I headed off for the home of golf yesterday morning – sans clubs since I’d sworn I’d never take them on a train again and was going to a 90th birthday bash that was being held indoors.  Lichfield was bathed in sunshine and already hot as I walked, laden and a little leaden-footed, to the station.  A taxi might have been the prudent option – not much more than a fiver – but I decided I needed the exercise.  Still, did I really need four pairs of shoes for a two-night trip?

Is all this footwear really necessary?

The itinerary gives a snapshot of the country’s current railway system:  Trent Valley to Crewe via West Midlands Trains; Crewe to Preston (Lancs) with Virgin Trains; Preston (Lancs) to Haymarket on the racily-named TransPennine Express; then Haymarket to Leuchars on ScotRail, with no stops in between.  It all worked and I got a seat on every train.

Left Lichfield at 0918, arrived Leuchars at 1425 as billed.  Not only was it chillier in Scotland (no surprise) but it was raining quite heavily at Leuchars as a St Andrews bus pulled away before we had time to reach the bus stop.  Our outrage subsided when we realised that there was indeed some sort of system because another St Andrews bus arrived within minutes.

It’s still a thrill to come in to St Andrews past all the familiar sights and even better when you can haul out the raincoat that you remembered to pack along with the over-optimistic sleeveless linen top and summer skirt.

Proof that I really was here.  Too wet and chilly to search out the beach or the Old Course.

I’d like to do the eco-friendly thing of travelling by train and boat to Ireland next week for a very special tournament (about which much more in due course) in Dublin the week before the Open at Portrush but it’s more than a tad complicated to sort out and adds days to the journey.  To add to the complications, I have no idea where I’ve hidden my passport and can’t find my driving licence either.

The other day a friend told me that a policeman she knew had advised her not to carry her licence with her because it has the address on it and you’re given 24 hours to produce it if required.  “Good idea,” I said and tucked it away so securely that I now have no idea where that is either……There seems to be a bit of a worrying trend here.

At Crewe, where I was thinking of all the hours Mum and her sisters must have spent waiting there during WWII on their way home on leave, I stretched my aching bones (too many shoes, a bottle of wine for my host, laptop, water bottle, it all weighs you down) and the woman next to me smiled.  “You, too?” she said.  She’d been to the chiropractor the day before and we discussed posture, ears over shoulders, that sort of thing.  She now knows about Esther Gokhale and 8 Steps to a Pain-free Back.

Fewer shoes next trip perhaps but the walking shoes were needed for all the tramping about; the Prada sandals go with the dress; the black dancing shoes don’t go with the dress or the white legs but it’s a Scottish shindig so there’ll be a lot of lepping about on the dance floor; and the flat sandals are for slopping about, hopefully in the sunshine.

There was too much sunshine for me last Saturday in the first round of the club championship.  It was more than 30 degrees, not my sort of weather at all and after a respectable front nine, I limped home – more or less literally – and finished with an inglorious 10 (that included a rather impressive left-handed shot with my sand iron) for a round of 101.  At least I had a birdie 3 at the 6th, which should help the eclectic and one of my playing partners, unaffected by my travails, thank goodness, went on to win the title the next day.

Heaven help my partner at the Grange next week, she’ll have to do all the work.

WHGC club champions Jayne Fletcher (2nd left) and Ollie Read (3rd left) flanked by nett winners Izzy Speck and Howard Sims. Congrats to all.

Finally, more congratulations are in order, to Luton Town stalwarts Holly Kemp and Ben Valentine, who got married last month and are united by many things, not least a love of football.  Perhaps Holly should be taking England’s penalties!

The bride and groom are looking forward to many successful seasons. Every happiness Holly and Ben.  Just make sure you don’t save her penalties, Ben….