My attempt to mark my first week of chemotherapy with a much improved display in the first medal of the year and, perhaps, breaking 100 for the first time in 12 years went embarrassingly awry.
Refusing to blame the chemo, I take full responsibility. For a start, it was only vanity that convinced me that I could brush aside the best efforts of medical science and carry on as if nothing was happening.
I felt pretty good, as I always do when the primroses come out, and could not have had more support in my latest and possibly my most foolish attempt to impose my will upon a golf course.
Leon Reece, our captain no less, offered to accompany me and offer the necessary encouragement for me to reach my goal. The third member of our three-ball was Martin Gray another friend capable of solid and expert support. I also hired a buggy to save my legs.
I had been warned that I could expect a bit of fatigue and one or two other side effects such as diarrhoea, for which they gave me tablets to be taken immediately. I forgot them, of course, and regretted it halfway down the first by which I’d already hit my first tree.
I am not blaming the state of my stomach for my seven on the first. But after sinking the putt I jumped in the buggy and raced for our newly-built toilet about 300 yards away. Thankfully, there were no golfers in the way or they would have been mown down unmercifully.
When I returned, my partners had already let the following group through and the next three were waiting but they kindly asked us to play on — no doubt respectful of his captaincy and my incontinency.
Our second is a short but sharply uphill par-three and I didn’t really need the additional audience as I flung my seven iron at the ball. It flew straight along the ground, hit the rim of the cart-path and flew back high over our heads to land at the foot of one our new wooden hole-signs.
I don’t which was more embarrassing, the shot I had just made or watching five men trying desperately not to laugh at a cancer sufferer — a task at which they failed miserably.
Someone eventually composed himself sufficiently to offer the only consolation that was possible. ‘You can get a drop from there,‘ he spluttered..
And so I did. This time the club did its proper job and propelled the ball high towards the green. Unfortunately, it took an unkind bounce and plopped into the greenside bunker.
I splashed out in spectacular fashion and cleared the green by about ten yards into the rough beyond. How I got a six was a miracle.
My comrades could not have been more generously supportive but circumstances other than my golf were making me very uncomfortable.
After five holes, I had compiled scores of 6,7,8,9 and 10 which is a bloody poker hand but not much good on a golf course.
I carried on bravely until the eighth where the toilet is situated near to the cabin where we take our half-way pie and a drink.
‘I’m not going past there,’ I said as we approached the eighth green. ’What, the cabin?’ No, the bloody toilet.
So they left me with my blessings for a peaceful final ten holes while I repaired to the clubhouse to sit in the sun alongside the 18th green, sipping a cup of coffee and taking the piss out of anyone finishing who hadn’t broken 100.
Whatever happens to you in life you must take your pleasures where you can.