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Tuesday 12 May 2009

They're Off: Bloggers Grand National

(Continued from last post) Or could be read as a one-off!

It's a bit long so make yourself a cup of coffee!

Well - It's show time!
Today is the Day - Grand National Day!

The atmosphere is electric - thousands are in the stands, eagerly awaiting the day's action - £millions are invested - riders await their trials and tribulations with frayed nerves whilst punters anticipate trousering fat profits.

The starter prays his day will not end like that in 1993 when he was almost lynched by an angry mob, when the start went very wrong and the race had to be abandoned.

NOW! all riders please note - the course is run anti-clockwise (I think you Americans say counter-clockwise!) . . . . . AND . . . . . the fence called THE CHAIR is the tallest fence and most difficult fence and is jumped once only, so is fence 16, The Water Jump! Both fences are very demanding. The Chair will sort the mice from the lions! The Canal Turn is jumped twice and must be jumped at an angle ready for the turn; otherwise horses cannot get round the corner. Other than that - it's all a piece of cake!
The scene opens as horses are paraded around the paddock enclosure, with riders mounted, walking proudly to admiring glances, showing off their horses and awaiting last minute betting decisions from those attending this prestigious meeting. Television commentators discuss form, pedigree and latest betting odds for all horses of note from this 40 strong field, with some horses unnamed in my narrative (Don't worry none of them will win! Only the pretty ones will!). For instance, the commentators might be discussing The Mighty Sam, and an expert would say, "Sired by, (don't know! - can't remember his name - could be Tom, Dick or Harry!), out of Nuts in May, trained by Nuts in May, owned by Nuts in May, or whoever!" Then his form is discussed: Please note: NOT PRISON FORM, as in Her Majesty's Pleasure, e.g. Wormwood Scrubs (2 yrs), Pentonville (6 months), Princetown (3 yrs), Currently on Parole, but they are talking RACING FORM, where he finished in his recent races, 1st, 3rd, 16th etc. All quite boring really so we shall leave them to it for a few minutes and look at events on a slightly different level - from the horses' point of view, since they seem to have other things on their minds than betting and form:
"Just look at them, yet again, behaving like children playing with toys! Just as mad as last year! And there I am, trying to retire and Eddie Bluelights is asking me to run round like a two year old!", commented Retired and Crazy to Menopausal Old Bag, as they were led round the paddock. "And aren't they ridiculous calling us by our blog names! The mentality of them - I ask you! Morons, the lot of them!"
MOB replied, "And all those people in the stands and millions of them glued to the 'telly' - with nothing better to do than watch us nags running round a race track twice, over a few sticks - and for what - just to gamble with money? If they had any sense they wouldn't need money - we don't! - we get all our food and all things we need brought to us for free - and we don't have to do a day's work in our lives! Who are the clever ones and who are the dumbos?"
Valleys Mam interjected, "I'm only here for the talent! Hey! Look! Who's that grey stallion over there? Rather cute, isn't he? My, he must be 18 hands at least and what a pair of fetlocks - he makes me all of a dither - hocks and withers to die for I would say! and just look at his croup!"
Retired and Crazy replied, "Steady on, Valleys - control yourself, he's a Yankee horse named God of Another World. He is rather dishy, isn't he? Out of this world, you might say - which world I wonder, Venus? Mars? or a different Universe perhaps? And just look at his handsome stable mate, The Mighty Sam . They continued their mutual admiration when suddenly they were interrupted . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . My, did you see that? - Did you? - Well, the brazen little hussy!" "What!"
"Well I never! Two of them now doing it! The cheeky little fillies! Well, I never! . . . . we'd never do that sort of thing in our day! would we?"
"The two hussies! - well, have they no shame? Two fillies 'wiggled' right in front of him, nudged his flank, fluttered their eye-lashes and blew into God of Another World's nostrils, one from each side! Poor chap doesn't know which way to turn! Then they went on to tease The Mighty Sam. One was a young American filly, The Girl from Cherry Blossom Street and the other, Breeze, who ought to know better! Silly Filly! - and all in broad daylight too! They ought to be ashamed of themselves! Just look at them whinnying and laughing! Who next I wonder?"
"Oh! never mind! Those stallions are a bit young for us anyway - I suppose we'll have to do with past their sell by date chaps like Grumpy Old Ken and Clouds and Silvery Linings. BTW his rider, Eddie Bluelights, looks as though he might be at the 'grateful age'. . . . . but still hopes someone will give him the Greenlights, silly boy! And you know he did comment as well he would prefer Cherry's red boots rather than her more practical choice of brown she's wearing today! He's still guarding that cherry lipstick kiss he had on his cheek - he's got sellotape stuck over it so it won't wear off! And, Cherry told him she would rather ride a pony because she was short, tiny and fragile. Don't believe a word of it! She's an expert rider and in for the win!"

"Who's the lady rider on that horse over there? She looks highly intelligent!" "Oh that's Meredith Teagarden  on The Things We Carried and boy does she mean business today! Look what she's carrying! A whip, a knuckle duster, a flick knife, a cycle chain! Gosh she looks awesome - no wonder she can blog like fury - a real force to be reckoned with! Boy, she looks determined!

