Our Singing for Pleasure Choir has finished for the summer. No more Twankydillo. No more Viva La Musica. No more Ascot Gavotte or Get Me To The Church on Time. What on earth will I do with my Friday mornings for
the next couple of months?
My friend Avril offers a solution; why not accompany her to the Friday morning short mat bowls session instead? We could even have lunch in the community cafe afterwards,
just in case I am experiencing withdrawal symptoms from the Bacon Bap Brigade.
Now this seems like an excellent idea. Regular readers will remember that
up until the end of March Mr B and I were members of a Short Mat Bowls club which met every Monday evening in the Keystone Centre. Monday evenings at the Keystone Centre were generally shared with the Knit and Natter group and I was always rather torn
between the two though Mr B said there was no way he was plaining and purling when he could have been bowling. Sadly the club has closed because our Leader (having run the club valiantly for over twenty years) wanted to hang up his bowling shoes and nobody
else was prepared to volunteer to take over. Mr B made me sit on my hands during the coffee break at every session where The Future was discussed because he knows I have a propensity to put my hand up when nobody else seems willing. I might
be willing, he told me, but I wasn’t particularly ready or able, being a novice at the game and all. Even bowlers must learn to walk before they run. Or bowl.
I was sad not to be playing anymore, especially as I was just about starting to get the hang of the game. Everyone said I was doing really well, considering the very short time I had been playing and I don’t think they were just being kind.
So the idea of chancing my arm on the bowls mat again was rather appealing. One possible problem was that I don’t possess any woods of my own, having always borrowed two of my friend Val’s at our old club – but Avril said she
would lend me two of hers. We would have to make sure to play on the same side, she said (sensibly) because her woods were each marked with a distinctive “A” for Avril. Val and I used to have the same issue as each of her woods was marked
with a “V” for Val. It used to totally confuse the opposition. I contemplate on how fortunate I am to have not one but two friends who have been willing to share their woods with me in order to enable me to play. Greater love and all
Avril advises me that it isn’t necessary to dress up for Friday morning bowls so, though I do possess a really rather smart “uniform”
of white blouse and grey trousers, I go along just as I am. So does everybody else and they are, as Avril promised me, a genial crowd. It takes me a little while to get used to the pace of the mat (slow) and the size of Avril’s woods (larger
than I am used to) – plus I have to remind myself of all the etiquette which governs the game of bowls. Unfortunately I did not have time, before heading down to the community centre, to consult the inestimable Roy Wiggins’s “Short Mat Bowls
- an illustrated guide to this challenging sport” so, as per usual, I just have to wing it. Over a coffee in the cafe afterwards, Avril tells me that I was definitely getting better towards the end of the session. It is a particular trait of Avril’s
that, when she delivers a verdict on anything, rather more is implied than is stated so you need to learn to read between the lines. It’s easy when you know how. If not always what you want to hear.
I realise on the way home that I won’t be able to make bowls on the next few Friday mornings as I will have my hands-full with various grandchildren, from the smallest to the tallest. I will have to ask Avril to
explain to my new bowling friends that my absence is no reflection on the welcome I received which was both warm and forgiving.
Anyway, that's my Friday mornings
sorted and over the course of the summer I will be able to get back up to speed with my bowling. All I need now is to ensure I keep up my vocal exercises so that I am still in good voice in September when our choir resumes. I start carolling “A
Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square” but Mr B asks me please not to inflict my choral practice on him. Obviously any resemblance between me and a nightingale is solely in my over-fertile imagination.
Looks like I’ll be singing in the shower every day.