My Sunshiny Life











{July 5, 2009}   Henley Regatta

The british class system has never been more obvious to me than yesterday.  We went to the Henley Regatta and there was a definite social divide.  I also discovered that people don’t go to Henley to watch the rowing, they go there to see, be seen and to drink lots of Pimms.  People watching was the main attraction and there was plenty to watch! 

There are SO many rules and regulations surrounding the regatta enclosures, even the plebville Regatta enclosure that we were in, of which anyone can apply for tickets and gain entry to.  There wasn’t a dress code here, but most people got into the spirit of the day and wore lovely sun frocks and there were head pieces a plenty.  The rules were about where you could take your drinks, you weren’t allowed them down by the river, or past another point down the other end and men in full suits (which must have been VERY hot) would stop you from moving past in a polite yet firm manner.  This meant that many people didn’t see the action on the water all day, preferring to sit in the garden by the bar.  We scored a table in the garden area, beating off a very presumptuous man who slid into the seat as the other table were departing and pompously told us he had six in his party so Miss Grant and I weren’t welcome.  He didn’t know who he was dealing with, as we took OUR seats, gave him a withering look and comment and continued our conversation.  We ended up taking over the whole table as Dee, Cynth and Jaim arrived.  Girl Power! (sorry, know that is cheesy, can’t help myself)

The Stewards enclosure is full of rules and regulations and there is a several year waiting list for this enclosure – here, it’s REALLY not about the rowing, it’s about a social occasion dahling!   (This is an excerpt from Wikipedia on the Stewards Enclosure)   The Stewards’ Enclosure is also known for a strict enforcement of its dress code. Men are required to wear a “lounge suit, blazer and flannels, or evening dress, and a tie”. Women are required to wear a dress or skirt that covers their knees, and are “encouraged to wear a hat” (although women wearing hats is often frowned upon in higher rowing circles). Anyone not suitably dressed can be refused entry, no matter their prestige in rowing or elsewhere.

Bec couldn’t have put it better as she commented when we were leaving, ‘I don’t like being down the bottom of the food chain’.  Quite frankly, neither do I.  On the events I normally go to, the money dictates how you play it out, like at the theatre – you choose your seats based on how much you want to pay for your ticket.  Here, you don’t have that option.  It was a nice day and I don’t think the Stewards Enclosure had a lot more to offer than the Regatta one (from what I could see) but knowing that I wasn’t allowed entry had me a little piqued.

Here’s our digital diary of the day’s events…

LMS and Miss Grant

LMS and Miss Grant

Icecream Appreciation Society

Icecream Appreciation Society

Dee and Me

Dee and Me

Tom Cruise best glasses, raybans or aviators?

Tom Cruise best glasses, raybans or aviators?

Patriotism on the 4th of July

Patriotism on the 4th of July

 

Us with the 'please don't take your drinks there' man

Us with the 'please don't take your drinks there' man



I booked tickets ages ago to see a play at the Regents Park Outdoor Theatre last Saturday.  The weather had been gloriously sunny during the day and we were high fiving each other (not literally, that would be weird) for winning the weather lotto.  We had it all, blue sky, fluffy white clouds, sweltering heat and then it happened.  The storm arrived.  I’m not talking a passing sunshiney kind of rain shower either, we had a torrential downpour, complete with marble sized hail, thunder and lightening.  But we were meant to be sitting down to our fabulous picnic dinner in an hour and a half.

I called the theatre and they said the show must go on.  Just before we left to drive to the park, the rain stopped, but the menacing black rain cloud stayed behind, reminding us we hadn’t seen the last of him.  We sat in the cute grounds of the theatre enclosure, with fairy lights, a bar and picnic tables.  M&S really put on a good picnic spread, my new deli isn’t too shabby either, with lovely parma ham and cheese that was cured in a cave – he sold it to me on the point that it actually smelt like the cave – I didn’t really know what to say to that, so just added it to my order.   Dan had a slight mishap with the knife and his finger, it was the hard hard hard aforementioned cave cheese that was to blame! 

