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19TH JULY 2010

I like sports, to watch and some in which to participate. When I was at school I loathed and detested sports and made our sports teacher’s life hell. This was largely because I didn’t appreciate the benefits - I hated running around the hockey field hitting up mud on freezing cold days, I couldn’t throw a ball, so was hopeless at cricket, although I could hit the ball and I didn’t like running, so I didn’t like tennis. I never got any better at tennis, because I was so bad at it, no-one wanted to play with me, so I never got any better. On the whole I was a miserable bad tempered participant, who just didn’t want to be there! The worst thing was that my teachers never explained the mental benefits - I really wasn’t a good team player either. Had we know about seratonin and endorphins and all that, I might have tried harder. But girls and boys of my generation were just told to pull yourself together, stop being so selfish and get on with it.

I was very lucky with my body when I was young, once I had lost all the puppy fat - it behaved pretty well weight wise. However when I got to my thirties, I decided I had better do something or it would all fall apart. So I started with Yoga and then did a bit of everything, aerobics was l just dancing which I loved, so I enjoyed that. I rode horses but was rather a coward, as I knew, that they knew they were smarter and bigger than I was and could do what they liked. After a pony took off with me in the woods, heading for every low branch he could find, I sort of backed off for a while! I did go riding though for a whole day in the Camargue, with Peter O’Toole, when we were doing “The Lion in Winter” on those lovely white horses there. Peter told me about learning to ride a camel in “Lawrence of Arabia” and what agonizing fun that was, at least to begin with. And I did ride on “Adam’s Woman”, the film we did in Australia. All the Americans and the Australians rode, so I had to. Beau Bridges was a good rider, well he would be, wouldn’t he growing up in California. Now that think of it I also rode in “Alias Smith and Jones”, real cowboy style across the California desert. That was magic, so I guess I am not as bad with horses and riding as I thought I was.

My marriage was not a howling success, but the best times we had was when we sailed. I loved that and I was good at it. We used to race a 30 foot ultra light boat in California and with our crew, raced Wednesday nights and weekends. We were out in a small gale one evening and the young man who was skipper, did not call for the spinnaker to be brought down quickly enough and the boat rolled over 360 degrees. I was down below with my young son who said “I dont like this very much Mom” (master of understatement), “Neither do I” said I “ but there’s not much we can do about it, so just hang on” , this as I felt the boat rolling all the way over. Well it was OK, because the boat was very light and it didn’t take long to go all the way over and up again and of course sailing boats will always do that with their large keel. Power boats will sink like a stone, if they roll over!

I was very saddened when that part of my life ended. I loved the ocean and the sailing so much. I didn’t think I would find anything to replace it. Well I have - golf- almost as good, I love that too. It’s strange isn’t it chasing and hitting a little white ball around a course, while it has a life of its own and behaves the way it wants to, NOT what you intend it to do. I‘ve been watching “The Open” this week, as all good golf lovers should. The winner was extraordinary- Louis Oosthuizen, what an amazing win. Despite his indiscretions and stupidity, Tiger Wood changed the game forever in terms of people being interested in it and the standard of play becoming very high now. My son plays and is very good and my granddaughter, who appears to have a natural gift for it as well.

I have made many new friends by joining The Stage Golfing Society and it has been terrific. The Society has been going for nearly a hundred years with luminaries such as Laurence Olivier among its former members.

So there is my Sporting Life and from being a introverted stuffy little girl, who hated all things outdoors and athletic, I have to my everlasting pleasure gone the other way the other way! My son’s father in law commented that my granddaughter must get her athleticism from me. I nearly fell over with pleasure, because I remember how I was when I was growing up - so you see we CAN change if we want to.

Bye for now
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