After work we gather in the Bear for a few well-earned drinks. As the crowd disperses, Eve announces that she is off to a ferret race. "Come along if you like" she says with a smile. Not sure if she's serious, or what to expect, Laura, Will and myself accept.
Eve explains that the event is to raise money for Maidenhead Operactic Society to which she belongs - a worthy cause after seeing one of her shows a few months before.
The venue takes a little finding, a bowls club with an easy to miss driveway. Once there we walk in, and see four drainpipe sized tubes running the length of the room. As we head for the bar we notice the smell, of ferrets. We take our drinks down the far end of the room where all the ferrets are caged up and the smell is almost overpowering.
The rules of the racing are explained and we are encouraged to bet a pound or two on the first race. We soon discover the unpredictability of the ferrets as they take their own sweet time to navigate a length of pipe, often turning around, sometimes backtracking as far back as the starting box. As the evening goes on we notice that Eve is one of the few people able to pick a winner.
The evening is interrupted with a meal of sausage and chips, which is included in the admission fee. Thankfully, the smell of everyone's meal helps to disguise the smell of the ferrets. The evening continues with a few more races, this time trusting Eve's natural talent for picking a winner, and chatting with the handlers before heading home.