Last Rites

2 01 2019

My brother Mike and I were firing emails at each other first thing this morning, as we often do. We quickly covered soccer (his team, Spurs, are going great guns right now; my team, Southampton, are more like cannon fodder) and then moved on to music. He sent a link to a song by Mungo Jerry (if you’re not British and in your 60’s you’re unlikely to have heard of them). It was called “Memoirs of a Stockbroker” and included these memorable final lines:

“Now I’m getting pretty old, I like to think back to the past. I think of all the things I used to do, while sitting by the fire on my arse.”

This mention of old age got me to thinking about my ‘Funeral Playlist’, which I first drew up years ago and proudly showed to Scottish Wife. She vetoed it straight away: “No one’s going to hang around for all those songs (admittedly there were 20 on the list); and you’ll keep changing your mind anyway.”

True on both counts.

So here’s the latest (shortened) version that I came up with today. I don’t think anyone who knows me will be too surprised by my choices. It may not be your taste in music, but if SW does see fit to play them at my funeral* I’m pretty sure there’ll be free drinks after to soften the blow!

So feel free to listen to none, one, some or all of my choices below and perhaps consider what would be on your own list.

Happy New Year to all!

Dave B.

(* not that I have any plans for a funeral at this point, but still)


Is there life after golf?

14 12 2018
I used to run marathons, but those days are far behind me now.

I still ref soccer, but I prefer to meander round the centre circle these days and wave cards at players as they go by.
I’ve tried pickleball but, to be honest, it’s not really my cup of tea.
So I’ve decided to have a bash at curling. What could be more Canadian, eh?

My good friend Peter Dobbs recently decided to start up a curling team to play in the Comox Valley Friday Night Fun League. He’d already recruited Dazza, who’s from Winnipeg and so presumably has spent hours on the ice in those endless Manitoban winters, and Martin – aka the Welsh Wizard – known for his rugby skills, which might just possibly transfer to hurling rocks down the ice.

I suspect at this point Peter ran out of options as to a fourth player, because he asked me if I’d care to join the team.

“Because I’m a natural athlete and a really good team player and I’m great at listening to instructions?”

“Er no. It’s because we’ve asked everyone else and anyway you’ll make the rest of us look really good.”

So this is how things have gone so far:

Week 1 (practice)

We had a brief practice session on Thursday, during which I learnt all about things like grippers, sliders, brooms, crutches and the importance of falling forwards rather than backwards onto the ice. Peter then let me roll the big heavy round thing down the ice. He then explained that if it didn’t reach a certain point (a pig line, I think he called it) I’d have to pay a $1 fine. And if I threw it way past all the circles I’d also have to pay a $1 fine.

This could get expensive.

Week 1 (game)

We played a team called ‘Sweeping with the Enemy’ (apparently it’s a rule to have a really bad pun in your name in curling). I played lead because Martin, who is something of a biblical scholar and clearly a great judge of character, said “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” I think our opponents were probably ex-professionals, although as I couldn’t figure out how the scoreboard worked I’m not sure exactly how many we lost by. Let’s just say ‘lots’. Anyway, they bought us all a beer afterwards as I think they felt sorry for us.

Week 2 (practice)

Dazza announced the fines from last week. I didn’t feel qualified to argue, but I made a mental note to bring extra cash on Friday. Peter announced that we had to arrive early for the game so we could have a beer to calm our nerves. Oh, and we are going to rotate positions from now on, so we all get a chance to skip.

Week 2 (game)

We played a team called Holy Sheet. Martin skipped and miraculously we won. Martin scored a six pointer in one end (it looked like a car crash to me but he claims he did it deliberately) and after that both teams were as inept as each other.

Week 3 (practice)

Dazza lent me a book called ‘Curling for Kids’. Just perfect for my level of expertise and just in time for my debut as skip. I think I understand how the scoreboard works now too. I didn’t realise the yellow and blue colours meant anything.

Week 3 (game)

We played an all-women’s team called Plaidstones. I spent a lot of time talking to their team because a) they didn’t go on about how terrible my shots were and how my fines were mounting up and b) they were a lot nicer, not to mention an awful lot better looking, than our team. I wonder if there’s trades in the Fun League? We won, mainly because my team completely ignored any suggestions I made about what they should do with their rocks. I have a 100% winning record as skip. Perhaps I’m a naturally gifted leader of men.