Two more American horses chatted over 'this and that' and their riders, Janine and Robynn, spotted a church or two they wanted to put it in their pockets to take back home to the US of A - one horse seems to have difficulty deciding whether to laugh or cry, Sniffles and Smiles, and one shouts her head off continuously, causing everyone to duck for cover, Robynn's Ravings, quite mad, shaking her fists and waving a dead snake, causing it to throw up a dead rat! Ugggh! Janine carries a book with her, just in case she gets bored - the title, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. That girl has had more Posts Of The Days than hot dinners!

"Get on with the race, Eddie!", demanded an impatient American punter! "I've got 50 big ones on my Gee Gee and I want the race run today! Get it moving and over with, pronto - GET ON WITH IT, MAN!
"Yes - Get on with it!"

"YES, GET ON WITH IT!", everyone roared!

"OK!" said Eddie, "Just trying to build up the tension!"

The parade now over, the horses left the paddock and cantered to the starting line, still chatting on their way. Nuts in May and Marmite Toastie remarked how they were looking forward to beating all these American horses into the ground and holding up the Union Jack. However the odds were not in their favour since a lot of American horses plus one Canadian were competing today, plus the Australian favourite David on Authorblog, accompanied by his 785 (sorry 786) followers lining the course.

TV commentary brought the situation back into human perspective.

And now we have the latest betting:
Evens Favourite, Authorblog, well fancied by his 787 (sorry 788) followers and heavily backed.
2/1 Breeze, God of Another World, The Mighty Sam
4/1 Crystal Jigsaw, Kathy's Klothesline, Marmite Toastie
6/1 The Things We Carried, Nuts in May, Retired and Crazy
8/1 Valleys Mam, The Girl from Cherry Blossom Street, Aglio-Olio and Peperoncino, Sandy Carlson
10/1 Lakeviewer, Sniffles and Smiles, Robynn's Ravings, It's A Small Town Life
16/1 Clouds and Silvery Linings, Dishing with Debbie
20/1 Menopausal Old Bag, Grumpy Old Ken, Granny on the Web
22/1 Val's Ramblings, Sandie McBride, Moanie, Margaret's Ramblings
30/1 Woman in a Window, Imbeingheldhostage, Cajun Delights, Me and My Five Men, The Blue Grumpster
50/1 Plato's Procrastinations, Socrates' Soliloquies, Silly Old Fart
100/1 Bar these

The starter signalled them to come under starter's orders, and they circled nicely to line up with all that pent up horse flesh heaving . . . . . . . steady . . . steady! The riders jostled their mounts into position at the starting line for the 2009 Grand National. The starter signalled ready!

And they're off, cleanly for the first time, with Silly Old Fart left at the back of the field, much to the relief of both riders and horses. Plato's Procrastinations looks completely bewildered by it all and his rider, Eddie Bluelights, is trying furiously to motivate this horse to run, which is proving a very difficult task because he is trying also to ride Clouds and Silvery Linings. He's solved it and he's ditched Plato's Procrastinations in preference to his other steed - well done Eddie! Thank goodness he didn't enter his third horse, Socrates' Soliloquies. Waste of space was that Plato, dead as a dodo! - but all this has delayed Clouds and Silvery Linings, now left behind but starting already to make a good recovery. Plato's Procrastinations, is not dead after all - he is a riderless horse and now sets off by himself - hope he doesn't bring anyone down!

They gallop and cross over the Melling Road. In the lead with a clear length is The Mighty Sam followed by C. Michael Cox riding God of Another World, Meredith Teagarden riding The Things We Carried, Maggie May riding Nuts in May, Retired  and Crazy and David McMahon riding Authorblog, then Val's Ramblings, Sandie McBride, Moanie, Margaret's Ramblings and Lola on Aglio-Olio and Peperoncino (a late entry from Italy), as they approach the first fence.

And they're all safely over, as they gallop on with Authorblog, making his way up the field. Just coming to the first fence is Breeze, running steady and taking it easy, followed by Crystal Jigsaw, Kathy's Klothesline, Marmite Toastie, Clouds and Silvery Linings, Valleys Mam, Cherry riding The Girl from Cherry Blossom Street, Cheffie-Mom on Dishing with Debbie, Lakeviewer, Janine on Sniffles and Smiles, Robynn's Ravings, Menopausal Old Bag, Grumpy Old Ken and Granny on the Web, looking in great form. What a good mover she is!

Back to the lead, and over the second fence is Authorblog, the clear favourite who has made his way up to the front, then God of Another World, The Mighty Sam, The Things We Carried, Nuts in May, Retired and Crazy, then Val's Ramblings, Sandie McBride, Moanie, Margaret's Ramblings, Aglio-Olio and Peperoncino, with Breeze improving all the time on the rails, followed by Crystal Jigsaw, Kathy's Klothesline, Marmite Toastie, Clouds and Silvery Linings, Valleys Mam, The Girl from Cherry Blossom Street, Dishing with Debbie, Lakeviewer, Sniffles and Smiles, Robynn's Ravings, Menopausal Old Bag, Grumpy Old Ken and Granny on the Web, with Silly old Fart still in the rear! Where else?

