Archive for February, 2019

My last post’s Option C has come true.  The printers of the Salisbury book have gone very quiet.  I know of no response to Jeremy’s email last Friday week, which pressed them for an updated quote for the job.  Perhaps they have replied and he hasn’t told me, but in that case I need to chase him.  Getting nowhere fast – behind schedule now – maybe we won’t make our launch date.

Domestic business means I haven’t done much on Ffos Las in the last few weeks.  I need only say the words “house selling” and “solicitors” to explain why.   Not that there is a huge amount to do on “the birth of a racecourse”.  There isn’t a lot more I can add to the text, although “text” is dignifying it somewhat.  It has a lot of rough edges.

The books are also compromised by the other work – writing articles and compiling statistics – that I am doing for various racecourses, which is subject to a series of deadlines every week.  It cannot, therefore, be put off.

It’s ironic that my interest in the past is now on the verge of being overtaken by my work on the present.  The latter, the more urgent, requires keeping up to date with current racing news, yet it has a short shelf-life (shades of the old cliché about yesterday’s newspapers being today’s chip wrappers).  Nevertheless the former will, I hope, have a rather longer existence, and I like to think my books will be of use to the next person who decides to write a history of Salisbury, or Fontwell or any of “my” other racecourses in 50 years’ time.  Or to the university student of the 23rd century, researching this remote period of ancient history, who may regard the very idea of a sport involving animals as positively medieval.

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Lots of fun and games with images for the Salisbury book.

Happily, Jeremy is not quite as constricted as regards the budget for pictures and he found about 40 for the period since he became the manager in 2001.  He was most assiduous in identifying copyright holders, and he even negotiated deals with those that needed paying for.  I don’t think I’ve ever had the luxury of having this done for me before, or if I have, not on this scale.

He eliminated some of his selections to arrive at a final 26, but as soon as I started working out how to arrange them in the 32-page colour section the printers recommended, Jeremy found four or five more.  They had to go in too.  Re-arrangement of the colour section duly occurred.  Then he thought of three more we had to have.  Two of them have gone into another chapter and one of them is a photo that’s yet to be taken, for which a blank space is being left in the colour section.  (Until the last moment, I fear; if not later.)

This was all after the normal finalisation of the pictures-in-book process; he’d authorised my choice of older pictures for the pre-21st century chapters, and was happy with the prices I’d arranged with the copyright holders.

All the images (bar that one) are now with the printers, as is the text, so for the next few weeks I will be either a) breathing a sigh of relief and enjoying a quiet spell where I can’t do much on Salisbury, or b) going through the text again and finding numerous things that could be changed, or c) fretting about whether the printers are indeed getting on with it and understanding all my instructions about which picture goes where.

Time now to get back to Ffos Las and incorporate the new material gleaned from my mid-January visit into the draft text.


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