Thursday, July 24, 2014

Time well spent - I hope

Tomorrow afternoon I'll be on the road down to Lingfield.  Friday afternoons in the summer can see some very bad traffic on the M25, so I hope that I don't spend the entire afternoon on the road.  When we get there, we'll run Wasabi, and I'm looking forward to seeing her run.  She's a five-year-old maiden, but she's a relatively unexposed one, and she's in good shape; so let's hope that she runs competitively.  It'll be her first start on the AW, but I don't see that that'll be a problem for her.  She does all her strong work on the Al Bahathri and, while one Polytrack can (inexplicably) be very different from another Polytrack, she always seems very happy on that surface.  So ... fingers crossed.

I've been doing different things on the other afternoons this week.  Monday's always a busy day and Tuesday should be too; but this Tuesday was a wasted afternoon as Rachel Hood and I (ie Newmarket's Mayor and Deputy Mayor) spent a dull afternoon in the Forest Heath District Council chambers as representatives of (bizarrely) two of England's premier owner/breeders put forward a case to have FHDC's 'Racing Policy' (ie the statute which decrees that change of use will not be sanctioned for racing properties in Newmarket) amended.

This document alone has ensured that the bulk of Newmarket's old stables remain un-redeveloped, and the watering-down or scrapping of it would be the beginning of the end of Newmarket as a racing town.  It defies belief that anyone who professes to be a Newmarket racing man could launch an assault on the charter, but c'est la vie.  And, in Lord Derby's defence, it should be pointed out that his representative at the hearing, Bob Sellwood, hardly opened his mouth throughout the entire afternoon.  Anyway, it was a dull afternoon - but it was good to be there to support the FHDC team of Marie Smith and Boyd Nicholas, who both care deeply about helping to protect Newmarket's heritage.  Let's hope that their efforts are not frustrated.

Then yesterday afternoon was a real treat.  We headed south to collect a horse and found ourselves in heaven.  The horse came from a pocket of paradise, a couple of miles out of the village of Kings Somborne, which is a couple of miles south of Stockbridge, which itself is a contender for the loveliest town in England.  It was a beautiful summer's day, so one couldn't have picked a better day to see a better place.  And the icing on the cake was seeing a field of wheat sheaves.  Sheaves were rendered redundant by the advent of the combine harvester, and combine harvesters have been around for longer than I have.  So this was my first, and possibly last, sighting of a field of stacks of wheat sheaves.  I am so grateful that I saw it (and so regretful that I didn't take a photograph).  (And it transpires, by the way, that the reason for this step back in time is that the farmer is a thatcher, and straw which has been through a combine harvester is not so good for thatching).

And the afternoon today was largely spent in the printers in Burwell, scrutinizing and working on the pages for the 'Legends of the Turf' book(let) which should, fingers crossed, be published shortly, as a companion to the paving stones which we unveiled in the High Street on 9th July.  I hope that today too was well spent, and that the booklet will soon be published and will prove to have been worth the wait.  And I hope that tomorrow will be similarly well spent.  We've certainly got the weather on our side, as these photographs, taken today, confirm.


Charlie said...

Ah Stockbridge. Once a famous racing town but no more. Days, Cannons & Fred Withington etched in its history. One difficult land owner finished the racing there - and in due course came to regret it, I believe.
(Good to see you on the "hot list")

Charlie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger Vicarage said...

Fantastic little village Kings Somborne. My father was Headmaster of the village primary school for many years.