Old friends and lady racers.

I don’t even know who I am anymore and that was day one of operation. I made a lot of people very happy but I also made a lot of people very tired. Thankfully as far as I could tell the happy people were the ones who were paying and the tired people were the ones who were being paid. It was a hot hot day. Looking back it was a 15 hour day but made a little harder because one of my kids lost their lunch so I gave them mine and only had an orange. But I only stopped for long enough to eat an orange and have a wee. Lazy bastard. Mostly I was having to be present and troubleshooting and making decisions. Now we’ve done it once we know the size of it. It’s vast. But we’ve got the staff. And they’re so willing. Good on them all. Some of them had a long day too.

A highlight for me was meeting a “lady rider” from Australia. Forty years ago she was jockeying horses in Oz, and she gave me a photocopy of some of her race cards. At the time they wouldn’t call her a jockey, she explained. She had to be a ”lady rider”. And she had come all the way with a huge party to watch Michelle Payne, and just to BE here. I hope she had a wonderful day. She certainly seemed to. And there’s pleasure in this unbelievably pressurised work when you briefly meet someone like that. A trailblazer.


It’s hard to remember or break down everything. Fifteen hours on my feet with constant demand on my attention. I thought it would be easier without the white noise. But it seats up to 800 people in there and they all had things they needed and my kids had never done something on that scale before and did it so well. I remember one of them hobbling up to me with blood on her shirt smiling. “Are you sure you’re okay?” I ask her. “Yes, I’m fine!” as a smile that seems genuine. How?

At some point I found myself talking about computer games. My old friend from Drama School was there and even if it was lovely to see him it’s hard not to be a floor manager when that head is on. In one of the rare quiet moments I went up and chatted to his husband and that’s where the conversation went. Computer games. Who’d’ve thunk it.

Meantime over the course of the day some people were winning extraordinary amounts of money while enjoying the free bar very very much indeed. I found myself thinking that if I have a lucky year, I might experience this madness from the other side one day.  But right now it’s only going to get bigger and more high pressure so I am going to sleep for a couple of hours and then do it all again.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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