Victoria and Richard live in southern England, in the little village of Elsted, north of Portsmouth. Their lovely home is surrounded by apple trees and huts built by their two little twins Beatrice and Daisy. We met in Mull, Scotland during a sevens rugby tournament. And they were kind enough to invite us to stop by their place for a barbecue during our trip south.
Richard and his brother manage a jewellery shop in London. He told us that two days from now, he would be wearing his top hat and tails to present a brooch to THE QUEEN for her 90th birthday. To us, the royal family is part of the unchanging English folklore that surprises and thrills us. No matter what, it’s quite classy!
But before this royal meeting, there’s a horse race at Goodwood. And Victoria and Richard have invited us to go with them! It will be a glamorous evening at the racetrack, starting with a six-course meal then dancing to the rhythm laid down by an international DJ. We are super excited!
CHALLENGE N ° 1 Find the right outfit
It says on the invite: Appropriate attire required! Elsa does have a dress but the next question is shoes. Flip-flops aren’t going to cut it. Her feet are 3 sizes larger than Victoria’s, so she’s off to the nearest shop. For the men, a shirt, jacket, and tie are required, something Bertrand hadn’t really planned on. Fortunately, Richard can provide everything he needs. With that, we’re finally ready to stroll onto the racetrack in style.
CHALLENGE N ° 2 Study the horses
As soon as we arrive, we start admiring the horses on parade, meticulously studying their forms, pedigree, and recent results. Or, at least that’s what we pretend to do…. it’s honestly incomprehensible. 😉
CHALLENGE N ° 3 Bet on the right horse
Players mill around the betting tables to track down the best deal from bookmakers. The bets are placed and everything stops.
CHALLENGE N ° 4 Win the jackpot
First though, the horses approach and wake up the murmuring crowd. As they reach the finish line, everyone jumps up and down and screams to encourage their champion! VICTORY! We won! Well, just one out of six races. But that’s still something to be proud of.
CHALLENGE N ° 5 Dance to warm up
The parade ring transforms into a dance floor. The well-dressed crowd fills the floor, lit by the laser show and projectors, and dances to Sister Bliss’s rhythms. Despite our aching feet, we’re grateful to Victoria and Richard for this amazing night filled with English eccentricity.
After exchanging our dancing shoes for flip-flops, we slip ourselves in the comfort of our van, marvelling at how this trip and everyone we’ve met along our route have been full of lovely surprises. And we fall asleep, counting the Patrick’s 150 horses which are ready to hit the road tomorrow, and jump across the Channel to leave Great Britain soon.
[On the road, at the 50°53’31.7″N and 0°44’31.3″W]