I am sure that countless readers, particularly those aficionados of golf and football, will join me in wishing Ian Wood a happy and healthy retirement. Monday mornings will not be the same from now on without our dose of a 'Slice of Life', the contents of which have provided so much entertainment over the past quarter of a century.
TIME marches on, as they say, and I'm beginning to feel that not only is it marching on, it's trampling all over me. The joints are in a bad state and when I shuffle off to the shops I am constantly overtaken by toddlers who whizz past me as if I'm standing still.
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AT THE risk of seeming bitter, I have to admit to feeling somewhat cheered by the news that the Phoenix Open had been affected by frost.
There are times when a spot of adversity can come in handy on the golf course. Can there be many golfers, irrespective of handicap, who have not, at some time or another, hit a memorable shot from a divot mark or some equally daunting depression on a fairway.
During a recent bus journey, I was struck by the sheer volume of sound which prevailed, mainly due to the number of calls being made on mobile phones. I was also struck by the seemingly effortless ability of people to talk incessantly on their phones throughout such journeys.
Some people are born to drift through life with a certain elegance while others, try as they might, can't quite manage it. When I was a lad living in Musselburgh, I used to wait in the mornings for the tram car which would take me into Edinburgh where I went to school.
During my semi-controlled stagger along life's hazard-strewn highway, I have struggled to discard as many bad habits as possible and one I got rid of early was that of criticising the swings of other golfers.
Among my many failed New Year resolutions is the one about trying not to mention New Year resolutions.
Given that the ice ever recedes, I feel I should be in good shape for a return to the golf course. Over the years, I've become convinced that the less I play, the better.
There have been occasions when I was happy to play golf in snow, but it wasn't the kind with which we've been blessed this time. It was of a more restrained, civilised variety, which lay thinly and evenly and when a drive touched down in it, the ball would roll on, gathering as it went a belt of snow around its middle - a sort of frozen equator on which the ball trundled until it wobbled to a halt and finally fell over.
Looking out on the dazzling snowscape yesterday morning, I was tempted to feel sorry for the football referees from far-flung places who had been persuaded to come here to help out with the weekend's threatened SPL programme.
Dyed hair seems to have been the rage in recent weeks and the pavements have been glowing with spectacular locks, the dominant colours being green and a surreal yellow similar to that seen in fields of oil seed rape.
There seems to be no end to this technology business. In the course of a bizarre weekend, a neighbour asked me if I could help him out by taking care of his hamster. Actually, it wasn't his hamster, but it was in his keeping until he handed it over to his small daughter on her birthday the following day.
It's as well to keep on the move these days lest you become overtaken by the march of time and trampled upon.
One of the most depressing aspects of golf is the way those who play the game best always insist that it's all down to practice and plenty of it. For those among us who have spent lifetimes trying to avoid practice, this makes the whole thing seem stark and hopeless.
Emotions, it seems, run high these days. Scarcely a sporting event takes place without somebody breaking down in tears. Winning or losing doesn't seem to come into it - whatever the outcome, whoever is involved finds it all too much to bear and collapses in a damp heap. Perhaps, of course, they always did and it's only the arrival of television which has let us in on exactly what goes on at key moments.
There is something comforting about the rare glimpses of human frailty which occur among the ranks of golf's superstars. They are among the few things with which lesser mortals can readily identify and it makes those who languish in high handicap territory feel just that little bit less inferior than usual.
Golf has become somewhat standardised over the years in that most swings operate along fairly similar lines, most metal drivers have massive heads and on the sartorial side, peaked caps are worn by just about everybody, which can make identification difficult, apart from the odd case where lots of hair is involved.
GOOD starts, whether to the day or to a round of golf, are important, though I find that on both fronts, they are becoming increasingly hard to find.
The ironies and contradictions which abound in society these days were neatly summed up for me recently in the form of a dust-smothered lorry loaded with odds and ends, behind which I was obliged to drive until, mercifully, it turned off and swayed away to wherever it was heading.