mercredi 27 août 2008

Doggy style

Lord. My stay in the UK is quickly turning into a visit to a theme park of British-ness.

Last night I went dog racing. Greyhounds, to be precise. A £10 ticket gets you entry to the ‘stadium’, two pints of beer and a traditional serving of fish and chips. You’d think that with a bargain like that it’d be hard to go wrong.

The point is that the real profit is made on the betting that goes on at the races, so the food and drink offer is kind of a ruse to get new punters through the doors. It worked with us. Besides, what else would I be doing on a wet and windy Tuesday evening (the answer is obviously sleeping and saving money).

In fact, so bracing was the weather that even the trackside bookies had moved indoors – in a bid, I’m guessing, not to lose their deerstalkers to the elements. So, all business was done indoors, but it was still outside where all the action was to be found.

Slotting ourselves in behind a curious collection of middle-aged women, we settled in for the first race of the evening. Now, it seems that it is common practice to sponsor a race for a special occasion, and name the race accordingly. This would explain why the 7.35 race was entitled ‘The Denise is looking good at 50 Stakes’.

I saw Denise later. She was having a cuddle with the winner. Denise wasn’t looking good at 50, trust me. But maybe it was the fake snakeskin ‘blouse’ that aged her.

In fact, when it came to outfits it has to be said that we were as far away from Royal Ascot, sartorially speaking, as is humanly possible. Not for us the Chanel suit and Philip Treacy fascinator. Oh no, it was poorly fitting leopard skin tops for the ‘ladies’ and anything that is good for fighting in for the lads. Hair (both male and female) was uniformly dyed the traditional shade of ‘barmaid blonde’, and the air was thick with the scent of Cool Water and the latest J-Lo offering.

So there we were, two Brit’s, a German boy and a French girl. Each as bewildered as the next. But once we got over the initial shock and the ‘have we gone back in time?’ questioning we had a marvellous evening.

Not for us the study of form or parentage – we placed our bets on the dogs with the fanciest names (‘Juniper Julip’ was my favourite in this category), the names with double entendres (we all love a ‘Midnight Tickle’, surely?), and the names that sounded like slutty teenagers (every school had a ‘Sucky Kim’, I’m certain).

I bet a grand total of £21 (hey, big spender) and won a massive 60 pence. I’m no Stephen Hawkings, but I know that that’s not a good return on my money. But what price a good time? Fifty quid always seems to be the going rate, but I’m talking about a good time, out with friends, enjoying a pleasant evening together. Laughing at the badly dressed locals and wondering why we’re not getting drunk on the cheap watery beer.

Surely £21 is a price worth paying?

17 commentaires:

conortje a dit…

I'm still blue that Autumn Fiddle let me down so horribly. Sulk :-(

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Conortje, it was the teeniest, tiniest dog in a race of massive, muscular, Michael Johnson type dogs.

It was very very pretty, but didn't stand a chance. Much like myself, ha ha.

CawfeeGuy a dit…

OMG there's a THEME PARK for BRITISHNESS!!!! ***gasp*** is that, like, "the most reserved place on earth"?

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Cawfeeguy....you get to try on bad teeth, drink tea and get dodgy haircuts. It's FABULOUS!!!

tornwordo a dit…

The races are always fun. And I loved the quotes on *blouse*.

Daryl a dit…

Sounds to me like it was well worth the price of admission to have all that free entertainment ... I am picturing these 'blouses' are not Top Shop?

tee hee

:-Daryl

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Torny, the races are truly fun - as much for the dogs off the track as those on, ha ha!

Daryl - most definitely not TopShop. Well, maybe they were from TopShop, but in 1982...

Lewis a dit…

Reminds me of a visit I did years ago to Alton Towers....wherever that is. In the pouring rain and wind. I'll never forget it. My dad had died the week before.

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Lewis, that's not great. Alton Towers is not the place for a grieving boy...

But it is only 30 minutes from where I'm sat at my desk. Curiously. And it's wet and windy today too.

wontletlifedefineme a dit…

Hmm I just spent about the same amount in euros on food for a new recipe I want to try (boyfriend's out tonight and I'm having a friend over). I think I'd still rather spend it on food than dogs, but each to their own. ;)

aims a dit…

I went to the Greyhound races and all I managed to do was feed the dogs. That's what I felt my losses went to. Dog food. But - it was fun! And - the dogs seemed to absolutely love it. I laughed and laughed every time the race was over and they all stood around wagging their tails - happy happy!

And yes - the people who go to the dog races - mostly dogs. I was in Florida - so you can imagine. Walkers and canes made it hard to get to your seats!

red a dit…

Absolutely a price worth paying- next chance I get to go the dogs I'm going. I never considered it before but now I'm curious.

Louise a dit…

It was worth it for me just to read this story! The description of the others there alone was worth it!

Swearing Mother a dit…

Perry Barr?

You lucky dog.

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Marjolein, a nice dinner with friends would always get my vote:-)

Aims, I can only imagine the kind of people who go dog racing in Florida....

travelling, but not in love a dit…

Red - do it! it's so funny and lots of fun....

Louise, glad you liked it...we aim to please!

Sweary - no, it was Hall Green. perry Barr was friday and I draw the line at spending friday evening with colleagues....

Sarah D a dit…

amazing! I can't wait to go you've painted such a descriptive picture I just have to see it or myself.