Musings on the year

It’s been a rather tumultuous one to be honest. On the plus side I’m still here and batting, which is good.

I went for a duck in Edinburgh yesterday though. Not a cricket one of course but a real, dead one. My favorite butcher, W&S Christie, in Bruntsfield do an excellent duck job. The veritable canard! Well worth the trip and long live the independents may I say. Especially ones with as much character and bonhomie as this establishment has.

Caddying has been very good fun at The Castle this year. It is an excellent place to work, with a great bunch of caddies (pudgie), top notch caddiemaster in Matt, and the front of house staff are wonderful. It’s not a bad golf course too.

On the writing front I am trying to blog weekly and still managing to churn out an article each month for HK Golf. They are remarkably still publishing them. That’s over a year now.

My biggest golfing achievement by far, apart from going one under around the loop on The Old and hitting two consecutive balls up Grannie Clarks Wynd, was in helping to get Tennents Lager back on tap at the Dunvegan. How can you have your sights on being the premier golf bar in the world without Tennents?

Jings ! Help ma bob! (ps foreign readers refer to The Broons on this poetic outburst, and be careful in the translation of the scots ‘bob’. It’s quite a tricky, contextual word in all honesty. A bit like ‘wee’, except if you combine them you are almost always referring to a small caddie bloke (ie in the sense of being under 5′ foot 8” tall) at the end of the bar, who is drinking lager (Tennents).

Our flat is finally finished in St Andrews and it’s lovely. Albeit we have no curtains yet, but there are windows and a roof. It’s a very nice spot indeed with a beautiful garden and we get the sun all day, when it’s not raining.

The bistrot project in Edinburgh is nearly starting. We just have to find a decent builder, think up a name and hire a few staff. This means that I may have to split my time between St Andrews and Edinburgh. Caddiemasters are the most wonderful, intelligent and accomodating people.

Thinking up a name is incredibly hard. Murrayfield Place is about as good as I have got so far, but it’s hardly trendy, wildly clever or original. But neither am I. ‘The Drunken Duck’, or indeed ‘The Veritable Canard’, are catchy and fairly apt as it’s adjacent to the Water of Leith, but we are in Murrayfield, not Hampstead, I’m afraid.

God, get me a train.

Unfortunately I’m still on my back with much pain, which is a bit of a pisser. Because there is not a whole load you can do on your back all day. However, Radio 3 are playing Bach non-stop all Christmas. Johann Sebastian of course.

So this will be remembered for being the Xmas of the good Bach and the bad back.

Apologies and wishing everyone a most merry Xmas.

the diet and further ruminations

I am all out of sorts as I have hurt my back and have very limited mobility. The prospect of swinging a golf club soon seems a long way off.

My attention and focus are going to be diet and well being. I have somehow edged up to a weight of 95kg which is much too heavy for my height. So I have forgone cream as a start. First the extra thick double from Tescos which is top notch and delicious but far too much of a good thing, then the double cream and latterly the single. I am now creamless.

It is now time to attack the butter. I don’t mean eat it but abandon it too! I will stay with my cheese though as I just can’t imagine not sitting with some blue cheese alongside my morning coffee. There wouldn’t be much left to look forward to in my day, save sleeping which I’m doing about eleven hours per night.

A very nice American chap, Micheal Dach, sent me a copy of the Henry Cotton vs Gene Sarazen match played over the Old Course in 1962. It is a wonderful recording and shows many lovely vistas of St Andrews as it was sixty odd years ago, old man Auchterlonie in his shop, the old railway line etc.

It was very interesting to see the rather wristy swings of Cotton and Sarazen and especially the incredibly short follow through of the American. I think I shall be swinging in that vein when I make my comeback in the spring. It will be my post-prime swing. It has got a certain character and elegance to it I may say.

I have just paid my annual membership to the St Andrews Golf Club. One hundred and thirty eight quid for a years golf on seven courses, including the Old. Not too bad. There is some justification for living in the Auld Toon indeed. Not quite the fifteen pounds I paid when I was a student, but that was a long time ago.

The current students are doing their exams now and will be packing for home soon, which will leave St Andrews bereft of youth, but quiet and heavenly still.

Otherwise I’ve been following the nags a bit, reading a bit of Shakespeare and been quite drawn in by old Hamlet, although I think Jack Falstaff is a far better egg. Well at least for me. By old Hamlet I mean young, of course. Even though they say the ghosts the man.

My predictions for next year are that there will be a US led, world stock market crash after Trump is impeached, Jacob Rees-Mogg will take over the helm at the Tory party as Theresa fails to come back from the spring bank holiday after doing the female version of a Reggie Perrin on a Dorset beach, Jeremy Corbyn hits the bottle after being cunningly given a pseudo tonic water, masking a double babycham, at the Queen’s Garden Party. A very successful bistrot opens in the Murrayfield area of Edinburgh, house prices rocket in West Fife mining villages, I get a book advance, my Trump golf article is published in the Washington Post and my handicap comes down to 2.8.

the kilted caddie is unwell

The combination of picking up a bar of soap at an awkward angle on Saturday morning followed by a two hour bus journey into Edinburgh, a cup of coffee in the Cameo and a pub crawl to the bus station starting in Bennets Bar, Tollcross, shortly after midday and ending with Sushi on the fourth floor of Harvey Nichols at 6pm, has brought an untimely demise in the well being of the kilted caddie, and a very big change in the odds of a divorce.

However, a wonderful pub crawl it was. Motivated partly by a very sore back, but also a nice ‘seven to one’ shot coming home by a short head in the 1250 at Navan.

Bennets Bar is still lovely and unchanged with an excellent pint of Guinness. Mind you, thereafter, the cosy log fire in Milnes Bar was equally inviting, on such a bitterly cold day, and a very fine Guinness too. I then hopped to the Abbotsford, which is a real favourite of mine and where the Guinness was still flowing freely. It was not going down quite so adroitly as in the famous 1994 Troops Dublin Rugby Weekend, but that was the stuff of legend.

I met a fun bunch of guys who’d been up at Crieff Hydro all night, on some work thing, and had bonded exceedingly well, let’s say. Everything was going, altogether, swimmingly. Also, I had a couple of pints with a rather interesting tall chap with a hat and red moustache. However he was being slightly abstemious, unlike moi. But we had a good chat before he left to rescue his wife from carol-singing. A noble act.

The coup d’etat though was the Cafe Royale, which was brimming with life and merriment. I had oysters at the bar and chatted to quite a few people of which I have little remembrance apart from a very nice chap from the R&A, who was disinclined to offer me up for immediate membership as far as I recall. He was from a lovely group from Kirkcaldy, who were down for the day too.

I then spoke to two rather nice couples who were equally good value and I’m sure I arranged to meet one chap in Val D’Isere this week, but can’t for the life of me remember which bar. Funny that. Probably Jacques or Bananas I reckon, as I think I would have been portraying sensibilities compatible with a Jacques Bar or Bananas type of mood.

However, there is as much chance of me flying down a piste in the Tarantaise at the moment as me going on the piste or indeed, England winning The Ashes.

Anyway I am presently on my back, in much pain and waiting for the 1.45 at Fontwell to punt off.

ps that was an Edinburgh Pub Crawl, by the way, that was hard to top. The only additions, given the destination of St Andrews Square, would be Cloisters after Bennets Bar and followed by Sandy Bells, then the Bow Bar on Victoria Street with the option of popping into Deacon Brodies, before heading down the Mound to Milnes.

That would be the kilted caddie’s tour of choice.

Taking bookings for next summer for individuals with stout constitutions. (sorry couldn’t resist that one!)