I’ve nicked the title from Channel 4 News, where I glimpsed it before switching to something less challenging – although de-cluttering a busy household of four women was no easy task and proved positively life-changing. COP (Conference of the Parties) 26 is on in Glasgow for a fortnight, which must be a logistical nightmare over and above the strain of trying to save the planet at “one minute to midnight” as Boris put it.
The chimney sweep, Mr Grimes (yes, honestly – though he’s very neat and tidy), came a couple of weeks ago and I confess I have used the log burner a few times in the last few days, feeling guilty every time. Am I accelerating the destruction of the planet? Should I just be wearing a few extra layers; switching off the lights; abandoning the telly and the car; cycling everywhere, whatever the weather, pedalling through flood and mud, putting my life in the hands of the selfish bastards who are still using their cars – even more dangerous if they’re electric because you can’t hear them coming? So many questions and not that many answers – yet.
I’d go and get a cup of tea to mull over the conundrums (dra?) but what damage am I doing by putting the kettle on yet again? I suppose a glass of red is the only answer – even though it’s come from South Africa, Australia, Chile or Argentina via Stevenage (The Wine Society). That’s a lot of air or nautical miles. More guilt?
Chatting to an avid cyclist the other day made me re-think my timid decision to put the bike away for the winter – all that mud, rain, cold, ubiquitous temporary traffic lights and the crowded roads added up to a very feart two-wheel wobbler. So, in a noble bid to do my bit to save the planet, I decided to take steps to resist using the car for the roughly three-mile trip to the golf club. This, admittedly, is a good intention that is liable to end up filed under ‘R’ or ‘H’ as in Road to Hell. In fact, I think that our new, long and winding road up to the clubhouse high on its hill adds another mile on to the journey.
Still, in preparation for my winter cycles I drove up to the club to deposit my clubs in their locker and my trolley in the trolley shed. I’m ashamed to say that I had to ask where exactly it was, having acquired a nice, neat trolley that folded up easily and fitted snugly in the boot of my Fiesta – a few centimetres narrower and it would have been living in the locker. As it was it took me a good half hour to sort things out, what with all the chains and padlocks I had to struggle with; masochistic perhaps, kinky absolutely not.
The shed is secured by one of those poxy little padlocks that require you to get four numbers in a neat row – all very well if you can see without your glasses and if your now far from nimble fingers aren’t numb with cold – also assuming you can remember the code of course. Trust me to be attempting this delicate manoeuvre on the coldest day of the month so far with a nasty hack on each thumb; it’s a wonder I didn’t bruise or even break a toe kicking the door in frustration. Perseverance is a virtue, allegedly.
Two friends and I played 18 holes at Northamptonshire County GC on Wednesday, a prize we’d won at least two years ago but been unable to use because of the pandemic and lockdown. I reckoned it was nearly 50 years ago that I’d first been there – and I was nearly right: it was 1973, for the British Girls’ Championship and the girls’ home internationals. I wasn’t playing but caddied for Mary Governey (now Culliton), the Irish champion, who came back from five down with five to play to halve her match with Suzanne Parker, the English champion, no mean feat. Off the top of her head, Mo said that she thought Anne-Marie Palli had beaten Nathalie Jeanson in the all-French final – and she was right. Thanks to the much-missed and lamented Golfer’s Handbook for the confirmation.
As regular readers know, this blog is canny enough never to guarantee the accuracy of any facts contained herein; it tries its best but leaves all claims of infallibility to others. Thanks, therefore, to Neal Stewart, who has written from Glasgow to tell us that it looks as though the longest hole in the UK is not at West Midlands GC, as they claim but a little further north, at Westray GC, on a little dot of an island in the Orkneys. The 3rd hole there is a par 6 of 738 yards – on Neal’s card it’s down as 731 yards but it was re-measured last year apparently.
I imagine that there’d be days when the hole plays nearer 1000 yards, a veritable par 10 – but then, surely, all sensible golfers would be inside instead of being blown off their feet? Och, don’t be daft, woman. Who’s ever heard of a sensible golfer!
Finally, just a word about the sainted Alice, who was the perfect guest and behaved immaculately. It’s very quiet without her, albeit tidier and less muddy.