All safely over the third fence,Westhead, an open ditch - very surprising because it is a very difficult jump - what a good field this is! Eddie Bluelights on Clouds and Silvery Linings is making up a lot of ground and as he pulls alongside Meredith Teagarden astride The Things We Carried. 
Meredith looks over her shoulder and gives Eddie a smile and a wink! He heard her say quietly, "A romantic man! - a man with a sense of humour! . . . and now a man in uniform! - what a deadly combination! - how can a girl resist all these manly qualities?"

"I see I've caught thine eye!" my lady Meredith, then pray, let us converse a while as we run this course together, my good and comely Lady!"

"A polite man as well . . . hmmm! Well yes, kind Sir! Let us tarry a while! . . . and have our conversation!"


The commentary continues . . . The horses approach the fourth and over go the leaders - oh! we have a faller - it's Margaret's Ramblings, both rider and horse are OK but the horse is another riderless horse still running and jumping. The rest all manage to clear the fence and run to the fifth as we change commentator, who sounds very nasal and excited.

And we have Authorblog 3 lengths clear, showing a clean quartet of heels and jumping the fifth, followed by God of Another World, The Mighty Sam, The Things We Carried, Clouds and Silvery Linings, Nuts in May, Retired and Crazy, Val's Ramblings, Sandie McBride, Moanie, Aglio-Olio and Peperoncino, with Breeze staying safely back and out of trouble. Then Crystal Jigsaw, Kathy's Klothesline, Marmite Toastie, Valleys Mam, The Girl from Cherry Blossom Street, Dishing with Debbie, Lakeviewer, Sniffles and Smiles, Robynn's Ravings, Menopausal Old Bag, Grumpy Old Ken and Granny on the Web. Oh and we have another faller, Silly Old Fart - well that's got him out of the way, so we can all breathe again!

And what have we here? We have a good run from three late entrants and rank outsiders; SandyCarlson, Imbeingheldhostage and Woman in a Window. Golly you should see these move - they are flying and making their way up the field!

And they come to the first big test, fence 6, Becher's Brook, dropping 2 ft on the far side. Flying over goes Authorblog, now 4 lengths clear of God of Another World, The Mighty Sam, The Things We Carried, Clouds and Silvery Linings, Nuts in May, Retired and Crazy . . . . . .

and we have 2 fallers, Val's Ramblings and Lakeviewer - jockeys and horses OK - then safely over go Sandie McBride, Moanie, Aglio-Olio and Peperoncino, Breeze, Crystal Jigsaw, Kathy's Klothesline, Marmite Toastie, Valleys Mam, The Girl from Cherry Blossom Street, Dishing with Debbie, SandyCarlson, Imbeingheldhostage, Woman in a Window, Sniffles and Smiles, Robynn's Ravings, Menopausal Old Bag, Grumpy Old Ken and Granny on the Web, as they approach the 7th fence and they are all safely over.

They gallop very quickly as they approach the 8th fence, The Canal Turn, for the first time - It's Authorblog now 8 lengths clear - he must be mad to go on at this pace, he'll be knackered if he's not careful!

At the Canal Turn, over goes Authorblog, followed by God of Another World, The Mighty Sam, The Things We Carried, Clouds and Silvery Linings, Nuts in May, with Breeze, Imbeingheldhostage, Woman in a Window improving all the time, Retired and Crazy (still going well), SandyCarlson, and steaming through and safely over is The Girl from Cherry Blossom Street (what a mover! poetry in motion!) followed by, Dishing with Debbie, Sandie McBride, Granny on the Web, Moanie, Aglio-Olio and Peperoncino, Crystal Jigsaw, Kathy's Klothesline, Marmite Toastie, Valleys Mam, Sniffles and Smiles, Robynn's Ravings, Menopausal Old Bag, and Grumpy Old Ken in the rear. Miraculously there are no fallers . . . . . .

. . . . . as we approach Valentines Brook, the ninth fence and over goes Authorblog, now 10 lengths clear, followed by God of Another World, The Mighty Sam, The Things We Carried, Clouds and Silvery Linings, Nuts in May, Breeze, Imbeingheldhostage, Woman in a Window . . . . . oh and we have a faller, Retired and Crazy (what a shame - well done R and C but rider and horse are OK) . . . . oh! and SandyCarlson has fallen as well but is OK. Over safely go The Girl from Cherry Blossom Street, Dishing with Debbie, Sandie McBride, Granny on the Web, Moanie, Aglio-Olio and Peperoncino, Crystal Jigsaw, Kathy's Klothesline, Marmite Toastie, Valleys Mam, Sniffles and Smiles, Robynn's Ravings, Menopausal Old Bag, and Grumpy Old Ken (well done Grumpy! Cheer up old chap!) Oh and we have two rank outsiders making a furious effort to get onto terms, Marguerite on Cajun Delights and Betsy on My Five Men (greedy creature!), with both riders brilliant cooks as is Lola. Then the lovely Michelle on It's a Small Town Life, showing a big effort and cheered on by her complete village of nosy neighbours.

Fences 10,11 and 12 all prove no problem to horses and riders who all manage to clear safely. However the running order has changed as we approach the 13th fence.

