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John Bone with his take on Newmarket's week




Apart from the brilliant performance of Ralph Feinnes I was not much struck with The Dig. I could have done with more archaeology and less love.

Yet for all its faults this cinema-sized film of how the Sutton Hoo ship burial was discovered serves Suffolk and East Anglia very well.

Our region still cannot shake off the widespread national notion that Suffolk and Norfolk are backward backwaters playing a merely rural role in British history.

Lord Nelson – a famous son of East Anglia
Lord Nelson – a famous son of East Anglia

Sometimes when I hear that sort of sneer I want to shout 'Nelson!'.

We ourselves are too shy to boast about Tom Paine, who practically invented America, John Constable, Gainsborough, scores of writers, Benjamin Britten, Coke of Holkham, who helped to revolutionise our and America’s agriculture . . . I could go on and on but my missus (a Londoner) says it’s vulgar to boast.

So let me just say that what Basil Brown dug up in one corner of a great county showed we have been in the forefront of civilization for centuries. Sorry, darling, I’ll shut up now.

I’ll join with our readers of Chinese heritage in celebrating the New Year tomorrow.

Now that Donald Trump is out of the way, we can hope that in the Year of the Ox we will have less spiteful sniping about the 'Chinese plague'. I suspect history will show almost all nations share the blame. It is the careless way we live and use the globe that will be found at the heart of our present plight.

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It is good that Newmarket Cricket Club is campaigning to attract more women players. The first requirement of women batters and bowlers is an ability to shrug off male players’ lame puns about bowling a maiden over.

But the big question is, if the campaign is successful, will the men make the tea and sandwiches?

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Odd, isn’t it, that hundreds of people flocked to Newmarket Cemetery to mourn a death by potentially spreading a deadly disease. Good news for undertakers if no-one else.

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We may be so concerned about the problems of the high street that we fail to see this moment in its history in the perspective of the past.

The sale of the Moons toy shop building in Newmarket is a timely reminder. I was surprised to see in last week's Journal that the building was originally owned by the Second Duke of Kingston-upon-Hull.This town often has a feudal feeling so having a toy shop thanks to a Duke is perfectly normal.

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What a shame we shall be without a Newmarket Carnival for a second year.

Uncertainty about the state of the pandemic in July made a cancellation inevitable. But we should not rule out the possibility, however remote, that later in the year there will be a safe opportunity for something unplanned but spontaneously celebratory.

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Our national devotion to dogs produces some curious cases. Consider the reaction of Dr Patricia Mills, of Lidgate, when a van hit her while she was walking her Labrador, Ralph.

Her rib cage was smashed but 'I was more worried about Ralph', she said after 10 days in intensive care.

I was pleased to see she has been put together again with titanium plates but what about Ralph?

If we ever needed a clear indication of the way things are changing in our corner of the country then note how James Palmer, mighty mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, is worried that the cable connecting the proposed 2,800 acre solar farm to the grid at Burwell would get in the way of his metro transport system between Cambridge and Mildenhall.

Never mind. I’m sure there will be room for another half-million homes.

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If you are sulking because Newmarket’s good causes have been entirely left out of the West Suffolk aid budget for community projects try to see it as a compliment.

As the money goes to Bury, Risby, Haverhill and Brandon, consider the possibility that the responsible council committee decided that Newmarket is the sort of town well able to look after itself.

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