David Welch was someth-ing of a horticultural visionary.
His ideas and drive brought colour to the grey of Aberdeen while he was the city’s director of leisure and recreation, and before he was appointed chief executive of royal parks in London.
Not bad for a man who had started out washing flowerpots as a gardening apprentice in his native Nottinghamshire.
His successors in Aberdeen never quite maintained the high standards he set, although the city council didn’t splash the cash as they had in Welch’s day.
When he arrived in Aberdeen in 1967, its public gardens contained about 27,000 municipal roses. When he left in 1992, there were more than two million rose bushes.
I once interviewed him during his role in London.
He spoke lovingly of his time in the Granite City where the Winter Gardens in the Duthie Park are named after him.
I am reminded of him and his wit this week thanks to a letter I’ve seen which went out from Sport Aberdeen to those of its members who use its golf courses, including those at Hazlehead.
It states that last season more than 92,000 rounds of golf were played on its courses and adds: “Around 61,000 of these were enjoyed by our 1,600 Golf Aberdeen members.”
To this, David Welch would have added: “And that’s not including the hundreds who swick on at the second hole of the Pines Course at Hazlehead.”
It was an issue he always joked about and one that still angers paying Hazlehead golfers all these years on.
The cheats adopt the mantra “will play, won’t pay” and start their 17-hole round out of sight of the starter at Hazlehead’s No 1 course.
Meanwhile, paying members subsidise their hobby.
Let’s make sure people are paying for privilege
News filtering down from Hazlehead on the newly-established Footgolf past-time is that it is hugely successful in terms of numbers taking part.
Placed where the pitch and putt course used to be, Footgolf sees participants kick footballs towards and into giant holes in the ground.
But can it be correct that there are those who arrive with their own footballs and go directly on to the Footgolf course without first making their way to the starter’s box to pay?
We need to sort out our national sport after humiliation
When a bookie – in this case Paddy Power – decides to pay out on Celtic winning the 2017/18 Scottish Premiership title before the league season has even begun, you know that all is not well with our national sport.
The humiliating Europa League exit of Rangers to Luxembourg minnows Progres Niederkorn prompted the move by the bookmakers who, until Tuesday night, must have expected the Ibrox side to challenge Celtic for the title.
Which leaves their thinking on the Dons as something approaching uncomplimentary.