Showing posts from June, 2012

Mission drift

It’s been too long since I wrote a proper post about proper racing. There’s enough mission drift going on here to make the Leveson Inquiry look focused.     Ascot has been and gone and all I managed was a passing reference. No hackneyed previews, no flawed betting strategies, no idle analysis. Symptomatic of a rammed, crammed and topsy-turver few weeks, I guess. I did catch a few chunks of the BBC’s Royal Ascot coverage. At least enough to despair at the normally dependable Clare Balding’s dewy-eyed reminiscences of her employers’ Ascot coverage over the years. I won’t be missing the Beeb’s fawning, time-warp coverage when its shift comes to an end later this year. The Derby build-up was excruciating in its focus on Balding’s emotions as her brother’s horse Bonfire lined up – barely registering the Camelot story until after the event - with Willie Carson struggling to articulate a single coherent thought. Mind you. I may regret those words. The thought of more Thommo buffoonery and

Get hip

I haven’t had a proper day's punting since The Derby over a fortnight ago. Decent opportunities have been scarcer than rainstorms in a drought. So not that rare. I just haven’t taken advantage of them. Today, there's a decent card up at York. And indeed I'm York bound. But it's to see my Dad who had his hip replaced yesterday. He’s been immobile for too long. The operation is long overdue. Mis-diagnoses. Lost referrals. Don't get me started. So what are the chances of squeezing in a half-dozen races at the Knavesmire either side of a visiting time double header at the hozzie? It's an early morning start to catch the 9am out of King's Cross. I'm sat on train hoping no one gets in to the vacant but reserved window seat next to me. I’ve just got settled with bacon butty (had to ask twice for brown sauce) and frothy cappuccino when the inevitable happens. She was a talker too. I am bombarded with a series of nervous-energy questions before the do

Looking Back At Me

Wilko Johnson. What a legend. I’ve been a fan since a mate introduced me to the spiky, high velocity r’n’b of Dr Feelgood when I was revising for ‘O’ levels. I’d missed the high water mark of the Canvey Island influence, of course, when the Feelgoods, Eddie & The Hot Rods and others signposted the emergence of punk.   But that didn’t stop me making up for lost time. I’ve caught Wilko’s raw, electric, manic show as often as possible over the last 20 years, taking in many infamous venues on London’s well-trodden, sticky-floored pub rock route. I nearly made it out to Canvey Island, too. But not quite. There’s an annual Dr Feelgood Weekender which would be such a blast if only it didn’t run slap bang into the Cheltenham Festival.  Despite this, I was due to go on a site visit to the Essex Riviera. I’d been doing a case study of the Canvey Island Parish Council for a local government contract. (Bet you’re envious of the day job now?) I had visions of a little trip out the

Eurolee Jubivision

Those Milner women have been at it again. Surprise inter-continental visits, parties conjured out of nowhere, competitive belated birthday treats… my head is spinning. Mrs A called the first shots. At least I think she did. She had a fantastic time visiting her ‘Sis, Sue in Tenerife a couple of weeks back. As if temperatures nudging the high 30’s, ruby Rioja on draft and smelly cheese by the trowel-full were insufficient, Sue had also treated them to a splendid birthday stay in a top resort hotel by the coast. Everything on tap apparently. The only thing missing was Tony Blackburn hosting an edition of Seaside Special. Returning the favour, Sue popped over the UK for a similar long weekend, barely a week later. And to continue this theme of belated birthdays, Mrs A whisked Sue off to London for a posh meal in a bijou restaurant and thence to an incident-packed wine-tasting education at Vinopolis. And I thought my slurping technique was poor. Sue’s tasting notes were testament t