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Friday, 14 December, 2018

Splendid Spieth alleviates some mental aches and pains

Jordan Spieth won the Pebble Beach Pro-Am by four shots
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Readers who are in their early 30s or younger need to fully appreciate something they are almost certainly taking for granted - a lack of aches and pains.

When you are in that age bracket aches and pains are a rarity and can be quickly overcome when they do make a brief appearance. And a false assumption is made that swift recovery is a way of life forever more - whatever arrives can be dealt with and sent packing immediately.

It is the naivety of youth. Enjoy that time of having a strong body and unfailing powers of restoration – because a moment comes when all that stops. Aches and pains embed themselves inside you and start crooning: "We shall not, we shall not be moved . . ."

I am 16 months away from a 40th birthday and have already come to realise why such a song and dance is made over this milestone. The ability to sing and dance is one of the first things that goes. Mr Ache and Miss Pain become dance partners, trampling over you in rock-solid tap shoes and razor-sharp stilettos.

I can handle losing control of my rapidly expanding belly (it is completely lawless these days) and have resigned myself to the slow but sure greying of head-hair, but until recently I still harboured foolish hopes of resolving the aches and pains. That is no longer the case. I have accepted my fate.

In fact, in the last few months my visits to the doctor have been purely for banter purposes rather than anything else. I get on great with 'Doc' and we have a tremendous chuckle chatting about anything and everything. As for curing my ailments? No chance.

We mainly talk about our relationships, social plans, holidays, etc, then have a token ten-second health assessment at the end. "No, still haven't got a clue why your knee is bigger than your head. But have a good time on Valentine's Day. Let me know how it goes."

Right knee and right shoulder still provide most aches and pains, and my whole right side was in agony for a couple of days last week after I chewed off a chunk of right-inner cheek while consuming a McChicken sandwich with imprudent haste.

Doc often delivers a short-term knee solution by draining the fluid with a syringe. "Have you come for a milking?" he asks. What looks like a pint of Cheddar Valley cider emerges from my leg as I gasp with satisfaction.

A couple of weeks later, though, the juice flows back into the knee. If it tasted as good as Cheddar Valley cider I could make a mint. I could quit my job and earn a living as a natural cider resource. Sadly, it spectacularly fails the taste test.

Get to the 40 mark, then it is downhill all the way, aching and paining to the grave. It is standard procedure. I might make will plans to be buried in a hot-air balloon, so I can at least have the last laugh. Down, down, down, then up among the Boeing 747s until the propane runs out. Yes, that will beat the system.

Several mental aches and pains came from the Maybank Championship golf the week before last. I had £80 each-way on Anirban Lahiri at 25-1 with Sportingbet, who were offering a quarter the odds the first six places. A monkey return looked likely throughout, but the pride of India finished seventh, one shot shy of producing a payout.

Fortunately, later that day, The Lord allowed some Spieth relief. Jordan Spieth cruising to victory in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am was a welcome boost to coffers and morale. I had £215 on Spieth at 11 on Betfair ante-post, then topped up as confidence increased on the Saturday morning with £271.50 at 3.3, trousering two and a half bags when the gritty Texan triumphed.

I decided to abstain from betting last week, aside from a little tickle on 100-1 shot Kevin Chappell in the Genesis Open. Four days of independent childcare in my seven days off meant I was under pressure to retain a level head. I could not let my mood get savaged by golf, so did not get properly involved. Chappell quickly got scuppered by a severe draw bias, so I was clear of all golf concerns for 99 per cent of the week. And I ruddy well needed to be.

Grace was 'doing toilets' left, right and centre, an army of mothers seemed desperate to converse with me wherever we went, and I found every other child who crossed our path incredibly irritating.
Ely is coughing in the playpen like he smokes 50 a day, Austin is doing his Tyrannosaurus Rex impression . . . God Almighty, get me back to work as quickly as possible – I need a rest.

I LOVE . . .

Breathing. It is remarkably easy for a human being to forget to breathe. A lot of us spend most of our time doing little ones, but never really fill our lungs. Deep breaths supplying all the goodness that oxygen brings are so beneficial. Spend five minutes now breathing as heartily as you can. I guarantee it will make you feel better.

I finished a stressful shift on Tuesday and went outside to do some heavy breathing. It was cold and dark, and I could see some curtains twitching. The neighbours were clearly wondering why I was standing still on the pavement. If I had a cigarette or a dog with me nobody would have batted an eyelid, but an innocent bit of breathing makes me talk of the close. Breathtaking ignorance.

I LOATHE . . .

All you can eat buffets. They should be against the law. It is so dangerous to invite somebody to eat as much as they like. It is similar to a free bar. Stick a free bar in front of a person who lacks discipline and you have a recipe for disaster.

Last Sunday's visit to Day's Restaurant in Poole, which offers unlimited oriental cuisine, left me disabled for 24 hours. I could not walk out the restaurant door, such was the load I ended up carrying.

The Day's regulars were easy to spot - it appeared as if families of elephants were grazing in some dark corners - and I also emphatically succumbed to temptation.

If I ever get the opportunity of a free bar followed by an all you can eat buffet, that is almost certainly the end of my days. Pop!

I had £215 on Spieth at 11 on Betfair ante-post, then topped up as confidence increased on the Saturday morning
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