The Unexpurgated Golf Letters of Mortimer Merriweather: Book Review

Why Mortimer Merriweather thinks a bogey should be a partridge and what he is doing about it. This and other revelations are revealed in a collection of spoof letters collated by Clive Agran

Mortimer Merriweather

Why Mortimer Merriweather thinks a bogey should be a partridge and what he is doing about it. This and other revelations are revealed in a collection of spoof letters collated by Clive Agran

The subtitle of Two Great Tits on the Front and a Shag up the Last is ‘The Unexpurgated Golf Letters of Mortimer Merriweather’.

Mr Merriweather is an inventive fellow, obsessed by golf but lacking social skills. He is also fictitious, a creation of Clive Agran, who is credited as ‘collating’ the letters.

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However Mortimer Merriweather can occasionally display empathy. Well, after a fashion anyway. He writes to Donald Trump: “Having had a bike nicked from outside my flat in West Hampstead 20 years ago, I can understand how you must feel about having an election stolen from you.”

Later in the letter, he also sympathises with the former president over the behaviour of his assistants: “You gave them respectable jobs in the White House and a chance to move on from their previous involvement in fraud, tax evasion, money-laundering and general criminality and they ‘thank’ you by dumping you in it.”

Mortimer Merriweather

But often he displays a crass rudeness. Too often, I suspect, Mortimer Merriweather alienates his recipients. This makes the correspondence one sided.

Part of the joy of spoof letters are the replies they elicit. Both the ones in on the joke replying in kind, and the po-faced ones which have missed the joke entirely.

However Two Great Tits on the Front and a Shag up the Last does not include any replies. In the forward this is explained as “with one or two exceptions they were just too dull.”.

I would have enjoyed reading the exceptions. I doubt Mr Merriweather would have minded some dull replies also being included in this collection.

Indeed would he have noticed? He is not a chap, one suspects, who you’d wish to be seated next to at a dinner party. However I would also guess that he does not get invited to many.

Mortimer Merriweather is often consumed by the little things in life. He has a creative, if impractical, mind. I particularly liked his letter to the British Trust of Ornithology. He points out that scores under par on a hole have bird names (opens in new tab), but not those over par. He asks for their help in changing this.

He suggests one over par, rather than being called a bogey (opens in new tab), should be a partridge. Explaining that that “It is a bit more than a par. In fact it is a -tridge more than par. And it will enable players who have scored four on a short hole to say ‘I had a partridge on the par 3’.”

I think this is a splendid notion. I would happily sign up to join his campaign. Perhaps he will write to me to tell me how?

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Contributing Writer Golf courses and travel are Roderick’s particular interests and he was contributing editor for the first few years of the Golf Monthly Travel Supplement. He writes travel articles and general features for the magazine, travel supplement and website. He also compiles the magazine's crossword. He is a member of Trevose Golf & Country Club and has played golf in around two dozen countries. Cricket is his other main sporting love. He is the author of five books, four of which are still in print: The Novel Life of PG Wodehouse; The Don: Beyond Boundaries; Wally Hammond: Gentleman & Player and England’s Greatest Post-War All Rounder.