(1940-05-23) Guineas Day at Newmarket 1940
Details for Guineas Day at Newmarket 1940
Summary: A group head out into the country for the Newmarket Race Meeting, home of the famous 2,000 Guinea Stakes.
Date: 23 May 1940
Location: Newmarket, Suffolk

Newmarket Racecourse is located in the rolling countryside of Suffolk, and has been the home of thoroughbred racing for almost four hundred years. Though there are several courses, the races today are run on what is called the Rowley Mile, with a maximum length of one mile, two furlongs. The dress code for Stakes day is formal, though with the war on, there are many more men in uniform than usual.

The bugle is blowing the morning call to post across the field as the racing day begins, a crowd of the great and the good heading into the grandstand and the enclosures from which they can watch the day's racing.

Faulkner has his hat at the appropriately rakish angle and his new wife on his arm, having taken the train out from London for the day. "I wonder who the bookmakers are making the favourite for the two-thousand guineas." he says to her, as they walk.

Naturally, the little redhead with her arm curled around through Faulkner's is full of bobbins and bounce, today. She has her husband for the duration of the day; and, they're on what practically counts as an adventure to her. She's never been to the races like this before.

"I've never even SEEN that much money," Irene says, wide-eyed. "I'll warrant most of the people 'ere… here haven't either." Her thought is interrupted momentarily by a gust of wind nearly snatching her adorable little hat. Holding one hand on it to keep it in place, she asks: "Are you going to wager on anyone? Or don't gentlemen do that sort of thing?"

Noticeable in the crowd is a dark-skinned woman, in a bright blue dress with trim in fuchsia and buttons in black. Perched on Brandy's head is a felt fuchsia and black hat, featuring a fun series of folds that Brandy simply couldn't pass up on. At the moment, she's helping a child who'd been climbing a fence and managed to fall off. "Now - go off and find your mum. And stay clear of the horses!"

Graham had heard about the races perhaps from just living in London and moving about the city the Zoo the chippy and pubs and the like. He'd not really been to any of them before but its a new experience so that's a plus. He's dressed though appropriately having read up on things naturally a fairly nice suit and his own hat he sometimes wears for work anyways. Its a a lot to take in he spots Brandy first "One of these days Sweetwater, you may just get an actual day off work." he says a wave and smile over to.

"Well, a guinea is twenty-one shillings. So, two thousand guineas is twenty-one hundred pounds." Faulkner explains, "It is quite a lot of money. The price of a good racehorse, at least. So, have I ever seen that much in cash? No, not outside a bank." He grins at her, and says, "As for wagering, well… I could say that I only gamble with my life, and never my money. But that would be a lie. It's much more interesting when you have a few bob on the line."

"I brought a little with me. Do you mind?" Irene asks. "You know - when in Rome, as they say…"

Idly skimming the crowd, Irene scarcely expects to see anyone she knows. However, the dark skin catches her eye, and she does recognize a certain Sweetwater standing beside Graham. "BRANDY! Hoi, Brandy!" she calls out abruptly. Bouncing up on her toes, the little redhead drops Faulkner's arm and waves zealously. "That's my friend, Brandy!" She explains in a whirl-wind fashion before darting away. Slipping between people, she closes the distance and reaches Brandy quickly. Upon reaching her, she unceremoniously throws her arms around the woman in an enthusiastic hug.

"But today is not that day!" Brandy answers - letting out a good natured laugh. "In fact - I'm stuck babysitting today. That's my little brother, just the-" she starting, when she's suddenly accosted by a friend. "Well - Rena! Hadn't expected you here!" She returns the hug good naturedly. "Got anything riding on the races, yet?"

The auror shakes his head "Apparently not indeed, oh well least they are well looked after with you about." Graham turns as he sees the familiar red-haired witch approaching. "Ah Rena, well you are a sight aren't you." He will wait his turn for a hug or shake hands or whatever have you. The young man does spot her husband a ways back and offers a nod in greeting and then a wave.

