Saturday, 19 June 2010

Who wants to come to the races?

I've had quite a few emails asking about Ascot and what it's like etc so I thought I'd take you there today. First, the background: traditionally it is one of THE events of the Season, and fits in between the annual exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art and Henley Regatta. Entry to the Royal Enclosure is by special invitation only, but after you have been invited on 4 (or 5) consecutive years, you are able to go in your own right, which is how come I am able to go.

So, to the day itself.  It is some years since I last went, so I am doing this from a hazy sort of memory (well we all know how forgetful I can be don't we?).

Are you ready?  Quick, the chauffeur's here.  I do have a tip for you here. Don't bother to put that big hat on until you arrive - it's a flipping nuisance in the car, (and, of course, it might obscure the public's view of one.)  There is a lot of traffic, so we'll be in the car in traffic jams a bit, so let's hope the chauffeaur remembered to restock the bar. Ahh, we're here....  quick, put your hat on, check we've all got our gloves (ladies and gentlemen) as we won't be allowed in without them.  Out of the car and in through a special gate.  (Yes, you may wave to the onlookers if you wish.)

Right, we're in.  The first thing is to check where our "box" is as that's where we'll have lunch. (It's also the only place where one may be seen without one's hat.)  OK, next is to go for a walk (ie a fashion parade).  See and be seen, that's the main thing.  This is where you realise that those stillettos were not such a good idea after all.  It's difficult to look elegant when you heels keep sinking into the grass!  Oh yes, and hats with very big brims are not too clever either, specially if it's windy, and hats with veils have a problem too - how does one eat elegantly in one? Have a good promenade around, and then we'll go and place our bets for the first race.  It's good to do this early, as we'll probably still be eating our 5-course lunch when it starts.  Placing a bet is easy.  There are special little windows within the Enclosure where we go, and there is no queuing necessary - well, one can't have the Queen having to queue up to place her bet can we?  Now we'll go and have our lunch, which will include strawberries and champagne of course.  Some people take picnics, but I prefer this way.  OK, finished lunch?  Let's go watch a race then shall we? Shall we stay in our box?  Good idea if the weather's nasty, or shall we go out into the stands. Being in the stands is more exciting, and I learnt a lot of interesting language from those who lost their bets. Woohoo, you've had a win too?  Let's go and collect our winnings from the same little windows, and place a bet on another race.  All this activity has made me thirsty, is it time for afternoon tea yet?  Go and have a drink and then do a bit more mingling, repeat until all the races are over.  The last race has been run, so now it's time to go and find your chauffeur.  Shall we stop for dinner on our way home? Yes?  OK, I recommend The Compleat Angler which has lovely surroundings and wonderful food.  Now we're home again, and I don't know about you, but I'm exhausted, so I shall just choose my outfit for tomorrow and then go to bed.

When I think about Ascot, I remember the excitement, the crowds rushing to be in the right place to see the Queen when she walks around, the noise, the quails eggs, the wind one year, the rain another, and the great feeling of winning when a horse I picked totally at random, wins the race (and that did seem to happen a lot to me).  Oh and by the way, cameras were not allowed, so no photos!

I hope you enjoyed a quick trip to Ascot with me. Now you know a bit more about it, don't forget there's still time to enter my giveaway.


  1. I hope you can take pictures at this fancy event!! I can't wait to see them!! I certainly am enjoying the pre-post and background info on the event! thanks for sharing!!

  2. Okay...just read no cameras!! Darn!! How is this side of the ocean going to enjoy the event without pics.... :( Have tons of fun!!

  3. Sounds like an interesting day! Quite out of my league.

  4. Well it sounds like lots of fun to me...I've read about it in the past but not from someone I *knew* who'd actually been. I was just at a wedding in a Botanical Garden a couple months so I can certainly relate to the heels sinking in the grass although I rarely wear heels anywhere these days!


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