Soph was away on christening duties yesterday and although it was a tough call, after much mental wrestling I decided to take K to Blenheim Horse Trials; I’d blagged a pair of VIP tickets and was looking forward to all the frills, perks and niceties that normally accompany VIP status at a world class equestrian competition.
We arrived and, like a well-practised team (which we’re not!), K and I flipped straight in to reconnaissance mode and cruised through the trade stands. Then we headed for the VIP marquee/enclosure where coffee and carbs may have been deployed.
We arranged to meet back later; I went off to walk the CIC*** cross country course and K went off to do whatever it is that women of an equestrian inclination do at these things.
At 12.30 K and I hooked up back in the main arena where we watched a lecture/demo by Graham Fletcher (one of my boyhood show-jumping heroes), which was followed by the CCI*** show jumping.
Sorry, I mean we *tried* to watch the lecture/demo by Graham Fletcher.
Didn’t the guy on the tannoy say ‘Switch your fucking mobile phones off’? Well no, he didn’t quite put it like that but take my word for it girls and boys, the message was implicitly the same.
So why did Old Welsh Bag rock up on her electric invalid carriage/chair thing, stop almost right in front of us (because we didn’t want to actually *see* anything, did we?) pull out her prehistoric mobile phone (the size of a concrete block), press numbers, put it to her ear and utter the words: ‘GARETH? IT’S ME. WHERE ARE YOU? I’M IN THE MAIN ARENA. ARE YOU OK? HANG ON, SHE’S HERE.’
At this point Old Welsh Bag handed the concrete block mobile phone to a Less Old Welsh Bag (daughter?) who continued the conversation in marginally quieter tones.
Marginally quieter, but just not quiet enough. We all knew what she was telling Gareth.
Now then, you won’t know this, but throughout the course of the afternoon Old Welsh Bag and Less Old Welsh Bag telephoned GARETH six times.
Six. Fucking. Times.
It would be far too easy of me to pick on Old Welsh Bag for many things (having the telephone manners of a person with no manners or consideration whatsoever, smoking cigarettes near people â€“ therefore not giving anyone a choice on whether or not they wanted to smoke her exhalations too, smoking at all when she was clearly massively overweight and, judging by her laboured breathing, extremely unfit), so I won’t.
Instead I will simply say that neither she, nor Less Old Welsh Bag had any great power of vision, for if they had they would have seen everyone nearby glare scornfully at them for the first three calls and collapse in giggles of derision for the last three calls.
However, lack of consideration and poor telephone manners weren’t the pinnacle of this pair’s achievements.
When, later in the afternoon, we were watching the last 15 competitors of the CCI*** perform the competition’s deciding show jumping rounds, Old Welsh Bag determined that she’d had enough and wanted to leave.
So she threw her electric invalid carriage thing in to reverse and…
BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP.
Yes, it had an audible reversing alarm, just like an HGV lorry. Because, obviously, one of those electric invalid carriage things is the same to drive as an HGV lorry.
I don’t know how the beeping alarm affected any of the competing horses out in the arena, but immediately, it scared the fuck out of everyone nearby in the VIP enclosure.
However our expressions turned from terror at the initial aural pollution to abject horror at her obvious lack of consideration and thence to giggles and outright guffaws at the comedy of the situation.
But oh, what a shame that the enjoyment of about a hundred nearby people was completely ruined by the total lack of consideration of Old Welsh Bag and Less Old Welsh Bag at a spectator event.
The moral of this little story is that having VIP tickets is not an effective barrier against the stupids; they’ll still find ways of getting to you.