We all sorted ourselves out, more or less at the same moment, to roll together in a
confusion of shouting, running, pushing and punting, round the second turn.
We entered the final turn in a compact mass. Here there was another series of
collisions until the scene resembled a battleground rather than a race. I was forced hard
into the bushes and only escaped by rolling off Lightning at the last moment as she
plunged into the brambles. I saw Roy rolling over and over behind me as his Sprinter continued on in my direction.
‘Take her, take her!’ yelled Roy.
I leaped aboard Sprinter and with furious punting, headed her into the final straight.
There was a Streeter just on my left and another on my right, both punting as hard as they could go. I could also hear
someone punting just behind me but didn't look to see who it was. My object was to stay ahead of the field. This race was
going to be won on the ability to punt and there were still a hundred and fifty yards to go.
Brian had a sour expression. He hadn't yet spoken since introducing himself. ‘Have you got
a cart?’ I asked him brightly wanting to cheer him up.
‘What do you call it?’
‘Larkspur,’ he replied, looking even more sour.
‘That's a flower,’ I said straightforwardly, not meaning any kind of disparagement. But
he took it badly.
‘No need to make fun of it. A spur is what you apply to a horse to make it go faster and Lark is my name. So Larkspur is
what makes me go faster.’
‘It's a very good name,’ I replied soothingly, then attempted a compliment: ‘And with your long legs I bet you can go
pretty fast already.’
This went down even worse: Brian was sensitive about his lanky appearance. ‘My mum says you shouldn't make personal
remarks; it's bad manners!’
‘Sorry: I meant it as a compliment.’
‘Well, you can keep your compliments.’