Oh! there is pandemoneum at the 13th. A mare has come into season and is attracting unwanted attention from a stallion - cannot see which one! - but she is rejecting his advances furiously! She doesn't fancy him one iota! Wait! some of her friends are coming to her assistance - there is a lot of whinnying and kicking - and yes, the females have dealt with him - he is limping away apparently with his Nuts in (Dis)May. The owner and trainer are furious with the vet - surely this should never have happened and BANG! Oh dear they have just shot the Vet! There will be a steward's enquiry surely and the police are coming! In spite of all this all horses somehow manage to clear fence 13.

Out in front Authorblog is way ahead and leads by 16 clear lengths - he is safely over fence 14 and he streaks towards that notorious fence, The Chair.

But first over fence 14 after Authorblog comes God of Another World, The Mighty Sam, Breeze, making a very strong run, The Things We Carried, Clouds and Silvery Linings, Imbeingheldhostage, Woman in a Window, Nuts in May, Sniffles and Smiles, Robynn's Ravings, Granny on the Web, Aglio-Olio and Peperoncino, Crystal Jigsaw, Dishing with Debbie, Sandie McBride, Moanie, Kathy's Klothesline, Marmite Toastie, Valleys Mam, Menopausal Old Bag, and Grumpy Old Ken, all streaking towards The Chair.

I don't believe it! Authorblog has just jumped The Chair beautifully, 18 lengths in front but he's dismounted and tethered his horse! What is he doing? He's taking a camera out of his bag and fitting a zoom lens - he's taking photographs for his blog! This is unbelievable!

The other horses approach The Chair.
Breeze hits the front and breezes The Chair and makes it beautifully, what perfection! . . . . oh! two riderless horses are causing havoc here and they run right across five horses completely putting them off their jump. Oh and some horses have been brought down, let's see . . . . . . God of Another World, The Mighty Sam, The Things We Carried, Clouds and Silvery Linings, and Crystal Jigsaw - what a shame! But what about the riders and the horses? Yes, they are OK but David McMahon of Authorblog is taking lots of photographs furiously. His shutter is red hot. The fallen riders have managed to catch and settle their horses, except for Sam because his horse, The Mighty Sam is a runaway and therefore he's out of the race. Crystal and Meredith are floored and a bit dazed but Eddie and Michael Cox are OK and come to their assistance, as Lola streaks by and says, "Saluti, Edoardo Luciblu".
(At this point I have to slow down time or the other horses would get too far ahead)

The Australian, David McMahon on Authorblog springs into action! "We have a problem here folks! Good on yer, sports! Good day to thee ye fine gentlemen and pardon me if I speak in voice as if in yesteryear! I am practising my Shakespearean and it is more fitting here than Ozzy! Pray kind Sir Bluelights and Sir Michael, thou men of valour and of honour. Prithee tell me if thou wouldst, wilt thou assist these fair ladies in their untimely hour of need? The lady Meredith doth ask for thee alone kind Bluelights but first I hath a task for both ye gentlemen of chivalry. The lady Crystal hath her Jigsaw in small pieces and if thou wouldst pray wouldst thou restore it to its former glory! Well done my men of valour - thou hadst pieced the puzzle well together my fine sirs - now kind Bluelights the Lady Meredith wouldst speak with thee and as for me I wouldst remount and resume my race - yet my steed is not before me and I must have a fiery steed to run my course for I am a shepherd and hath my sheep to tend (all 790 , sorry 791) who wouldst wish to follow me. I shout aloud, "A horse, a horse, my Kingdom for a horse!" Not since St Crispen's Day hath such chaos as I see today befell mine eyes - yet now it pleaseth me for I see mine steed I thought was lost, yet tethered yonder across that other side of this wonderous fence so tall and wide! I bid my leave of ye thou noble gentlemen and ladies for my task is not yet over - Good day to thee. Ladies, these fine men will protect and tend your every wish!"

Lady Meredith addressed Bluelights, "Pray good Sir! Thou art a true and handsome knight in thine fine apparel which doth attract thee to mine eyes exceeding! Yet methinks I sense we are watched by that Lady Erin residing in a Window, that Woman in a Window - for I detect those curtains moving as she spies on us as only one of my gentle sex canst sense with stealth exceeding! It maketh me feel like Imbeingheldhostage. Harken to me good Sir - Pray assist me to remount mine humble steed so give me a shove so I can resume my ride aloft for I wouldst seek the glory of my prize in this wondrous task of riding! I thank ye and ye are so strong but gentle, but prithee put me down for I belong to yet another gentleman from across the pond and he wouldst be cross exceeding if I tarried a while with ye much longer!"

"As my Lady wishes for I am but thy gallant servant upon my White Charger, a Knight in shining armour to thee! Our meeting is but a Brief Encounter! Ye, my Celia Johnson and me thy Trevor Howard - but when thou hearken Rachmaninov and his Concerto no 2 for pianoforte wilt thou think of me? So let us resume our race with no more delay for I am hungry and couldst eat a horse! My evil eye befalls that Marmite Toastie, which I couldst devour at once!


"Yes, buddy! We have come to Aintree and not to Stratford-On-Avon - Cut the Shakespearean crap and get on with the race! or I'll bust your ass!


They all remounted. Authorblog jumped The Chair AGAIN (show off), shortly followed by the others - all jumping clear and racing on. Shortly before all the other riders had jumped their horses successfully except for two exhausted horses, Menopausal Old Bag and Grumpy Old Ken. They were so tired they fell asleep in The Chair. After this Shakespearean delay the positions of riders changed quite dramatically.


