Rockingham Christmas

by Lady Jane Willoughby Wordsmith

Rutland Red Hatters’ Christmas Bash for 2015 was a merry mix of discovery, chat, posh frocks, chat, good food, chat, a great quiz, chat and a lorra lorra larffs… all in the impressive context of Rockingham Castle.
There were lots of us, almost 50, dressed to the nines in floor-sweeping party dresses and sparkly hats galore. I was in awe of those who had tracked down medieval frocks, made their own wimples and braved the stone floors in open-toed sandals (did medieval ladies paint their toe nails? I think not Mistress Carrie of the Frangipani). And as for the confections of tinsel and flashing lights precariously balanced on several heads, they were feats of engineering as well as festivity (special mentions for the illuminations of Lady Big Bang of Pyrotechnica and Lady Luffenham).

As we swept into the castle between the massive drum towers, and warmed up with mulled wine in the kitchen, I owned up to never having visited Rockingham despite having lived in Rutland for nine years, but my boldness encouraged others to ‘come out’ and confess they too had either never been before, or not for 20 years….

But we vowed to return to ‘do’ Rockingham Castle in detail because it’s a brilliant ‘stately home’ right on our doorstep, and has that special atmosphere that being properly lived-in by the owners which makes such a difference.

We were welcomed by our very own Lady Laurie Lee Lucks-Up, who was wearing two hats and two badges, as she is also Rockingham Castle’s Events Manager, and she managed us all beautifully! Then we were off for our tour in the care of a wonderful guide who informed and entertained in equal measure.

But dinner soon called, and we all enjoyed the meal (and the wine). Angel Delight issued invitations to her Birthday Hoot next year (purple pyjamas and pizzas de rigour), December birthdays were celebrated, especially Dame Delphinium’s highly significant one which was actually ‘on the day’… and Little Miss Do A Lot led the chorus in a very appropriate Hatty song about her unique mother, then we staggered across the courtyard and back into the Great Hall for our age-appropriate musical quiz, with a proper record player and a pile of 45rpm singles!
I was luckily on a very musical team consisting of Lady Lynndor, Lady Chater Lea of Ketton, Tilley Tardy and Princess Primrose and after correctly identifying obscure Beatles’ ballads from the 60s and enjoying an impromptu Twist, we emerged victorious!

As our sober chauffeurs swept us back up the drive and into the chilly night, we agreed that it had been a fantastic festive frock-on gathering, due to the efforts of Queen Tess of the p’Urplefrills, Laurie and all the Rockingham team. Thank you all.
Thus ends another year of Hoots for the Not Stuck in a Rut-land Red Hat Society… Have A Happy Hatty Christmas One And All!

The song (as requested by one or two hatters…

I’ve been a good girl for my mother

To me she has been a good Mum

But since she has joined that Society

Oh, listen to what she’s become!

Chorus: Bring back, bring back, oh bring back my mother to me, to me

Bring back, bring back, oh bring back my mother to me!

She used to wear beige woolly cardies

And spend her life caring for me

But now she goes prinked out in purple

In gigg-a-ling gangs to take tea

She used to have one hat, in navy

But now she’s got dozens in red

Her clothes were a mixture of colours

But now they’re all purple instead.

Chorus: Bring back, bring back, oh bring back my mother to me, to me

Bring back, bring back, oh bring back my mother to me!

The cupboards are bursting with bunting

There are boxes of feathers and tat

There are sequins and baubles and netting

To titivate up her next hat

She used to spend hours doing housework

Her tea-towels arranged in neat rows

But now she wears fluffy red boas

And leaves theatres wherever she goes.

Chorus: Bring back, bring back, oh bring back my mother to me, to me

Bring back, bring back, oh bring back my mother to me!

She used to be happy at Christmas

With an iron, or a nice set of pans

But now she wants sparkly tiaras

And di-a-mond rings for her hands

Her friends were called Donna and Sarah

And Susan and Maggie and Joan;

But now we get Zsa Zsa and Twinkle

And Baroness Bling on the phone

Chorus: Bring back, bring back, oh bring back my mother to me, to me

Bring back, bring back, oh bring back my mother to me!

We used to have friends round for dinner

Enjoying a civilised chat

But now they come thronging in purple

And civilised? Well what is that?!

She used to wear sensible brassieres

Her knickers were baggy and grey

Now her undies are lace and red satin

She’s beginning to lead me astray

Chorus: Bring back, bring back, oh bring back my mother to me, to me

Bring back, bring back, oh bring back my mother to me!

Well if you cannot beat them then join them

Forget what the rest of them think

Why wouldn’t I want lots of freebies

Provided I’m dressed up in pink.

Iv’e been skittling and swimming and dining

There are quizzes and theatre and bowls

When betting on dogs at the races

I was quite close to losing control

A coach trip to Wells in the summer

A garden to see in the Spring

The autumn is dancing and fireworks

And at Christmas our annual fling

Chorus: Bring back, bring back, oh bring back my mother to me, to me

Bring back, bring back, oh bring back my mother to me!

I’ve slept through the night in the forest

With after Eight smears on my cheek

The space hopper races in Norfolk

Left me laughing for over a week

Chorus: Bring back, bring back, oh bring back my mother to me, to me

Bring back, bring back, oh bring back my mother to me!

I’ve been on the big wheel in Lincoln

Seen Thursford’s spectacular show

And if I want to do something crazy

She can’t justify saying no.

I’ve been to more hoots than all you lot

As many as time will allow

I used to be called simply Molly

But I’m Little Miss do a Lot now!

Chorus: Bring back, bring back, oh bring back my mother to me, to me

Bring back, bring back, oh bring back my mother to me!

Tessa sings…

If I can keep this chapter going

Stay thirty more years on the scene

Well Molly by then will be fifty

And she can take over as Queen!

Adapted from

©Jenny Howard 2006

Bona fide chapters of the Red Hat Society are welcome to copy and use this for any non-commercial purpose. Please include this information with any distributed copies.

 

and a poem from Mo…

Now Tessa, our purple frilled Queen,

Wears the most glamorous hats ever seen.

At our Christmas bash, She cut quite a dash

With the purplest gown ever seen.

 

 

And now for the photos. I have more but here are some of the best…

 

 

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