Today the sun failed to rise higher than the stunted horse chestnut tree at the top of the garden.
It collects in dips and hollows and furrows, and remains all day. The impervious soil beneath sighs with the sodden weight, and the sun flicks its glance over the puddles to the tips of the hedges where scarlet berries nod back.
A man on the market gave me a free entrance ticket to a Country House Antiques Fair. He thinks it will coax me to buy something he knows I want.
But I don’t want it enough.
What I do want is to win the weekly Scoop6 racing jackpot. The Lottery is so old hat/infra dig. Much better to linger in the blue plush comfort of William Hill’s with fellow desperados/losers, than queue at a till in Tescos. My mother was appalled. But that whiff of disapproval is a permanent feature at her house, so I shan’t let that put me off. She doesn’t know what she’s missing. Saturday morning finds me sitting in a steamed up cafe in Northwich, with a tepid coffee, and The Racing Post, waiting for Flo to finish her stint in Age Concern.
I take time to consider the form. Then I look at the trainers and the riders, where do they appear in the League Tables? Next, the going. On Saturday the going was gone. A mire, paddy fields for the paddys. Handicaps and colours follows, then names. Names are important. There has to be a link. Charlie Crab and Victoria’s Groom – easy peasy, the other four choices take a little longer. Six winners, £2 stake, a million jackpot. Christmas spends resolved.
I take my scribbled paperwork into the betting shop. Man in cloth cap is playing a fruit machine. Chinese woman with elegant hands is paying for her greyhound punt. I wait my turn and consider my selections. I’m feeling very optimistic, that is until the tired blonde assistant behind the counter breaks the bad news.
Cheltenham has been called off.
Rain stopped play.