Today is the 1st April 2017 and I am being very careful not to be fooled by any little tricks Man Servant may try on me today. This morning he has already told me that there are no more Dreamies in Omar Towers as he and Lady Servant have not had time to go to the shops this week to replenish my supplies. This is very disappointing and hurtful that my needs have been overlooked.
Even before the sun was up here in The New Forest Man Servant and I have already taken a quick look through the headlines in The New York Times (TNYT). There was really nothing that indicated that this august paper was trying to fool it’s own readers with some fake news story such as there being a spaghetti harvest or that a farmer in Greece called Aprilius Moron had set his plough and unearthed the missing arm from the Venus de Milo.
The black type headlines on the front page made several references to the family name of ‘Trump’. Man Servant refers to someone of that name as POTUS. There are articles under the name referring to family wealth, political alignment, trade talks, a curse and a parrot. I am sure that J K Rowling could conjure up a wizard story containing all those themes and have Hogwarts relocated to The White House. The name ‘Trump’ appears so often on the front of this paper that one could say it has been well and truly ‘Trumpled’ on.
The reason Man Servant has subscribed to this newspaper is threefold. Up until two years ago it was possible to buy hardcopies of it in the main newsagents here in Ringwood. Man Servant considers himself as a liberal internationalist and although this paper is very American he believes that it provides an objective coverage of major stories here in the UK and Europe. He also believes, and I very much agree with him, that now more than ever there is a desperate need for a free press but that freedom has to be funded and part of that funding must come from people who read the press.
The coverage of the delivering of the Article 50 letter to Brussels earlier this week was treated with a deep respect and analysis that such an historic moment is deserving of. This was in stark contrast to the coverage of this historic moment on BBC Breakfast on the day. Despite its significance for the country and Europe all the two link people on the red couch could talk about was whose pillow the letter was kept under before it was delivered. How trite and dumbed down! This coverage caused both Man and Lady Servant to drop their marmalade, reach for the remote and switch over to Radio Three where they could listen to some Mozart.
This morning the BBC News website has more coverage of the contents of the Article 50 letter mainly in respect to Gibraltar. One of the bedrocks of the LEAVE campaign was to restore Britain’s national identity. In some ways I think this was a harking back to the days when Britain had an empire and ruled the waves. So, what I find most surprising is that the letter to Brussels failed to mention this one last bastion of Empire; Gibraltar. Now, as a result of this omission Spain has threatened to use it as a bargaining chip in the forthcoming negotiations in an effort to regain some sovereignty over the place it lost some three hundred years ago. Oh dear Foreign Secretary BOJO, that is going to be a difficult one to resolve.
Almost as difficult as the standoff I am having this morning with Man Servant about the lack of Dreamies in Omar Towers today.
One subject TNYT regularly is British horse racing.
In Clare Balding’s first book,My Animals and Other Family , she recounted how when her younger brother was at school the class was asked to name the seasons of the year. An eager young hand shot up.
‘Yes Andrew, what are the seasons of the year?’ the teacher asked.
‘National hunt and flat Miss’ was the confident answer.
Today marks the beginning of the 2017 flat season on the turf. There has been flat racing taking place all winter on all weather tracks but today marks the beginning of the new season on the turf which starts at Doncaster in Yorkshire. The first major handicap of the season is the Betway Lincoln (Heritage Handicap) which is to be run at 1535. It is worth £100,000 to fastest of the 22 runners over a mile.
Why is the race called the ‘Lincoln’ when it is run at Doncaster in Yorkshire? Well, in one of those all too many idiosyncrasies that run through not only racing culture but also British culture it is because the race was run at Lincoln from 1849 until 1964 when the racecourse at Lincoln was closed. It was transferred to Doncaster and to be honest ‘The Doncaster’ as a name for the race would not have quite the same tone to it as ‘The Lincoln’ does.
For fun Man Servant and I have studied the form assiduously and have come up with a couple of selections. Our first choice is ‘Third Time Lucky’ which is priced this morning at 14/1 so that would be a fair priced each way bet in this handicap. Our second choice has not used our imaginations at all as it is the 9/2 favourite ‘Yuften’.
I have just found out that I have been April fooled. Just as we finished typing this diary Man Servant waved a fresh bag of Dreamies in front of me saying ‘April Fool Omar’.
Have a nice day everyone and watch out for the tricksters.