Archive for January, 2014

Stocking up

It’s been a worthy though unspectacular fortnight of reading through old Uttoxeter files and finding bits and pieces to enhance or correct the main draft. That’s not to say time hasn’t been well spent. There was one episode that I’d originally described in a sentence or two, yet looking at it again and re-investigating I found much more to say about it – and I thought it was interesting enough to add to the draft.

I started research eighteen months ago and I feel entitled to have forgotten some of what I’ve learned, and re-reading in the light of subsequently-gained knowledge can make you see things in a different light.

I will be up in Uttoxeter again soon and need to plan a couple of itineraries, one with some sightseeing if the weather is good and one with more filling-in-gaps research if it isn’t.

I realised after a few recent orders for Fontwell books that I had almost run out of stock. The racecourse have kindly sent me some more, although a few of them were damaged. They were sent in a box that hadn’t been opened since the printers sent them to the racecourse in 2008. We erred on the high side with our print run, lured by the unit cost becoming more attractive the more you want printed. I fear they were kept somewhere that suffered dampness some time in that five years! How long can new books continue to be called new, I wonder? Most that reached me were pristine and I have listed them on Amazon as new. At £4.99 they are half the original price. Incidentally I haven’t listed my first book The Croydon Races, though I have a few left for £5 including p&p if anyone is interested.

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My thanks to John Randall, the compiler of the Racing Post Christmas Quiz, for devising a question about Fontwell that led to people e-mailing me for the answer.  Others searching for it found this blog, with the result that it broke the old record for the number of hits in a day about ten times over!  I hope some of the newcomers will look in again.

I’ve been trying to help find out the background to an unusual object that’s coming up for auction soon – I won’t say more in case it affects the bidding.

Slightly off the subject of racing history, I am glad to report that a couple of my Uttoxeter helpers, Kathy and Kevin, were married just after Christmas.  The last time I saw Kathy it was in the racecourse car park in what might have looked like an illicit handover of dodgy substances, but she was only giving me some fresh meat and honey to deliver to her daughter on my way home that evening.

I have spent a fair amount of time on Uttoxeter during the festive period.  The desperate weather justified staying in and swotting, though I did get to Kempton between tempests on 27 December.  Part of the swotting involved noting down fresh material I’ve obtained from my own library of racing books.  The rest consisted of reviewing my Word files on particular Uttoxeter subjects alongside the draft of the main text to see what there is in the former that could be added to the latter.  There’s quite a bit more to that review to do and that’s my agenda for the next few weeks.  Eventually all the desired content will be in the main text and I can then go through it “polishing” it to make it read better, double check anything I’m not certain about and delete the dullest bits.  I am still open to incorporating new material.  There are still at least three archives I need to visit or ask about in the quest to find out more. 

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