Saturday, 12 July 2008
"Be Lucky", someone said to me just before I departed for Ascot to watch a few horse races. "Buy the Sun newspaper", someone else said. So suitably prepared with a quarter page torn from the paper (plenty of Shock Horror stories to read sometime else) and the luckiness that had been instructed upon me, I thought I simply couldn't lose.
And then, on the way to the race course there was The Sign. A full aerial display by the Red Arrows, right in the sky in front of me.
At one point, one of the pilots flew his plane along the path of the M3 towards me.
So by the time I reached Ascot, I thought I couldn't possibly lose and plumped a whole £10 on a horse in the first race.
Thats when something went wrong.
It wasn't supposed to.
I thought about leaving right then, but we still had more courses of lunch to eat. Okay, one more try, I thought, and then I'll stop or else I'll become addicted to gambling and go into a hopeless downward penniless spiral ending barefooted and desperate on the street outside the racetrack selling lucky horseshoes.
Second race. I won. Twenty-four pounds payout. I was now a whole £4 ahead.
OK. One more go. Ten quid again. To win (that was the only gambling phrase I knew).
Race Three. I won again. This time the tenner returned £55. I was now £49 ahead and still drinking the complementary lemonade. One more time...£10...Lost.
That was enough. I was still thirty-nine quid ahead and still possessed the willpower to walk away.
And a smile.