It was supposed to have been one of those magical moments.
There I was, suspended mid-air in the chair-lift at Alum Bay, poised for Mr B to capture
the photograph which would record the happy scene for posterity. In the background, the Isle of Wight's most famous landmark, The Needles, glistening white in the sunshine; to one side of me, the Bay's famous multi-coloured rocks, pink, yellow, blue,
grey; while out at sea, a little boat called the Rambling Rose bobbed up and down on the waves, beckoning us down for a quick trip out to the Lighthouse.
Which is when it happened. The battery
in my camera ran out. Impeccable timing on my part, you might well say. Mr B said a lot of things, though I didn't hear the word "impeccable", whether in relation to timing or anything else. I think he called me a "blithering
idiot" (or words to that effect) and he made absolutely sure that I was under no illusions at all that It Was All My Fault.
It is possible that he may turn me in to the authorities at the Bowls Club
which means I will be named and shamed at dinner tonight and forced to pay 20p to the Captain's Charity. The roll-call of miscreants grows longer every evening. You can be fined for turning up last to dinner, for going to bed first the evening
before, for wearing your white bowls belt to hold up your grey trousers (phew, I'm never likely to fail on that one..) for wearing the wrong colour socks - basically,for just about anything and everything the Captain, bless him, can think of. Albert
(Captain, my Captain) walks around all day with a little notebook, jotting down his latest thoughts on who should be carpeted that evening. I shall be keeping a sharp eye out to see if Mr B is whispering in his ear when he thinks I am not looking.
Mr B is desperate to be fined. I think he considers it a badge of honour to be held up as A Bad Example to the rest of the club. Before we came away on holiday, he raided the jar in which he collects
20p pieces in anticipation of A Rainy Day, and stashed a few pounds worth in one of those plastic cash-bags you get from the bank. He was determined to be ready for whatever befalls him. (Or presumably whatever befalls me - though I'm not 100%
sure, now I come to think of it, that he will allow me to pay my fine, if I get one, out of his savings.)
Every evening at dinner, he says he is sure to be fined. So far it hasn't happened,
though we are only on Day 3 of 5. I can just sense his disappointment when Captain, Our Captain closes up his notebook and calls it a day until tomorrow. Of course, if Mr B were a gentleman, he could say that our little problem with
the camera battery today was All His Fault; I could then turn him in to Captain, Our Captain; he could graciously accept the blame and the 20p fine.
It all depends, I suppose, just how much he really
wants to sit on the Bowls Club's Naughty Step...