One of the great British pass times I remember from the early sixties was ‘Greyhound Racing’ There was a dog track across the road from where I lived. My dad, when he was sober, would take me there at times. It was fun! My uncle Bob had a greyhound, which he kept in training all of the time. He was very proud of his dog. I can’t remember what he was called, but he was fast.
While we stayed with Uncle Bob and Aunty Gwen, we went and watched his dog race. I think he might have been called ‘Lightening’ but I am not sure. He was grey and thin, looked a little mean to me, but I never got too close to him. Uncle Bob kept him in his own special kennel out in the back yard. I used to think of him as King Racer, because he was certainly treated like Royalty. It was a very exciting day when to the race track. Uncle Bob was edgy all day, I think he had bet a lot of money on his dog. My dad used to bet money on the dogs too. That’s why we couldn’t pay the rent, he used to bet the rent money on his favorite dog.
Anyway, we were at the races, Aunty Gwen, Uncle Bob, my mam and me. It was a chilly day, but at least it wasn’t raining. The dogs were off, racing around the track, and every one was yelling, everyone but, me. I was frozen still because I wasn’t looking at the dogs, I was looking at my dad, who was looking right back at me.
I tugged at my mam’s arm, but she didn’t notice because she was caught up in the excitement of the race. I looked up at her and yelled, but as I did so, my dad got hold of my hand and yanked me away from her. I was too quick for him though, and grabbed my mam’s hand as he pulled me.
That got her attention. She looked around to see her ‘soon to be ex husband’ trying to kidnap me, an angry look on his drunken face. I felt like a wishbone ready to snap, and I was very scared “Gwen” my mam yelled.
My aunty Gwen wasn’t very big, but when she was what was happening, she turned round and swung her handbag at my dad will all of the strength she could muster. It surprised him and he fell to the ground with a thud.
My mam, my aunty and me ran like our lives depended on it.
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