Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Farewell Fecamp, Hello horses

The seaside holiday is over.
One last camomile and Benedictine, courtesy of Marc, on the terrasse of Les Embruns, and it was time to bundle into the red Fiat Punto and head for the departement of l’Eure.
Fecamp has been great fun, and also definitely curative. Both Jean-Baptiste’s worst bronchials and what I politely call my Egyptian tummy (and the doctor calls amoebic dysentery) have been largely defeated by the breezes of the Normandy coast, and we arrived at Les Baux de Breteuil and the homestead of the family Hue a little enfeebled, perhaps, but in a decidedly better state than we left Paris. After a typically glorious welcome banquet – beginning with shrimps, continuing with (of course) horse, and terminating with a gallon of Calvados which is, I’m afraid, not imprinted on my memory – we awoke Sunday morning ready for the next part of life.
For Jean (and the Punto), that meant a return to Paris and the realities of the business world. We shall meet up again in August for more Paris and some Barcelona.
For me, it’s the peace and quiet of beautiful Les Baux, the magnificent menus that Theresa turns out unceasingly (last night it was home-made andouillette, believe that!!), the conviviality of family and horsey life, a little time with Rosy … and, of course, a few new adventures in the racing world.

Yesterday, in a drizzly greyness, we went to the Normandy countryside track of Bernay for a meeting consisting solely of claiming races. We were there with an unraced 3 year-old filly, Sainte des Baux, owned by Laura and David, which had qualified only a week earlier, but who we hoped might pick up a cheque or, better still, a buyer.

The clever girl did both. She finished on carefully and well to get beaten just a nose for second, and though she wasn’t claimed we didn’t bring her home. Soon after the race, a little gent with airs of Jimmy Cagney, with a posse of larger gents at his shoulders, hove by the truck. Even I could scent ‘trainer and owners’. And, sure enough, when they departed, Sainte went with them. A day’s work well done.

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