There are times in ones life where it is good to have a period of contemplation. I’m at an age where I am nearer to the day I pop my clogs than the day I was born.
Indeed I am very lucky I didn’t meet my maker coming home from Exeter races on Wednesday. It had been a long couple of days and I was tired. Not fully concentrating I suddenly found myself drifting onto the wrong side of the A303 approaching a blind bend. I shudder to think of the consequences had there been a car, or heaven forbid, a lorry coming the other way.
I can only assume my next bet would have been on the 3:30 in Hades.
It bough home a realisation I am not as young as I used to be. The days when driving a couple hundred of miles a day and then partying long into the night would be no inconvenience are well behind me.
Now I have to pace myself much more and sometimes forget I don’t have the stamina I used to.
It is also interesting to note how ones standards change with age.
In my twenties I was happy to doss down anywhere. I literally slept in a flea pit in Paris, I slept on the beach in Eilat in Israel and staying in a hostel was the height of luxury.
My new theory is the number of acceptable stars for a hotel is directly proportional to ones age in decades.
So by the time I was in my forties a four star hotel was an absolute minimum requirement. If my theory is correct and I make it to my seventies I won’t be able to afford to stay anywhere.
So it was I had an overnight stay in Devon on Tuesday, doing a racing double header at Newton Abbot and Exeter.
The hotel I booked looked, indeed was, idyllic. A Tudor mansion, in a quiet, remote, location. It smelt of open fires, had a huge sweeping main staircase and my room overlooked formal gardens with rolling countryside in the distance. It had its own one mile private drive and was set in a lovely valley.
Therein laid the problem. It was so remote it was impossible to pick up any mobile phone signal. My mobile phone was useless. Even worse my mobile broadband connection could not pick up a signal either.
It was like having ones limbs cut off. Ideally I would have had a leisurely breakfast and a walk around the hotel grounds before setting off racing at Exeter.
In reality I was down for breakfast at 8:00 and on the road by 8:30. By 9:15 I was sitting in a supermarket café in Plymouth, a mug of Earl Grey tea in front of me with my laptop once again connected to the “real world”.
It is strange, for most of my life there has been no such thing as mobile phones or the internet and, do you know what, I coped perfectly well. Now just a night without internet access and I am getting withdrawal symptoms.
Even in racing technology takes some of the fun away. I remember the “old days” when a photograph was called it invariably took a good few minutes to get the result and if you knew the course, knew the angles you could make a nice killing on betting on the outcome. With the current technology most photo finishes are resolved in a very short time – certainly not enough time to get a decent bet on the outcome.
It is called progress – I wonder if it really is.
Now where are my slippers?