Royal St. Luke’s Golf Club (Est. 1603)
From; Maj. RJM Warren-Dawlish MC: Secretary.
Members will be aware from the leader in The Times – and from the sniggering in the gutter press – that the Supreme Court has rejected our final Appeal for restoration of our VAT exemption. For any Member sufficiently deaf as to have missed this legal shouting match, our VAT exemption was withdrawn by the Inland Revenue on the grounds that: (a) we have no lavatorial facilities for women and (b) we have no women.
The Court rejected our defence that (a) there is a unisex public toilet not far away (about which see the Captain’s message below) and (b) that our Constitution, drafted by King James VI & I in 1603, specified that members must be of ‘Ye Gentrye.’
The Court ruled, astonishingly, that a woman might be a Gent and, conversely, that a chap might be a Dame, citing the highly dubious case of Dame Lesley (ex-Leslie) Fairchild DBE, the former paratrooper now hosting the appalling ‘Hullo, Matey’ reality show on television. Our tremendous legal costs must now be paid and will have to be met by a major rise in subscriptions. This means an EGM with certain verbal and probably physical violence with attendant damage to the Clubhouse. Furthermore, the Council has decided that all staff, from myself down to the youngest caddy, must now ‘Apply for their own Positions’, in other words, justify their existence. These applications are to be published in the next Newsletter and should make entertaining reading…
Meanwhile, here is your Captain:
From: Lord Fenchurch, (Captain) To: The Membership.
A very Happy New Year to you all, and let us go forward into it together, inspired by the Club Motto for 2012, kindly provided once again by our reverend Member, the Bishop of Hexham (C of E);
In receptacula omnia posiuntur
‘Let us all put all our rubbish in the bins provided.’
In these direful times of cuts, cutbacks and cut-outs, we must tighten our belts and reef the mainsail while keeping our noses to the grindstone. This is no time for weasel words or clichés. Following the Supreme Court ruling, we can do nothing about the VAT issue, now in the hands of that Osborne chap who has never played golf in his life – but we can and will deal with the threatened caddy strike, head-on.
With regard to the latter, a Mr Bert Wolfe, the local Commissar of the Caddies & Allied Operatives Union, turned up at the clubhouse to see me last week, without an appointment. He entered my office without knocking and began to bluster about higher pay, the abolition of caddytagging and softer toilet-tissue for their Hut. I was initially prepared to negotiate, but when he spoke warmly of Karl Marx and slightingly of Lady Thatcher, I had no option but to throw him out and instruct Major Warren-Dawlish to set the dogs on him. I must say that he showed a commendable turn of speed, sprinting ahead of both wolfhounds to the open ditch at the railway which (the ditch) he cleared at a single bound, only to be near-missed, unfortunately, by the 9.22 from Cambridge to Peterborough.
The Major, incidentally, tells me that in the toilet facilities of this train, he has observed a fine example of ‘bracket humour.’ This is the uniquely British habit of tacking on a word, or phrase (in brackets) after an official statement, thus giving it an ironic or ludicrous twist. Above the commode or ‘thunderbox’ in the train’s toilet was the usual menacing injunction:
‘Not to be used when this train is standing at any Station’
below which had been written:
Following the Supreme Court’s disgraceful ruling on our VAT position, mentioned above by the Secretary, I can now reveal the result of our Opinion Poll of the entire membership on the subject of Women.
The Poll has disclosed that 86% of you favour maintenance of our sexual exclusivity. With regard to female access to the Clubhouse and grounds; 90% were in favour of allowing women to leave the main road, pass the Gate Guardian and proceed up the drive to the carpark. However, only 20% supported their being allowed to leave the car. This raises the interesting scenario of those Members, after the Annual Dinner, who experience great difficulty in entering cars driven by their chauffeurs or wives. In that circumstance the ruling must be that she can pull – but she can’t push. In the case of Members failing to enter their cars and then collapsing, the wives will be required to drive off. The Members will then be retrieved from the carpark and forcibly bedded down for the night on one of the camp beds set up in the Locker Room.
With regard to toilet arrangements for women, the Club has ascertained that our nearest public toilet is round the back of the Petroco 24-hr. filling Station & Grocery in Albert St, Carrington Magna. This unisex facility, having been found to be frankly disgusting, your Council, following the example of the Columbus Golf Club in the US, had voted £2,500 to upgrade it to an acceptable standard.
One final and disagreeable point from the Poll: There was one spoiled ballot paper on which a Member had actually written:
‘I would welcome the presence of a number of young women in the Clubhouse – as they would balance the large number of Old Women here already!’ This scandalous statement being unsigned, a handwriting expert has been engaged to identify the culprit from the list of signatures on the Oath of Loyalty. In accordance with tradition, he will be paraded at the AGM, his membership badge will be torn from his bag, his Driver broken over the Secretary’s knee and he will be escorted to the main road by Sgt. Maj. Watkins who will ritually throw out his clubs after him.
I assure you, gentlemen, that whatever the cost, Standards will be maintained.