The bell sounded and it was time to take our seats.  I invested in a beautiful blue plastic rain poncho on the way there and I tell you what, it was the best £3 I’ve ever spent.  We were in the last row of seats at the back and it was perfect to use the wall behind us as a back rest.  We saw Much Ado about Nothing and to be totally honest I couldn’t tell you what it was about.  Between crowd watching, champagne (and red wine, bad combo) drinking, left over picnic eating, photo taking (strictly prohibited, I was like a secret agent), annoying the guy next to me by talking, trying to get into my rain poncho, eating watermelon gifted from the lovely couple down the end, making watermelon mouths with the rind (again, see bad combo above – red wine and champers don’t mix)…. well I didn’t really see a whole lot.  What I did see was FANTASTIC though and the set design and costumes were gorgeous.

Then it started raining and I loved it.  I had put my poncho on ages before and was just dying for it to rain.  Sorry actors!  We were in our own little umbrella and rain poncho world.  I must say all that excitement done tuckered me out and I fell asleep, nodding off all the way through the second half like a narcoleptic doddery old lady who’d missed out on her afternoon kip.  Then guiltily opening my eyes and seeing if anyone had noticed.  Yes, they had, Bec and Nikki were highly amused and the guy next to me was ecstatic because he could finally concentrate on the play.  So without further ado, here are my hidden photos and video from the night, covert operative Sunshine over and out.

The glorious british summer

The glorious british summer

 Much Ado About Nothing Actors



I’ve been to Stonehenge before and gazed at the wonder of the stones through the wire fence as I walked around the circuit listening to the audio guide.  I can’t tell you what they said, but it was along the lines of ‘we have no idea how or why they moved these stones here thousands of years ago’. 

This trip, to celebrate summer solstice, couldn’t have been any more different.  For a start, we left London at about 1am to make the 3 hour journey.  Bahar, our driving angel for the evening, finished her DJ set in Beduin (a bar by Fabric) and we set off on our adventure, with her van of friends forming a convoy behind us.  We finally got there and started walking, it was a 40 minute trek to the actual site.  As we made our way closer to the stones we noticed hordes of people leaving and were worried that we’d missed the sunrise.  An unfounded worry as it turns out, because the sun didn’t really rise in full view, it shyly made it’s appearance behind cloud cover at 6.47am.  Not to worry, we cheered the latecoming, high and shy sun just as enthusiastically as if we would have if it had turned up on time and through the stones.

To say the event wasn’t what I expected is the same as saying George Bush is only slightly stupid.  I expected a whole lot of peace, love and happiness, druids and pagans, with a few spliffs being passed around, lots of stone hugging and some gentle bongo beats.  What greeted us however, even before we’d made it into the immediate stone vicinity, was a wide mix of people from many walks of life.  Some walks of life featured larger than others and I was a little taken aback at first.  So much so that I positioned myself next to a burly security guard and made sure he knew I was one of the good ones.   We tried to make our way up to the stones, but the sheer size of the crowd had me in panic attack mode before we’d made any real progress.  We retreated to our picnic blanket until the crowds had dispersed and we could appreciate the stones and the bongo drum section in the middle without the crowd pressure.

As well as crowd anxiety I also have  a whole raft of public toilet idiosyncrasies (yes, I’m a treat to take to festivals) but I’m pleased to report my latest addition to my public outing arsenal, the humble shewee.  With my tissues, wet wipes, anti bac gel and shewee I’m all good to go (literally).  Too much info I know, but I can’t help myself.

It was a fabulous study of human behaviour with a crowd of 36,500 people gathered around the enigmatic stones.  I have to say, I enjoyed it a lot more around 8am when the crowds were manageable and we could pose much better for photos!  We didn’t drive for 3 hours then walk for 3 miles to leave with rubbish photos!  Looking at a study of human behaviour – this guy kept us entertained for the longest time as he rocked it, worked it, busted the moves and generally behaved like a superstar DJ.  Actually only like a superstar DJ in HIS mind, as he pulled the weirdest faces and even picked his nose on occasion (thanks Kylie for pointing that out).  SO funny!

This pretty much summed up the morning!

This pretty much summed up the morning!

The tardy guest of honour

The tardy guest of honour

Crowded Stones

Crowded Stones

Happy Ray of Sunshine Lady

Happy Ray of Sunshine Lady

Bahar and her cousin

Our angel driver Bahar and her cousin

Picnic Stonehenge Styley

Picnic Stonehenge Styley

Me and Koi-lee

Me and Koi-lee

Hanging with the locals

Hanging with the locals



et cetera