Jim Squires has no time to take it easy despite plans for the hectic spring period having been thrown into disarray by the Coronavirus shutdown of racing and point-to-pointing.
Chairman of the West Midlands Point-to-Point Association, Squires is a familiar figure at meetings in that area plus the Welsh Borders and North West for his role as head of course maintenance at the busy venue of Chaddesley Corbett and wide-ranging fence builder. At the recent Cheltenham Festival he was part of the horse ambulance team, and his other varied roles include running a herd of beef cattle and building schooling fences for racehorse trainers.
Much of that work has come to a halt, but since he and partner Judith Healey (pictured above with leading rider Alex Edwards who is wearing their colours) are living in a caravan while constructing a house on a smallholding near Halesowen his DIY skills are about to get a good workout. He says: "We have had builders on site to do the roof and so on, but with a bit more time than I expected it looks like I'll be sorting out the internal jobs."
He says: "I would have been flat out with the point-to-point courses at this time of year. There were three more meetings to come at Chaddesley Corbett and I also look after the fences at Maisemore Park, Andoversford, Bitterley, Eyton-on-Severn, Shelfield Park and Knightwick.
"The course at Chaddesley Corbett has to be packed away and the fences sheeted up before going into storage, and I've got some drainage to sort out at that course. There was going to be a lot of repacking and tightening up of fences at all the courses, and I replace two each year at Eyton. I'm waiting to hear whether they want that work to start, but people haven't had a chance to sit down and make plans yet.
"I've got a load of birch which I expected to use, but luckily I cut it before the sap started rising and it will keep until next season. It's on the drive and about to go into a barn.
"It's Sod's Law that I went out recently and bought four large tins of orange paint for the fence take-off boards, and then it was announced that in future the boards will be white. I was chatting to Judith about plans for decorating and colour schemes in the new house and told her, 'So what's it to be? An orange bathroom or kitchen!"