The Agreeable World Of Wallace Arnold: 'Tis a desperate man who takes the Duchess hostage

Share
Related Topics
A GRIM week for those of us in the international golfing fraternity; a very grim week indeed.

The news came through to the Wentworth clubhouse in the afternoon of Wednesday last. As vice-chairman, I was entertaining recent members with my reminiscences of driving off from the sixth, using my number seven on the eighth, my six on the ninth and my eight on the tenth, only to find that by the eleventh I was relying on my five - with a little help from my four.

Needless to say, they were all roaring with delight at this word-picture of a very special game of golf. And so it was all set to be a thoroughly enchanting afternoon when an ashen-faced Major Ronald Ferguson rushed into his clubhouse. "Anyone seen the General?" he asked, his voice a-quiver with emotion.

"Augusto?" I repeated, "now let me see." In fact, I had had cause to caution the poor fellow not half-an- hour before for attempting to bury his opponent head-down in a bunker. "That's not the British way, Augusto," I said. "In fact, here at Wentworth, we tend to shake the winner by the hand and buy him a drink. In fact, Rule 15 sub-section (c) expressly forbids the torturing, kidnap or wanton murder of fellow golfers other than with the written approval of the management committee." He replied that he had indeed gained that approval, but when I asked to see it, he blustered, patting all the pockets of his uniform and saying he must have mislaid it.

"If my guess is right," I said to Major Ronald, "he should have just finished on the eighteenth and will be striding into this very room in 10 seconds."

Sure enough, in 10 seconds, the outer door to the clubhouse swung open and the now-familiar sound could be heard of spurs scraping against the parquet in the hallway. "A magnificent victory!" said General Augusto Pinochet as he entered the bar-room. "My opponent is broken - broken like a twig."

I suddenly realised he was talking about that much-loved all-round family entertainer, Mr Bruce Forsyth, who had reluctantly agreed to take him on. Earlier, I had rescued Forsyth from the bunker - but what had become of him now? Before I had had time to ask, Major Ronald had stepped forward, put a comforting hand on the General's shoulder, and, one military man to another, had broken the news. "Rotten luck, Herr General," he said, "Just heard they're extraditing you to Spain. Let's hope it's nothing serious." I turned to see how the General had taken the news - but he was gone. "Good Lord," I said, "he dashed off pretty fast. I daresay he must be cut up about something."

Major Ronald and I finished our drinks and rushed out. In the distance, we saw a golf buggy bearing the unmistakable silhouette of General Pinochet spinning towards the ninth hole. "My God," I murmured, "that's where His Royal Highness The Duke of York is playing Little Ronnie Corbett in a friendly."

The Major and I ran headlong out on to the course and commandeered a passing buggy from senior member Mr Frank Bough. "Follow that buggy, Bough!" I yelled, and the three of us took off at top speed.

Alas, by the time we arrived the scene was perilous. General Pinochet had holed up in a bunker. "Don't come a step further, Wallace!" he screamed as I approached. "I have the Duchess Fergie with me - and I will stop at nothing." Looking down, I noticed that the Duchess's head was just visible above the sand.

I knew instinctively that no one would take the Duchess of York hostage who was not a very desperate man. I looked across at The Duke of York. He seemed to be taking it very well. In fact, he was just teeing off for the tenth. "Oddly enough, these little upsets can sometimes serve to aid one's concentration," he remarked to Little Ronnie Corbett, who chuckled good-naturedly.

And this has been the situation since five-ish on Wednesday: the Duchess neck-high in the bunker and the General looming over her, demanding pounds 40,000 and a passage to Chile. We've had a whip-round at the club-house to save the Duchess. So far we've raised pounds 4.25, including a pounds 2 B&Q voucher from the Duke - not a bad effort in just four days. We're aiming for a tenner by Christmas: all contributions welcome.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Front End Web Developer

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Back End Web Developer

£30000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

The Jenrick Group: Electrical Maintenance Engineer

£36500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Electrical Maintenan...

The Jenrick Group: Multi Skilled Maintenance Engineer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Multi Skill...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Elton John and David Furnish finalise their marriage paperwork  

Don't be blinded by the confetti — the fight for marriage equality in the UK isn't over yet

Siobhan Fenton
Freeman, centre, with Lord Gladwyn, left, and Harold Wilson on the programme The Great Divide in 1963  

John Freeman was a man of note who chose to erase himself from history

Terence Blacker
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'