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The Weekly Blog

Two Rivers

Once upon a time there was a group of monks. Sent forth from the Augustinian Priory of Bradenstoke in Wiltshire, the monks were tasked with finding a new location for a Priory in the North West of England.

Having selected a site on top of a hill with magnificent views, one of the monks heard a mysterious voice saying “Not there, but in a valley, between two rivers, where one runs north and the other runs south.” So the monks resumed their search for a site and found, deep in the valley, not far from the shifting sands of a large bay, an island of hard ground that was located within a marsh containing two water courses – each flowing in a different direction.

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The Weekly Blog

What3Words

As postal addresses go, ‘Himself, Ireland’ is pretty brief – but well-wishing cards that bore just these two words still managed to reach Arkle in the 1960s. Such was the fame of the World’s best ever steeplechaser, one letter even reached him after it had been misdirected to ‘Arkle, Westminster Abbey’ – presumably because the sender estimated that this was the most likely home of his owner Anne, Duchess of Westminster.

Historically, few individuals have enjoyed the privilege of being addressed with such brevity. Even my letters addressed ‘Santa, North Pole’ seem to have gone astray in recent years. Either that or I haven’t been as good as I thought…

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The Weekly Blog

The Natural Order of Things

Despite last week’s winning selection, readers of this blog might feel that my approach to tipping is a little bit slip-shod: that the logic behind the selections is wishy washy. Importantly, though, the logic is never washy wishy and my shod has never slipped.

Bookmakers occasionally still use tic-tac to communicate the odds in the betting ring, especially if the favourites are flip-flopping. But they’ve never used tac-tic to warn that the favourites have flop-flipped…

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The Weekly Blog

Elephants Don’t Jump

I’ve shelved the shoes in favour of sporting sandals. Not because they’re very much more comfortable on sun-kissed sandy beaches, but because I’m padding the streets of Central London and I think there’s a small possibility that, while visiting the museums and galleries, I’m more likely to get mistaken for an intellectual if people can see my socks.

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The Weekly Blog

Do Losing Bets Count as an Existential Threat?

Every generation suffers the fear of a major, overbearing threat. When I was growing up it was the nuclear threat: the fear that the Cold War would result in total annihilation; if you didn’t get evaporated by a bomb blast then you’d be fried slowly from the inside out by radiation. I’m not saying that I was scarred by my childhood – but, to this day, I harbour a deep distrust of microwave ovens.

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The Weekly Blog

Soft Boiled & Deep Fried

I have a confession. I can’t remember which horse won the County Hurdle on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival this year.

The problem is, after decades of dedicated Festival form study, I have developed a new obsession in the form of scotch eggs. And every time I think about Gold Cup Day, I can’t get beyond the delicious scotch eggs that we enjoyed in the car park before racing.

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The Weekly Blog

Searching for Answers

While browsing the shelves of Waterstones in Carlisle last weekend, I picked up a copy of Tuesdays with Morrie, an account of enlightening conversations between an American journalist (the author Mitch Albom, who portrays himself as a bit of a schmuck) and his former college professor who is dying from a degenerative disease.

First published in 1997, the book offers wisdom on life, death, love, family, work, money, fear and forgiveness. Nowadays of course we don’t have to talk to old men because we have the internet instead…

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