| Published in Sunday Independent on 08.11.2020 | A Touch of Frost |

Yes, despite lockdown the Government has agreed that elite sport can continue. There have been additional measures put in place to ensure safety to all attending the courses which mirror the guidance issued by the BHA when racing returned in July
Racecourses will not be able to provide hospitality of any kind, including restaurants, cafes and bars and no more than two owners per horse may attend the event, complying with the restrictions that limits social mixing between households.

Owners may arrive 45 minutes before the horse runs and must leave the course and head home as soon as possible following their last race.

They are rules for racing in England only

It appears that the decision to allow racing to continue behind closed doors in England – with a limited number of owners attending – recognises racing’s status as an elite sport. The press release issued by the BHA states that ‘’Racing’s participants and owners have acted with great responsibility and professionalism since the sport resumed on June 1st. Strict controls have been in place and there is no evidence that the virus has been transmitted at a meeting behind closed doors”.

Needless to say, we are delighted with the Government’s decision. During lockdown Bryony was not included in any of the various Government’s financial help packages so we all sighed with relief when we heard the news.

This truly is a year like no other. In America, our son Hadden is now working in Pennsylvania and has witnessed first-hand the insanity surrounding the presidential election over there. To say it is a country divided is an understatement he says. As I write this it sounds like they are going to have to physically remove Trump from the Whitehouse even if there are ten re-counts suggesting Biden has won. In a country with over 320 million how could they end up with two so unimpressive candidates to run the most powerful nation in the world? Here in the UK we still have no trade deal in place with Europe and we face moving to WTO terms. I read that the EU tariff for trade is about 2.8% but if we have to trade on WTO terms that might be as high as 10% for cars and 35% for dairy products. If anyone thinks that this is not going to affect us, they need to look at what they buy that is imported from Europe. And now we are in lockdown again and witnessing daily Covid death rates similar to that we saw in the spring.

Illustration for Touch of Frost, 08.11.2020

Some call them calling dicks some call ducks

Climbing off my ranting soapbox, at home the calling ducks we were given in the summer are now happily established and walking around our land making lots of noise. Every morning when we open the back door, they greet us excitedly. We are not sure whether they are happy to see us or because they know they will soon be fed. Either way it always raises a smile.

Oscar the owl, which is the owlet Bryony rescued at the start of the year, hand reared and set free in summer, has started to return here to Holybrook, perching on our stone table which is close to the house. When he was young, we would whistle at him and he would hoot back. All these months later and he hasn’t forgotten. It really is heart-warming. Like the ducks, dogs, cat and horses, all are enviably unaware of the madness that is going on in the world around them. If there is such a thing as reincarnation, I am coming back as an animal.

Finally, I just want to say that we said goodbye to Nikki’s stepfather – Tom Gilbert, on Thursday. He fought a two-year battle with cancer, and he will be sadly missed.

 

Until we catch up again next week, remember to be kind to each other and when its dark look out for the stars. These bad times will pass.

Jimmy