Digging Deep

Of course, I’m referring to my second qualifying round for the prestigious Jock Hutchison Trophy at the St Andrews Golf Club and not Theresa May’s Downing Street speech.

32 qualifiers get through to the match play stage which is played over the Old course. I had a reasonable first round of net 69 over the Eden. However last Saturday over the New, it was raining and it was raining hard.

I finished my round, caught a severe chill and scored a 100. Yes a ton. More than that, I missed a 6 to 1 horse winner in the 2.50 at Hexham, as I’d left my phone in my locker. Sod’s law of gambling number one.

A hundred is not a good score by anyone’s standard. In fact it takes some doing in all honesty. One par, no birdies and a whole lot of very ugly play.

The upshot was that I amazingly came 33rd after being tied with Ian Mason who, with his second round of 88, easily beat my hundred on the count back. In fact by twelve (100 minus 88).

To say that I was gutted was an understatement. A few hundred quid lost on the gee gees, a miserable day on the links, a bag full of very wet clubs, a dose of influenza and just missing out on qualification after being tied for 32nd spot. That’s not what I call recreation.

However, the surprising end to my wee story is that I got an email from the St Andrews Golf Club on Monday, congratulating me on qualifying! Yes one of the thirty-two couldn’t make the match play stage.

So, I expect I’m the first player in the long history of the Jock Hutchison Trophy to qualify after shooting a ton.

Of course the wonderful maxim of this story is never to give up. On the golf course, on the racecourse and in life for that matter, I expect.

Apart from this and on some positive notes, we have ordered the furniture for the bistrot and it should be open in May, I’ve put in the sweet peas, manured the roses, my diet is working, I’m rejoining Mortonhall, Brexit means exit, the Pope’s a catholic, and the R&A is a very fine place altogether.

And so is the House of Commons for that matter, but I can’t get my head around British Parliamentary procedure and that tiresome Speaker bloke Berko.

It’s enough to turn you into a Gilet Jaune or indeed, make you yawn.



Done by a birdie and the bookies

Yes a seagull. Well in command and hitting a straight drive down the middle of the 16th of the Eden in last weeks McGregor Trophy, it transpired that a seagull must have picked up my ball as there had been a flock sitting there. Silly me, not knowing the proper rules (I could have dropped one for free) I ran back to the tee and carved a ball far right. I didn’t finish the hole. With a par I would have won by two shots.

But that’s golf I’m afraid and you are supposed to know the rules. Well I’ve learnt that one the hard way.

But what the heck. It’s racing at Cheltenham this week and we have a few bets on. One day I’d like to head down as I love the Cotswolds and would probably nestle into that lovely 18th century coaching inn at Hollowbottom and savour the atmosphere. It’s a bit like the Woolpack in Slad which is one of my favorite places. Time stands still there. And the beer is rather good. You can spend a lovely afternoon in the beautiful rolling hills and believe that life is quite a rum thing altogether.

Our bistrot project in Edinburgh is gathering pace. It’s now looking like it will be open in May. Our designer Paula has got some great ideas and I think the place is going to look rather fancy. We’re all heading down to London soon, so Mick can show us a few places that he likes that are near his office in Hatton Gardens. Yes Mick has an office in Hatton Gardens, as he does something with diamonds.

Anyway that should be a bit of a fun trip and it will be nice to hang out in Mayfair wine bars I dare say.

I’m wondering if I’m going to be able to commute from St Andrews to Edinburgh for a bit. Get the 7.50am bus in for 10 and then get the late train home. I think I could manage that for a while, but it looks like I will have to live in Edinburgh . Now that’s by no means a bad thing, as a lot of my friends are there and it’s a pretty fine place.

I do feel that home is partly here in St Andrews now though and I have met some great people here. It is a super place to live and of course the golf is unbeatable.

So here are my present hot tips: Duc Des Genievres for the Arkle, Justin Thomas for the Masters, General Election on the first of April, Trump impeached, England Six Nations, Matt Wallace The Open, Hugh Anderson MCBA champ, stock market crash in May and lastly, I get invited onto Strictly after a miraculous stroke of luck resulting from a certain video facebook share.

The roll up on this is 200 to 1 and bets close on Friday. No cheques please.

