Lisbon 2008 Tour Report

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                                                      NESTON RAMBLERS

                                                           LISBON 2008

                                                    OFFICIAL TOUR REPORT


This tour has been organised with nearly everyone chipping in with something. Iain produced the background information to Lisbon and obtained one or two quotes; Robbie organised and paid up front for the flights; Jay did his usual organising of the tour polo shirt, although this years ‘flame red' shirt bore little or no resemblance to the burnt orange ordered; John organised the taxi to and from Liverpool airport; and Andy drove the taxi!! Bazza and Ged organised themselves to appear on the Wednesday rather than the Monday!

Therefore, and so as not to burden any one Rambler with writing the full Tour report, several guest writers have been invited to take up the challenge;-

Day 1 - Monday 12th May 08 - Estoril Golf Course

I have asked Jay, who has been so critical of one of my previous articles, to write a short summary of the first day's golf, to paint a picture for those less fortunate than the ‘Famous Five' to be in ‘sunny' Portugal. I'm not sure after having read and prepared the article for publication, that any of the local journalists are in danger, but hey, to coin a phrase from the late great Eric Morecambe, ‘they are all the right letters, just not in the right order'!! Have a read and judge for yourselves!

Day 2 - Tuesday 13th May 08 - Quinta da Marinha Golf Club

I have resurrected Alan Alexander Milne to recreate and reflect the day two's golf in the style of ‘Winnie The Pooh'.

Day 3 - Wednesday 14th May 08 - Beloura Golf Club

Mr J.P.R.G Beatle, the self confessed Beatle nut, has agreed to write day three's summary and has included up to twenty five song titles in the report. Take it from me, it wasn't easy!!

Day 4 - Thursday 15th May 08 - Penha Longa Atlantic Golf Club

I have resurrected St Mark to write a gospel ‘according to the Ramblers', for the final day's summary.

Regards ......... Damian

Day 1 by James

Waht a preilvige and huonor it is, to be aeksd to wtire this editairol on belahf of thsoe Ramblers who actlauly maganed to mkae the fisrt day of the glof tuor. I will now be albe to prvoe that there is no justfitincaon for aynone to sikt at my spulling eevr agian!


The day statred by metenig at Jonh's hosue at the usaul unetharly hour in the mroning (06.20 huors) to get picekd up by luruxy taxi to tkae the stsres out of drnivig to the ariport. The argnaring of the txai was Jonh's respisonbitily and the olny thnig he had been asekd to orgianse. At 06.50 huors and slitl no txai, Jonh pieps up with the fisrt stuipd statnemet of the tuor ..........‘ I uesd him only lsat week ........... he'll defetinily be here in a mintue, he's vrey relbiale' .............. errrmmmmmmm John he's alrdeay 20 minetus late - and if he's alwyas on tmie, there isn't a cat in hlels chcane of him benig hear in a mitune ..............  we all scrbamle in to Adny's van and drvie to Liveoprol Airropt. Well dnoe John!.. graet strat to the tuor!! I pull the sorht starw with Iain and hvae to balcane in the bcak of the van on the wehel arehcs in the drak for most of the jouenry. Well at lesat we get some ealry praccite for a typaicl evnineg out with the Ramblers!! Evrehtying else in temrs of orgaaisntion geos well from trehe on in. We take off from Livpoerol on time and lnad in Libson erlay - the txai is watniig to take us to the hetol (much to John's great dispsaelure) - the htoel and accomadmotion are fisrt clsas - and we clal a txai (wchih tunrs up alomst immadietely) to tkae us to our fisrt golf coruse - Estoril Golf Course - hmoe of the 2008 Porteuguse Oepn.


We all hvae a leiseruly lucnh (I hvae my tradnoitial Culb Sandciwh!) beofre arraingng to meet on the tee (afetr our varuois wram up vagraicnes and supsertioitns) for the fisrt gruop phoite of the tour. As with eevry otehr tour gorup pohtie the cry of ‘has annoye seen Iain' rgnis out throhguout the praictce and fisrt tee area and after Iain meadners on down to the frist tee and a copule of ‘clikcs' laetr, I stkire the fisrt blow of the Libson tuor.


Estoril ins't a vrey forgnivig cosure and the trem cosrue manamegent sprnigs to mnid. Gievn that we are talnikg about the Ramblers here and Jhon deos like to spary the blal arnoud a bit and perslanoly say hlelo to evrey tree and bsuh on the coruse, coruse manamegent isn't exctaly one of the mroe reglaurly used tmres. Anyawy, with smoe exqsiiute holes - partalciurly the par 3 thrid hole, wchih is a raised green surounrded by bueknrs, with a lgrae lake in bewteen the tee and green, we all maange to manvuoere our way arnoud the course, with the screos for the fisrt day as fololws; - Me 31 points, Iian 20 points, Damion 18 points, Adny 15 points and Jhon 15 points.


