Apologies for the fuzzy picture (but at least you can breathe a sigh of relief that it’s not your eyesight)! It is the only relevant one I have. I’m the one on the left with the black fascinator. If you know me you’ll notice that I’ve had my hair cut, much to the relief of my hairdresser daughter-in-law whose been telling me for ages that my shoulder-length style was a bad advert for her skills!
Yesterday was Ascot Ladies Day. Entry to the real event would have cost somewhat more than the £6.95 that my friends and I paid to attend ‘Ast-cot’, the mock-version held at The Bell Inn in Astwood Bank (a village near to where I live). They did us proud, as did the gym manager and her assistant who arranged the day and handled out bets – more of that in a moment. I love my gym – it’s so much more than a place to exercise.
Royal Ascot has been running as the kind of event we recognise since the early 18th century and in 1922 was described by a journalist from The Times as “the best place in England to see beautiful women in beautiful clothes.” Undoubtedly had he been in Astwood Bank yesterday, he’d have said the same! In the early days hats were obligatory and the tradition seems to have endured with them becoming more elaborate (if not bizarre) year on year. None of our headgear fell into that category but we all looked jolly smart.
Our afternoon began with drinks followed by lunch and for our very reasonable ticket price we were offered five choices of both main course and dessert. Pub food it was, but very nice pub food; we really couldn’t fault it. I chose the breaded plaice and it must have been the largest piece I have ever been served! The chips, peas and salad were also generous as were all the other options. My trifle was home made and delicious too. Then we had coffee and mints.
A large-screen TV was set up on the bar and bets cost £1 per race. I got an insight into how people become hooked – it was so exciting! Which was a bit of a surprise because I’d really gone only for the lunch and a chat with friends. I’ve only been once to the races before and that was for a corporate event at Stratford race course – heavens, it was boring! Anyhow, our horses were picked for each race very unscientifically by drawing a number from a bucket. I don’t suppose this mattered since we all admitted that we had no idea about ‘form’ and ‘going’ (I’m wondering here how on earth I even know the terminology)! My horses won a second and a third place so my total winnings came to £9. Given that I spent £4.50 on drinks (I’m a very cheap date as I don’t drink alcohol), and £5 on bets, the net cost of my very enjoyable afternoon out was £7.45 – how about that for a bargain? Already looking forward to next year’s Ladies Day.
We also raised £40 for Cancer Research which is the gyms main charity. By the way, the recent quiz night which I mentioned in an earlier post raised a staggering £850!!