Royal Ascot: The reality, part 2

After my altercation with the Ascot administration team about the idiosyncrasies of their website and their weird car parking policy, we decided to get to Ascot early and see how well we could fare with the parking arrangements.

We left home around 09:15 and sailed through the normally congested areas of Bracknell and Ascot. About 7 miles out we started to see colour coded direction signs. Not having any idea what our colour should be I headed for where I thought I wanted to be. Getting close to the racecourse I simply headed for “Owners and Trainers”.

Driving straight into the car park I told the attendant that we had to collect an owner’s pass, and was waved through. This “waving through” continued until a friendly chap directed us to a “4×4” area at the top of a potentially really slippery slope.

After collecting Chrissy’s owner’s badge we found our club manager and his family preparing a picnic for twenty at the other end of the car park. He was distraught because he had brought the frame of a gazebo with no actual protective covering. Another gazebo was on its way.

Gradually the company began to assemble. Several, by hook or by crook, had acquired “Royal Enclosure” passes and were in full regalia. The Gazebo arrived and on cue it began to rain as soon as the structure was in place. With insufficient space within, some of us headed for the racecourse.

I had to pass through a turnstile with my newly acquired discount ticket (£55 instead of the gate price of £77). Chrissy, with her “Owner’s” ticket had to squeeze through a small gap and leap a pot of flowers to avoid the turnstile.

Once in the grounds we found that since our last visit to Royal Ascot the Royal Enclosure has been expanded in random directions to restrict access for the Premium Price mid-level customers.

It began to rain hard. Dangerously wielded brollies appeared from all sides. My minuscule folding parapluie apparatus failed in all respects (erection, protection, repacking). I tried to throw it into a bin, but Chrissy tucked it into her handbag for the duration of the day and for future attempts.

Meanwhile I started to notice and count those who had successfully flouted the dress code. I spotted four “not suits” and eight bow ties, so my previous three days shenanigans (see previous post) had been in vain. It appears that Royal Ascot has very strict rules that nobody actually checks.

Trying to bet on the first race we joined two queues, both of which were headed by chaps apparently reading the menu and asking for information on how to actually place a bet. With just one minute left to the “off” Chrissy managed to place both of our ultimately useless bets.

For the rest of the day I used my ‘phone for on-line betting. I managed to select the second-placed horse to win in each of the first five races. For the last race I selected, of course, our club horse at odds of 66:1 in a field of 23 horses.

It rained heavily every time we stepped outside, except just before “our” race. I joined our group in the saddling enclosure but had to absent myself from the Parade Ring.

We decided to watch the race from the terrace, with Chrissy in the Owners’ section and me just over the fence in the lower orders enclosure. It felt a bit like the film “Titanic”, even more so when Chrissy was asked to move because she had accidentally invaded a private party!

Before the race started a loose horse ran the course on its own. It received an enormous cheer, but the jockey was not at all pleased. Anyway, our horse came 17th of 21 runners. Just about as expected considering the opposition, but we were pleased to have even qualified for Royal Ascot.

Our best win of the day was free car parking when other club members had paid £45 to park miles away from the club base.

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In conclusion, our best win of the day was blagging free car parking (to which we were actually entitled, but encouraged by the racecourse to ignore) and the fact that we were actually there.

And today Frankie Dettori made up all my losses from yesterday thrice with his “four in a row” wins!

It’s a small world

Last Friday I visited my sister, who lost her husband on Tuesday 16th October, following an operation for aggressive bladder cancer.

Visiting my sister and going through some personal paperwork it transpired that the surgeon who tried to save her husband was the same man who successfully operated on me almost a year ago.   Clearly I survived my prostate cancer, but sadly Chris was more seriously afflicted and did not.  He was in the High Dependency Unit for some days before finally giving up.

A secondary “small world” connection was discovered   when going through Chris’s address book.  It turns out that an old friend of his in the folk music scene married a chap who was on the same organising committee as I was in a re-enactment society.

We have never been close in a personal sense, but it seems that we were in fact more closely linked than either of us knew.


Of Agriculture, organisation and old times.

Listening to the Archers recently it appears that Britain’s post-Brexit agricultural economy will be based largely on small scale, local artisan produce.

In my opinion this is no bad thing, but national self-sufficiency wherever possible is still highly important in these days of the increased danger of potential cyber-shutdown of Just-in-Time supply systems.


I just spent today driving to Wellingborough to collect some generously donated industrial grade shelving from Chris Kemp (blog at http://

Although I did not have the opportunity to meet Chris, looking around his wargame store room I can testify that he is one of the most organised gamers that I know.  He is also lucky enough to have enough kit that his models don’t need to swap their identities between battles!  I struggle to find enough of the correct models for any given engagement.

On the other hand, Chris seems to be able to concentrate on one campaign at a time, while I flit about like a flittery, fluttery thing.

My workbench…

A23BD0BD-8CB8-4C8F-9419-BDF8378B107AI used to be almost organised before my collection outgrew the walk-in wardrobe in our spare bedroom (see picture below).  Hence the need for shelving for my shed.



On the way home I took the opportunity to call in at my old office to meet half a dozen former colleagues and chat about old times.  It seems that the old IT supply and planning system that I used and supported for over 25 years, and due to be phased out in 2014 when I took redudancy and early retirement, is still alive and possibly even kicking.

And from there, the familiar old 70 mile, 2 hour drive home that I used to do every day.

All in all, a tiring but interesting day.



A bit of catching up

It’s nearly three weeks since the keyhole robotic surgery to remove my cancerous prostate.  I am recovering well, but still have dressings over about half of the seven wounds because they coincide with my trousers waistband and tend to iritate.  I am still mildly incontinent.  I need to wear pads to catch the inadvertant leakages.

On the wargaming front I am managing about 30 minutes per day on the long-running Battle of Brighton 1940 in the shed before the cold drives me back indoors.  Indoors we have painters and decorators all over the house refurbishing after the July fire, and I am confined with the dog to the living room.

So I am spending my time catching up on several long-outstanding wargame campaign projects that have fallen by the wayside.

I have bought and painted five 1902 pre-dreadnoughts for my “Diplomacy Plus” campaign that is currently awaiting a Russo-Turkish naval battle off Sevastopol in September 1902.  The ships are replacement game tokens for “Axis and Allies 1914”.  I also drafted the battle rules, based on “Axis and Allies naval” concepts.  This is the first naval engagement of the campaign.

Strange that in real life the blue on the bases is very similar to the blue of the cloth.  Bases are 40mm x 60mm.


Today I have been sorting and basing some old 2mm figures for the next battle in my  early 1700 campaign.  France is attacking England in the Palatinate (sounds painful!).  Again, draft rules are prepared and await testing in this battle.  Most of the previous battles have been fought in 6mm.

Eventually I want my 2mm armies to be on a 1:1 figure:man ratio, but for the time being I am using approximately 1:3.  The photo’ shows a 1:1 squadron of heavy cavalry in line, in column and in rout.  All awaiting (re)painting.



Continue reading A bit of catching up