Summer would not be summer without our days at the races. It defines the point at which summer finally arrives! The smell of the grass, the perfume, the aftershave all mixed in with a liberal sprinkling of Champagne.and the pageantry of the Royal Parade. It attacks your senses on every level
This year for the first time I was making two trips to Royal Ascot the Tuesday with one set of friends and the Friday with another. It seemed a great idea at the time. But I had forgotten the time consuming job or finding an outfit and in this case two. Being short of time I decided to order on line and within a few days my bedroom looked liked the second floor at Debenhams. Dresses of all colours and styles adorned the walls and shoes boxes were strewn in disarray on the bedroom floor.
As usual with my top heavy body shape I was having the usual problems. I tried the giant’s patience..Tearing him away from his gaming but he did his best to zip me in ( or not) and out of a variety of styles. Of course zips just got so far and refused to budge and I figured if he couldn’t get them done up with his biceps then no one could!
Then there are the side zips I hate the bloody things! You pull and push until the last bit of fat is pushed up under your arm pit and the zip gets stuck or worse ..Gets caught on your skin. It the female equivalent of a guy getting his Dick caught in his flies OUCH!
After lots of squeezing and shoving I narrowed my selection down to three. A pink white and black floral, a cream and black body con and a satin oyster with a bejewelled neckline. Then I set about ordering fascinators. They arrived in oversize boxes and I was seen carrying huge returns parcels to and from the post office.
When the Tuesday arrived the sun had got his hat on and so did we.Hoorah! We trooped off across London until seated on the Ascot train we popped our first bottle of Champers. Unfortunately it had not travelled well on London Underground and once the wire was off, the cork whooshed into the air showering me, other passengers and the window with white fizz. Oops!
By the time we arrived I had dried off the train was sweltering and we couldn’t get windows open . One girl fainted as soon as she alighted the train and was white faced in all her finery on the floor. The walk into the race ground is 15 minutes and all uphill but the atmosphere was electric.
We had a fabulous day, culminating in the sing song around the bandstand a very British Tradition which lifts the spirit and has a festival like feel. As strains of Hey Jude resonated around the grounds the thousands of voices could be heard for miles. The Bandmaster shouts Come On Ascot and the chorus of Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah nah Hey Jude rises even higher making your stomach turn in complete pleasure as all those people from everywhere become one voice. You will never see any of them again but just for that one moment you are all joined in the joy of life in the bright summer sunshine.It is quite breathtaking.
The Friday was another great day and this time at the end of the day..We stopped at the pub by the station in the village called the railway. A live band was playing and we danced in the open air chatting to strangers and swigging cider. There were a few random snogs of course wouldnt be Ascot without those!. It was all over far too quickly and reluctantly we made the arduous journey home.
The next date to look forward to in my diary was Ladies Day at Newmarket which this time involved a gaggle of girls and a minibus. But the weather had turned. Despite promises of no rain the skies opened and stayed that way. It was relentless and to add insult to injury the wind was strong driving the rain into the creases and folds of our carefully chosen couture.
Newmarket unlike Ascot has little covered space so everyone huddles together squashed and damp vying for a place at the bar. We could have been anywhere and didn’t see a single horse. Even putting a bet on was hard.
Eventually Court suggested we gave up boarded the bus and asked him to take us into London. The idea went down well but some of the girls had gone off and we couldn’t round them all up. While we were looking my BF (She of the infamous Rickshaw incident) vanished. One minute she was there and then she wasn’t. I retraced my steps and just couldn’t find her. An hour went by and I gave up the search for a bit to eat something. Although the drinking had not been excessive (well you couldn’t get bloody served) the cold weather had piqued my appetite. With some many outlets to choose from a couple of us went to the least busy and ordered a Crispy Fried Duck wrap in Hoisin Sauce. It was delicious but trying to hold an umbrella and a bag and food was proving to be impossible. There were no seats and no table space. Inevitably a large dollop of Hoisin Sauce dripped from my wrap straight onto the front of my white dress. Dabbing it with a tissue which just made it worse I gave up. Fab! Now I looked like a Chinese take-away.
