Well, by Georgina (or whoever, why must it always be George?), I did it.  I arrived in time to catch the coach to the Totspurs Stadium for the match against West Ham, the bubble-blowing ‘ammers.  Blowing bubbles is usually a soft, playful, non-threatening activity (hammering not so much perhaps) but long before we started arriving in our thousands, my mate counted at least 30 Met Police vans lining up ready for whatever off-pitch action the rainy night would bring.  There were also several police dogs straining at the leash and barking fiercely, in no mood for any nonsense.  The whole operation must cost a fortune.

I didn’t like to get too close to the dogs or the police persons in case I was bitten or arrested. Sometimes watching Spurs is punishment enough.

 

The reason for the animosity between West Ham and Tottenham has always escaped me but I remember a Spurs fan telling me he’d once sought refuge with some Arsenal fans to avoid a menacing claret and blue horde – not Villa or Burnley supporters but the crew from east London.  Crikey.

West Ham were very well organised and disciplined, as you’d expect and pounced on our habitual self-destructive errors. As a friend said: “Your boys will have to stop scoring first.” Us 1 Them 2.

The blog is being composed on the coach, hunt and peck style because of the cramped conditions, even though any sensible soul would have had it done and dusted long ago, knowing they’d be lucky to be home by first light on Friday.

Admittedly, there hasn’t been much light at all in my part of the world these past couple of days, as the rain took over from the frost and, shock, horror, a bit of snow.  There was no golf on Tuesday – 13 holes open but too vile to play in the morning – and my Round Robin opponent and I have re-arranged our match for February!!!  At least we now know that if we both agree, we can play our match over 13 holes, or whatever.  Thanks for the info, all-knowing, long-suffering handicap guru.

Do labs prefer frost and snow to rain and mud? Discuss.

 

Still on the golfing front, a bit less tenuously, I was looking forward to cheering two family firsts: Min Woo Lee and his sister Minjee winning their respective tournaments on the same weekend, ditto the Fitzpatrick brothers Alex and Matt.  Sadly, none of them won – Minjee came closest, Ashleigh Buhai pipping her to the ISPS HANDA Women’s Australian Open title in Sydney by a single shot.  In the men’s version, Min Woo finished third, two shots behind the eventual winner Joaquin Niemann (second extra hole) and Rikuya Hoshino.

The championships were played concurrently on the same courses and I think it’s amazing and wonderful that the Australians, of all the golfing people, should have become so enlightened.  It does my old heart good to think of some my more chauvinistic male friends spinning in their graves downunder.

You’ve heard my NFS* story, surely?  If not, I’ll give you chapter and verse over a bottle of our choosing.

When I first went to Australia, many years ago now, I couldn’t believe the rampant misogyny; I, who grew up surrounded by Ulstermen, for goodness sake, was shocked to my core.  The Aussie men made our lot look like committed feminists and I had to dredge up long-forgotten, sharp-tongued survival skills learned in pubs and clubs many years previously.  It was exhausting.

It’s all very well having to fight your corner now and again but if you have to justify your existence every second of every minute of every hour of every day, well, you get the picture.  And there were those who seemed convinced that writing about golf, reporting on any sport really, was a man’s job, far too tough for women.  Must have been all that heavy lifting involved in the days of the typewriter.  We had lots of great times, though and plenty of laughs.

Talking of women, as we often do in this wee corner of the world, have you come across two of my favourites on their programme/podcast Now You’re Asking? on radio 4 on a Friday night at the moment.  Marian Keyes and Tara Flynn are two talented friends based in Dublin, who take it upon themselves to mull over knotty questions sent in by listeners from wherever about whatever.

Tara and Marian wouldn’t call themselves agony aunties but they’re old enough to have a lot of experience of a lot of things and wise enough to admit that there are lots of things they don’t know, so.  So they’re worth listening to and they’re often very, very funny.  Listening to them the other night, to stop myself fretting about my long to-do list, I fell asleep laughing.

You can’t say fairer than that.

Last Friday, two friends and I took ourselves into Birmingham to a place called The Electric Cinema to watch the timeless Christmas classic (isn’t it obligatory for a classic to be timeless?) It’s A Wonderful Life – with wine.  A real live sommelier, formerly of the Hotel du Vin in Brum, conducted the wine tasting with great aplomb, giving a performance that stood up well to those on screen.

At judicious intervals we sampled a fizz, a white, a light red (a German pinot noir), a more robust red (from Italy) and a delicious port.

 

We paced ourselves beautifully, honest. Thanks to Matt, sat sitting next to Sue for the pic. Our attempts at a selfie were quickly deleted.

You’ll be glad to hear that we’d eaten beforehand, taken snacks (crisps and cheese, lovingly cubed by me), gone in on the train and home by taxi and could still tell you the story of the film and the name of the angel who won his wings at the end after a couple of hundred years of trying.

The fact that I got home without my phone (left in the taxi but rescued by an earthly angel) is another story altogether.

 

* the first word is no and the third is sheilas…