Hampton Court with the kids

On a cool day, a picnic with the little ones in the beautiful gardens of Hampton Court followed by a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. What stunning flowers! Then back home to admire their garden decorations – little girls are so imaginative.

Sponsoring a horse race

On this morning’s Today programme the daily horse racing tips alerted me to there being a race meeting at Epsom today. As I had a dentist appointment this morning in Epsom I thought I’d check out the race timings to see if I was likely to come up against traffic problems. I needn’t have worried as the race meeting was in the evening.

However what caught my eye amongst the list of races was the 7:20pm race, which had the name “Janet & Terry’s 50th Anniversary Handicap”. What a strange name for a race! Looking at other courses I came across this motley collection of race names:

  • Wessex Garages All New Nissan Qashqai Apprentice Handicap
  • Zest Recycle Supporting Chepstow Racecourse Fillies’ Handicap
  • Racing TV HD On Sky 426 Novice Median Auction Stakes
  • Leicester Racecourse Ideal Civil Ceremony Venue Selling Stakes
  • Get Hugh Taylor’s Tips On attheraces.com Novices’ Hurdle

On the Thirsk Racecourse website I found this to explain a bit about sponsorship and the naming of races:

Race sponsorship is widely recognised as a unique, innovative and highly effective method of brand promotion and advertising and is also becoming more and more popular with families and friends, as an exciting and memorable way to mark a special occasion, such as a birthday, anniversary, reunion or team day out.

Sponsors are encouraged to join us in the Parade Ring to judge the ‘Best Turned Out Horse’ before the race and present the cash prize to the groom responsible for looking after the chosen horse. Then after the race you will be invited to present a trophy to the winning owner in the Winners Enclosure, making for a great photo opportunity, followed by celebrations with the winning connections. This all makes for a fun and memorable day for everyone involved.

At the Thirsk Racecourse a private sponsorship package costs £500 (+VAT), and if you’re interested in what you get for your money, all is explained here.

I’ve learnt something new today, and potentially found a way to make the next key date in my life one to be remembered!

Father’s Day

Father’s Day this year passed off without seeing my daughter and with seeing my son off at the airport on his way back to Berlin. My daughter usually gives me a card like this year’s card and always manages to write warm words about how wonderful a dad I am. Thank you, kid. On the way to the airport I reminded my son that it was Father’s Day. “Happy Father’s Day, Dad”, he said! Ever since he’s been living in Berlin he hasn’t been doing cards – birthdays, Christmas, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day. That’s OK, son…..

Several decades ago I made a decision that Mother/Father’s Day cards were a marketing thing by the card industry and that I would stop sending a card to my mother. I seem to recall this didn’t go down well with my mum and I reverted to going with the flow in subsequent years.

Good to see you, son

My son lives and works in Berlin but he’s been working here at home in the UK for the past 3 weeks. It was over 15 months ago that we last saw him (other than video calls). On arriving into the UK he had to quarantine for 10 days and to have Covid tests on days 2 and 8. He chose to take an additional test (test-to-release) on day 5 which enabled him to end the quarantine on day 7 once the results of the day-5 test had arrived.

Other than a mid-week, day trip to Brighton, he did a normal working week whilst here. I couldn’t believe how much of his working day is taken up with Zoom meetings. When I was working I had one monthly meeting – that was it.

Having decided to return to Berlin he had to arrange for the flight and the necessary travel Covid tests. His flight was actually two flights, via Amsterdam, and it wasn’t clear which tests were required to satisfy the UK, Dutch and German Covid regulations. In the end he did the full works – tests at 72 hours and 24 hours – though I think it turns out one of these wasn’t really necessary.

Now, back in Berlin, he is required to self isolate for 14 days. No leaving of the flat, no visitors to the flat. He hasn’t been looking forward to this – I hope the time passes quickly for him. It was wonderful to see him again, and little Chloe and Iris gave him oodles of attention. Hopefully the UK and German restrictions will ease over the coming months so that we can all see each other again. Thanks for coming, son!

Not David Hockney

I have a copy of a David Hockney painting, “Red pots in the garden”. My latest project as not an artist was to paint it – see below for Hockney’s original. I’m OK with my effort and I enjoyed doing it. You can see my development / non-development at https://thingschange.blog/not-an-artist/

In the style of David Hockney
Red pots in the garden, by David Hockney