Over the stable door: Music to my ears as Cartmel season ends on high

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IT TURNED out to be quite a weekend. It was lovely to have my pal Beanie to stay, it’s been two years since her last visit and although we speak on a twice weekly basis it can’t compare to spending time together.

Maybe I’m getting nostalgic faced with impending middle age but time spent with good friends is more precious than it has ever been. It is so easy to lose touch, with work, kids and life to deal with, time slips by.

When I collected Beanie from the station I half expected to see Blossom the pig waddling along behind her. Thankfully she was alone, explaining her brother’s huge tame piggy has been re-homed, sent to a farm with an equally eccentric family.

We had a tour of the yard and Beanie met our newest pets, Johnny the lamb and my new Patterdale puppy, Baffle, who acts like there’s something incredibly exciting around every corner. Next morning we rode out before driving to Cartmel races where I had two runners to saddle. My first runner I fancied to go well but he disappointed. I was at a loss to know why, he’d been working to his very best at home. A few days later he was shod and the farrier found some desperately uncomfortable corns on his front feet which seemed a perfectly viable reason for his lacklustre performance.

Our second runner, Herbie, belongs to my father. He’s an old creaking specimen (no, not you Dad) of a racehorse but is ultra-genuine and always tries hard. When the other horses went out on their extended summer holidays I didn’t dare turn him out all month with them, the likelihood being he would seize up entirely so I kept him ticking over as my trainers hack which he thoroughly enjoyed. We had no great expectations of him at Cartmel.

Tadcaster jockey Henry Brooke was aboard and set him off at the front as instructed. Generally Herbie isn’t quick enough to stay there for long before he gets swallowed up by other runners. Fortunately he winged the first fence and when no one overtook him where they usually do his confidence appeared to swell and he bounded round the track determined not to get caught when another horse tried to reach him. To our amazement he won by three lengths.

Cartmel is a lovely place to win a race. The local speciality is sticky toffee pudding and one is always included as part of the owner’s prize. Dad was over the moon, carrying off a crystal bowl, a silver trophy and a bottle of champagne to enjoy with his pudding. It was a fantastic way to finish our Cartmel 2015 season and we left on a high, with a quick change in the car park we set off to Bramham Park to watch my favourite band perform at Leeds Festival.

Arriving late turned out to be rather convenient. We missed all the queues, parking right at the front. Beanie was a festival virgin, she was in quiet shock as she wandered through the vast crowds of raucous youngsters and spaced out teens. The music was brilliant. I jumped up and down on Tris’ shoulders, singing along to Mumford like the sad groupie I am until it was time for home. It’s a while since I have attended a large festival and most things haven’t altered.

Sadly the whole place had turned into a disgraceful trash heap after just two days with rubbish covering the place.