Tuesday, September 29, 2015

It`s All in The Hat

"You know you can have the bumpers up, don`t you?" says the maintenance man on his way back from beyond the pins.

"No need, thank you!" say I brightly, hoping he gets hit by a twenty-pounder.

I look up at the score board defiantly. We`ve just finished our first game and out of a maximum of 300, I`ve managed to score 28.

A dazzling record of which I`m proud - no-one else has come Near!

I might point out here that we haven`t touched a bowling ball for two months… during summer school holidays the alleys are best left to zillions of gifted and hyper-excited children. (Particularly since they added LaserThwackBattleFun to the superbowl centre). (With Lasers).

Of course we four have missed the thrill; we`ve been playing together for two years now and our enthusiasm has brought us very close; though it`s usually me winning The Flaming Ball, the simple hilarity of the game means it`s always a Fun and Good-Natured test of skill.

What a delight it was to push open those gleaming doors again and enter the reception, misty-eyed as we gazed once more upon the table football tables, the virtual car rides and the YouCanBe-Rambo Experience.

Aah, those Mechanical Arm machines where you can win a ghastly Thing of Plastic (or a fluffy Meerkat for the dextrous). The place pulsates!

We go through to the lanes clutching our vouchers for a free non-alcoholic beverage at half-time... Then begins the FindaBall ritual.

George likes a Fourteen-pounder despite semi-dislocation of shoulder. Bill and Ella both take a Ten-pounder, (having gone so far as to acquire their own), and I wander despondently about the racks searching for an Eight.

Which are usually orange and taken by a child who should be back at School, or by a fleet of regulars whose championship started three minutes ago and whose aisles are lined with all the orange balls.

The first fling is Thrilling – will the ball make it all the way down the lane or will it smash into the floor and just stop three feet away; will it ricochet from bumper to bumper and finally have a touch and go tussle with one pin…

(Not that we often bumper-up of course) - we win or lose by Pure Skill.

Is it gaining this sporty new skill that makes Bowling so beam-inducing?  Yes... but there`s
the camaraderie too, the gleeful collective astonishment of an actual Strike and above all, with the autumn chill drawing hordes of lunchtime spectators, nothing beats the Roar of the Crowd from the gallery.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

I`m Not taking this Lying Down

"I saw that!" said George.

"It was a skim," I snarled, "A Very Delicate skim!"

We did some glaring. This New Bed doesn`t seem to be having quite the promised effect on our well-being.

Of course it`s a huge adjustment... our other had been with us for many-many decades and it really was time to phone the WeTakeAnyCrott man and wave goodbye. (Fond memories…)

Choosing the replacement was hard - so many to bounce upon and so much these days for the kind and Determined salesman to explain: fillings and toppings and memory, tension and support…

But as soon as we spotted the Mesmeros Siren double bed with Balthasar headboard and two-drawer divan set in chocolate weave we Just Knew. (And I`m so glad we plumped for the optional Fish Tank).

It was delivered with a surprising bundle of leaflets. Modern beds, You Know, come with instructions. (or were they just for us…).

For instance, how often do You turn your mattress? I don`t think I wish to say… having read the Instructions. From now on though, we must rotate and turn the mattress Constantly to encourage upholstery fillings to settle more evenly
. Sounds vaguely reasonable…

Except that they mean Every Week for the first three months, and thereafter with the change of season. The procedure (with diagrams) involves a 90 degree Turn and Flip and Repeat Turn (to other corner) and Flip-again and Breathe and Sit Down and have a nice cup of tea.

We can cope with that (in fact George finds my help superfluous). It`s with the
Leaflet of Many Rules that we struggle, particularly the Do NOT Sit on the edge of the bed. Rule.

I mean, the salesman had indeed stressed the very wonder of Reinforced Edging in a mattress. It holds its shape against all mishap - never again would we find ourselves sliding unstoppably to the carpet down a slope of Weedy-edged mattress.

But it`s remarkable how hard it is not to sit on the edge of your bed. You`re wandering round the bedroom taking your shoes off… maybe changing your vest or pondering things… you naturally sit on the edge of the bed.

And how on Earth is one supposed to get in or out of bed if not with a mid-way sit?

Well, when I remember I try the old Back Flip manoeuvre but frankly, it had been a while…

But it turns out I can fling some fish-food in the tank at the same time – so they had thought of everything.

Now, which page was that Stop-a-Snore button on…