Posts Tagged ‘glue factory’

Middlesbrough v Derby, Saturday 12th February 2022, 3pm

February 24, 2022

The Boro games are coming fast and furious at the moment. That’s what happens when you combine a Championship season with a good cup run, although I suppose it’s nothing compared to the second UEFA season where we had to fit in League Cup games up to the quarter final, FA Cup to the semi and the UEFA Cup all the way to the final. Happy days.

I’d spent the morning of the game on a Boro-related activity in that I’d been to a racing stable just past the top of Sutton Bank. Now that I’m back in the country full-time I’ve joined a horse racing syndicate made up of Boro fans and my granddaughter, Isla, and I went along to have a look at our horse.

We chatted with the jockey riding him out and then went up to the gallops to see him run past. I can’t tell a slow horse from a fast one in those conditions but the other syndicate members who all know a lot more than me seemed content with his progress. Hopefully there will be some enjoyable days out racing.

After swapping one grandchild for another, Harry and I set off for the Riverside for a game with a bit of an edge to it. For some reason a fair few Derby fans blame Steve Gibson for their financial misfortunes rather than their own overspending and then penalties for cheating by breaching the FFP rules. There had been an announcement the previous day that a settlement for our claim had been reached but there was still some tension as we walked to the ground.

We made it through the underpass just before the arrival of a heavily-policed group of Derby fans walking from the station. Plenty of pictures of our chairman had been stuck to walls and lamp posts along the route to goad them and there were a few Boro fans wearing Gibbo masks.

Outside the stadium we passed the fanzone area. I could hear some music but didn’t know whether it was live or a DJ. I later discovered that Finn Forster had been playing. He’s a fella that I’ve seen a couple of times before and if I’d known I’d have got there early enough to take in his set. I’ve tickets for his Stockton gig next month and so I’ll have to settle for seeing him then.

There was a heightened atmosphere inside the ground too with more sections down the sides joining in with the singing led by the North and South stands, particularly when the songs glorified Gibbo. I recognize everything that he has done for the club, but I’ve not felt the same about him since he came out as a Conservative supporter. Despite my disappointment over his political allegiances, I joined in. When he’s under attack from the opposition I take the view that despite being a Tory, he’s our Tory.

And the game? Another great performance. We passed Derby to death until space opened up for Jones on the right and his accurate balls into the box led to our first three goals. A late fourth from Watmore put us well out of sight and back into the play-off spots.

Horse Racing at Bangkok, Saturday 16th December 2017

January 18, 2018

We’ve been to Bangkok for the weekend a few times but as the horse racing usually takes place on a Sunday afternoon we’ve not had the opportunity to attend. I’d noticed a rare Saturday fixture at the Royal Bangkok Sports Club though and so we thought we’d pop along.

Our hotel was right next to the track. It was also handy for Lumphini Park and we spent the morning wandering around watching water monitors fight each other over a carp that one of them must have caught in the lake. We also saw one monitor digging up and scoffing some eggs, probably buried by a turtle.

The highlight of the wandering about though came outside of the park when we stumbled upon a cock fight at the end of a quiet alley. I got the impression that we weren’t particularly welcome and so we didn’t hang about but Jen managed to snap a couple of photos before we left them to it.

As with the recent trip to Ipoh, we got lucky with our hotel room overlooking the race track. So much so that we pulled a couple of chairs up to the window and watched the opening two races of the ten race card from there.

Good as the hotel room was, it didn’t have a tote counter and our view didn’t extend as far around the track as the starting stalls. It took us twenty minutes or so to walk to the track entrance. We were directed away from the posh bit, possibly due to membership requirements but more likely for scruffiness.

The 100 Baht section had no such qualms about letting us in and the stand overlooked the parade ring at one side and the winning post at the other. There was a 50 Baht gate a little further along which got you into a grandstand beyond the finishing line. Both areas seemed quite busy.

Our stand had a roof but wasn’t enclosed and so we didn’t benefit from air-conditioning. It was breezy though and with steady supply of chilled cans of Singha for just over a quid a pop I managed to avoid over-heating.

There were no seats in the stand either, just concrete terracing. That was ok too and we took up a position on the back row. Every now and then we’d have a tray of street-type food from one of the stalls that were lining the concourse area.

One of the odd things about the racing was that the horses would head around to the starting stalls a good twenty minutes before the scheduled start time of their race. They would then be loaded up and left to stand for at least a quarter of an hour. I couldn’t really see why they would do this as it seemed a long time to be cooped up.

For a change, we limited our betting to the live racing and that gave us plenty of time to ponder our selections. It was time that we didn’t really need as we followed our usual selection process of backing the horse with the best name. The system, once again, was spectacularly unsuccessful. There was a horse called Brian in one race and our early two quid bet briefly had him favourite on the tote. Once the more knowledgeable punters had placed their wagers he drifted to around 800/1.

I’m pleased to report that despite the lack of confidence from the market Brian managed to outperform expectations by finishing second to last. Hopefully that might delay his day out at the glue factory. After a day with no returns whatsoever we retired to the nearby St Regis where we were the only customers in a sealed off whisky and cigar bar. I was even able to turn their plinkety-plonk music off when no-one was looking. Perfect ending really.