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Blog 57 - Carpet Hijack

I had intended to land the magic carpet in New York last week, but was high jacked and whisked off to Lingfield Race Course. The weather was too unsettled so I abandoned my straw hat, tied my Bendel scarf round my neck and wore a more sensible golf visor. So why did I need such headgear at a race course? There was not a horse to be seen despite it being Europe’s busiest track in deepest Surrey. Maybe I should have encouraged my captor to join me on the carpet and take the longer journey to Tokyo to catch some of the Olympics. No such luck. Lingfield it was and then what? There beyond the Marriott was a huge stage at the edge of the racecourse, but we had missed the pop concert the previous evening for thousands of UB40 fans. So it wasn’t a music event for us but….heaven help me, two days of golf with twenty White Lodge ladies….and there was me having played only a handful of games in two years!

About forty years ago, I was hijacked into taking up this game in California. At the time I was playing field hockey, tennis, squash, racketball, even cricket, but I had never fancied golf. In my ignorance, I thought it was a game for old people. How wrong! I am now a senior and it is certainly not a game for arthritic old joints either! So how did I get highjacked into this impossible, frustrating game? I had a friend M whose husband and my daughter were with the British Consulate in San Francisco. Dear M was no sportswoman, yet in a foolhardy spirit had a go at being hockey goalie and captained the ladies cricket team…. but was much better at making the cucumber sandwiches for after match refreshments!

We bought new equipment for every sport which she gave up every time after a month. Finally, she persuaded me to take a six lesson beginner course of golf at some municipal pitch-and-putt place in Marin. We bought identical sets of cheap clubs, a bag, fancy golf hats, paid a ridiculously low sum of dollars for the course of lessons, and thus I was highjacked. M was a very charismatic lady and charmed the golf coach into taking a bet if she got some impossible pitch into a bucket, he would give us a free lesson. Of course, she did the one good shot of the course, and the poor man was stuck with us for another week. Seven lessons under the belt, we were ready for the big time and rolled up at Peacock Gap Golf Club at San Rafael for a real game on a proper course. I cringe now thinking of how we hacked around with our hockey shots. Second time out, I got a two on the par three and could not understand as they laughed in the clubhouse when I said I got a buzzard, or I might have even called it a bustard. We hadn’t a clue about golf lingo. I just knew it was something feathered. I simply had a great hockey drive onto the green and sunk the putt. Funniest moment at Peacock Gap was when we were sitting in the bar after another game and we were chatted up by a couple of guys. My friend M was very attractive, looking like a plumpish Elizabeth Taylor, happily married….and I assure you I played no part in this….I continue…..these gentlemen had finished their game before us and had no idea how badly we played. They had their private jet at the club and invited us to join them for a game at Lake Tahoe in the neighbouring state of Nevada! M and I did not mix in such a jet set, far less get chatted up. I was very, very embarrassed….not by the offer, but M’s response. She said she could not manage it as she had to collect her husband’s dry cleaning before closing time! Quite true, but how tame!

M gave up the game and I continued with hockey, running and other sports. Golf was forgotten until I returned to England years later and then I got hooked. It’s been fun with overseas golfing trips to Portugal, Turkey, Spain, Morocco and Cyprus, even games in South Africa and Tahiti, but I never had another offer in a private jet! I shall have my swan song to the game in November when I hope to join my girlfriends on a third golfing visit to Cyprus. Last weekend’s first game was diabolical, but the Texas Scramble on Monday in a team of four awarded us the Bronze position…..I have to say we had only five teams of four participating and two of our team were good golfers. So that’s my Olympian effort for this past week. Aphrodite Hills here I come!

For this week, I have chosen a fine georgette silk scarf in pale creamy avocado green with beautiful water-colour painted blue flowers. It has nothing whatsoever to do with golf! I shall sit in my garden if the weather is fair and watch the closing ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics on my iPad, maybe dream a little of what might have been had I jumped a little higher, hurdled better or scored more hockey goals. I will dream on. There might even be a short hole in Cyprus where I could get another hole in one. I kept in touch with M in Northern Ireland until a couple of years ago but now there is no answer from her phone or reply to emails. For myself, I will be careful with this long floating scarf that I don’t get tangled up in the fast growing tendrils of my grapevine this afternoon. I swear I can see them growing before my eyes. I might even have a little solo dance to the reggae music of UB40 to loosen up these stiff joints. Carpe Diem.

Busy Bee, Scarf Face!

Series 2, Blog 57.

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