Faulkner sticks his hands in his pockets and saunters up after Rena goes flying off, "Irene, I can't take my eyes off you for a second, can I…" he teases, then says, "A pleasure to meet you, Miss. Charles Faulkner." He offers his hand, "What a smashing hat."

"No, not yet. But I'm going to - that is, I think." Irene answers quickly. Flashing a smile at Graham, she seems absolutely breathless and unsure of which way to turn just now. Then Faulkner arrives and makes things a little easier. "Oh! Brandy - meet my husband. Charles, this is Brandy Sweetwater. She were… was probably the best friend I ever had in school. I don't know what I would've ever done without her. She was-"

Once more, the wind interrupts the poor woman's thoughts. However, this time, it actually manages to snatch the hat from her head and blow it off into the crowd, where it promptly disappears.

"Oh, bother!" Irene says, stamping her foot. "Excuse me! I'll be back." She assures the others before disappearing after the runaway hat.

"Charles! Well, it's a real pleasure then," Brandy answers. "And isn't it the greatest? There was no question about passing it up when I saw it." She has conveniently put her hand to her hat when the wind comes up - and so is not struck by the same misfortune as poor Rena. "And she's off!" Brandy adds with a quiet laugh.

Graham smiles in return to Rena but he looks as her hat grows legs and runs off. "Rotten luck that, but she'll find it I suppose." The auror looks back over towards Faulkner and raises a hand to shake "Good to see you again." He offers as well though wondering if he should bet anything or just go and learn and watch for now.

"Irene! What are you…" Faulkner is then alone again, and just shakes his head, "Oh, well. She'll find me again eventually. I suppose I'll get used to it eventually." Faulkner shakes hands with Graham, "Mr. Cohen, good to see you again. And yes, I think the post time on the Jockey Club Stakes is coming up. If you want to wager on the first race, you should get to it."

And indeed, the 'horses to the line' call sounds over the bugles.

"It's possible to get used to Rena?" Brandy asks - in a friendly sort of teasing tone. Her eyes wander off - finding a dark-skinned boy talking to a few other boys not far off. "She'll probably make a surprise wager of her own before coming back," she predicts.

"She has a way of doing that disappearing, usually turns back up quickly enough though." Graham says with a chuckle he wonders "Admittedly this is my first time to the races so perhaps it'd be best just to watch this go? Dont really know much about the horses competing or anything." He looks back to Brandy and grins.

"Oh, I'm sure. And yes, I think we're settling in. After a fashion. She is rather the ball of energy, though." Faulkner laments. He reaches into his pocket for a few shillings and motions towards of the nearby bookmakers, who are set up on stands around the infield with their chalkboards behind them.

"She's always been a character - since she was much younger," Brandy agrees. "And it's nice to meet you, at last. Cor - get a few drinks into her, and the stories she'll tell…" There's mischief in Brandy's eyes. Hopefully she's just joshing around…

"As I recall, it only takes one." Faulkner deadpans.

Graham follows along as he motions the talk of drinks he shakes his head "Perhaps so." He says in regards to the one drink though he looks over to Brandy as she speaks wondering what she's talking about stories and all of that. "Suppose after a while we all end up with stories to tell."

"Well, she can't talk about her job anyway, but with the war on, there's a lot of that going around. And since the same mostly goes for me, I suppose things work out in that." Faulkner observes, as he walks over to the bookie and lays his two shillings on one of the horses. "Swept Wings. I like that. I think it's appropriate."

Brandy lets out a happy laugh at Faulkner's correction. "Alright, yes, one drink," she agrees. She follows over to the bookie, looking over the list of names - and sees one that's a long shot. "There's a horse named Heckle!" she remarks in delight. "How could I not bet on Heckle?" she asks - putting dwn a few coins.

"I'm afraid i'm in the same boat with Rena there. Since I work in her very same department." Graham says with a chuckle though he looks over the horses "Oh why not." he'll fish some coins from his pocket. The young man places the bet looking to the others once more. "Now we watch the race I assume?" he says chuckling.

