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Editor’s Letter


Sixty-two and counting. That’s number of species of birds I’ve spotted in the past few years and jotted them down in a


notebook. Once rare migrant interlopers – little egrets, buzzards or nuthatches – are now common in and around Leeds, where I live, but not when they were first noted.


There is something, admittedly, a bit nerdish about noting birds in a book but I’m unapologetic about it. Likewise tying my fishing flies or the fly-fishing itself. Or the hundreds of cricket books I’ve collected.


As a boy, I’d scour ploughed fields around my County Antrim home for clay pipe fragments dropped by farm workers a century before. Some carried Ulster’s red hand motif, a heart or a city’s name like “Derry”. This led to old bottles, school ink wells, coins and marbles.


Then there were the soldiers’ cap badges. During the Troubles, one might befriend some British troops who would almost certainly give you a spare cap badge in exchange for comics. One painted black for night manoeuvres was a special prize.


This led to buttons and badges from the world wars which are probably worth a few bob, but only a few bob.


Apart from the above, I’ve collected lost balls from terrible golfers at Leeds Castle, Irish rugby memorabilia, cricket stuff, Elvis Costello albums, John Prine LPs, foreign coins, ancient tax discs from scrap yards, every football programme since 1987, copies of Trout & Salmon magazine, first editions of new newspapers, last editions of old newspapers…and so it goes on.


For middle-aged men reading this, I hope it brings some comfort. It’s okay, I understand.


Relax and unwind with Mid Kent Living, there’s loads of distracting stuff in it.


All the best. Simon Simon Finlay, Editor Race Days 2018


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