The Burghley blog | An Eventful Life

The Burghley blog

      You couldn't park much closer but I still lost it!


Even if you’re parked in the Member’s Car Park, just a stone’s throw away from the Media Office at Burghley, it’s always wise to remember exactly where your car is. The car hire company very sensibly write the registration number on the key ring but looking at rego plates becomes tiresome in a sea of cars and everybody at Burghley seemed to have a silver car that day. Last year my hire car in France was a custard yellow colour which proved to be very useful – in future I must remember to ask for the most unusual colour car they have available (or maybe one with a big sticker saying ‘Here is your car Deb”). So, yes, on the first day I lost my car.

I blame it partly on the excitement of being at Burghley again and running late as usual; full of enthusiasm on the first day of dressage, I leaped out of the car, loaded up with cameras, laptop etc a la packhorse and dashed into the press office. A couple of hours later, having left my lunch vouchers in the car, I found myself wandering around the car park like a lost child with a steadily rising sense of panic and hunger. Eventually I just gave up and found the charming young man that had directed me in to my parking spot who helped me find it quite quickly and without making me feel at all foolish. Where does the Burghley organising committee find such helpful volunteers? Especially ones who, even at the age of 18 or so, can call you ‘madam’ without any hint of obsequiousness or guile

“What make is the car madam?” .......... Hmmmm, good question

By ascertaining what time I’d parked, he found my car and I could have my lunch.

It isn’t as if lunch in the press area at Burghley is a culinary delight but it is done with a certain flair that makes it worthy of mention. From a counter you take your choice of soup or sandwich, packet of crisps (chips to Australians) and choccy bar, fruit or cake slice; not exciting fare but there are certain touches which make it a Burghley lunch. Again, you’re served by a young but delightfully polite person dressed in black and white which makes you feel as if you are been served by a real waitress, the cutlery is stainless steel and gleaming – none of your plastic stuff here – and the food is yummy. Leek and stilton soup anyone? Delicious and of course served in a china mug.


      What more could a journo want? And before you say red wine, that was on offer


On cross country day the provisions are packed in a brown paper carry bag so that photographers and journalists out in the field do not starve during the day’s outdoor activities. The additional exertions of walking around a cross country course are taken into account and an extra sandwich and bottle of water are added; despite sedately sitting in the Media Cabin at the Finish Box for the entire day I still managed to polish off the entire contents of my picnic bag (plus hot chocolate kindly provided by fellow journalist and tweeter extraordinaire, Sam Clark).

My age and penchant for English chocolate are definitely coming to the fore nowadays. A couple of years ago I would have been poised for any rider coming back from their ride and elbowing my way to front to grab an interview; now I seriously contemplate choosing between talking to Jock Paget or eating a Twix (well, he wasn’t leading any more was he and I’ll have finished the Twix by the time Andrew Nicholson comes in. Please don’t fall off Andrew or I’ll be without a quote and with Twix all over my face, so to speak)


Libby and the Turtle at the mechanics where I found the car that even I can't lose in a car park


On the Monday following Burghley we had more car trouble – or rather Turtle trouble. Those of you familiar with the wandering life of our photographer Libby Law, will know of her mobile home, affectionately termed the ‘Turtle’ which zips around the UK and Europe, usually delivering Libby safely to events. Libby and I had scheduled a visit to Andrew Hoy’s new yard close by in Leicestershire (article and photos coming up soon about the lovely new set up there) and were to meet there on Monday afternoon however the Turtle started to sway a bit on the road on the way.

Now Libby may duck and dart around like a mad woman when she’s photographing but her driving is quite sedate so she found a friendly mechanic to take a look at the Turtle while I picked her up en route to Andrew’s. On return, after our photo shoot and afternoon tea with Mr. Hoy and Nat Blundell, the Turtle was fixed and ready for the journey to Blenheim - our next stop


The photo shoot with Andrew Hoy  (left) and treats for his gorgeous ponies for being so obliging