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England Day 6: Hatless Horse Racing

Mike woke up this morning not feeling well. He was having a flare up of his FMF so he took some medication and went back to sleep for a while. We had plans to take the train to Ascot for the horse races. They didn't start until 1p so we had a little bit of time to work with. I passed the time watching "Jeremy Kyle," the British version of Jerry Springer, only much more polite and low key. The show still had the same white trash premise but without the physical fighting and cussing.

We were really looking forward to the horse races as it's something totally different that most visitors to England don't do. I researched the proper attire for our visit and discovered that during what is called "jumps" season, the attire is more casual than during Royal Ascot. We still needed to dress up more than we usually would if going to the horse races here in the U.S. but fancy dresses weren't necessary. I, however, really wanted to wear a fascinator hat and I didn't think that would be inappropriate based on the pictures I'd seen. I couldn't decide between a red one and a grey one so I ordered both, took pictures, and took a poll amongst my friends and family. The red hat won hands down so I built the rest of my outfit around the hat.

By 10:30a, Mike was feeling well enough to go so we took the tube to the Waterloo train station. Mike didn't want me to wear my red hat on the train so I took it in a little bag. We arrived in Ascot around 1:30p and walked along the path from the station to the racecourse.

When we got inside, I was really glad Mike had me bring the hat in a bag. Not one person was wearing a hat! I was so disappointed and not brave enough to be the only one.

The racecourse was beautiful and green. I wasn't expecting that. The racecourses here in the U.S. are dirt.


On one side, there was grandstand seating to watch the races.

This side was shaded and very cold that day.

On the other side, the horses were brought out before and after each race for presentation. That side was sunny and warmer.


There were six races scheduled for the day and we had missed the first two. The third race was about to start so we hurriedly decided on which horses to bet. We each bet five pounds - me on A Hare Breath and Mike on Tradewinds. My horse had 25:1 odds but I liked the name A Hare Breath since our greyhounds were bred to chase rabbits.


The winners' circle.


My horse came in a close second. That would have been a nice win with such high odds.

The fourth race came around about 30 minutes later and we decided to up our bets to ten pounds each. I bet on Simply Wings (because I love wings) and Mike bet on Greywell Boy. They did not win.


Towards the end of the race, one horse threw its jockey and finished alone.

After the fourth race, I went downstairs to check out the Christmas village. I had been really excited about it but that excitement was pretty short-lived. When I first read about the Christmas village, I imagined these little, crafty-type booths with Christmas decorations and homemade items. Instead, it was frou-frou sweaters and paintings, none with a Christmas theme whatsoever. Needless to say, I did not spend long walking through the village.

The fifth race was a huge race with 12 horses and it was hard to decide which to bet on. I went with There's No Panic and Mike went with Annacotty. The leaderboard kept track of the changing odds as the bets were placed.



Lost again! We are not good at this!

Last chance - race six. I went with Brinestine because it was an American horse and Mike went with Specialagent Alfie.

Again there was no payoff but it had been a fun day. As we were leaving for the walk back to the train station, we watched them cool the horses down in the winners' circle. You could see the steam rising from the horses in the cold air.


Beautiful creatures!

We walked back to the train station and joined the crowd waiting for the train back to London. Unfortunately, the only other Americans there were what appeared to be three very drunk, college students who were bragging about how much money they had bet and lost at the races. I guess they thought they were high rollers or something. They would talk to anyone who would listen. When they approached us, Mike talked to them in the best British accent he could muster so they wouldn't know we were American! What an embarrassment! The train arrived and we luckily found a couple of seats. Mike was starting to wane a bit so he immediately fell asleep when we sat down. I busied myself by reading some London-equivalent of the National Enquirer that actually had nudie pics in it! Apparently England does not have the same censorship standards the U.S. does.

We made it back to the apartment and Mike crashed on the sofa. I had another picnic with the items from Borough Market and watched NCIS reruns. I never watch NCIS but one of the shows I happened to watch was all about the medication that Mike is currently taking for his newly diagnosed FMF. I was able to help solve the crime because of my research on his disease. Afterwards, I tried my hand at some night-time pics from our balcony. The lit buildings in the distance are in Canary Wharf.

Posted by zihuatcat 11:47 Archived in England Tagged london england

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