Sunday morning at Badminton. For this correspondent /punter: trot up, coffee and chat, shopping. For once I’ve been able to dedicate at least two hours to this final activity – it’s usually a quick gallop!
Each day at Badminton has its own feel and atmosphere. Sunday is a little more relaxed but in a ‘smart casual’ sort of way. For the majority there isn’t the dash to get In by a certain time so the rate of traffic is a little more leisurely and it is definitely the time for shopping, that’s if you are not standing in the queue at the box office or in a queue to get an autograph. It’s a busy morning for riders.
The shopping avenues have been given a bit of a makeover this year. They definitely seem to be wider and now have street names all relating to the Beaufort estate; Allengrove Avenue, Somerset Way, Swangrove Street.
I turn into the green-eyed monster although the price tags usually sort that one out. So much lovely stuff from sofas, sheds and stables to socks, silk scarves and feed scoops via Mitsubishi cars.
There is the now annual mission to buy the other half’s navy blue moleskin trousers at Elm of Burford where, yet again, Schoeffel fleece gilets are this year’s best seller. I do come away with a new hat, a total impulse buy.
The world of the horse marquee is heaving. Fairfax and Favours long boots are not for me although are clearly a popular look but I do rather fancy some suede jodhpurs boots with a gold insert but manage not even to look at the price. I like the brightly coloured Scup, that does a great job of breaking up chaff with its serated lip. And the stand selling wooly hats with fur bobbles is doing a great trade.
Love the Flying Foxes blue armchairs and across the way the guinea fowl sculpted by Sarah Coward but again don’t even look at the price ticket. I do however fall for two new bags at Glenalmond Tweed Co. A black watch tartan handbag and a canvas and leather rucksack. A triumph.
Holland and Coopers fur-trimmed cape, as modelled by rider Georgie Spence at the trot up, has become a must-have for those of a certain age, while year in year out coloured moleskins and Argentinian belts are good sellers.
I dither over some lovely blue pottery but eventually decide we have enough plates bowls and jugs and then decide it’s time to get back via the sweet stand to procure a bag of coconut mushrooms and chocolate raisins, my three day event tradition.
Back at the press office we swap shopping stories; bags are opened and their contents inspected. The BBCs Lizzie Greenwood Hughes is particularly thrilled with her new Brogini boots.
However it’s now back to business. Eek the retail therapy had totally made me forget about the angst that is about to overwhelm the press office.
S’cuse the blank coverage but we have all decided we can’t bear to watch.