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Day Twenty-Nine: London

August 29, 2006

Christmastime is Mr. Crumpet and Orange Bear’s favorite time of the year, but at the Harrods department store in Knightsbridge, you can enjoy the yuletide spirit months in advance — this year, the decorations have already gone up.

Orange Bear has supported this shameless commercialism if only for the Harrods annual Christmas bear, a tradition to which he feels deeply connected.

Speaking of shopping in London, Mr. Crumpet is always keen to visit the mother lode: the Edward Bates hat shop in St. James’s.

At Bates Hatters, Mr. Crumpet gets his hat on.

Tall hats abound in London. Posted outside Buckingham Palace, the iconic Queen’s Guard in their tall fur hats —

“Stop,” says Orange Bear. “You know what kind of fur they use?”

You mean…

“Don’t say it!”

Orange Bear is OK with the tall hats still worn by those other authority figures whom tourists love snapping pictures of: the ubiquitous London bobbies.

“The life borne in a tall hat is sweetest of all,” says Mr. Crumpet.

Lest their cultured sensibilities should wither in the throes of soulless consumerism, Mr. Crumpet and Orange Bear visit Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, the modern-day replica of the original, where the Bard’s plays are performed during the summer season (May-October).

I have seen Sackerson loose twenty times, and have taken him by the chain… (The Merry Wives of Windsor)

“Oh, poor, tragic Sackerson,” laments Orange Bear. “At least he didn’t suffer the ignominy of becoming a hat.”

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