John Bone with his irreverent take on Newmarket's week
I admire and envy Andrew Appleby’s faith in human nature.
The councillor who heads the town’s neighbourhood plan committee rightly declares that ‘riders and drivers, cyclists and pedestrians owe each other a duty of care and due consideration’ in order to make Newmarket’s contentious system of horse walks work.
Sadly, the good councillor is a kind, civilized man but the public he addresses with notions of duty towards the safety of others is the same public harbouring a minority who blithely disregard the epidemic strictures, break all the Covid rules.
These thoughtless individuals are not ignoramuses from the lower depths of society but people with such a notion of their own superiority that they do what they like. They are the same people who brought shame on England by their monstrous behaviour at Wembley. Small in number they are powerful. They perch above law, above conscience and only a fool would create a system that relies on public good behaviour. Some skunk will make it fail.
And don’t get me started on litter.
A job ad in last week’s Journal sought a ‘presentable’ applicant. What does ‘presentable’ mean these days?
When I was a lad about 200 years ago it meant neatly dressed, neat head of hair, well shod, clean fingernails and, if male, clean shaven with a faint whiff of Old Spice. But now? Presumably the successful applicant must have tasteful tattoos discretely displayed through quite small holes in his or her jeans and with the absolute bare minimum of nose, lip and other piercings. Chewing gum or dangling fag optional.
How far are the organisers of Party at the Palace intending to go in their celebration of Restoration England?
It is a brilliant idea to devote a day at the National Horse Racing Museum at Palace House, in Newmarket, to 17th century decadence, but I immediately think of Samuel Pepys and his ceaseless seduction of other men’s wives and his wife’s maids.
And then there’s Charles II and naughty Nell nipping off to the races.
What exactly do the organisers’ of the August event mean by ‘multi-sensory’ events? Will it be the sort of hands-on stuff Sam got up to? Can I take the kids? It’s all sounding very promising.
I see that one of the quaint corners recommended to visitors to Burwell is a medieval watercourse called Catchwater Drain.
I’m sure it is a charming and interesting sight but have to say how disappointed I am with its name. Until now I have always thought of Burwell as being imaginative and even inspired in its choice of place names – think of Cuckold Lane!
But clearly the inventive ancestors of today’s Burwellians hit a dull patch a few centuries back. I mean to say, all drains catch water. It is no name at all. Is it too late to come up with something racier or more distinctive?
I have very many faults and there is one I have newly resolved to correct.
The truly heart-warming news of how nine-year-old Bryson Taylor, after years of surgery and therapy, managed to walk to his All Saints’ Primary School. in Newmarket, for the first tine not only almost had me in tears but also made me realise how I foolishly tend to think that because someone is sick, frail, weak, born with an imperfect body, he or she will be limited in other ways, too.
But this plucky little chap spoke so confidently, so optimistically, so matter-of-factly that I was stupidly astonished. Why? Why would he not ? Clearly, I am the one with the problem.
I sense I am far from alone in my intention to virtually disregard the Government’s relaxation of Covid rules.
It may seem dangerous that so many of us lack confidence in official assurances but I take the opposite view. Far from dangerous, I think it is safe. I trust my GP who’s sticking to masks and distancing at the surgery.
The infant Newmarket Cricket Club is at a fascinating stage in its return to life.
They seem almost surprised by their own success.
Having hung on by their finger-tips when it looked hopeless, they beat Waresley by 12 runs, their fourth successive win.
And all this drama watched by that colossus of cricket, Michael Holding.
Hardly believing their luck, captain Mark Nunn said: “It shows we’ve got something in us.”
Well said, sir. That’s the way we won wars.