Monthly Archives: September 2009

In, Out, In, Out, etc.

Actually it’s the Arc, not the hokey cokey (and what’s that all about anyway?).  Runners are coming out today at the 5 day stage and tomorrow runners will be coming in as the supplementary stage opens.

Out goes Yeats (the battalions of Ballydoyle were having a bubble barf with that one), stalls-shy Spanish Moon (who was my ante-post ew bet) and three others.  In, for the fee of 100,000 euros, will likely come Stacelita, Cavalryman and maybe Sariska (but I am not sure about her as there has not yet been the rain they are after).  We have light rain forecast for the days preceding Sunday’s race but at the moment it is not believed to be enough to hinder the wonder horse’s participation.

The Arc and I have an uneasy autumnal sort of relationship.  My flat racing season tends to follow the same pattern every year.  Wild abandon when the Guineas comes round at the thought of all the exciting prospects, a glutted reverie in the mid-summer (after the Eclipse) when the calendar is full to bursting and week long festivals seem to be happening every fortnight, and then a sad sort of realisation about now that it is coming to an end.  Now is the time reputations are cemented, or shattered for good at Longchamp and then at the Breeders’ Cup.  I find that the enjoyable exercise of  trying to read a race in advance, now becomes clouded by sentiment and my hopes for individual horses.  Now I know Sea the Stars doesn’t give a toss if he wins on Sunday (although they do say a horse’s heart can be broken) but I really, really do.

The last time I gave this much of a shit was when I was convinced Deep Impact would win the Arc a few years back.  For those of you that didn’t see that showdown, Deep was 3rd and subsequently disqualified for having had a blast of Vicks a few days before the big one.  I felt ill before, during and after the unsatisfactory race and although I always enjoy the Arc I can’t quite bring myself to engage with it fully.  This year I have no choice.

It is tricky to preview a race without the line-up and the going.  Kieren Fallon is not to be deterred though in the “Weekender”, asserting that it is no done deal for StS given his packed dancecard and that Youmzain (his mount) may, finally and in blinkers, get in the Group 1 winning groove.  Well he might.

I have read others who are sweet on Conduit’s chances, yet others who insist he is a one-paced gallop merchant who will not have the requisite toe from the turn-in.

I find myself entirely unable to analyse this race.

I want Sea the Stars to win, trot into the history books and share his genes with us for a long, long time.

Deep on a going day

Deep on a going day


That said, I will organise my thoughts, exorcise the sentiment and evaluate the field’s chances on Sunday.

What Gordon needs is a little fizz

According to a scientific report today (that I consider wholly worthwhile!) a lot of the flavour to be found in champagne is delivered by the bubbles themselves. So they aren’t just empty vessels then…

Having considered this phenomenon, I have decided that is what our own dear Prime Minister needs. I call him dear because his wife practically insisted upon it in her warm-up cheerleading for Gordon himself. Call me a wizened old witch but why do they think Sarah Brown, eloquent though she may be, should be the one to tell us why we should all love Gordon like she does. Wheeling out the mrs is a bad move. He also trundled out his eyesight, or lack thereof and the “vayue” of the NHS. I am sorry the man is blind in one eye, but I don’t want to hear about it as political issue. There’s a chance they are taking equality and diversity a tad too far, even for my libertarian taste.

Why can’t Gordon pronounce his double “ll”s? He pronounces them as “y”s. Fifteen biyion pounds, a briyiant idea, the miyions of people… He’s in good company though, my 5yo does exactly the same.

Gordon is a conundrum. I am sure he is a decent bloke and he talks a right lot of sense. I am not sure his sums add up and I have hated the constant re-regulation under Labour over the years. My hair stands on end when I hear what he said about “children giving birth to children” and the idea of a homes for them. In practice there are mother and baby units for them already and I baulk at the idea that all teenagers need extra help to be good parents simply because of their age. I teach parents 19 and under. I worry about certain aspects of their lives but, hand on heart, it is rarely because of their parenting skills. In fact, his whole section on teen “tearaways” smelt of scapegoating in the extreme. He spoke of crackdowns on estates too. How would you feel tonight if you are a teen parent living on an estate? Entirely unlikely to have listened to him in the first place I’d warrant. Shameless guillotine crowd pleasing Gordon! The man is of the manse and a puritan at heart and he lacks the real flavour that comes with some fizz.

I have tried hard but I conclude, regrettably, that he comes across as cold as charity.

