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John Bone takes an irreverent look at Newmarket's week



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Even as my heart goes out to Lisa Davy, I have to resist the heartless temptation to say: “I could have told you so.”

Lisa is the 34-year-old Newmarket woman who describes how shocked she was with how her beauty treatment worked out.

Allow me to set aside the rights and wrongs of her experience and look at the broader picture. We all know how we are bombarded from every side with images of beautiful people. We also know how we look in the mirror and find something sadly lacking. God let us down. We are imperfect.

John Bone, the columnist who gets Newmarket talking.
John Bone, the columnist who gets Newmarket talking.

Thanks to shaky science, we are now encouraged to patch up where the Almighty went wrong. Pluck and tuck, dye and dimple. We can buy them. Men, too. We can be driven by image like the ladies.

Funny thing is, some of the most attractive women I have ever met were wonderfully imperfect. The French have a phrase for it: jolie laide, or, if you think that’s sexist, then for the blokes it’s joli laid.

A literal translation might be ‘pretty ugly’ but that misses the subtlety of describing someone’s appearance as being fascinating despite flying in the face of conventional beauty. Oddly attractive.

How does a jolie laide work this dodge? I will tell you. They smile – they shine not by surgery or chemical cosmetic but by letting their best sides show. By what they say. What they do not wax. No tanning beds. No scalpels. Just making the best of what they were born with.

One of the most alluring women I’ve ever met was slightly cross-eyed.

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Let us remember on this Remembrance Day that the observance of countless deaths in world and other wars is a living event close to the hearts of almost everyone.

We need to remind ourselves of the impulse to pause and reflect on sacrifice which remains miraculously undiminished in a society that can seem self-centred and unaware. People know. People care. The poppy lives.

So we should not be too saddened by the way Soham’s ceremony has been driven to a simpler, less public affair on a football field. Driven by the times we live in.

Too much traffic, too few police and an ageing local Legion. But they persevere.

This is not necessarily a sign of the times we live in. I find many young people, thanks to patriotic parents and enlightened teachers, have a lively understanding of war and its cost. This will survive despite what Soham’s Royal British Legion chairman listed as ‘rules, paperwork, insurance and other costs’. It is not a matter of money. It is much more than that.

We remember them.

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Those who rejoice in the quirkiness of our language will share my pleasure in finding a ‘snail race’ in our property pages. The race is a mill race and the snail is the River Snail at Fordham.

I’d buy the mill house where this curiosity occurs just for the fun of inviting visitors to see my snail race.

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We both work for the Journal but I have ever met David Milnes, who is our Pin Money tipster and who has been named best tipster in the country.

This is a pity because if I did bump into him I would want not only to congratulate him on this brilliant national success but also to ask him a rather rude question which applies to all tipsters: “Why, if you are so good at predicting winners, don’t you cash in, make a million and make off to Malibu?”

If writing this column gave me a gateway to riches it would be the last bit I ever wrote.

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I thought that when sports turf gave way to plastic it meant a carefree future. No mowing. No feeding. No rolling. No divots.

However, I see that King’s School at Ely has just spent £460,000 on refurbishing its Astro surfaced pitch. It took two contractors and several months. And all this in pursuit of a plastic pitch at a time when young people everywhere are campaigning to free the world of plastic pollution. This seems an odd way to save the planet. Grass is good.

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My cousin Derek, who closely resembles Pooh’s gloomy donkey friend Eeyore, called to say: “Good! That’s Hallow’een and Guy Fawkes out of the way. Now there’s nothing to dread until Christmas.”

How I wish he was right, but we seem to be going through a period in history when there’s a limitless supply of new diseases, new scandals, new threats. Or was it always like this? Derek says ‘yes’.

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