We trvael back to the hoetl and after a qcuik wash and swhoer we travel to Cascais for sohemting to eat. Cascais is estensially a fihsing prot so we natraully head for a fish restruaant and much to eveoyrne esle's dispsaelure, I enqriue about the coihce of stkaes - apperatnly the seoncd sputid stametent of the tuor!!  I am uslauly very signle minded about my decoiisns and once they are mdae I usaully can't be persdaued - on this ocicason I bwoed to peer preussre ( no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no  or algirht then! ) and had the less than tradoiitnal  .............. Sea Bsas, whcih was very nice and prabobly the best meal I had all week. Back to the Hoetl eveutnally for some much nedeed zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz's


See, not a spulling mistake in sight!!



Day 2

‘Where's Winnie' by A.A.Milne


It was a sunny day in the hundred acre wood and by half past eight, Kanga had already had five breakfasts and bought a morning paper before anyone else had surfaced. Kanga was sitting at the table with Tigger and Christopher Robin, when Piglet arrived and set everyone in to a panic by claiming that the aliens had landed and kidnapped Winnie the Pooh. Kanga calmed Piglet down and tapped him on the head and said, ‘that the little green things were kiwi fruits and not aliens and that he was not to worry his little cotton socks. What a silly little piglet you are! Pooh is probably hiding somewhere else, close to a honey store with his other friends and near a lift (to help him get up and down!!)'.


Not so little Piglet wasn't convinced and continued to worry about Poohs' whereabouts. We travel to Quinta da Marinha to try and find Pooh. Rabbit and Tigger set off first down the first fairway in an attempt to find Pooh. The second group containing Christopher Robin, Kanga and Piglet agree to spend most of their time in the trees looking for Pooh - this can be the only reasonable explanation as to why Piglet should consistently keep hitting his ball under every tree and bush he could find. Kanga, in an attempt to assist Piglet in his off site searching for Pooh, carefully crafted a full blown eight iron shot from just off the green, one bounce straight in to the top floor corner balcony of the Hotel, adjacent to the hundred acre wood. I don't think you'll find Pooh up there Kanga!! Tigger and Rabbit are continuing to look in the middle of the fairways, when it starts to rain heavily - what should we do next asked Tigger? ..............think!............. think!.............think!...............................think!, - we're soaking wet now Rabbit shall we put our waterproofs on? Good idea Tigger ........................ it's stopped raining now Tigger shall we take them off again! And so the fun continued. The scores whilst looking for Pooh;- Tigger 27 points, Rabbit 20 points, Christopher Robin 19 points, Piglet 18 points and Kanga 21 points.


That evening, with still no sight of Pooh, we travel to Lisbon to join the throng of people jostling in and out of the busy bars and discotheques to try and find him. It is obvious that with the loud Bohemian music and jostling night life, that Pooh has been scared away to be with his better quieter friends.



Day 3

 ‘A Day in the Life of the Neston Ramblers'


Yesterday has gone and Wednesday comes around all too quickly as it signifies that the Ramblers are over half way through the tour. The boys are arriving from across the universe this afternoon on the same time flights as we were on Monday, so the tee time for today is scheduled for half two this afternoon. After the night before, we decide to have a leisurely breakfast at 9.00 ish (Andy excluded!), a gently stroll down to Dr Robert's golf shop and early taxi to Quinta da Beloura to have a leisurely lunch before the boys arrive. The course is hidden in the grounds of what can only be described as an industrial estate and it is going to be difficult for the boys ( travelling in a hired car - ‘Ged we're late, you definitely can't drive my car'! ) to find. Dually the day trippers get lost and we have to delay the tee time!! The arrangements for today are that Damian, John and Iain are in the first three cool cats out, Jay, Andy, Bazza and Ged follow. John starts on the long and winding road with the usual slice, followed by the usual shout of ‘fore' followed by the usual searching and ‘I'll drop one'!! Damian and Iain tee off - well at least that's two of us in play!! The remaining four ball tee off and Robbie goes exploring in the car and famously pronounces 'I'll be Back'. Andy storms the course with four net eagles ( Too much monkey business for my liking - I've got a feeling his handicap won't be as generous next time around!!) and finishes with 35 points - other scores include, Iain 33 (Getting Better), Damian 30 (Let It Be), John 28 (in ten years time - When I'm Sixty Four), Jay 18 (Blue Jay Way), Baz 17 ( Here, There and Everywhere) and Ged 8 ( Crying, Waiting, Hoping ). Robbie nil points .....errrrrm ( Hey Jude!! )


Into the bar for a quick couple of pints and as it is already late, off for an expensive taxi ride home and a quite night out in Cascais.