This time the tooth fairy trips over his size 11s…

…tiptoeing into the gap-toothed wonder’s bedroom (at least she doesn’t have 2 rows of shark’s teeth anymore).  He didn’t wake her or anything, it might actually have been better if he did and then I could have done the deed on my return from work.  No, he tripped, on a procedural point and, and I know this is hardly credible, forgot to take the tooth.  Well you can imagine the uproar that greeted me this morning – the six foot tooth fairy having done one, to use the vernacular.  If there was a hotline to the UN Peacekeeping force available to parents before 7 in the morning, I would have been on it!  When I asked for clarification on the hotline to the tooth fairy, he muttered something about “thinking it was in the dining room”???

Clearly some tooth fairy re-training is in order before any more of the contents of the kids’ mouths fall out.

Step 1 – Place tooth under pillow

Step 2 – REMOVE tooth

Step 3 – Replace with a £1 coin (this should be as shiny as possible)

Step 4 – Take tooth to mother’s secret hiding place for teeth

Step 5 – Be prepared to be tortured half to death before revealing Steps 1-4 to children

Then I listened to the radio whilst hiding from the kids in the kitchen.  I like to hide in the morning.  If we had a 70s hatch I would poke their breakfasts out through it until it I had half an hour’s peace to make lunches.  As it is they come in demanding this and that and it is all quite stressful.   I try to blot it out with the Today programme, mainly to catch their crap racing tips at half-past the hour (although credit where it’s due, one won yesterday).  So today when Today told me my children were more likely to be fat than my neighbour’s, because I work, I was not really in the mood for the psuedo-scientific nonsense.  I can’t believe people are actually given money to research such rubbish.  Apparently I am more likely to drive them to school (well I could see how that might happen if you then have to heinously drive to work).  As it happens, I only drive if it’s raining, I have a deep antipathy to other peoples’ umbrellas.  Then, I stand accused of being more likely to give them fizzy drinks and crappy snacks to drink and eat.  Presumably we working mothers do that because we are too guilty, pressed for time, ignorant, whatever to prepare wholemeal sandwiches and freshly squeezed juice before flinging it in an uncaring manner at the children in the back of the car and and ejecting them directly from the car seat into school so they won’t be in danger of taking any exercise at all. 

Don’t think this has hit a raw nerve!  It hasn’t.  We don’t have fizzy drinks or too many snacky craps round here, although I do my noble bit to keep afternoon tea alive between 4-5.  I am just incensed that not only do they get to do this “research”, they then get it aired in my kitchen after I have dealt with the tooth fairy debacle.

All before 8 a.m.

I was going to do a nice post about Sea the Stars and the Arc and my looking forward to seeing Ghanaati in the flesh on Saturday.  Laters.


We have a new addition to the family…

…Charlotte, my youngest’s Invisible Friend (or as they are called in the business, IC). She arrived yesterday with no fanfare or suitcases. In fact she must have come down the chimney as she appeared silently in the middle of the front room in the late afternoon to play a game with the youngest.

She was still with us this morning, having shared the bed and has just trotted off to school to play with my daughter. Apparently she is entirely alone and is a white girl with long straight hair and blue eyes. My daughter, in her own words, is a golden-skinned child with brown eyes and very beautiful curly hair. Strange that! I needed a bit of reassurance that my own child is not suffering some psychological crisis of her own and the following article has provided some balanced, and reassuring, insight on that front.

I don’t know what Charlotte’s plans are but it will be interesting to find out.

No pictures, obviously. I think I’d better go and write my invisible blog now.

I am a real princess!

Actually, if you’ve ever read anything on here before you’ll know there’s not much else that is further from the truth.

I do have something in common though with the verbally challenged and hopelessly lost princess of children’s fairy tale. I am so sensitive I always feel the metaphorical pea in the mattresses of my life.

The bitter pill is, no matter how much I may or may not bleat on about being black or blue all over (from said pea), no fairy prince is going to offer to marry my bedraggled princess arse! Mostly I am quite happy about that. Some days though, that pea just won’t give me any peace. Dreadful pun. Apologies.

According to Hans Christian Andersen a true story

According to Hans Christian Andersen a "true story"

Water discovered on the Moon

Sometimes when I am too tired to read and too wired to sleep I listen to Radio 4 @ bedtime.  I know I am getting older because I used to catch the last shipping forecast of the day in my twenties.  Now I am lucky if I make to the Book at Bedtime at 10.45 p.m.  Is it me or does Bill Nighy read them all?

Anyway last night I have a dreamy remembrance of the report about water being discovered on the Moon.  There are a few snags with the discovery as Professor Jack Mustard told us (I don’t think I imagined his name, I have possibly invented his title).  Snag 1: the water is in a solid state in the Moon’s matter and would need extracting – they may have explained how but I can’t remember.  Snag 2: there is far too little of it in the matter for extraction to sustain some thirsty spacemen after a day’s hard yakka on the Moon.

