7th September 2013
The invite arrived on my mobile but this year the document was so lavish that my phone rejected it. The Cholsey Classics invite is notorious for arriving late so “pre-invites” are despatched to warn of the impending arrival of the real thing. One year I think the invite might be published after the event. I eventually found a computer powerful enough to download it and enjoyed reading the book-like publication.
The Classics start on Friday evening but I have never quite been able to make it until the Saturday morning. My liver specialist will be grateful for this because the Friday session involves Nina’s cocktails and I’m not convinced my body could endure two nights of the Halsalls’ generosity.
Grit and I turned up at 10:00 on Saturday morning with the little dinghy in tow. It was good to meet up with everyone and in particular those who I haven’t seen for a while. The Friday night meal had only just finished so after reviving coffee we headed off to the Thames to set up base camp and launch the racing machines.
Yunis has always been in charge of the racing with hands-on judging but, although looking in fine fettle, he has decided to relinquish the duty on the grounds of not being able to run fast enough to get to the finish line before the boats do. Grit has taken on the duty on umpiring. Her knowledge of the yacht racing rules is unbelievable.
The sailing racing took on a new twist with three heats but no final thus enabling the judges to choose a winner.
The picnic was laid out under the gazebi (which we decided must be the plural of gazebo) and so we got stuck into some serious eating before the rowing races started. Ella is a bit of a star rower and rows for Wallingford Rowing Club. Whether she will still be allowed back after Alex decided to attack one of their sculls is up for debate.
Sean is also a top rower so we were going to be in for some exciting races. Sadly the rowing gradually degenerated and families battled each other with thrashing oars. Luckily our new umpire is a little short sighted and was totally unaware of the mayhem. The final race consisted of runners and swimmers racing against the rowing boats to win the Mara cup.
We managed the whole event without a drop of rain but as soon as we returned to Cholsey for the prize giving it began to pour down. It rained so hard that it forced its way right through the gazebo.
Prize giving as always starts with a spectacular assortment of tasty tapas titbits conjured up by Rosie, followed by lashings of barbequed meat (this time from Alex and Sam’s farm) and puddings and cheese. All, of course, served with appropriate drinks. The actual Prize Ceremony is a very formal affair opened by Mr John H introducing Yunus who was to give a succinct account of the days races in less than an hour. New medals were awarded for Friends of the Cholsey Classics and Old Friends of the Cholsey Classics or FOCCers and Old FOCCers as they are known. Grit helped Yunus with the awards and pointed out how much everyone was enjoying Yunus’ speech and, although everyone hoped it could go on a bit longer, it was her unfortunate task to suggest it drew to an end before daybreak.
In the early hours everyone retired to beds and scattered tents. Another successful Classics was over.