Growing up in Ascot, it’s more than just going to the races
Although a lot of people do have horses
Telling people you’re from Ascot gets the same response every single time. All people want to know about are the races.
However, life in this small town in east Berkshire consisted of more than just an occasional trip to the racecourse. It’s a small place, everyone knows everyone and it’s only once you leave you start to notice the quirks that make this town so different to the rest.
School rivalries were taken very seriously
Charters vs LVS, St Mary’s vs The Marist, Heathfields vs St Georges, you literally couldn’t escape them.
If you had a sibling at a rival school you were judged. Even the teachers would despise you the second they found out that your sister went to one of the other all girls schools. It was blasphemy.
You go on dog walks all the time, even if you don’t have a dog
All in all, life in Ascot is quite boring. Maybe this is because I’m comparing it to Bristol, a uni town with lots going on, but I think it’s a fair statement.
Windsor’s just that little bit too far. Going to Windsor means you have to look decent because the chances are that you’ll bump into everyone you know and make an impression.
So when we actually want to do something during the day, the only real way to socialise is by going on a dog walk. Anybody who actually owns a dog is the centre of the social universe.
You probably live walking distance from a care home
Ascot is Ibiza for the elderly. We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to nursing homes in Ascot – they’ve got all the best clubs.
Although instead of DC 10 style clubs, we’re talking yoga clubs, golf clubs, and of course, the bridge clubs. The care homes are everywhere and you were made to sing at one at least once during your childhood.
Someone in your family is obsessed with golf
With Wentworth, Foxhills, Sunningdale Club and many more all in this area, it’s only natural that someone in the family is addicted. And because you eventually tire of being dragged around the golf course you start to appreciate the gym, tennis courts and clubhouses too.
You’re probably not even from Ascot
If someone says they’re from Ascot, there’s only a slim chance they actually live in Ascot.
They could be from Sunningdale, Sunninghill, Chobham, Virginia Waters, Windlesham or pretty much anywhere else in Surrey/Berkshire. We’re not quite Reading, and we’re definitely not Guildford – so we say we’re from Ascot.
Your first nights out were spent in some really tragic places
Namely Liquid in Windsor or Club 1. You’ve made some questionable life choices in these places but it’s okay, your friends were so wasted on their VKs and Apple Sourz they can barely remember.
Liquid can try to change it’s image with a new name, they can even attempt a revamp with a new interior but they can never change those awful memories forever ingrained in your mind of sweaty sixth formers grinding up against each other.
The alumni at your school is pretty impressive
Royalty, politicians, actresses, fashion designers, socialites, foreign aristocrats and, of course, members of the MIC cast are just a few of the people educated in Ascot. This means least one of the people you went to school with had a famous parent/is regularly featured in the showbiz section of the Mail Online.
Royal Ascot was seen as an inconvenience
Although there’s clearly more to life in Ascot than the races, for one week a year nothing else mattered.
At first it was really exciting. School finished early and everyone got their fascinators and hats ready for the most important Saturday of the year. But then the beautiful, tranquil high street that we all know and love started to slowly turn into a drunken chaos. Top hats ruthlessly abandoned on the streets, heels removed and unnecessarily expensive outfits ruined.
Unless you were in the Royal Enclosure, then you could avoid the mess.
More people own horses than you’d like to admit
There is an obsession with horses and polo in this area, and it’s inescapable. A lot of your friends ride and you have definitely attempted at least once.
I tried to give it ago once. I really tried. I asked my mum to get me lessons because all my friends could ride and despite the fact that I’m scared of almost every animal out there (especially horses), I thought it looked fun. My naive 11-year-old self regretted this decision the minute I saw the horse. I was on the horse for a total of 10 minutes and cried *the whole time*.
You’ve memorised the SouthWest train service timetable and you know all the stops
“Welcome aboard the SouthWest train service to London Waterloo, calling at Sunningdale, Longcross (on a fancy day), Virginia Waters, Egham, Staines, Feltham, Richmond, Twickenham, Clapham Junction and London Waterloo.”
This train was your route to independence. At first you just used it to get to Thorpe Park but then, when the time came, you started using it to get to London and you’ve never looked back. You’re free. Until midnight when you’ve gotta run for the last train home.
Going on nights out in London was really inconvenient
Until you a place to stay. Once you found a friend in London your tragic MNG nights are finally over, Mahiki and Bodo’s Schloss await you.
It’s impossible to go into Fegos without seeing someone you know
Or someone you’ve stalked on Facebook. Although the awkward eye contact and limited small talk is a small price to pay for those incredible milkshakes.
Your parents are equally into gossiping as you are
My parents are good people. My parents are kind, loving and non judgemental. But one trip to Waitrose in Sunningdale and suddenly all their morals are out of the window. They’re Perez Hilton, Piers Morgan and Katie Hopkins all in one. They’ve got more gossip from one supermarket visit than my three years at uni will ever give me.
Why’s that you ask? Because somewhere in between deciding whether camembert or brie is going to go best with the box of Majestic wine sitting at home, my mum ran into Kate’s mum. And Kate’s mum had just ran into Lucy’s mum. And Lucy’s mum had just ran into Issi’s mum. And somehow, after these four encounters, these mothers have managed to discover the ins and outs of the personal lives of every single person in Berkshire/Surrey/the South East. It’s a talent, but it’s also a bit weird.
You’re considered the posh one in your uni friendship group
Which makes you laugh because you know that your friends back in Ascot are ten times worse than you are.