Down to a Tee

Well, that’s it… the five week introduction to golf course is at an end.

In the fourth week Jason took us back to the golf driving range. Here we used the same pitching wedge and a new higher and more vigorous swing to loft the ball and send it into the distance. This shot is used to get the ball from the fairway up towards the green. Whereas the one we did the week 2  was to get the ball up onto the green – but not roll too far when it got there. phpqECVaaPMThere was a certain satisfaction in hearing the ‘right’ sound as the club hit the rubber tee and lofted the ball and in seeing the ball rise high and fly off into the distance. To concentrate our swing and angle Jason placed two up-turned ball-baskets just in front and behind the trajectory that our gold club head should take. I will admit to flinging one or other of the baskets a few times! However, it was good practice for you certainly got to know the right feel and the wrong (as the wrong was marked by the flying basket!)

Between these lessons some of you will know I was at a Meet the Author event in Liskeard. This was held at the Seasons Bistro and involved three writers’ for children and two for adults plus a local writers’ group. The other authors were Jenny Alexander, with her ‘Car Mad Jack’ and ‘Peony Pinker’ series, Sally Crabtree author many books for children and performance poet extraordinare, the husband and wife writer and illustrator (respectively )  Colin and Gail Miles authors of Naughty Nicky and the Skullduggery Crew – an all Cornish pirate story for children, and finally Lliam West author of various historically based novels for adults. It was a great chance to get out and network with others authors and to meet the public (and sell a few novels too!) I also took out my new design display props – giant A3 ‘covers’ of my books – which made an effective display and made the other authors think!  I won’t be surprised if I see this idea copied elsewhere in the future.

In the final week we were taken out on a short golf course. Not one frequented by many other players – good for practice. We played two holes, learning that its, literally, a different ball game when yo are hitting up-hill – or down. We teed off and aimed towards the green. This was where we learnt that the player whose ball was furthest away played first ( after everyone had teed off) and so on… gradually getting closer and into the small area round the hole. Once there we changed to our putters and, unless someone was very close and likely to be in the way, again took it in turns from the furthest out.

This experience was really good as a final part to these five lessons, and I think I would not disgrace myself on a pitch and putt – should I ever come across one.

I could sign up for a further five lessons.. and then probably a further five.. and then .. more until I was safe to be let loose on a course on my own..(Jason says it usually takes at least 15 lessons)  however, I feel I have gained as much insight into the game as I need to say that it is probably not for me.

Why not, when I actually enjoyed the challenge and the control of the club and the ball?. .. Mainly it is a time thing ( though the money thing comes into it too). To enjoy golf one needs to be able to give a dedicated time to it, to spend regular times practising and further time engaging in the game with fellow players.

As may of you know I am already time-pressed and with publicising my novels and taking them out to public events I will be further time constrained… so ticked that box, decided not to continue, glad to have met some really nice people including the Masons who were kind enough to take this video of me on the last (drizzly) day, and I hope they continue to enjoy the game!

So that’s one of my 6 at 60 done!

Has this made you want to try out Golf?

What do you think might be next?


Oh NO! I feel another rant coming on…

I think I may be going  insane invisible …

I really think I ought not to use this blog to rant on about the things that drive me crazy but … but there was a further episode in the Electricity change-over saga

In our house, mainly because my OH really doesn’t like talking much on the phone (makes him go all mono-syllabic) I do all the calls to anyone and anything that needs speaking to. Not that I’m a chatterbox or anything  – moi??

pylon by YummifruitbatThe old suppliers sent a final bill dated at the start of April (yes – I know we are half way through May .. and this has just arrived). The ‘readings’ they used were ESTIMATED. Now, I had been told to take a reading at the start of April and send it to the new supplier – they would then arrange for the change over and the old supplier would send the final bill. I read the meters… I sent in the numbers…. but  …  can someone tell me why they should use an estimate for a final reading when an actual reading was sent in?

So, trying to sort out the electricity I had to speak to the old supplier.  Now back in the dim distant past when OH was the only breadwinner (as I was at home raising our 4 children) accounts were generally made in his name… and because back then (just after the ark landed) these things were only possible in one person’s name. Would they talk to me? Would they heck? I had to go running round the place to try to find OH (who was strimming) wave frantically at him until he stopped. He was hot, sweaty and none to pleased to have to go back up to the house to say ‘Yes, speak to my Wife!’ (Yes, in that tone)

So talk to me they did.  They said that it was estimated as they had not been given the data.. … I explained that if I paid their bill I’d end up being charged for the some of the electricity twice – once by them once by the new company. Oh no, don’t worry, they said, you can pay that one , you won’t get charged twice as the meter will have moved on and they will take it from our estimate.

