A day at the races

Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie. She is in Devon and enjoying some lovely spring colour.

It was springlike here, with temperatures above the norm. I had a busy morning in an unspectacular way, visiting the shop and paying my account, getting money from the cash machine in the High Street, having coffee with Mrs Tootlepedal and Margaret in the garden, doing a little very light lawn mowing, supervising Mrs Tootlepedal planting innumerable potatoes . . .

. . . filling the bird feeder . . .

. . . and wandering round the garden taking pictures. I was happy to see that the lawn speedwell had escaped being mowed, the magnolia is recovering from the frosts, and the first apple flower bud has appeared.

I was also happy to see and hear a good deal of bee activity. The plum tree was visited, as was the muscari, and both gooseberry and blackcurrants were attracting a lot of visitors to their flowers though I couldn’t catch them on camera.

The main business of the day was a visit to the Castleholm in the afternoon to watch a card of four horse races.

The first race was a six furlong dash, and I stood at the bottom corner to watch a field of four come past and disappear up the back straight.

The track is six furlongs round so I didn’t see them come racing past again, though I found one having slowed up after the race and walking past the castle.

The second race was a mile and a half, twice round the track. I went to see the start and watch them go round the top corner.

The third race was a mile, and I went to the top of the back straight to see the start.

The last race was a mile and a quarter, and it was not as smooth an affair as might have been hoped. Two horses were late getting down to the start, and the delay was too much for another horse which took off with such ferocity that it ran twice round the course before its jockey could get the brakes applied. One of the late comers . . .

. . .got to the start but never actually started, so in the end it was a three horse race . . .

. . .with a comfortable winner.

I thoroughly enjoyed the racing in the warm sunny weather, and took in a few bits of nature between races, including a hazel nut in the making.

I walked home and joined Mrs Tootlepedal for a cup of tea. I watched the birds for a moment or two.

Although Mrs Tootlepedal had had a busy day in the garden, she was keen to put our new bikes to use on a such a suitable day, so we cycled up the Wauchope road to Cleuchfoot and back, a distance of eight miles.

A breeze had got up and we welcomed some electrical assistance on the way up the road, but we did a lot of unassisted pedalling on the way back. After 14 miles in two days without recharging the battery, Mrs Tootlepedal’s battery indicator had only gone down by a quarter, so it does seem that there will be plenty of capacity for us to go for some longer rides without having to worry about running out of juice.

After two really nice days, it has just started raining as we go to bed, and the forecast is for cooler, wetter weather tomorrow. It was lovely while it lasted . . . and we probably need the rain to get the rhubarb to flourish.

The flying bird of the day is a female mallard which flew over the racecourse this afternoon.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

23 thoughts on “A day at the races

  1. Had to look up those (at least for my continental eye) silly measures furlong and mile. My understanding for the british ethusiasm for races and competition is very limited. Google and Wikipedia enlighted me. Good for you that you and Mrs T. can put the new cycles to good use.

    1. I agree about the complication of the distances but they all relate to the length of a surveyor’s chain so they do make sense. The so called Imperial weights and measures made for some very complicated sums when I was a young schoolboy. The British need competitions so that people can learn to be losers in life from an early age!

  2. It looks like you are going to be eating a lot of potatoes.
    I like speedwell flowers so I’m glad they survived the mowing. I still haven’t seen any here yet.
    My father used to love watching horse races. I’m glad they had a good day for it.

    1. I hope that we are going to be eating a lot of potatoes but in some years slug infestation makes storage a lottery, so we are not counting our metaphorical chickens yet.

  3. I am glad you had a spring-like day. It has been a cold and wet here, like winter’s end. The horse race was enjoyable to watch. I wanted to be a jockey in my early youth.

    One can never have enough potatoes. πŸ™‚

    1. That is true about the potatoes as long as they store well. The blight can ruin a crop. As I weight nearly two stone more than the jockeys in those races, my riding career would be limited!

  4. I planted our potatoes on May 8 last year. Right now we have new snow – and in some places, lots of it and more snow to come. I also want to take the ice tires off my car, which I can’t until it’s over 7ΒΊ C, which it isn’t. Do you know how grumpy all that is making me? Answer: really, really grumpy! Bah!

    On a cheerier note, I got a kick out of the horse that couldn’t wait – sounds like a dog with a bad case of the “zoomies”!

  5. Such exciting photos of the horses racing around their track. One can feel the excitement and hear the hooves pounding the earth and enjoy all the jockey colours- wonderful spectacle! Did your horse win? Hope you placed a bet!

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