Members of both Cygnet and BBLRC are invited into the most exclusive Henley enclosure, namely the garden at Old Blades during Henley Royal Regatta Friday, which this year falls on 6th July. This invitation has been very kindly made by our hostess, Mrs Pat Sly, who is one of Cygnet's Life Honorary Members..
For the newcomers at both clubs, the lovely cottage that is "Old Blades" is located halfway along the Henley Course and has a very large garden, from where you can see all the action – both on the water and the towpath!.
Timing Club members are welcome from around 12 noon until 6pm (end of racing), at which point we have to have tidied up our rubbish and move on to the various commercial venues along the course.
Picnic Between us we coordinated a picnic to nibble on during the afternoon. To spread the efforts in catering, Cygnet members are asked to take care of suitable drinkies (sufficient for one plus ANOther) and cheeses, and BBLRC members are kindly requested to provide salads (for four). The meat dish is taken care of by the lovely Di du Parcq and Pat Sly but feel free to bring anything you prefer to eat (or drink) – there can never be too much!
Our hostesses, Pat and Prudence Sly, will also provide a gazebo with tables and some plates, cutlery, napkins etc. The picnic table in the middle of the garden will be the drinks "bar" but please bring something to drink out of.
It is entirely up to you if you wish to bring your own picnic instead, although it much more sociable to pitch-in with the joint effort. If you would like to participate in the organised picnic, please let Marj know what you intend to bring. Not because she is nosy (although she is that too!) but mainly to ensure that we end up with a variety of salads, rather than ten couscous salads and some bread! Now's the time to get that special summer salad recipe and wow everyone with your skills!
Transport The safest way to travel to Henley (and if this is your first time, the only way, just for the experience) is by train from Paddington or Ealing Broadway, via Twyford. Go with your crew, club friends, close friends.... From the station, follow the crowd towards the river, cross the river by the Angel Pub, and take the first turn left; the path will lead you behind the boating tents and enclosures before turning left to the towpath along the river. Go right and follow the towpath along a variety of rowing clubs, drinking and shopping stalls. When you see a garden fence right along the towpath, you've reached your destination.
Note that there are no general parking facilities at Old Blades; drivers should pay to park in the farm behind Old Blades unless other arrangements have already been made with Pat, Pru or Marj.
Dress Code Although this must be one of the most exclusive enclosures along the course there is no strict dress code. However, Gentlemen are expected to look smart (club blazers if you have them) and ladies are welcome to go all-out in summer frocks and hats. If you plan to go into the Stewards enclosure (there will be some tickets to be shared on the day) note that gentlemen will have to be appropriately dressed in club blazer, shirt and tie, and ladies MUST wear frocks with hems below the knee. Trouser suits are not allowed for the ladies within the enclosures.
That's it. If you need more information about HRR see "A Day at Henley Royal Regatta" or contact the secretary (email Marj if you have her address) for further details about Henley Friday at Old Blades.