Archive for October, 2015

I have been going to more race meetings before it turns wet and windy or wintry. I’ve been lucky in that very few of my outings have been marred by the weather.  There’s no fresh Uttoxeter news except for being asked to be present on another race day in December for book-selling duties.  It occurred to me to start thinking about the number of copies I would like as presents to give my helpers and to sell to previous book-buyers.

Windsor research goes on, checking my own stock of books at home and exploring more online options. Fourteen days free trial on findmypast is proving useful.  I don’t feel I need to start writing yet.  That wouldn’t be the case if I were still working, where I’d expect to start composing nine months before publication.  Christmas or Easter breaks were very handy in those circumstances.

The other day I met a fellow researcher who’s been working on the history of Alexandra Park races for quite a while. I have a five-year-old email from him that said he’d been working on it a long time then!  I don’t think he’ll mind me saying the lack of a deadline has meant his investigations have gone on perhaps longer than was strictly necessary.  You can go on indefinitely trying to find out more.  The likelihood must be that there is nothing else out there that is important or will add interest to the story.  He’s now thinking of finalising it in 2016.

Tomorrow there’s an auction of racing and other sporting memorabilia at Sotheby’s in London. Three of the lots being sold are mine; as they are quite heavy I hope they are sold, or else I will have to cart them back home, which won’t be much fun.

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The Uttoxeter book is finished – hooray! I have seen the proofs and agreed them.

The racecourse has decided to put the launch back to 22 November, a Sunday meeting that is a Festive Family Day. Then there are two fixtures in mid-December and another on New Year’s Eve, which are all potential selling opportunities.

I will be interested to hear what ideas for marketing it arise. Having done some local radio shows in the past to plug my other books, I had better brush up a few things to say in case I’m asked to do so again.

Meanwhile there is an end in sight to the Windsor research that I can do using material I have at home. There is, however, more to be done in libraries elsewhere. And I am still waiting and hoping for input from at least one of the family members connected with its management. There’s additional work to be done trying to trace the descendants of other families who used to be involved with it.

The fact that dealings with the printer took much less time than I’d originally estimated, based on my experiences with past books, implies that settling on a format virtually identical to the Bath book was helpful. Some of my earlier books were typeset by someone else and in hindsight that complicated things, as there was a need for them, me and a firm of printers to deal with each other. I can therefore allow myself a little more time to write Windsor, which I anticipate starting after Christmas.

I was glad to get some feedback from the most recent enquiry about Alfred Day, saying that my response helped to pinpoint some of the gallops on the South Downs that he used. I often don’t get to hear the outcome of other enquirers’ researches.

The predominantly fine weather of the last few weeks has encouraged me to go to quite a few meetings and although Brighton last Tuesday turned nasty mid-afternoon, trips to Fontwell and Newmarket took place in glorious conditions.  I am making hay before the hard winter that’s supposed to be approaching – although doesn’t someone say that’s going to happen every year?

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