To say the blog is back by popular demand is stretching it a bit but a handful of people have said they’d like us to keep going, so here goes.

Maureen, who’s just had a much-needed break in Gran Canaria, is hanging fire for a little longer as she recovers her mojo and works out how to fit blogging in with blood-bike controlling.  I’ve always been in awe of her discipline and organisational skills and when I saw what being a controller entailed, I reeled away to lie down in the darkened room.  It’s always wise to recognise your limitations…

Gran Canaria in all its glory [Mo and Brian hiking their socks off]

Many years ago, when I thought I was smart, I rather fancied being foreign secretary or a diplomat but the diplomatic corps didn’t want me (wise decision – a friend nearly passed out laughing at the thought;  “you’re the least diplomatic person I know,” she said) and I never trained on in the other regard.  Just as well, really.  You think the world is in a state now?…

Fortunately, my delusions of grandeur are long gone and I even thought long and hard about continuing with this weekly guff, some of it golfing – be patient, golfers – most of it random ramblings.  Truth is, even though I enjoyed all those non-thinking Thursdays, I enjoy chatting away to my friends more.  When you all stop reading and responding, we (Mo and I) will stop writing.

If you would, please keep an ear and an eye out for the dread phrase, “It is what it is.”  Aaaaagh.  My first hearing/sighting of the year was from Patrick Reed in Dubai, talking about his spat with Rory (no need for the McIlroy in this company, surely?).  If you’re not a devotee of twitter and the like, you may be baffled but because I was baffled and had no clue what everybody was wittering on about, I had a look and, lo, all was more or less revealed.

There was Patrick wandering over to Rory on the range, shaking hands with Harry Diamond, Rory’s caddy but being ignored by Rory, who was fiddling with his bag and didn’t look up.  Patrick took the hint and walked away but semi tossed a tee peg (LIV variety, apparently) in the vague direction of Rory, one of LIV’s sternest critics, who remained oblivious.  It was all grist to the preview mill, ahead of the Hero Dubai Desert Classic and led to enjoyably nonsensical items like “23 questions about the Rory-Reed feud, answered in 23 one-sentence responses”.  That’s from the supposedly respectable (am I so old that that just means ignoring the bollocks?) Golf Digest.  I suppose 24/7 online stuff makes fools of us all.

Special delivery to revive bloggers writing about the stuff that makes the world go round – money and greed. The Wine Society’s Henschke offer proved irresistible. It’s from one of the world’s great wineries, in the Barossa, one of Dai’s and my favourite places.

Anyway, it turns out that on Christmas Eve somebody had turned up on Rory’s doorstep (well, presumably there were a few gates to go through first) and issued him with a subpoena (roughly, more or less, ignoring the precise legal niceties, related to Reed and LIV versus the PGA Tour).  So Rory wasn’t inclined to say hail fellow, well met when Patrick ambled over in Dubai.  “If roles were reversed and I’d thrown that tee at him, I’d be expecting a lawsuit,” he said, perhaps not entirely flippantly.

The phrase “immature little child” popped up somewhere.  Which one would that be, do you think?  Why, Rory of course – according to Patrick. The blog couldn’t possibly comment – but only because one of its resolutions is to moderate its language…

Back in the real golfing world, down at the original, amateur level, it’s the centenary year of The Staffordshire Union of Golf Clubs (men) and the culmination of years of planning and hard work.  There are lots of competitions and celebrations in the diary and Andrew Dathan, a member of Whittington Heath who has been involved in Staffordshire golf for nearly 60 years, is the centenary president.  Many congratulations to him – and to the committee that worked so hard to organise everything in plenty of time, not an easy task.

However, the blog would like to pay tribute to and cheer and roar its approval of and admiration for the person who laboured long and hard to produce the centenary book, a woman no less.  Pippa Dathan, please stand up and take a well-deserved bow.

Pippa signed my copy of the book with her left hand (she’s right-handed) because she’s had a big op on her writing hand and is in a very impressive sling.  Apologies for forgetting to take a pic of the author.

I know how tricky these centenary books are and my admiration knows no bounds.  The Staffordshire Union of Golf Clubs could not have found a better, more qualified chronicler, diligent, knowledgeable and steeped in the subject and its characters.  A dentist by profession, with a scientist’s attention to detail, Pippa was a decent golfer and having been married to Andrew for more than half a century, there’s not much she didn’t know about Staffordshire golf.  Now, after all her research, there’s nothing she doesn’t know!

Here’s to a memorable centenary and some good times in 2023 and to those of our family and friends who’ve had a shitty (no other word for it) start to the year, our hearts are with you.  Bonne chance and bon courage.

Up, up and away, a Mary McKenna special to start the year.