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Archive for December, 2013

Seize the momentum

Writing has resumed.  Yet as soon as I had, I realised I’d overlooked some neglected source material, so I started making notes on that instead!  Nevertheless, writing the great chronological first draft is under way again and momentum has been restored.  With extra time available over the Christmas break I must exploit that opportunity as much as possible, while of course allowing reasonable time off to go racing, go for a bracing walk in the country (with suitable footgear), eat another chocolate etc. The thought has entered my mind, possibly prematurely, that the end of the first draft may be within reach. 

In this last fortnight I’ve been trying to write about events at Uttoxeter in the last ten years.  There’s a danger that one could give excess attention to recent happenings just because they are recent.  If nothing important or interesting has happened, I should say nothing.  And yet… what if a recent but seemingly minor event could be important in the long term? And how will it read to people picking up the book for the first time in 2024 or 2034?

Then there is the difficulty of how to finish a story where people already know what the ending is – and it’s not a bang.  Unless something utterly unpredictable happens, the ending may be just another day at the races.  I suppose I’ll have to have some surprises in the preceding 150 pages.

Last month I contacted the Town Council about the book and some of the stories I’d like to tell about various episodes from the period the previous Council directly managed the course.  They have formally considered the matter and there seems to be no objection to my plans. 

Merry Christmas to followers and other readers; till we meet again in 2014.

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Tingling with excitement

I’ve booked my next visit to Uttoxeter in January, not necessarily to do much research; it’s more to keep in touch with people there and to go to a race meeting. It’s odd to be writing a book about a course and not to have been racing there for seven months. I am hopeful there will be some fresh pictures for me to see when I’m there next. I wonder if the documentary being made about the course when I was there last month will be available to view by then. One of the press agencies has more than 1,000 pictures of Uttoxeter, most of which are racing scenes, and I will have to go through them to see whether any are suitable for inclusion in the book. Suitable means liking them enough to pay for permission to use them.
Last weekend I walked part of the old Lewes racecourse, which is still used for training gallops. Walking the site of old racecourses is another anorakish thing I do when I get the chance. The South Downs are great on a fine day, and rotten when it’s wet, as I know to my cost. I didn’t quite get our bearings right, and though I aimed for a downhill path to a village we came up against a precipice. Retracing our steps brought us to a path which led to the town of Lewes and a slightly premature end to our ramble.
Not much writing has been done this last fortnight. Work, commuting delays and domestic stuff has got in the way. And yesterday was my annual pilgrimage to the Tingle Creek meeting at Sandown with an old friend of mine. As always there was a big crowd, despite the absence of the latest star jumper Sprinter Sacre, and plenty of stalls selling food and drink and one selling books – regrettably not any of mine. But now the writing pace must pick up again.

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