Archive for August, 2013

After a few tentative attempts a month or so ago, I have picked up the pen again, so to speak, and resumed the writing of the Uttoxeter story. I’ve started at what I feel is an easy place rather than the (chronological) beginning. I have no great plan in mind yet, other than to get words on paper. Nor am I thinking about dates in mind for a return visit. The diary is full enough for the next month and there are the standard practicalities to bear in mind, namely expense and rationing my time off from work. They have plenty of race meetings from September, though, and I’m sure the gaps in my research that need filling will become apparent as time goes by and that will direct me to people or places I need to revisit. If only I can avoid going there in the worst of the weather, which so often happened last winter.

The recent domestic racing highlight was being asked for a tip by some people going to Brighton races last week. I picked out two horses, both of which won. That’s never happened before! I even put a little money on one of them for myself. It was very satisfying.

That was on the first day of Brighton’s Festival of Racing, early August being the traditional time of their main meeting for well over 150 years. I went on day three, when my acute tipstermanship vanished with three losers in a row. It seems I shall not live by punting alone. Happily I found the winner of the last race of the day and reduced my losses. They seemed to have a good crowd that day, which is usually the quietest of the three, and I hear that numbers on the preceding days were well up to expectations.

One of my old chums has been in touch by email and told me about his adventures travelling around eastern Europe to research Romanian racing history. He makes my efforts sound tame. It deserves a wider audience. Maybe he’ll let me put some of it on here.

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A fresh lead

The outcome of my excursion with the Day family albums was, for me, an absorbing meeting with the man who I should have described in the entry before the last as the closest relative to Alfred Day that I have found.  The country pub lunch and the walk back to his house via a quiet towpath and even quieter country lanes made for a very enjoyable afternoon with him, with some stimulating conversation on a variety of subjects.   On the way home I found myself thinking for the umpteenth time how lucky I have been to meet such interesting, helpful and hospitable people in the course of my research.  As is often the case, discretion forbids me from describing more.  I have left the albums with him in the hope that a leisurely perusal may result in the recognition of a family member.

I discovered a possible lead in the albums the day before going to see him.  Soon after getting the albums I examined each picture and jotted down some scruffy notes about any writing on them, or other clues as to their subjects.  I thought I’d better type these notes up to give my contact a bit of help, and while doing so I realised that two of the people pictured had the same surname as someone else later in the Alfred Day and Binda Billsborough story.  The two names in full are quite unusual and they give me another route to explore when I sign up again with ancestry.co.uk. It goes to show, yet again, that material should be reviewed after a gap of say six months in case something rings a bell now that didn’t ring one before.

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