When we arrive at the Bowls Clubhouse most of the tables are already full. Mr B doesn’t say as much but I know he is thinking that, if he had had his way, we would have left home at least quarter of a hour earlier.
A quick scan shows that there is one table, in a corner against the back wall, where there are a few empty chairs – but there is a large sign on the table which reads,
in large, black capital letters: “RESERVED.” And yet... it looks as if we are being waved over by the occupants of the reserved table. Indeed, more than that, we are being invited to join them. What is that all about?
It occurs to me that this is a clever ploy to ensure that you do not have to share your table with anyone you don’t want to. So if approached by one of the more
boring members of the Bowls Club (yes, there are a few but I would never be so discourteous as to name them) you can shrug your shoulders and indicate the “Reserved” sign. It is not necessary even to tell a lie, although purists would say that
one can lie by omission of the Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth. On the other hand, approached by more acceptable company, you can welcome them to your table with open arms, for all the world as if you had a prior arrangement with them
to join you. Mr B and I should surely feel honoured that we are presumably not considered boring.
I have a bit of a surprise when I realise that that this is a
Bingo Evening, not a Beetle Drive. Mr B says he doesn’t know where I got that idea because, had it been a Beetle Drive, we would not have been here. I don’t know why he is so averse to Beetles, they’ve never done anything to him as
far as I know. Anyway, not to worry because we are definitely going to be playing Bingo – once we have finished our Fish and Chips or Chicken and Chips, both of which have been delivered in individual cardboard boxes from some local Chippy. My
meal is not particularly appetising but I’m not about to make a to-do about it because this is the last Games Evening being organised by our Social Secretary and I think she deserves only plaudits for all she has done to bring us together as a club over
the last couple of years. Her successor will find her a Hard Act to Follow.
We play three games of Bingo before we take a break for the raffle to be drawn.
We are playing for the princely sum of £1 for a line and £5 for a Full House. Yes, indeed, it really is that exciting. Our Bingo Caller reads out the numbers and we dutifully provide the required responses.
“Two Little Ducks, 22!”
“Quack, quack!” we respond, weakly.
“Thank you, Quackers...” says Mine Host, gratefully.
is greeted by some distinctly half-hearted whistling. “Thank you, Whistlers,” says our Caller, somewhat ironically I feel.
By the half-time break,
we have won absolutely nothing on our table. Still, there is always the raffle. In theory, at least. The last prize in the raffle is a nest of three tins which has featured in the last four draws to my certain memory. It seems nobody, but nobody, wants
them. This evening at least five people have the winning number but generously forego their prize suggesting that another ticket be drawn. I kid you not, that’s how popular that nest of tins is. If that nest of tins were a person (or, I suppose,
three people to be strictly accurate) they would never be welcomed onto the Reserved Table.
In the second half, I win something! It is in the round called “Last
Man Standing” where everyone starts on their feet but has to sit down as soon as they can cross off a number on their Bingo card. In other words, it's a sort of booby prize. In no time at all, there are just two of us still standing – and we both
sit down together when the next number is called. In the normal way, we would share the prize of £1 but in a fit of generosity our Bingo Caller decides we should be awarded £1 apiece. It is possible that this was because he didn’t have
any change but I prefer to think it was because he has a Big Heart.
We finish the game just before 9 p.m. and our Bingo Caller asks if anyone would like a couple
more games or should we call it a night. It may be a sign of our Great Age but nobody seems keen to extend the evening, however enjoyable it has been. Some of our members are already on their feet, stacking their chairs. I think it’s called Voting With
Your Feet. We trot off to find our car, pleased to think that we will still have time to watch our recording of Masterchef Australia before we go to bed.
what an exciting life we lead. Unreservedly so....