Well, in truth, the forecast was only quite good; overcast and coolish with the chance of a shower. Not quite the weather one wants when planning to spend a day watching rowing, sipping on Pimm’s or Aperol and grazing on strawberries. But, on the day, it proved better than expected – a cooling breeze, but jackets came off and hats stayed on – the ideal combination, really!
Simon Wood had come up with the idea of a day by the river, enjoying the sights and colours of the renowned Henley Regatta.
He and Sarah McGrath arranged a lovely spot in the garden of a private house, a substantial gazebo, a fulsome and delicious picnic (very well chosen and coordinated by Simon’s wife, Lucy) and plentiful supplies of assorted cooling drinks. Even parking was planned, a short walk away, making the logistics easy for those coming by car.
With a backdrop of a Feltmakers banner, about 30 liverymen and guests, along with Edgar Heggli and his wife Joyce from the Waag, gathered to spend the day together. Those in the know had a programme of races, occasionally pausing in their conversations to cheer on a particular team or critique technique and strategy. Others (like the writer) just enjoyed the spectacle of rowers, boats, blazers, boaters, dresses and hats in blissful ignorance of the finer points of the day.
As a complete bonus, Simon also had his beautiful vintage boat, Frogge, on hand to take guests out on the river, complete with some young (and good looking) Cambridge Blues who proved not just adept with the oars, but also delightful lunch companions, interesting and entertaining to talk to. Maybe we can persuade some of them to join the Livery in due course?
All in all, a highly enjoyable day, with all the elements needed – good company, a spectacle to watch, delicious food and drink and (mostly) fine weather. Sincere congratulations and thanks to Simon, Sarah and Lucy for all the effort they put in to bring it together.
For my part, I just hope it becomes an annual event!
I’m already thinking about my hat for next year…
Written by Louisa Vincent