Over to the next commentator.
And they race to fence 16, The Water Jump, with a new leader after the fallers at The Chair. Over The Water Jump sails Breeze followed by Imbeingheldhostage, Woman in a Window, The Girl from Cherry Blossom Street, (well done Cherry) then Sniffles and Smiles, Robynn's Ravings, Granny on the Web, Aglio-Olio and Peperoncino, going very well and looking fresh, then, Dishing with Debbie, Sandie McBride, Moanie, Kathy's Klothesline, Marmite Toastie, Valleys Mam, then streaking towards them is Authorblog, his jockey waving an Australian flag. Then comes the recovered rider and horses, God of Another World, The Things We Carried, Clouds and Silvery Linings, and Crystal Jigsaw, the rest are dropped as they cross the Melling Road a second time and heading towards fence 17.

Over fence 17 flies Breeze with Imbeingheldhostage, Woman in a Window 2 lengths back, then The Girl from Cherry Blossom Street, looking great and moving well, followed by Sniffles and Smiles, beginning to blow hard and Robynn's Ravings, showing sheer determination with steam coming out of her nostrils, then miraculously still going strong, Granny on the Web, as they approach fence 18.
We have Breeze 2 lengths clear as she jumps effortlessly over fence 18 with Imbeingheldhostage and Woman in a Window maintaining form a neck clear of The Girl from Cherry Blossom Street and Aglio-Olio and Peperoncino from Italy improving strongly with Lola so excited she urges her horse on in Italian as her voice rises to a crescendo. Sniffles and Smiles, Robynn's Ravings and Granny on the Web can't maintain the pace and are dropping back, overhauled by chasing Authorblog 2 lengths clear of God of Another World, The Things We Carried, Clouds and Silvery Linings, and Crystal Jigsaw then Dishing with Debbie, Sandie McBride, Kathy's Klothesline, Marmite Toastie, Valleys Mam . . . . oh dear Moanie has refused and thrown her rider but she is OK but out of the race.
To fence 19 and Breeze clears it . . . . oh and Imbeingheldhostage has gone, and Nuts in May, both brought down by that idiot of a riderless horse, Plato's Procrastinations (shoot it someone . . . please before it does any more damage!). Then a supreme effort by Professor Blue, riding The Blue Grumpster, but has he gone too soon? He looks very blue and a blue gas is ejected from his horse's nostrils.
Woman in a Window just manages to keep upright as she hits the fence hard but recovers, as The Girl from Cherry Blossom Street makes a perfect jump, with Aglio-Olio and Peperoncino challenging strongly, with Authorblog hot on her heels - then comes God of Another World, The Things We Carried, brandishing her flick knife, knuckle duster and cycle chain, Boy she  looks determined. Then Clouds and Silvery Linings, and Crystal Jigsaw then Dishing with Debbie . . . . . oh and we have two more fallers . . . . Sandie McBride (sorry Sandie) and Robynn's Ravings (my she's Raving and shaking her fists something rotten!). Sniffles and Smiles has new vigour and purpose for she is really starting to motor again. Then over jumps Marmite Toastie, Valleys Mam and, in the rear, Granny on the Web who makes the jump safely.

On to fence 20 and it's still Breeze three lengths clear of Woman in a Window, with The Girl from Cherry Blossom Street staying there and alongside saying Chio is Lola on Aglio-Olio and PeperoncinoAuthorblog bides his time ahead of God of Another World, The Things We Carried, Clouds and Silvery Linings, Sniffles and Smiles, Crystal Jigsaw, Dishing with Debbie . . . . . oh and Kathy's Klothesline has pulled up - she's all pegged out and hung out to dry! Then comes Valleys Mam, Marmite Toastie and Granny on the Web - all over safely.
On to fence 21 we have . . . . . oh look Valleys Mam is streaking through the field with a charge and a Welsh yell of triumph. As they jump we have Breeze, Woman in a Window, The Girl from Cherry Blossom Street, Aglio-Olio and Peperoncino, Authorblog, God of Another World (looking determined), Valleys Mam, The Things We Carried, Clouds and Silvery Linings and alongside Sniffles and Smiles. Janine glared over to Eddie and muttered, "Methought thou wast attracted to me kind Sir Bluelights, yet ye flirt with another, pray why? Ye are so incorrigible, my lord."
"It passeth the day, my Lady and I know ye ladies like such sport!" (Gosh I'm in trouble now!)
On with the race! Over the fence jump Marmite Toastie, Crystal Jigsaw, Dishing with Debbie and Granny on the Web.
They near Becher's Brook for the second time with Valleys Mam making progress in the field as Breeze jumps clear 3 lengths ahead of The Girl from Cherry Blossom Street (now laughing!), in second place with Aglio-Olio and Peperoncino, Authorblog, Valleys Mam, God of Another World, The Things We Carried (now laughing), Woman in a Window, Clouds and Silvery Linings (now laughing!), Sniffles and Smiles (now laughing!), Crystal Jigsaw, Dishing with Debbie and oh! . . . . . . Granny on the Web and Marmite Toastie have fallen and are out of the race - we can see they are OK.
They all clear fence 23 and on to fence 24, The Canal Turn, for the second time.
Breeze clears 3 lengths ahead of The Girl from Cherry Blossom Street, Authoblog, Valleys Mam, Aglio-Olio and Peperoncino, God of Another World, . . . . oh! and Eddie Bluelights has gone! with Clouds and Silvery Linings running as a stray. Meredith and Janine look so sad as he waves them goodbye for ever, sob sob. But their horses clear the fence, first, The Things We Carried, Woman in a Window, and then Sniffles and Smiles. Then . . . oh Crystal Jigsaw has pulled up . . she's had it! But Woman in a Window and Dishing with Debbie clear the Canal Turn.
On to fence 25, for the second time Valentine's Brook, Breeze clears beautifully just ahead of The Girl from Cherry Blossom Street, Authoblog, Valleys Mam, Aglio-Olio and Peperoncino, God of Another World, The Things We Carried . . . . . oh and Sniffles and Smiles has pulled up - she doesn't want to carry on without Eddie! Woman in a Window and Dishing with Debbie . . . and who's this?Yes it's The Brit on Spinning the Wheel. He's making up a lot of ground - he's got a rocket in his pocket!
Five to go and the crowd are getting excited.
Fence 26 over go Breeze, The Girl from Cherry Blossom Street, Valleys Mam, Authorblog, Aglio-Olio and Peperoncino, God of Another World, The Things We Carried, Dishing with Debbie, Spinning the Wheel (almost alongside after a fantastic run through the field).
My word Valleys Mam has streaked through the field and hit the front with 4 to go, and she clears. She clearly thinks she can win and has started singing in a loud soprano voice "There'll be a welcome in the hillside", Come on Valleys for Wales. Come on Breeze for Canada. Come on Cherry for New York - nothing in it.

