Took Ollie into Oxford on the bus for the day on Thursday, which he loves. Jamie was at Julie's so we could sit upstairs on the bus. Had a few things to do which I won't bore you with (technicalities at camera shops etc) then we went to McDonalds for lunch. Here I did my good deed for the day. My friend Claire Atkin was there with her two kiddies, and had a bit of a disaster when her youngest pulled over a whole bottle of Orange Juice flooding the table, food clothes, everything. Fortunately I was able to leap into action, sprinting across the floor, knocking all the fat spotty people out of the way, to return in seconds armed with copious amounts of napkins to minimise the damage. It's very frustrating for a parent when such things occur in public, I remember an occasion some years ago when Ollie pulled over a whole large coke directly into my lap in Burger King so I had to go around for the rest of the day looking like I'd wet myself. Still at least it wasn't a milkshake, that could have been even more embarrassing.
On Friday, I desperately needed to get some supplies in, my normal day to day shopping system having not really been happening during the week due to all the other activity. Now as you are all well aware, going anywhere near Big Tesco on a bank holiday is a majorly bad idea due to the horrendous traffic surrounding Bicester Village. However, the early bird catches the worm and I happily sailed straight into the car park at 8am before the hordes of bargain seekers arrived to clog up the entrance. A most enjoyable shopping experience at that time of the morning and an all round chilled day really, with only the slight worry of a close friend in need having a bit of a crisis for agony uncle Jason to console prior to a good old fashioned Friday night karaoke piss up at the Star.
And on to the main event of the weekend, racing at Kempton Park. Now as a predominantly jumps fan this made a nice change for me as it has been years since I have been to a flat meeting and indeed my first visit to Kempton since they opened the all weather track a few years ago.
The Sharps had been kind enough to invite me, sadly Claire was unable to attend due to work and I decided not to take Jamie, so it was myself and Ollie that Bestie and family came to pick up. I had already placed most of the bets I wanted to on the internet before I left - you get better value than on course, so I was looking forward to cheering them on.
Just as on Wednesday, the skies were grey and threatening a downpour at any time, but it never came. On the way down we had lots of fun in the car counting the sticks on the bridge (don't ask - a very simple thing but it caught the kids imagination). We arrived a good couple of hours before racing. It was a family fun day with Peppa Pig, free Easter bunnies for the kids (and Duncan!), Horrible histories and various other stuff. We headed into the main building and Ollie was delighted to see a huge table filled with crayons and colouring books, so that kept him occupied while we grabbed a coffee. Once we were done there we headed outside to eat our picnic that we had brought with us.
Now this had seemed a good idea earlier in the week, but I have noticed over the years a strange meteorological phenomenon that dictates that the temperature on a racecourse during the colder months must always be at least 10 degrees colder than anywhere else in the local area. And so we sat shivering at the picnic table, with me coming to the opinion that children not eating their crusts is a universal phenomenon not confined to my own family.
Racing eventually got under way. Following a lengthy explanation of the concept of the "placepot" to Bestie, we placed our cleverly worked out permutation of 64 x 10p lines. It died a death on the first race, a 2 year old race full of unraced horses where the hot favourite and placepot banker finished out of the back of the television screen. We also drew a blank with our bets and went in to warm up. Bestie had spotted a Costa and headed for it like there was no tomorrow, whilst I watched the 2:20 from Haydock where I had a nice little investment running until it fell. It appeared that the Costa was not up to scratch though due to the much grumbling coming from Bestie - I am sure it will be dealt with in detail in her own blog. And so things went on, 3 races in and no joy and then we hit form, 9/2 and 8/1 winners from me and a big win from Bestie as well, with none other than legendary celebrity Channel 4 bookmaker, Barry Dennis, who had to hand all his dosh over to Lynda as shown below:
|Thanks for all this money, Mr Bookie!|
We warmed up in the grandstand with some overpriced and undercooked chips but it didn't matter - it was hot food on a cold day, watched the last race and headed home, a cold but fun day out!
Overall it was an amazing week and outside of being away on holiday, quite the busiest and action packed week I have had I think since before the kids were born.
It's all good. The very early years of bringing up children are very hard work and take up all of your time. Now I am starting to get my life back. And I like it.
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Jason x x