I’ve never played at St Andrews. That’s a poor admission to make, for any keen golfer. Playing at the Home of Golf is a sporting ambition which I must one day address, since although I’ve played some of the best seaside courses in England, Wales, and the west of Scotland, so far only Stonehaven has witnessed my hacking on her eastern coast.
It’s always a marvellous battle with the elements on a links course. The wind, the dunes and the sea make such fine companions, that the experience can become almost sacred.
‘I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.’
Blade Runner (dir. Ridley Scott), 1982
A long, perfect beach in southwestern Spain, August 2005. Five miles through another blue morning under flawless skies in Zahara de los Atunes. It’s an elemental sort of place – the summer ocean is murmuring in the distance through the breeze to my left, the waves sparkling on the bay beyond the sand dunes front of me.
Your sun so bright it leaves no shadows
Only scars carved into stone
On the face of Earth
U2 – March 1987
If I think hard enough, I can probably remember each and every one. Not just my marathons, each of which are easy enough to recall, but the long runs which go before, which form the basis of any training campaign. Those twenty-milers which lie at the far end of all those long weeks of running.
It must have been just after 1 am on Sunday when Jude Law called. Of all the people to phone at that time, he seemed the very least likely, but it wasn’t really me that he wanted to speak to.
He was having some trouble with his childcare arrangements (allegedly) and although I might well have offered a view, it was our houseguest he wanted to reach for advice.
And it only took a glance at the next morning’s papers to conclude that, for all of my experience in sorting out problems with nannies, even I couldn’t have helped Jude much on this occasion.
We talk and we talk
Until my head explodes
I turn on the news
And my body froze
I’m going underground, going underground
So let the boys all sing
And the boys all shout for tomorrow
The Jam – March 1980
Many thanks for your note earlier, as well as for your concern. It’s been a terrible day.
Fortunately, I wasn’t up in town this morning. Although I have been unaffected directly by today’s events, that is not to say that I have been unmoved. It has been quite simply the most remarkable and poignant week in London that I can ever remember.
Patent Hash Run Recipe:
Take 56 assorted geologists and geophysicists, and send them outside in the worst rainstorm of the summer. Convolve with a devious trail of flour, and confuse liberally for 4 miles across the green fields and by-ways of West Sussex. Add water or a little beer.
Leave to stand for 15 minutes, and then stretch out for a further mile before serving at the Plough Inn. Add several pints of Harvey’s ale, and a well-seasoned chili. Allow to simmer sociably for at least two hours, ensuring that the innocent and the guilty are castigated in equal measure.
A pleasant evening’s exercise, best served dry, but also highly enjoyable damp. Follow-up with taxi transport home, and wash down with water and two paracetamol in the morning. Perfection !
61. Summer Hash
76. A year of running, rainily
52. The Edge – from Sicily to Surrey
70. Livin’ on milk and alcohol