Valleys holds her form, with the pace hotting up once more. Next, Breeze, and then The Girl from Cherry Blossom Street, in hot pursuit! God of Another World can't stay with them - he's spent and going backwards! The Things We Carried, Aglio-Olio and Peperoncino, Dishing with Debbie and the rank outsider, The Brit on Spinning the Wheel . . . . with three to go!
And out of nowhere Authoblog hits the front with 3 to go . . . he sails over . . Breeze and The Girl from Cherry Blossom Street try to stay with him but he's too strong and is going away . . . . Valleys Mam is beaten . . . she has nothing left under the bonnet!
Next The Things We Carried, Aglio-Olio and Peperoncino, Woman in a Window, Dishing with Debbie and , Spinning the Wheel clear the fence with no fallers and two to go!
But . . . wait . . . The Girl from Cherry Blossom Street finds another gear and is gaining on Authoblog. He's gone too soon and is tieing up - she's gaining as she comes to the penultimate fence and clears ahead in the lead. And Breeze fights back and clears just behind with The Things We Carried, Aglio-Olio and Peperoncino, Valleys Mam and Spinning the Wheel jumping last of the leaders. Spinning the Wheel's late charge has cost him dear - he cannot find another gear and is clearly out of gas!
And they have one to go! . . . . . . . anyone's race amongst the leaders!
(At this point the commentator is beginning to show out-of-control excitement! His commentary is becoming louder and louder and faster and faster with his voice becoming higher and higher in pitch, causing great concern throughout the entire medical world with reference to his health. Paramedics at the scene are standing by just in case. It sounds like his trousers are way too tight for him since his pitch is almost an octave higher than usual. I wish there was a larger typeface here so I could capture his enthusiasm for you and I would ask you in musical terms to upbeat the tempo to PRESTO and FORTE from now on! Also, there are some very angry and sweaty red faced Americans in the stand, jumping up and down, sensing Authorblog, the favourite, has blown it! They are worried because they think they've lost all their money and are threatening to, 'bust his ass!' if he loses.)
We resume commentary. . . . . . .

At the last it's The Girl from Cherry Blossom Street by 2 lengths from Authoblog by a length from Breeze  2 lengths clear from The Things We Carried . . .  with these three breaking clear by four lengths. But the leaders are bunching as they approach the elbow and there is not much in it, It is anyone's race amongst the leading four.

 . . just 494 yards with a sharp elbow to go . . . .
It's the 8/1 shot, The Girl from Cherry Blossom Street, neck and neck with the red hot evens favourite, Authorblog. And 2/1 Breeze makes another run - she will not be beaten - they are all three neck and neck on the stand side as they eat up the course. It's between these three - the others are going backwards with nothing left in the tank.
A furlong (220 yards) to go for the 2009 Grand National with nothing between them, as the crowd roars in excitement!
100 yards to go . . . . . and David McMahon gets out his camera and fits a telephoto lens and they near the finish still neck and neck - no-one will budge an inch. And Authoblog wins by a telephoto lens!
Wait! there's an objection! the lens is not part of the horse so there is a Steward's Enquiry!
AND IT'S A PHOTO FINISH! David is waving and trying to call attention . . . yes . . . that's right! He is saying he never uses a tripod! And he has some photos for his blog for his POTD cloice! Good on yer sport!
The official photograph shows the winner - and it is The Girl from Cherry Blossom Street at 8/1 by a neck with Breeze 2/1 by a nose, Authoblog evens favourite. Then 4th, 3 lengths back, The Things We Carried 6/1, 5th by a neck, Aglio-Olio and Peperoncino 8/1, 6th Valleys Mam 8/1, 7th Woman in a Window 30/1, 8th Dishing with Debbie 16/1, 9th Spinning the Wheel 500/1 with the others coming through!

