What a wonderful weekend I had up in Southport for the Open. I only ever visit the Open when it’s at Royal Birkdale, largely because I find the combination of world class golf, splendid company and a lovely little town irresistible.
In the past I had stayed with friends in the area, but as they moved further away I prefer not to stay at one or another of the town’s fine hotels. This year I had a wonderful little room overlooking the lake – I could even see Blackpool, Tower which is about as close to that particular landmark as I want to get.
The weather this year was so changeable that I had trouble deciding what to wear. I mean, when the sun is shining as you set out in the morning you naturally want to dress accordingly. What you don’t anticipate – but probably should – is that the Mediterranean heatwave that greets you over breakfast will become a tropical monsoon by lunch time. The wind was so bad on the Friday that I had trouble staying upright on a couple of the more exposed holes. How those chaps kept their shots in play is beyond me. The course itself is infamously difficult, but throw in high winds, thunder and a heatwave and it is surprising some of the chaps were able to play at all.
Beyond the golf, Southport has always enjoyed a traditional seaside atmosphere and it boasts some very fine hostelries and restaurants. Although I do find that the clientele has not always kept pace with the improved quality of the food and service at some of the better establishments. I was able to enjoy a couple of very pleasant evenings in the company of old and new friends.
The journey there and back was thankfully uneventful, although I was concerned to read that there are plans to do away with some of the first-class coaches. This is a very worrying development indeed. First class travel has to be maintained or travelling to events such as the Open would be unbearable. If anything, they need to make it more exclusive. Some people can appreciate the benefits of luxury travel and have a respect for their fellow travellers, whilst others clearly cannot and shouldn’t be allowed on in the first place.
Anyway, here I am, back at home. Old Mad Duck left a message to say she is going to call on me tomorrow morning which can only mean one of two things. Either she has more paperwork for me to sign, or she is back with the matchmaking. I think the latter is the firm favourite, in which case I think I am going to need a drinkie or three to help prepare for the confrontation ahead.