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Golf and other social events

Becky’s school year is over. A bit more sleep in the morning for me until September (although I was foolish – that’s another word for professional – enough to agree to an 8:30am meeting on Monday, signaling to all those willing to notice that I no longer have the drive-daughter-to-school excuse to decline early meeting invites).

And if my American readers are a bit incredulous at the mid-July end of the school year, let me assure you that only going to a private school allows Becky to start her summer holidays this early. Poor Kimmy still has a week to go…

For anyone who is waiting to hear how my charity golf outing went (I mentioned it here), I can report that it went exactly as expected. In other words, it was a dismal performance. Should there have been an award for the Most Inept Participant, it would undoubtedly go to me. Thankfully, nobody bothered to recognize my extraordinarily horrid play.

No, seriously, playing to the highest possible handicap, I managed to score a puny total of 15 points on the Stableford system. I scratched on a couple of holes where I knew I was not scoring, but my overall stroke total could be charitably established at 135. One of my playing partners, who was playing to the same handicap and visually has only marginally better skills than me, scored 30 points with a stroke total of 107…

The funny thing is, I always thought that if I managed to reach the green without losing too many shots, I’d be okay, given that I could lob the ball decently and putted reasonably competently…

Riiight! On Thursday, I actually drove the ball quite well off the tee (maybe three bad drives all day); I followed almost every drive on non-par-3 hole with a decent iron shot from fairway or first-cut rough. And, then, on every single hole save one, my game fell apart: I shanked pitches, I lobbed way over the greens, I got stuck in greenside bunkers, I four- and five-putted… Luck was not on my side either – three of my better putts lipped out.

My best hole, a par-3, turned out to be the one where I actually drove way right of the green and ended up needing a low pitch between some trees. With the way I was pitching, my effort appropriately produced a high lob that hit some tree branches… and bounced to the middle of the green. A lip-out and a conceded putt later, I had a natural bogey for 3 Stableford points… I actually had a couple of other bogeys on par-5’s, but based on how handicap is applied – which is not something that I understand even after people explained it to me – I only got 2 points for each. And I never came any closer than that to a decent score.

But the course itself was gorgeous; the weather, which started out cheerless and drizzling, improved all the way to bright blue skies; the time flew by; and it was all for charity. I certainly had a good time, a hundred pounds in fees and donations notwithstanding.

On Friday, Kimmy, Natasha and I went to a circus performance at the Bromley theatre that we have visited a couple of time already (to see Nutcracker and Swan Lake on ice). It was not exactly Cirque du Soleil, but an enjoyable performance nonetheless, almost all of it acrobatics, some of which was very impressive (no trapeze or high rope, but a couple of excellent aerial numbers, pole acrobatics and ring jumping). A troupe of dancers spiced up the proceedings with some sexy numbers and the mime who doubled as a ringmaster was hilarious (he also did a fantastic job twirling a huge cube-like structure made out of thin rods). Kimmy absolutely loved the entire thing.

Becky, meanwhile, celebrated the end of school year and the birthday of one of her friends with a trip to the movies to watch the newest Harry Potter and a sleep-over. She says that the movie is the best Harry Potter yet, and promises to join me when I decide to go watch it.

Not being accustomed with fitting a day of golfing into my weekly routine, I was rather beat by the end of day Friday, and we decided to alter our plans for the weekend, which initially included a trip to Kew Gardens (the Royal Botanic Garden). Instead, Natasha and the kids went to an indoor beach on Saturday.

Even if you do not know what it is, you certainly have heard at least once about the Millennium Dome, a huge exhibition center in Greenwich, built for millennium celebrations and opened on January 1st of 2000. It was controversial, never appealed to the local populace, cost tons more money than initially planned, and ended up disused after the original exhibition had closed. Several years later, re-christened as O2 Dome (after the mobile phone company), it has been reopened as a recreational complex, with restaurants, performance arenas, and, yes, an indoor beach.

So the girls went to check it out. And surely enough, the water did not come included with the beach. This beach turned out to be a big sandbox with various activities for the kids and a place for parents to pretend that they are lounging on the seaside. Huge disappointment! To make something good of it, Natasha had kids partake in various activities, so the visit was not a complete loss. She also says that there is a variety of diverse eateries inside the dome, which may be worth checking out one day, so let’s chalk it up as a somewhat useful reconnaissance trip.

Tonight, we are continuing with our recent trend of going to central London for a dinner out with friends. They made a reservation at a fashionable seafood place…

And tomorrow, our cousins from California arrive for a couple of weeks. Should be fun.


There are new pictures in the Summer album of our Picture Gallery – feel free to check them out.