Thursday, December 01, 2016

The world keeps turning and we keep going

The world has indeed kept turning as the week has gone on, as is generally the case.  It's been turning a bit glumly from my point of view, but one keeps going.  It helps to be busy (and fortunately, if that's the right word, I've been very busy) and good weather helps too.  The past two days were truly glorious: cold at the outset, but with crystal-clear skies which made for a few hours of splendid sunshine during the all-too-short midwinter days.  It's not really midwinter, of course, as today is only 1st December, which to my way of thinking is the first day of the three winter months.  But we're only three weeks short of the shortest day (which is a daunting thought in that we have another three weeks of the already-short days getting even shorter).

It was weird yesterday because the weather page on my phone maintained that it was 5 degrees for several hours during the day, but the frost never budged at all in the areas which the sun didn't reach.  And then last night it was ostensibly above freezing all night, and 2 degrees at dawn - and yet the conditions were extremely icy this morning.  So strange.  Exeter Road was like a skating rink for the first three lots, but once we had tip-toed down it, leading the horses, it was plain sailing for the rest of the exercise, thanks to the good work of the Heathmen in keeping the surfaces of the AW canters and of the walking grounds as they should be.  And plain sailing for the rest of the day too: although the forecast had said that we wouldn't see the sun all day today, we had bucketfuls of it again.  Truly glorious.

Anyway, I'll be off to Wolverhampton tomorrow with Kilim.  She's capable of going very well, but hitherto she hasn't been a very professional racehorse, falling into the trap of running her races the wrong way round, ie putting too much effort in in the first half of the race, and weakening at the end.  She's been going around in a very relaxed manner in recent weeks which is lovely, but she can still be headstrong enough when she gallops, so we'll just have to see how things transpire.  Still, she seems fit and sound, healthy and happy, and she has a good jockey (John Egan) booked.

So,  in what looks a competitive - if, obviously, low grade - race, we'll hope for the best and expect nothing.  Whatever happnes, it'll be a long day.  7.15 doesn't sound too late, but I'm quaking.  Racing at 7.15 means leaving the racecourse maybe 8.30.  And as the racecourse is Wolverhampton, which is 130 miles away from here, that means getting home some time after 11.00.  (And that's assuming that we don't have the overnight closures on the A14 which made trips back from Wolverhampton on Friday nights last year a real test).  And 11pm, over and above being about 7 hours after nightfall, is dauntingly late for someone who likes to be in bed around 9.00.

I got on my first horse this morning at 5.50 (for a lot in complete darkness, but there were no other horses on the Heath, so that was OK) on the way through to finishing morning stables at about 1.15; and I will be disappointed if I'm not in bed by 8.00 tonight (and I'd imagine that I'll be asleep within a couple of minutes of turning out the light).  So tomorrow evening's schedule - gulp!!  Let's hope that Kilim (pictured in this chapter, enjoying the afternoon sun yesterday with one of her friends) does run well, as a good run generally shortens the journey.  Coming home with a winner in the back makes the journey seem to take about 10 minutes, but even a good run buoys the heart.

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