John Bone: It all adds up to a bit of a puzzle . . .

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It is a great shame that reports of fiddling in police statistics have become so commonplace nationally that I am at a loss to know whether I should congratulate Suffolk Constabulary on cutting crime by 7 per cent in 12 months or merely raise a quizzical eyebrow.

Can there be any other country on earth where local papers are so close to readers’ real concerns and so sympathetic to children’s welfare that the finder of a soft toy abandoned in a public place asks a town’s journalists to put it in the paper so it can be restored to its grieving owner? That’s what The Journal did last week and we printed the stuffed bunny’s picture, too. You could call us soft in the head but we prefer to think of it as a mark of civilisation.

It is a great coup for Chippenham equine sculptor Edward Waites to have one of his works destined for this year’s Chelsea Show but I don’t quite see the horticultural connection. I am reminded of the landscape gardener who ordered a horse chestnut and ended up with a chestnut horse.

Generally, the word “improvements” sends a shudder through the public as they prepare for months of disruption ending in slight disappointment. That said, we should show some confidence over planned improvements for race-goers at the Rowley Mile. We are told they will emulate the huge changes at the July Course. This is encouraging. They really were improvements. The area behind the main stands at the July Course always reminded me of a 19th century barracks. Now it is a positive pleasure to stroll around, preferably between glasses of bubbly. Nice to see a new champers firm has signed up. We shall see.

I’m not sure Fairstead House teachers were wise to let the nursery class raise Easter chicks in the classroom. Come next Christmas they will be wanting donkeys, cattle, the whole crib cast.

Newmarket has accumulated so many accolades over the years (its royal associations alone qualify it to be Newmarket Regis) that one extra honour scarcely matters. Yet the town’s latest seems so appropriate for the birthplace of Bill Tutte the great cryptographer that I’ll give it a mention. Last Tuesday The Times Cryptic Crossword (“world’s greatest”) had as the clue to 15 across – “Woman who has just had baby with awful trek to reach town (9).” Answer: “Newmarket.” Pity the mighty Times managed to incorporate an error in the clue so that it came out as “who’s has” instead of “who has” but even The Journal lapeses, sorry, I mean lapses occasionally.

Local agents fill 
our property 
pages with clamorous assurances that this is the time of year to buy and sell homes. Having lived in the same house for half a 
century, all this spring fever makes me feel vaguely guilty. Sorry if I’m getting in your way.

I know how hard it is to expedite a complex case but the fact remains that if Suffolk Coroner Dr Peter Dean’s important recommendations on the dangers of fly grazing had not come 15 months after the fatal event they would have had a better chance of being heeded immediately or at all. As it is, his thoughts become just another urgent idea caught in the clogged cogwheels of the law.

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