Throwback to two years ago and a day at the races…….
Yesterday, the Strachan brood had a day at York races. We witnessed packed crowds, sunny weather and sporadic luck…………. And that’s just three of the horses I backed that let me down!
There’s not much I enjoy more than to get ‘suited and booted’ and watch the gee gees, especially at the upmarket Knavesmire racecourse. Apart from maybe watching/playing football and cricket….. dining out….. err, seeing a music gig….. a few beers in a good pub….. watching rugby….. erm, a theatre visit….. a family bbq…… a fine wine….. a beautiful view……. actually, coming to think of it, there’s chuffing loads I like better than a day at the races!
Incidentally, when I refer to the gee gees I’m talking about race horses, not a Bee Gees tribute act.
As we left chez Strachan, my wife and daughter looked radiant in their finery. My daughter in particular was resplendent in green. So why the hell she chose to change into a black dress before we left god only knows.
Our offspring’s false eyelashes so long it looked as though she had two caterpillars at the end of her eyelids. I had visions of them morphing into butterflies mid afternoon, before fluttering off into the ether with her betting slip.
At Crossgates station, the train was so late it was a pre-privatised British Rail locomotive that turned up. As it’s twenty years since the industry was nationalised, that was one late train………….. I didn’t have the heart to tell the conductor his tickets for the Euro 96 Final at Wembley had long since expired, or that we lost to Germany in the semi-finals on penalties.
Once on the train, we were thrust into a no holds barred fight for standing room. My wife Karen luckily acquired a seat, while daughter Rachel and I were forced to stand cramped against a door throughout the journey.
We were surrounded by groups of young women in their finery. En route, they laughed heartily under the influence of the cider, pina colada and champers, while attempting to keep cool by fanning themselves vigorously with their kitsch bonnets.
Despite the discomfort of being cramped, warm, and having to stand for the duration of the journey, it has to be said the atmosphere was good aboard. We were in situ of a carriage full of lads and lasses excitedly anticipating of a few drinks, winning bets and getting to the point of the day when they could take their high heels off.
The high heel observation included some of the guys as well, as there was a group of them dressed as women. I assumed it was fancy dress, although I could have been wrong, and it may have been the Cleckheaton Cross Dressing Association.
In possession of greater insight into the bawdy lyrics of rugby songs, and perspiring profusely, it was a relief to get some fresh air as the doors opened at York station. We alighted the train, joining the hoards of people heading for their onward journey.
As fast as their high heels and excess of alcohol would allow, the Cleckheaton Cross Dressing Association staggered past us on the platform. One of them looked familiar as he staggered past with his floral dress and facial hair wafting in the summer breeze.
I’m not sure where I’d seen this person in my past. The beard and the speed of downing a can of Stella Artois was reminiscent of an ex-girlfriend…… But who knows and, to be frank, who cares?
On arrival at the racecourse, food and drink were the priority for clan Strachan. While choosing what to eat in one of the County Stand restaurants, I became embroiled in an argument with my daughter over how many bottles of water were required to accompany our meal.………….. Rach decreed that she should have a bottle to herself, however her mum and I should just share one, to which I respectfully responded “Go bollocks!”
During the horse racing, we cumulatively had two winners and four second placed horses, meaning we’d won a few quid. Unfortunately, though, not enough to cover the stakes.
We had a big stroke of fortune in the second race, when the bookmaker misheard me and accidentally put the bet on the number four horse, instead of number three (Rachel’s selection). As luck would have it, number four won the race, my daughter’s prize £21…… Stubborn and lucky, great attributes in a young woman.
Overall it wasn’t a bad day. We’d a couple of winners, a fight over bottled water, a rubbish lunch, queued for ages for everything and spent a fortune…………. Actually, coming to think of it, apart from the two winners, it was a bloody rubbish day!