The Border Post

The Weekly Blog

Flocking to the Races

Records tumbled at Kelso Ram Sales last week: the largest number of Toyota Hilux ever collected in one place, the most Ifor Williams trailers, not to mention the biggest variation of Land Rovers. Utility vehicles stretched across the land as far as the eye could see; apparently they sold quite a few sheep too.

Despite the cancellation of a prestigious sheep-racing event this Summer in the town of Moffat, the sport is clearly thriving – with popular venues as far afield as South Yorkshire and Devon (without leaving the first google-search page on the subject) staging regular meetings. Why else would there be so much interest in the sale of 4,500 rams? The sheep carry knitted jockeys in bright colours and are rewarded with a bucket of the finest sheep-nuts at the finish, while punters presumably urge on their selections by yelling something appropriate like ‘chop-chop’.

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The Weekly Blog

The Longest Job Application Process Ever

I first wrote to Richard Landale in 1991. A recent graduate with a degree in agriculture, I was seeking an opportunity to work within the racing industry. I wrote to the managers of all fifty-nine racecourses and received letters back from approximately half, most of them very polite expressions of disinterest.

Richard was an exception. Together with Norman Gundill, who interviewed me whilst pacing at break-neck speed around the track at Pontefract, Richard offered a glimmer of hope. Having doused any expectation in relation to pay, by explaining that Kelso Racecourse was run on a shoe-string, he proceeded to offer the opportunity of some race-day work experience. I might even have taken him up if I hadn’t been based in Kent at the time.

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The Weekly Blog

Crossing Borders

When a batsman hits the ball clean over the boundary, he scores six runs. No one’s required to run for the ball, but it usually comes back eventually. And it’s not just cricket pitches that have boundaries, most modern parenting groups advise that toddlers should have them too. When a toddler crosses a boundary, he or she is likely to end up on the naughty step.

 Borders are usually considered to be the same as boundaries, defining regions into countries, counties or parishes. But borders differ in one important respect: they are designed to be crossed. Notwithstanding the current negotiations over Brexit, it is generally expected that governments and businesses will join together in order to promote trade across borders. And of course we welcome visitors too – tourists, investors and migrants offering valued skills and knowledge.

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