Members of both Cygnet and BBLRC are invited into the most exclusive Henley enclosure, namely the garden at Old Blades during Henley Royal Regatta Friday, which this year falls on 30th June.
For the newcomers at both clubs. the lovely cottage that is "Old Blades" is located halfway along the Henley Course and has a very large garden, from where you can see all the action happening between the booms that indicate the rowing lane for the regatta, just steps away from the towpath where a veritable fashion parade occurs all day long. Mrs Pat Sly is one of Cygnet's Life Honorary Members of which we only have three.
Timing Club members are welcome from around 12 noon until 6pm (end of racing), at which point we have to have tidied up our rubbish and move on to the various commercial venues along the course.
Picnic - the basics Over the past ten years, we have organised a coordinated picnic. This all started when we had visitors from Benrath, in Germany, who came over for the 40th anniversary of our friendship, and we could hardly ask them to bring their own food and drink!
To spread the efforts in catering, can I ask Cygnet members to take care of drinks (for 1 plus ANOther) and cheeses, and BBLRC members bringing salads (for 4). Our lovely hostesses Pat and Prudence Sly will provide a gazebo with tables to deposit the salads and other food stuffs on, and the picnic table in the middle of the garden will be the drinks "bar". It is entirely up to you if you wish to bring your own picnic instead, though!
Picnic - the details If you would like to participate in this organised picnic, do let Marj know what you intend to bring. Not because I am nosy (although I am that too!) but mainly to ensure that we end up with a variety of salads, rather than 10 couscous salads and some bread! Now's the time to get that special summer salad recipe and wow everyone with your skills! And remember, it only needs to be a salad for 4 people.
Transport The safest way to travel to Henley (and if this is your first time, the only way, just for the experience) is by train from Paddington or Ealing Broadway, via Twyford. Go with your crew, club friends, close friends.... From the station, follow the crowd towards the river, cross the river by the Angel Pub, and take the first turn left; the path will lead you behind the boating tents and enclosures before turning left to the towpath along the river. Go right and follow the towpath along a variety of rowing clubs, drinking and shopping stalls. When you see a garden fence right along the towpath, you've reached your destination. Note that there are no general parking facilities at Old Blades; do get in touch with me if you have to drive to Henley!
Dress Code Although this must be one of the most exclusive enclosures along the course there is no strict dress code. Most Cygnets will wear their club blazer, and ladies go all out in summer frocks and hats. If you plan to go into the Stewards enclosure (there will be some tickets to be shared on the day) note that gentlemen will have to be appropriately dressed in club blazer, shirt and tie, and ladies MUST wear frocks with hems below the knee. Trouser suits are not allowed for the ladies.
That's it. If you need more information about HRR see "A Day at Henley Royal Regatta" or contact the secretary (email Marj if you have her address) for further details about Henley Friday at Old Blades.