July 16, 2016

Shortly after the invasion of Iraq, the golfing group chose Puerto Vallarta as that year’s destination. We had previously booked to go to St Kitts & Nevis in the Caribbean but due to a major hotelier purchasing the golf course, converting it to a nine hole in order to extend its buildings and other facilities, we decided to go for an alternative.  Mexico got the vote.

As soon as the three of us arrived, after a 15-hour flight from the U.K., the U.S. contingent, already in their hotel and bevvying on the huge patio area, got Marv to phone and invite us over. We showered quickly and headed down to their place.

The huge open air bar area was packed, mostly with folks from the States and some Canadians. As we entered Gary D. stood up and said in a loud voice, “The Brits are here!”

Everybody, to a man, and I mean everyone, stood and clapped. Even the bar staff joined in. This was, I’m sure everyone remembers, when Tony Blair’s stock was at its highest and he had recently received fourteen standing ovations when he addressed Congress immediately after 9/11. He had also committed Great Britain to the by now ongoing action. All three of us flushed with pleasure and I have to confess it felt good, even if Ralph did grip my arm and said sotto voce, “Do not, I mean do not, let them know what you really fxxxing think of Blair.”

We joined the group and after greetings and hugs started downing Coronas. While catching up on the past year with Marv he noticed I was drinking beer and held up his margarita.

“You should be drinking these,” he said,” Better than that stuff. No hangover.” Up to that time I had never tried one.

“You’re joking! Really?”

“Scout’s honour. I’ve drunk these over the years and the beauty is, besides the great taste, and despite how many, there is absolutely no follow-up hangover. Honest. Are you ready for one?”

Naturally, I was. And did they go down! Really smoothly, in quantity.

Next morning, I felt like Lazarus. I was up, well, I was vertical. I could walk —barely. Every part of me was numb, except my head, which was thrashing and my stomach was a three-witch Macbeth bubbling cauldron complete with toads in swelter’d venom. The inside of my mouth was like the bottom sheet of a baby’s pram —all piss and broken biscuits.

Somehow we got to the course, the Tiger Wood designed El Tigre, and spilled out of the taxi. The rest of the crew were on the first tee. I saw Marv with his back to us and I walked over silently.

Before I could say a word, and without even turning round, he said,

“Ok, so I lied!”

If only Tony Blair could be so forthright.

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