This place does me in every time. I’m exhausted after just ten days in Welly World. I used to wonder why the dressage crowd down here always seemed so scatter brained, and after a few years of visiting the place at the height of the season, I now understand the reason. It’s Welly World that’s to blame, not the people. The place itself is what’s scatter braining everyone. You can’t turn around in Welly World without running into someone you know, whether it’s at Starbucks or Whole Foods. And it goes without saying that the show grounds are awash with impromptu reunions. This latest tiresome saga about the venue of the Global Dressage Festival just adds one more element to the fatigue factor of too many nights out eating such delicacies as Kontiki’s crispy duck, indulging in the consumption of alcoholic beverages and – in the case of last night – dancing to Gangnam Style on a hanky sized dance floor at the front of the restaurant. Only in Welly World does your waitress join you for a quick bump and grind on the dance floor before heading off to serve the next table.
One restaurant whose door I have not darkened this winter is that of the formerly glorious Players Club, which of recent years seems to always feature a large dish of mediocrity on its menu. I haven’t even been by for a drink to watch the seething Sunday night crowds of riders, grooms, horse dealers and hangers on celebrating the fact that in Welly World, Monday is the new Sunday.
A good friend of mine shared the following photo, taken at a recent fundraising event. The photo appears to be of an innocently enticing display for Welly’s little mini-chain of restaurants serving up ‘fashion cuisine’, but there is a nice slice of irony on the side of this plate of false advertising. You see, this particular friend of mine has an exceptionally refined sense of taste, and when she chooses to drink tequila, she drinks only Silver Patron on the rocks. I have accompanied her on several occasions to Oli’s and The Grille where she ordered Silver Patron and received something rather cruder in her glass. Each time she sent the fake nectar back, the excuse was the same: ‘we just ran out’. Up Canada-way, where folks talk plain truth, she would have been told they were out of her choice BEFORE she was served something less refined at the premium price.
Appropriate or ironic? An empty Silver Patron bottle behind the Seahorse card
I made it over to the jumping at WEF just one time this week, on Thursday afternoon, where I had my most surreal moment yet at this always-surreal of places. As I sat at Mark Bellissimo’s table and sought to understand his explanation of ESP’s perspective on all things Global Dressage Festival, I watched Charlie Jacobs jump around the two star course in front of us (Charlie went on to win the class, in fact). Ken Braddick of Fox Dressage News posted a photo of Charlie on his website last week. The photo, of Charlie jumping on the derby field located on the same land as the Global Festival, was published with the headline ‘Charles Jacobs competes at show grounds he wants torn down’. I have to hand it to Ken. He does have a point.
I never, ever watch American Football, but the half time show at the Superbowl is worth keeping an eye on – so I’ll sign off now to watch some four million dollar commercials.