I was in the Goodwood aerodrome’s maintenance office on Friday afternoon when I found out that I was grounded for the weekend. Taking pity on me the manager took me out back behind the hanger where some of his mechanics were enjoying an end of the week beer and would I care for a Fosters? Why yes, indeed I would. They then proceeded to try and come up with ideas on how I should spend the next two days. After drinking thinking long and hard the mechanics concluded that there isn’t much of anything to do in the area except maybe go to the horse races on Saturday. The chief pilot showed up and after hearing the plan kindly loaned my his all access members badge that would not only get me in for free but allow me into the high class mucky muck area. “Although you might have not be allowed in if your not wearing a jacket and tie.” he warned me. Not a problem I assured him, I’d have just as much fun slumming with the rabble in the common area, as least I’d have something to do.
The next morning at breakfast I met two couples how were also heading out to the races and after chatting with them accepted their invitation to ride with them to Goodwood. At the entrance I was stopped by an apologetic old man who sadly informed me that my polo shirt was lacking the required tie necessary in the restricted area but if I’d care to donate five pounds I could borrow one from the small selection he had. It seemed like a good deal and after finding one that didn’t look half bad was declared “quite dashing” by Sally one of the wives in our little party. We found a table outside and shared a pitcher of some fruit, tea and gin concoction called Pimms before they left me to my own devices to go have some lunch. As I sat finishing my drink a group of about fifteen middle aged men were pushing two tables together and wondered if they might steal a few of the empty chairs at my table. I assured them that it would be fine and as a matter of fact they could have my table as well. “Jolly good!” they shouted and “Won’t you join us for a drink?” they asked. To which I’m sure you know my answer. It turned out that the group was a bachelor party and I fit right in. They were a great bunch of guys and I spent the entire day with them drinking and betting on the ponies. I even won a fair amount on the first two races and managed to end the day up a small amount. Afterwords the guys invited me to accompany them to Portsmouth for dinner so with nothing else to do I hopped on their bus and spent the entire evening with them. I had a great time with those guys and on the cab ride back to the B&B once again marveled at just how unpredictable ferry flying can be. You just never know what the next day will bring.