The Mayor is attending the Opening of our Bowls Club’s Summer Season and our esteemed Committee is trying to work out how to fill in the form we have been sent by the Council. When I was a Working Gal, many moons
ago, I was a bit of an expert on such things, but today I am just the humble Assistant Secretary whose job is to take the Minutes of the meeting so I keep my mouth shut and my head bent over my laptop.
“What do we want the Mayor to wear?” asks our Hon. Secretary, reading aloud from the form. Captain, our Captain obviously has the devil in him this morning, perhaps due to the fact that he is flying off on holiday
tomorrow and is clearly demob happy. He starts singing: “The Mayor is in the altogether, the altogether, the altogether....” Several other Committee members join in. Chaos reigns for a bit. Our Secretary persists: “Do we
want him to wear his chain of office?” This query is greeted by a number of slightly ribald comments about how much the chain of office might actually cover. “I’ll say lounge suit and chain of office then,” says our Secretary,
doggedly. I silently award her top marks for persistence.
Next question, what do we want the Mayor to do, once in attendance? Should we ask him to ring the bell
to signal the start of play or would this be just a tad boring? The Committee agrees that he should be invited to join in with the Club Spider. I type: “Mayor to join in the Club Spider.” I have absolutely no idea what this means. I
will need to ask Mr B after the meeting. I write “spider” on my note pad and doodle a fairly realistic eight-legged creature for added effect. It’s quite scary, with all those legs. Someone asks if the Mayor will need to be equipped with
special bowling shoes if he is to venture onto the green. The President says he doesn’t think it will matter as he will have one foot in the ditch. I write “foot in ditch” in my notepad to remind myself to query this, too, with my very
own Mine of Information. I don’t draw a picture though, I’m not too good on lower limbs.
One of the Committee Members who isn’t here today has
apparently offered to bake a celebration cake for the Mayoral party. This leads to a heated discussion about who will be entitled to have a slice of the cake and whether more cakes should also be provided for consumption by other Club Members who will
sniff out a celebration cake at a hundred yards and may well be put out if they are denied a slice. I have lost the will to live / failed to follow the arguments so I will have to leave a space in my draft Minutes for the recording of what was agreed
in the hope that the Secretary was more on the ball than I was.
A concern is raised about arrival times. The Mayor and his wife (yes, the Committee have decided to invite the Mayoress too. She doesn’t
have to join the Spider or put one foot in the ditch but, as far as can make out, she can have a piece of cake) are arriving at 1.40 p.m. so our President reckons it would be advisable if all Club members arrived by 1.30 p.m. A few Committee Members
believe This Will Never Happen. Various names are put forward of players who always turn up a minute before play is due to start. These named people will doubtless barge into the Clubroom just as the Mayoral party is tucking into the cake. What’s
to be done? How will disaster be averted? And would it really, really matter?
Later I ask Mr B to explain about the Club Spider. For the benefit of those of you
who don’t play bowls (and because I do like the Daily Blog to be educational every so often) here’s what happens. All the players stand around the edge of the bowling green, with one foot in the ditch which runs all round (like a moat without water)
and one foot on the green. A small ball called a jack is placed in the middle of the green. At a signal from the President everyone bowls at the same time, attempting to get as near to the jack as they can. The nearest wins a bottle of finest spirits.
I understand everything except the bit about having one foot in the ditch.
I wasn’t even supposed to be at this morning’s Committee Meeting. I was
supposed to be out with my Birdy Group, wearing my walking boots and fleece, binoculars strung around my neck, on the lookout for feathered friends. Waking up to persistent rain, I telephoned the Chief Birdy Person to find out if we were still getting
together or not. I was disappointed and relieved in about equal amounts – and the cancellation did mean that I could go along with Mr B to the Committee Meeting. The Hon. Secretary was ever so pleased to see me as I’d previously given my
apologies. “I’m so glad you could come,” she tells me at the close of the meeting, as I pack away my laptop and flex my fingers.
diary when we arrive home, I discover that Mr B and I will be away for the Official Opening of the Bowls Season. This means I won’t be able to check out the Mayoral attire, the chain of office and whether anyone eats more than one slice of the
celebration cake. I feel quite sad to be missing out on such an auspicious occasion.
Let’s hope our town’s First Citizen performs well in the
Club Spider. I do hope, however, that someone tells him, in advance, what is involved. I can imagine the conversation:
“You stand on the edge
of the green with one foot in the ditch....”
Of course you do.