Report by Elaine
Well, what a week-end it turned out to be.
We arrived in Chichester at 2pm the time we were expected to check in. On reaching the car park it was like a swarm of bees descending on us but all in red hats. It was a magical sight.
We collected our keys from the ball room where 250 hatters all in their different outfits were greeting and making new friends. After our cup of tea we made our way to our rooms. The cleaner had decided to put the heating on full in our chalets so on opening the door it was like walking into a sauna so it had to be turned down.
Our first night was a disco. Not much good when you are old and decrepit and bits falling off and have difficulty staying upright let alone dancing so only a few were on the dance floor. And as usual, despite our Queen not arriving until 7.15pm (poor soul had to come straight from work) just in time for dinner, Tessa was up there with everyone else strutting her stuff. I bet she will be a bit stiff in the morning as she was stone cold sober. I would like to see her when she is drunk. Dinner on our first night was absolutely fine and there was nothing on the menu that I did not like. One of the other hatters was 104 years old so you see ladies there is hope for us yet.
The next day all four of us were heading off into town but not me. I had been poorly all night and desperate to get some sleep so I missed it all. I was feeling much better though by lunch time.
Our second night was our grand ball. I have never seen to many ladies all in one place glammed up for the evening. We had a band play and despite playing very loud they were in fact very good.
Our Queen Jenny and Angela were up on the dance floor yet again. It was a fabulous night and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.
By now it is Sunday morning. I felt I had missed not seeing the shops in Chichester so I made enquiries at reception to see if the shops were open today and if they were would there be a bus service as I had missed out the day before. Much to my surprise the shops were open and busses ran every ½ hour so off I went. I was so glad I made the effort as Chichester is a lovely place. It is similar to Oakham but on a bigger scale with not many national chains but independent shops.
Our third night which was advertised as “hatters have talent” was also a fancy dress night. Again I have never seen so many different outfits all in one place.
This night was my night. I have been planning this for months so first up was myself dressed up in a long white dress, an imitation microphone from China, a veil and a bouquet of red roses all courtesy of eBay. I mimed a song by Julie Rogers called The Wedding. My husband had made for me a groom and when my performance was over my groom bent over to bow. Thanks hubby for making him.
Other hatters followed by singing and dancing various songs throughout the years.
I was last up miming to Tina Turner Simply the Best. So there I am with a denim mini skirt, black fish net tights (although you couldn’t see them) a black leather jacket, white tee shirt, black high heels, my imitation microphone and a Tina Turner wig. I sang my heart out even though I was miming as I had so many rehearsals I knew the words off by heart. Everyone joined in singing the chorus and waving their arms about that I felt this was a success.
I had a rapturous applause which I was very happy with.
Soon after most of us made our way back to our rooms or chalet to bed and I was one of them. I think Tessa stayed on the dance floor with the other hatters dancing the night away.
I went to bed and could not sleep as I had been so worried and excited about doing my performance. I just knew it would go well as I had done it for my mother’s 80th birthday on 2nd September.
I now look forward to the next hatter’s convention whenever or wherever it will be.