CHELTENHAM provides everyone and anyone who fancies a flutter with some mid-Spring excitement each year, but it seems my knowledge of the science behind success at betting grows dimmer by the year.
The festival arrived immediately after a week's break and it caught me completely unawares.
Usually I would at least have carried out some preliminary sussing around asking those in the know about who to look out for, but this year's tips never came and I ended up throwing my hat at a number of horses, nine, in fact, none of which were even mentioned by breathlessly excited commentators as the races came and went.
The only thing worse than having no success in your betting is to be surrounded by colleagues who are winning left, right and centre and some of mine were.
As my small bets started to add up to siazable amounts (€30), I began to see how the bookmakers make so much as no-one likes to lose and there is always the tantalising temptation of success just around the corner.
Tuesday and Wednesday were complete write off's as I dabbled in everything from Lucky15 bets to doubles, before laying down some serious €3 each way bets in the hope of making my money back.
The results were disastrous.
My old trick, honed in my youth at the Listowel races, of asking someone who looks up to speed with the best runners and riders to pick, was not resorted to as it must be a cardinal sin of betting offices to ask a stranger for a tip, so I languished in the shadows, throwing docket after docket into the bin each evening upon checking the results, through my fingers.
Finally I had a breakthrough on Thursday, winning €19.50. Nothing like a win to get a fledling better back on track.
Friday was even better, with a tidy 14/1 each way win, courtesy of my lucky cousin. Throughout the week betting offices across the country were busy with winner's names being sung from pursed lips.
I was glad of my little successes, but all bets are off now until the Grand National. I don't think I could manage the stress of any more losses.
SO the unnamed political party finally came up with a name for itself. Renua sounds both familiar and old, oddly enough, but here's hoping Lucinda Creighton and Co can galvinise the political scene in the country which has become quite stale in recent times.
With Sinn Fein and Fianna Fáil staking a claim for power once more and Labour struggling as second fiddlers to Fine Gael, it remains to be seen whose tune we'll all be singing come the next general election.
Creighton is well respected and can be a strong voice for the party, but it was unfortunate to say the least that the first major interview a spokesperson for the party had ended up as such a pr belly flop disaster, the vibrations of which are still echoing out on social media.
You'd have to feel for Terence Flanagan TD, but politics is a cruel game. The only consolation for Renua, and it cannot be underestimated, is that there will be a lot more car crash moments on our radios and TV sets over the coming months as pressure amounts ahead of the general election.
THE Good Woman took to Twitter for the first time this week and the first thing I thought was, 'there ain't room enough in this house for two tweeters'.
With two young children, who combine to challenge us for a moment's rest at times, it was a case of a tweet too far.
As a passive Twitter user, (about which I make no apologies), I rarely ever tweet outside of work. Between Whatsapp and the old reliable Facebook, I have ways and means to share photographs and communciate with family and friends so Twitter doesn't come into my social networking.
I admire people who tweet regularly, so long as it's not all self aggrandising natter and there is an art to keeping Twitter followers (who can be particularly demanding) happy.
Twitter conversations, unlike face-to-face conversations, can amount to little more than hollow soundbites. They are often fickle, usually superfluous and can mean nothing. Commitments are often made but are breached in the making. People comment on your tweets and as you don't know them you often don't know how to take them. But there's no harm in it all so good luck with the tweeting Good Woman, just don't take it too seriously.