My partner and I spent a week in the UK in August with one of the horses he competes. It was a brilliant week and we learned quite a few things about being an Irish Equestrian abroad!
1. There are some really nice people. I mean ridiculously nice. As in dropping your b & b guests down to the local restaurant for no charge and coming back several hours later for them nice. As in helping another competitor out when it’s their first time at this type of competition nice. Also as in giving up your whole day to travel to a show to help b and b guests you only met a few days before nice.
2. There are lots of rules. Not just at the stables – everywhere – rules and signs alerting you to rules. Don’t park there, don’t drink there, don’t smoke there, you can’t sit there, don’t stand there.
3. There are rule loving people. These like to repeat the things on the signs and make up a few of their own.
4. There is time and then there is Irish time. The UK are not on Irish time. 11 o clock means 11 o clock not some non-specific time between 11.05 and 11.30. They won’t be Irish (stupidly self loathingly polite) about late comers either – if you are late you will be told you are late.
5. Closing time means closing time. If the pub closes at 11 it closes and you are out the door at 11. It doesn’t mean you can run to the bar at 10.55pm, order about sixteen drinks and hang around drinking them for another hour listening to choruses of ‘are ye right there folks’ until someone turns on all the lights and shoves you out the door to the smoking area while they clean up.
6. Rude or weird nicknames are somehow a term of endearment. Hearing someone being called Piggy / Tinkywinky / Binky / Gubby / Wiggy won’t result in an argument or offence on their part.
7. They know how to put on a good show. Walking around Burghley was like being invited to a luxurious and enormous glamping adventure with gorgeous old style camper vans, a converted double decker bus pub, beautiful rustic picnic areas and an air of pimms and delight. It is also wonderfully posh so people were actually putting litter into bins and no one was p**sing anywhere except for in the actual toilets.
8. Everyone drinks gin. Forget a cocktail menu – it is now a Gin menu.
9. Bridleways, lots of wonderfully enticing bridleways where you can hack to your hearts content with your only concern being how many gates you might have to open and close. Big change from home where your only hacking options is to head down a pot hole strewn road shared with cyclists, pedestrians and cars while praying something doesn’t drive up your @rse and spook your horse.
10. Forget the humble chicken fillet roll – there seems to now be a Marks and Spencers in every petrol station.
11. Coke Zero my addiction in life costs a mere 49p per can as opposed to a criminal €1.10 at home!
All content published on this site is my own original content. Please do not reproduce without my prior permission, Thanks, L