Fortunately, I had my smartphone with me and it only took a few seconds to whip it out of my bag and to fire off a couple of shots.
At the time, I reckoned they’d look good on my Facebook page (which they did) and as the wallpaper on my Mac (ditto), but I had no idea that one of them would end up taking pride of place on the cover of the book. At the time, I was up to my eyes in writing the first draft and I hadn’t given the design any thought.
Even two months ago, the front cover was to be a combination of my thoughts and the wonderful, creative talent that was Julie Grimes. We had just started work on the initial concepts when Julie fell ill and, tragically, died just a few short weeks later.
After coming to terms with the sudden loss of this very special lady and finally getting round to revisiting this project, it was very obvious to me that the cover should include one of the photographs I had taken, for three very different reasons.
Firstly, the picture was going to appear inside the book anyway, so a promotion to the front cover where it could be seen in full colour, glossy glory made sense.
Secondly, there is an ethereal quality to the shot, which works well with the guru theme.
Finally - and perhaps most importantly – it is there to publicise the potential demise of the course.
Western Park is a municipal golf course and the municipality in this case – Leicester City Council – is looking to close the course later this year.
Ostensibly, this is because it is currently costing the council around £120,000 a year to subsidise it. Given the current state of the economy and the unattractive promise of even more swingeing financial cutbacks over the next few years, it is understandable that loss-making council assets come under the microscope.
However, this isn’t about the saving of £120,000 per annum. Anyone with an iota of commercial sense could see how this cash could be saved through a combination of partnership and investment.
No. Despite the Mayoral protestations, this is all about how much revenue can be earned by selling off a substantial piece of land (handily close to the motorway network) to commercial and housing developers and then reaping the council tax from the resulting properties.
Never mind the fact that Leicester loses a significant and attractive piece of greenbelt forever. Ignore the 105 years of history and the opportunity the course has provided for thousands and thousands of golfers over the years – either to try out the sport, to embrace it or just to grab some fresh air and exercise every week. Forget the young golfers who won’t be able to make the trek across the city to the other municipal course, who can’t afford the fees of private clubs and so will be lost to the game as a result.
Eventually this economic nightmare will disappear. So will the current Mayor; he can’t go on forever. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the consequences of his decision about Western Park.