While I knew the regatta was happening this weekend, I had kind of filed it away in a dark corner of my brain – I noticed the fairground setting up throughout the week, but didn’t take much notice. Then this morning I had to walk into town to get groceries.
Suddenly the town is full of people with pinstripe blazers, pringle sweaters, and women wearing evening-wear and hats, brandishing tickets to stand in the mud in their high heels in an enclosure next to the river – supposedly to cheer on boat races, but really to tip champagne down their necks, and laugh about whatever it is that elitist, entitled people laugh about.
Here’s the thing – the park the river sweeps past is a public park. And yet somehow the local town council let the people running the regatta assemble 12ft high screens throughout the park to stop the public from seeing the river. In the past they have even blanked off the bridge in the center of town. I imagine money changes hands when these things are agreed – probably between members of the council, and members of the local trade associations – the owners of businesses that are failing all over town because the planners won’t let anything worthwhile be built, because of vested interests. I’ve written in the past about the “not in my back yard” contingent of the local authorities.
While grocery shopping this morning I came face to face with police. In the middle of town. That never happens. We don’t even have a police station any more. I imagine they are here because lots of idiots with money are here for the weekend – and where idiots with money go, so do drugs.
So yes – I’ll be avoiding town at all costs at least until tomorrow, when the army of entitled idiots has strode cluelessly back to wherever they came from.
The one highlight of the morning happened on my walk home from town. Two pretty women in dresses were walking away from the park, through the houses. I imagine they had dressed up to go for a drink among the army of idiots. As they wandered along some distance in front of me, one held the other’s hand. Holding her hand wasn’t really note-worthy – it was the wayÂ she held her hand. As they turned a corner onto a street where people might see them, they released hands. I smiled, but then thought how unfair it is that some people still feel a need to conceal their relationship because of the bigoted views of others.