Tuesday, 13 July 2010

The Hackett Rundle Cup - The Army vs The Navy

One could be forgiven thinking that I spend my whole time gallivanting around from one social event to the next but it is the Summer and there is an awful lot going on, which is why last weekend I hosted The Hackett Rundle Cup, an historic Polo match played annually between the Army and the Navy an event that we have been honoured to sponsor for several years. I'm particularly fond of the striking red British Army polo shirts in which the team is kitted out - and which have been donned by Prince William and Prince Harry at previous Rundle Cup tournaments.

The Rundle Cup takes place at the headquarters of the Royal Artillery based at Tidworth Garrison close to Stonehenge. It is a glorious setting and as one would expect, the Army put on a good show with white marquees erected to frame the Polo ground in regimental fashion. On the day the weather was perfect and Union flags fluttered against clear pale blue skies.

I wore a khaki cotton suit and since you ask, yes it was the same one as I wore to the Aston Martin Midsummer Classic day the previous weekend; in these austere times one has to make do. Due to the unseasonably hot weather I chose not to wear a tie, my first mistake, because on arrival I was greeted by several high ranking officers all wearing their regimental ties. But well mannered as they are, no comment was made. They probably put it down to the fact that I was in the “fashion business", though I did notice a few raised eyebrows.

What I particularly like about the day is that these Army chaps know how to dress, exchanging their military uniforms for what really is another uniform - so most of the fellows were dressed in cotton suits and suede chukka boots with their regimental ties matching the hatbands on their panama hats. It's what's known in the Army as Mufti and on mass they all look like extra's from a Merchant Ivory movie.

Adding to this romantic scene were the crowds of spectators made up of families picnicking from wicker baskets and drinking jugs of Pimms under striped umbrellas, with men and ladies wearing Panama hats.

Regaling the visitors from his white clapboard painted commentary box was the witty and dapper Panama hatted Lieutenant Colonel Simon Ledger, Chairman of Army Polo and deputy Commander of Tidworth Garrison, whom at prize giving I was able to present with a bottle of bubbly as a token of my appreciation for the sterling job that the Army does at work and play.

Now I suspect that you are dying to know what my other mistake was; I forgot to take my Panama hat, I was lucky not to have been put on latrine duty.

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