Yesterday I enjoyed a rather spiffing game of croquet on The Goring hotel’s beautiful lawn. The hotel is celebrating its centenary this year, and is marking its 100th summer in London with a croquet and afternoon tea package.
As someone with absolutely no hand-eye co-ordination (I’ve played entire games of bowling without knocking down a single pin), I didn’t have very high expectations for my croquet skills. Despite croquet experts Jaques of London being in attendance, I admit I didn’t pick up much in the way of rules (in fact I’m not sure there were any!)
Croquet involves attempting to hit the ball through various hoops on the lawn using a mallet. One must assume the most unladylike of positions in order to hit the ball – straddle it, bend your knees and whack it as hard as you can! But I didn’t do too badly, and happily cheating (“nudging” the ball, pushing opponents’ balls out of the way) seems to be entirely acceptable!
It all made for a fun evening and I can imagine how lovely it would be to spend a leisurely afternoon trying to finish a game.
In typically British style, everything stopped for tea after a couple of hoops and we were treated to delicious sandwiches, scones, cakes and Fortnum and Mason tea.
Afternoon tea and croquet at The Goring, available 22 July to 26 August 2010, £45 per person