I’m a “lists” person – partly to aid a balky memory, but also my list acts as a safety net for me and gives structure to my day. I’m never without an ongoing list and some items manage to hang around for years and some even for decades. There is one such item that I reckon has been inhabiting my list for well nigh fifteen years and I have fingers and toes crossed that I may shortly be able to put a big fat tick in the “done” column.
It’s all about a blind, you see. A picture blind, a golfing picture blind. It started with me having a brainwave to explore getting a vista of Dad’s beloved Rosses Point on a blind for his bathroom. It was to be a surprise but back in those days the world hadn’t graduated to taking pictures on your phone and the easy transfer of photos from one device to another. So, despite a skirmish of early investigations I made no headway at all and parked the idea……for the moment….or, as it turned out, for a very long time indeed.
A couple of years later, quite by chance in conversation, a photographer friend of mine mentioned he was in the process of working out how to manufacture golf umbrellas adorned with photographs of clubhouses and courses. The idea was that each club could have their own bespoke brolly with a photograph of their own course on it. When questioned he thought it should be “fairly straightforward” for me to achieve my ambition of the Rosses Point blind. “Blind picture” re-entered my list at the very top.
With technology moving onwards I now found it easier to locate companies capable of doing what I wanted, but at a cost that made my eyes water. So, once again the blind picture idea was shelved. Slow forward several years and about five years ago we were having quite a bit of work done to the house, including turning one room into an exercise room, which with a bit of creative thinking could be turned into an overflow bedroom for busy times when lots of family were visiting. This little room has no windows (hold on – not as bad as it sounds!) but is oblong in shape and has a set of double patio doors at each narrow end. And so, I wondered if this would be a better canvas for my golfing blind – admittedly a much, much larger canvas than originally intended at an approximate 6 feet by 7.5 feet.
It’s at this point that the whole project took a sudden spurt forward. Hubby came home one day from a motorbike track day with an action picture of his good self taken by a professional photographer and that’s when I decided this sports/exercise room of ours could easily cope with two distinct and separate blinds. He decided on his motorbike one and, with poor Dad now playing only a heavenly Rosses Point, I decided to switch my focus to where I grew up, namely Portstewart, and its world famous view from the clubhouse and first tee area.
But, would it actually work? The first test was the biking pic. Company found, instructions followed, file uploaded, money paid. Bingo, a blind we were both thrilled with and easy to put up. Now, all I had to do was get exactly the photograph I wanted for the golfing end of the exercise room.
By this stage we were in the early stages of lockdown in 2020 and unable to travel anywhere so I rang Michael Moss, erstwhile manager of Portstewart Golf Club and tasked him with sourcing the picture that would help me put this project to bed once and for all. Moss-y boy sallied out with his ipad and phone, took copious pictures and sent them over. Excited beyond all imagining I selected one and sent it off to the blind people.
Abject failure. The pic didn’t have the underlying required technical details to “grow” the picture up to the required size without going all out of focus. I realised an ipad wouldn’t cut it so after shilly-shallying back and forward for the Covid years, Mr Moss was dismissed without a reference.
Enter, stage left, the blog’s favourite photographer, Mary McKenna, who, by the summer of 2022 was travelling around again and had a trip planned to the wee North. Forsaking her friends at Portrush, McKenna took up residence on the first tee at Portstewart snapping away, all the time warning me that she doubted her technical know-how was up to the task. Meanwhile, my own learning curve was continuing and the penny had finally dropped that the lovely, panoramic view I was envisaging was never going to translate onto a narrow, tall blind. Eek! The longer the project continued the further away the finishing line appeared to be. Mac’s pictures were lovely – but rejected by the blind people – and she followed Michael Moss out the door.
All this palaver took us up to the summer of last year and I was resigning myself to forever having one room in the house with only one blind when I had (yet another) brainwave. Good friend, renowned historian and Lady President of Royal Portrush, Kath Stewart-Moore was a photographer of some note, wasn’t she? One phone call later and Kath (who saw me coming) had swiftly moved me on to Barbara Stewart with the assurance that Barbara would be more than up to the task.Dear Reader, if you’ve managed to stick with this tortuous tale thus far, I assure you we are almost finished. Barbara took up her mission with alacrity and several trips to the golf club at Portstewart ensued over the winter and spring, checking the light, working out the angles and drinking copious cups of coffee. She visited in all weathers and then last week sent through her submission.
I absolutely love it!
The blind order has been placed, the proof has come back and we are all systems go. I’ll have the completed blind in a fortnight. Fingers crossed I won’t take too long to getting round to putting it up!
Fifteen years in the gestation – what a pity Dad isn’t here to see it.
Now, what’s next on my list?