Friday, 6 June 2014


All morning I think of the Normandy landings, as the voices of the old soldiers come on the radio, filled with humanity and grace. They are reticent and stoical. There is a sense that, even after seventy years, this is a hard thing for them to speak of. Theirs was a heroism that is impossible to put into words, and the debt they are owed can never be repaid.

Then the present world reasserts itself. The sun shines; the mare gleams and works beautifully, filling me with admiration and love. The Younger Brother is coming, all the way from Bali, where he lives. I see my sister, cycling along the side of the burn, smiling in the brightness. My mother tells an extraordinary story at breakfast about a jockey who kept a badger in the basement of the Ritz. We all ponder this for a moment. There are more questions than answers.

I get my work done at warp speed and give myself the afternoon at Epsom. My heart starts beating as I think of the beautiful, dancing fillies who will shine in The Oaks. Today, one of them will be crowned queen. I hope it is the gleaming, flying girl that is Marvellous. The race is quite soon after her mighty victory in Ireland, and she has never been tried over this distance, and the money is coming for the Dermot Weld filly. But I keep the faith. I would love the bold, bonny Madame Chiang to run her race, and she is my each-way shout. She is honest and taking and may not be quite the highest of the high class, but she will give her best.

Mostly, I shall watch them for the brilliance and the beauty. This is a race that is not for money, but for love.

It is not just for love of the dazzling thoroughbreds. It is because this year the race is run in the name of Sir Henry Cecil, whose loss is still keenly felt. He had a way with fillies, understanding them, bringing out their best. It was an elegant thing for Epsom to do, and at four o’clock this afternoon, everyone who loves racing will remember that great gentleman.


Today’s pictures:

6 June 1

6 June 1-001

6 June 2

6 June 3

6 June 4

6 June 5

6 June 6

6 June 10


  1. Gorgeous pictures! Enjoy the family adventures!

  2. Have you gone completely mad? You have mentioned the fact that your sister, HAS A BICYCLE. After all the hoo hah this week I'd have thought you'd have had more sense than to ram such an emblem of aristocratic entitlement down our throats. I am so cross I may have to stop reading your blog until you start writing about the set-aside once more

    1. No doubt she could trundle around on her bone-shaker for miles, all day if she wants to, and never leave her back garden. Who wouldn't enjoy a spot of light leisurely cycling well away from cars and lorries? So yes, still privileged, however light you try to make of it. Still nauseating. You are either for it or agin it, I guess. Or in one tribe or another. All you are doing is making it more and more apparent which half of the world you also fit into, Ms Cotter-Craig, and hope to remain in. Better pay that back tax quick then...

    2. I am not going to continue this correspondence here. If you want to you can take issue with me via e mail. My address is Somehow I think you won't

    3. Well, my dear young "lady", you did start it. Perhaps next time let people answer questions addressed to them for themselves?

      I look forward to our meeting at the barricades.

  3. Gorgeous pics as usual. Haven't been able to comment this week for some reason… but, really, what to say except I LOVE your blog so fuck 'em. xx

  4. Egads... I think these photos are AMAZING. You always post great photos, but these are cream-of-the-crop wonderful!

  5. Red, knee-deep in the green. Another celebration of color!

  6. Good heavens. Did I miss something? Maybe that first exchange in comments is a joke, but if so, it flew right over me (not hard, I admit).

    Beautiful post, though, and wasn't the Oaks lovely? I love Sea the Stars, so had to pull for Taghrooda, but wow, if ever there was a time that so many would have been worthy winners, and you named them. Beautiful day, as was today.


  7. Love the idea of your family gathering. And Red in that grass, like a fairy horse! Hope you got the winners you wanted, Rachel

  8. intrigued by the jockey who kept a badger in the basement of the Ritz - one question: why?!

    v true re that debt and their bravery.


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