Cheltenham Festival Trials Day
Posted on 2017/02/12 08:55:46 (February 2017).
[Saturday 28th January 2017]
Went to Cheltenham for the Festival Trials Day today, an excuse to don tweeds and drink Champagne.
There seems to be some historical precedent to Erika being unwell when I go to Cheltenham, and just minutes before I was about to leave this morning, she threw up. There had been a stomach bug going round at school so we weren't wholly surprised. I discussed with Chie whether I should still go or not, but Chie kindly persuaded me it would be a waste not to, as the tickets etc were already booked, and it only really needed one of us to be there to take care of Erika.
This month had been rather a difficult one for me, and, if I'm honest, I'd spent quite a lot of it feeling really rather depressed. Earlier this week had been bonus day and I always find that a rather demoralising anti-climax because nobody at the office seems to want to celebrate it at all. Another year's constant drudgery, and this really ought to be the pay off, when people blow off a bit of steam etc... but it's always a completely normal day at the office, nobody even talks about it. I completely understand that as problems in the world go, the notion that my bonus day was insufficiently jubilant is hardly going to seem very worthy of anybody's sympathy... but I seem to struggle more than most with routine and repetition and the sense that life is this inescapable treadmill, and I for one would find it all a bit more bearable if milestones like this were celebrated a bit more.
There seemed to be no appetite this year to do anything among my work friends - perhaps partly because of last year's outing which had not ended particularly well for all attendees. This contributed to me wanting to go to Cheltenham today, in addition to try and brighten up what had been a pretty miserable month. As has become the norm, nobody I know seemed keen to join me - apparently tweed, country air and Champagne just isn't really that much of a draw for any of my friends.
The rather protracted explanation above of the background to today's outing is an attempt to justify why, once I got to Cheltenham, I rather overdid it. I suppose I felt kind of frustrated and alienated at the lack of friends with more similar interests, and the general state of misery I had spent much of January in. I don't think I could rationally have believed it, but some kind of naive optimism had me thinking that just maybe if I stand around in my tweed suit, drinking lots of overpriced Champagne, I might somehow fall in with a crowd of likeminded souls, and suddenly be transported to some magical Waugh-esque world of Bright Young Things, or somesuch.
Of course that didn't really happen. The people who were at the next table to mine very politely made a bit of conversation, presumably out of sympathy for the sad individual drinking Veuve Clicquot alone.
I was there for about 4 hours, and barely left the bar for the entirety of that time. The actual racing has always been kind of a sideshow for me - it was always much more about the opportunity to brush shoulders with the tweed wearing classes - but today in particular I barely noticed the races even happening.
I'm reminded slightly of a title of a Douglas Adams book - The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul. I think that's probably a reasonable description of this afternoon. It would be hard to say I really enjoyed myself, I just let loose and overdid it and there was kind of no point to it. However, trying to find a silver lining to the cloud, I think it did somehow mark a turning point, and once I'd got over the sense of guilt in the ensuing days at the stupid excess, the dark mood with which I'd been beset for most of January did start to lift a bit. Perhaps there was just something I needed to get out of my system.
I got back in time for Erika's bedtime, and although all of the vomiting as a result of her stomach bug had been contained within the time I was away (which added to the sense of guilt) she still felt pretty bad, and it was a bit of a rough night. I wasn't really a great deal of use, being somewhat the worse for wear myself. Not really my finest hour by a long shot, but I was able to make a meaningful contribution to parenting again from the next morning onwards.
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