I have just returned from a week in the UK. One of the loveliest things I did while we were there was to spend a Saturday at the Henley Royal Regatta with My Husband and ‘the boys’.
Henley is one of those uniquely British sporting and social occasions, and it is an annual ‘fixture’ on the social calendar of many. Henley belongs in the rarefied company of such mythic events as horse racing at Ascot and tennis at Wimbledon.
I might argue that the British excel at staging the world’s most elegant and enjoyable sporting events. The sad and ironic thing is that they so rarely win them….
The Boy has rowed at Henley twice, on one occasion his ‘eight’, as they say in the UK, winning through to the final day of competition in The Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup, and as a result we all have many, many fond memories.
The Henley Royal Regatta, situated along a straight stretch of the Thames, has an almost magical atmosphere, and it regularly attracts a spirited crowd that is fully prepared to live up to Henley’s aristocratic history.
Within the manicured grounds of the Stewards’ Enclosure, you see a world straight out of My Fair Lady, with ladies in broad-brimmed hats and gentlemen in flannel rowing blazers, shod in white bucks and summer-colored high heels, promenading about on emerald lawns smooth enough for croquet, which run right up to the edge of the tranquil ‘stream’ of the river. Literally at your feet, amid the fashionable throngs, the dueling boats row by, two by two. Ralph Lauren eat your heart out.
I had hoped my sister and her husband would be able to join us this year at Henley, but she had already booked tickets for one of London’s hottest shows, Gatz. This production promises to deliver every word of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic The Great Gatsby, onstage, over the course of seven hours. Audiences are apparently riveted.
The Eldest said, “Why spend seven hours watching The Great Gatsby on stage? Henley IS The Great Gatsby…”
It’s almost enough to make you start singing The Eton Boating song…