Great Sport, Great Cause, Great Britain

Team Ettinger writes: For the past year, Ettinger has been proud to be associated with British Polo Day, a series of polo matches between British teams and friends contested in locations around the world.

Polo is believed to have originated in Persia around the fifth century B.C. as a contest between cavalry units; the British (by way of India) are credited with formalising and popularising polo in the mid-nineteenth century. Polo still thrives throughout some of Britain’s oldest institutions, and British Polo Days provide an opportunity for some of the country’s best players to continue to play internationally. The days not only honour the history and traditions of the sport itself, they also celebrate British heritage — selected British luxury brands are represented at each event, giving the guests an unmistakable and unforgettable experience of the very best Britain has to offer. Here at Ettinger, we are very pleased to be featured at the British Polo Days, and are extremely happy that VIP guests receive a special Ettinger gift.

This year, British Polo Days have taken place in China, Singapore, India, France, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Thailand, Germany and, most recently, here in the UK at Coworth Park in Berkshire, which gave us our first chance to experience this thrilling event firsthand. On the day, the weather was windy, cloudy and, unusually for this summer, dry. The theme, Polo for the Brave, was totally appropriate, as this event was a benefit for the British Forces Foundation (BFF) and The Household Cavalry Operational Casualties Fund (HCOCF), two morale-boosting organisations who provide support of all kinds to military personnel.

The action was exciting, the rain held off until all play was completed and everyone, including us, had a tremendous time. Most importantly, this inaugural Polo for the Brave raised more than £40,000 for the BFF and the HCOCF.

Ed Olver, the co-founder and director of British Polo Day, said “It is a privilege to celebrate British craftsmanship and excellence in emerging markets. We are very grateful to all our sponsors who make it possible to project British heritage and identity.” All of us at Ettinger feel privileged to be part of British Polo Days and in the company of so many distinguished British brands.

More information about British Polo Day can be found here: British Polo Day; more about Ed Olver can be found here: Ed Olver.

To learn more about what you can do to help, you can find information about the British Forces Foundation can be found here: British Forces Foundation; and more information about the Household Cavalry Operational Casualties Fund can be found here: Household Cavalry Operational Casualties Fund.

Weather or Not

Robert Ettinger writes: I usually take weather forecasts with a pinch of salt, and I am even more sceptical of long-range forecasts. So when I read, several weeks ago, that our record-breaking April rain would stretch into May, I didn’t take it very seriously. As it turned out, they were right. But that still didn’t prepare many of us, I’m sure, for what was to come.

What they referred to as an “unsettled” system was actually some kind of weather yo-yo: bitterly cold and unseasonably warm, all in the same day. Soothing sunshine on your face giving way to the seemingly inevitable rain. A few weeks ago I went outside and took this picture. Is the sky clearing? Are the clouds gathering? Who knows?

Despite the fact that the Met Office seems to be doing well these days, I remained unconvinced when I heard the reports, just over a week ago, that summer weather wouldn’t arrive in the UK until July this year. Although the first half of June certainly supported their claim — and the sky at this moment, as I look out my window, is more grey than glorious — I still have hope that the weather will soon catch up with the calendar.

I have my own weather forecast for the summer: There will be rain, maybe frequently; and there will be sunshine, although it may be fleeting. Even if it happens only once, I’m looking forward to that late summer evening when there’s still a hint of light in the sky and the breeze carries the last warmth of the day.

So, you see, I’m not just a meteorological cynic; I’m a British weather romantic.

I’d love to hear about your experiences of the weather this spring and early summer — maybe a memorable time you had when the weather played a role. Add a comment below and tell me your weather stories.

Olympic Torch Relay

Team Ettinger writes: The Olympics have been coming to London for so long (London was announced as the host of the 2012 Olympics in July 2005) that it’s sometimes seemed that they would never actually arrive.

To be sure, anyone living or spending any time in the east end of London the past few years will have seen the massive amount of work that has been underway. But for the majority of us, the Olympic experience has consisted of an occasional news story or perhaps the sighting in a shop of an oddly shaped stuffed toy.

The Olympic Torch Relay is slowly but surely changing that, as the Olympic flame makes its way to over 1,000 cities, towns and villages throughout the UK.

A week ago last Friday, we happened to catch the torch relay as it made its way through the streets of Glasgow. The route and times had
been noted in the local media, and by the time we took up our position along Woodlands Road, a good crowd had gathered, including along the pedestrian overpass over St. George’s Cross.

