The Great Escape ; EXTRA

By James, Alex | The Independent (London, England), March 21, 2007 | Go to article overview
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The Great Escape ; EXTRA


James, Alex, The Independent (London, England)


The entire Cotswolds area of outstanding natural beauty was still reeling from the Hurley wedding, the first days of spring and the arrival of the red admiral butterfly when the Cheltenham festival detonated. The racing is reckoned to bring [pound]50m into the local economy over the week.

The skies above the racetrack were frantic with helicopters; the club enclosure a sea of titles and tweed when Claire and I had "luncheon" in Lady Bamford's box on Wednesday. It was heaving in there. I couldn't roll a cigarette without nudging a countess, or jump up and down without clobbering an earl. I had rather muddy trousers on and I lost my shirt, but it was wonderful.

We had to leave the races early as there was a film crew waiting at the house. I made a piece to camera with the pigs (who are taking to showbusiness well) about the Government's Climate Change Bill, to reduce carbon emissions by 60 per cent by 2050, an excellent idea. Then we dashed to London where the never-ending buffet continued at Claridge's. We arrived at the same time as Sting and Trudie.

I'd spotted Sting the night before at another party. He was talking to James Bond. It's been a hell of a week. I just want to finish my book and learn the names of the flowers. Everywhere I looked it was like a different snap from the society pages of Harper's as Bazaar. I walked into the ballroom as Sophie Dahl took to the stage and sang "All I Need is the Air that I Breathe".

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