Sweeny Bob’s Barber Shop, in Cartmel, is moving premises after eight years in the village. Phillipa, who usually cuts my hair, will be spending more time at her shop in Ambleside instead. I’ve no idea where I’ll go for a trim from September onwards, but the good news for racegoers is that she’ll still be around for the forthcoming August Bank Holiday weekend.
We’ve received many a call from visitors to the racecourse camp site, who have woken on race-day morning to discover that they’re experiencing a bad-hair-day. Fortunately, Phillipa is there to help - whether it’s a shave, a blow-dry, or a short-back-and-sides. If you’ve booked into one of the restaurants, and require a bit of post-camping styling, I’d recommend making an appointment - because the queue can extend past the Mallard Tea Room on busy days, which is useful if you’re in need of a bacon sandwich.
The same goes for anyone who’d like their nails done - or needs a body-wrap, a facial, a massage or waxing: The beauticians at Park Lane, just 30 yards from the Course Enclosure, have a small number of appointments available this Sunday – the day between the races. I’m not actually sure what a body-wrap is, but it just goes to prove that everything you could possibly want (and probably anything you forgot to pack for the races) is here in the village.
Left the cork-screw at home? Go to the Red Pepper cook shop. A stick to prod the track with? Look no further than the Larch Tree gift shop. Enhance your picnic with a trip to Cartmel Cheeses, the Unsworth’s Yard micro-brewery or the Cartmel Village Shop – which also happens to bake the famously delicious Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding.
From Friday evening, until the Tuesday after Bank Holiday Monday’s races, there’s really no need to go any further afield. There are four pubs to choose from (a different one for every evening), in addition to L’Enclume (recently named the Good Food Guide’s ‘Best Restaurant’ for the fourth consecutive year), Rogan’s Bistro and The Priory Hotel. The Ilex Bistro and Bar is little more than a mile walk through the woods to Holker Hall.
And to feed the soul, at 11.00am on Sunday morning, there is the Steeplechase Service at the Priory – after which one of Jimmy Moffatt’s horses will be blessed, by the Racecourse Chaplain Nick Devenish, by the porch of the church.
It’s all so idyllic that, if Cartmel was any bigger, I’d be tempted to call it the Golden Town (which just happens to be the name of this week’s selection – in the first race on Saturday). Perhaps we should re-name the horse: Golden Village in Need of a Barber.