A day at the races

There’s a milk tanker overturned in the lane. So the rather smart Land Rovers, along with the not-so-smart, have to turn around and start all over again.

They come through the village square as we are loading up the dog, the picnic and the passengers.

‘Which way to the point-and-point?’they say.

‘The way you came,’ we reply.

And then they explain that there’s a blockage in the lane and they could go no farther. So we divert them up the hill and through the hollow, and down the windy lane  lined with emerging bluebells, primroses and a mass of white flowers which look like wood anemone but I can’t be sure.

Up at the field, there’s a queue outside in the road as the men on the gate take the money – £10 per passenger – and wave us through.

There are tables covered in cloths behind the open backs of four-by-fours. It’s like a very English version of a famous French painting, without the random naked woman sitting in the foreground. Some of the tables, including ours, look so grand they should be topped off with candelabra.

We tuck into chicken and ham pie, prawn cocktails in plastic cups, dainty sandwiches and meringues topped with strawberries and cream, all washed down with a bubbly.

Staggering to place our bets up with the bookies (couldn’t you have parked a little closer?), along the way we see friendly faces from the village and a little farther afield and exchange racing tips.

The horses saunter around the paddock dressed in Boden.

By the end of the day, one of us is up, another is evens and the rest of us have lost our £6 stakes, never to surface again.

The dog, meanwhile, has made new friends and wags her tail as she jumps into the back of the Land Rover to go home.

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