In Austria, fantastically decorated ships parade down the Danube to the accompaniment of fireworks; in Poland young people jump through flaming bonfires; in Britain we eat strawberries, read plays by William Shakespeare and dream about love – because as the entire World knows: Midsummer is a time for magic.
Solstice occurs when the northern hemisphere is tilted as far towards the Sun
as it will go. Between 20th June and 25th June the days
are at their longest and the period has long been celebrated for a host of
different reasons. Is it coincidence, for example, that while the Slavic
nations are performing fertility rites at the end of the third week in June, we
are making cups of tea on, what we call, Fathers Day?
warm spells in May, we’ve had a curiously slow Spring and early Summer. This
time last year, I was able to pluck a rose from the garden to wear in my
buttonhole at Royal Ascot - even though it wilted horribly before the second
race had been run. This year the roses are barely even budding, but we still
have a terrific display of foxgloves…
Which is handy
because, as everyone knows, the flowers of the foxglove make an excellent
hiding place for fairies – and fairies are very busy at this time of year. In
the woods near Athens, they are frantically helping young couples to fall in
love; here at Cartmel they are assisting in preparations for the races on
Friday 26th and Sunday 28th June.
fairies are particularly hectic just now – packing up the admission-badges and
putting them in the post-box. The chief ticket-fairy has asked me to remind you
that the deadline for advance bookings closes at midnight on Sunday 21st
June. There will of course be tickets available on the day too – but the
advance ones are a little bit cheaper and come packed with a sprinkling of
magical fairy dust which will help you to find winners.
The fairies have
also been at work in the offices at Racing UK – befuddling the executives to
such an extent that they are promoting a completely crazy deal: Sign up as a
new customer before 20th June – and they will give you a free trial
for one month.
Google the offer online now (or call 0845 111 6444 and quote RUK1MF); you’ll be able to watch the end of
the Royal Ascot meeting (look out for Teak, a previous winner at
Cartmel and our selection for the Queen Alexandra Stakes on Saturday), our
two-day June meeting, plus our 2-day July meeting, absolutely free of charge.
loads of other stuff too: tips, trends, news and reviews; so when you’ve
enjoyed all the magic of an (almost) midsummer day at Cartmel races, you can
watch the highlights again when you get home – and thank the fairies (and / or
the Racing UK pundits) for helping you to beat the bookies.