Archive for the ‘Warwick’ Category

Preparing for the house move has taken up a lot of time in the last fortnight and the house is in uproar, with almost 100 boxes filled with many of our worldly goods and another ten or twelve containing my collection of Racing Calendars, with all the results back to the 18th century.

At Salisbury  last week I met Chris and Mary Pitt.  Chris is the author of one of the classic books of modern times, A Long Time Gone.  Not many racing books go beyond a first edition, but his definitive, highly esteemed work on all the racecourses that closed since 1900 did.  We had corresponded off and on ever since the 1990s, but this was the first time we had met.  It was a pleasure.  I was glad to hear that there are very few copies of his book about Worcester races left – buy now if you haven’t already!  His more recent one about Warwick is doing well and he’s well on the way working on his next project, which is about a racing family with a dramatic, hitherto-untold story.

I’ve had no answer as to whether my terms for the new project will prove acceptable.   If it doesn’t, I will revert to the original post-Salisbury and Ffos Las plan of leisurely research on a range of esoteric racing subjects.  They have no commercial outcome.  Books may or may not emerge, but I will simply do them for my own interest.

Whatever happens, this is the time to end my blog.  I have been round the block a few times describing the process of writing, and a degree of repetition has set in.  I started on 10 February 2011 when the Bath book was in preparation, encouraged by the lovely Diana, who set up the WordPress site for me.  Bath was completed in that first year, and five more books have been written since.

I can point to the blog having thousands of views and visitors.  Not all of them will be bots or malware.   The Racing Post kindly wrote about my blog one day.  Several people have been in touch and I’ve had some interesting correspondence.  Gregory, studying an Austrian artist who was briefly interned on Brighton racecourse; Alfred, about his great grandfather jockey; Scandinavian Stephanie probing the Alfred Day family and their in-laws; Andrew, striving to redeem the reputation of the 19th century Days.

So, with thanks to my readers, regular or occasional, I will bring the curtain down here.

But the research goes on!

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The Salisbury book is reviewed in today’s Racing Post.

It’s pleasing, although quite sparing as regards comments about the quality of the book (“tales told in detail and told with devotion” is more or less all).

The writer takes the view that the older history is much more interesting than the present.  He does refer to several highlights of the course’s long-ago past that I hope will entice buyers. Racing Post review 300619

It’s a mixed blessing that the review is printed directly below one about Chris Pitt’s excellent book about the history of Warwick races.  Another course with a long history, it has the benefit of staging jump racing for the best part of 200 years, which is an activity that I feel generates more – and more interesting – incidents and anecdotes in a biography than a flat race-only course.  Presentationally the Warwick book is very attractive, there is a constant flow of interesting content and I’d say Chris is a livelier writer than me.  So, if you have any cash left over after buying Salisbury and Ffos Las, the Warwick book (titled Chandler’s Leap and Other Stories from Warwick Racecourse) is available from the racecourse for £16.50, presumably with postage and packing to add if necessary.

Last Monday the Daily Express article by Neil Clark about me was printed.  It’s pretty good, although the newspaper’s sub-editors have deleted some text and added some of their own.  There are some baffling typos (three years were added to my age, which instantly made me feel that much older) and it’s a pity it wasn’t published during Royal Ascot, but I am happy with it on the whole.  Their decision to have a picture of the Queen rather than me was a wise one.

Daily Express article re JB with pictures

I see no sign of it on the Express website.  Perhaps I’m being greedy!  Given that it was in the general features section in the middle of the printed newspaper, I wondered whether it would go under Sport, Lifestyle or Entertainment.

We sold some more books at Salisbury’s very pleasant meeting on Wednesday and heard some more positive feedback from those who had read it.

I’ve been writing to some of my old book-buying customers – some of whom have been on the mailing list for 20 years – and was gratified to receive prompt replies, containing cheques, asking with just one exception for both Salisbury and Ffos Las.  There are more marketing avenues to follow up for both books in the next few weeks.

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