"Everyone serves King and Country in their own way, I suppose." Faulkner observes, as he heads towards the grandstand after the bets are placed, "And yes, now you go and watch the race."

"Bac!" Brandy calls - and the boy lingering not too far off lets out a complaining cry of 'Braaaaaaandy!' "Come on - the horses are going to run!" Obviously not happy about his sister calling him over the boy says something to his friends before trotting over to join them. "This is my little brother, Bacardi. He's a good kid, but this is not his favorite sport, I'm afraid."

"Oh, what does he prefer? Cricket? Football?" Faulkner asks, looking over at Brandy. Meanwhile, the horses are in the starting gate, and then…. the buzzer, and they're off!

"Boxing!" the boy chimes in helpfully as he arrives - though that isn't the truth of the matter. It's just the answer his sister has told him to give.

"He's very precocious," Brandy supplies. As the horses take off, she jumps to her feet, pumping an arm into the air. "Come on, Heckler! You can do it!"

The first race has just gone off! The horses bolt out of the starting gate - Four year olds and up in a one mile, four furlong race.

Faulkner unsnaps the case to a small pair of binoculars that were in one of the voluminous pockets of his uniform blouse.

"Brandy! Brandy, did you bring-" Before the boy can finish his sentence, Brandy hands over her own small pair of binoculars for the boy to use. "Keep an eye on number six for me," she instructs. "GO HECKLER!"

Irene's ears must have been burning for the last few minutes, given the fact that she was the subject of such lively discussion amongst the little group. However, she was largely focused on finding her lost hat - which she did, fortunately - up against the very fence leading out onto the track. Having retrieved the dratted thing, she makes her way back through the crowd, clutching her hat and a ticket in hand. Apparently, she managed to find someone to place a bet with while she was at it.

"I never thought I'd find you again!" Irene exclaims with relief, finally reaching her husband and friends. Pausing a moment, she holds up the ticket: "I picked a horse called Dover. It's such an English name, I thought it'd be lucky!"

"Is there a horse called Dover in this race?" Faulkner asks, pulling the racing form out of his other pocket and glancing at it. He shrugs and puts it back, then peers through the glasses, "C'mon, man, come now. Give him the whip. Run!"

They round the first turn and thunder down the backstretch.

"We knew you would. Hat wasn't damaged, was it?" Not that they couldn't just reparro it later, Brandy muses silently. "I don't think we have enough pairs of binoculars to go around. What number is your Dover? This is my little brother, Bac, by the way."

"Hullo, Bac! Glad to meet you." Irene greets the boy with a bright, sunshiny smile. She's always pleased to meet new faces - especially children. Kids haven't had time to grow up into people yet. As for the horse, she quickly asides: "Dover's number seven. Seven's always been a lucky number for me."

Unfortunately for Irene, she is a rather petite woman, and seeing over a jostling, excited crowd is a bit of a problem. She does her level best, bobbing up on her toes to see around the people in front of her; but, her efforts are to little or no avail. She manages to catch sight of the pack, and simply can't take it anymore. Stepping back to the chairs, she hops nimbly onto the empty seat of one and finds herself almost a head and shoulders above the rest.

"Come on, Dovah! Come on, boy!" She cries through cupped hands, as if the horse could hear her.

Faulkner looks over his shoulder as Irene jumps up on the chair. He just shakes his head, and says, "Darling!" But the race is on, so he has to pay attention to that. They thunder round the clubhouse turn, and head down the last straight-away towards the finish.

Seeing Rena jump up on a chair, Bacardi is up on one, as well, in an instant. Brandy allows it - until he starts bouncing up and down. "Hey, Brand, he's catching up! Number six is catching up!"

"Great! Now stop jumping on the chair, you daft thing!"

"I - we've got to see the bloomin' race, ain't I?" Irene objects to the tiny hint of scolding in Faulkner's voice, only taking her eyes off the horses for the briefest of moments. Since Bacardi followed suit, she feels the need to stand up for him as well.

