Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Getting there

Another weather bulletin, I'm afraid.  It's finally getting less cold, which is just as well as we're three days away from 1st March, which is my idea of the first day of spring.  The bitterly cold weather persisted over the weekend, the strong easterly wind making things considerably colder than they looked - or as they seemed if one only judged by the thermometers, as I think that even at night it never got below minus two.

We didn't get the snow which ruled out Newcastle's Eider Chase card on Saturday: we just had a covering first thing (as you can see through Alcalde's ears in the first two photographs) and then the odd snow flurry through the day.  The myth about Newmarket is that we get the winds blowing straight across the lowlands and the North Sea from the steppes of Siberia, with Warren Hill being the first high ground as one heads eastwards from whatever landmark is in Siberia.

It might indeed be the first high ground - but that's usually academic, as the winds which generally hit us as we walk down Warren Hill/gallop up the Al Bahathri/canter away from home on Racecourse Side are, of course, coming from the direction of Cambridge, which is west of here.  But occasionally we do get strong easterly winds - and the whiff of sugar beet in the air over the weekend, coming from the Silver Spoon beet refinery on the outskirts of Bury St Edmunds (which is, of course, 12 miles EAST of here) provided us with an olfactory explanation of why it was so bitterly cold.

But at least the wind is dropping now and the last couple of days we've had no frost at night and then we've got notably above zero during the day.  It hit five degrees today and, with the wind being much gentler, conditions are becoming far less hostile to man and beast - so maybe we won't have just to curl up in cardboard boxes or risk piles by squatting on the radiators.  In the third photo (taken today, Alcalde's ears again, and Terri and Zarosa viewed through them on Side Hill) you can maybe tell that, grey though it still is, it's not too unpleasant at all.  So we can look forward to March with optimism - and, of course, with March comes the Cheltenham March Meeting (National Hunt Meeting/Cheltenham Festival/Cheltenham Spring Carnival - delete as appropriate).

Or maybe we should be dreading March, if last Friday's Racing Post headline is any guide: 'Festival Records Tumble'.  Two weeks before the meeting?  Is that possible?  What records, then?  "Biggest-ever tally of 1,145 entries made for handicaps"!  I know that the Guiness Book of Records contains some extremely inconsequential supposed records, but - honestly!  If this counts as a news-worthy (never mind front-page-headline-worthy) example of records tumbling, then we really are in for a spell of painfully forced sensationalist journalism.

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