I was worrying about how I would cope with all the crowds and being on a full bus as the bus was packed. There were about 58 people seated and excited. Oh my god - my anxiety kicked in. But little by little I started to calm down a wee bit, as there was one of my old support workers there, Jimmy. I was very surprised to see him, but at least I started to relax a bit more just to see a friendly face.
A young lad about 25 years old was sitting next to me. He was done up in a 3-piece suit – what you call a morning suit, top and tails. I felt that I was hobnobbing with the Toffs! Some of the boys on the bus got a bit carried away – you know - a laugh, a joke and a wee drink. But it was all ok. The driver kept an eye out on their antics.
So, we all got dropped off at our hotels and we had the night to ourselves, but the driver said “please remember no drink on the bus tomorrow as they will bring in the sniffer dogs.”
The next morning my anxiety kicked in again - adrenaline, butterflies, fear (of the unknown) and excitement all mixed together. But getting dressed up made me feel different. I felt like a lady for the day. It made me feel braver as I could pretend to be someone else. Wow - all the hats were so amazing. I could see big, colourful hats and an array of fascinators. So many feathers and colours. I felt totally exhilarated!
Through the course of the day, I met a man who could not read or write so he asked me to read the names of the horses that were running. His name was Bill from Aberdeen. He was lucky, he won a couple of races with his chosen horses. But me? I couldn’t win a ‘crackit plate’. But I was there for the hype of the day – it didn’t matter.
All of a sudden there were protestors on the racecourse to try to stop the race but there were loads of police on top of the incident. Really quickly some tried to tie and glue themselves to fences and hedges. But it didn’t spoil my day.
I challenged myself and I conquered my fears. I think I could do it again. It was so awesome just being there. I made some friends. And I had some fun as well. I had never put a bet on in my life until that day. But it was fun to pick a horse even although they were not the winners. The horses I had never heard of, it was just a stab in the dark and thrilling to join in with the day.
Finally, I said goodbye to the thrills and highs of the day and then I had to come back to reality.
Maybe I will go again!