Saturday, 16 October 2010

Our visit to the Ryder Cup...or Getting Very Wet in Wales!

You've got to try things or you never do anything!! But sometimes, you wonder why you bothered.

I managed to get last minute cheap tickets to the Ryder Cup a couple of Fridays ago. I only got the tickets on the previous Wednesday afternoon so there was a fair bit of organising to do in order to be able to use them but Rich and I set to and we managed it. Booked a cheapo hotel within 30 minutes drive of the course, hired a car (reasons for that later!), time off work, someone to feed his cat, clothes and packing and we eventually managed to get out of the door before our target time of 5pm on Thursday in order to drive down to South Wales.

We were staying a really nice little family hotel in a beauty spot called Symonds Yat between Monmouth and Ross-on-Wye. It is probably gorgeous, all steep-sided river valley, rocky outcrops and tumbling river on which there are cruises and canoe treks. We didn't see any of this as we arrived at 9pm in the dark and rain and left again at 5am in the dark and rain and fog! I'd like to go back though as it really looked lovely in the headlights!

So, up mega early to get to the Park & Ride. Eat cornflakes in bowls filched from the hotel (well, they were meant to give us breakfast and wouldn't get up in time!!) Trek across a mile of car park. Queue for ages to get through security. Meet a jobsworth of a security man who objected to our rucksacks as being a couple of inches over standard and, even when we took stuff out and scrunched them down to standard size, wouldn't let both in as it "wasn't fair" for both of us to have a rucksack!!? (While arguing about this at least 12 much larger rucksacks sailed past us allowed in by less contentious guards.....sigh....) Queue again for the left luggage for an EMPTY rucksack. Explain the reason for this to the incredulous man at the left luggage. Queue again for security. Queue for the shuttle bus.

Arrive 15 minutes late at the course. Walk a mile in the mild, dry morning air. Walk onto the course and try to get bearings. Rain starts. Put up umbrella. Watch Lee Westwood hole a birdie put on the 2nd to go 2 up through a sea of umbrellas. Watch most of the third while standing on tippy toes on a muddy bank. Decide to get a good spot further up the course to watch all 4 fourballs go through.

Trudge through the mud to the 6th. Find a great vantage spot to watch the drives coming up the fairway and the 2nd shots on to the green as well as being able to see the putting and any bunker shots! Leave Rich guarding the spot and trudge through deepening mud to a concession stand where I pay 4 quid for 2 tiny coffees (I thought those cups were for the espressos!!). Trudge back getting splashed by red mud up to the hips by a group of yank WAGs on a buggy (honestly their make-up was an inch thick!!!).

Stand waiting in the rain watching ducks actually swimming in the puddles on the fairway. Watch with delight as our plan comes together and the first group plays their drives and we have a great view of their approach shots. Watch with dismay as the course umpire approaches them and, after some consultation, stops play.

And by 9.45am, that was it. We saw about a dozen golf shots. Got drenched and covered in mud. Bought a souvenir pitchmark repairer each for a fiver (!) in the Merchandise Stand. Ate our sandwiches sitting in the stands under an umbrella with the rain dripping off in floods all around us (I've always wondered who those people are when I see them on telly, now I know!!). Eventually, after another hour long deluge between 1 and 2pm, we gave up.

We knew there would probably be some play later but not until 5pm and by that time we would be really cold and still have an hour and a half to get back to the car and then a 4 hour drive home and just couldn't face it. So we listened to the radio and heard John Inverdale waxing lyrical all about the players wearing shirt sleeves and the beautiful lilac sunset and the lengthening shadows on the course etc etc ... while grinding our teeth remembering the morning of low cloud which hid the view and the waterlogged bunkers and greens.....

It was heart-breaking.

But, but but but, despite all that, we still had a good day. We walked the course so when we watched the rest of the match on Sky we knew what the holes look like and could appreciate the choices and the difficulty facing the golfers. We were together and didn't whinge or moan or blame each other for coming to see it even though we knew it would rain.

There was no sulking or moaning, just lots of kissing and cuddling under an umbrella, laughing and joking with each other and the other fans and making the best of a sorry situation. And we ate stuff but not a huge amount - no consolatory overpriced burgers or do-nuts, only one very expensive pint of bitter. Just the sandwiches and fruit and treats I'd packed for us and not all of that. And, when you think about all the walking/trudging in the cold and mud, I'm sure I walked the pint off......


Peridot said...

Glad you're getting some fun - even in the wet. I did hear someone on the radio saying incredulously "WHY would you organise an outdoor event in Wales in Autumn and not expect torrential rain?"

So, what was the car story?

Peridot x

Isabelle said...

Does sound like pleasure under difficulties to me...

Nona said...

Sorry you got rained out, but glad you had some fun anyway.

Looks as though you've been through a lot over the past months that I haven't been reading. Hope things are settling down for you and you're happy.