Dark eyes snap back onto the race as the horses pound the turf down the final stretch toward the finish line. The little woman has her hands tightened into fists as though she herself were holding the reigns of the horse she dropped a little money onto. For a moment or two, she behaves, until the horse begins to slip in his position: "EY DOVAH! MOVE YOUR ARSE!" She cries. So much for being the ever-so-proper officer's wife.

Faulkner still has his binoculars to his eyes. But he reaches up and shifts his peaked officer's cap forward and down, as if to cover his face. He really can't believe she just did that!

Brandy can - and she starts to laugh uproarously, while Bacardi stops watching the race to stare at Rena instead. "You talk like Uncle Jim!" he exclaims.

"Uncle Jim after half a bottle," Brandy clarifies.

And the winner of the race is the Number 8 horse! Brandy's horse comes in Out of the Money. Rena's horse comes in Third. Faulkner's horse comes in Dead Last.

After half a bottle? Irene doesn't even need a shot glass to get to this point. She's a natural!

"Aww!" The young woman drops both arms to her sides limply as the number 8 horse gallops across the line, taking the race and bringing a mixture of cheers of triumph and sighs of defeat from the crowd. However, despite her pout, Irene takes it all in stride. Very soon, her smile returns, and she looks down at Faulkner from her high perch. Seeing his cap tipped forward, she reaches over and playfully swipes it from off of his head. Just as impishly, she then drops it onto her own head. "S'what you get for trying to 'ide."

Faulkner tosses his betting ticket to the ground in disgust as his horse comes in dead last. Not a good showing! But there are more races. When his hat is snatched, "Can't take you anywhere, can I, Irene?" he says, "Though I think it looks cuter on you than on me." He doesn't need to stand on tiptoes to snatch the cap back, but he instead takes the whole Rena, scooping her up and setting her feet back on the ground with a brief smooch along the way. THEN he reclaims his hat.

"Ewwwww!" Bacardi exclaims - as young boys have a tendency to do.

"Oh, hush," Brandy answers, handing off her betting ticket. "Here. Tear this up and throw it into the air. Have a ball." He seems more than willing to do just that. "Heckler let me down. What a disappointment."

The little redhead seems to have no qualms with being hefted down from her perch, and she doesn't object. Bacardi's response causes her to stifle back a giggle, and she wrinkles her nose playfully at the boy before returning her attention to Faulkner.

"No, you can't." Irene retorts, incorrigibly. "I'm absolutely impossible. Just ask Brandy!" If anyone would know how impossible she is, that woman would be the one.

"It's true," Brandy says solemnly. "You can't do anything with her."

"I'm your husband. I know how impossible you are already. But thank you, Miss, for confirming it." The hat still halfway to his head, Faulkner instead sticks it down on the complaining Bacardi, "You see, lad, one of the reasons to join the RAF when you're older is, not only will you be allowed to perhaps fly a high-powered aeroplane on dangerous missions for King and Country, but you will be able to get away with kissing girls in all sorts of otherwise socially impermissible places. They just say, 'Oh, he's a pilot!' and let it go at that." A wry grin.

"I don't want to kiss any girls!" Bacardi complains.

"Good," comes Brandy's firm reply.

"…but what's it like flying an aeroplane?" he asks, adjusting the hat on his head - as the boy continues to stand on top of the chair. "Do you think I could go up in one?"

Irene doesn't say anything while Faulkner expounds on the virtues (or permissible vices) endemic to the RAF. She just stands by with a knowing smirk tugging at her lips. However, she can scarcely help herself when Bacardi asks what it's like to fly a plane.

"It's smashing is what it is! You wouldn't believe…" She lets slip before remembering herself. Going wide-eyed, she holds a gloved hand up to her mouth and glances at Faulkner. Oops?

Faulkner grins at his wife, and nods, "It is smashing." He leans in to whisper conspiratorialy, "She might have gone up for a ride with me once. But it's hard to arrange, you know? You should join the air cadets in a few years, they get to learn all sorts of things, and even get to go on training flights now and again."

