Cheltenham Festival, March 2017.

I have been at the Cheltenham races this week. The weather was super-sunny and warm on Wednesday – most unusual for the Arctic micro-climate there. The traffic is as well managed as possible in such a rural location, so I choppered in.

Cheltenham Festival, March 2017.

As we flew in I looked rather longingly at the steam engine delivering a party of race-goers in Pullman carriages. Maybe the old ways are best. On the way back to Battersea on Thursday morning I spotted a small village with a disproportionate number of nice houses and asked the pilot to drop in. I was simply being inquisitive on your behalf, dear readers.

When Aristotle Onassis unexpectedly visited Paddy Leigh-Fermor in the Mani his helicopter was met by the mayor and chief of police. I was similarly fortunate. The curate, roused from updating his Service Register by the whirring blades, emerged from a labourers’ cottage to greet me and show me round the village. (May I digress? The Service Register is a Game Book kept to record the number of attendants bagged at each Service and how much they put in the Collection.) ┬áThe village met all my expectations; Cotswold stone glowing, mullioned windows mullioning and so on. Those of us destined to live in cities can only envy these village artisans that live in Arcadia. He pointed out to me the simple rustic dwellings of the arms dealer, media mogul, London art dealer, publisher, former Cabinet Minister, and investment banker. Of course times change and the post mistress, publican, blacksmith, carpenter, shop keeper, and water dowser have moved to Swindon; but it’s good to know there is a new generation of tradesmen in the village.

(Shouldn’t this be categorised as Fiction, ed?)

This morning’s music is not dedicated to readers whose birthdays fall today; we had Sweet Caroline last year and I cannot think of something for Sam, but to Sally who loves and knows about bloodstock, perhaps was at Cheltenham, and is mentioned in the lyrics.