Oh how I envy the wonderful confidence bordering on naivety shown by Newmarket’s Adam Burns and his mates as they trek 2,000 miles to see England play in the World Cup. “They hope to get tickets when they arrive,” said our report. Just like that.And such is the sublime assurance of youth that they probably will.
Jeff Heilbein’s enchanting memory of how as a boy in Canada he watched our Bill Tutte “working on puzzles over milk and cookies” brought the quiet hero to life for me in a way no other words have. Those who win wars with their brains are not to be found in ‘Spitfires or swigging Scotch in mess bars. They quietly sip milk and nibble biscuits. But they win, all the same. I was thinking along these lines when I scanned the obituary of Albert Grimster the long-retired Newmarket GPO engineer. It said, almost in passing, that he “took part in the Arctic convoys”. Those five words opened up a whole panorama of hardship, courage and heroic endurance. So what did his obit say about what Albert the Navy hero liked to do when there was no war to win? “He enjoyed tending his allotment … and taking holidays.” Like Bill Tutte, he was infuriatingly unheroic in his manner. When I see a hero strut, I smell a rat.
Susan Taylor spoke for all of us as she said with a sigh: “When you are older and wiser you wish you had listened but it doesn’t mean anything to you when you are 14.” She was speaking of her father, Henry Rouse, the Soham blacksmith whose Great War memorabilia as a frontline farrier she has offered for display in this centenary year. The heart of the problem is that we almost all fail to register the recollections of our elderly loved ones because we believe there will be countless other occasions when we can pay proper heed. We put it off. Then, almost before we know it, the chance has gone. For ever.
We all know the arguments for secrecy perfectly well and, as I do, accept their usefulness. And yet we still fail to see the justice in what has happened to Michael Lee. The speedway star believes the allegations of which he has now been totally cleared were aimed at destroying him. After a long and painful trial a jury cleared him. How can we who know little of the supposed victim work out whether our justice system has worked well or ill? Yet if anonymity in rape cases was removed, what truly wronged woman would risk the ordeal of such a trial in the glare of publicity? And what false witness would dare do the same? Cannot our best legal brains find a middle course?
I was surprised to see our fashion pages declaring cobalt blue to be this year’s summer colour. That’s not what it looked like at the Rowley Mile where I saw a couple of hundred posh ladies waiting with their shabbier swains impatiently for the gates to open. They almost all wore a lurid sort of cyclamen cerise shade I christened putrid pink. Blue or any other hue would have been easier on the eye.
Is there a better word than the cumbersome “unputdownability” to fit Goldie Sayers? Cursed by serious injury and every sort of setback, the Newmarket Olympian javelin star shows every sign of having regained her finest form. What is that girl made of?
Stand by for a flurry of fake fractures and fainting fits if the Duke of Cambridge gets his way and joins the East Anglian Air Ambulance service as a pilot. Perfectly healthy people will be so desperate to hitch an emergency lift from the heir to the throne they may resort to driving gently into walls to get hurt just enough to dial 999. Self-mutilation and taking overdoses could become commonplace in the hope of being taken to hospital by the prince. But imagine the remorse and fury of someone who hacks her little finger off only to find it was William’s off-duty day and the pilot was someone they had never heard of.
n Do you agree with John Bone – or does he make your blood boil?
Write and give us your views on anything he raises - email the editor Barry Peters via barry.peters@ newmarketjournal.co.uk