Jay is frustrated further by us frequenting a third fish restaurant in a row and orders something that looks like steak, followed by honey pie and we inevitably end up in the Irish bar along with the three other golf group trippers!!


The End


Day 4


On the fourth day it came to pass, that the disciples met as arranged at Penha Longa Atlantic Golf Course, just west of the Sea of Galilee. It had been raining all morning, but even so, a crowd had gathered, as news of the Ramblers arrival spread and the crowd demanded to see the wearer of the green polo .............the ‘King of the Ramblers'. One of the disciples Barry, son of Zebedee, who was similar in height and size to the ‘King', addressed the crowd and said ‘ the Messiah is not here, as we have come before', but the crowd pressed for more information and Barry said ‘he is elsewhere, with his other, better disciples .............wait here on this hill and I will see if he is available to appear before you' - Barry pretended to answer his mobile phone again and the rest of the Ramblers hurriedly fled the makeshift club house, to the first tee to gain some respite.


On reaching the first tee and without the presence of the Messiah, the debate about who was to strike the first blow ensued and it was decided that he who is without a proper handicap, should strike the first blow ...............John ( known to his disciples as ‘The Baptist', because of his fondness for visiting the water ) stepped forward and proclaimed that he would strike the first blow and that all should marvel at his wonderment and assist him in his hour of need, particularly to look for his ball should he stray from the straight and narrow, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.......................there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth and as one, the remaining disciples said ........... ‘just hurry up John and hit the feckin ball' and so it followed that he did ........... slap bang down the middle!! It was truly a miracle!


On the third tee, with the rain still lashing down, a clearing through the mist appeared and in the distance was a burning bush and next to the bush stood a figure dressed in white. It was the Lord and he called Iain forward - ‘Because you do a lot of work for charity, that you don't like to talk about and because you never complain about your handicap (not really surprising given its size!), I am going to grant you one wish.' Iain lamented and said ‘ Lord I am a simple man and if you could build me a road bridge between the Wirral and Ireland so I could drive to visit friends and sample the delights of the black stuff on a more frequent basis, that would be just fine'. The Lord said ‘that he could grant the wish but it would take a huge amount of natural resources and reduce the available natural fuels for future generations to use' - ‘is there nothing simpler I could grant you?' ‘Well Lord' said Iain, ‘could you make it for Ged to win a major competition with the Neston Ramblers? And the Lord responded ‘would you like 2 or 4 lanes on the road?'


On finishing the round, the crowd still standing on the mount, demanded more information and Robbie, a well known Pharisee and enemy of the severely handicapped, stepped forward to address the crowd. ‘The Messiah is not here, he is back where we have come from'. But the crowd were not satisfied and demanded to know who he was and what he looked like. So Robbie added ‘ I can't tell you his name for fear of reprisals, but he is a slightly rotunded, elderly gentleman who doesn't get up and down too well, but commands great respect and is almighty ......... And he, is of great power' .................... ‘Andy Power', the crowd shouted and Robbie said ‘ Yes, something like that'.


And so it was, that the disciples returned to the watering hole close to a Mount of Olives and took their place at table. Andy said to the servant ‘in celebration of my win, (I can feel a tradition coming on here!!!) go fetch me eight of your largest pots and fill them with whatever beer is the coldest'. The waiter returned with the eight pots full to the brim and Andy closed his eyes, bowed his head, placed his hands over the pots and mumbled something or other into the beer (typical end of the night pose for Andy really!! ). The beer was drunk and a second order placed almost immediately - two or three of the Ramblers left the table and all around were amazed at how quickly the beer had been turned in to water. It was indeed a miracle. Bring forth another eight please waiter ..................and so it came to be that the Ramblers thought the owner had been saving his best beer till last, when the reality was that the Ramblers were too sozzled and wet to know any different.


And so at the end of the day and with Andy Howe winning the main comp with 32 massive points, the words of the scriptures had been fulfilled - ‘last shall be first and first shall be last and that he with oh great a handicap, will be first in the NR main comp in Portugal in 08 - Only God knows, Howe he wins'


The other disciples scores - Damian 29 pts, John ‘The Baptist' 28 pts, Iain 23 pts, Jay 18 pts, Ged 16 pts and Bazza 15 pts


Here endeth the gospel according to St Mark.