Country Pursuits

There is perhaps one annual event in our limited social calendar that feels more ‘country’ and more ‘Gloucestershire’ than any other: the Siddington Point to Point.


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A positive hymn to tweed, and a demonstration of the extraordinary British capacity to picnic in any weather, it’s a windy, muddy, messy, glorious way to spend an afternoon – if horses, fields, wellies and small-time betting is your sort of thing.

 

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I love how, while queuing for a portaloo, you can still find enough fur, leather, tweed and red trousers to start at ‘Cotswold Collection’ shop…

 

The basic premise is to drive up, park your car, open the boot, unload a picnic, (along with picnic tables, tablecloths, chairs and real glasses and cutlery – we’re not savages after all), eat, drink, shiver and be merr while intermittently pottering to the bookies and then down to the racetrack to watch your horse charge over the finish line.

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During the day, people you know will wander up and down the cars, dropping in to eat all your food say hello and share tips for the next race.  It’s a proper chance for locals to catch-up in a casual, bumped-into sort of way, (making plans beyond something vague like: “yeah we’ll be there” is strictly forbidden), and it has to be one of the best ways to people-watch ever. You can guarantee bumping into that old family friend you haven’t seen in 20 years and can also guarantee that someone’s dog from some car way over there will saunter past and stick its nose in your quiche before you’ve realised what’s happening. #bringextraquiche

And if you’ve thought ahead and brought plenty of cash, there’s always plenty of bargains to be snapped up at the very on-target shopping section – Hunter, Joules, Barrington Ayre – no others need apply.

If you’re taking little ones, wrap them up warm, and pack either the off-road buggy or a robust rucksack to schlep them about in. And have plenty of petrol because you might end up turning the car on and sitting in it with them if the wind decides to really bluster about.

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Despite all the above, it’s an event that has always felt familiar, easy, fun and nostalgic for me. I’ve been going since I was little enough to sit on someone’s shoulders and now I have someone little enough to sit on my shoulders it feels extra special.

More info here.

Five Top Tips for Surviving the Point2Point

  1. Take several flasks of hot water and teabags – literally everyone that stopped by our car to say hello wanted a cup of tea and not a glass of wine
  2. Go in convoy – if you can, this provides a larger surface area for mass picnicking and world domination
  3. Don’t be afraid to go posh – real Champagne glasses, vases of flowers, whole lobsters, fur coats, all  very acceptable
  4. Cash – bring lots of it, for shopping , betting, entry fee, bribing the car next to you for their corkscrew etc
  5. Wrap up – however warm and sunny it is at home, you just will get cold, this is intentional, it’s not proper if you don’t get cold, but still, scarves, hats, thermals, extra layers, coats, rugs – all handy to have

 

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