Week 4 (practice)

Things went really well in practice. I’m definitely getting the hang of this game. I love curling!

Week 4 (game)

We played the Sliding Stones and I was absolutely terrible. Missed every shot. I hate curling.

Hang on a minute – this starting to sound a lot like my post golf game analysis. So if there is life after golf, it’s not likely to be any different if it involves curling…

Hurry hard (whatever that means)!

Dave B.

Old school golf

22 11 2018

                   (It’s not just Peter’s golfing attire that’s old school.)

     I think it would be fair to say that my friend Peter Dobbs and I have a love/hate relationship on the golf course. We love to make fun of each other’s bad shots (and, believe me, there are plenty of opportunities)  and we absolutely hate to lose. So on Tuesday this week we travelled down to Arrowsmith Golf Club near Qualicum to continue our long-running feud. As usual, we spent most of the journey deciding how many shots I was going to give him. Peter is a skilled negotiator and normally squeezes anything between 6 and 8 shots out of me. This time, however, I outmanoeuvred him: “How about you getting a shot on all the Par 4’s and Par 5’s and we play even up on just the Par 3’s?” “Done!” said Peter without hesitation.

Tee hee! Peter had forgotten Arrowsmith is an executive course with 13 Par 3’s, so I’d only be giving him 5 shots. Sadly, I was so full of myself that I completely butchered the first hole and made a double bogey to go one down. “Serves you right,” said Peter, with some justice. We then settled down to some fairly decent golf and I actually hit a few greens in succession. On #6, a steep uphill 123 yard Par 3, I hit what seemed like a good shot – a six iron – although the flag was on the top tier and the hole itself wasn’t visible. Then Peter hit – a driver, for goodness sake! It landed short of the green but otherwise looked pretty good, although from the tee box it was impossible to tell if either ball was even on the green. So we walked all the way up to the green and…

Yep, my ball’s the yellow one – about 15 feet from the hole – and Peter’s is the white one, not even 15 inches. 123 yards and a driver! Now that’s old school golf…

golfing Arrowsmith 071

I finished up winning the game, but we both know who made shot of the day. Well done, Peter my friend (Grr). Thank goodness the ball didn’t actually go in though – I’d never hear the end of it!

All da best!

Dave B.

The new golf rules 2019 (20 biggest changes)

2 11 2018

We’re less than two months away from the plethora of rule changes that take place in the new year, so here’s (another) short video explaining them. Maybe you can be the guy in your group who actually knows the new rules as opposed to making them up as you go along.

The active season in BC ends on November 15th, after which scores do not count towards your RCGA handicap. My own cunning plan is to play by the new rules so I’m good and ready for the new year.

I know there are some of you out there (and nice people too in many respects) who didn’t bother much about the old rules. Well, the new ones are simpler and there are fewer of them, so how about a New Year’s resolution in 2019? Watch this video, learn the new rules and play by them!


Oh, and thanks to my good friend Peter Dobbs for sending me this video. Oh the irony! Peter’s infamous for driving a cart and horses through the rules of golf – could he be a poacher turned gamekeeper? (Answer: highly unlikely.)


All da best!

Dave B.



The Job Interview

14 10 2018

You may not recognise all these golfers, although they’re all top players on the European Tour, but most of them seem to pass the beer test – i.e. they seem like the sort of guys you’d like to sit down and have a beer with.

My favourite answer to the question “What would you be if you weren’t a professional golfer?”

Ireland’s Shane Lowry: “Probably broke.”

Which is exactly what I’d be if I played golf for a living…

All da best.

Dave B.



Seriously? RWB 2018

9 09 2018

So the 2018 Red, White and Blue is in the books. It was unique for a number of reasons. Firstly, at Joe Dunham’s suggestion after last year’s tournament – his exact words were “I’m too old for this 36-holes-in-one-day shit” – it was decided that following Saturday’s 18 holes from the white tees,  we would play just 18 holes on Sunday, nine from the blue tees and nine from the red.  Secondly, with only six players, we had the smallest field in the history of the RWB. This was obviously directly related to the third reason – we had the worst weather ever in the 18 years we’ve been playing the event.

