Undone by bold john barleycorn

The kilted caddie tried his hand at the Tam O’Shanter recital competition at The Globe Inn in Dumfries last week. It is an annual event to award a trophy to the best recitation of the titanic Robert Burns poem about the hazards of indulging in our national drink whisky, aka John Barleycorn. It should be read by any visitor to these lands who dares to partake in our national treasure and glorious golden reserve.
The Globe was filled with many keen Burnsians and the judging panel was headed by the President of The World Burns Federation. It is a fine wee howff which was frequented by our bard. Small, cosy and conducive to songs and banter and clatter.
Six performers come here annually and tackle the most august of Burn’s poems.
Anyhow the kilted caddie was going swimmingly in his performance until he indeed got to ‘inspiring bold John Barleycorn’ where he stumbled and fell. How surprising for him to get to it and not for it to get him for a change!
Well other than in a kind of poetic way.

On meeting Alumni

It is always nice to meet old St Andreans, and yesterday was no exception as I made the acquaintance of Graeme Booth who graduated here in 2005. He was up on a stag weekend for an ex-President of the Students Union and their group had been having a bit of a bash by all accounts. Indeed they had been up till 5am that morning drinking whisky (four bottles!) down on Castle Sands. And a round of golf was deemed the best antidote.
I noticed that Graeme had the letters OSCC on his golf shirt, which turns out to be The Old Seagulls Cricket Club which he set up for graduate cricket players of the Uni. They have about ten matches a year including one against The Ship in Elie and I must say I would fancy being an Old Seagull for that game.
I love all these societies which keep us old boys in touch with our great University and allows us to maintain and develop comradeship in the magical place that is St Andrews. However I must not forget that I am already a HOG which is a member of Home of Golf Society, a club set up in my day for graduates who had played on the golf team here.
And so I could become a very strange thing indeed, and that is an Old Seagull and a Hog. Nothing changes: I’ve always been a bit mixed up. But in this instance it will just be over fores and sixes.

The changing role of caddies

Had a very interesting chat yesterday with Dave who has been a caddie here since time immemorial. We were out with some wacky Indian gentlemen from LA who indulged us in a five hour round, so I had a bit of time to discourse let’s say.
Dave told me that he had caddied in the Centenary Open which is going back a bit. Forty four years in fact. And he had caddied for a chap who had got through four rounds and Dave received a cheque for twenty quid for his troubles. This makes me feel a bit humble and appreciate that we have not a bad deal, as we regularly get seventy pounds plus a round now. And Dave endorsed this and explained that it had turned from being a hobby into a way of making a living. And I suppose that’s a fair way of putting it.
Got a bit of low down on some character caddies in town. Indeed there was one chap who seemingly resided for a time in the old shack behind the first tee of the New Course. He simply went from the golf course to the pub to the shack to get some kip and do it all over again.
And I’m afraid to admit that I am slightly in awe of that simplicity of life and purpose (and drinking capacity!).
Famously he is still caddying but no longer residing at The Fourways as it used to be called. But he still manages to make it to the pub I am assured.