Sunday, 11 April 2021

Working At Aintree

 The Grand National holds a very special place in my heart. From a Liverpool family, when I was little we lived at Aintree, it wasn't just my link living close to the racecourse that makes it so special though. My Grandad worked on the racecourse for years. I grew up with so many tales of it and he loved it. Becuase of his work he would always stand at Becher's Brook during the race but alway said that jump was cruel. Horses always fell and even though it has been altered in modern times, still do. Many of these horses over the years died and in my Grandad's day Shire horses were then sent out to drag the dead horses away. These were the horses he worked with and loved. Among my most treasured possessions are some of the horse brasses my Grandad collected from these Shire horses at Aintree racecourse. As a little girl I would polish them at the table with newspapers all laid out. This was my job on a Saturday morning and when I polish them now with Scarlett I can't believe it has come right round in a big circle. Yesterday there was an enormous milestone in the history of the race, a woman jockey won! I doubt my Grandad would ever have believed such a thing would have happened, and all, because of the pandemic, with not a single spectator there, but what a breakthrough for women. This photo was taken of my Grandad working at the racecourse around 1930. He is on the far right of the photo looking very big and strong I always think. These are one of the sets of horse brasses from the Shire horses I have.

Coincidentally one of the items I saved from the boxes I brought down from the loft was another item it had been my job to polish on a Saturday morning. It was this brass planter. All through my teenage years I remember it in our house with a plant in it. My Mum had plants everywhere, all beautifully tended, she kept plants for years and they always did so well. We don't have window sills in our house now, so growing house plants is much harder but I love my plants too. I've polished up this planter and I may even keep it at the caravan during the summer so we have a bit of greenery there.It would mean I would be transporting plants back and forwards which I'm sure would make Tom despair of all the "paraphernalia" as he puts it I insist on taking, but I love it to look nice while we are there. He says everyone else on the caravan site is sitting sunbathing and I'm polishing!

Talking of polishing eldest son phoned yesterday evening and he is taking his old Routemaster bus out today and he has spent all week polishing it and getting it ready as it has not been used for months. He took it for a short drive round and everyone was waving to him as he drove past. He said it hasn't felt so normal for such a long time. I hardly dare to believe when so much of the world are still having such a terrible time that we may get back to some sort of normal life. I was telling him about the new wheel arch for the caravan I had ordered and he said he would get it resprayed for me the same colour as the caravan and then take off the old one and fit the new one. I'm ever so pleased as it looked like a very tricky job to me!

Tom is off today and we are going to a place near Heathrow to buy a white dove as a friend for Dottie. Then after a week or two, when they have got used to each other and if the weather has warmed up, we will put them out in the aviary together. Dottie is so adorably sweet I can't bear to think of her having a life on her own in a cage so I hope it all works out OK. I hope everyone has a lovely Sunday what ever your plans. xx


  1. The Grand National has a great history...
    Not one for me l'm afraid, it's cruel to
    the horses in question..Yesterday only
    15 horses finished, 25 did'nt, and one
    was put down, that was a horse called
    Long Mile..6th horse to die in 10yrs..
    Sad..And totally unnecessary..the jockey
    that wins it is a hero..poor old horse
    gets a bag of oats, and a pat on the bum! :(.

    And..Whey~Hey..the old double decker, my Dad
    worked on one as a conductor for some 14yrs..
    First job he had on our return to this country..!
    I've seen in the media, a lot of people have
    converted them into living homes..looking quite
    smart..wonder if you have to ring the bell, if
    you wanna go upstairs..! :).

    I've decided on chicken to~day, so l'm gonna pop
    up to Lidl in an hour, get my bits and pieces
    to~day, gear myself up for tomorrows trips to
    the charity shops...Can't wait..! :O).
    💛 🌱 🌸 🌱 💜 💛 🌱 🌸 🌱 💜 💛 🌱 🌸

    1. I totally agree with you Willie. Even though I feel so nostalgic with all my family links to Aintree I would never go as I would be heartbroken if I saw a horse injured or killed. Not something we should still be doing with those jumps in the 21st Century. I have been out on my sons Routemaster, it's such fun ringing the bell again! I Hope you enjoy your day in the charity shops!

  2. Another interesting post. I'm impressed by how prolific you are at the moment. It takes me ages.

    1. I made a list when I turned 60 of things I would do to help myself as I get older and one was try to write everyday to help my memory in the future. I doubt I would ever remember the details of the days now without something to look back on. I may write a blog post about this! :)

  3. I had to clean my um's brass every Saturday, she too loved shire horses, her brother George cared for them on the local landowners farm, she used be give the ribbons after the show, as she always helped in braiding the horses manes, she had loads of horse brass on leather hangers. It was a job I hated.

    1. I used to hate it too but strangely quite enjoy it now! They certainly don't look as shiny as in my Mum's day. I better get polishing!

  4. I'm afraid I'm not a fan of horse racing or greyhound racing either, cruel sports. I worked for two years as settler in a bookmakers and it was a real eye opener and even the gambling took it's toll as one punter I knew ended his life. Lovely for you to have that photo of your Grandad working at the Aintree racecourse all that time ago. Aww that sounds nice to be introducing a new dove to live with Dottie.

    1. I agree with you Eileen. As I said to Willie I feel very nostalgic when I think about Aintree with all my family links but it's definitely not for me. We fostered a racing greyhound once to give him a taste of home life before adoption. He was like a robot when he arrived, it was lovely to see him brighten up over a few weeks and have some fun.

  5. Your plant looks lovely in the brass pot. It would look nice in your caravan too. How nice that your son offered to install the new wheel arch AND even paint it.

    1. It will go with the 70s look in the caravan I think. I am so grateful as I was convinced we would have such trouble getting it off.

  6. What a beautiful planter. I'm excited to have some plants in the house as I think the window in the living room will be perfect for plants as it's south facing.
    I've never heard of Aintree before and after reading some of the comments, I don't think I'll look it up to learn more! Sad what we do to our beloved animals.
    Have a wonderful day!

    1. Yes, don't plants make a room seem so nice. How lovely to have a south facing window sill. Even my Grandad who was a country man through and through said the jumps were cruel. Even though we have such a family history with Aintree, living there too, I couldn't watch the race.


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