Mr B takes charge of our trip to the driving range. In the boot of our car, several of the golf clubs which he gave Our Boy Jack a little while back, including a rather splendid driver which I remember buying for
one of Mr B’s birthdays many years ago. I tell Jack it cost me a whopping £95 at the time, which he finds quite impressive – until he mooches round the American Golf Shop and sees the general price of golfing "toys."
Mr B shows Jack his name on the Captain’s Board – two years running, no less – and points out the green on which he achieved a hole in one. This is what
being a Grandad is all about, recounting past triumphs to appreciative grandkids. Jack, to his credit, makes an attentive audience. We buy a bucket of fifty balls from a machine on the wall into which we have to punch the number on our booking ticket.
The writing is so small that we have to rely on Jack’s young eyes – only afterwards do I notice that there is a helpful magnifying glass fixed to the wall for the optically challenged. Helpful, that is, if the optically challenged actually
Out on the range, Mr B tips the golf balls into their pit and we watch as the first one emerges onto its tee automatically. Mr B gives a short demonstration
which is truly hilarious: he takes an almighty swing, then surveys the target area to see where his ball has landed, oblivious to the fact that it is still sitting there, untouched by human hand or golf club, on the tee. Jack doesn’t laugh for
too long, being aware that now it is his turn to drive for glory.
We have a fine old time. It’s a pity we discover too late that we could have downloaded
a free app which would have told us how long each drive was. It would have been good to have a record of some of Jack’s finest shots. Also that we appear to have been short-changed by 13 balls. Jack lets me take a turn, but only one because, frankly,
it’s a terrible waste of a ball. Jack thinks he might quite like to take up golf. That’s golf and flying, then.
We have a picnic lunch on the beach
at Littlehampton. It seems that every school in the local area has decamped to the seaside for the day. I am all admiration for the teachers coping with so many excited youngsters. The famous boat train is doing a fine trade, packed with school-children
waving madly at passers-by and I – being one of Life’s Wavers – am only too happy to wave back with at least equal enthusiasm. I explain to Jack that, in my humble opinion, people can be divided into two camps – the Wavers and
the Non-Wavers. Then I realise that he is no longer walking by my side, but has dropped back a few steps. I wonder why? Once the boat train is safely out of sight, he joins me again and we walk up to investigate the new open air stage on the prom
and to find Team Baldwin’s slat on the longest bench. We are going to have two more names to add next summer!
We return to Mr B, who is still sitting on the wall where we left him guarding
our property. Jack observes that, if that had been his Dad, we would almost certainly have arrived back to find that he had loped off somewhere without telling us. Mr B is rather more dependable as far as Staying Put is concerned.
Our perfectly planned day goes a little awry when we find that the putting green has been closed. Closed! How could they do this
to us? But we are made of stronger stuff and are always prepared to consider Plan B . We make tracks to the putting green at Marine Gardens where Plan B almost comes unstuck too, as there appears to be nobody on duty at the putting office. There is a notice
on the door saying that the attendant is somewhere "on the green or in the gardens." Presumably attending to something? Jack and I go off on a trip round the gardens in search of the Missing Attendant without success – but all is well
because, when we get back, Mr B has found him in a flower bed. Not growing, of course, just digging and delving. I win the putting by one point, after a recount by Jack who somehow manages to reduce my score by one shot. I am triumphant though
my score is still rather too high to enter it for the Worthing Summer Putting Competition which the putting attendant (now that he has been dug up from the flower bed) is busily promoting.
I know that regular readers like to hear about my meals, being aware, as you are, that I am Always Thinking of My Stomach, so for your information our picnic included chicken goujons (still slightly warm from the oven) because this
is a seaside day tradition. We would have topped our picnic off with hot doughnuts (another seaside day tradition) but we managed to restrain ourselves because we had a date at Shafiques, our favourite Indian restaurant, in the evening, just before a visit
to the cinema.
We know how to spoil a boy.