They were a bit stumped when I told them that as of that date, a month and a half later than the date their estimate was made – one of the meters was still 60 units BELOW  their estimate! Cue back tracking and them telling me I needed to sort it out with the new company who had not supplied them with the numbers. Luckily I had kept a record of the numbers I had sent in! Still yet more time wasted! All in all this change-over has wasted almost 11 hours of my novel writing time!

Call me daft… but surely, if at not other time, a reading of your meter should be done by a meter reader (from one or other company) at the change over point – for their satisfaction and that of the householder.

As if that were not enough to make me feel a nonentity invisible , the next day I had to make an appointment for my eighty-seven year-old father to attend his medication review. All I had to do was make an appointment as the letter that came requested. My father is pretty deaf.. and also does not like talking on the phone. As it happened I wanted to ensure that I could make a double appointment – so that my own review would follow on from his (cutting down journeys and time)  This time I had to find my father.. and explaining that the person on the phone would be asking if I could make his appointment for him so he would understand what was being asked of him (he lip-reads quite well)  – before handing over the phone – set on speaker-phone for volume – and him saying ‘Yes – speak to my daughter’.

Can’t there be common sense applied to these things? Is it only me or does it sometimes feel like ‘confidentiality’ gone mad? I wasn’t trying to access information about the electricity account  … I was just querying their figures. I wasn’t trying to access my father’s medical records – just make an appointment for him as per his letter.

well… is it only me?

is it an age thing … or a woman thing?

love to hear your thoughts

no rants next week, promise 🙂



Chip Chop – getting to grips with golf

As promised, I am addressing both the last two golf-lessons sessions together as I got carried away by my subconscious last week.

The second of the five lessons saw us gathered on the edge of the practice putting green and Jason introduced us to a new way to hold the golf club. This is a Pitching-wedge or a Wedge (with P or W written on it) and is used to ‘hop’ (my technical term*) or ‘pitch’ the golf ball from just outside the putting green, up onto it.  pitching wedge*Jason called it ‘chipping’

For this our hands had to be interlocked, the forefinger of the left hand (higher on the handle) trapped between the fourth (little) and the third finger, thumbs pointing down the handle. Initially I didn’t want to let go of this grip until my hands had learnt what it felt like – it was as if I wasn’t sure I’d get it quite right again if I did.

Next we had to lean forward from the hips, bend the knees slightly and draw the golf club in towards us so that it rested on the ground just behind the ball (set up on a tee). We then had to lean ourselves towards the left, the weight bearing more on that side, 70 / 30. Keeping our left arm straight and our wrists ‘locked’ we swung the club back past our right foot and forward, through the tee to the same distance the other side, ‘cutting’ the grass as we did so and – if we got it right – causing the ball to pitch upwards and forwards to land on the putting green and roll about the same distance the other side. Theoretically placing the ball in an convenient spot for a decent putt into the hole!

chipping Ann
More suitably attired this week

You know – it worked. it was great to see all of us popping the golf-balls up and onto the green. Some with more vigour than others, some less so, but all moving the ball in a neat hop off the slightly coarser grass onto the smooth sward of the green.  The whole of the rest of the hour was taken up with ‘perfecting’ these and either making our shots slightly longer or slightly shorter – depending what we were achieving initially.

Lesson three, and we did not head for the putting green – this time we were taken off to the driving range. Here we did a recap of the previous week first, as we were using the same clubs and the same grip (which I learnt later is the only grip we will need – apart from for putting)

driving range
Driving Range

The difference this week was in the distance we were trying to achieve. This time it was as if we were within sight of the putting green but not close enough to just pop it on.. we, therefore, had to lift the ball over the rougher grass but also send it a distance to try to get it to the green – or at least close enough for the type of shot learnt the previous week to be used.

To achieve this we needed to swing the club further… taking it way past horizontal and up into the air. This has to be very controlled, and uses wrist action to take it beyond the horizontal.

So, grip in place, we first repeated our stance… but this time the shoulder/weight lean of the body over the left leg is closer to 60 / 40. The arms are brought back for the swing, keeping the left arm basically straight, when on the horizontal the knuckles should be facing forward (away from the player) and then the wrists are turned so that the club raises up vertically. The swing is taken ‘cutting’ the grass and the ball is driven in a long shallow arc forward a long distance.

driving range view
View up the driving range

We spent the rest of the time trying to get this action right… it was so tempting to look at your arms, stance, club… anything except the ball… and yet (as Jason reminded us) the eye should always be on the ball.

Another interesting lesson – showing how the correct grip and stance can result in the ball being hit far more times than it was missed and a good proportion of those times it even went in the right direction and in the correct manner… though to  see the spread of the balls in the view down the driving range – you’d not think so 🙂

So far I am pleased to say that, should I ever find myself on a ‘pitch and putt’ course, I could now get the ball to go in something like the right direction – which is more than I could have managed three weeks ago!

Can’t wait for the next lesson – I wonder if we get to use the ‘big-headed’ (my technical term again 🙂 ) clubs next?

