The other day I was boring you lot with my revelation that life is full of contrasts. ¬†I‚??m afraid to say it‚??s a revelation that keeps pestering me, and at this very moment it has moved me to pen a few words. ¬†Indulge me, if you will. ¬†(Or click away to a more interesting website).
Yesterday was a battle ‚?? on the golf course and off. ¬†The elements were in their element at Flinders Golf Club (surely the most exposed strip of turf in this great land?), so there were a few weary, wind-blown looks as we toddled off the 18th green. ¬†A pie and chips silenced our rumbling tummies, but provided only temporary relief for weary bodies and minds. ¬†The beer that followed at the Flinders Hotel didn‚??t help. ¬†But in it I did find some comfort after having been chewed up and spat out by what we thought was going to be a benign koala bear of a golf course. ¬†I digress. ¬†
Michael and I sat patiently in the hotel, as you might do in a doctor‚??s waiting room, for our segment to air on Fox Sports. ¬†(That‚??s why we were in the pub/hotel, for the TV ‚?? you wouldn‚??t usually find us there...). ¬†A pleasant surprise arrived in the form of our pal, Nige Bruce (my dad‚??s / uncle‚??s chum from Nor‚??n Ireland ‚?? see Day 7) and his partner in crime, Harry (an interesting Dutch ex-Naval Officer, who had more stories to tell than your average bear). ¬†The pair are over here for a week or so with an unlikely bunch of humans from their club in Rotorua, to play some serious golf (no messing about here, no sir, it‚??s a golfing trip with a capital GT ‚?? quite unlike puregolf2010 of course which has a more holistic ethos). ¬†Anyway once our 15 minutes of fame on the box passed us by, it was off down the road to Nige‚??s base camp, where the others were rustling up a meal fit for King Louis XVI, God rest his soul.
Base Camp was buzzing with the harem scarem snap crackle and pop that you might expect in an overseas holiday pad full of 8 Gentlemen Away On Tour. ¬†Above the banter rose Jean Phillippe‚??s charismatic brogue, commanding attention like a Sergeant Major with hornets in his undergarments. ¬†A character and a half, was JP. ¬†Organising his sous and commis chefs as only a Frenchman can, JP danced colourfully around the kitchen between his minions, pausing every 15 seconds or so to pass comment on Nige‚??s performance of his sole allotted task ‚?? choosing some suitable wine to accompany JP‚??s masterpiece. ¬†I needn‚??t tell you that Nige hadn‚??t exactly excelled, at least in JP‚??s eyes. ¬†‚??Sumssing wiss summ character yoo miight have choassen; but NON! ¬†Yoo ssink s‚??ok to pair my beauuutiful passta wiss summ rosay!...SSank yoo Nigelll foar zis beauuutiffull rossay yoo hav selected foar uss ziss evening...!‚?Ě [The wine JP referred to as rose was actually cheap Aussie Shiraz, which to him didn‚??t have enough guts for the seafood pasta dish he‚??d so passionately conjured; a chianti or something of the like was in order, but Nige God Bless Him had failed to deliver, tisk tisk]. ¬†Nige came in for a bit of flak generally, throughout the evening, even for bringing out some fine Bushmills whisky ‚?? which in Patrick‚??s sullen eyes (a Maori Land Court judge who looked relieved to be away from the treadmill of the everyday) was tantamount to eating Home Brand peanut butter; it‚??s just not the same as the real thing (single malt Scotch, in this case, of course). ¬†Poor Nige.
The evening rolled by merrily, and we enjoyed the company of our kind guests, most of whom we managed to have a good yarn with. ¬†One or two of the gents seemed a bit suspicious of us young guns, and stayed at arms‚?? length. ¬†Perhaps we smelled bad. ¬†If we didn‚??t then, we certainly did in the morning after the control component of my contrast rant.
