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Archive for October, 2013

Worthy Progress

I can report nothing very exciting, only Worthy Progress. That’s because I am writing as much and as often as I can. Subject to the oh-let’s-have-a-break feeling, which are probably more frequent or prolonged than they ought to be. Some are justified, though; like this one.

I’m up to about 25,000 words so far, but editing them for quality will be necessary time and time again once I do get everything down on paper. I have at least approached some press agencies to see whether they have any images I could use, but with Uttoxeter not exactly at the centre of the universe I am prepared not to be deluged with material in return. I am waiting for their responses. And I have booked my next trip there in November, which will entail revisiting some libraries to look for more detail on a few things and to re-comprehend my original notes, whose meaning has become obscure since I first wrote them.

I begin to feel that this book may have more of a bias towards local history, as the main protagonists are people involved in local government – which is only to be expected, as the course was run by the Council for a long time. Saying that makes it sound as if the story must be dull, which I don’t think it is, but it’s going to need judicious marketing in order not to deter people.

I enjoyed being at the final Brighton race meeting ten days ago, on a sunny mild day that was a marked improvement on some of the its previous seasons’ last days. At the time of writing everyone is bracing themselves for St Jude’s Storm. Good luck, wherever you are.

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In Memoriam

I was quite pleased with myself yesterday as I spent some time extracting information from a couple of sources in order to produce some interesting facts and statistics for a research assignment I’ve been given.  It was frustrating, though, to get to the end of one source and find numerous stats were there in an appendix all along.  At least I can repeat some of them with a clear conscience, where I know that the information is in the public domain elsewhere.   And I can create some different stats and fresh “Did You Know” snippets from the work I did.

I’ve been saddened to hear that one of my Uttoxeter helpers has died.  I’d met Stan three or four times and he was full of life.  He led me on a few walks in the area that involved climbing over fences, some that were as tall as him.  He was in his late seventies, quite short and not exactly athletically built!  Yet I have the feeling he will have clambered over quite a few fences in a mischievous childhood.  He described playing on the racecourse during the war years.  Of course, now I wish I’d seen more of him.

Work on the Uttoxeter text continues.  I’m starting to break up the chronological story with subsections on subjects that span a number of years.  They make more sense to deal with as discrete stories, but I will have to think carefully about where to slot them into the overall running order. 

Last weekend I visited Fontwell for the third time this year.  The car is all right now!  My records tell me I went racing there ten times in 2010.  That’s quite a comedown, but I have been racing only half as much this year, partly because of research and also for non-racing holidays.  Next Thursday I make my almost-traditional pilgrimage to Brighton for their last meeting of the year.  Legend has it that the horse that finishes last in the final race is supposed to be accompanied by a few flakes of snow to augur the onset of winter.  I hope it won’t be quite as cold as that.

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