Sunday, June 22, 2008

Royal Ascot

My posts are a bit out of order here as I still have to blog about my trip through Cornwall and onto the Isles of Scilly but I went to Royal Ascot yesterday and since that is at the front of my mind I'm going to start there and work backwards and sideways later. (Photo right - Ascot Train Station)

There is something synonymous with England and the horse races. Maybe it is because their Crown Princess looks like one or simply the fact that aristocracy has traditionally treated their horses better than their household staff, I'm not sure. But I am not one to argue with an age old tradition (*cough, cough*) and when I found myself staring at the word "Ascot" on my "Things I need to do before I go home" list I knew I needed to don the hat and frock and head south.

Finding said frock and hat was a mission unto itself. I have all these beautiful outifts at home in Sydney but didn't think to pack one when moving here as it would have meant forsaking my third pair of themals, my second jumper and my nineteenth scarf! :) Luciky for me, my friend Fran is a seasoned frock shopper and she had me up at Debenhams, Monsoon and Oasis on Oxford Street trying on dress after dress after dress, at the risk of great financial disaster. Who knew that a piece of fluff masquerading as a hat could set you back more than the national debt of a third world country? They won't this week though, since I can smell a hat sale in the air. In the end we were successful in the great dress hunt and I walked away with a blue dress that didn't set me back too many £££. I wasn't so successful in the hat department and had to make a mercy dash over to Clapham Junction, down to Wandsworth Town and back up to Clapham Junction at 8pm on Friday night. (Photo above - Serena, Pippa and Mel)

My flatmate Vanessa and I got dressed and flocked with the other frocked up people to Clapham Junction to catch the train out to Ascot early on Saturday morning. By sheer luck Davina, Rachael, Michelle, Kylie and Angela got held back from the first train and we found them on the platform. We also found Mel, Serena and Pippa standing in the croissant shop on the platform too. The next train was ours for the taking and although Pippa fainted due to the sardine like conditions, we made it to Ascot 45 minutes later. (Photo right - Vanessa with her winnings and Barry in his "helpful to spot him" orange jumper behind her.)

I could have honestly sat at the train station and watched the ladies walk passed in their outfits all day. It was really interesting to see what people were wearing and whether I recognised the hats or dresses from my own hunting and gathering. Although I did see the g-string of a rather large girl in an extremely short white dress from the underneath and it put me off the whole frock watching from that point on. It was an "Ah my eyes, my eyes!" moment. (Photo left - Me and Karen)

Getting into the Silver Ring, where we had tickets for, was a hike and a half, but when the whole crowd is getting into the swing of things, you can't help but be pulled along into the jovial mood of the start of the day. The men, in their top hats and tails, were very striking and kept us amused with their thoughts on what the top hat could come in handy for later as the day progressed and we managed to dodge the cheese that had fallen out of someone's picnic basket on the way up to the "Top of the Hill".

Kylie was a forward thinker and brought along some picnic rugs and although it threatened to rain the most it actually dropped was a few spits here and there. I had a bet on 3 out of the 5 races but only managed bring home some £ in the last race - the Queen Alexandra race - when I backed the winner and second place. Rach had better luck and so did Kylie, who was celebrating her birthday so it made for a nice birthday present. (Photo left - Kylie)

There was about 15 of us all up. 14 girls and Will, who I must say, probably thought he was in heaven and had the most fun out of all of us. We spent the afternoon drinking champagne with strawberries and eating our picnic lunch in between putting a few bets on. I kept going back to the same bookie who was nice enough to explain what to do to bet i.e. pick a number and give him money (a MENSA student I am not). (Photo right - Will and Thesea)

Surprisingly, the day went really quickly. As with all things you look forward to, you tend to over do the excitement stakes and it takes it's toll. Both Davina and Rachael had a quick kip on the lawn but we couldn't take too much of the mickey as we soon saw the races "bogan of the day" passed out on the grass on the way back to the train station. As with most rowdy incidents, he will find himself the subject of many a Facebook photo with people standing over him and posing in lewd acts. It was hilarious. Especially when his girlfriend saw what was going on and launched into a tirade of abuse at the crowd. (Photo - Passed out guy on the way to the train station).

To top the day off, Vanessa and I stopped in for Thai takeaway on the way home and we finished off our Saturday watching dodgy 90s films in our PJs. What more could you ask for?

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