Susan Morrison: ‘When it comes to sin I don’t horse around’

Musselburgh Racetrack. Picture: TSPL

Musselburgh Racetrack. Picture: TSPL

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THERE are, I believe, seven deadly sins. And I have a passing familiarity with most of them, ranging from Gluttony (particularly when those big tins of chocolates make their appearance on Christmas Day) through Wrath, usually triggered by people who mispronounce it as “wroth”.

It’s Wraaath. As in the Wraaaath of Khan. I’m right. Don’t argue, or I shall unleash my wrath. That’s “wraaath”.

Then there’s Lust, looking at you, Mr Clooney. I am particularly keen on Sloth, when I can be bothered, and Envy regularly raises its green-eyed head when a lovely lass with a perfect figure who is clearly capable of ignoring Gluttony passes by.

I’m not actually sure what Hubris is, but I’ve probably done it.

Oddly, though, the seven deadly vices don’t include gambling. That’s a new vice for me. Yes, I have gone to the dogs. Well, the horses to be exact. That’s me off to hell in a handbasket via Musselburgh racecourse.

Having now tasted the glories of the sport of kings for one afternoon I am now, of course, an expert. In future, I shall sport a rakish trilby and a camel hair coat swinging from my shoulders, since I clearly have an eye for this sort of thing.

Yes, you can call it the luck of the beginner, but how many folks do you know who can make bookies weep with her maiden bet as her baby romps home clear of the field? The gentlemen of the turf trembled as I swept down to claim my winnings of £2.80.

That broken bank at Monte Carlo lurked in the shadows, shaking like Banquo’s ghost beside the nice lady at the Tote, who let me keep the pen as well. Naturally, I’m an expert now on spotting winners, each way bets, and racecourse etiquette.

You may not know this, but it is considered bad form to rush onto the track and shout “run faster” at your chosen runner. It’s also considered a bit of a faux pas to try to hug the horse that finishes last, even though you feel sorry for it.

What’s in a name?

Just remembered. I think Hubris was the name of the horse I backed that stopped for a coffee round the course at Musselburgh.

Summer madness at the beginning of January

It’s the bleak midwinter now, all right. The baubles have come down and discarded Christmas trees are littering up the pavements like drunken Big Brother finalists falling out of z-rated nightclub openings in Stockport.

Hogmanay’s a hangover and summer seems far away. The only thing bright is the red ink on the credit card statements. So right, let’s Gee up January.

Let’s declare it June. Wear flip flops at all times and go into the office sporting last year’s bikini, preferably your own. Remember that when you sit on a Lothian bus (particularly the leather seats) your thong clad bottom will make an odd rasping noise when you sit down and a strange sucking noise when you get up. Don’t worry, this will keep you warm when you blush with embarrassment.

Get down to Luca’s and queue for ice cream, even if there is no-one there, then insist on eating it outside, even if it is raining. This is, I admit, tricky. If you think ice cream melts fast on a hot day, you want to try it when an icy January sleet is thudding into you.

Pretend it’s a proper June – ie not a Scottish one. By this I mean a summer with sunshine and the possibility of sun tan. Get brown, the old fashioned way. Fake tan is fiddly to apply, it stinks and it’s expensive. So, I recommend Bisto. Other packet gravy mixes are available.

Remember, slather it on, go for that mahogany shade. You might like to consider the use of varnish for the full high gloss look, but be careful not to overwhelm the Bisto scent. You want to attract seagulls to give you that seaside sound. Watch out for dogs, though. A barking pack taking your thong apart does not say Porty Prom at high summer.

Oh, wait a minute. It does. Especially if it’s raining.

On second thoughts . . it’s a mug’s game

Having crushed the odds with my winner and an each way bet, I knew what I was doing. I promptly backed a horse that seemed to have run round the course via Dunfermline, and do you know, I got none of my money back?

For goodness sake, when I part with the princely sum of £5 I expect more than just a wee piece of paper bearing the name of a nag that’s decided it’s a great day for a stroll.

Oh no, this gambling’s not my bag man. Actually, for a fiver in a good charity shop, I can buy a bag.

This is one vice I think I’ll leave to the birds. Even the racing ones.