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Full Circle

Day 136: Adelaide

Compass Cup, Australia 
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'Udderley Yours' refuses to be rushed.
Michael Palin - Full CircleEven an apology for an error provides Les with an opportunity too good to miss. 'Sorry about that,' he booms. 'It just slipped out. The word I mean.'

An auction is in progress. As a result of an inadvertent sneeze I win the opportunity of riding a cow called Udderley Yours in the second race of the Compass Cup. The first heat is a shambles. The starter releases the cows from the paddock by firing a double-barrelled shotgun quite close to their heads. They emerge rearing up, eyes bulging, legs flailing. Young men and women try desperately to attach themselves to these bovine berserks, but by the end of the race, the arena looks as if the Light Brigade has charged through it. One rider is eased onto a stretcher by a St John's Ambulance team, another looks proudly at the place where the pad of skin between thumb and forefinger used to be and a girl jockey - a 'jockette' according to Les - has a suspected broken wrist.

Fortunately Udderley Yours proves to be so docile that Les refers to it over the loudspeaker as the Valium Cow. With the help of my three 'urgers', I was not only able to mount it, but to stay on it for the entire two hundred yard course. As a result of this prudence I come second in my race. Twelve and a half minutes behind the only other finisher.

Back at the hotel I ring home, wake Helen up and heard to my relief that Will had not been at work yesterday.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Full Circle
  • Day: 136
  • Country/sea: Australia
  • Place: Adelaide
  • Book page no: 195

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