Sometimes, when the tumult and the fury are raging all around, it’s good to take a break, concentrate on breathing and luxuriate in a garden that is starting to bloom of its own accord (above).  Nothing to do with me, guv or nothing much.  I stuck a few things in and left them to it.  Back to nature.

Which brings me to another sort of back.  Whenever I mention that I’m going to the osteopath, my fit and healthy friends, the ones without backs, inevitably say, “Why?  What’s wrong with you?”

Usually, at least for the last goodness knows how long, the answer has been, “Nothing really, it’s just routine maintenance.”  But last week that insouciance was forgotten as the back seized up in a way that had become unfamiliar and I came to a grinding halt.  Not completely seized up and immobile but unable to bend – blimey, what a rude reminder of how important bending is in day to day life, let alone golf!

The dishwasher was a nuisance. So was the sink, if truth be told. And it’s amazing how often you drop things on the floor when you can’t bend very well. And if you do manage to get down there to pick stuff up, what do you see? Dust. Cobwebs. Clutter. And what daren’t you do? Brush, sweep, hoover, mop. Not stuff I’m mad keen to do as a general rule but I like to be able to choose not to do it…

My Spurs buddy John, who has season tickets for Tottenham, Derby and Burton. The match against Leicester was his 80th game of the season – no sign of any back trouble here.

I’d been to the sainted K, osteo extraordinaire, who keeps large numbers of WHGC’s members up and moving, just a couple of weeks earlier and she had mentioned a wee bit of inflammation.  And given me a video link to a hip flexor exercise.  I looked at it, made a note to try it, then went into overdrive, literally.  Up to Glasgow to stay with friends; down to Dundonald Links (the long way round), to play golf (delightful); across to St Andrews (the long way round – still nothing too sharp about my sense of direction despite decades of practice) for Renton’s memorial service; across to Edinburgh (more or less without deviation) to have lunch with a friend and stay overnight with another friend (via a circuitous route despite my phone doing the navigating); home (nearly wiped out on the M6 by a mad red van speeding through a gap that wasn’t there until I stood on the brakes);  singing; tai chi; preparing curry for the in-laws; down to Spurs via Milton Keynes (more driving, sitting on a coach; watching us beat Leicester 3-1, sonsational, worldy goal from Son Heung-Min, man of the match); back home via MK; patio cleaning; planting Christmas tree (at last); standing starting at WHGC for a couple of hours and more; then 18 holes at PGA National (still no sign of my 7-iron).

The next day, Wednesday a week ago, the back gave up the unequal struggle.  “For goodness sake,” a friend said in what-on-earth-did-you-expect exasperation.  “Ibuprofen if you can tolerate it and plenty of paracetamol.  Remember, you’re not 30 any more.”

I had another reminder of that when I was squeezed in to the osteopaths’ busy schedule and seen by a charming young man, who set me on the road to recovery.  I don’t pay much attention to my ageing body whenever K’s doing the manipulating – we’ve both seen it all before but there’s nothing quite as horrifying as looking at yourself with new eyes…Vanity, vanity, what is the bloody point!

Chastened but eternally grateful, I had a coffee and made my way home (slowly, by the shortest route).

I had to postpone two matches and cancel the Hamer Cup for another year – congrats to Pamela on a great win – but managed to stagger round on Wednesday afternoon in the Jacobs mixed greensomes (last chance of getting the four of us on the course together before the deadline) without too much agony.  Hooray for talented osteopaths!

Miraculously, we got round dry – and my partner and I won 2 and 1, somehow.

It was my first time playing the new course in its entirety and I really enjoyed it but half way round there was a reminder of just why we’ve had all these changes – visions in orange outfits and hard hats setting up camp, preparing to shake, rattle and roll in the name of HS2.  More fencing, more digging, more overspending.  Who’d be a taxpayer?

Here comes the train….

And yes, the two photos were taken on the same afternoon;  the weather was nothing if not changeable, nearly as unpredictable as the golf.

Finally, another blast from the past for my – and I hope your – delectation and delight.

All ready to roll in the Rockies, full of hope. From left to right, Alister Nicol, Dai, the irrepressible Kaye Kessler and John Bowles on the 1st tee at Castle Pines in Colorado.

I love this pic but you don’t get the full benefit of the view – the mountains in the background are stunning – because I wanted to get the drivers in.  Just look at those heads, how small they are, how wooden – probably a bit of persimmon in there.  How on earth did we hackers ever get round any golf course?  This hole was 644 yards long  – I know the altitude makes a difference but really!  I don’t know what the boys scored but I do know it wasn’t the round they’d hoped for because Kaye, one of whose roles was as media director for The International, the modified stableford competition that took place at Castle Pines for several years, wrote a caption that summed it all up.

Kaye, who died in December last year, aged 97, was once advised by Jack Nicklaus (I think), who was a good friend, “Not to take that swing out of town!”  Well, he took it all over the world and won hearts and minds wherever he went, with his charm, wit, generosity and gift for friendship.  I thought Kaye would live forever – and I suppose there’s little doubt that he will as his stories and bon mots are passed on down the generations.

Still lighting up the room, Kaye.