This has been a very strange year, so I decided a final blog was appropriate! I trust you all had an enjoyable, if different, Christmas. I wrote most of this a couple of days ago and then decided to wait to see what the government changes were yesterday before sending and here we are back in Tier 3!
Some of you have heard that I saw an advert for a photobook on-line and spent 2 full evenings a couple of weeks ago making one. I thought it was going to cost £17.99 as the ad said, or at the most £20. After all my poor technical efforts on my phone it came to £53.76!!! Not only that, but the delivery date was also going to be January and not before Christmas – apparently the Xmas offer was over, so the price was huge! I was furious, having spent hours making it, struggling for ages with tiny photos and unfamiliar technology. I didn’t order it! My daughters have since told me to get a grip and pointed out that I could no longer command an hourly rate, so what had been wasted - just order it! (I will share when I eventually receive it completed.)
Anyway, what it made me do was reflect on 2020, as I went through all the pictures on my phone.
It started with a trip to Tenerife for 4 days with some girlfriends in January – loads of laughing and of course we didn’t realise at the time that there would be no more travelling abroad. Grayson’s first birthday in February. Then a trip to Chester with some of you, golfing for a few days, but it was so wet the courses were closed and Pat and I went shopping for a wardrobe suited to the LC Elect. Most of those purchases still have their labels on and probably don’t fit the new post lockdown figure!
Photos taken for the club wall. I think I am the only one apart from the photographer who has seen the Captain in his red coat (I hope he keeps the 2 stone off that he lost before being measured for it)! Sadly he has had no opportunity to wear it - unless he models it at home for the family!
Then the words Covid and Coronavirus were heard and everything changed!
Suzanne missed her final celebrations; the AGM has never happened; the Sunday Driver for 52 WLGC ladies at Shrigley Hall was postponed etc.etc. Words like furlough, social distance, PPE, quarantine, pandemic all entered the vocabulary and everyday parlance.
I think we all thought it would be a brief blip and the world would return to normal. It was almost a bit of a novelty. Golf club captains were asked to do another year. Write off this year, it will all be great next year and you can enjoy it properly, we were told! Every club in the Liverpool Society did the same. Only recently has it started to dawn that 2021 is unlikely to be ‘normal’. People started working from home and then there was lockdown and golf was forbidden. No-one expected that. How dare they? Surely it is good for you!
The Club Board had to deal with unprecedented times, as did everyone in all walks of life. We rapidly formed a Covid C’ee and had to study all kinds of legislation and apply it to West Lancashire. Huge decisions had to be made. Not what any of us really signed up for, but it came with the role of director of the business, however new to it you were.
Looking back at the photos brought the year into focus.
Zoom for Ladies Day at Aintree; modesty gowns made for patients in ITU; homemade PPE; Funeral drive past; Picnic Relay; VE Day gift bags and street party; charity hanging baskets; bluetits on camera in the birdbox; walks with the dog and a glorious spring and early summer. Then my hole-in-one with 2014 Captains and golf and lunch with some 2020 LC’s – once only! A couple of days away with my family and then entertaining outdoors in the garden on the deck at David’s wendy house!
Then there was the Ladies Amateur - with no spectators. The only time I have worn the LC badge was for lunch with the R&A. I probably wouldn’t have worn it in normal circumstances, but it seemed like an opportunity not to be missed. It was a super week, although the weather was worse than usual and we had those amazing pictures of the starters’ tent blowing away and the recorder’s tent balanced on the corner of a portacabin! A great test of golf and every weather condition in a matter of days – true West Lancs. It was a week to be proud of the Club and particularly the course.
Whattsapp, Zoom and Houseparty became a lifeline. Thank goodness for FaceTime and phones with cameras. I am lucky because my family are local and I know that is not the case for many of you. Holidays and trips to visit family and even meeting new members of it, have all been cancelled. No-one predicted any of this. I have never appreciated my little dog so much; he is my constant companion and is privy to all my moods both up and down. Baking is my therapy, hence the weight gain – possibly the wine has also contributed as I have found that to be therapeutic as well!
