Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Chocolate Milk

Vaguely unsure of whether I'm asleep or awake I lie on my bed, on top of the covers. Every possible window is open to its fullest, yet makes little difference in these nights of such stillness. This is a stillness that allows me to hear the chiming of a tiny clock on the other side of town that I have never heard before, a stillness that carries the lulling rhythm of a railway track over two miles away to my bedside, and a stillness that allows me to measure the slightest, most delicate breeze across my back to the nearest millimetre.
There is only one thing that disturbs me from this posture, forcing my muscles to react against the continuation of this lovely dreamy summery night, and that is the thought of chocolate milk downstairs in the fridge. Suddenly I go from lazy reverie to a point where I'm forcing myself to stand upright and lurch half-asleep to the fridge humming away to itself in the kitchen.
I'm quite serious about this. Every so often throughout any given summer night, I make a trip to the fridge at least every half hour. And there really is nothing like it. Nothing.
After feeling my way downstairs, I open the door and bask in the lovely waft of cold whilst blinking in the light. My fridge is on slightly too high a setting, resulting in a chunk of ice on the back wall, and that is where my chocolate milk is hiding, hugging up against this mini-glacier.
The first big draught from the bottle is heaven, my knees sometimes buckling with pleasure as I feel the icy cold chocolate trickle down into my tummy. TIme stands still. Then I take another big drink. Time stands still again. I wait for the feeling to go away each time before taking another drink. Only after about three or four big glugs do I close the door and head back to bed, only to repeat the process in a half hour's time.
This is such a ridiculously simple pleasure, yet for me such an intense one. Only when I write something like this do I really reflect on how much of a pleasure it really is, yet in the accepted scheme of things it is hardly a footnote.
I'm not saying that we only remember only the 'big' things in life - that isn't true, but it does seem that often we devalue the tiny pleasures that seem to slip between the cracks.

Friday, July 14, 2006


What could I possibly write about the sport of golf that hasn't already been said, certainly by better and more distinguished writers than I? I guess it doesn't matter what has gone or been written about before when you're standing there at the tee, nervous anticipation trying its very best to break through your hopefully calm exterior as you address the ball. Or in my case, wild terror, and a vain hope that I don't raise up the mother of all divots and damage my club.
Just very recently I had the round of golf that got me hooked on the sport. I've played before, mostly on holiday or other such excursions, but this was the one. The course itself was nothing special, or at least certainly not exceedingly glamourous, being a little nine hole pay-to-play course hidden away on the south coast, but something about the sport finally grabbed me. A pretty little course, I was taken in by the meeting of chilled relaxation and enormous concentration, such harmonious surroundings existing purely as a backdrop to my ultimate goal - a small cup about 180 yards away.
Even when you're strolling around the course away from the pressure of the tee, the normal trappings of life recede into the distance. An aeroplane can occasionally be heard leaving its jet-trail scar across the sky, and the busy nearby A-road generates a vaguely noticeable hum on certain parts of the course, leaving you to ponder the minds of those people driving to and from one busy thing to another, whilst for you the world has stopped turning, at least for a couple of hours.
The dress-code and other rules of this club are modest, but they instil a wonderful behavioural backbone on the other golfers here. As long as you're here to play golf you're a friend of all others present, and there exists an instant friendly camaraderie - an amazing atmosphere that simply makes me lament the passing of so many social rules in normal life. Without being weak, I sometimes feel lost with so much freedom in normal life - I'm sure others do to, and maybe that is part of the attraction of any sport, with its rules in requirement of a fair playing field. Golf just amplifies this by its heritage, its clubhouse expectations and its very nature.
One day I might even be good at it.