We go racing!

My, how hectic life has been over the last couple of weeks. As always, I aim to space out activities in the hope that they will coincide with the rhythms of my energy but, as always, life seems to get in the way of any plans.Not that activities haven’t been fun or entertaining but that, as ever, planning seems to be a waste of time.

I have spoken to Macmillan staff on a couple of occasions. It’s just to enable staff who don’t usually have contact with their end users to watch me stumble about a stage and talk to them about my experience. I have a few PPT slides of me in various stages of baldness I share with them plus a picture showing Dog. The last time I spoke to staff I actually had a request to bring Dog with me. I can’t imagine the chaos he would cause at such an event so I declined on his behalf and they make do with photos of him.

Following on from my last talk, I receive a call from Patrick who asks if I have any engagements on 1st August. I assume he is going to ask me to speak again but I am wrong. He offers us tickets to Goodwood Races on Ladies Day as they have been given a table by one of their corporate partners. I have never been racing before and this, coupled with the lure of free food and drink on the sunniest day of the week, is irresistible. We drive to Goodwood via Mark’s parents where we drop Dog off for the day so he can be spoilt rotten and bark at anyone who comes to the door.

Some of the outfits worn by people at Goodwood are really extraordinary. It is difficult but I try to take surreptitious pictures of some of the better ones although it is hard. I decide I could never be a secret agent although perhaps I would be given a less obtrusive camera with which to photograph my targets. One of my favourites is a woman dressed in a hat of gargantuan proportions. She teeters along on high heels and stops by the rails in front of us where we see she has extraordinarily long nails. How does she live with nails that long? The most normal of tasks must seem at the very least, difficult. A young girl sitting nearby talks in stage whispers about the lady boy but we think it is a genuine woman in front of us.
We see a woman in a long red dress being led carefully and kindly from the marquee we are in. She is clearly very drunk and has to be supported although where she is being taken, I don’t know. Unlimited wine on such a hot day has a terrible effect. There are clearly several company outings taking progress and there seems a competetive element amongst some to buy champagne. The actual marquee is quite hot and humid but there are benches outside from which I have a great view of the racecourse from just behind the rails so I decide to sit there and be anti-social. And to people watch, obviously. The day is fun and the food is wonderful. It is beautiful to see the horses run and to be so close to them. I talk only briefly with other people on the table because it is so hot and I am longing to sit outside where there is a breeze. Just as we have finished lunch, tea seems to arrive. Unbelievably we are able to eat something from the plates of tiny sandwiches (with crusts removed, obviously) and the miniature cakes. It would be rude not to. We wend our way home towards the end of the afternoon so we can be back in time for Mark’s Tai Chi class. It’s been a good day, though, and another in the spirit of ‘do something different’. More please.



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