I had not wanted to say good bye. I find it hard parting with a golf ball when we have shared history. I find farewell scenes at stations and airports hard. I knew Woody and Jess and Buzz Light year in Toy Story Three would make me cry and I never wanted ET to go home for good. Saying goodbye to Divot was hard when he went to walk other fairways and cut them up with his irons. But this time it was not my fault.
The Golf Police had given up on the idea of going to India. It was too far and too complicated. Visas and flights. I somehow knew I was going to tread a different path to the lady in the book. The one who went on a spiritual journey with meditation and elephants. Saris and dust. Somehow it wasn’t me. I finished the book and moved onto a thriller. A page turner which led to missed dinners and empty fridges.
“Ok with a sandwich tonight” I said between pages.
Cheese and pickle sandwiches on granary were poor fare and The Golf Police knew a line had been crossed. The evening was quiet. Only the sound of pages turning broke the silence.
“Have you sorted out the bed yet?” said the Golf Police.
The bed replacement had not been without its problems. The hooker in the bed department had been off with a bad back. I did not want to lie on the medium to firm with another salesman.
“Leave it to me” I said. The Golf Police sighed.
“I think I need a holiday” he said later over the duvet.
I carried on turning the pages. It had got to the crucial bit where it was either kill or be killed. Anyone who knew too much was not going to make it to the next chapter. Or even the next page.
“Good idea” I said scanning the pages. He turned out his light and I turned over the page.
I checked the diary the next morning when the dishwasher was loaded and the laundry was on spin. The Swindle lunch was written in black letters and on another page Romeo was planning to climb the balcony to find Juliet. All was well with the world and I carried on reading the book.
The Golf Police broke the news over supper. A casserole, recently defrosted from the freezer. Pork with cider and carrots. Mashed potatoes and peas.
“I’ve booked the holiday” said the Golf Police.
“You just need to confirm the dates and take in the passports tomorrow”.
He didn’t know about the seven fifty tee time.
I set the alarm an hour earlier, packed the passports in the golf bag and checked there was sufficient cucumber and celery for the juicer.
In the morning I made the juice and played golf. I did not mention the conversation over the duvet to the swindle.
“Booked your holiday yet?” said Big Rich
“Don’t you dare be away for the Christmas lunch” said Ruggy.
“Wouldn’t be the same” said Sid. I smiled, handed over the money and left the car park with the passports in the golf bag.
Over supper I broke the news to the Golf Police.
“Took the passports in. They had to change the dates slightly. Something to do with the flights”. My fingers were crossed behind my back.
Later that night I sent an email.
By the time you receive this email I will have left the fairways. I managed to avoid the elephants and gurus. I managed to avoid the wintry seas and the Bay of Biscay.
Instead we are heading south to find a beach and some sun. I will not be able to pack the putter but the pillow will be smuggled in between the books and the beach towels.
I managed to change the dates so I will be back in time for the Christmas Swindle Lunch. The girl in the travel agent was really good when I explained about the lunch and Romeo.
I won’t be able to practice but I can listen to the Mind Guru and groove all the pre shot routine stuff. I am also pretty sure that the red hot tip from the driving range will still work for me.
The only other thing I need to mention is the stuff that really matters.
I have been unable to get the travel agents to do the psychological profiling on the pilots. You know all the bits about whether they drink or bite their nails. Whether they wear lucky socks or our equivalent of a Q – link. When they last screwed up a landing or a take off and whether they passed first time in the simulator or have to keep going back to brush up on things. Like are the wheels down or whether there are any migratory birds with sat nav malfunctions. But I will grab a door near the exit. Just in case…
So take care of those fairways and remember, all the times I wanted to win was only me being me. All the things I said in jest, were in jest. And all the times I should have said sorry or maybe given someone a hug…… keep my place at the Christmas table. I will be back to pull that cracker and read the lousy joke.
Gus keep them all in check and never stop cracking the jokes. Keep fighting that slice, Sid and get your knees fixed. Keep that left shoulder quiet Big Rich and never give up eating the cakes. Sheriff, you know you are so much better than those tree hugging drives and occasionally fluffed chips. Pancake, try stopping talking sometimes and cut the whinging about the handicap. We all know you can play low when you can be bothered. Busman and Bill, you will have your golfing days in the sun. Ruggy, I will share my red hot tip with you when I get back and the only reason I beat you is because you have beaten yourself first. Divot, you were not meant to be a size zero. Keep taking the money and the divots.
Until the crackers and the Christmas pud…..
From a beach somewhere hot,
I sent one more email.
To those I love xx