THE CROWNING GLORY OF ROYAL ASCOT
The place wouldn’t be the same without them ...
According to the National Association of Fancy Feather Hats at Royal Ascot, feather hats are coming back into fashion at this top racing meet after environmental issues nearly stopped them. That is superb news for anyone rich who likes feather hats and the champagne and caviar tent.
A ‘Feather Hats at Royal Ascot’ fan and amateur songwriter has written an anthem, which you might like to learn if you like feathered hats.
To the tune of Yankee Doodle (sort of, have a drink first).
Feather hats are coming back
Isn’t that just dandy,
They will look fab on ladies’ day
Posh birds wearing head candy
The problem was/is, the world cannot afford to catch and kill something like a bird of paradise just to smack it over the head and pluck it for some posh ladies’ hat. But never mind, there is now a solution in the pipeline. But first, here is ...
An ‘interesting’ fact:
Ascot got its name from the first ever lady to wear a hat full of pheasant tail feathers at the world famous event. She was a Scottish Lady who lived on an estate with her husband, Lord Muck.
One spring morning she woke up and heard some weird music outside. On looking out of the window she was shocked to see a group of feral Morris Dancers; obviously strayed cheekily from the woodland. She opened the window, got her husband’s high powered rifle from behind the wardrobe and shot the one who looked like the leader. The rest made off hopefully never to return.
She then had a servant get the hat from the dancer and dispose of the body. The hat was of the top type and had pheasant tail feathers stuck into it at the quill (the bit that fits into the bird/pheasant’s ass) which made it look like a weird porcupine, or a potato with cocktail sticks stuck into it ... a vicious weapon if stuck on the end of a broomstick and placed in the wrong hands. Or, a useful tool for picking up autumn leaves. Or an even more useful tool if the practical joker hides in a park bush and pops children’s balloons when they walk past. But, this hat was to be the start of the famous fad.
“Wear the hat for the top race meet!” she thought and, so she did. She was the first Lady to wear a fancy hat at the meet and it caught on like wildfire. Ascot was then called The Fancy Feather Hat Meet, which didn’t sound right as it was a bit of a mouthful especially if the person attempting to say it had a really small mouth, like a fish. But ... as she was Scottish, The Hat of the Scottish Lady racing meet sounded better; it gradually became the name we all know i.e. Ascot, from Hat-Scot, worked out one year by someone who was plastered in the champagne tent. That’s how Ascot got its name and why ladies feathery hats are so popular.
One posh lady, into one-upmanship, a year later turned up with a stuffed heron with its wings open stuck to her hat. Unfortunately, the hat was tied under her chin and there was a freak gust of wind; she took off and made like Mary Poppins and eventually landed on the top of a double decker bus and was never seen again; which was a disaster for her because her husband was an extremely wealthy racehorse owner.
After that incident stuffed birds with their wings in flight position were seen as too dodgy, although their husbands did passionately encourage them to do just that andas a result herons went down in number and taxidermists made a few bob. The posh ladies though got a taste for posh feathers such as those from birds of paradise and lots of birds of paradise found themselves rudely plucked, rendering them rudely erm, fu ...
Now in 2017?
Well, now, due to lack of bird of paradise farming it isn’t possible to use their feathers for a thousand hats. It was considered to use hummingbird feathers but they would obviously be the Devil’s own job to pluck; never mind catch i.e. try hitting a hummingbird with a shotgun. But, a cancer specialist came up with a good solution, a solution which saved the future feather hat industry! This is it, to save all the beautiful birds before a handful of assholes make them all.
This is the ‘in the pipeline solution’ letter sent to all members of the Ascot Fancy Feather Hat Appreciation Society.
Dear Royal Ascot Fancy Feather Hat Wearer
A hospital is planned to be built in a bird of paradise infested rain forest. Same in the Australian outback for ostriches, etc., etc. Instead of beds, cages will be installed. The bird hospitals will be run by the OUS, the Ornithological Unhealth Service (part of the portfolio of the NunHS). When the bird is ready it will be put in a cage with a perch (stick variety not a fish). The bottom of the cage will be a funnel mechanism leading to the output in a fish tank. The bird will then be put on chemotherapy; this will cause the feathers to all fall out falling into the fish tank; which has no water in it.
This is where science gets blindingly genius’ish. The first batch of feathers will be stuck to abird of paradise shaped set of Lycra overalls and the bird will be what’s called ‘wigged’, which topically sounds a bit like ‘winged’. The bird will then be given steroid treatment which will cause it to grow a new set of feathers and the process will be started again. The process will be called ‘plucking without erm, fu ... (well, not too much).
It is hoped that as each batch of birds when released back into the wild, although totally burnt out and exhausted will hopefully be able to hang upside down from branches. All wildlife photographers will then have to do is flip the print upside down, so expect Mr Attenborough’s films to look a little strange. This may be a resultant conversation:
“Mum, why does that bird look strange standing on the branch like that and, why is the man with the camera hanging upside down from the sky which is full of bushes and a man with a chainsaw?”
“I don’t know, ask your dad. Anyway, shut up! Can’t you see I’m texting!”
By the way, if you are a posh lady and your husband owns fantastic racehorses, don’t be tempted to go to Royal Ascot with your hat sporting a ‘wings in flight mode stuffed swan’, even if it’s dodgy (women take risks and endure great pain to be seen as a fashion icon-ette) because if the Queen is there she will have the Secret Service kick your ass.