'Alexa, why does Christmas start so early?'
Well, I feel as though I should have been wishing everybody Happy Christmas for months now.
The shops start selling anything pertaining to the festive season in August, and this year I saw that the first Christmas film was being shown in June.
However, I can beat that. In an online clothes delivery they enclosed a colourful pamphlet advertising a ‘Snow-Kissed Holiday Memories Snow Globe Tree’.
Bearing in mind that it was actually still May, being offered ‘A superbly crafted tabletop Christmas tree with illuminations’ that ‘plays a medley of carolling favourites, including: Deck the Halls, Jingle Bells, We Wish You a Merry Christmas and more!’ didn’t make me want to rush out and order it.
When the next line said, ‘Lights, music and art brighten your holiday’, I was sorely tempted to ring up and tell them that as it was May, I was very much looking forward to my next holiday, and whatever lights, music and art that would entail, they certainly wouldn’t be remotely festive!
However, what everyone does need for Christmas is an Amazon Echo.
For the uninitiated, it is a voice-controlled gadget that does… well, everything in the world as far as I can see. Take this morning, for example. I was playing in the Tuesday Stableford at 10.15am and woke up at an unknown time which felt suspiciously early.
With eyes tightly shut and my head still firmly ensconced on the pillow while snuggling into my duvet, I quietly grunted the immortal words: “Alexa, what time is it?”
Immediately the response of “It’s 7.52am” came back, meaning I could confidently slip back into the land of nod to ensure that my body was fully rested before launching into my first tee shot.
But the Echo is much more than a glorified alarm clock. For instance, you can ask Alexa to tell you a joke – so I did. And they are actually quite funny: “I’m reading a book about gravity. It’s impossible to put down!”
Even better, I shall never be short of anything to write about again. When I was first recruited by Lady Golfer to write a monthly column, it was by virtue of the fact that I had written a couple of very damning articles about CONGU.
Even though that has remained a recurring theme over the years, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to think of enough ideas each month for different things to write about. However, this is now column number 169, and I don’t think I’ve repeated anything yet.
But the worry is always there. What if I can’t come up with an idea this month? Now, though, that fear has gone. I can just ask Alexa for an interesting golf fact, and she is a mine of information. For instance, I had no idea that a hole-in-one on a par 5 is called a condor.
Being a curious type of person, I decided to delve a little deeper, and discovered that the longest recorded condor is by a gentleman called Mike Crean in 2002.
I also learned that the world’s first golf tournament took place on New Year’s day in 1811. Boy, will I be able to blind people with little known golf facts as we wend our way round the course now!
But the Echo will also be my latest secret weapon to get me into the right frame of mind for playing golf.
Ignoring the fact that it can provide relaxation techniques, or whale music (not to mention access to 40 million songs to get you in the right mood) you can ask Alexa to inspire you.
Immediately, short inspirational speeches are played back to you, making you ready to want to go out and conquer the world.
Sadly, though, I discovered she isn’t entirely perfect. “Alexa, get rid of CONGU.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t know how to do that.”
Hum. And just when things were starting to look so rosy!