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Posts by Jonathan

The Weekly Blog

The Pinnacle of Civilisation

Civilisation, it has been said, came about as a result of over-productive farmers.

First there were hunter-gatherers who fended for themselves around the globe (except, of course, the earth was flat in those days). And then people started growing things – fancy grasses that resembled early varieties of barley, courgettes and stuff.

It wouldn’t have taken long for someone to forget to harvest the courgettes, grow a giant marrow and wonder “What the hell am I going to do with this?”

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The Weekly Blog

Dreams and Deadlines

I love deadlines. I like the whooshing noise that they make as they fly by.

But sadly the season for missing deadlines has passed and we’ve reached that point in the year when we have to start hitting them – like clay pigeons scything through the air. Bam, bam, bam. The first day of the 2019/20 season at Kelso Racecourse is scheduled for Tuesday 10th September and it has to happen, come what may.

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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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