Life is all about choices and chasing dreams. Weighing up the facts and making a choice. Some decisions are easier than others. Is it a seven iron or an easy eight? Does the putt break from left to right? Lag or drill the ball into the hole? Take the dog leg out or play safe and walk off with two points? Other decisions are harder. More complex. Not every one catches a dream or a sunset. And dreams have a price.
It a week. Of choices. Chasing dreams and fulfilling ambitions. Chance. Lady Luck and spinning the coin. Heads or tails. Living the dream. Or walking away.
England were chasing the Grand Slam. The holy grail of the oval ball. The decider in Dublin. The Boys in Green versus the Red Rose of England.
Every other year the wish and dream were the same.
“Why don’t we watch the match in Dublin?”
“Never get tickets” said the Golf Police.
“What about touts?”
“All the accommodation would be booked”
We could sleep on a bench or stay in a pub and drink the black stuff?”
Every year the dreamer lost to practicalities. No tickets. No chance. No hope. Another dream with a box unticked.
The text had been sent.
We can watch the match and eat before the next game. One day sis, we will get out there to watch the game in Ireland xx
Will be there wearing the shirts. Dream and tickets on hold for another two years xxxx
The date was in the diary. A day by the sea. A walk along the shore where the shingle and waves look out to the horizon and the French coast. A day with loved ones and oval ball addicts.
It was written in big black letters.
GRAND SLAM DECIDER
A day and date set in stone. The white shirts were washed and the beer bought. The lucky socks were on the bed.
It was the week Daughter No. One left early one morning before the traffic built up on the motorways. Packed the bags and chosen outfits. Colour co-ordinated. Stylish. Classy. It was the week of Cheltenham and the Irish had come to celebrate the horses and St. Patrick’s Day. Horses. Trainers. Jockies. Dreams, odds and bookies.
She beat the traffic. Wined, dined and picked the first horse. It threw its jockey at the first fence. A choice. A loss. A roll of the dice. Meanwhile, the Irish took on the dull weather and all comers and took nine horses into the Winner’s Enclosure.
The next day was St. Patrick’s Day. A different outfit was chosen and yet more horses. They all lost.
“I’m not doing this again” she said, speaking the words of all those who back the nags and come off second best to the bookies.
The Golf Police packed another bag and headed off to the six pillowed hotel and the red head. It had been a meal too far. Smoked mackerel and cabbage.
“That can’t be for me” he said, eyeing the plate with suspicion.
“Part of the healthy diet” I said putting a yoghurt on the table.
The next day the room was booked and the bag packed. The Chef in the hotel of the red head did not serve mackerel with cabbage. Steaks medium rare. Saute potatoes and grilled mushrooms, served with a full bodied red and dessert.
Home alone, there was little to do but take out the recycling. And the golf clubs.
The swing was still missing but the short game covered a multitude of sins.
“Thirty points” said Big Rich tucking into his bacon butty by the log fire.
“That will see you cut a shot” he said with delight.
The next outing was two days later.
“Make sure you turn those shoulders and get those hands high” said Pancake. “And if you win, I want a cut”.
Gus and I took on The Busman and Big Rich.
The rain held off and the Team of Big Rich was two points clear after two holes.
“They just got lucky” I told Gus.
“No way we’re gonna lose” he said. He was right. We took the front nine and the match. The tip of Pancake had been good. The drives were long and straight. Thirty six points.
Pancake came second.
“Wish I had left your flat swing alone” he said.
“Fancy a bet on the game?”
We shook on it.
“I will email you” said Big Rich, tucking into a slab of cake.
“Just so you know what the cut is for next time”.
The text came through as Big Rich was finishing his second piece of cake.
It was from the race course where the Irish were celebrating their wins and their Saint’s Day.
Life is all about choices. It’s about chasing dreams, rainbows and sunsets. It’s about winning golf matches and Grand Slams. As Rich ate the cake by the fire, I sent the return text.
I told Pancake.
“You are nuts” he said. “Nuts”.
Rich sent the email before the car had pulled on the drive. Before the clubs were by the bookcase and the kettle on. Before the waterproofs were washed and the supper cooked. Before the man on the radio had finished walking in Memphis, cod fish on the table and someone singing gospel.
Subject – Handicap Reduction
Well played today
This email gives me great joy.
You get cut two shots to ten. Should clip your wings. And points.
I went to bed early. As the Golf Police dined in his fine restaurant and slept in his six pillowed bed. As Daughter No. One celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with the Irish and the thespian ate her birthday cake.
And I tried not to think about the dream which slipped away. The dream which came too late and at too high a price. I thought about the text and the date in the diary. The date to watch the Grand Slam decider by the seaside with loved ones. And the text which read:
Two tickets for the match in Dublin. Flights and accommodation. Interested? Xx
All for one and one for all. The match would be watched by the seaside overlooking the shingle and the French coast. A day which would be looked back on as a memorable day spent with special people. The city of Dublin and the black stuff could wait.
And somewhere between the hours of night and dawn, I dreamed that England’s Fifteen stood tall and took the crown and the Slam.