Sunday, September 03, 2017

Singing in the Sunday choir like Haldeman and Ehrlichman

It was a pleasure to go to Thirsk on Friday.  As we headed up the A14 towards Huntingdon and kept on going on to the A1 rather than turning off to remain on the A14 to head to the midlands, the thought came to me that I hadn't been that way for quite some time.  On reflection, I suspect that this was the first time that I'd headed up there this year, which is remarkable bearing in mind that we are now into September.  I would usually have expected to have made the odd trip up to some of the Yorkshire courses at some point, or even to have headed farther north or over to Carlisle.

But seemingly not - which is believable, as Brighton, Yarmouth and Bath seem to have been our most frequent ports of call this year.  It was only three years ago that, I think, Catterick was our most-visited racecourse.  Not this year, though, so it was particularly good to head up to 'God's own county'.  And we did so on a very pleasant day.  So I really enjoyed the trip to Thirsk, and doubly so because Parek (Sussex Girl) ran a very nice race.  She only finished sixth of nine, but she was only beaten two lengths.  Pretty much all the horses in the race had been running competitively recently (as the fact that we were the complete outsider of the field suggested) so this bold show, in only her second handicap, was very promising.

Fingers crossed, Parek can go to Brighton on Monday week.  I feel that the course will suit her particularly well, so I'm very much looking forward to that.  As, indeed, am I looking forward to turning Thirsk from a place which I hadn't visited for ages into somewhere I seem to go every week: I hope that we will be back there on Saturday, with Kryptos (who can be seen in the final photograph, relaxing with Parek in their pen out in the yard in the sunshine yesterday afternoon).  It's always a pleasure to go racing in Yorkshire, so it's good to be making up for our recent absences.

So that's no runners for us now until Saturday.  One outing, though, between my eight-days-apart trips to Thirsk: this morning I headed over to Milton Keynes for the Sunday Forum.  My heart had sunk when I had seen that the Davy Russell case was still rumbling on, as that's a topic which had already been done to death by racing's chattering classes.  Whether we found anything to say on the subject this morning which hadn't already been said 10,000 times I don't know, but it seemed a straightforward programme anyway.  We can't too expect too much at this time of year, as we are only now, of course, emerging from the silly season in which August traditionally sees inconsequential nonsense dominating the front pages.

Within racing's little world we might think that we've seen some trivial matters being discussed as if they were of world-changing importance, but that's nothing compared to the outside world.  The Times/Mail story of the five-year-old Christian (if there is such a thing, which I doubt - surely you have to be older than five to be in a position to decide which, if any, religion you wish to join?) being placed with Muslim foster-parents was rammed down our throats as if it were a major issue, but surely such a situation is preferable to a five-year-old supposed Christian being placed with atheist or agnostic foster-parents?  And that, presumably in these godless times, must happen all the time without seeming to attract any comment at all.

And that's not even to mention that anyone prepared to become a foster-parent, irrespective of their religion or, indeed, whether they even have a religion, should be exempt from any criticism from the rest of us, the vast majority who wouldn't take on a parent-less child in need in a month of Sundays.  Yet we have had to endure this non-issue being given banner headlines - hot on the heels of the non-story of MPs' collective over-reaction to the silencing of Big Ben.  I suppose, under the circumstances, Russellgate becoming the biggest story since Watergate isn't too weird at all.

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