Don't you just love it when you get the entire week (or month or day) planned out and suddenly, wham, Life happens? Yeah, that was me this week, over and over. In fact, of the various activities I'd planned, only one went off according to plan.
I'd been planning on being up in York again this week, doing the next of the series of Conversation Analysis Training Workshops. So, since I'd have to be in York for Monday, noon, I figured, I'd really better go up on Sunday evening. And if I was going up Sunday, I could probably swing going up for Sunday all day, and catching Church in Sheffield. And if I was going to be up Sunday morning, I really ought to be up for Saturday. So I went to Sheffield Saturday morning (early) and spent Saturday and Sunday with Jill and Mark. Jill's my best friend from my Sheffield days. I don't get to see them nearly often enough. This visit was the only bit that went to plan.
Sunday evening I got a message from my adviser, Rebecca, telling me that . . . Celia (the woman running the course in York) had come down with bronchitis and tonsillitis, capped off with laryngitis. Clearly not her best week! So, that pretty well took out my entire week's plan. I was supposed to stay with my friend Christy again, but I couldn't get a hold of her to let her know of the cancellation and discuss how it was going to affect the rest of our week. So I had to drive up to York anyway.
I ended up staying the night Monday in York and having dinner with a good friend that I hadn't seen in nearly 2 years! It was great fun to hang with Rachel, and we had a marvelous Indian Dinner, too. Tuesday was an adventure of the Shopping Variety. Christy and I have been planning on attending the Ascot Races for months. She had found this great 1950's Vintage Dress to wear. I had a gorgeous 1950's Retro Inspired Dress. But Jan didn't have anything she really thought would be the most ideal. So she wanted to go shopping. We found several things over the course of the day that she thought would be ok, but wasn't really thrilled with any of it, until we got to M&S. There, she found a skirt and jacket that fit her style perfectly. We had some trouble getting the size skirt, though. Everything was just big enough to be worrisome. Shockingly, I found a fabulous skirt that I decided I couldn't live without. Yep, another unexpected event. I don't do my own shopping. I dislike shopping. Seriously. I often break down in tears. No kidding. Honest. Yes, I know I have great clothes. They're nearly all the result of my sister's relentless and tireless efforts to keep me stylishly attired. I feel fat and ugly when I go shopping. So me finding a skirt that I actually felt I needed to risk the water works for is quite a big surprise.
Since Christy and I had the week free, we decided we'd like to do something a bit different. We looked around and finally settled on going to a spa for a facial and massage. Well, we looked at so many different spas, we got a bit confused. We thought we'd settled on one out in North Kent, which is close-ish to where I live in Colchester. We checked the address, though, and found that in fact, it was in Surry! Just a bit further west than we thought. In fact, so much so that we rang them as we were getting ready to head down to mine to find out if they had room for us to stay the night. We didn't really fancy getting up at 6.00 am for a relaxing day at a spa! They did, but again, was a bit different from the original plan.
So Wednesday we spent the day at the Spa. Lovely fun. Not much else to be said, though.
Thursday we were going to go into town and look for a handbag for me to go with my dress. Then we'd sort of planned to take a walk out in one of the country parks around Colchester. Except that Christy didn't wake up until sometime past 3.00 pm! So I got the grass mowed and tidied up the garden generally. We did have dinner with Sarah, she came round, but we had oven trouble, so it did not go particularly smoothly. Jan was delayed a bit on her train down from York, but not overly. I'd more or less planned on getting into bed around 10.30, but it was gone 12.30 by the time we settled into our respective beds!
Friday was supposed to be the highlight of my week, for several reasons. One: Ascot Race Day! I'd planned on getting up at 8.00 am. Christy was going to be getting up at 7.30 so that she could get her hair washed. Her alarm didn't go off. Mine did, but I was so exhausted that I didn't hear it. I managed to turn it off, but not make it out of bed. Fortunately, Christy spontaneously awoke at 8.00, and asked me if I was awake at 8.30. Oops. Never mind. I threw my clothes on faster than I have in a long time. Then I put my hair up, and called Christy to come so I could do her's. What most people don't realise is, when wearing hats, one must always do one's hair. It is not sufficient to plunk a hat down on some unkempt pile, as if it were a cover to mask the chaos. This is one reason why so many women opt for the enormous envelopments that completely obscure the hair. Unfortunately, this also results in a top heavy appearance and no artistry or elegant lines. Thus the importance of doing our hair. Unfortunately, we'd run out of time. I didn't get a chance to do Jan's hair, or my makeup. So I grabbed my makeup bag and a bunch of bobby (kirby) pins for Jan's hair. We drove to Ascot, even managing to get there on time, even though we left half an hour late, and got stuck in traffic.
Upon arrival at Ascot, we finished getting ready.
It was red lipstick and fancy frocks all the way.
