I’m sure I wasn’t the only American there last week. In fact, I know I wasn’t as my niece from California was with me. But I felt I was doing something distinctly British and fulfilling a childhood dream of mine by attending.
The world seems so much smaller today than it did when I was little. When countries and states seemed so individual and distinct. Now every town and to some extent country (I’m not that well travelled) all have the same look and feel.
But there are some events and places that to me just embody the spirit of the different countries or towns. Let’s face it you can’t go to Daytona and not see the speedway. Or to Paris and miss the Eiffel Tower. And for me one of the most British things I could do was to attend Royal Ascot.
I mean it is where Eliza Doolittle had one of her crucial tests to see if she could pass for a society lady. And the K girls did their best to pass for British ladies wearing our hats and betting on the horses.
It was a bit of an adventure trying to figure out how to read the racing form since I don’t gamble and had never been to a horse race before. But my 15-year-old niece had been to one so together we muddled through.
We bought a “lucky dip” for £2–a computer generated ticket that had picked a horse to place in all six races. We were feeling pretty good that we might win that £40,000 pot and spent the money in our minds while we ate our lunch at the Silver Ring Bistro. And then we started getting serious about reading up on the horses.
And it seemed our “lucky dip” wasn’t that lucky. The first horse Tawhid only had two stars and wasn’t expected to do very well. But when the first race started and we stood up as everyone else was doing waiting for the pack of horses to race right in front of us…well we spotted Tawhid and his jockey moving up through the field and watching on the monitor we saw him cross the finish line in third.
It was all very exciting and I have to say even though I’m not a gambler I was tempted to go place some other bets as we waited for the next race. Unfortunately our second horse came fourth so we were out of any chance of winning.
But that didn’t spoil our day.
Tell me something that makes a place distinctive for you and I’ll choose one winner to receive a copy of Summer of Scandal–six novellas set in the horse racing world of Bridgehampton, which includes my novella CEO’s Summer Seduction and a Royal Ascot pen.