Suddenly and as if my magic my BF reappeared sporting a large plaster on her knee. She had fallen over and been lugged off to first aid. No wonder I couldn’t locate her. I really must put her on a lead in future.
Four or five of us decided that the mini-bus was more attractive than the bar and headed out. We got slightly waylaid by two gorgeous Male promoters who frankly were the best view we had had all day. We made our way across a wet and windy field..Our stilettos sinking in the mud. It was quite a walk and I realised that a needed to have a pee. I looked left and right. Why is there always a lack of portaloos in these places.??. I stop to ask a lady who was sitting under a gazebo. She shook her head and indicated the far corner where there were some shrubs.
Nothing like a dignified squat in a field to round off my day. I headed out to the far corner hid behind a bright pink limo . The kind lady held an umbrella for me to shield my modesty. Whilst in mid flow I look up. Oh crap! I hadn’t noticed I was under a Gazebo!. Suddenly out of nowhere a man appeared and starts shouting at me. How dare I go there People might be eating under it? I hardly think they will be eating off the grass in this weather I retorted but just apologised just the same and got up. Alright for you I thought you don’t have to squat you can go anywhere!!.
Gradually the stragglers returned with most of them wandering off to find a patch of grass Kris just went by the bus steps only to be filmed by the guy sitting in the next coach.!!. Once the journey was underway the un-drunk wine reappeared and leftover snacks were gobbled in an eating frenzy. The music went up and the dancing begun. We took turns to utilise the small space singing at the top of our voices. We had acquired two extra passengers one of the girl’s partners and his friend were filling up the space at the back.
My BF and I decided not to drink we just had some water, no point adding a hangover to an already disastrous day. Anyway my BF was not feeling too well. She had injured her wrist in the fall and it was swelling. We had reached about the halfway mark on the M11 when we came to a grinding halt. The traffic ahead was stationery for miles. Oh God No!!. We carried on trying to keep ourselves amused. Some of the girls were getting drunker and drunker. After an hour we had gone half a mile after two hours another half.
The men onboard were desperate for a pee having been on pints of Guinness. They decided to get out at the back and go on the verge. But every now and then the bus would move i was worried they would fall as they were both pretty hammered. They managed to get back on safely.
Kris fell asleep and Gill who had danced and drunk the most also dozed off but not for long she woke up and said she need to get off and then started heaving I rummaged for something to use and while Court held her hair up from the seat behind Gillian threw up in a Sainsbury’s bag!!
Once we were sure she had finished we wrapped it in another one and put it the black rubbish sack. But I had to pass it over the sleeping Kris. The bag of course was not water tight so small splashes of vomit fell on Kris’s knees!. Grabbing a wet wipe I carefully wiped it off. She slept through in blissful ignorance.
Suddenly my BF said she felt sick to the pain in her wrist was getting too her . She went very pale and said I think I’m going to pass out. Bloody Hell! I tried to get her to lower her head and we opened her window and took off her cardigan. I stood up so she could put her head on my seat but there just wasn’t room. I put a wet wipe on her forehead to cool her down. Gradually she began to feel better.
As another hour passed everyone was getting really fed up. It had been three hours now and no sign of moving. I had a deep and meaningful conversation with Jackie about positive thinking to alleviate the boredom. The men in the back were getting restless and saying they needed to “Go” again. They were trying to get out of the back but the bus was moving very slowly only to stop again,.. I was yelling at them to stay on board and suggested they went in a bottle. Eventually I managed to get one of them to go in the sausage role container. Oh the joys! I then disposed of it out of the window and onto the tarmac!!.
We had found out that there had been a major accident and that they were hoping to reopen the motorway around 10 pm. We had been stuck in the minibus for four and a half hours in total, 12 women 2 men and a driver!
I have never been more glad to get indoors in my life, it was nearly midnight. But I wasn’t ready for bed I was starving and I had to watch something on catch-up. A documentary called Champney’s I was in it apparently!. So with the TV on, a large mug of tea and a bacon sandwich the best part of my whole day had arrived.
I think I shall give Newmarket a miss next year in fact I have renamed it DownMarket!