Omar's Diary for Saturday 22nd September 2018
By Alan Russell
This past week has been one of great disappointments.
On Wednesday Servant Ticker, my own very personal turf accountant paid a visit to Omar Towers with some very sad news. MASAR has been withdrawn from the Prix d l’Arc de Triomphe. I was, as you may remember from my earlier diaries this month, very keen to place an ante post wager on this horse and fix the odds at 10/1 but alas, no.
Man Servant and I accepted this news with our usual good grace and charm from Tinker and bade him farewell until when the new flat season on the turf starts in April next year.
We both trust Ticker implicitly as he has always honoured his obligations even if sometimes he has been somewhat delayed in meeting them as when MASAR won The Derby at 16/1 in June. However, as soon as we heard Ticker’s feet leave the gravelled driveway we rushed upstairs to our office as fast as we could, like Mitsie heading off on a blind date at Tiny’s nightclub. Once in the office we switched on the computer and our suspicions were combined with a slight misfortune, Microsoft was insisting on installing twenty updates.
While these were taking place, I distracted myself by chasing various pens across the desk and on to the floor. This displacement activity always seems to cause Man Servant a degree of stress. The screen told us we had to restart the computer after the updates had been installed. Man Servant became even more stressed as he bent over from his chair to pick them up from the floor. With the computer, I believe the technical term is ‘rebooted’, which we did. We were then able to scour the various horse racing portals and confirm from at least two of these sources that indeed MASAR was not running. To be absolutely certain I insisted that Man Servant drove into our nearby town and check this situation with one of the High Street turf accountants.
We had confirmed what Ticker had told us was correct from three different sources. He was not trying to avoid taking my wager after my successes in The Derby and over the five days of Glorious Goodwood. Not that we ever doubted his word.
We, that is felines and servants, have to be so wary of fake news these days and we should all try to live as much as possible with the mantra:
‘Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.’
My second and even greater disappointment is my inability to attend this evening’s event. I was so looking forward to meeting all of you and thanking all of you you for your kind comments on my diary pages.
By last night even the remotest possibility of attending this evening had disappeared.
Man Servant, despite his very best efforts has been able to secure an entire railway carriage for just the two of us from Brockenhurst to York as suggested by one of my loyal readers on Facebook. He tried to book a First Class carriage and then tried for the next class down which I would have travelled in; however reluctantly. It was even mooted that I should travel with him in an open carriage which would have meant travelling with other unknown members of the servant species.
There are certain standards I will not lower and that, unfortunately, is one of them.
Prudently we did not book any rail fares until the issue of overnight accommodation had been resolved. Man Servant has had no end of trouble arranging any accommodation for us regardless of transport issues. He scoured all of the main online booking services but without success. It seems every hotel from the deluxe to the not so deluxe is fully booked. I can only assume this paucity of hotel accommodation has been caused by servants wanting to stay in York for the opportunity of meeting me as I cannot think of any other reason.
At the end of these searches it was suggested, without Lady Servant knowing, that if we could not get a room we would still attend this evening. Then when it ends we would wander the streets of York through the night until we could catch the very first train home in the morning.
I am afraid that I put my paw down very firmly at that suggestion as I know Lady Servant would have so I urged him to have just one more look.
‘I found a room’ Man Servant exclaimed.
I dragged myself away from the ongoing displacement activity of pushing pens and pencils off the desk and feigned a degree of interest.
‘Look Omar, I have booked a room. It’s at the Watergate Inn. I’ve booked it and paid for it.’
Oh good I thought. I must see if it is up to my standards. Well, if anything the picture was not very complimentary. Then I read the reviews, at least two of them:
‘Hell on earth.’
‘A scandal of a hotel.’
Man Servant brushed off any doubts Lady Servant and I expressed about his choice with a rather blasé ‘Well at least it will be an adventure.’ That it may well be but I am afraid you are most definitely going to be on your own on this one. I subsequently heard that when Man Servant had described the hotel to another servant he was advised to take his own bed linen.
That most certainly is not the standard of hotel as befits my feline status.
I am disappointed that I am not travelling to meet all of you and I hope you can appreciate my reasons for making this decision.
And in case you are interested to know who said ‘Too often…………………………..’, it was President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
Postscript: After this diary was prepared Man Servant and I had the further news that due to the adverse weather conditions developing across the country that we will not be attending the talk this evening. We wish all those who do attend a happy and sociable evening and safe travels.