One of my favourite evenings of 2022
I have a new Jigsaw laid out and the conversation is flowing on the table to my right. “How big is the Caravan Ruth?” someone asks. “Oh, you’ll have to ask Graham.” Ruth then explains how big the awning is in the hope, I suppose, that this will help with the general understanding of the size of their caravan.
I’m in the Crown Green Bowling clubhouse with my boyfriend, Chris.
It was all my fault. Each time we passed the club, I’d said, “Oh let’s go and have a go!” It’s very close to where he lives and I thought myself quirky and game for suggesting it as a ‘date’ activity. A solid ‘win’ for me.
As with many things during those heady dating days, Chris had no idea that there was a tally and that I, inevitably, was winning.
When we did go, ‘just for a go,’ in true style, I was bored after two ‘ends.’ I now know the lingo (an end is throwing all your balls in one direction until you have to walk the distance to do it again at the other end).
For Chris however, this was the just beginning of a potentially sparkling career as the newest member of the club. I’d not yet learned the great bounds of his good naturedness, and hadn’t considered he’d end up being a fully fledged member. The minute they got a whiff of ‘Junior’ as they call him, they courted and wooed him to join. They even delivered a set of bowls to his house.
I was a bit put out because I was now in danger of being a bowling widow – or even, a WAG, something for which I’m most definitely not qualified.
As it turns out, Chris isn’t really interested in playing matches, but he’s happy to go for the odd social on a Friday for a friendly game.
I went with him to a social last summer because I wanted to mark my territory. Whilst Chris is clearly alot younger than the average aged person at the club, I know what lonely ladies can be like – having been one for many years – and I fear for Chris’s safety. So along I went.
At first I felt a bit awkward. Are we supposed to socialise at the social? My drinking days are long gone. Then, I would have been on the rampage socially, charming, entertaining and great fun. But now, without vast quantities of beer, I am at a loss. I decide not to worry. It’s Chris’s thing, he can decide what we do or don’t do and he, as always, is pretty relaxed whilst I’m having my minor internal meltdown. Everyone was of course lovely and friendly, saying hello to Chris and nodding courteously in my direction.
We each have a drink, which cost about 47p, if there’s no other reason to join a Crown Green Bowling club then it’s the cheap drinks.
Whilst I’ve decided to be laid back about the socialising, I remember that I’m not and, in a panic, reach for one of the jigsaws that are laid out on one of the trestle type tables.
What followed was one of the most pleasurable evenings I’ve had in a very long time.
We set to the jigsaw and were soon getting over excited about finishing one of the outside borders. It was like being back at my granny’s kitchen table. Full fluorescent lighting and relaxed chitter chatter. In my aspiration to outgrow the things I grew up with, I’ve graduated to warm lamps and mood lighting in my home, but here/ the atmosphere is so warm it’s doing all the work. I’d forgotten what comfort a big bright room can be.
The chat is what is best. It’s so calming and nostalgic. “No, she died before him,” is the general tone of the conversation. On the subject of one of the royals, after a bit of higher brow conversation, one of them says, “But I do wish she’d do something with her hair!” Chris and I gently shake, heads down to disguise our tittering.
Normally, on a Friday, the group send out for fish and chips which involves a long and complex ordering and collecting of cash by order process. Tonight though, there was a big cook in; Scampi, chips, baked potatoes, that kind of thing. The smell along with all the other nostalgia was almost overwhelming.
I’ve not been again after a leaving do Chris had been rallied to attend. It was a step too far for me as, amongst other things, there was no free table to do our jigsaw.
But no matter. Now, we’ve upgraded our lives to include an occasional jigsaw and we both win as we put in the last piece together.