Lyra McKee

26 04 2019
The funeral of Lyra McKee





Lyra McKee was a journalist from Northern Ireland who wrote about the consequences of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. On 18 April 2019, McKee was fatally shot during rioting in the Creggan area of Derry. She was just 29 years old.

Like many people, I suspect, I’d never heard of Lyra until I read about her death, but when I heard the eulogy at her funeral given by Fr. Martin Magill I found it hard to keep my composure. I was encouraged to read later that the two ladies sitting in the front pew, Arlene Foster (leader of the Democratic Unionist Party) and Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald, were committed to entering talks about power sharing in Northern Ireland.

I shall, of course, be keeping my fingers crossed. I hope Foster and McDonald will be held accountable by the people of Northern Ireland. For a priest’s words to help bring about some kind of resolution to Northern Ireland’s troubles would at least be a fitting tribute to a young woman who never got to fulfil her promising future.

Let’s hope for the best.

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Adrian Haut

5 04 2019
Adrian brings home the bacon: Red, White and Blue champion August 2014



We were sitting in the sunshine on the patio at Glacier Greens yesterday morning after our round and thoughts turned to our good friend Adrian Haut who passed away earlier this week. Everyone who has spent time with Adrian has a story to tell, and nearly every story puts a smile on the listeners’ faces.

Joe mentioned Adrian’s love of shopping – and in particular his love of a good deal. Liquidation World was a favourite haunt of his: “Look at this, Joe! Isn’t it great?” “It certainly is, Adrian, but what is it? “I don’t know exactly, but it’s a real good price!” Adrian also loved to buy golf shirts, some of which apparently never came out of their wrapping. Someone suggested that Joe (size Small) could make Moira a bulk offer for Adrian’s never-worn size XL shirts – Joe wouldn’t even have to buy shorts to go with them as the shirts would come down to his knees.

And then there was the famous story of Bud and Adrian on the 5th hole at Glacier a few years ago. Adrian had made a particularly rocky start to his round – maybe 6 or 7 over after four holes, whereas Bud had parred every hole. At the 5th however, Bud hit a big slice, right behind a tree. His only option was to to play back towards the tee box. “So let’s see you make a par out of that, you pr!ck” said Adrian, whereupon Bud hit an amazing 190 yard fairway wood to within five feet of the hole and sank the putt. No-one enjoyed the whole thing more than Adrian and the rest of us have been using that expression ever since, whenever we possibly can.

In May 2010 I was lucky enough to go on the golfing trip of a lifetime, to some of Ireland and Scotland’s greatest courses, with Glen, Robin and Adrian. “Remember the love grass?” said Robin today, whereupon we both burst out laughing. At Ballybunion in Ireland Glen and I shared a caddie named Mickey. Not only did he carry both our bags, but he also gave free, unsolicited advice to all four of us. Adrian was easily the longest hitter, but was having trouble keeping his ball on the fairways. “Good shot, sor, but try to stay out of the love grass!” he kept saying to Adrian. Eventually Adrian bit: “Why do you call the rough ‘love grass’, Mickey?” “Well sor, at Ballybunion if you hit the ball in the love grass, you’re f*cked.”

At the end of the round I remember Adrian giving Mickey – who’d explained earlier that he had a wife and five daughters at home, which was why he spent as much time as he could out of the house – a sizeable tip. “Maybe you could buy your wife a nice bunch of flowers,” he suggested. Mickey nearly fainted. “Buy the missus flowers?” he gasped. “You do that stuff once and the auld woman will be expecting it all the time!”

Ah, Adrian. You were a great friend and always able to bring a smile to our faces. We’re going to miss you a lot.

All da best, Chief!

Dave B.

On the first tee at St Andrews Old Course, May 26th 2010




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)





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.)

 

 

 





You little Neymar!

15 07 2018

We have family staying with us at the moment – Scottish Wife’s sister Sue, her daughter and son-in-law and their two adorable kids. Well, I say adorable, but yesterday I was playing monsters with nearly-three year old Jarvis (as you do) when I accidentally trod on his little sister’s toe. Lerryn’s not quite ten months old, but she’s got quite a pair of lungs on her, let me tell you.

“I hardly touched her!” I appealed to the rest of the family who were gathered in the kitchen, in the manner of a World Cup soccer player hoping to avoid a yellow card while their alleged victim is rolling around on the pitch in apparent agony. After a minute or two Lerryn stopped crying and started to giggle.

“You little Neymar!” I hissed at her and then had to explain the reference to Granny Susan.

It’s been a wonderful World Cup – I’m writing this an hour before the final kicks off between France and Croatia – only partly spoilt by the histrionics of player such as Neymar – but Lerryn’s going to be hearing about this from me for years to come…

All da best!

Dave B.





F**k Racism!

25 06 2018

I’ve been loving the World Cup so far. Obviously, as an Englishman of a certain age, I know it will all go pear-shaped at some point (usually the round of 16), but for the moment I’m basking in the joy of a last minute win for England over lowly Tunisia followed by a 6-1 thumping of even lowlier Panama.  With a game to go in Group G we’ve already qualified for the knockout stages!

I’m relishing the fact that 32 games have now been played without a single 0-0 draw (take that, soccer haters!), diving and grabbing seems less prevalent than at previous tournaments – perhaps as a result of players knowing that Big Brother (VAR – Video Assisted Replay) is there to watch their every move – and fears of fan violence have so far proved unfounded.

I’m contractually obliged to hate the German team (since 1966 they always seem to beat England, usually on penalties) so I was slightly miffed when, on the verge of elimination on Saturday, they scored from a stunning free kick in the 92nd minute against Sweden to stay alive in Group F.

The poor Swedish defender responsible for giving away that free kick, Jimmy Durmaz, was distraught after the game. Things got worse when many hateful comments were made on social media. Yesterday, after their training session, the Swedish squad got together and this is what Jimmy had to say:

You may not like the language but I hope, like me, you applaud the sentiment.

Heja Sverige! (Go Sweden!)

All da best.

Dave B.

 

 

 





So then Donald says…

11 06 2018

1200

Donald Trump: “That Trudeau* – he stabbed me in the back. But you other guys – Merkel, Macron, May – I’d say our relationship is about a 10.”

Angela Merkel: “And I’d say you’re acting like you’re about 10, Donald.”

(Good grief! Will it never end?”)

All da best.

Dave B.

*The US president called the Canadian prime minister an “asshole”. When the prime minister learned of it, he responded: “I’ve been called worse things by better people.”

(It was actually Richard Nixon talking about Pierre Trudeau in 1971, but let’s not ruin a good story…)