Thunder Weather   Leave a comment

The clouds that made a nice sunset last night . . .

. . . were the harbingers of a thunderstorm.  It was pretty mild, by Midwest standards; a few distant flashes, a couple of thunder-grumbles, and a very brief shower.  Still, it made for a little break in the monotonous succession of hot empty skies.  And it wasn’t enough to affect the hay harvest.

I spent part of today reading a very interesting book from the library; Eclipse by Nicholas Clee.  Four different British newspapers called it the sports book of the year. Eclipse, if you are not a racing fan, was the greatest horse of his time, if not all time.  Ninety-five percent of today’s racehorses are his descendants.  He was foaled in 1764, in the dissolute and bawdy Georgian era; bred by the Duke of Cumberland, otherwise known as the Butcher of Culloden.  (If you’re a Scot, you know who he is.)  Later, Eclipse’s owner, a true Irish rogue named Dennis O’Kelly, was the partner of the most famous madam in London, who was patronized by the highest nobility.  If you think of historical figures as prim cardboard figures, you’re in for a surprise.

Mr. Clee has dug up all kinds of fascinating material.  For example, when a new race was proposed. it was said that Lord Derby and Sir Charles Bunbury tossed a coin to see who the race would be named for:

“Had Bunbury called the toss correctly, we assume, the great race would have been named the Bunbury; the Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs would be the Kentucky Bunbury; a football match between Arsenal and Tottenham would be a North London Bunbury; and motor cars would crash into each other in demolition bunburys.”

Great fun for horse people — and anyone else who likes a good story.

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Posted August 4, 2012 by stablewoman in Weather

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