With Britain riding high in the cultural stakes (but maybe no longer the football…) it is no surprise that once a year The Chap magazine that bastion of sartorial eccentricity and style has a massive garden party. It’s the ‘wedding’ that everyone would like an invite to. All day long there is a display of peacockery like no other. Chaps and chapettes stroll, promenade, drink and were merry in the congenial surroundings of London’s Bedford Square.
There is a point to all this is (sort of) an excuse really and that is the participation of noncompetitive sports. How many hats can you wear while riding a bicycle? How about umbrella jousting? Or maybe something a little more gentile like the highest number of people smoking a giant pipe at the same time? Yes, the Olympiad has it all and more.
There was of course plenty to drink in the form the quintessential summer tipple Pimms, Champagne (obviously) cups of tea for the delicate and super retro music played at just the right volume so that everyone could have a chat without saying “Pardon” every 2 seconds.
The proliferation of splendid chap attire was as broad as it was beautiful. Ladies (chapettes) in ocelot fur, men in striped blazers (me included) and a whole host of fez attired, pipe-smoking, cane swaggering dandies who all looked just perfect. The day was bathed in glorious sunshine.
My favourite game was by far was ‘tea pursuit’, a cunningly difficult task requiring two cyclists one with a cup and saucer the other a pot of tea… you can imagine the rest. If there were any casualties thankfully there were some vintage dressed nurses on had with plasma bags full of bloody Marys. A perfect day out for all and sundry put it in your diary for next year and start shopping for the outfit and planning your picnic. It’s basically Ascot, Henley and Wimbledon all rolled into one big cream cake of a day with no testosterone. Perfect.
Meantime check out The Chap magazine at www.thechap.co.uk for all its inventive silliness and pure undiluted harmless insanity, just the medicine we all need every once in a while.
Neil Hennessy-Vass is Contributing Editor for Our Man On The Ground as well as a widely-published globetrotting food and travel writer and photographer.
Photographs by Neil Hennessy-Vass