile I will save for a thrift store. Later I regretted I didn't put a bigger portion of my discards into that pile.

While I was working so hard to make my place good enough to be featured in a Better Homes and Gardens photo shoot, I wondered what spring cleaning is like for the British Royal Family. I am sure their living quarters are big enough - just think, a palace! – they don't have to throw anything away. They can just tell their servants (House Staff?) to haul what they think of as clutter to another room. 

I looked online and learned that Buckingham Palace has been the Royal Residence since 1837 and Queen Victoria (that year to 1901) was the first British monarch to live there. It has 775 rooms: 19 State Rooms, 52 Royal and Guest Bedrooms, and 188 Staff Bedrooms. 

Just think, for the last 185 years all of the casts-off that could have been put into those other 586 rooms, or at least into the rooms that are not being used as kitchens, bathrooms, libraries (or dens), wine cellars, and maybe gyms or children's playrooms. That could be some garage sale Queen Elizabeth II (1952 to present) could put on if she so desired!

The movement of royal furniture and knickknacks might not just be in one directions. I think it is possible someone (either a royal or a worker) decides something is needed to first look in one of those “storage” rooms to see if there is something they could use.   

I have fun imagining what might happen if one of the workers at Buckingham Palace were to go on the game show Jeopardy. In the part of that show where the host talks to the guests we can imagine the following conversation:

“Our guest is from England and works at Buckingham Palace,” the host would say. “And don't you sleep on the same bed Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria, slept on?”

“Yes I do,” the British guest will say, “But the sheets are new.”

It is all a matter of speculation but now more and more people are guessing that it might not be too long before Prince Charles will be placed into the job he has been waiting for most of his life. He became the Heir Apparent (or second in line to the thrown) in 1952 when he was three years old and his mother became Queen. He has been waiting for his big job for seventy years. 

And of course I look forward to watching Prince Charles. Of course, he is going to do his level best to look sad (after all, it was his own mother who just died) but I bet he will have trouble masking his own satisfaction that he is finally going to have the job he has waited for so long to have.

My curiosity extends beyond how Charles will handle himself during the funeral for his mother and his own coronation proceeding - to what he and his wife, Camilla, will do after they get to the top. Will she become Princess Camilla (the husband of Queen Elizabeth II was referred to as Prince Phillip). Or will she still be Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall? 

I wonder if it is possible that after taking enough time to settle in and she gets used to being Princess Camilla, the consort of the King, she will decide, “there is too much stuff here,” and organize and host garage sale.

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