You see last night we left Base Camp and slept in the car, a first for puregolf2010. ¬†There was no room for us to stay with Nige & his merry men, and it was an hour or so up the road to Colin Douglas‚?? place ‚?? a drive that Goldy didn‚??t relish after the long day we‚??d had, and a pint of wine that might have tipped him over the edge. ¬†So it was either pitch a tent in the dark in a spot we hadn‚??t yet found, or sleep in the Honda. ¬†No brainer, really. ¬†As it turned out I think I would have slept better if I‚??d laid plane on the Base Camp driveway using a rock for a pillow and thorny branches as a makeshift sleeping back. ¬†Hondas are not designed for sleeping in, and this reflects in the level of comfort my friend and me enjoyed last night. ¬†Awful stuff. ¬†
It didn‚??t help that Goldy snores like the BFG (of Roald Dahl fame) and passes wind like clockwork every 6 seconds. ¬†A terrible human to sleep next to if every there was one; I don‚??t know how his poor girlfriend copes, and have a newfound respect for her tolerance. ¬†But it wasn‚??t just Goldy that made sleeping well last night harder than climbing K2. ¬†No. ¬†It was the car manufacturer‚??s fault too ‚?? why don‚??t the seats fold back down to horizontal? ¬†Ridiculous! ¬†Surely they know that travelling golfers might buy (slash: borrow) one of their cars, and they might on occasions shun conventional accommodation and rest their weary heads in the front seats? ¬†¬†¬†
One Of The Worst Nights‚?? Sleep Ever. ¬†‚??Twas a shame that such a poor sleep preceded one of the best courses we‚??ve played all year ‚?? Portsea, an absolute gem ‚?? but such is life. ¬†(Goldy‚??ll do a blog on the golf, it being his honour after he was less terrible than I today). ¬†My ten cents on Portsea is that it‚??s one of the most natural and clever little courses this side of Royal County Down; it stands up with the best in these parts, and that‚??s saying something. ¬†In my Top 5 out of 69 so far, seriously. ¬†It also sits in what I understand is one of the poshest neighbourhoods in ‚??Straya, so it‚??s not the worst place to spend an afternoon ‚?? shattered or otherwise.
And so to this evening I take you, to the stimulus for this excuse for a blog post. ¬†As I punch the keys I‚??m sitting in the lounge watching the sun go down at Moonah Links ‚?? the Home of Australian Golf ‚?? where we‚??re staying for the next few nights. ¬†Tourism Victoria and Moonah Links have kindly got together and put us up, to ensure we see the very best of the Peninsula in our time here. ¬†From car seat to plush surrounds in one of Australia‚??s most beautiful spots. ¬†¬†Not bad ‚??eh. ¬†Can‚??t quite believe it myself truth be told.
It‚??s one thing playing at a top golf course, or golf facility; it‚??s quite another staying at one. ¬†An hour or so ago we cheerfully unpacked our life from said Honda into our respective top floor suites, which overlook the 18th fairway on The Legends Course (see Day 67). ¬†
In my suite I found a king size bed, a fully kitted out en suite bathroom, all the usual amenities and an ample balcony on which to eat my weetbix tomorrow morning. ¬†Just beautiful. ¬†After a leisurely shower I flicked through the guest information brochures, to ponder how we might spend our time here either side of the obligatory Golf. ¬†Got a few ideas. ¬†Within 25 metres of my bed is a salt water pool and a practice putting green. ¬†Might have a run, dip and a few putts before breakfast. ¬†Since I‚??m treating myself I might even break the seal on the fancy Aesop exfoliator that my kind brother gave me for Christmas. ¬†When in Rome, as They say.
This place is other-worldly in its ability to put a chap at ease. ¬†Sitting with my laptop in the bar there‚??s a relaxed atmosphere, and the sun‚??s just disappeared for another day ‚?? Day 69, to be precise. ¬†It‚??s an absolute privilege to be here, and we‚??re grateful to both Tourism Victoria and Moonah Links for extending us this very generous courtesy. ¬†Having slept on a car seat last night, tonight‚??s sleep will be that much sweeter. ¬†Sharp contrasts enhance the highs. ¬†Life is good right now, and I‚??m going to enjoy it before the contrast curve inevitably brings me back down to earth. ¬†I hope that life too is being good to you all, and that you won‚??t begrudge my good luck this evening after last night‚??s debacle. ¬†
Peace, JP (not the Frenchman, the other 'un)
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