Only two more weeks to go on this 6 at 60 … I need to start sorting out the next challenge.

What type of challenges would you set for yourself?

What criteria would you use?  (mine is just that it has to be something I’ve never done before)

Do share, you know I love to hear from you

BTW I hope to get it fixed so that your comments will appear quicker – had problems ever since the spam was getting in and had to be re-filtered – my tech guy (#1 son) is coming to visit in a fortnight)

PS If you are around Liskeard in Cornwall at the weekend I shall be at the WORDS WORDS WORDS Author Event in Season’s Bistro from 10am – 1.30pm Saturday 17th May with my books, doing a short reading from them and signing and dedicating copies for customers – love to see you there 🙂


I LIED! The truth, the shoe truth and nothing but ..

You know how it is.You get a little older and certain things slip your mind. There was me last week listing all the types of footwear I possess, mainly sandals to be honest. Ah! and there’s the rub… to be honest!  For in the middle of the night my subconscious goes rooting round and picking up on all sorts of things I’ve been thinking, doing and writing.

Now I usually am glad of this, for truth to tell, (there’s that word again) some of my best work is done by my subconscious.  I am, for want of a better description what has become known in the writing world as ‘a bit of a pantser’. Now, this does not refer to wearing only my knickers (as ‘almost’ suggested in comments last week by my on-line friend Erika from the USA  – where pants are trousers and not knickers!) It refers to relying on your subconscious to help you fill in the plot-lines as you write your novel. Come to think of it –  ‘flying writing by the seat of your pants – hence ‘pantser” – must be an American saying.*

Extreme pantsers would, perhaps, not even have a plan, but just write whatever comes into their heads. Wonderful if it works. I am not extreme, I have a plan (even if my subconscious has a slightly different plan)  and within reason I stick with it. I do not always have sub-plots woven into this originals plan, that is where my subconscious really works overtime, surprising and delighting me quite often. OK … yes it sometimes even takes over and puts a neat twist in the tail… that it had been subtly laying the pointers to throughout the novel (No, I do not always spot these either, so the twist can surprise even me)

SO, usually I hope my subconscious will be busy sorting out what I am going to write next, but, for reasons of its own (probably because I have not yet written up the last section it worked on) it went off rooting round for a pair of trainers …. after I said I didn’t have any.

And it found them and the next morning told me where to look.Trainers

Now these trainers have a short but interesting history. One, they actually fit me, this may be because they were purchased when my feet were very hot (and therefore already swollen) and two, because they were very, very cheap – I did not to even think of wearing them back home.

About five years ago we were lucky enough to go to Malaysia for a five week visit to my son, daughter-in-law and young grandson who live in Kuala Lumpur. My daughter-in-law is a science lecturer at the university there and is a native of Borneo – Sabah, to be precise. It was a wonderful holiday, not least because we were taken around at the weekends and for a week by the family, benefiting from D-in-Law’s fluency in 5 languages and knowledge of the most interesting places to see and to eat in.

For a few days, however, my son, my OH and I booked into a jungle camp near Sepilok in northern Sabah – Uncle Tan’s.  Uncle Tan’s jungle camp was very basic to quote ‘What we have are rough huts with no doors or windows’ and these are shared by up to six in a hut- and just  have mattresses and mosquito nets in them. uncle tans hutThis part of the holiday would make a blog post in itself… but back to the shoes … we were advised to buy a pair of very cheap trainers as any shoes we had would be ruined by the mud in and around the camp. So this we duly did in a shoe emporium in KotaKinabalu, the capital of Sabah. The temperature was around 40 degrees C and very humid. The trainers were light-weight and cheap – even by Malaysian standards – we were not expecting to keep them.

In the end it was SO muddy that we were advised to rummage through the huge stack of wellingtons they kept at the camp, to find some to fit, and use them instead. Hence the trainers came home in relatively pristine condition, having only been worn on the trip into the jungle (mainly by small motor-driven boat) and back.

There they were, tucked right at the back corner, under the shoe shelf in my wardrobe. Would they actually be suitable for venturing out onto the golf course in?

Well, combined with the black cotton trousers that I chose to wear, they were fine. My feet got hot in them… as expected, but they didn’t pinch and hurt, so they are now (for the five weeks course) my golf shoes.

Now, this has gone on long enough – so ‘how to chip a golf ball onto the green’ will have to wait ..

Does your subconscious give you answers overnight?

Do you rely on it… or do you  have an orderly mind that knows where everything is?

Do share, you know I love to hear from you

* couldn’t leave that unresearched, apparently the saying amongst aviators of the time used to be ‘flies by the seat of his trousers’ but when written up in an American newspaper about an Irish aviator who flew from America to Ireland in a small plane without instruments in 1938 .. it became  ‘flew by the seat of his pants’ and that caught on and stuck.


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