After multiple passes by police on motorcycles, numerous sponsorship busses and other vehicles, grey-clad escorts on bicycles, and then more on foot, the torch and its bearer ran into view. There was a lot of pennant-waving and picture taking, and everyone was in high spirits.

Well after the torchbearer was out of sight, many people lingered, seemingly not wanting the experience to end. And while the torch has passed through many areas already, it still has a way to go to its destination. So if you have the chance to see part of the relay, don’t hesitate; bring your family and friends. You won’t be disappointed.

As we write this, the opening ceremony is 36 days and a few hours away.

Please let us know if you have your own Olympic Torch Relay experience.

You can read more about the Olympic Torch Relay here: Olympic Torch Relay.

Reign, Rain

Team Ettinger writes: It’s been over a week since the Diamond Jubilee pageant — the spectacular 1000-plus boat flotilla down the Thames to celebrate the Queen’s sixty-year reign — and now that we’re finally warm and completely dry, it seems time to reflect on the experience.

We arrived at 10:30, which was early enough to find room to stand third-deep on the north bank between Southwark and London Bridges. Because the first boat didn’t cross in front of us for another five-and-a-half hours, we had plenty of time to observe and envy some of our fellow revellers and the preparations they had made — most seemed better supplied with food and all were certainly better dressed to cope with the early summer weather.

The rainfall and good spirits persisted during our wait, accompanied by the smell of sausage rolls, the sound of champagne corks popping, and the sight of the Shard disappearing and reappearing as the clouds lifted and fell.

When the boats finally arrived, the chilly, choppy, grey of the Thames became the perfect backdrop to these bursts of moving colour; it was a lovely sight.

The festive atmosphere became electric when the Spirit of Chartwell, the royal barge, loomed into view. It was suddenly more difficult to see with all the pennant-waving and the crush of the crowd. But if you look closely, you can see the Queen in white.

Some people left after the Queen’s appearance, but there were more great moments to come. Especially poignant was the sight of the forty-or-so Dunkirk little boats that joined in the festivities.

All in all, it was a thrilling, fitting, British celebration, truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. And somehow, the inclement weather made it that much more memorable. We know that people all over were marking the occasion in some way; whether you were Thames-side, TV-side, or elsewhere, please let us hear about your jubilee celebrations.

I’ll Choose the Best of Times

Robert Ettinger writes: Many might think that pessimism is the order of the day — with headlines describing unimaginable woes around the world, our own economy lumbering along, our weather being more apocalyptic than British — but I can’t help but be upbeat about things.

To be sure, there are many serious issues that have to be dealt with — quickly; but if we take a slightly longer view it’s clear that there are exciting and interesting times ahead.

It’s easy to be cynical about a couple of the big local events coming soon; in fact, it’s probably the default British position to be dismissive about the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics. But I can’t join the naysayers.

The festivities scheduled throughout the UK the first week of June are as much a celebration of ourselves as a commemoration of the Queen’s 60 years as monarch. I’m especially excited about the pageant on Sunday 3 June; up to 1,000 boats of all kinds from all over the world will move in stately procession along the Thames. The boats will be mustering between Hammersmith and Battersea Bridges, so the view from our windows on Putney Bridge Road is certain to be a spectacular sight — as it will be all along the flotilla route. Similarly, the atmosphere at the Olympics and the achievements of the athletes in the surroundings of one of the great cities of the world will no doubt be exciting at the time and will surely provide many long-lasting memories. I’m especially interested in the cycling road races on 28 and 29 July — not only because I’m an avid cyclist — but also because the racers will be crossing the Thames at Putney Bridge; so once again, the action will nearly be right outside our windows. These two events will offer all of us — Londoners, English, British — a rare double chance to show the world some of the things we do best. So while it may seem very much like the worst of times, it’s quite possible we’re right on the edge of the best of times.
You can find more information about the Pageant here: Diamond Jubilee Pageant; and information about all the Diamond Jubilee festivities here: Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Information about the road race is here: Olympic Cycling Road Race. The general website for the Olympics is here: London 2012 Olympics.

Greetings from Ettinger

Welcome to our blog. We hope you’ll find it interesting, informative, and entertaining, as we share our thoughts and ideas on life, travel, culture, society — anything and everything that sparks our imagination. On occasion, we’ll even mention news about a particular leather goods manufacturer.

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