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Posts by Jonathan

The Weekly Blog

Well Wishing

It’s easy to forget, when you have four taps and a water closet in every bathroom (and frequently more than one bathroom plus a kitchen in every house), just how important it used to be to have a well.

The life-giving properties of a stable water-source enabled communities to develop and grow, giving rise to place names like Camberwell, Southwell and Fontwell…

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The Weekly Blog

Make it Snappy

So hectic were the plot lines in the recently released Downton Abbey movie, I wondered whether the makers had taken the script for an eight-week series and thought, “The public are getting a bit bored with all this, why don’t we get it over in a couple of hours.”

Maybe they did, because if there’s a trend in the world of entertainment at the moment it’s a drive towards shorter formats…

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The Weekly Blog

Changing Times

I am nothing if not a traditionalist, so when the former top jockey Ruby Walsh suggested that horseracing should change its race times from five-minute intervals to eight-minute intervals, I allowed myself three minutes of private outrage – until I realised just how much more productively I could be spending my time…

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The Weekly Blog

Kelso on Tour

There was racing at Worcester on Thursday and a coach-load of annual members from Kelso Racecourse in attendance. The last time so many Scots gathered on Pitchcroft they were part of King Charles II’s royalist army, there to fight the final battle of the English civil war…

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The Weekly Blog

Winners

We live in tense times and I’ve been warned that I must be careful about my language. No febrile talk of crushing the French or vanquishing the Europeans – no matter how much we want to see Enable record a fabulous third win in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp on Sunday…

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The Weekly Blog

Golden Memories

Most people are aware that when you reach the age of 100, you’ll receive a birthday greeting from the Queen. Fewer people know that, when you turn 50, the NHS will send you a small plastic envelope to put some poo in for bowel cancer screening.

It’s just one of those little treats that older people keep to themselves for fear of spoiling the surprise.

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The Weekly Blog

Cheers!

It’s a tough job, but someone had to do it: on Wednesday it was racing at Kelso, Thursday a trip to the local brewery…

Horseracing is an inherently sociable pastime and one that has enjoyed an historic association with alcoholic lubrication. Indeed, the first races to benefit from commercial sponsorship were the Whitbread Gold Cup and the Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup in 1957.

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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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