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A little domesticity before packing the bags and flying off to Beijing

It was a very normal week at home between the Open de España and heading out to China.  We are currently moving house and the majority of the week was taken up with trivial items relating to that.  We've moved three times in the last year, once to Ascot, once from Ascot and once from Templepatrick.  This is the first time I've had to do any of the heavy lifting myself, Bev has always arranged it to coincide with weeks I'm away; she assures me it progresses more smoothly that way.  It's the first time I've really understood what's involved, even though I missed packing the stuff up in Ascot I'm now understanding why she was so tired when she arrived out in Thailand in October!  We have a lot of stuff!  We hired a van on Wednesday and I spent the day driving it around town picking up new furniture and dropping it to Greenisland before I headed back to Templepatrick to fill it with all our boxes and the furniture we already own.  Driving the van was good fun, it was a lot quicker than I'd expected but it's tricky to reverse…… the daffodils down the side of my parent's-in-laws drive were definitely in danger on more than one occasion!  Lifting furniture is hard work though, and it's not something I'd fancy doing on a daily basis!  I've a new level of respect for the guys who packed up our house in Ascot and unloaded it in Templepatrick….. they really must be pretty fit and incredibly strong!  I'd roped in my father-in-law and brother-in-law to help with all the big items, 3 van loads later and most of the stuff had moved across!  We were all tired and glad to call it a day at 930.  In exchange for Rodney's help I'd to give him a lift home in my car, it sure is a lot easier to drive than the van and so much more comfortable!  A little faster too! 

I spent a little time on Monday at Shandon Park with Niall O'Connor playing a few holes and just catching up.  I've got to know Niall over the last few years as we're both members at Castlerock Golf Club, and when we're both at home we like to get out for a few holes.  He assured me the weather was to be the best all week on Monday morning and so we popped up bright and early.  Stephen Watson was also there and we joined up with him for the final few holes, the craic was mighty!  I headed up to Greenacres Driving Range on Tuesday to hit balls and try to groove my swing.  Bev was videoing swings using the V1 app on the ipad and sending them to Justin Parsons for review in Dubai.  I've got closer to Justin over the last few months when using the facilities out in Dubai and he's a great coach.  I've decided to work with him on a more permanent basis and although he won't travel to many events between Bev and James (my caddy) I'll be able to send him enough footage of my swing that he'll be able to help me by Skype.  Justin is also interested in the biomechanics of my swing and has been liaising with Shane (my phsio) as they try and iron out all the weaknesses in my body which prevent me swinging the club properly. 

I spent part of Thursday with the Clic Sargent team in Belfast.  I'm interested in helping local charities raise much needed funds and awareness and two of the charities I support here are CRY and Clic Sargent.  I was introduced to the Clic Sargent charity last year at the Irish Open in Portrush.  They were the official charity of the event and I let the Tour auction my Pro-am caddy position off to help raise funds.  I met a fantastic young man called Chris who was battling cancer; one of his arms had been removed during the course of his treatment but he was the most optimistic person I've ever met.  I spent a little time with him between the Irish Open and his untimely death earlier this year and he inspired me to try and help the charity raise some funds for a local campaign - the Homes from Homes appeal in Belfast.  So Bev and I spent a few hours on Thursday learning all about the campaign and the facilities the charity hope to build when they raise their target of almost £4m.  The idea being to build 2 properties families can use in Belfast whilst children and young people are undergoing cancer treatment in either the paediatric hospital at the Royal or the new cancer centre at the City.   The team were very inspiring and it's a cause I'm trying to help again this year through the NI Open Challenge at Galgorm.  Galgorm Golf Club have graciously allowed me to auction off the caddy position for the Pro-am again, as well as having donated a Pro-am team to the charity to help them raise the much needed funds for the second building.  I hope it goes well and I'll be trying to get along to as many events to help support them as I possibly can.  It's great to feel like you're helping others.

I was tired after lifting all the boxes on Wednesday so I only managed to fit in one gym session at the UUJ gym.  It's a facility I've used before and now that I'm living so close there's really no excuse not to go more frequently.  I'll never be one of those guys in there all day bench pressing a big weight but it's important to keep on top of things and keep yourself healthy so I'll be a more frequent attender whilst home.  All I had left to do was catch up with some friends for dinner on Friday night and then pack my bags.  My flight to China was leaving Belfast Saturday morning, stopping in London for a few hours and then arriving into Beijing on Sunday morning.  I then had a transfer via courtesy car to the hotel.  I was a little nervous as the car trip last year took me 7 hours to complete and included courtesy car, taxi and a few trains!  It really only should take 2 hours.  Thankfully this year the driver knew where he was going and delivered myself and caddy "scruff" directly to the hotel in Tianjin.  I'm hoping for a good week with slightly better air quality than last year!  Everyone found it difficult last year, especially the caddies, as the smog was so thick.  This year I've at least seen the sun already - something which didn't happen all week last year!