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Archive for July, 2012

Lapping it up

I went to a lecture at the British Museum last week given by an eminent historian and horse fan, Robin Lane Fox.  An hour listening to him talking about the horse in art and in warfare at the time of Ancient Greece emphasised to me how vast the history of the horse is beyond the last few hundred years of organised racing in this country.  I learned that not only was he an advisor on a 2004 film about Alexander the Great, but he was one of the extras at the front of a scene showing an army of horsemen charging into battle. 

Heading slightly more downmarket, I’ll be going to see Dandy Dick this week, hoping for a good show and my name to appear in the programme.

Wikipedia editing has reduced but it continues to be a learning experience.  Changes to my handiwork by others are becoming fewer.  They are generally on the basis of rules whose necessity isn’t always obvious to a newcomer to Wiki’s world. 

Going to Newmarket for the July Cup was memorable for the wrong reasons.  You had to park your car carefully to avoid the boggiest areas.  At least the rain fizzled out in mid-afternoon, but the big screen didn’t work and the PA was pointing at the Members’ Stand rather than Tatts, so we didn’t see or hear much of what was going on. 

Bath has been quiet since my one visit there in the spring and I think it’s time to suggest we put it on Amazon in the hope of shifting a few more copies – not that I have very many here.  I am conscious their Wurzels evening meeting is approaching (3 August) but I doubt I can make it there.

I am starting research on the new book at home, and I still hope to announce the subject in two or three weeks.

But the big research topic right now is – laptops.   I am about to buy one for the first time.   To me, studying the ads and the reviews, the IT jargon gets ever more confusing but no more interesting.

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I can highly recommend the British Museum exhibition.  Allow an hour to go round.  About half of it is to do with the horse in pre-Christian art – everything from rock sculpture to bridle equipment to tiny decorative pieces.  There’s a bit of a jump to post-1700, when thoroughbred racing begins.  I may well go and see it again, and maybe even buy the catalogue.  It’s £15 for the softback edition; entry to the exhibition itself is free.  There were plenty of people there when I went one Saturday lunchtime on a day when several other horse-related activities were going on there.

Dandy Dick is on at Brighton, and has been reviewed by most of the papers as pleasant lightweight fun, which is probably all you can expect of a rarely-seen 1887 comedy. 

I’ve been updating some entries about racecourses on Wikipedia.  What a minefield it is, as far as doing it properly is concerned.  There are reams of rules, procedures and guidance, which I doubt anyone will have the patience to read before getting stuck in.  Yet it is not always easy to read the mixture of legal-American-computer code jargon.  I’d thought that putting a photo onto a Wikipedia page ought to be easy, yet I have come across about three different procedures in the last week.  Maybe that’s because there are vast numbers of people working on it.  They are all volunteers, though.  What has been impressed on me is that one must be diligent in putting on facts and referencing them, omitting anything that might be regarded as opinion or advertising.

I’m on the verge of agreeing the subject of my next racecourse book.  I will wait until I’ve met the people concerned face to face before going public about which one it is.  That should be next month.

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