Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Egging

Jenny Kennedy01 Apr, 2024 5 Min Read
Nice potato rolls.

What I will always remember most about Easter is being invited to the White House when I was just seven. Daddy had made the transition from geophysical/reservoir engineer to mechanical engineer and was in high demand to save the planet. Or at least build its pipelines. I also remember a smiling President George W. Bush bending down and saying 'Ni hao' to me. Of course I didn’t know Chinese and no one had said ni hao to me in my life but I guess he thought he was being clever. English was the only language we spoke, the sole language spoken in British Colonial Hong Kong where I had been born, and the sole language spoken in London and Canada where we had also lived. Even at seven this seemed a silly thing to say but then what could one expect from a man flanked by two giant costumed rabbits?

I was shuttled away rather quickly to mingle with hordes of children dressed in summer clothes with coats over them—presumably Easter clothes, but I will always take this as confirmation that the planet is getting hotter. Flash forward to today… there isn’t a coat in sight.

How do you say "Happy Easter" in Chinese?

In the very same year that I was born, the Liberian tanker, Odyssey, spilled four times more oil than the much more famous Exxon Valdez. Perhaps that motivated my father to provide safe oil transport via pipelines, but by the time we got to the White House there had been so many oil spills even I knew what an oil-soaked duck looked like.

Just a few feet away I could hear President Bush making exploding sounds as he reenacted exploding gaskets, and giant waves. I stifled a smirk and spied him from the corner of my eye. I knew they were talking about the Malaysian cargo ship that had recently cracked in half and leaked 1.2 million litres of fuel oil but I had to stay away and pretend to be hunting for eggs.

In the climate world my position is clear and well-respected. I’m for an end to global warming, reducing our carbon footprint, solar power, wind power, and electric vehicles. But until we transition all planes and boats to alternative powers I am for safe pipelines versus ships and trucks. It’s the one place where Daddy and I agree. And I wished I had Daddy here with me this year to discuss just that, but we are under strict instruction not to discuss anything with President Biden. Really?? Not anything? But apparently they meant business. In the briefing it was made clear that bunnies were not just bunnies, but security agents, some of which would be armed. And wired.

The 'theme' was also explained and with that I raised a perfectly sculpted eyebrow—because I had assumed the ‘theme’ was Easter. This was not the time to tell them I had been a previous guest, of another administration, at an un-themed White House Easter.

The official White House statement read, ’As a teacher for more than 30 years, First Lady Jill Biden…’ Really? Thirty years?? I had to Google. Her Wikipedia page said ’13 years’, and that she had taught ‘remedial writing’. Google also told me that last year had been the very same theme so it really wasn’t so much of an announcement. The silver lining for me was I am here representing PETA, and not that I’m going to whip out a banner or chain myself to a beanstalk, but we had been hoping to convince the first lady to modernise Easter by replacing animal eggs and suffering, with Easter potatoes and call it the ‘White House Potato Roll’.

Potatoes are cheaper than eggs and leave birds in peace but as soon as I made the mental note I knew I would get flack for all of the birds that die in windmills under my watch, even on Easter. As for Easter at the White House, much had changed. Everyone was rather casual and I’d have bet even money no one had come from church. The kids were absolute terrors and each minute I feared the whole display would come crashing down. But far more disconcerting was the low rumble of thousands in the distance. The nearby Ellipse had been converted to provide “An EGGucation for children of all ages”. ‘Tens of thousands’ Mrs. Biden exclaimed proudly.

No egg left behind.

'Good morning, Madam’ I said, brushing the sugar crumbs from my two fingers and extending a hand to shake hers. 

‘I’m told you are English’, she stated.

‘British actually, I was born in British Hong Kong’, I corrected.

‘I was in your country for the coronation’, she said.

Of course I knew that. We were absolutely incensed that she proclaimed she was coming in her husband’s stead. It just isn’t the done thing but we all zipped our mouths and Rishi Sunak did his absolute best not to cause an international rift by choosing to sit near her, pouring her tea, making a fuss, and continually charming her with his impeccable British manners. Watching it on the telly, even mummy said he deserved a BAFTA. I don’t doubt his every memory of that day was of providing a true service to his country.

‘I’m told to convince you to consider coloured potatoes instead of eggs next year’. I said, and smiled to show her this was a light conversation.

‘We’ll think about it’, she said and launched into a detailed explanation of the madding crowd she was hosting on the South Lawn and Ellipse. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that Britain had been using the term ‘Eggucation’ as a scheme to teach children about the origins of life/ quasi sex education for decades. Or that safely behind the White House gates and its armed rabbits, it felt like Marie Antoinette’s last fete with the peasants restless in the distance.

I was taken to meet the president who understandably had no clue who I was. I told him I had travelled from London and he lit up saying, ‘I was in your country recently—met with the King and Queen Camilla’. Well she hadn’t been queen, or even queen consort at the time but I wasn’t going down that rabbit hole. ‘Have you met Queen Camilla?’ He asked. Oh lord, get off the subject of Camilla I willed him in silence. The world entire knew of that meeting, it was the fart heard round the world, and frankly Camilla's still talking about it. They needn’t have warned me not to talk business with this man, even Daddy couldn’t have got him round to discussing Keystone XL but right about now I could have used a father…Oh my he was close!

Smile and wave Jennifer, I told myself, smile and wave. And happy Easter Monday, America.

Born in British Hong Kong, Ms. Kennedy grew up in London and attended Cheltenham before completing her studies at the University of Southern California. A three-day eventer on the British Olympic equestrian team, Jenny has worked as a dressage coach in Hampshire, Findlay, Southampton, Palm Beach, Hoboken, and La Jolla. She has consulted on multiple commercial shoots, and film projects. She is currently working as a life coach with a focus on beauty, holistic rejuvenation and international travel. Follow her @jenny_kennedy1.


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2 comments on “Diary of an Acclimatised Beauty: Egging”

  1. "I'm for an end to global warming...". Wow. You might as well be "for" control of the sun and moon. Our climate "changes" entirely with or without us. The "globe" warms, it cools, it occasionally does neither at any moment or location. I mean this with all due respect but you completely lost all credibility with that statement.

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