Monday, 29 September 2014

O-le, O-le, O-le, O-le!

That's the annoying Ryder Cup chant you just can't get out of your head, although it seems churlish to be complaining. Europe retained the honours with something to spare and once again it made for compulsive viewing. I thoroughly enjoyed our day there on Saturday and it was great to experience it, although the size of the galleries meant long waits to hold a good position so I will probably settle for the telly next time around in France.

We were fortunate with the weather and the organisation for getting to Gleneagles via Park and Ride at Stirling which was superb. Even on the course there were dozens of food and drink outlets and we managed to get served quickly at lunchtime in the enormous Spectator Village. Big screens all around the course kept the action live and the day reverberated to huge cheers as the putts went in.
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I was surprised by the size of the entourage following the players around, especially as they seemed to include a random assortment of professionals, family and hangers-on. The actor James Nesbitt was there with McDowell, although I know he is a big golfer (member at Dulwich & Sydenham and others) and we also spotted Peter Jones, who I guess is another big golfer in a more literal sense. Clare Balding and Kirsty Gallagher both came by us, although it was only Kirsty who was stopped for selfies. 

We spent Friday and Saturday evening in a lively Stirling town centre, swollen with visiting golf fans. We decided to go for the obligatory curry on Saturday night and found a swish looking place in the middle of the town, although the experience turned out to be surreal. They were clearly having staffing problems and in two and a half hours they only managed to get the drinks and the starters out. There were only four staff working, including the kitchen and we had an Irish girl who had clearly been pressed into service that evening because she didn't know what a poppadom was. After a few pints we order a bottle of wine. Even that took 15 minutes to arrive but sadly with only two glasses. The third took another 15 minutes and an embarrassing number of reminders to staff. When it did turn-up, it was a champagne flute. Quite funny really. 

I finally said that we needed our meal within the next ten minutes or else we would be leaving. After fifteen I walked into the kitchen to find someone to talk to. It was then I realised just how bad things had been. I had to climb over a ten foot pile of table-cloths and napkins and when I opened the swing doors of the kitchen, there was a lone female cook ranting to herself and a three-foot pyramid of food on the floor in the centre of the kitchen. It was time to leave.

I did spend a couple of hours refreshing my phone screen looking for a winning goal at the Valley but none was forthcoming and my wife told me it was a "crap first-half" followed by a better second and we might have won it at the death as they held on with ten men. Single points are becoming frustrating but we remain unbeaten and there are surely some easier sides ahead, although we will need to be at our best to avoid a defeat at Carrow Road tomorrow evening. 

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