Home again

I arrived back from Ascot late this afternoon so I am still a little the worst for wear, as they say. Whilst I really do look forward to this trip every year, this was a particularly lucrative one financially. As you know I am not the most horsey of people, but some of my close friends are, and this year they persuaded me to back several of the riders. I am not averse to a little gambling, particularly at an event such as this, so I went along with their suggestions. I am not sure exactly how much I came away with in the end, but I believe it was in the region of a couple of thousand or so.

Ascot is one of those events in the social calendar that is more than it seems to be. With dear old Lizzie taking such a keen interest and being actively involved, it has a certain cache. And although I can’t pretend to know too much about the horses, riders and all that, I enjoy the society of friends and the atmosphere that goes with it.

This year we had perfect weather and we managed in impromptu picnic in the grounds. It was a rather splendid affair, all top hats and tails. What a lark!

But I can’t talk about Ascot without saying something about the insane preoccupation that the ladies seem to have with their dresses and hats. I mean, what do they think they look like? I am surprised some of them can even walk about. I don’t really hold with all this over the top flamboyance, but I suppose it has become part of the spectacle and what people have come to expect.

As much as I enjoy being at events like Ascot, meeting old chums and enjoying wonderful food and drink, it is always comforting to return home, to get back to my own surroundings and the peace and quiet of the city. I find the country to be far too busy and noisy. I don’t think those damned birds ever go to sleep.

Anyway, I am back home now and everything seems to be in order. I can see that Nigel has been working on my computer again to make it safe for me. I really do appreciate the time he devotes to keeping me safe from all those nasty infections and things that can attack your computer when you are not looking. I mentioned my new-found interest on the internet to some of my horsey friends who have all promised to tune into my blog, so “hello” to you all.

It has been a long day so I think I’ll just pop along to the Club for a night cap or three. It is good to be home.

Ascot Ahoy

What oh – it’s Ascot week – splendid fun for everyone. Not that the racing itself really interests me. Good grief no! I find all that watching horses running around in circles quite tiresome. It is also rather noisy and smelly. No, for me Ascot is all about the society. It is one of the notable events of the social calendar for catching up with friends over a decent champers.

Ascot is one of those occasions that make me proud to be British. No one does events such as this like we do. They do say it is the sport of Kings (or Queens of course) and I know for sure that Lizzie is quite a fan of the racing. Some of the chaps enjoy the racing too and take a great deal of interest in who won what on whose horse. Personally, I can’t see what all the fuss is about. Admittedly I have been known to place a wager or two, but only when a friend has a horse. I usually lose, but have been known to win the odd thou here and there.

One of the key elements to getting the most out of Ascot, or any other event for that matter, is securing the right accommodation. It can be frightfully tedious searching, but I have found a delightful little place quite close to the course where my friends and I can enjoy exquisite cuisine and a splendid selection of single malts. It is one of those grand old houses that was in a state of disrepair until recently when it was taken over and turned into a rather splendid hotel. Now, according to my aunt Lady Madock I own shares in the place, but I have never been able to keep a track of all my investments. I find that sort of thing frightfully boring if truth be told. I have people who deal with that side of things for me.

Ascot always attracts the very best of society, but it also seems to be popular these days with an awful lot of foreign chappies. And it has been known for “common” folk get in. Honestly, just because they have money doesn’t mean they are the right kind of people to enjoy the benefits of being at Ascot. After all, dear old Lizzie and Phillip will be there and I think they see quite enough of these types when they go about their royal visits. I am certain they don’t want to be rubbing shoulders with them on their days off.

Anyway, I must dash, I really should be on my way now. The sun is shining and it looks like it should be a splendid affair this year. No doubt I will have lots to tell you when I return.

Welcome to the Internet

Some time ago, I can’t recall exactly when, except that it was a Monday and it was raining. I know it was a Monday because Dora, my cleaning lady was there and she always comes on a Monday. And it was definitely raining because I remember that Dora was wet when she came in.

Anyway, it was a Monday morning and Dasher Robeson had called round for our usual pre-lunch drinkies. Of course, Dasher isn’t his real name. He acquired that nickname at school following a rather memorable incident in the girl’s dorm. Dasher often calls by, unannounced, just in time for drinks, but on this particular day – this wet Monday – he was all abuzz about something he had seen on the internet. Now, at the time I knew nothing about this new fangled world wide interweb thingy and quite frankly, I didn’t really want to know. But after a couple of single malts – a particularly good Edradour – and a rather large brandy, I gave in and agreed to go with him to the local “cyber café” so we could do a spot of what he called “browsing”.

Now, to be fair to Dasher, he didn’t actually say the café had a bar, but darn it, every café I had ever been to before served proper drinks; but not this one. Oh no, when we arrived, soaking wet through, I had at least expected somewhere dry and hospitable. Whilst it was certainly dry – not a drop of decent spirit in the place, I was offered tea, but as they only served one type – and I suspect that came out of a bag – I declined, preferring to take a nip or two from my own flask. That is something my father taught me, never go anywhere with an empty flask.

Once I had got over the shock, not only of the surroundings but also the rather shady nature of the rest of the clientele, I must admit that my interest was tweaked by what Dasher showed me. Besides all the videos of cats and people falling over, there was an awful lot of interesting things to be found on the internet.

I mentioned my visit to the cyber café with my nephew Nigel when he visited me later that week. I call him my nephew, but Nigel is in fact my godson. He has always called me Uncle Robert so it always seemed natural to call him my nephew, and as I have no brothers or sisters, I suppose he is the nearest I will get. Now, Nigel is one of those young chappies who takes an interest in computers and such like.

Anyway, Nigel was delighted at my new-found interest in the digital world and the very next day he turned up with a brand-new computer. Not one of those portable lap things but a big tower one. I am still learning how to use it but Nigel is being very patient and supportive. In fact, he is here most days tweaking and cleaning the system for me. He has warned me of the dangers of the internet and spends quite a bit of time making sure I am safe.

It was one evening whilst chatting to Dasher and Nigel that we hit on the idea of me writing a sort of online diary. Admittedly we were all a little tipsy, but it did seem a clever idea and so, voila! Here I am doing just that.

Well, it is not exactly a diary. I have one of those and can’t see what interest it would be to anyone else. Nigel calls it a blog but I don’t really understand what that means.

I already write a lot of letters to my friends and family so Nigel said I could use the internet to keep in touch and I would only have to write things once. How amazing!

Of course, for now Nigel is going to have to help me with the technical stuff, which he assures me he is only too happy to do.

Hello world. It’s me!

Hello and welcome to my latest adventure. Unlike my previous forays into the unknown, this time I get to stay at home and don’t have to deal with bolshie natives or unseasonable weather. This internet thingy is all new to me so anyone reading this who doesn’t already know me will have to be patient I’m afraid. I am sure I will get the hang of it all very soon, particularly as my wiz-kid nephew Nigel is helping to get me started.

I would write some more but Nigel is keen to finish setting up my new computer and I am already late for drinks with Dasher and Cambridge at the club. So I will say au revoir for now.