Were we at Nikki Beach in St Tropez or perhaps a scene from The OC? No we were on the beach at Sandbanks in Poole for the annual Beach Polo Championships.
Now in its third year, the championships attract world class polo players including England Captain Henry Brett who plays off a 6 goal handicap and the Argentinian 6 goaler, Adolfo Casabal.
However, this is not an event that take itself too seriously and also features the distinctly lugubrious Camel Polo, where world-class players swap horsebacks for humps, and the rather more exhilarating Beach Volley Ball.
The sun is seriously shining and while the Sunseeker motor cruisers are swooshing across the bay, the girls are out in force. Gaggles, groups and even a gallimaufrey or two of them.
The fashion is fabulous. We’ve nearly seen the end/best of bum-scraping, body-con and perilous heels, but there are still lots of exponents of this eye-catching look on display. The fashion –forward have opted for long, floaty maxi dresses with flat sandals and the best dressed “boys” sport seersucker shorts suits and canvas lace-ups.
The hair is about 80% blonde, about 40% extensions and 100% long. Nails are manicured, bums are pert and limbs are bronzed, buffed and beautiful. Here we have a stage set and the central matting makes a perfect catwalk. The parade is endless and many of the girls walk the runway over and over again. Everyone appears to be smoking – mostly Marlboro Menthols – and the drinking begins in earnest at midday. There is the VIP, Hotel du Vin enclosure, dining room and lounge; the Priva day club – (I think that’s what you call a night club with £1500 Methuselahs of vodka and Pommery Champagne stacked up in ice buckets at lunchtime) and an upmarket burger-bar and three huge bars dispensing jugs of Pimms, Mohitos and Vodka and Cranberry. Plastic flutes of Pommery are £9, but the Hildon Water is complementary.
There is a parade of shops. At the Pounberry Gardens from Dorchester stall I buy two bunches of fake peonys at £6 a pop and then at Kingspace Outdoor Living I ponder the merits of artificial grass. Further along the parade I discover Shoes Glorious Shoes and pick up a charming multi-pastel-coloured-kid leather wallet for £28.
On to the beauty salon. At Tuttoluxo , I am given a complimentary hand massage, and taking a look at the state of my nails, the lovely technician from Nailtalk in Burnham tidies me up beautifully and paints my nails scarlet so that I feel like the elephant who painted his toes nails red so that he could hide in a cherry tree.
Tuttoluxo is a Swiss beauty brand only available on-line. It’s all organic, all stuffed full of anti-oxidants and full of good things that grow on Swiss mountainsides like Echinacea and Edelweiss. As well as addressing your skin concerns the folks at Tuttoluxo recommend that we drink water all day to keep us hydrated. Glancing around I feel that many of the other spectators have put the wrong sort of liquid in their plastic cups. I came away with lots of samples and instructions to wear rubber gloves.
Oh and the Polo. Well it was very exciting to see Jack Kidd, handicap 6 and Jamie Morrison, handicap 5 battling it out with the Argentinians Matias Ballesteros,6, and Adolfo Casabal,6 for the Gaucho cup (www.gauchorestaurants.co.uk). The Brits won.
The Camel polo was spectacular – spectacularly languid. The gloriously curly-haired Harriett Kay was the star of the match – even though the camels were striving to out-do her.
I’m sure it didn’t matter, but I did get the feeling that there were an awful lot of girls and guys at the event who didn’t know that it had anything to do with horses, but what the hell……
We made our graceful exit at 7pm and left the golden ones to gambol and grind into the night to DJ’s Jade Jagger and her fella Dan Williams. I’m told that many of the teetering heels – Lord alone knows how the girls managed to totter in them, I dispensed with even flat sandals after 2 minutes and spent the afternoon barefoot – led to some ungainly sprawls, but there were no major mishaps. Dancing went on till 3am and the balmy night made Sandbanks in Poole not only the most expensive real estate outside London in the UK, but the most self-indulgent, decadent and delightful place to be.