May 1st 2017 – home

After a quiet night at home on Friday (Mr P was feeling a bit run down and we went out on Wednesday and Thursday so I wasn’t hankering after the pub), we went to Garthorpe Races on Saturday which is about half an hour away. We loaded up the F-I-L’s car with beer, picnicky items and the whippet and set off.

It was much bigger and better than I was expecting. For some reason, I had imagined a two-bit operation, a touch rough around the edges, but it was definitely leaning more towards the tally-ho side of things than I’d originally thought – there was lots of tweed clothing, Range Rovers, Labradors, children called Jasper and the sound of champagne corks popping was prevalent throughout the day. I backed two winners and finished the day about a tenner up.

The best thing about Garthorpe is that you set up your picnic at your car and taking your own booze is welcomed although there is a bar there too, as well as a prosecco van. The family in the Range Rover parked in front of us were obviously well-versed in this type of outing. I watched as they produced a huge, wicker hamper from the boot (which even had a string of bunting flapping merrily from it – overkill? I think so) and retrieved real glass champagne flutes from within. We lounged in stripy camping chairs next to the F-I-L’s little Renault, swigging bottles of lager and tucking into pre-packed sandwiches bought from the Co-op that morning. Everyone was really friendly though and although the weather was fine, it did get a bit nippy although, thankfully, stayed dry. I reckon the same outing on a scorching hot day would be ace though, as long as someone was happy to be designated driver.

An eavesdropped conversation from the aforementioned family in front: the family decide to go and place a bet on the penultimate race leaving an elderly gentleman in the warmth of the car.

Daughter: Come on then, Dad. Climb in the back.

Father: I know the difference between the back of the car and the front, thank you very much. I just want a splash of that wine before you go.

With the old boy furnished with a glass of wine and safely ensconced in the back of the car, the family make their way to the row of bookies to have a flutter. This isn’t far from the car park and races are short and sweet but in that relatively short space of time (I estimate no longer then fifteen minutes) the old fella again climbed out of the car, far more spritely than he at first appeared, and filled his whisky tumbler to the brim with champagne that they had left on their little table before happily resuming his seat in the Range Rover. What a legend.

That evening, Mr A invited us over to watch the boxing. I have never classed myself as a fan of the sport, even going so far as to say I was morally against such barbarism. However. There must be something carnal in my brain that was awoken upon watching such a brilliant, exciting fight – I loved it, and although I feel a bit ashamed of my positive reaction to such a brutal match, I will definitely be more open to watching future bouts.

To top off a surprisingly sport rich weekend, Spurs only went and beat Arsenal 2-0 on Sunday. Chelsea are still four points clear and at the start of the season, had someone offered me an almost nailed-on second place finish in the Premier League, I would’ve happily bitten their hand off. However, now the title is within reach, it’s hard not to get swept up in the possibility of actually winning the league for the first time since 1961. It’s intoxicating.


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