We had an idea for a ‘Covid booklet’ back in April that we would sell for charity when this brief interlude was over – as we thought. I asked for your contributions and you were amazing and sent all sorts of offerings which Jan and I were going to compile. Jan had a friendly printer who we planned to ask for assistance. Unfortunately, he has closed the business and sadly the pandemic is not ‘over’, nor does a booklet commemorating it seem such a great idea! It is a time probably best forgotten quickly rather than having a timeless reminder. I do however plan to do something with the material. As we now know we have yet further restrictions, I will put the spare time that engenders to good use.
As a tactile person I miss the hugs and physical contact that I have had as a physio all my life. Trust me to get the year when there is no hugging and kissing and we can at best bump elbows at the end of a game of golf! That poor little grandson of mine is squeezed to death when I see him and a sleepover is a thing of total joy for me! If we have to continue to wear masks all year, I will be forced to do something about my hearing, which has been poor since my youth, but I didn’t realise how much I depended on lip reading! If I smile vaguely at any of you when you expected an answer, it is probably because I didn’t hear you properly – just give me a nudge, with your elbow of course!
As a section we have managed to play some golf and have completed nearly all of our major competitions – just the St Andrews Foursomes remains of the trophies. I am extremely grateful to my Ladies Golf C’ee for all the support they have given me and to many of the Past Captains who I have turned to for advice. Chris Alty has also been a great help in unusual golfing times.
In spite of social distancing and face coverings, we have been able to do more socially than some clubs as we have a spacious clubhouse. We have enjoyed coffees, lunches, themed evenings and the opportunity to feel less alone in familiar, safe surroundings.
I have entertained (or bored) you with my blogs, quizzes and newsletters. I have tried to keep you up to date with club matters and to keep you all in touch with one another and to keep the spirit of the Ladies Section intact. I have appreciated hearing from you by any means! I hope you have enjoyed hearing news of others and I have tried to keep the House and Social members in the loop even in times when the clubhouse has been able to offer them very little. Also, those who have been forced to stay away to shield and protect themselves and their families.
I think you have all been fantastic – we have become that ‘Club’ that is always referred to and I believe we have a reputation locally for being a ‘friendly’ club! You have all looked out for each other and I know some have had more to deal with than others. Life still goes on, with the usual other health issues and worries about work, family and friends. Some of you have worked right through this pandemic and continue to do so. Others, like me, don’t like living alone and have so enjoyed the distanced walks, games of golf, bridge on line and the sight of a friendly face on camera or a voice on the phone. Please keep in touch sending me any news, particularly of the good kind! firstname.lastname@example.org
I have gained friends at the Club and amongst them are the Captain and the Treasurer who are no longer lady golfer virgins! Andrew and I will both go into this next year knowing some of the other local captains having met them at least once and better prepared to represent our members and WLGC. We cannot envisage the large gatherings happening that are the norm for golf clubs, but hopefully there will be a different style of event as we embrace some kind of new normal as the vaccine is rolled out.
Although there is light at the end of the tunnel in the form of the vaccine, we still seem to be dealing with a very volatile situation all over the world. It is frightening and in the second wave we had our own members directly affected and sadly succumb to the virus. Let’s hope for a better year all round and some return to life as we knew it pre-Covid.
I am hoping to complete my 2020 photobook with a happy Christmas Day photo of some of my family but think New Year’s Eve may be a Zoom screenshot early in the evening tonight!
What follows in the 2021 album remains to be seen – a good target would be to start our second term of office as Captains with an AGM and the postponed trip to Shrigley, but it is looking rather doubtful. The most important thing is that we all stay well and appreciate that we are probably amongst the lucky ones!
Even if next year doesn’t allow us to have presentations, events, matches, dinners and speeches (never mind hugging and kissing), I am determined to try and make it a good one for all of us! We need to adopt that ‘how can we do it safely’ approach rather than why we can’t do things as we used to – all suggestions gratefully received, all ideas welcome - seriously. I am regularly comparing notes with my peers – we are all looking for inspiration. Whatever, these will be memorable years!
Golf and competitions can continue in Tier 3 which is a bonus and allows us to meet - correctly distanced - on the course. The flowers I received from you all are even more stunning now they are in full bloom and I am enjoying them immensely – Thank You.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Healthy, Happy New Year. Let’s stay positive and continue to look out for each other as the days get longer and Spring approaches.
With Best Wishes to All,