What's this! There is a roar and thunder of hooves! - It's hundreds of horses and riders coming into view and racing towards the finish! It's Autoblog's followers! All have been disqualified as late starters!

Well done everyone! I wanted you all to win! You have been very good sports! I had a ball doing this!

I hope no-one was offended - I did not mean to offend anyone and hope you all entered into the spirit of my humour - perhaps we can arrange another event one day when we can all participate! But Lady Meredith, you are something special! . . . and you too Lady Janine! . . . oh let's face it - you all are!

I am honoured to receive Post Of The Day on Friday 15 May 2009 from David McMahon at Authorblog for something I enjoyed writing immensely involving a lot of my blogging friends.
My fun post, They're Off: Bloggers Grand National
Thank you, David


  1. Oh, Eddie...I'm off and running...but not in the race...must come back later to read this....Most unhappy about the timing here...but I PROMISE I'll be back!!! ~Janine

  2. I was intimidated by the other contenders! I almost walked away with my pink pony! ;-)
    Okay, so I was riding the pony with a dictionary of some sort...(checking out words while I was going through that "penultinate" episode...
    I am panting! Hot pursuit it is!)
    I am exhausted but..well I am shamelessly happy...woohoooo!
    This is hilarious!

  3. Thank you very much :-)
    This made my day!

  4. Laughing my head thing I've read in a long time and I almost won too! You are too clever...what a great post! I think you win this hands down! I'll be linking everybody to this post for sure!

    Thanks for the fun!

  5. We all had fun; though some of us were indisposed from the get go. What a romp!

  6. Absolutely hilarious...what can I say? I love it! Sniffling a bit over my loss...Smiling a lot over the riot of humor here!!!! Think I actually quit because the race was not "As You Like It..." LOL...But certain I am of one thing: You, Sir Eddie, are brilliant!!!!! Words cannot begin to express the genius of this post! But I WILL say once more, "You are incorrigible!" ~Janine

  7. I really thought I was in with a chance there!

    My goodness Eddie, this must have taken an age, not to mention an agile brain, to write all this, and have it so exciting. I was holding my breath. Well done and BRAVO!!!
    Love Granny

  8. Granny
    I'd like you to have won Granny, but I couldn't afford the prize money and if there was some I would have made such I wrote myself as the winner!~Love Eddie

    Perhaps I should have written you as joint winner but you lost by just a nostril!

    Stop Sniffling! ~ you're still my No 1 girl

    Cherry ~ Well done and enjoy your vacation ~ just off to see your latest effort

    Lakeviewer ~ Thanks for taking part and I will be drinking a few cuppers at yopur place soon.

    Maggie May
    Your on the wrong Post ~ but thanks for dealing with that very naughty horse.

    The rest ~ hope you have recovered well ~ please wake MOB and Grumpy Old Ken ~ last seen in The Chair asleep!

  9. I get even...LOL....Tag! You're it! I've tagged you in my recent post! ~Janine

  10. Eddie, you're supposed to use your list as a post on your blog...and then, link people to do the same...I think...I LOVE your can just copy it from the comment...and that will do just fine!!!! Thanks, my terrific bloggie friend!!! ~Janine

  11. Well that had me glued to the screen. I felt like I was there! OH WAIT! I WAS!! But what a fumbler. Not surprised to see myself go down...probably tripped over my words.....or stopped to eat them!

    I thought for sure that David had this sewn up but he will be much consoled by his 14,000 followers (it is up to that by now, isn't it?).

    Congratulations Girl from Cherry Blossom Street! You are so lithe and young and light. Considering all this, coupled with the skill of your horse and (writer - groan, sorry - had to get that one in), you seemed a shoe-in, even if it was only a horse shoe!

    Great read, Eddie! LOTS of work represented here!!

  12. Ooo that was so funny. Such fun and I feel quite exhausted. It was a brilliant piece of work Eddie, and very cleverly done.

  13. OH MY GOSH!!!!!!! :~D, you have me laughing so darn hard I can't see straight! I love horses and races, but this was the best ever! How fun to race with all my faves and to have some fun words exchanged as we went!

    I loved this! Oh, I am speechless and that never happens. All I can say is I sat at my computer laughing like a loon. THANK YOU!

  14. Eddie, you creative genius!

    As a little boy I remember sitting next to my father as he listened to the BBC commentary (live) on the Grand National.

    Never once did I imagine that I would sit here one day and ``listen'' to my own name being called out on the same course.

    Yes, stopping to take photographs is EXACTLY what I would do.

    Brilliant, sir, you are brilliant.

  15. I'm quite sure nobody would have ...taken offence? Or do I mean taken a fence? Well, one or the other!

  16. Eddie, this was hilarious! So much enjoyed your 'race' and think you also brilliant for coming up with such an idea!

    Congrats on POTD!!!


  17. I was not surprised at all by David stopping to shoot photos-not at all.
    I'm gonna hunt that Plato guy ;-) down though because I ate really well before this race and had the energy to finish.

