We'd been looking forward to our day out for weeks. Most boarded the coach in Banwell, and then Del - our driver - picked up the Locking contingent.
We were missing a handful of people who had to drop out, mainly due to illness, but everyone on the bus was in good spirits and looking forward to the day.
As we joined the M5, I announced a game, which was met with silence...... 'I'd rather be looking out of the window' said someone. Not to be put off, I handed out the cards for travel bingo.
The game actually involved looking out of the window, and most people rose to the challenge. The journey went in a flash. Just as we reached the racecourse, Rob Saddler declared bingo, and the game was won. Chris L came a close second, with Jim winning the booby prize - a money box for collecting wrong bias fines, ready for next season.....
Pies and Pints
The weather looked promising, but we were a bit early. Sue and Rob came prepared with glasses for all, and with a little time to wait, cracked open a bottle of champagne. Then we wandered off to find the underpass, with a promise of tickets for our free drink waiting for us on the other side.
Alan and Christine Cockayne went premium and had booked a meal in the restaurant for Christine's birthday, so they watched the racing from a bird's eye view.
Most people picked up their racecard, enjoyed a free and very tasty pie, then headed for the bookies stands or the bar.
Mal seemed to find a discrepancy between the free drink voucher and the use of the QR code for the free drink, so we all had at least 2 free drinks instead! Let's hope we don't get sent a bill.......
Our approach to the racing varied from choosing a horse by the colour of the silks, or by name, to appraising the odds or studying the form well in advance.
There were 8 races in all, starting with the Welsh Jump Jockeys' Derby - a charity race. As each race finished, there were shouts of victory, as well as a few murmurs when the result was a loss. Jim and Maureen bought cheesy chips for us to nibble as we watched the races.
Halfway through the race programme, the rain started. It was on and off at first, but then set in, with a black sky all around. Those of us that were sitting outside retired to the bar, just venturing out with brollies to put a bet on, or climb the grandstand for a view of the last few races.
Everyone had a good day with a few wins, as well as some losses; some came out well on top.
On the way home
It was a great day out with lots of laughter, and was topped off on the coach ride home by a mens' vs ladies' numbers quiz, run by John W.
He sat the ladies at the back of the coach and the gents at the front, causing a bit of a situation when John A couldn't find his whiskey. With the coach at full speed, Ann had to risk a trip to the front to help him retrieve his hip flask!
I had a bottle of wine saved for on the way home. We shared it out among the ladies and passed some nibbles around.
The quiz questions were a bit tricky - who knows how many babies were born in the UK in 2022? For each question, the team captain wrote down an answer gained by team consensus, before John received the answers then revealed the winner.
Each time the ladies won a question, a huge cheer went up from the back of the bus (possibly fuelled by the wine!).
The men were a little less .....enthusiastic, but came out on top in the quiz, winning a very expensive and exclusive plastic medal each for their efforts.
There was a fantastic view of the sunset as we made our way through the Friday evening traffic, but, thanks to the quiz, we seemed to get home in no time.