I don't want to be a brick in a wall. All bricks look the same and they are cemented into place, kept in rigid order. And walls divide. And life is like banging your head...

Straight down the middle

I played golf tonight. I took Jack to the driving range. It's a funny thing to do. We bought, or rather hired, 180 balls, and hit them as far as we could. Unlike golf professionals, we couldn't care less where they went as long as they went a long way. Or, if you were Jack, as long as they went high. Short and high is much better for Jack than low and long. The best for both of us is high and long. I place a little emphasis on straight as well, but not much.

The highlight for Jack was aiming at the tractor that went out to collect the balls. It was my idea to aim at it. I suspect that Jack would have thought of it as well, but I suggested it first. In truth, I noticed a group of four or five students doing it first. The tractor was kitted out with wire mesh protection over the doors and windows. The driver didn't seem concerned, even when one ball struck a tyre and careered skywards. An occupational hazard I suppose. For the ball as well as the driver.

Golf is a strange game. I always feel guilty, slightly embarrassed, when I mention that I play it occasionally. Or that I like to watch it on the TV. Augusta in April, The Open, the US Open, the US PGA. I have great memories of these events dating back to my childhood.

I used to dig two holes in the lawn, 20 paces apart, and stick a garden cane in each. (Sorry mum - I now know how hard it is to keep a lawn). I would imagine I was putting for a major - "This to win the US PGA, this to win The Open... I would try to do the slam. 4 consecutive putts and I would hold all four majors at the same time.

And yet golf is deeply wrong. The club captain, the membership, the dress code. I rebel against all of these things. The manufactured and artificially groomed lawns. I play occasionally instead on a municipal pitch and putt, situated in the middle of a council estate that resembles Beirut, besieged by kids who emerge from ditches to kidnap your ball, only to offer it for ransom a few holes later. It stops me feeling posh, privileged.

And I go to a driving range.

Someone once said that golf was the best way to spoil a good walk. At a driving range you don't walk. You hit balls, long, short, high, low, straight and curved. And it's deeply satisfying. I don't feel as if I'm spoiling anything.

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