It’s mentioned, too often perhaps, that this corner of the blog is, too often, lacking in golf content.  It was brought to my attention that someone, a friend who will remain nameless, even put it in a comment -and it was approved, by my sister – shock, hurt, indignation.

They contend that the clue is in the title but my contention is that they fixate on the golf bit, forgetting that the other component, the madill bit, gives us licence to roam wherever our meanderings take us.  Sometimes the golf doesn’t inspire or appeal and it’s important to remember that, heaven help them, there are a few loyal readers (sisters-in-law mainly) who know nothing much about golf and care even less.  They shouldn’t be neglected and it’s a challenge to keep them reading all the way to the end!  Heartfelt thanks for your support.

This week, while waiting to be inspired by the golf on offer, avoiding ghastly, heart-rending pictures from Ukraine and Boris making excuses in India, I pounced happily on Carol Klein getting stuck in to her spring gardening. What a joy, so spring is the starting point of the blog and the subject of the featured image (the wee pic that, fingers crossed, appears at the top of the piece).

Another McKenna special.

It’s another classic from the magic lens of the ridiculously talented, never-stops-learning Mary McKenna but just in case it doesn’t like the device/format you’re using, here it is again, full size.  I got a red warning notice to the effect that the image was the wrong size to be picked up by Facebook and other social media sites and I apologise.  It’s an SEO issue apparently but the technicalities were beyond me and it was too late to consult my expert (Mo).

That reminds me, have you read Tulip Fever, by Deborah Moggach?  A brilliant book, not a long read.  And I’m told the film is pretty good too.

Lichfield is pretty good at tulips too and still makes an effort with its formal gardens – long may it last.  (This is not the place to discuss the recycling and house-building policies, baffling and bewildering as they are to many of us.)

A bit of colour in Beacon Park.  Pic not quite in McKenna’s league but it was only me.

In a corner of the park, not far from the tulips, there’s a very grand statue of Commander Edward John Smith RD RNR (1850-1912), captain of the Titanic, which hit its iceberg 100 years ago and sank on the 15th of April 1912.  He was born in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent but was unveiled here in Lichfield in July 1914.  The bronze statue, set on a plinth of Cornish granite, is 2.34 metres tall (7 foot 8) and is the work of Lady Kathleen Scott, widow of Robert Falcon Scott, of the Antarctic, who died in March 1912, having been beaten to the South Pole by the Norwegian Roald Amundsen.

Captain Smith, snapped by me on a glorious April day.  He went down with his ship and more than 1500 others.

There was more sad news the other day when we heard that Jack Newton, an irrepressible Aussie who was good enough to be runner-up in the Open of 1975 (pipped in a play-off by Tom Watson) and the Masters of 1980 (four shots behind Seve, alongside Gibby Gilbert), had died, just a few weeks after his great mate Bob Shearer.

They both won an Australian Open and added to the gaiety of golf, lighting up the European Tour in the 1970s – and well beyond – with their exuberance, zest for life and considerable golfing skills.  They were likely lads but no mugs and both remained married to the English girls they met at a tournament early on in their golfing adventure.  Jack married Jackie and Bob married Kathie and our hearts go out to them and their families.  At least we can be sure that life was never dull.

Jack lost his right arm and right eye in an argument with a plane’s propeller in 1983 but reinvented himself as a commentator, devoted advocate of junior golf, fund-raiser and one-armed golfer.  Bob played golf to the end and moved into golf design.  Whenever Kathie, who ran the best press rooms anywhere, was asked if she’d like to accompany him on his travels, she’d reply:  “Only if there are brollies in the drinks and choccies on the pillows.”

Kathie with Dai. She was the only woman I knew who could persuade him to take to the dance floor. Mind you, she could convince Wim Hof (the Ice Man) of the health benefits of a hot shower.

There’s a lot of talk about trying to increase diversity in golf and Wales Golf came up with a genius idea to encourage more Muslims to try the game during Ramadan.  Thanks to The Golf Business website for the story about Parc Golf Club, near Newport, just down the road from Celtic Manor, who opened up their facilities for late-night lessons for people who were breaking their fast and had energy to burn.  Very creative and a great success.  Well done to everybody involved, including professional Sahra Hassan.

All lit up  [The photo is from The Golf Business website, many thanks]

Finally, another bit of golf for your delectation and delight, one of my favourite cartoons, by an unknown artist.  Amazing how he’s made the golfer look so shifty.  It always makes me laugh.  And Snoopy is always a bonus, hating the par 5s that you can’t reach in 42 – there seem to be more of those as I get older.