There’s something very soothing about lying in bed with Petrochemical (the machine, not being Cornish, couldn’t cope with Petroc) Trelawny on a rainy morning, listening to radio 3 and being educated. For instance, when Alice Roberts announced that she was going to marry Edward Elgar, a musician, unknown, penniless, eight years her junior and a Catholic, her parents threatened to disinherit her. Dear reader, she married him. And they cut her off. Good on you, Alice.
Fortunately, not all of Elgar’s success was posthumous and he was knighted in 1904, well before Alice died and later became Master of the King’s Musick. His wife was his business manager, social secretary, tireless promoter, perceptive critic and manager of moods. In her diary, Alice wrote: “The care of a genius is enough of a life for any woman.”
After her death, Elgar allowed himself “to be deflected from composition” (many thanks to Wikipedia for the phrase and a lot of the info). His daughter Carice noted that he was reluctant “to settle down to work on hand but could cheerfully spend hours over perfectly unnecessary and entirely unremunerative undertaking.” Never has this plodding, not-quite-tone-death blogger felt closer to a musical genius…
The trouble is that this blog is an indulgence – a bit like professional tournament golf – and is of no use whatsoever to man nor beast unless it entertains and, every now and again, informs or intrigues its audience. At least, in the blog’s defence, it’s usually difficult for the reader to anticipate what’s coming next, which blind alley we’ll all be meandering down to no end whatsoever.
It could be, if you’re watching the early stages of the Cazoo Open de France with fellow golf tragics, a chat about the origins of the term “dormie” (or, perhaps, dormy) – and its subsequent demise for no good reason that a quorum of experienced (old? Us? Not yet!) swingers could ascertain. And while we’re at it, we don’t like tying replacing halving; score becoming status; and as for making a claim instead of asking for a ruling. PUH-LEEEZE (or similar). [Decided against a wheen of quotation marks for aesthetic reasons – ed (not Elgar).]
The last time I was at The Northumberland Golf Club was for Commonwealth Tournament, consigned to the dim and distant, so long ago that no one I spoke to remembered it! Turns out it was indeed more than 30 years ago, in 1991 and GB won what is now the Astor Trophy. The team was Elaine Farquharson, Linzi Fletcher, Julie Hall, Catriona Lambert and Vicki Thomas and if I had to hazard a guess (no reference books immediately to hand and brain fog setting in), I’d say the captain was the quietly formidable Liz Boatman, who hid her competitiveness in a velvet glove. The following year, at Hoylake, she led GB and I to victory in the Curtis Cup. Happy days.
This week, Catriona, long since Mrs Matthew and an honour-strewn professional (Solheim Cup and the Women’s British Open), is playing in the resurrected Women’s Irish Open (KPMG are the title sponsors) at Dromoland Castle Golf and Country Club in county Clare, not that far from Ennis, Shannon and Limerick. Looking it up on t’internet, I spotted Spiddal, county Galway, where Maureen’s and my maternal grandmother was born. I feel a trip coming on.
Catriona won the last Women’s Irish Open, at Killeen Castle, in 2012, so she’s defending her title. “It’s lovely to be back in Ireland,” she said, “I’ve got some great memories playing here.” The Scot, distinguished though she is, recognises that she is not the big attraction, with Leona Maguire the main draw.“It’s fantastic for the event having Leona playing after her Solheim Cup debut last year [unbeaten as Europe, captained by Matthew, inspired by Maguire, won in Toledo, Ohio] and then winning on the LPGA Tour this year. She’s the star player here this week and the one everyone wants to come out and watch. It’ll be fun playing with her….though I don’t know if I want to be in a marquee group myself with my golf as it is…”
It’s always instructive to watch a consummate professional at work, whatever state their game is in and Matthew, a quiet, private soul by nature, remains a shining example and inspiration for many a European golfer, an example of what a player can achieve when talent is allied to dedication and determination. Golf is mostly a game of grit, not glamour and it’s as well to realise that early on.
This week I’m staying with what many would have us believe is an increasingly rare being: a devotee of the European (DP World) Tour. She even relishes the first two days before the cut and her knowledge of the players is little short of encyclopaedic, shaming me for my lack of devotion. So I laughed out loud when I read this in, I think, Golfweek’s daily bulletin: “The focus of the golf world is squarely on Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, as the 2022 Presidents Cup gets under way…..”
Not here in the north east it isn’t. And as Jordan Spieth, one of my favourites I have to admit, teed off, employing a bit of body Texan as his opening drive sailed off towards a hospitality unit, we shifted our focus squarely to the LET in Ireland.
Europe rules OK
To brighten up a dank old day and apropos of nothing very much, except to cheer us up, here’s a glorious photo from Brian and Maureen’s niece Emma, who was in Noosa in Queensland. No more words needed.