John Bone: Even safety signs can be dangerous
How kind of Highways England to promise almost all roadworks will be suspended from tomorrow for the bank holiday weekend. They say that in the East of England alone, more than 70 miles of works will be either lifted or completed. Good for them and good for us. It would be even more helpful if Highway England would stop pestering us and distracting us with do-this and do-that messages on roadside electronic gantries. I sometimes think looking up to read one of these digital announcements when approaching a roundabout or tricky interaction could be more dangerous than defying the slogans by speeding or drinking. By all means use these costly message systems when some unexpected problem has arisen, but not for everyday generalised scolding and chivvying.
n Little league football can be every bit as exciting as the big boys’ game. I wish I’d been there last Wednesday when the Jockeys’ Jake Wayne waited until the 90th minute to secure a 1-0 win over Godmanchester Rovers. This sort of stuff can’t be relied on every week or every game, but it’s why I repeat that I truly wish I’d been there. Watching sport is like live music. There is no substitute for being there when it happens.
n Have the three Lithuanian burglars jailed for raiding homes across the region from Mildenhall to the coast the least idea of the harm they have done not only to those they stole from but to their honest, hardworking countrymen seeking a new future among us? Answer: they have and they don’t care. We breed them like that here, too.
n I admit I am no fan of floral hanging baskets. I have been quite rude about them over the years but that does not mean I want an enterprise like Newmarket in Bloom to fade away under a cloud of doubt and dither. Why is it that local civic efforts so often get bogged down in squabbles and doubts about where the money went? If the pattern continues, anything the town council touches will give other towns a reason to laugh up their sleeves. “Oh, Newmarket. Well what do you expect?”
n Oxford has Morse and Endeavour, Cambridge has the Grantchester detective vicar and his mate. Ely Cathedral has been the setting for more films than you’ve had hot dinners. So when will it be Newmarket’s turn to get in on this lucrative racket? Dick Francis alone provided enough material for several racing series and we have spectacular settings at least as attractive as our neighbours. Some towns have a council official paid to lure in this kind of fame and fortune. Is anyone anywhere (apart from me) speaking up for Newmarket as a screen star?
n Brilliant A-level grades for our young people at Mildenhall and Newmarket are good news not only for them, their families and their teachers. It is good news for all of us.
An educated workforce is vital to our future in everything from IT to agriculture. Especially if our industry is to diversify and become less strongly dependent on racing.
We’ve proved we have brainy young people, now we have to find them homes to live in so they stay with us and we can share their success.
n After the mind-boggling achievements of our Olympians, it may be hard to admire what’s been happening at home. So spare a thought for those tough souls who signed up for the Stour Valley Ultra Marathon – 62 miles of wildly various terrain between Newmarket and Manningtree. The sheer stamina of runners who can keep going for well over half a day is astonishing. Of course, if I’d tried it would have taken much longer. Not only because I am a plump sofa potato but because it is such a pretty route I would keep stopping to admire the view.
n That was a nice touch by Frankie Dettori who explained how he avoided racing for most of one week because he knew his 3,000th British win was due and he wanted it to happen here at his first opportunity.
“Newmarket is where I’m from,” he explained. Not strictly true, of course, but a gracious compliment none the less.