Blue Sky thinking

Due, I guess, to a malfunction of the Royal Mail, my invitation to George Clooney’s wedding failed to arrive. Instead of whooping it up in Venice last weekend, I had to find my own entertainment.

A trip to the pub on Friday night was the obvious starting point. I’m glad I went, too. The landlord had just tapped a barrel of green hop beer – a heady brew that’s made with the new season’s fresh hops before they’re dried for storing – and very moreish it proved to be.

There was much talk in the bar of team Europe’s exploits that day in golf’s Ryder Cup, being played at Gleneagles, so I decided watching golf would provide my weekend’s rest and recuperation – in the absence of a helicopter arriving to whisk me away to the nuptials.

I’ve always been an armchair sportsman. As a child I watched whole days of test cricket matches on the television. That was way back when the BBC covered international football, golf, cricket, rugby, and many other sports besides. Now, Sky Sports has a virtual monopoly on all the sports I wish to view.

Never having been willing to line Rupert Murdoch’s pockets, however, I don’t subscribe to his channels, so to the pub I returned on Saturday lunchtime to watch the golf progress.

“Sorry, mate,” the landlord said, “we don’t have Sky any more – it’s too expensive.”

After a couple of consolatory pints I returned home to listen to the golf on the radio. Coverage was promised on 5 Live, but was frequently abandoned in favour of football commentaries and news bulletins.

As a last resort I turned to the internet for reports, but waiting interminably for a screen to refresh was no way to spend a weekend.

So it was that I missed Europe beat America to win the Ryder Cup. But I have got a neatly trimmed lawn to show for it.

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