The regular reader (many thanks for your perseverance and support) will have realised by now that I’m a sad soul – but I’m quite happy with that. For instance, the other day at Hoylake, aka Royal Liverpool, I spent several happy minutes watching people trying to sink a putt (best of three) along a humpback length of matting. If they sank one, they’d win a golf ball (a Titleist proV1 admittedly) and be entered in a draw to win a Scotty Cameron putter. Men, women and children were lining up to have a go. Some came close but no one holed out while I was watching. We all had fun, though.
That was on Wednesday and the place was packed but it was a glorious afternoon, absolutely perfect for wandering around, checking out the new and already dreaded 17th in relatively benign, sunny conditions. “It’s 130 yards and they’re scared of it,” Sir Nick Faldo said. Mind you, even he, three times winner of the Open, admitted that he was glad he didn’t have to play it.
When I played the little fecker (the 15th in the normal scheme of things), it was blowing a hooley and I knew I hadn’t a hope in hell. I hit quite a good shot, some sort of finagled rescue but it went over the back into a ghastly sandy wasteland and I thinned my next effort into one of the front bunkers. The ball eventually re-emerged in my hot little hand. Nul points. Who knows what carnage it’ll cause this week.
The sainted Rory (don’t worry I know he’s only human and fortunately he still seems to be well aware of that too) was playing with Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood and Viktor Hovland and they were followed by quite a horde. One young man who’d manoeuvred himself into a good spot close to the action told his mates, “I’m going to shout out my undying love for him (Rory).” They didn’t give him any stick or laugh, just nodded.
On Sunday, Rory had pipped home hope Bob MacIntyre to the Genesis Scottish Open title in a thrilling finish at the Renaissance Club, near North Berwick. The left-handed Scot from Oban had set the target thanks to a brilliant birdie at the difficult 18th but the Ulsterman grabbed the spoils with two cracking iron shots at the 17th and 18th and two birdie putts. It was his first win in Scotland as a professional. Hope it doesn’t scupper his chances of winning at Hoylake…Here in Lichfield on Sunday night we celebrated Rory’s victory with a spectacular fireworks display. Well, officially it was to mark the end of the Lichfield Festival, nearly a fortnight of performances of all sorts. It’s a great opportunity to widen your musical horizons and on Sunday two of us took the chance to watch and listen to Hsuan Wu, a young percussionist from Taiwan. She graduated with distinction from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and is already a seasoned collaborator, exploring not just music but dance and drama. She wowed us and baffled us in equal measure. Quite amazing.
It was a very busy sporting Sunday and I scuttled home from the concert to watch the Wimbledon final, keep an eye on the golf and cricket and the Tour de France, not an easy task, hence the g and t, in a Singapore sling glass from Raffles Hotel, unbroken after all these years.
This was the last week of term for our singing class and I, who can ill afford to do so, had missed several sessions because of my gallivanting, Should I just knock it all on the head or take a deep breath and dive back in? I dived back in.
It was great fun, even though we started with a piece I’d never done: Thank You For Being A Friend. Lovely song but blooming complicated and I didn’t make much of a fist of it. What’s more, we finished with Abba’s Thank You For The Music, which is also too hard for me and makes me laugh when we get to this line:-
“I have a talent a wonderful thing ’cause everyone listens when I start to sing…”
All I have is visions of rooms clearing in seconds as people rush for the exits…
Years ago our school music teacher – yes, we had one – wrote on my report: “Shows no aptitude for this subject.”
Nothing much has changed and I’m just grateful to Helen, the boss, a soprano with perfect pitch, who keeps us in order, more or less and Clare, the pianist, who is beyond talented. How they can tolerate such a musical incompetent is beyond me but I’ll see you next term.
It was well received.