Friday, 15 February 2013

out and about

The day has barely started, and is already being written up.  That's because we're going to the races at Fakenham.  We went last year and it was a hoot, with the finals of the greyhound race that descended into a fight halfway up the track, so that neither of the finalists ever made it to the finishing line.  We think there might be greyhounds and foxhounds again this year, but it's difficult to tell.  The Fakenham racecourse website is fairly Delphic on the subject, beyond confirming that there is a race meeting.

It even made the Today programme, as one of the runners at Fakenham featured in their racing tips.  I can't remember which horse or in which race, which given the accuracy of the 2012 Today racing tips is probably all for the best, but it suggests the meeting is on.  We've been tracking its prospects for the past few days, looking at the weather forecast and the declarations for what horses were running.  By lunchtime yesterday the Systems Administrator even thought that Ruby Walsh might be riding.  By yesterday evening he had been diverted to Sandown, but there are enough good class horses and jockeys for the SA to get quite excited.  I know very little about racing, so all the horses tend to look beautiful and glamorous to me, but the SA as somebody who has not missed a Cheltenham Gold Cup since 1986 did not want to drive all the way to north Norfolk to see scrappy fields of three third rate horses.

I will not be able to tell you about our grand day out when we get back because I'll be turning around and going out again to the music society lecture.  The Chairman sent out an e-mail reminder a few days ago, reminding us that we did refreshments after the talk, and that it was our duty to bring some nibbles.  She suggested small sandwiches, but I'm not at all sure there'll be time to mess around putting teaspoons of mackeral pate and smoked salmon on squares of rye bread in between getting in and going back out, so made cheese straws yesterday.  I have rolled them very thin and cut them quite small to make them seem more like a healthy eating option.  Transporting trays of open sandwiches in a car that earlier in the week you were using to collect half a dozen bags of overly fresh mushroom compost is a nightmare anyway.

The lecturer is Marina Warner.  It is rather a coup to have got her, given that her fame and status as a learned professor and past Reith lecturer is out of all proportion to the membership and resources of our society.  It was actually my idea to ask her, since thinking the unthinkable is one of my specialities, but the approach was made by a fellow committee member who knew her vaguely after being tutored by her on some course or other.  She is due to talk about St Helena.  I hope she turns up.  Assuming she does we will have to think as a committee how we follow that for next year.  I've been trying to work out how we could persuade Grayson Perry to do it, but without coming up with a convincing plan so far.

Last night's bee committee meeting was very long, which was fair enough as it was a new committee and we had a lot to get through, not least to breath life into the almost moribund remains of the old and terminally dysfunctional old committee.  The new Chairman is very keen, and proposes revolutionary methods such as having a a list of things we are supposed to do with deadlines to do them by, and then making sure they are done.  This is such a good idea, and so much better than the previous method of agreeing things at meetings and then doing nothing about them until the next meeting, when we either agreed them again, or changed our minds and agreed the opposite, or expunged them from history and never spoke of them again, that I can forgive him for talking about visions and journeys.  He did explain that he had a background in local government.  He has a vintage 1950s Wurlitzer jukebox in his sitting room, and anyone who has that and a collection of 4,000 singles on vinyl (which includes Manhattan Transfer's Chanson d'amour and Popsicle toes) to go with it is clearly a person of imagination and vision.

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