Sunday, 5 June 2011

and another first for us

One of the joys of not having work commitments is that we can take decisions about what to do on the spur of the moment (the downside being that any preparation necessary has to be fitted in at the last minute!)  And so it was that last Thursday morning, we decided to go out for a day at the races - a new experience for us.  And not just any old horse race, but to see the Derby at Epsom Downs on Saturday! We were literally just in time to book grandstand tickets online before the noon deadline. 

In between doing the weekly food shop, collecting prints from the Artspool exhibition on Friday morning and going to the private view of the horti-CULTURE exhibition Friday evening, we managed to get ourselves scrubbed up and sorted out our glad rags, ready for the big day.

Although our arrival at the racecourse was delayed by traffic congestion, once we parked up and got out of the car, the excitement in the air was palpable. People all dressed up and lots of laughter lifted the spirits as we made our way into the grandstand enclosure from where we could look out over the downs, the lines of open-topped busses and fun fair on the hill, and crowds and crowds of people enjoying themselves in the sunshine.  

The grandstand overlooks the last half furlong of the racetrack, rising up to the finishing post with good views of the big screens to see the distant action on the far side of the course.  

We'd had our lunch and had moved on to a Pimms by the time the Royal party arrived and disgorged into the Queens Stand next door and the races were ready to begin. 

The roar of the crowd was almost deafening as the riders approached the finishing line, culminating in the cheers and squeals from those whose horses had won or been placed. 

We left the vantage point of the grandstand and went off the explore, looking in at the parade ring and ending up right next to the rails to watch the next race. Steve fancied one of the horses, placed a bet at the last minute and to our delight the chosen horse came up trumps. Time for another Pimms to celebrate!

No such such luck on the Derby itself, or the other race we had a bet on, but we still ended up taking a whole £10 from the bookies overall. 

We finished off the afternoon with tea and strawberry tarts before heading back to the car, tired but happy!  Our fears of getting caught in horrendous traffic jams proved unfounded, and we had a good journey home arriving back just in time for a rendezvous with Dr Who.  What a good day!

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