Despite today’s rainy weather and this week’s gloomy forecast, it is summer in Britain and The Season is in full swing.
Traced back to the 18th century when people of society followed the movements of the Royal Family in and around London during spring and summer, The Season no longer is a select affair for the few but part of Britain’s cultural identity and gives people an excuse to dress up, bet a little money, get together, drink some bubbly, and enjoy the great outdoors.
The Season kicks off around the end of March with the Cheltenham Festival (a horse race) and the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race along the Thames (read my blog post about it here) and it includes the likes of the Grand National, another horse race that calls for mass betting, both formally in betting houses and informally among friends and family, and the Lords Test Match, which is, well, a cricket match.
The most colourful and pompous events of the season are Trooping the Colour, the official celebration of the Queen’s birthday, and Royal Ascot, another horse race, whose watchers dress to the till, top hats and all, especially for Ladies Day.
My favourite, perhaps, is Wimbledon, the world-famous tennis championship, maybe because I live in the area and, for two weeks, the whole neighbourhood feels like a summer holiday destination. It does not hurt either that it is a great excuse to enjoy copious amounts of Pimms #1 and strawberries with cream.
The Season ends in September with The Last Night of the Proms, which calls for a separate post coming up at the end of the summer.
“You learn, just as you learn good manners, how to approach things with a certain amount of diplomacy.” ~Robert McNeil
Photo taken by MCL in London.