America, Countries, Europe, Ireland, UK

My Sporting Weekend – Golf and social distancing

Because I’d often be deep in rough when my playing partner was down the fairway – yes, golf is the best sport for social distancing.

And also because nothing makes you want to keep your distance more than having to listen to your boss on the course talk about his share options or his new car.

Ir’s not that I dislike golf, or professional or amateur golfers. In fact I used to cover golf.

And was happy to revisit the Open when it returned to Northern Ireland last summer for the first time in neatly 60 years.

And even joined the legendary Gary Player around Royal Liverpool, Hoylake, as he played a round of golf for Japanese television.

North Berwick

It’s just social golfers that I try to avoid like the, er COVID-19.

Not the social golfers like my Dear Old Mum and Dad, you understand, who used to play on my Dad’s half-day.

The Golf Coast

Not that my Dad seemed to enjoy it all that much… he’d mutter away to himself and shake his head all round.

Here in North Berwick on Scotland’s Golf Coast and you can play on 21 of 30 coasts.

Another home of golf

There was little that my Dear Old Mum and Dad liked better than playing golf in my Mum’s homestead of Co. Donegal and

While my old stomping ground of Co. Wicklow is more than a match.

If you like your golf then join me as I swung my way through…

The Old Course in Mandelieu-La Napoule in the French Riviera and The Boat D’Azur.

And at the Paul McGinley Golf Academy in Quinta do Lago and

Just off the Strip in Las Vegas and Strip… the light fantastic.

And in the Turkish Airlines Business Lounge of Istanbul Airport and Wham bam, thank you Hamam




Moanday Morning – Bank Holidays

Yes, I grant you that it’s odd to rail against holidays in a Travel blog, but there you are, we lead rather than follow.

Bank holidays aren’t worth getting out of bed for which is why I’m not.

Besides, nothing is open. And why do bankers need extra days off anyway?

Do they not get enough already and did they not take enough off us anyway?

You might say that we all get the bank holidays off.

Well, no. When I was a wage slave I had to work them and I got them back in lieu but never when I wanted them.

Let’s blow our own trumpets: National Days

I’m not against holidays (as if) and national days are a focal point for people to reflect on their shared identity.

I’ve had the good fortune to be in many a country when they’ve been celebrating their national day and it is is a joy.

Last month it was German Unity Day when I was in Garmisch in Bavaria.

And, of course, the Bavarians need little excuse to slip on the lederhosen.

Either there or in Oberammergau where they are getting ready for the renewal of the Passion Play next year.

Running up the flagpole: In Tenerife

Next month it’s St Andrew’s Day in Scotland and I know you’re all wanting to know why St Andrew is our patron saint.

Flying the flag

Well, we have to go back to 832 AD and a village in the east of the country which was still to be formed into Scotland.

King Angus of the Picts (basically the Highlanders) and a contingent of Scots (Lowlanders) was invading the Lothians.

They were run by the Northumbrians who were helped by Saxons, led by Athelstan.

Keeping up?

Angus, fearing he would be overrun said his prayers (you would, wouldn’t you) and it seems that St Andrew was the saint who was up.

Piping hot: At the Bagpipes Centre in Glasgow

A white diagonal cross, that being the shape St Andrew was crucified on, appeared against the blue sky.

Angus was suitably inspired to vanquish his enemy and repaid St Andrew by making him the patron saint of the soon forming Scotland.

There’s the quaintest St Andrew’s Flag centre in a doocot (where pigeons live) in Atheltstaneford which is 15km south-east of Edinburgh… It is open from April to October.

Wrapping myself up in the flag

St Andrew’s Day is November 30.

I like to wrap myself up in the Saltire as much as the next Jock.

And next to the St Andrew’s flag there is probably nothing more Scottish than bagpipes.

Except they’re Persian but let’s gloss over that.

Here’s what happened when I went to the World Bagpipes Championships a few years ago…

Encore: At the French Embassy in Dublin

It is Europe’s oldest flag and has inspired even the Tinerfinos, the Tenerife natives, who have the very same flag as us.

You want to know why? Here’s a couple of explanations….

There’s not much else that we share but we do love to visit…

And you know how the French love avoir le denier mot. Well, they did when they won the World Cup two years ago.

And I was there at the French Embassy in Dublin which is technically France, and it was Bastille Weekend. Bravo!

And as a French Travel Writer of the Year winner you know Je t’aims La France…. And