He went on to explain that none of this mattered because the plan now would be to try and find more concentrated pockets of the stuff on or in the Moon.  This might take 20 years “under the current funding arrangements”.

In a way I think, why waste our money?  On the other hand, that is what humans are all about, isn’t it?  Wondering stuff.  Trying to find out the answers to questions.  That’s why I am able to sit here typing into cyberspace! 

If I had my way, I’d call in all those bank loans and finish off that zombie stock that people are STILL trading on, and send it to the space programme.  Maybe then my children’s children could enjoy a swim in a pool on the Moon for their summer holidays.

The Sea of Tranquility, water water everywhere etc.

The Sea of Tranquility, water water everywhere etc.

An Aquatic Week

Continues with a picture of a turtle from the Aquarium at Plymouth.  How it got there I don’t know.


My eldest is an aquarium afficionado.  What we don’t know about crustaceans is probably not worth knowing.  We can sex a crab and tell you that starfish are a bafflement to modern science.  Not only can they grow new legs, they can abandon their stomachs and grow a new one on a whim.  All of this without a brain.


A Masterpiece…

… of face painting.  See, I do not lie.

Cassia models a work from her cetaceaous period

Cassia models a work from her cetaceaous period

Beware swimming with wild dolphins too far from the equator though.  I had a dip in Dingle Bay (Kerry, a stunning and WHO protected coastline) over ten years ago, rather ill-advisedly in April (yes the Atlantic, not recommended).  Despite the wetsuit and the mind-boggling sight of Fungi the wild, but friendly dolphin, swimming under and around us I ended up becoming extremely cold.  Colder than I have ever been in my whole life.

Then what happened was this.  Apparently.  My body flooded itself with histamine which had the effect of my sneezing continually all day on the drive from Dingle to Galway (about 7 hours).  All the sneezing and or the histamine caused my head to swell up like a beach ball.  My first act on arrival in the city of Galway was to run a sink of cold water at the hotel and immerse my whole head in it.  Not to drown myself (although that may have been better than the sneezing) but to seek blessed relief from having an enormous, red and hot head.  Why I didn’t go to hospital I can’t say.  I come from a family of alarming allergic reactionists, so perhaps I am more inured to such things than most.  My companion was despatched to buy anti-histamines and the crisis passed in its own time.  I have been left with a legacy though.  Whenever my body feels even the tiniest bit cold it starts with its emergency flooding my body with histamine again, even though there is not a dolphin in sight.

I am therefore on an every-other day dose of cetirizine hydrochloride which seems to do the trick.  If I don’t take it I invariably end up with a rash all over my body and face of hideous proportions, depending on how cold it is.  During pregnancy I did not take it and I can empathise with people who have facial disfigurements and the looks they get – which I can expand upon in the upcoming (and truly gripping!) “Seals @ Gweek” post…  As we’ve done enemas and dolphins this week I thought I would stick with the aquatic theme.

So, if you will swim with the wonders of the world that are dolphins, please do it in the tropics and I would prefer it if they were not of the captive variety.  It is hardly the same honour as it is to swim with a truly wild one, is it?

Fungi the dolphin, its cold but its spectacular

Fungi the dolphin, it's cold but it's spectacular

The pennies are slower to drop these days…

I guess that is a feature of getting older. Absorbing or processing new information becomes harder. In my case that’s not helped by being slightly deaf as a winning post, especially in my right ear. It leads to my hearing some interesting things that I then have to decipher and that can take some time. I never feel more old than when the youthful cashier in a shop realises he or she is going to have to mumble what they said into their chest once again for the old bat’s benefit (it’s my baffled blank look wot gives it away innit?).

Today I was listening to one of my favourite albums – Maxwell’s “Unplugged”. He was busy warbling away on my least favourite “Gotta Get: Closer” when I heard the following:-

“I want to love you like an enema. I want to love you from the inside.”

Hmmm interesting. On review I think he wants to love us like an “animal”, only marginally better than what I misheard.

Anyway, a better song, written by Kate Bush, is “A Woman’s Work” and despite not being a woman and being dressed in some questionable clobber Maxwell sings this exquisitely.  This recording is what appears on the “Unplugged” album.  He has been away for absolute eons but I just found out he plays three dates in the UK at the end of October.

Face Painting

This usually involves long queues and plenty of teeth-gnashing (that’s from me, not the kids who wait their turn patiently). It pays to check out the face painter’s ouvres first too, some are barely more than some cack-handed splodges across your angel’s pretty face…

If I see a face painter I can be seen sprinting in the opposite direction lest I get caught up in a queue and made to part with hard cash for my troubles, but sometimes the results are worth the pain. Not unlike childbirth!

Thankfully it washed off (think Phoenix Nights...)

Thankfully it washed off (think Phoenix Nights...)