Venue: The Meadows, Stamford, 8th August 2012
Present: Lady Lupin de Loop, Lady Geri Hattrick, Upptown Girl, Lady Chater Lea of Ketton, Lady Lynndor, Penny Forum, Duchess Jackie Daniels, Countess Quilter of Uppingham, Posh Princess, Mistress of the Frangipani – (whose idea the event was).
Race Marshall: HRH BellaDonna The Queen of Vice (deputising for Queen Tess).
Watched beadily by a pair of parent swans and the occasional curious spectator, Rutland Red Hatters joined in the Olympic spirit with a maiden duck race to remember. The venue, the Meadows at Stamford, made a gloriously sunny background to our aquatic efforts, the only slight drawback being the sluggish state of the Chater waters, which moved the ducks along so slowly that only strenuous whooshing and splooshing from the contestants got them moving at all – and not always in the desired direction.
The first heat got off to a promising start. Some ducks tried to throw the race by hiding among the rushes, where they stuck (and serve them right); others attempted a spot of wrestling with their rivals, forcing them to go bottom-up; but all to no avail. After some valiant scrambling about on the opposite bank by HRH BellaDonna to dislodge and retrieve those fallen out of the race, the worthy winners went forward into the second heat.
By the third heat, only the most serious contestants remained, the rest having cooked their goose (so to speak). First to cross the finishing line was no. 115, owned by Posh Princess (Lynda Smith); silver went to no. 65, Penny Forum (Annette Tiffany); and bronze to no. 77, Lady Lupin de Loop (Louisa Feltham). (Talk about beginner’s luck, Lynda hadn’t intended to race a duck at all, but changed her mind!)
To popular acclaim the three finalists stepped up to the podium, where their ducks were presented with bouquets of Stamford clover; and to a stirring rendition of ‘Three Little Ducks Went Swimming One Day’ Posh Princess was presented with the Rubber Duck Trophy.
The ceremony was followed by a picnic beside the stream, to wrap up what everyone agreed was a brilliantly hatty afternoon.
Thanks to Lady Geri Hattrick for this report and the photos.