Talking of gambling rip off’s though. BetVictor claim to give you best-odds guaranteed on wins. However, in the 2.30 at Musselburgh yesterday Wishful Dreaming went off at 5 to 2 and won. Yes it won. So good, but these sods only gave me 15 to 8, the price I had bet it at! I queried the fact that they advertise best odds guaranteed on their site and they came back saying ‘they had made a business decision’ not to give me it any longer. Well stuff that!

The seagulls and the bookies are ruining my life.

God, it’s enough to turn you to trigpointing.







Shocker of a week

That’s only on the gambling front mind. Two of our horses did no running whatsoever and it’s mostly been loss making. But that’s the way of gambling. It’s a bit like life really. Bit of a mare sometimes.

Apart from this there has been an upside. I got my funeral music sorted. It will begin with some upbeat stuff in Stayin Alive by the Bee Gees , then amble onto Imagine by John Lennon and finish off with some more reflective stuff with the Intermezzo of the Shostakovich Piano Quintet, played by Martha Argerich of course.

Otherwise, I had a very fine day out at the Balmoral which included a spot of lunch and a huge wine tasting event organised by Liberty of London. A pretty rum time was had, it must be said.

We met a lovely Albanian lady who worked at Project Coffee, who agreed with me that their coffee is not great. I remember I once wrote a Trip Advisor review titled ‘Projectile Coffee’

I am just amazed that the owner doesn’t get this. It’s just not good coffee and is too bitter by far. That’s not to say that the guy is doing badly. In fact he’s going along swimmingly because he has got great venues around Edinburgh (six now in fact).

But that’s an awful lot of poor coffee to pour down the throats of the Edinburgh public.

The Cohen open interview with Congress was the high point this week, of course. Wonderful to see desperate Republican buffoons trying to make something of it. Urinating against the wind comes to mind.

I wonder how Trump really feels about all this? for the New York District are almost certain to indict him. That’s some web he’s woven.

My golf is consistent for the first time in thirty five years. I put this down to a very good butcher in Bruntsfield and the latent realisation that I’m very much a feel player. I have mostly chucked out the technical stuff. It’s all a bit like my wayward path through life really.

I should however add that it’s mostly consistent, as I did have a noteworthy lapse in the first medal of the year over the Jubilee. Level par after four, I hit a drive and six iron pin high on the par 5 fifth and incredibly walked off with an 8. Let’s just say that I tried to play safe and it all went pear-shaped.

Playing safe is just not me.

In the bistrot we have got the tiles down in the bathrooms and they look great. Lovely marble effect polished porcelain. Luxury Bronze nonetheless! Our designer Paula at Supertonic is forging ahead and there is a chance we may even open this year.

I see that the Leicester City Manager got the boot as they got beaten 4-1 by Palace. That’s a bit unfair as the poor bloke wasn’t even on the pitch. This manager blame thing is so unreasonable. Well apart from the Mourinho case of course, because he couldn’t even successfully pick his nose.

But imagine if professional caddies were sacked with the readiness and frequency of Premier League managers? It would be a field day for a budding golf caddie agent mind. What a mint you’d make. I mean that Sala agent was going to cop a million quid for getting him to play for Cardiff.

There is kind of quite a close parallel in reality ie top caddies get paid exorbitant amounts for not doing very much. Well unless of course you got Matt Kuchars bag!

But come on football world. We all know that it’s very much the Leicester players on the pitch that are to blame for getting beat 4-1.

I paid my £2394 to Hargreaves Lansdowne for their ‘advice’ on my pension transfer. This was very little short of extortion and does nothing to alleviate my jaundiced view of the investment management industry. Mind you, I used to work in it and saw how guys used to swan off for quarterly ‘management meetings’ with their wives to a rather plush 5 star hotel in the Maldives. Bit of a knees up by the look of the bar bill.

Well got that off my chest at last.

But this is an industry where only about 10 per cent of managers are able to outperform their benchmark and brazenly charge you 1 per cent of your hard earned money every year for doing so. No wonder lower-cost passive investment funds are coining it in. The penny is dropping.

But come on Hargreaves, that was a complete and utter rip and you know it. Value for money? No. Your advice was dressed up, perfuntory gobbledygook.

And don’t try and fob me off with your insurance liability nonsense to justify your charging. It’s my ultimate decision for goodness sake. You are giving advice and not coercing me. I am a free agent.

Come on. A four year old could take that on board.

Get in the real world please.