"That would be great!" Bacardi says eagerly. "But - err - when I'm older I'll probably be busy at school…" He gives his sister a questioning look.

"But maybe there's a summer program for Air Cadets?" Brandy suggests uncertainly.

"Could my sister go on a ride with you, too?" the boy asks, prompting a laugh from his older sister.

"Maybe if Rena doesn't mind!" she manages to get out.

"I don't know if there's a summer program, but they run it at the schools. We had a group at the school I taught at." Faulkner explains. He looks over to Brandy, and says, "I'm afraid the war is turning to actual shooting now, so less time for loafing off all around. I don't want to be caught up there with someone if Jerry comes around for a visit, you understand. But when Herr Hitler is whipped back to his kennel, I'm sure we can arrange something."

"Cor, if it were up to me, I'd take both of you up, sure as sure." Irene says, looking fondly at the boy - if a little regretful. Of course, she is only an officer's wife and hasn't any such pull to get people free rides. Plus, with the war heating up, as Faulkner says… well, playtime seems to be drawing to a close.

Helpfully trying to shift the conversation a little, and knowing how Brandy values education, Irene remarks: "He was a teacher, you know. Before rejoining the RAF, I mean."

"Oh, well, I wouldn't want to be up there at all if Jerry shows, I'll admit," Brandy agrees readily.

"They have it as school, though?" Bacardi says questioningly. "Well - I guess I'll join at school, then." The boys beckons his sister in closer to whisper in her ear - and earns a shake of her head in response. No - they don't have that at Hogwarts.

"Oh, a teacher? That's marvelous! There are few causes more noble - though you may have stumbled on one of them."

Faulkner nods, "Well, I left Cambridge for a while to fly in the Great War. Then I went back and finished up afterwards. I teach Classics. Ancient Greek and Latin." By his accent, he's from some posh schools himself. Cambridge and no doubt a Public School of some sort before that. Rena snagged herself a proper gentleman, complete with a King's Commission saying as much.

Irene is not wholly unaware of the fact that she landed a gentleman and a scholar when she married Faulkner. In fact, she is rather self-conscious about it - and their wealth - if the truth were known.

Blushing a bit sheepishly, Irene gives a faint laugh: "You never would've expected me to catch a proper toff, would you?" She asks Brandy. "He's even teaching me to speak better English, and he's gotten me to read heady classic books. Though, I've got to say I'm still partial to old fairytales." She's just a tad more basic than Faulkner.

"Rena, I always expected you'd land yourself a real decent sort - a good man. Which, so far, seems to be the case." Brandy narrows her eyes playfully, "Though maybe I should get to know him better before I make judgement."

"Well… I suppose I'm a good sort, for an RAF man. We are known for our debuached morals." Faulkner comments with a chuckle. He motions towards the bookmakers, who are doing their tic-tac sign language to announce the odds on the next race. Rena must feel right at home, because a lot of it is derived from cockney rhyme. "They're bringing out the horses for the Guineas. We should put a bet in…"

Irene coughs to herself and tries not to look utterly guilty or conspicuous when Faulkner remarks on the debauched morals of RAF men. As far as that goes, however, he DID decide to marry her after all.

Distracted from that line of thought again, the young woman grins and bounces up on her toes: "Oh, let's do! You never know, we might get lucky this time. I think it's a lot of fun!" Probably for the best if she isn't allowed on the racetrack too often. She seems the type to waste a lot of money on random bets based on sentiment and little logic.

"What's… debauched morals?" Bacardi asks curiously.

"It's a type of automobile. Why don't you go put a coin on the race," Brandy invites, handing her brother a coin. That's all it takes - the boy is down from his chair and off, while Brandy gives Faulkner a look that asks 'Really?' Still - she seems more amused than annoyed. "So what horses do we have in the big race?" she asks.

"We'll see what the odds are, darling." Faulkner says, offering Irene his arm again and pulling out his racing form as they head towards the bookmakers. It seems as if it will be a jolly day at the races - with much more excitement to come. One only hopes that Rena can contain herself.

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