Thursday, May 26, 2016

This is the end, beautiful friend

I love the start of 'Apocalypse Now', when Martin Sheen is stoned out of his mind in his bedroom in Saigon, blundering his befuddled way through the seemingly interminable wait for that mythical mission which does eventually arrive.  The Doors' opening soundtrack of 'This is the end, beautiful friend.  This is the end, my only friend, the end ... ' is perfect, as is his voice which booms out over the image of his frustrated narcotic madness.  I'd like to be able to quote him exactly, but it's been too long since I last watched the movie, so I can't.  So I'll just have to say something like, "I was waiting for a mission, and for my sins they gave me one.  And when it was over, I would never want another."

When I handed over the mayoral chain to my successor Andy Drummond at Newmarket Town Council's meeting on Monday night, I was tempted to recite these lines.  But I didn't, (a) because for once I allowed common sense to prevail, (b) because it would have been unjustifiably melodramatic, and (c) because I suspect that most people in the room would have had no idea what I was attempting to quote.  It wouldn't really be true to say that I had sought the mayorship of Newmarket, but for my sins they gave it to me anyway; and now it's over, I never want another one!

It wasn't that bad, to be truthful, but it was a massive relieve to pass on the poisoned chalice on Monday after what at times seemed like a very long year.  Any reader of the Newmarket  Journal could tell you that Newmarket Town Council has not been a happy place in recent months, and it has really bugged me that this sorry situation came to pass on my watch.  A couple of people, including the former Deputy Mayor, have been very badly treated, and it pained me that I was powerless to prevent this turn of events.  Still, that's political life, and not just 21st century political life.

People have been treating each other badly since long before Julius Caesar frequented the forum, and machiavellian machinations pre-date by many centuries 'Il Principe'.  We watch 'House of Cards' and see this scheming as only natural - but one can understand that when what is at stake are some of the most important positions in the world.  A Town Council doesn't matter a hill of beans in the great scheme of things, so the fact that Newmarket Town Council became such a venal place during my stewardship of it (despite, rather than because of, my best intentions, I believe and hasten to add) was very sad.

However, I am immensely proud of having been the Mayor of Newmarket, and I always will be.  Even though I totally failed to bring harmony to the Council Chambers, I would like to think that I managed to remove a bit of discord from the town.  It was an honour and a pleasure through the year to receive and accept numerous invitations from various community groups, to attend their functions as a guest whom they appeared pleased to welcome, and to spend time with many good people; and, I hope, to be ever ready to be identified as an approachable figurehead of the Town Council, and one who was always prepared to listen to residents' concerns, and to do something about them if feasible or to offer sympathy and/or advice if not.

So I'm now back down to having merely 10 jobs, or however many it is that I have.  In my most obvious capacity (a trainer) I shall, God willing, go to Brighton tomorrow (Friday) with Roy and to Chester with Indira the next day.  Both horses are well and both ought to perform with credit.  We won't count our chickens (not that I ever do that anyway, and particularly not with Roy who is ever capable of turning a seemingly straightforward assingment into a debacle, and particularly not with Indira when she is racing off a rating (90) which is 7lb higher than she has ever raced off previously).  But we'll travel hopefully anyway, as always, and try to enjoy the outings.

We can see Roy's ears in the first photograph, taken on Long Hill on Sunday morning.  All the other photographs were taken two days later on Tuesday morning, a morning brightened not only by the relief that I was no longer the mayor.  Indira is at the head of the string of three who are shown three times on the way round Bury Hill: she's leading (and is almost indiscernible in the first photograph) with Hymn For The Dudes second and Cottesloe (only whose ears are visible) in third.  We can see more of Indira and Lucinda in the fifth photograph, taken walking back down the hill.  She's also visible in the sixth picture, but not in this last one.

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