Lady Golfer column: Madeleine Winnett
How time flies! It only seems like yesterday since I was writing about my last skiing holiday. As I will apparently be doing more travel articles for LG in the future, I have spent much of this week thinking about both jobs and travel.
Naturally, my trip began with its usual run-ins at Manchester airport. I am completely au fait with taking my shoes, belt, jewellery and coat off at airports. However, this time, the man also told me to remove my fleecy top. When I expressed an incredulous ‘you’ve got to be kidding’, he enquired with a glint in his eye whether I would prefer to spend half an hour behind the curtain or take my top off – and then took his rubber gloves out and flicked them teasingly!
I may be fairly verbose in my column, but I also know when to shut up, and when a man is about to don latex with a wry smile, I thought it prudent to assume he wasn’t joking!
How professional golfers go through this malarkey every week is beyond me. I think it is only a matter of time before I end up behind the curtain, and that worries me! Clearly, the aforementioned gentleman with a penchant for rubber, was happy in his job – as am I. I love writing my column. I love playing in pro-ams and mixing with the players and caddies. I love going to tournaments and hanging round the practice ground and putting green. And I love being given extra cakes and chocolates at hotels in the hope that I am going to say nice things about them.
However, I have now changed my mind about wanting to come back as a dung beetle next time, as I think men have some pretty cool jobs. Staying in the chalet with me that week were a fireman (with moustache) and a footman at Buckingham Palace! Now, I have always liked firemen since I used to watch Trumpton, and I know technically that women make perfectly good fire fighters, but they would look silly with moustaches, and to me the two are synonymous!
Fire fighters aren’t allowed to climb up ladders to change their own light bulbs any more Unfortunately, health and safety have invaded fire stations, and fire fighters aren’t allowed to climb up ladders to change their own light bulbs any more. This particular fireman, who spent his days shinning up ladders to rescue cats and old ladies, had already tried this and been told off – so he duly went back up the ladder to take the new bulb out again!
Given that that sort of nonsense annoys me intensely, perhaps I had better stick with my job as a golf journalist after all. I’m not aware of any health and safety issues in my role, but I’ve probably broken them all if there are!
Being a footman (butler to the uninitiated!) at Buckingham Palace seems to have lots of advantages. There are plenty of travel opportunities – mainly between Buck house, Sandringham, Windsor and Balmoral – which would largely remove the threat of curtains and gloves, which is instantly attractive to me.
You also get to live in Buckingham Palace, which would sound very impressive when you give out your address to people.
A third of your time is spent polishing glasses for banquets, with another third polishing silver for more banquets, but then the other third is full of the really fun stuff like standing up on horse-drawn carriages behind the queen. I could do that.
Apparently, you have to sit around a lot waiting to open doors for people, but in order to stave off boredom, I’m sure I could job share. I don’t think Her Majesty wouldn’t mind waiting if I was typing out my column on my iPad, and just think how good those corridors would be for practising your chipping.
I also caught up with someone who winters in a ski resort and caddies in the summer. That would be my ultimate job combination.
I met this person several years ago working in a bar which I had to frequent every night while the Masters was on, since the chalet didn’t have TV. Much as he loved caddying on the LET, that also seems to have its drawbacks. He once lost his player’s clubs while saving himself money by flying on budget airlines, which didn’t go down too well.
The concept of player/caddy relations has always intrigued me, and he recalled an incident where a well-known player hit her ball in the water after her caddy advised her to take a club less. (In his defence the wind got up as she struck it!).
She then wrote a very rude message about her caddy on her replacement ball, which he saw as he picked it out of the hole.
They didn’t speak for the back nine!
So, it appears that every job, however ideal, has its drawbacks. I’ll stay with mine then, but I’d ideally like to keep a very large distance between me, curtains and a pair of Marigolds!
For more articles by Madeleine, or for the latest Lady Golfer features, competitions, equipment, fashion, golf breaks, instruction, events and news please see ladygolferonline.co.uk