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Archive for August, 2018

I remember once hearing someone quoting his favourite “most pretentious remark” he’d heard was by another person saying “as I was re-reading Moby Dick….”  A highly regarded but (according to the only person I know who has read it) a highly turgid book.  Well, I am re-reading Paul Mathieu’s Beckhampton, the 200-year story of the racing stables and the trainers, owners and horses connected with them.  It’s not all that long since I first read it, but it is the absolute opposite of turgid.  I don’t know how Paul manages to find out so many interesting stories and pack them so adroitly into his narrative.

That book and mine have certain people and subjects in common and I feel mine would be so much more amusing if I copied many more of Paul’s stories.  I won’t, of course, but it’s difficult and counter-productive not to use some of his insights.   I will use them sparingly, for I feel guilty that it wasn’t me that did the hard work unearthing them in the first place.  I console myself by ensuring I will acknowledge him unhesitatingly and with gratitude.

I’ve now re-read the whole of the Salisbury text.  It’s amazing how quickly the time goes when messing about with it.  Lately I’ve had to think about how to begin the story – ideally with a bang – and how to deal with discrete subjects that don’t easily fit into the main chronological narrative.  Wedge them in anyhow at the most suitable point?   Smuggle them into the final chapter?  Condemn them to being appendices?  If so, in what order?

Next I should search for every time I’ve left the word “check” in the text, and steel myself to sort out what to do to resolve those incidences.  It’s bound to involve scrabbling around in the loft peering at old Racing Calendars.

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90% done

Back from a week’s holiday, which included some useful time when not out sightseeing devoted to checking the Salisbury draft.  90% is done, so some time this week I should finish it.  I’ll then go through every time the word “check” appears in the text and review my sources.  Once that’s done I will prepare to read it all over again!  I feel as if I haven’t cut much out so far, so during the second run-through I’ll have to have foremost in my mind “do I really need to include this?”

I’ve been given a useful tip-off about some newspaper reports that will amplify one of the episodes in the book.  It’ll require a visit to the British Library to read them.  I am grateful to a fellow author whose name I drop three times in the Salisbury narrative.  I’ve told him he won’t get rich on referrals from the small (but very select) audience that reads my books.

That holiday and, regrettably, illness mean this entry is going to be a short one.

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