14th May – A day at the races

Waking with some difficulty, I returned home after a short sojourn at my grandmother’s. After returning to my humble abode I had an hour or so in which to preoccupy myself. I wondered what would be the most interesting Middle Eastern country to travel to. I imagine it would be stimulating to get off the beaten track and visit places akin to Iran – although international sanctions make this a bit difficult – or even Pakistan. It would also be stimulating to journey through Iraq or Afghanistan once these places have hopefully simmered down.

Anyway, I went to the pub with my father and his girlfriend, and had a pint of Guinness (as per usual). Then, I flicked through the Racing Post and laid my bets for the day at theĀ  racecourse which we would then walk to. It was not only more convenient to place the bets online, rather than at the bookmakers at the racecourse, but if the odds drifted one was guaranteed better odds.

Also resident at the pub was a large plump Rottweiler which flopped down unceremoniously at our feet. I hope when I reach an ancient age I also have a corpulent dog that follows me into drinking establishments.

English: Rottweiler Head Deutsch: Rottweiler Kopf

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After the bets were laid and drinks hurriedly drank we walked to the racecourse on the edge of town. Having only left five minutes in which to make this journey, power walking was the order of the day. Somehow the old man had prevailed in getting free tickets off a friend of a friend who had got them at some club. Having saved close to twenty pounds each, which would have been the cost to gain basic entry to the grand stand side, the day began.

There were around six or seven races and after backing winners on the first two my serendipity seemed to wane. From thirty five pounds I came away with about twelve. It is clear now that I do not have the ability, temperament or volition to be a professional punter.

The day mainly consisted of standing next to the finish line to watch the race. Secondly, making our way back to the bar – where more beer was consumed (at exorbitant cost, alas!). And thirdly, watching other races around the country, upon which the two I was with had more bets. And finally watching the horses being paraded around before the race.

Horses are quite striking creatures, certainly a better example of the animal kingdom than the dung beetle. Furthermore, one of the jockeys, who was there and interviewed, was the Grand National winner – Ryan Mania. I am also sure I glimpsed the back of my head on the television replay, by the finish line. I think I survived this brush with celebrity though.

With the last race finishing in the late afternoon we were able to make a quick getaway on foot, without the rush this time. I then had a short period at home by myself, whilst my father dropped off his girlfriend. Using this time usefully I ended up watching a 70’s situation comedy called George and Mildred. I quite enjoyed it, I find in general older sit-coms to be enjoyable as they are not too emotionally heavy and hark back to a different era.

Finally, I got a lift to my father’s house and ate fish and chips. Although I desired a fishcake rather than battered fish as the fish can feel greasy and over-substantial. This proved a wise meal as standing out in the sun with drinks and little food had left me famished.

In the evening I watched television mainly and browsed the internet. I also discovered that the television programme Happy Endings had been cancelled. Now this was the usual American fluff about a group of friends who live in a major city and get up to hi-jinks. Yet I felt it had ameliorated, was underrated and got less derivative over time. I obviously need to watch less television too because the fact I care is a misfortunate sign, I can feel my brain rotting as it is.

Your writer,

Edmund Donnellan


10th May – Horse racing and gambling

English: Thoroughbred racing at Churchill Down...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I arose around midday and ended up going to the pub with my father soon after. This consisted of about four pints of Guinness, nine games of pool and a packet of salt and vinegar crisps. However he and his girlfriend are assiduous horse racing gamblers and every fifteen to twenty minutes we had to stop everything to see the latest results.

Now I do not mind this, yet this constant exposure to gambling and games of chance has removed any mystique from the game. Perhaps I am not the type who enjoys gambling naturally; but one usually wants to strike out away from their parents, and gambling would be too close to home as a regular activity for me. Not that I mind when a string of winners come in and an extra drink is sent my way.

A risk-averse,

Edmund Donnellan.