Sunday, 15 April 2007

How To Not Play Golf At St Andrews





With my application for permanent residency heading toward the Home Office, let us speak of more cheerful things than the long wait for an important answer.
St Andrews is difficult to get to if you don't have a car. Sure you can take a coach or two trains and a bus, but that is fairly inconvenient. So lucky me I got to go last week with JP, who not only has a car but who also ensured we wouldn't get lost by drawing a detailed map that included stick figures, a scribble of the Forth Road Bridge, and a curvy dotted line that represented the "possible road."
"Consult the map," he said sternly on several occasions when I questioned whether we were going in the right direction. Sure enough, the map was correct and we arrived safely at the town known as the "home of golf."
St Andrews reminded me a little of Oxford, with little wonder since it's Scotland's oldest university town. The young and wealthy study there in the sturdy assumption that soon they will be young and even more wealthy. We looked through the bars of a metal gate at some students playing football on the well-groomed lawn and attempted not to feel jealous.
We didn't bother visiting the Old Course and instead wandered around the ruins of the castle and cathedral. I had seen photos of the cathedral ruins and was eager to visit because I always sensed something otherworldly about the place.
The legend goes that a custodian of the bones of St Andrew had a vision that he should leave southern Greece and take five of the saint's bones to the western edge of the world in order to build a city in his honour. The poor man was shipwrecked on the rocks of what became St Andrews' harbour. Dragging himself onto land, he chose a spot and built a shrine to the saint on what later became the site of the cathedral.
Unfortunately, a crowd of people goes a long way in numbing the onset of a spiritual experience and I quickly became distracted by wondering where all the other tourists were getting those delicious looking ice cream cones. I did have a glorious time at the top of St. Rule's Tower, standing with my eyes closed while the wild wind danced with my hair and made me feel like Medusa. John had a lovely time waiting down below with the graveyard folk, his coin for the turnstile having been eaten by the machine.
After standing in a long line for sandwiches and coffee, we made our way to the beach so we could eat our food with sand in it. And so we did. Afterwards I frolicked in the water - oh how I love the cold cold sea. Later we even had ice cream. Two scoops. On a warm day, ice cream in a cone requires constant licking to keep it from melting all over the place. Somehow unfamiliar with this important concept, John was soon outmatched by the softening mounds of mint and chocolate and had to abandon his cone in the rubbish. Using her tried-and-true ice cream cone strategy of "less talking, more licking," curvy girl polished off her chocolate/strawberry combination with not one drop spilt.
And that was our day. On the way back we listened to the Buena Vista Social Club while following the map in reverse. The light slowly faded, the shadows grew. We counted the exits of the roundabouts as we went around them. We told ourselves it could be summer. We thought it again and again until we believed it completely.

3 comments:

your new best friend said...

That first pic makes me think of playing tiger woods golf...i could totally whack a ball straight down the fairway on that course.
hey, is there something (one) missing from this picture?

PurestGreen said...

Ah, yes - the art of clarification. Not my strong point. J is a fellow writer and adventurer who has promised to still speak to me when he is a famous screen writer. He would not be photographed for this blog. Perhaps he will allow me to interview him someday. I'll use one of those feather dusters as a pretend microphone.
ps - I made you a present but I am enjoying it so much that I haven't sent it yet. Actually, that's wrong. It's because I haven't written the card to go with it. Yes...

your new best friend said...

then we are somewhat
(not really) even! as i have yet to send your b-day present...altho for $800 cdn i could fly there for 2 weeks! holy good deal. but alas i cannot cuz i am poor too...lets hope that deal exists in a few years time...and that your bday gift gets finished soon - dam kids!