Cheltenham

By |2019-03-07T12:08:59+00:00March 9th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Thirty-seven hours, 17 minutes, two taxis, two aeroplanes and three trains brought me from Melbourne, Australia, to a race night in Cheltenham, with only 30 minutes to spare before the first race of the 2014 Festival.  I feel weak-limbed and giddy, which is the way most people finish their three days in the Cotswolds.  The Gloucestershire taxi was driven by a charming chap, who tells me all about a revolutionary design of manhole-cover that he has patented.  He is hoping to find a wealthy investor.  I told him he'd never have a better chance as the town will be crammed with people dedicated to pouring money down the drains during the race night.  Prowling outside the race night venue were a hundred cockney and scouse touts, wanting either your money or your race night tickets.  Once I managed to get past them unscathed, I was then bombarded by a second wave, the so-called gypsy ladies with their 'lucky' heather.  I made for the See You Then Bar above the parade ring, and asked for a pint of bitter.  The barman smiled, apologetically, and said 'Bitter?' in a strong Scandinavian accent.  'Yes.'  'I am sorry.'  He shrugged.  'I don't know this word.'  We eventually got there, by sign language, and I gulped the pint down while I watched the first race on the big screen behind the parade ring.  Sitting on a bench nearby, an extremely elderly man with a feather in his trilby waved his aluminium walking stick in the [...]