It's impossible for me to hear the word 'Polo' without thinking about one of my favourite authors, Jilly Cooper. For me Jilly Cooper is quite simply the Queen of the 'to-die-for' heroes.
With sales in the tens of millions in hardback over all Jilly Cooper's wonderful books, Riders was the first Number One Bestseller featuring men in breeches. Published in 1985, Riders introduced the females in my family to the incomparable Rupert Campbell-Black (the swine - *swoon*) And we have never looked back!
Rivals, published in 1988 cemented our adoration of Jilly's outrageous cast of characters, and though there have been other books in between our fandoration hit its peak when Polo was published in 1991. We are on our third volume of Polo as we've worn it out between us - And thank goodness for ereaders, where Polo now has a safe home along with everything Jilly has ever published.
Of course, there have been many more books before Polo and since, but nothing for me can quite compare with Jilly's robust encounters with all things equine. And if you haven't read Jilly's latest book JUMP! featuring grandmother, Etta, and a return of all the characters we all love - (if Jilly hasn't killed them off) get on it right now!
Rock-hard thighs, impossibly powerful forearms, unscrupulous women and beddable men - Add a dose of wicked humour, and stir with bedroom antics beyond your wildest dreams, and I think you can safely say that Jilly Cooper has come up with the perfect recipe.
All Hail Jilly Cooper the Queen of Polo!
When my older daughter, now a highly successful barrister, was deciding on a venue for her Hen Night, there really was only one possibility where the venue was concerned: The Guards Polo Club, Her Majesty's Back Yard, Smith's Lawn, Windsor.
This is the girl who learned how to say, 'Don't drag your horse's mouth or I'll rip your head off,' - politely, of course- in several languages in order to work as a trail guide in Banff Canada during her Gap year, and who came back to England where she rode to success many times in competition on her horse, Nookie.
My daughter's BF, Cara, ensured everything went smoothly for Sara and her Hens, and apart from many teary, champagne-laced protestations of undying love for various polo ponies, I can faithfully record the fact that, while I was there, at least, the event bore no resemblance whatsoever to a popular film featuring a group of accident-prone bridesmaids.
I was on a serious mission and managed to record a lot of straining sinew and iron-hard thigh material - for research purposes only, of course - and was only sorry I had to leave the girls as the band struck up in the Cartier tent, as I was flying to the US the following day for the annual Romance Writers of America conference.
Please, don't ever ask me where I get my ideas from!!!
I'm happy to report that all the Hens returned home safely, and went on to be peerless bridesmaids to a very beautiful bride.