    Thank you for including m, fun stuff Eddie--you put a LOT of work into this!

  18. Well, there you go...YOU have clearly WON the RACE!!!!!!! And in David's words, "You are a creative genius!" What more is there to be said? Congratulations on your top POTD spot!! It is so well-deserved that I find myself completely at a loss for words enough to express my enthusiasm. And so I will just have to say, "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!" You're the best!~Janine

  19. Came over from POTD. How spectacular! That David and his followers. Thanks for a fun ride!

  20. Woo hoo!! Woo hoo!! Great job!! So creative!! I better go take a nap now, I'm a bit tired! LOL!

  21. Oh - and congratulations on the Post of the Day Award!!

  22. Eddie,
    this was simply superb! It was so much fun and compelling. Thank you for giving me such a high rank too!!! Fifth, wow! I'm wearing my laurels and my jockey colors proudly, knowing that you are the real winner here.
    Congratulations on well-deserved POTD


  23. Congratulations on POTD Mr Eddie! Well done!

  24. I've never read something that sounded like I was listening to the actual broadcast of a horse race. This was excellent, my friend!

  25. I am truly honoured to receive such encouraging comments from so many whom I regard as 'bit hitters' and talented friends.
    I shall have to dig deep from within my cerebral hemispheres to find suitable subjects/material to amuse you in future. On with the thinking hat! Ahhhh! I have it - give me a few days! ~ Eddie

  26. Gee, I lasted a lot longer than I thought I would before I was "pegged and hung out to dry"!
    Thanks for a wonderful coffee break! You are so creative, you must have had all this rambling around in your head for some time. Only problem is that now you have to give us more!!

  27. No wonder you got POTD. WoW! Thanks for the vicarious experience!

  28. Crumbs! Came back home from Ambulance Duties tonight and I saw these wonderful and encouraging comments - I am very touched! Thank you all and I will try to visit you all personally to extend my thanks ~ Eddie

  29. LOL Eddie - what a giggle , you must have spent ages doing that,so nice to have a smile with all the political doom and gloom around
    Vm xx

  30. Be prepared to be hit over the bonce by my mood ring Eddie. I think I should have been given a head start because of my age, so there. (I stick my tongue out at you) I didn't stand a chance against the youngsters.

  31. Oh Dear! Next year I will give you a good start -will have to build in a handicap system - can't upset the senior citizen horses, can we! Has anyone seen MOB and Grumpy Old Ken lately? or are they still in The Chair?
    Valleys Mam can ride he Kawasaki motorbike next time. LOL

  32. Eddie,
    I replied to your comment to my post, then figured it was better if I did it on yours. Ok, as far as two left spoons in your kitchen, no worries. If you have read my previous recipe posts (80% of the blog), you'll notice how easy I make it. I leave a lot of space for improvisation and my "instructions" are simple, like the food they describe.
    I am an Italian/American girl living in Rome. The hard-working single mother of Mr E., a gorgeous 3yr-old rascal. I am American born, Italian raised. My father is the culprit for all my ill-spelled English words and my mother is the muse that made me the homecook I am today. Sometimes I feel like an outsider both here and in the US, belonging to neither and both conjunctively.
    As far as gate-crashing your race, it was among the best things I ever did, because it allowed me to meet a large group of new talented bloggers, and concurrently belly laugh my way through one very fun post: yours. By the way, speaking of crashing, why don't you work your way back to my "Wedding Crashers" post, which was nominated POTD top contender; the more recent Saline Solution (POTD) and many unawarded older ones too? I will do the same with yours and get to know more about you in the meantime. Ciao!

  33. Superb post..!! You are a maestro at creative thinking..! Must admit you will find it hard to outdo your own work in future, unless you keep delving into your best resouces...!!

  34. OH.MY.GOD! I swear, I was cheering on my horse this whole time! You really got me caught up in the motion of this! And it's late, and it's long, and I've waited to read this 'cause it's long, and still, still, still I wanted to slap my horse's ass and make 'im go faster. So much fun! Thanks Eddie and congratulations to the winners!

  35. menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...
    So you had me down for 100/1? If you knew me well it would be 200/1! Me race? Not on your nelly! Far too much like hard work! The reason I don't enter the London marathon is that all I'd need to see is a pub and a good menu before I veered off into it for the afternoon to watch the marathon on telly!

    Well done on your post of the day - well earned.

  36. Well, I see I was a non-starter. Just as well, as I am best on a dirt track. Also, I was bound to throw my rider.

  37. Eddie...I'm sooo glad that you wrote this before my donkies were 'blogborn'.....I'd hate to see where they might have ended up. I loved this line: "Silly old Fart still in the rear! Where else?"....You are just too good to be true.

  38. Suldog - you old dog, you! What a shame I did not know you before I wrote this - you are conspicious by your absence in it.

    Jackie - you and your donkies would have been great in it - must do another one next year.

    Marguerite - if you ever read this and I hope you do your Cajun Delights would have made it very difficult concentrate on anything other than you and to stay on my horse and complete the course.

  39. Love this Eddie and always good to hear from you. I will look you up on IG!

    1. Thanks Michelle. Rather a lot to digest but I had a lot of fun with it. lol
      Had I known you at the time you would ddeffinately be up there with the leaders.


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