Having completed the retakes on the audio version of Eclipsed – and based on this, now revising the print edition for stray typos and making some edits also, I am adding a few further anecdotes which are appropriate and in-keeping with the story. This is a good example…
I have since returned to New York on further Tom Holland business. One occasion was for the press junket for the film, In the Heart of the Sea, directed by some bloke called Ron Howard and starring another geezer called Chris Hemsworth and featuring the little known (at the time) Tom Holland. And it reminds me a of comic incident which bears inclusion now.
This movie was made on a beautiful island called La Gomera, just off the coast of Tenerife, which itself is an island just off coast of North Africa. Still with me? I flew out to join Nikki and Tom for a weekend and with a Sunday off from filming and a golf course on this island, you can see where this is going…
This was probably 2015. Tom would have been eighteen or so and with my career still somewhat buoyant, I was keen to be the Dad and pick up all possible expenses and including any golf. But with only one golf course on this exclusive holiday destination island, the green fees did not need to be competitive. Add in hiring two sets of clubs. Balls. Tees. Gloves. It was coming in very hot and expensive. But no matter, live life and all that. Plus Nikki wanted to walk the course and it being hot (off the coast of Africa, remember) a buggy for the good lady made good sense. But only one buggy for Nikki and Tom (he was working and happened to starving for the role) and still young and spritely, I was going to walk.
Three people, two golfers and only one buggy; my cunning plan to hop in to their buggy once out of sight of the clubhouse. There have to be some advantages to being small in this world. But on leaving the pro shop, a man spots us making our way to the first tee and he begins to call out to us.
‘Just ignore him. Keep on driving, Tom.’
Damn it, I think to myself. I’ve been rumbled. He wants me to hire a buggy also.
And this chap is determined and quickly he catches us up. Just as I suspected, he suggests that we need another buggy. Yeah, thanks pal. But I’m not that old.
‘My wife and my son are in the buggy.’ I explain. ‘I am going to walk.’
But he is not happy and shakes his head vigorously.
‘No, no, no. You cannot walk this course…’
And now I am fed up. That some jobsworth is waving a spurious rule at me; purely designed to extract even more money from hapless tourists. I have just dropped nearly £300 on a single round of golf and so any saving is very welcome. And so I stood firm.
But this is not what he meant. This is no scam to fleece tourists. He explained that the golf course of La Gomera is plotted around the edge of the island, affording remarkable views throughout the round. This means that the course starts at a certain point and from here, the golfers play their round back to finish at the club house.
And this means that the starting point of the golf course is a rather long walk from the clubhouse. All eighteen holes and geography being what it is, the first tee box is over 10km from the clubhouse.
Chastened, I thank the man and I hire another buggy. In the heat, I might have died and missed what was a great day of golf and especially so for me. No prizes then for guessing who won the match.
A very rare dad-win in this book.
Next week, Tom and I will get in the booth to reminisce over the anecdotes therein – to complete the audio file – Eclipsed, read by Dom Holland and in conversation with Tom Holland.