As regular readers know (it’s lovely to realise that there’s more than one, thank youse) life is difficult for this particular organisationally impaired person and this has been a particularly tricky week.  I’d show you a photo of my desk, littered with notes and lists, some in jotters, some on scraps of paper or the back of envelopes as I attempt to cope with a tsunami of admin but Mo’s photo shop is now closed for business, my computer’s photographic memory is full and plans B-Z have stalled.  Lucky youse.

I’m off on a big trip and I haven’t been on a big trip like this for years.  During a mammoth session of rooting and sorting I discovered a passport from 20 years ago and even I didn’t recognise the woman in the picture.  In her place now is someone unrecognisable as the same person, grim, gaunt, grey.  Part of that is the fault of the passport people because they want to drain all the life and colour out of their subjects:  “neutral expression….mouth closed no smiling, frowning or raised eyebrows…no hair across the eyes……”  and so on and on.  Looking at my latest effort I’m not sure I’d let me in anywhere…..Fingers crossed.

This is a particularly fraught time of year for us last-minute merchants in that we absolutely have to sort out our taxes, there’ll be no mercy if we miss the deadline of the 31st.  That’s entailed a couple of trips to the accountant, some money to be paid to the taxman, sorry, the revered HMRC and fingers crossed they agree with everything, including the fact that they were paid electronically this very Thursday evening.  I hear that some people – who paid online in plenty of time and received confirmation from HMRC – have been fined £100 for missing the deadline!  Yes, that deadline; the one at the end of this month, the one that is still a week away.  Ah, Her Majesty’s Revenue inspiring Confidence….

Still digging, whatever the weather, wherever the golfers

There’s been no golf for me this week, in deference to list after list:  car insurance, house insurance, travel insurance, travel card pin – wrong?  Yet another phone call, more memorable words to recall, another password long forgotten, mother’s maiden name, limit on credit card; suspend gym membership; clean the loos; change the sheets; empty the fridge; play Balderdash; ditch bridge (damn, but something has to give); collect walking shoes (if they’ve arrived); pick up new specs.  Eat; fill the dishwasher; empty the dishwasher; coffee with the next door neighbour; sort the misbehaving boiler, change the thermostat setting – oops low battery, change the battery, double oops HOW?!!!  Relax, breathe, remember that commitment to Zen (radio programme, half heard, wholly misunderstood)!  Thank God that you’re not Theresa May. Did you really once think that you’d quite like to be prime minister or foreign secretary one day……Lucky youse, it never happened.

At the end of it all, am I sorted?  Not quite but progress has been made.  The packing is nearly done, the really, really serious stuff is under some sort of control and, most important of all, all the heavy organising has been done by proper organisers who don’t just plan ahead, they go ahead and do it ahead.  (How on earth does that work?)

I’m hoping to come back wiser (well, travel is meant to broaden the mind and my brain cell is willing to expand), fitter (serious exercise addicts in the party) and a much better golfer.  It’s not a golfing holiday per se but there’ll be some golf and I’m hopelessly overmatched, so here’s hoping to pick up some good tips.  Also, I’ve never been to this place before, so I’m starting to get really excited about what’s in store.  The accountant grew up there and, bless him, brought in some pics to get me in the mood.  He’s nearly as excited as I am….

A friend took me out to dinner last night and it was a lovely, relaxing, no-fretting zone.  Thank you.

It was particularly easy to keep my tower of tasks in perspective this week for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was the news that Debbie Dowling, a friend from years ago, had died suddenly and unexpectedly.  Mo and I are still in shock, so our hearts can only go out to her family and close friends.  Bon courage.

Debbie Dowling 1962-2019. RIP.

Debbie, a bouncy blonde (or possibly a brunette) from Wimbledon, played for Surrey and England as an amateur, then turned professional in 1981 and joined the fledgling women’s European Tour (known as the WPGA then).  She was quite a player and won her fair share of tournaments as a professional:  the Bloor Homes Eastleigh Classic (twice), the Laing Ladies Classic, the Portuguese Ladies Open, the Woodhall Hill Tournament, the Colt Cars Jersey Open.  All our yesterdays.  Bear in mind that in those days everyone played in everything, so 99 per cent of the time the best players were there; there were no weak fields except in so far as it was a new venture on this side of the Atlantic and all the players were learning their trade.

Looking through the old handbooks the memories came flooding back, such good times, such fun, so many friends. I rang Lindy Johnson, widow of Bill, who found his niche reporting on the women’s tour.  They travelled far and worldwide, though Bill, a doughty Lancastrian, was never prone to culinary experimentation.  In Kuala Lumpur once, Lindy recalled, Bill was baffled by the wide-ranging, international selection at breakfast and asked Debbie’s advice.  She didn’t miss a beat:  “Oh, the fish stomach curry, definitely.”

Thanks for the happy memories and the laughter all of youse.  Lucky us.