Showing posts from June, 2013

Glastonbury 1997

I'm passing a wistful thought in the direction of the 140,000 souls heading to Glastonbury over the next few days. It's a magnificent, sprawling festival and the Stones will be amazing tomorrow night.  My last trip there was in 1997, the year of the mudfest. Mrs A was carrying our first child, but didn't want to go anyway. So her sister and I ventured forth instead. I recently found a diary I wrote at the time. So I've dusted it off and reproduced it here in full mud-spattered detail.... Rain. All week it’s been raining. Even when I was testing out my new double-skinned Argos tent (£20) out in the front garden, it was squally. The next door neighbour had raised an eye-brow at that. I don’t think he’d even seen a tent before. “What are you doing?” he inquired sniffily.   And now as I’m rolling up the sleeping bag and over-winding the roll mat, the news is reporting the muddiest Glastonbury ever. But Sister-in-Law Sue and I were determined to fulf

Royal Ascot already

I’ve been rubbish at any sort of punting for the last few weeks, successful or no. With Royal Ascot on the horizon, I intend to make concerted effort next week. Sad to note that Sir Henry Cecil won’t be there. He lost his long fight with that vile disease cancer in the very season after the retirement of the best horse he ever trained. It's easy to over romanticize the relationship between Cecil and Frankel. But for all the world it looked like the wonder-horse’s perfect season gave HRAC something to live for last year. The racing public has no real access to the private world of the Cecils (nor should it) so who knows what combination of treatment, support and will power was keeping the master trainer going. But there is no cheap sentimentality in suggesting that Frankel was a big factor. Indeed Cecil admitted as much in a very brief interview after the horse’s final appearance at Ascot in October. My own fondest memory of Cecil's valedictory season is

Trials of life

Not the cheeriest post I’ve ever written coming up, so feel free to look away now. This is about a generally crappy time that the family is navigating its way through. Though not without its moments of humour, it has to be said. The hitherto indestructible and irrepressible Granny Milner, unwitting star of a good number of these blog posts, is in a bad way. An operation to clear a blockage in her throat recently went wrong and resulted in a punctured trachea. During the procedure an inoperable malignant growth was discovered in the same place. It became obvious that she was facing two significant battles. The first was to recover from the operation and the infections that were coursing round her body as a result of the puncture. For at least a couple of days, things were touch and go. But Granny has some hidden strengths and reserves of grit. She seems to be coming through that phase. It’s good to see flashes of cheeky humour and selfless spirit returning. The sec

Betting by auction

Punting has been at a very low ebb so far this Summer. Too much other stuff going on just now. Not all of it very nice. But in an effort to refocus my priorities I’ve just bought some tickets for a fixture at Newmarket’s July course. A very fine course. So much softer and fuzzy that the exposed Rowley Mile.   Although it may not feel that way once McFly hit the stage. Yes, it’s another racing/music combo. My all too obvious plan is to engender some love of horse racing in my girls by bribing them with an act they might like. Last year it was Jessie J at Sandown and the year before it was Ollie Murs. Daughter No 1 is particularly pleased with the McFly offering. I was cheered and said, “Yeah, I quite like that ‘Year 3000’ thing.”  “That was Busted, Dad”, she retorted. “But they are similar I suppose.”   Patronised by my children. Again. I was reminded of the first racing/music event I went to a few years ago, when the idea was innovative and fresh.