For six weeks we’d basked in Mediterranean temperatures. Last night to celebrate our son Leon’s 36th birthday, we took him and his wife Kelly to Newmarket Races. Each July the racecourse has Friday night horse races until 9 o’clock, and then a band plays to finish off the evening.
Prior to going out, the thermometer in our garden read 40.3 degrees. I was considering staying at home, as I am seriously intolerant to heat. However, I didn’t want to miss out on the birthday celebrations, and so put on the thinnest dress I could find, slapped on a bucketful of sun cream, and sallied forth.
Halfway along the A14 the skies darkened. By the time we arrived at the July Course a rather impressive thunderstorm had erupted, which didn’t look as though it was going to finish any time soon. None of us had umbrellas, and Kelly only had thin flip-flop sandals on. We made a dash for it and arrived at the Premier Enclosure looking like 4 drowned rats. Both Kelly and I found to our dismay that our hair had exploded. The ground was steaming in the heat.
As we placed bets on the first race, we were told that only 4 horses were running. Leon’s South London foghorn of a voice could be heard behind in the queue saying “Yeah, I bet the horse stamped its hoof, and said bollocks to that – it’s too hot and you can’t make me!”
There were 6 races in all. Sam won an impressive £15, Leon won £3, and as you can see, I was somewhere in-between:
It’s all a bit of fun, but I do get carried away and always consider adding more money each time I place a bet. The others reminded me that there’s only one winner at the end of the day, and it’s the Bookie who locks up, lights up a fat cigar, and legs it home with all our money. They’re right of course, but if I had a vice I know it would be gambling. My grandfather was a serious gambler, and so perhaps I inherited a gambling gene (don’t worry Sam, the housekeeping money is safe!).
The rain didn’t stop, but we made the most of it. Leon and Kelly said they hadn’t had so much fun in ages.