Yesterday Family L and Family O stepped out of our ‘groundhog day’ comfort zone and ventured to new territories in search of something a bit different. As much as we love our trips to the farm, the park and lunches out, we found a new interest and relived moments from one of our favourite films, ‘Pretty Woman’ (that’s Mrs L and Mrs O, not so much Mr L and Mr O!). No we didn’t go to the opera (“It was so good, I almost peed my pants”), or eat escargot in a fancy restaurant (“slippery little suckers”) we sought entertainment at our local polo club.
What a fantastic day out. The event we attended was all free, with the exception of the food van which is actually part of Mr and Mrs L’s favourite local farm shop, so we just couldn’t go wrong. No entrance fee, no charge for the children to play on the bouncy castle and soft play all day, and biggest bonus of all, no charge for Pimms. What’s not to love?? Donations were collected for all of these activities in aid of a local hospice, so people obviously gave generously to the cause in exchange for such a fab day. Alongside this there was a raffle and other competitions running to raise more money for a great cause.
Obviously the main event was the polo matches. Mrs L has been to a polo event before, but that was the well known ‘Chestertons Polo in the Park’ at Hurlingham Park in London – a fairly showy event with the main attraction being who’s the best dressed, and which ‘Made in Chelsea’ stars can be spotted. Much less about the polo, more about the drinking! Today’s event was really quite the opposite. Everyone there was definitely more interested in the polo match, discussing technique and form as well as sharing stories about the polo players they knew. Let’s just say that we could have done with a ‘Dummies Guide to Polo’ to help us through the event. Luckily the commentator must have realised there were some clueless spectators because she gave a detailed, minute by minute account of each and every move and outcome. Thank goodness for that! We now feel slightly more knowledgable about chukkers, ponies and near-side backhands.
Not only have we learnt about the game itself and the beautiful ponies involved, we’ve also learnt a lot about polo spectator etiquette. We went armed with picnic blankets, wellies and basic snacks for the kids, thinking we’d come prepared. To say we were the poor neighbours is an understatement. For next time our list of ‘must-bring’ items will be:
- fold-out chairs: but none of your cheap supermarket rubbish, we’re talking top of the range outdoor furniture that would look at home in your finest orangery
- fold out table: again, no budget goods here, these were similar to flat pack goods that take time to assemble for the perfect home-comforts feel
- table cloth: yes, this seemed to be an essential too. You couldn’t possibly have a table without it being decorated with soft furnishings
- champagne: multiple bottles of (and not cheap Brut from your local Co-Op)
- champagne glasses: yes, real glass, not plastic supermarket/pound shop tat
- an array of buffet foods and mezze: quiche and strawberries seemed a staple along with dips and crudités
- a dog: this seemed to be an essential, which Cal seemed particularly happy about, wanting to stroke every dog we encountered
That said, we made friends and learnt about players and didn’t feel too out of place. We thoroughly enjoyed watching the beautiful sport and lapping up the sunshine (between a few light showers, which meant a brief stint in the car whilst we continued conversations through open windows). The children loved watching the beautiful ponies canter and gallop. They especially liked meeting these large animals and being able to stroke them. The other activity they loved was the stomping of the divots…. obviously warned to avoid the steaming divot (thank you ‘Pretty Woman’ for this piece of advice). Who wouldn’t love running free , jumping and stomping. To add to this they added in a competition to find gold coins whilst stomping. These gold coins were chocolate and could be exchanged for more sweets and chocolate, making the activity even more worthwhile.
Just so you know, we could’t go a day without tribute to our title, so you’ll be pleased to know we indulged in delicious scones with jam and clotted cream, in true Candid Cake Club style.
After a full day out, we all came home tired and happy with a day well spent. Our ears are now ringing with constant reference to the ponies, divot stomping and polo from our excited little ones who have no doubt caught the bug much like their parents. Our favourite comment being “Mummy, what are the ponies doing now??”
We’ll definitely be going again, but next time better educated and more prepared for the days events.
We’d love to hear about any of your ideas for alternative days out with the kids – any recommendations?