Sunday, 7 August 2011
Paws for thought
'And they're off!' the race commentator announces, as eight assorted terriers tear up the field after a stuffed thing on a piece of string.
Junior wins by default, as Mullet, Holly, Rascal and Rivet get two feet past the starting line and decide to have a fight.
We're at the terrier races, an event that's been going for 37 years and just up from the road where I was born. Now I've completed my OU studies, I have time on my hands so I suggest to Mr Grigg we head for the hills to find out what it's all about. Amazingly, this is the one event not to be featured in any Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall programme.
And in amongst the plate smashing, the hoopla and tombola, and a commentator who is wearing a red jacket, top hat and a new pair of teeth for the occasion, I see glimpses of my past. People who were at school with me stroll around with cobweb tattoos on their elbows, baseball caps at jaunty angles and gobble up fat hot dogs washed down with a nice pint of Otter.
And then I see a thin old man with a stick, shuffling along in slippers. The walk is hard for him, painful even, but he is smiling. It is my old art teacher, the teacher who inspired me the most and to whom I wrote a letter a few years ago just to tell him that.
He is delighted to see me and delighted with my result.
I then bump into one of my favourite nephews, the one who does intricate tattoos on himself but all upside down.
'I come here every year,' he says, having been born two miles up the road. 'It's local, innit?'
And to complete a hat trick of familiar faces, the one-legged Aga man saunters by and Mr Grigg goes over and gives him a friendly jab in the beer belly. He is already up in the winnings stakes, having raked in 30p on the last race.
As the sky turns black and the rain comes down, we head for a pint in the village pub run by the community for the community.
That's about it.
Love Maddie x
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