Monday, 11 May 2015

Badminton Horse Trials

Exam time might be on its way, but they're still just far away enough that I could justify taking a whole day off from revising to go to Badminton Horse Trials. It coincided nicely with a housemate's birthday, so we made weather-permitting plans to spend Saturday at the cross country test.

Badminton is one of my favourite horsey days out. I can't remember the first time I went but I know I've been multiple times. It's in South Gloucestershire which isn't too far from Bristol - definitely one of the perks of going to university here!

For those of you who've never heard of Badminton, it's one of the biggest international horse trials and is a competition in the sport of eventing. Last year I wrote about my visit to the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe. Unlike Gatcombe, Badminton is a three-day event, with each discipline (dressage, cross country and showjumping) taking place on a separate day. I've only ever been on cross country day - unfortunately the one year I had booked showjumping tickets it got rained off! Riders represent countries from across the world and it's a great chance to see some of the world's best sportsmen and women.

The only downside to  these events is that they take place in the middle of the countryside, with the routes going through small villages not designed for thousands of cars to come at once! We got a bit caught up in traffic, but luckily could put on Radio Badminton to hear how the first few riders out on the course did.

We actually got into the event at about midday and headed to the main arena to find the start of the cross country course. After watching a couple of horses go from the start box and over the first fence, we headed out to follow the rest of the course. The whole course is about 6.5km long, and seeing as we walked almost the whole way round in the sunshine, it's not surprising we were exhausted by the end of the day!

The cross country course is laid out through the grounds of Badminton House and consisted of 31 fences - all of which are huge and definitely not the kind of things I would ever dream of riding at on a horse!

Badminton also has a huge shopping village during the event- we didn't go into the stalls this year because we were too busy trying to catch all the action on the course, but for anyone thinking of visiting, I would definitely recommend having a look round. There are also plenty of food and drink stands - I opted for a vegetarian bean burger for lunch, but the choice and variety of food gets better year on year.

It's also an amazing event for dog spotting - I think there was probably one of every breed present on cross country day! Dogs are very welcome at the event, so long as they are kept on leads and are well behaved.

The score board at the end of cross country day
Best way to avoid the traffic jams? Arrive in your plane... one day I'll get to do this
It's so nice to get out of the flat and out of working mode and a day trip to Badminton was the perfect way to spend a Saturday. Hope you all had a lovely weekend!



Sunday, 3 May 2015

Reaction to a Royal Baby

I don't feel like I've had anything much lifestyle-wise to talk about on this blog for a while now, but with a four day weekend (thanks to an extra Friday off!), I do at least have the time to sit down and write something. 

Now if you've got enough internet access to be reading my blog, you can't have missed the news of the royal baby yesterday. After checking my Twitter on waking up every day for about two weeks, it was pretty exciting to finally see some activity that wasn't just bored reporters and fans speculating over rumours. I'm no super fan camping outside the hospital or travelling across the globe to get a glimpse of them, but I do enjoy keeping up to date with what the younger generations of the royal family are doing. 

And on discovering the news at 7.09am (and even then I was late in finding out!) there was simply no way I could actually concentrate on getting any work done. But hey, I'm on obs and gynae/ care of the newborn right now, so surely following the news is basically revision? (Hint, everything counts as revision at medical school.) 

I've also discovered in recent years that I'm really good at watching news about nothing. You know the kind when a big story breaks, but then there are no further details? Except, you're compelled to keep watching until the next little snippet of information is released? I spent most of the day alternating between doing the things I actually needed to do, like uni work and walking the dog, and watching reporters interviewing the crowds of people by the Lindo Wing about nothing in particular. I was definitely feeling a sense of dej√†-vu from when Prince George was born.

Probably the highlight of the whole event was that moment when Prince William carried Prince George into the hospital and the little cutie (that would be George just incase you're wondering...) waved at the press and public outside. It's kind of nice that so far he's managed to do most of his growing up away from the spotlight - it makes the events that he is out in public more special.

We've also had some hot debates in our house over what the new Princess will be called. Between my sister and I, we have the names Elizabeth, Alice and Victoria so we'd love to see the Princess with some combination of these. In fact, it's become a bit of a competition between the two of us - anything for sibling rivalry... I'm not really pushing the boat out with anything spectacularly unusual though in my predictions - my other guesses would be something like Charlotte or Alexandra. Or something's telling me Emily, although I have no idea why!

Have you been following the birth of the royal baby? What are your guesses for names?!

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