Golf Sabattical – England – Part 1

Every once in a while, there comes a time where we actually go on a holiday without golf on the agenda. It’s difficult to imagine, yes, but there you go. To England, near the birthplace of golf and absolutely no golf played at all. I suppose there is no relevance at all to this blog, but since I don’t have any other blogs for my non golf buddies (actually curious family members) to go to, I’m just piggy backing this to explain to them that I actually DID NOT play any golf, even though I was presented with the opportunity to go ‘punting’, as the local Oxfordians would call it.

So what does it take for a reasonably cheap, and quick trip to England?

1. Get out of London

This seems like a curious decision, but you can’t experience England if you spend most of your time in London. It’s packed, it’s full of Asians, it looks like any other city except for the cramped underground trains and cold weather. Take a car and get out to the countryside. If you have limited time, go to the southwest of England like we did, or the southeast. North of England is a little too long a road to travel.

2. Get a good car

England loves manual cars, maybe because they don’t have traffic jams like we do. Actually they do, and it will get 1000x worse when the Olympics roll in next year. In fact, many Londoners are predicting the 2012 Olympics to be a utter and complete disaster due to London’s crappy metro and horrendously packed trains. Anyways, get a good solid car to head out into the country. We chose the solid looking Peugeot 3008 Diesel. It’s a GREAT drive this one.

3. See Castles

Castles are to England what Wats are to Thailand. You simply can’t go England without at least seeing one castle, preferable one in ruins and offering some really good pictures. Castles are embedded in England’s history; from the Arthurian Legends to Robin Hood to Rapunzel.

You can delve into the history of England with related courses from various Online Colleges.

But for us, who suck at learning, we took the practical route and headed west of London, we took the road to Dorset and came across this place called Isle of Purbeck, and there, Corfe Castle. It’s pronounced “Corf”, not “Corf-fee” which we were happily pronouncing until a local guy corrected us. Anyway, it’s a pretty amazing place. They say this was where Enid Blyton based her Kirrin Castle from the Famous Five books, from. No, Enid Blyton is not a golfer. She’s a children’s writer.

4. See the coast

England has some of the most amazing coastal lines you’re ever going to see. The southwestern part offers the Jurassic Coast, spanning hundreds of miles of wild English countryside. The South east offers the white walls of the Cliffs of Dover. You ain’t seen England till you see the coasts.

As we were in the southwest and pressed on time, we headed over to Lulworth Cove, which is one the most picturesque place in England.

We caught it on a nice day, especially in the traditionally gloomy mid-November. It’s a horse-shoe shaped cove offering some spectacular viewpoints into the English Channel. From there, it’s about a mile hike to another of England’s coastal offering, Durdle Door.

of course, being Malaysians, we opted for the short drive over to Durdle Door from Lulworth Cove. We caught it during sunset which gave some great views.

I took a hike up to the highest and farthest point of Durdle Door. From outer space, this would be where I was.

You basically look out and you see this:

To the left and right, you see this:

Actually, it’s not really advisable to climb there, as recently there was a death where some intrepid tourist, no doubt looking for the best camera shot of his life, plunged hundreds of feet into the waters below. It’s quite dangerous once the winds blow up there, so I had to be a little careful I don’t join him into the surf below.

A Tale of Two Cities: Juve to Liverpool

Juventus crest The words "Liverpool Football Club" are in the centre of a pennant, with flames either side. The words "You'll Never Walk Alone" adorn the top of the emblem in a green design, "EST 1892" is at the bottom.

OK, nothing to do with Golf for once.

The football season has just ended, so that means many Saturday and Sunday nights of idleness and boredom for 90% of the male population in Malaysia and restful nights for my wife (we have a mamak opposite our place, so, yep, every goal is a nightmare to her). So after next week’s big game, we’ll be officially in the off season.

So anyways, I don’t know if it’s just me, but I find it so uncanny that Juventus has an almost mirror image in the Barclay’s in Liverpool. So much so, that this season, I have become a secondary Liverpool fan (since I can’t seem to catch Juve playing often!). I mean think about it:

1. Both Suck. At the moment.

2011 was tough for Juve. I mean, how the heck did the promise of 2010 (when they were 4th place), turn into such a nightmare as 2011. 4-1 to Parma?? 3-0 to Napoli?? 2-1 to Palermo?? And Liverpool? Exact opposites. 2010 was horrendous for them thanks to a certain coach. Who sucked. But they turned it arround in 2011. Where are we both? 7th and 6th place.

2. Legends at the Helm.

Liverpool has King Kenny. Now, Juve has King Conte. Ok, that’s probably a bad name but both are legends respectively.

3. Players Exchange

Liverpool to Juventus:Alberto Aquilani. Juventus to Liverpool: Christian Poulsen. Guess who got the better deal?

4. Rivalry with Champions

Juve hates Inter. Liverpool hates Manchester United. Ok, Inter isn’t the champion anymore, but who cares.

5. Crap results with crap team, good results with great teams.

It’s like a mirror image. Juve beats Inter. Liverpool thrashes Manchester United. Liverpool beats Chelsea–twice, Juve beats Lazio twice. Liverpool beats Man City, Juve beats AC Milan. Juve’s bogey team: Napoli. Liverpool’s: Spurs. Liverpool collected 14 points from the top 5 team, Juventus collected 17. That’s pretty impressive stuff.

6. Super Midfield Flops

Liverpool has Joe Cole this season. Juve had Diego last season.

7. Super Legend Captains

Liverpool has Gerrard. Juve has Del Piero. Both have spent their entire careers with ONE Club. Ah, loyalty.

8. Mirror Achievements

Liverpool was the most successful club in English Football (until last week), Juventus is the most successful club in Italy. Even by ranking, Juve and Liverpool both have 11 International club titles, both rank 6 in the world.

9. Derby with not so great clubs

Liverpool overshadows Everton. But Liverpool actually was birthed from Everton. Juventus overshadows Torino. But Torino was birthed from Juventus. But since Torino is in the toilet for some time, Juventus now picks fights with Fiorentina, for weird reasons. Strange.

10. History

Both are founded in 1890s due to splits with other clubs. Even their fanbase is similar, with locals in Liverpool preferring Everton (at least, that’s what I hear), and local Turin preferring Torino. Liverpool and Juve both have huge fanbase outside of their home cities.

And of course, Heysel 1985 forever linked these two clubs together. Like Forever.

So much for my football gilanalysis. Enough of that. Time for GOLF!