Sunday, 20 November 2011

Hunt Ball

Hunt Ball, is not a dog game that we play with our pair. Its much much more of a human game that we play twice a year. Its a time for getting off the wellies and putting on the posh frocks and bow ties. Like all the previous balls, this followed a predictable pattern with everyone arriving and then migrating straight into to the bar. After a few drinks the hunting horn is blown to invite everyone to take their place, in the dining room. There is the last moment flurry with the girls checking each other out and making sure that everything is tucked in snug.

Now, the usual riding clothes worn when mucking out - wellies, woolly hats, jumpers and old jackets are not flattering. But like a flurry of butterfly's emerging from a chrysalis the ladies all looked stunning. Gone was the frumpy no nonsense horse rider. Here was the Elle MacPherson and Roger Moore look-a-likes as well as a good smattering of Anne Widdicombe and Russel Grant versions. We come in the Compo and Norah section. I'm always amazed that for some reason people seem to think we have come in fancy dress!

Our table had the usual well thought out arrangement. Pairs of couples who are good friends were placed together. So that was me and the Memsahib and our good friends Eric and Janet, But the clever bit is that  on the other side of the table, other pairs of couples who are also good friends were allocated. We all do the formal introductions and then we all chatter away and enjoy a damn good meal. Several beers had been consumed in the bar, now several bottles of wine were consumed over dinner.

We normally have an after dinner speaker last year it was Olympian Geoff Billington.  But the ball was timed this year to coincide with the BBC's "Children in Need" appeal. So with "virtuoso karaoke performances" by people who thought they could sing and a few of them who knew that they couldn't. The bucket was soon passing round the tables. Donations were made for "request songs" and even bigger donations were soon made for them to stop singing.

Then the real dancing started, this is the time that the gentlemen (I use the term loosely) can divest themselves of jackets and ties. Its also the time that the girls (suitably lubricated in the bar) divest themselves of  any remaining inhibitions. The usual refined dancing was soon replaced by people "getting on down" and boogie-ing their own thing. As the evening wore on it became a bit like "Celebrity come dancing" for rubber people. It was a very good enjoyable evening. It was sometime well after midnight that it was time for us to retire. The younger crowd were just getting their second wind. We had a steady walk in the cold night air as we waited for our friend John to come and pick us up to whisk us off home.

One of the highlights of the hunt ball are the photographs. At each ball we have a couple of photographs done as a memento of the evening. Its the same couple who come along to do the photos. They set up a small booth with lights and backgrounds. Somehow they always manage to catch the real spirit of the ball. As individuals and groups of friends have a whale of a time. You get to choose the photo(s) on screen and a print(s) are done and framed in a few moments while you wait. 

I'm not given to doing unashamed advertisements but if you are organising an event you could do a lot worse than get Jason Goodlad to come along. A captured memory at such an event as a hunt ball is well worth having. You simply can't go back later to capture that lost moment.


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