Taking flight

It was a busy weekend. Saturday was our big fireworks night – living on a farm with a lot of building work going on we are an obvious choice to host and we do it every year. We’d been building up the bonfire for a while now, and it was fully 12 feet high built mostly of used pallettes. I’d bought a load of fireworks – single ignition boxes and some big rockets. Jane was working on the food – BBQ stuff and a big venison casserole with one of our guests bringing a chilli.

In the late morning I slipped out quietly and went to the bike shop. I bought a mountain bike with all the trimmings – bright yellow top, lycra leggings etc.

Back at the farm work continued apace until the evening when our guests started arriving. It was great – hordes of screaming children, a bonfire that went up in less than a minute with a massive flame way up into the night sky, Chinese lanterns sailing off into the distance, a short and spectular firework display with me lighting the boxes with a big blowtorch and Jane and the children screaming at me to take care. Great food and broken up by a few quiet trips into the houise to watch the Breeders Cup unfold. One of my favourite days of the year.

I got up late on Sunday to find I had misssed out oin most of the clearing up. I pretended to look disappointed but it didn’t get me very far. As often happens on sundays I spent the day ferrying the children from place to place – boys at golf in the morning, girls riding in the afternoon, various parties etc.

I packed my rucksack on Sunday night. After the school run in the morning I took a cab to Euston to catch the train to Crewe – we had a board meeting scheduled at Manor House. Board members are me, Tom, Nigel Payne (former CEO of Sportingbet), Michael, his wife Louise, his mum and Louise’s dad who is our architect in residence. Main topic was to sign off the plans for our vets facility, which we duly did.

From there Michael dropped me at Chester airfield where I took a small plane to Shoreham. It wasn’t much fun – I’m a bit too big to fit in those small planes and I was wedged in so tight I could hardly move. From Shoreham I took a cab to a hotel in Eastbourne to be reunited with my bike and rucksack – today and tomorrow I will be cycling over the south downs with a few mates. I’ve never done anything like this before so I am a little worried.

Theophrastus runs today in a good looking 3 mile novice chase at Exeter. He loves soft ground and he stays forever – Nick reports him as very well. I’ll probably be watching rather than betting (we have a scheduled stop) but that isn’t to say he won’t win – he is fit enough to do himself justice.