Fair Ladies


June 129

Ev’ry duke and earl and peer is here
Ev’ryone who should be here is here.
What a smashing, positively dashing
Spectacle: the Ascot Ladies day.

At the gate are all the horses
Waiting for the cue to fly away.
What a gripping, absolutely ripping
Moment at the Ascot Ladies day.

Pulses rushing!
Faces flushing!
Heartbeats speed up!
I have never been so keyed up!

Any second now They’ll begin to run.
Hark! A bell is ringing, They are springing
Forward Look!It has begun…!

What a frenzied moment that was!
Didn’t they maintain an exhausting pace?
‘Twas a thrilling, absolutely chilling
Running of the Ascot Ladies race.

(My Fair Lady – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5Sq1Pax7h8)

Whenever I see My Fair Lady, the scene that sticks in my mind is the wonderful Ascot Gavotte, and yesterday I got to see what all the fuss was about. Yes, my friends, yesterday my job was to got to Ascot Ladies Day (it’s a hard life I know!!).

We took a large group of ladies that we work with regularly and I’d like to say that it was a tough, formal, networking, hard working kind of event – but then I’d be fibbing. The ladies were wonderful company, the sun shone some of the time, and a good time was had by all.

June 130

According to Google, the Gold Cup day because colloquially known as Ladies Day because as the most important race in the meet it historically attracted the wealthiest clientele, and the ladies came to check out each other’s fashions and to keep up to date. Nowadays it’s all about the hats; and the whole gamut were there, from the stunningly beautiful, to the astonishingly weird, and all the feathers in the rainbow in between.

My job doesn’t stretch as far as the Royal Enclosure, but a few of us went to peek over the barrier to see if we could spot any of the rich and famous.
June 133
Our conclusion was that the rich and famous have more benches and a little more space but apart from spying a few name badges for Viscountess so and so and the Marchioness of here and there, we didn’t spot anyone to name drop.

Well, there was one lady …
June 132
Look above and to the left of the crest and you’ll see a tiny dot of turquoise – that’s her, resplendent in cream and turquoise.

The problem with hat spotting is that it’s very hard to subtly take pictures, but I did manage to stalk a favourite (and this picture originally included half the grandstand before cropping!)

June 134A

I love the colour, the butterflies and the flowers, but what really did it for me was that the umbrella matched!

In all of this hat watching we did spend a little time eyeing up some horses. My horse for the day was this fellow:
June 137

Yates, at speed before the start of the race in which he became the only horse to win the Ascot Gold Cup for the fourth time in the row. We were right on the rails, cheering him on to the finish, and all the way to the bookies to collect my little flutter winnings!

Someone described Ascot to me as a giant wedding with a few horse races and that does nail the atmosphere – everyone dressed up in their best and having a wonderful time – it also explains the pink champagne and strawberries

June 141

Well you have to have afternoon tea – it’s all that walking that does it!

The finale is something so bizarre it could only happen in England…

June 142

Behind the tree is the bandstand, manned by the Band of the Irish Guards, and after the final race, everyone gathers round, little song books and flags are handed out, and we all sing; from the old favourites, to the Beatles, some songs more frequently heard at football matches, through to the classics, Rule Britannia, Jerusalem, Land of Hope and Glory (several times) and the National Anthem – it’s the last night of the proms with a few more inhibitions removed (pink champagne et al) and increased sartorial elegance – it’s a wonderful way to round off the day.

And because I know my Mum will want to see (if no-one else) – here is my hat:
June 149
It’s part hat, part fascinator – the whole thing is attached to an alice band, so that the twinkly beige hat part covers the right hand side of my head at an angle, and the flower pops out from underneath.
June 151

I’m not usually the biggest hat fan but I love this – and now I’ve found yet another crafty thing I want to try – I might just need to wait until it becomes fashionable to wear a hat daily before I start making lots and lots of pretty hats.

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  • mandycharlie 19/06/2009 at 9:21 pm

    Looks like you had a wonderful time. I love your hat, would love to see what you were wearing.

  • Caroline M 19/06/2009 at 10:29 pm

    It’s a hard life but someone has to do it.