As gardening leave comes perilously close to its end there was at least the opportunity to revisit Princess Anne’s stately park which rests a few miles from Badminton. Gatcombe shares with Blair Castle the accolade of small is beautiful. Both meets are set up in beautiful surroundings and are of a manageable proportion that make the whole event a little less stressful that the approaching Burghley. Friday is expected to be a quiet day and lived up to expectation. This was probably no bad thing as the previous evening we had over imbibed at the very welcoming Old House at Home at not so nearby Burton. Having regaled stories with some friendly Mancs of the forthcoming season… but that is another season to be discussed. Horror stories of the CLA continued to be reported and one can only imagine that the airwaves and mail has been extremely active these past two weeks as traders try and extract some explanation as to what happened. Mixed reports were to be heard of how Holkham Beach went the previous weekend. Aliaster of Urchin meantime has been criss crossing the country from Chomley to Holkham and latterly Banbury as the Urchin brand becomes ever more popular. Saturday saw the crowds arrive only to encounter a mid morning rainstorm that tested all but the bravest resolve. The most memorable effort came from Briyony of the Rampant team who braved the elements and sold all remaining waterproof ponchos that Rampant had on board. A truly commendable effort on what might be her last show for the emerging brand. The shoe of the Show was undoubtably Howard R http://www.thomasdainty.co.uk/collections/contemporary-cheaney/products/howard-r with its tough danite sole and beautiful brown grained leather which would give any wellie a run for the day. A good Fox Pitt “all rounder”. Let us not forget to mention the suede loafer Hudson http://www.thomasdainty.co.uk/products/howard-plough-suede and suede brogue Arthur http://www.thomasdainty.co.uk/collections/125-collection/products/arthur-iii-1 truly classics which suits the eventer crowd and its followers.
In truth many of the assembled throng were more interested in getting out on the cross country course and if they were the fortunate owner of a Land Rover sampling the wonderfully organised hospitality from the ubiquitous car company. I first encountered street food seller Johnny ‘s bacon rolls and excellent burgers at The Goodwood Revival last year. JLR have cleverly enlisted his services to provide complimentary fodder to the JLR community here at Gatcombe and next month at Burghley. We will also be alongside him on the retail grid at the Goodwood Revival the following weekend.
Sunday commenced with a splendid breakfast from the Muddy Duck team and courtesy of the BETA. Congrats to newcomers Beaufort and Blake old hands Mohloh and Flying Fox for picking up the prizes for best stands. Sunday also brought more unwelcome showers, annoyingly persistent. As shoe retailers we rarely get a chance to view much on the riding esp on the CC course but I was fortunate enough to see in succession both bad and good cops, namely Olly Townend and William Fox Pitt as they clung doggedly to their mounts on a slippery course. Not so fortunate was one who fell at gate no 3. As for retail well it must be said that sales were off from two years ago when we were last here. It must just be that the crowd is watching its coppers as Burghley approaches where they will give their wallets a holiday lets hope so. Still most were in good spirits particularly Peter of Stormtech whom it must be said had a storming day courtesy of the weather conditions.
As break down approached prize winning was dominated by none other than Good cop and Bad cop in that order congratulations to them both. Aside from the takings which had not been much cop it had been a most enjoyable Gatcombe even if the evidence does somewhat starkly contrast with recent reports of record levels of consumer confidence and increased levels of spontaneous purchases reported by one high street fashion house. We take a ream until September as its all to play for at Burghley where in contrast to the prior half dozen years you will find Thomas Dainty in outside shedding. Thomas Dainty is back in the City shodding different kind of chaps this time. Back after 3 months gardening leave off to new market places.
Have an enjoyable August