Wednesday Badminton is getting busy! It seems that people have cottoned on to the fact that the BE90/100 competition days provide all the same shopping opportunities minus the huge crowds and as such it seemed decidedly busier this year compared to last.
With no particular shopping list except ‘lunch’ in mind we set off moseying round the stalls, with our usual plan of shop – lunch – watch some xc – more shopping – maybe a sweet treat – home.
Typically the first stall we came across was brilliant (so we did the browse-and-make-a-mental-note-to-return-later-stall-sweep walk) Will Bees Bespoke. I love it, I want everything on it, in every colour and personalised. I managed to restrain myself to one wash bag….but the struggle was real. Personalised with your initials (CFAN in my case) whilst you wait, these bags are brilliant. Do one thing and do it well, and WBB definitely do that.
The last few years I’ve been slightly underwhelmed by the stalls and the food on offer, it all seemed a bit…meh…..same old same old, but this year the shopping village seemed invigorated and full of new and exciting products (this could be the ‘shoppers’ euphoria’ talking, but I think you’ll agree they’ve raised their game) The food stalls on offer were varied Thai, British, Indian, Spanish, Italian, fast food, gourmet, light bites or hearty fayre. I opted for a Chicken Tikka wrap with mint and yoghurt dressing and it was delicious. Later in the day I bought a bag of hot pork scratchings (don’t let it be said I don’t have a refined pallet 😉 ) and had a mix of two flavours English Mustard and BBQ. They were divine! Connoisseurs of fried pig skin get thee to the hot scratching stand, vegetarians look away now.
I also bought a bag of pork pies, scotch eggs and sausage rolls to take home. I eat like a member of The Wurzels, I know! Oorrr arrrrr!
If you have a sweet tooth you won’t be disappointed either, the cakes…dear God the cakes. I think I caught type 2 diabetes just looking at them (and yes I did just look, I have some self control). The Brownie Bar tempted my Badminton buddy and she splashed out on a box of mixed flavours and they looked mouthwatering.
If you pass this stall then it’s mandatory to bow down to The Chocolate King cake. I mean just look at it!!! That thing is a BEAST!
Craving something sweet myself but having eaten a considerable amount of crunchy pig by this stage I opted for a ‘healthy’ smoothie. Yes I am aware smoothies are full of sugar, and yes I was aware at £3.50 it was horribly overpriced but it’s Badminton….it happens once a year and we just kept telling ourselves ‘it’s ok we’re on our holidays‘ (Caveat: we were in no way on our holidays, but if this helps assuage the guilt then you’re welcome to use this coping mechanism too ;))
The things I love about shopping at Badders are leather, fur, feathers, luxury, tweed, metal work, silk, embroidery, taxidermy, aspirational items, soft furnishings, gin, dog stuff, and tasting samples! All of these were in abundance this year. I rarely buy things for the horses as I usually have to purchase that stuff anyway throughout the year. Indulging in non-horse related retail therapy is very good for me, according to my therapist, and very bad for me according to my bank manager. (N.B. I do not have a therapist or a bank manager I have an overdraft and a tired credit card)
A life long lover of the macabre art that is taxidermy The Flying Fox stand had me riveted. Do I need a stuffed pheasant wearing a dicky bow? No. Do I want one? Hell yes!
Each strange animal incarnation is made from scratch ‘a lady in the village runs up their outfits’ and a local carpenter creates the wooden stands etc. Team work people! This what team work can achieve. Sadly at around £1000 each I could only afford to affectionately stroke my new stuffed acquaintances, take a promotional postcard from the stand and move on.
Gin is my chosen poison and there was no shortage of samples on offer. Being a lifelong lightweight after two samples I was feeling very enthusiastic about the whole sampling process and narrowly avoided purchasing several bottles. Warner Edwards limited edition botanical flavour blew my head off drunk neat, but with some tonic it mellowed and had a totally different flavour. If you like your gin floral and aromatic check this out. I didn’t get a chance to sample any Chase gin as the trip home was imminent and ‘One Sip Chloe’ was driving but hats off to the union jack-ness (yes it’s a word) of the stand. I half expected to see Made In Chelsea’s Ollie Locke or Geri Halliwell Circa 1997 handing out the samples.
Hares hares everywhere, they must be breeding like rabbits, ba boom cha! You might be tired of all the woodland animal motifs by now but with a few new twists on that furnishing fave the hare print and hare themed homewares (harewares?) were pretty good. I particularly like this little patchwork chappy, and could see him making a great doorstop, but I have a feeling he didn’t have a doorstop-esque price tag
It has almost become a tradition now for me to visit the Fairfax & Favor stand stare admiringly at the loafers, sigh and walk on and this year was no different…..well I tell a lie….Whilst surveying this particular pair of kicks a bag from the top of the display fell off and landed on my head and then bounced into my hands. Not exactly what I was expecting but it did jolt me out of my shoe coma and back to reality. The very apologetic girl on the stand was sweet and also relived because they apparently had been considering putting bricks in the bags to weight them down! If only I’d been hit on the head by a brick instead! Imagine all the ‘apology pairs’ they would have given me 😉 Oh well there’s always next year ha!
Having recently bought a dog I was on the lookout for Equifleece to pick up one of their fab doggy jumpers and sniff out a new natty collar. There were lots of beaded and polo belt style ones about but nothing really caught my eye so the hunt continues….
14,325 steps later and all shopped out we went to watch some of the BE90 XC. For me to ride round this course is a thing of dreams and to ride round the 4* is a thing of nightmares. Just look at this trakhena into the lake!!
Every fibre in my body says ‘what if the horse stops and slips through the gap and we both end up in the drink!?’ and this ladies and gents is why I will never be a 4* rider (this and numerous other reasons 😉 ) You can virtually walk the whole Badminton 2017 cross country course below with WF-P.
If money was no object my Badminton fantasy shopping list would have included a full set of Jump For Joy show jumps, one of those little round thatched garden summer house hut thingys and a brand new lorry in which I could smuggle out a few of the 4* horses from the stables!
Back in the office I’m getting my Badminton fix from the hilariously non-PC dressage commentary (gotta love a Pammy rant!) TUNE IN HERE and because I am out Saturday and can’t watch the XC live I have already set the TV planner to record. Go to Sky channel 980 as this is the BBC red button channel and you can record all the coverage here.