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Only one predator on the golf course

December 3, 2011

Our host at Alhamra, Nigel Rowley, head honcho at Medina Palms has spent 25 years in Kenya, and has done a great deal in the community and trained his staff impeccably, but just occasionally something goes slightly wrong and it upsets him. The Kenyan staff have been exemplary, always smiling, unstinting in the efforts to make your stay comfortable, nothing is too much trouble, but the food they consume themselves locally is largely based on maize and chilli and differs somewhat from the food we tend to eat and which they prepare.

This allows the occasional howler to emerge from this warm blanket of conformity to high standards of English service. Last night, after an excellent celery soup, enlivened as ever with a little chilli, as indeed the cream of sweet corn soup had been the night before, followed by a very good pepper steak, we were all looking forward to desert. What followed was right out of The Vicar Of Dibley, where Mrs Cropley had an eye for unusual food combinations. The chef had clearly not quite understood the concept of black pudding, an its unsuitability as a desert, and the piece de resistance was the carefully cooked egg placed on the top. Our dear host was not amused, either by the desert or the mirth that followed, but it was a completely understandable and charming mistake.

a Tusker bear, the well named local brew, sitting ready for action on the terrace at the 19th hole of Vippingo Ridge

I said the day before yesterday that I could not be certain how much room I would have to report on the golf yesterday (picture taken from the 19th hole above) and that cynics may suggest that if I lost there would be little or no mention of it for reasons of space. Well I am glad to be able to refute that suggestion. It is not about who wins and loses but about how you play the game, and some of us play the game better than others creating winners and losers. The more enlightened of my regular readers may by now have guessed the result, but once again my sense of innate modesty will not allow me to confirm something which must be an obvious fact, supported by some pictures of my wearing a 1000 Kenyan shillings note on my forehead (some £7 at today’s exchange rates). Suffice to say that I have never been beaten at golf in Africa, and I played for the first time yesterday.

The golf course ay Vippongi Ridge was astonishing. It has been carved from a sizal plantation, the plants looking exactly like the Yucca’s we have in the garden at home in Valbonne, indeed they look identical. The fairways were immaculate, but what was mind bogglingly impressive is that each blade of grass on the fairways and light rough (I will come back to the ladies golf contingent a little later) was planted by hand. Imagine that? Hundreds of Kenyans mamas on their hands and knees planting every seed by hand, amazing. The result is a superbly crafted magniloquent golf course high on a ridge looking down to the distant Indian Oceon, as close to Heaven as I have ever been. Renowned  Welsh golfer Ian Woosnam OBE has built a house on the course.

Lunch at the golf club preceded the drive back to Watamu, but due to the quality of the lunch, a few too many beers and too much wine I dozed off and missed the Hotel Titanic in one of the local villages for which I had seen a sign on the way up. With my comments yesterday suggesting that Pythons could be amongst the wild life we may encounter, I was half expecting to see a Pythonesque reenactment of Fawlty Towers at Hotel Titanic.

Chris Franc

3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 3, 2011 1:54 pm

    ah… the Tusker beer!


  2. Pinman permalink
    December 3, 2011 2:11 pm

    Hotel Titanic……………………..

    …………………………and the first joke about going down comes from…………….??


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