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Longbow – a very one-sided love affair


I fell in love with the longbow on the battlefield near Hastings where the Norman invaders settled the course of English history in 1066. I had turned up in 1989, a little after the event, to cover a medieval festival for the local newspaper.

Your Girl Reporter was earnestly taking notes while a big fellow in chainmail explained in some detail the intricacies of recreating the armour and weaponry of Ye Olden Tymes. “And it’s heavy too,” he said as he stuck his broadsword into the ancient turf with a manly smirk. “Go on, see if you can lift that.”

I obliged by failing to budge the thing an inch and that would have been the end of it except for the arrival on the scene of a man in Lincoln green. “Hey Robin, show the Girl Reporter your longbow,” he said and then, in case I was expecting an effete experience, “you have to be really strong to use one of these.”

Well, Gentle Reader, I surprised us all that day.

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Collard greens and Vegemite, it’s a cultural thing


I don’t know much about golf, but when Australian Adam Scott won the US Masters in 2013, I did know that he would bear the heavy cultural burden of choosing the menu for the following year’s Masters Champions Dinner.

Way back in 1997, Fuzzy Zoeller earned his own special place in the annals of golfing history by suggesting that then first-time Masters champion Tiger Woods would be putting fried chicken and collard greens on the menu.

I had to get my dad Jack Spackman to explain that one. I was familiar with fried chicken but I’d never heard of collard greens. Jack was living in California by then, so was more up to speed on matters of American culture. As in most things for that nation, it turned on the issue of race. Continue reading

Collard greens and Vegemite, it’s a cultural thing


I don’t know much about golf, but when Adam Scott won the US Masters in 2013 I did know that he would have the honour of choosing the menu for the following year’s Champions Dinner. A cultural minefield, Your Girl Reporter warned – look what happened when the Big Baxter suggested Vegemite to celebrate Australia’s victory in the Americas Cup.

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Come on Aussie, pick a song… any song


There are a couple of things we can learn from the Poms. Their superior use of the Decision Review System and their singing are two very good places to start. So come on Aussies, really come on. It’s great to sing and holler when our team’s winning. It’s a matter of honour to keep singing through the gloom of defeat. And so far, we’re rubbish at it. Continue reading

The Devil, Champagne and Black Caviar


The day I went to Ascot with a dead chicken on my head.

Hat - Copy Continue reading

When Baxter beat Gonzo in a gentleman’s sporting bet


Back in the 1970s Hunter S. Thompson took in an historic game of cricket at the old Hong Kong Cricket Club and lost ten bucks to the Big Baxter. Continue reading

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From the vault