As an only child I would often have to amuse myself with whatever toy raw materials I had around me. I was obsessed, as a ten-year-old, with golf and would spend hours at night in the bedroom of my Balham flat putting a golf ball into a lone empty yogurt pot (pointless having two yoghurt pots as I had no one to call).
One year I was given the Arnold Palmer Pro Shot Golf game and, as golf courses tend to close during the hours of darkness, at night I’d set this up; utilising the six available clubs, two bunkers and four out-of-bounds fences, I’d try and complete eighteen holes.
My golfing ability, due to playing too much Pro Shot Golf, never improved, so I’d never win the Morden Pitch ‘n’ Putt Open let alone the US one.
I never completed eighteen holes as invariably I’d get my finger stuck in the levering device which enabled mini-Arnold Palmer to swing. I would then walk the walk of shame into my parents’ lounge, implement still attached to my finger, and ask for some butter to remove it. As I walked back to my bedroom, I’d hear them talk:
“All he does at night is play with himself.”
“He’ll probably go blind.”
As I walked back, I thought: ‘I’ve got my finger stuck, it’s not taken my bloody eye out!’