So bad was it that, apart from a singleton who set off half an hour ahead of us (a fellow inmate from the lunatic asylum, no doubt), the course was absolutely deserted. Perhaps because of this, Glacier Greens’ pro Bill Kelly gave us permission to play as a sixsome on the grounds that we were unlikely to hit into anybody. Brian Wise, his able assistant, offered free psychiatric help to anyone who needed it (i.e. all of us).

To be honest, when I left the house at 8.00 this morning I informed Scottish Wife with confidence that I’d no doubt be back within the hour. Clearly I’d underestimated the capacity for masochism among our group. Sure enough, from the eleven guys who had signed up two sent polite emails to say, given the 40kph winds and heavy showers, “Thanks but no thanks” and three others showed up just to see if we really were going to go ahead and play, but declined absolutely to join our venture. But the other five, and let’s name names here, – the spouses of Mrs Ball, Mrs Buckley-Jones, Mrs Hayes, Mrs Hautzinger and Mrs Moore – were determined to play, come rain or shine. It turned out, of course, that there wasn’t any shine but as Rob Moore put it “We could play in sunshine and it would just be a round of golf. Playing in this stuff is a story!”

Quote of the day goes, I think, to Dave Buckley-Jones. He watched impassively as Phil Ball slipped in the mud as he played his tee shot on #8, missed the ball entirely and lost hold of the club which flew 20 yards down the fairway. It was only when Phil totally topped his second attempt, sending the ball about 30 yards, that Dave quietly muttered: “Well, at least the ball went further than the club that time.”

When I got home after the post round drinks and prize giving, the Big Club under my arm and still soaked to the skin and some six hours after I’d told the missus I’d be right back, she put on her most Scottish Wifely expression:

“Seriously?” she said.

RWB 2018

2017 winner Ed Hayes, on the right,  is happy because he doesn’t have to look after the Big Club anymore. Thank you, Ed, for adding the second plinth so we can play for the trophy for another 18 years. In the background, Dave Buckley-Jones is happy because he cunningly contrived to come 2nd this year. The other guy’s just happy because he’s no longer slogging around the course in the wind and rain.

Thanks so much for coming out, you guys. Maybe a bit of sunshine wouldn’t go amiss next year though…

All da best!

Dave B.

Thank you, Chef!

7 09 2018

If you’re a cricket fan – and I realise that this immediately excludes a lot of you – Alastair Cook needs no introduction. For the rest of you, here’s a short summary: Cook (or ‘Chef’ as he’s known to his team mates) is playing his final Test match. Undeniably England’s greatest ever batsman, in Test cricket alone (you know – the play-for-six-hours-a-day, stopping for lunch and tea, five day version of the game which quite likely ends in a draw anyway – ‘proper cricket’, as purists would say), he has played 161 times for his country since his debut in 2006 and, as of close of play today, scored 12,325 runs at an average of 44.98 – by far the highest number of runs scored by an Englishman and 6th on the worldwide all-time list. So statistically he’s pretty darn good.

He’s also by all accounts a very nice bloke. Unassuming, modest, not in the least interested in social media, as soon as matches are over Cookie is off back to the wife and kids and the family farm.

One of his best mates on the team is Jimmy Anderson who, on the surface, is Cook’s complete opposite. Cook’s a batsman – a well-spoken, private school educated southerner – and Anderson’s er, not. Jimmy’s a bowler (one of the greatest fast bowlers ever, actually, 5th on the all-time list) with a chip on his shoulder and a strong Lancashire accent to boot. Oh, and a wickedly dry sense of humour.

Dozens of Cook’s team mates past and present were invited to make short videos to congratulate him on his retirement. Here’s Jimmy’s contribution (twice, in case you struggle with the accent):

Nice one, Jimmy! And I can’t wait to see Cookie’s comeback in a year or so when you retire…

All da best!

Dave ‘Teflon’* Brooker

(*so-called because of the many catches I dropped as a wicketkeeper – they never stuck.)