Once we went inside, the people watching took on Olympic Sport conditions. There was so much going on that you literally could not see it all. I'd see something and say, 'Oh wow, look at that _____' and the others would turn, and find something which fit the description which I had not seen. It was amazing. Definitely a people watchers paradise.
The first thing we did was head off to the paddock where they were warming the horses up. Before each Race they walk the horses around. This prevents the horses from sustaining injury during the race, obviously, but also gives bettors a chance to check out the paces. This particular horse was the favourite for the first race.
Then we went out to the track. Christy decided she wanted the full experience, including losing a bit of money on a long shot. So she and I went back out and she placed the minimum bet on horse #6 for the First Race. We got it placed seconds before the Race was due to start, and rushed back to where we'd left Jan, arriving just in time to see the horses come rushing by. Unfortunately, it's a rather blurry photo, since I didn't have time to get set up properly beforehand. I'm just pleased I got one at all! And the result? #7! Sorry, Christy.
After the First Race, we decided to walk around a bit. We went down to the grass at the edge of the track. We'd been on our feet for quite a while by this point, so we took a seat on the green. The races are separated by some 30-45 minutes. So we had a bit of time to relax. The dress code for the 'Royal Enclosure' is for men: Morning Suit (what most Americans refer to as Top Hat and Tails, though not the black tails. Grey ones.) and women: dress, which must not come more than two inches above the knee, and must have at least a 2 inch strap on the shoulders. They must also wear a hat. These dress rules are relaxed somewhat for the general admission. They become more guidelines than rules. The men only have to wear a shirt and tie. The woman don't have to wear a hat, though most do, nor even a dress, though again, most do. They are supposed to be smart, though, even if it's a trouser suit instead of a skirt. However, the rules are clearly not as strictly enforced in the general admission. Whilst most woman were wearing tasteful skirts and jackets or blouses, there were a lot of women who were wearing completely strapless numbers. And a lot of women misunderstand the directive for formal/smart day wear, and instead come in formal evening wear. There is a difference. Unfortunately, these sadly deluded women were not the worst of the lot. Neither were those who were sadly misguided in their assumption that tiny skirts, bare shoulders and plunging necklines (all combined) are anything other than tartish. Now, I agree that singly these elements can be done tastefully, but these overwhelmingly were not. And yet, they were not the shocking site of the day. That award belonged to the woman who wore this lovely delicate lace dress that ordinarily I'd have lauded. Unfortunately, the lace (Remember I said delicate? Read sheer.) was all she was wearing (on top. She had on a lovely skirt!) That includes bra. So, all intents and purposes, she was naked from the waist up!
When they started getting set up for the Second Race, we moved up to the fence to await the start. Means we got an exceptional view of the final bit of the race.
It really was quite exciting to hear and feel the thunder of the hooves as the horses pounded past our post.
I managed to get a bit of footage from the Third Race.
But after the Third Race, it started to threaten a bit of rain. Not much of a threat, just a few drops, but enough that it dropped the temperature, and we decided we didn't want to risk it. So we headed back to the car.
Now, my original plan for the day was that Christy and I would go to the Reading YSA Dance after the race. I'd promised my Stake YSA friends that I'd meet them there. But I did all that before Christy told me that Jan was coming along. Jan's not really into the YSA Dance scene (partly because she's not a YSA!) so obviously wasn't much interested in hanging about. So, we had to figure something else out. The thing was, it's just too far for me to have driven them home, then come all the way back to within 15 minutes of where we'd been all day! So we ended up having dinner together at a pub, then I rang my next door neighbour and arranged for her to give my spare key to Christy when they got in. Then I went on to the dance. Yet another not planned event.
The dance contained another unplanned event. Remember my date from the other week? Well, we'd arranged to meet over the weekend in Sheffield. That date went well, and we'd arranged to meet again at the Reading Dance. But, he never showed. Never got a text, or anything, either. I didn't find out till Sunday night what the deal was. He got a girlfriend. Only, he never told me. Instead he posted his new relationship status on Facebook. I was so not impressed. Sure, it's disappointing that he chose someone else he'd prefer to pursue a further relationship with. But it's disrespectful of him not to tell me that he'd decided to be exclusive with someone else. Guys, never do this to a woman! Have more respect for a woman than to just disappear. It's not ok to just ditch her. That's completely rude and disrespectful. Posting that you're 'In a Relationship' with someone is a way of telling your friends you've started dating someone seriously. It's not an appropriate way to let the other women you've been dating that you're no longer going to be asking them out. All I can say? Lucky escape! I don't want a boyfriend/husband who would treat anyone like that. And the worst part is? He's the second guy to have done that to me in the last 3 months. Happened at the end of March, too. On my birthday. I'm disappointed that I'm (yet again) not the chosen one. But I'm angry and disgusted that he treated me so poorly.