I rang up the night before to see if such a sport even existed this time of year to be told very certainly yes. I was ran through the itinerary for the bowling club for the day. 8.30 entry, 10am seniors league, ladies at 12...all the way through to the crack of dusk. So I though "right", a handful of gents, lingering around a big carpet, chatting the war, pineapple juice to hand.
It was heaving. A fluorescent cavern teeming with sprightly lads bounding through rounds of bowls, exchanging throws and encouragement. No need for speed when your wit is quick enough. I received a wink a piece from the first half dozen I met in the lobby. They guided me upstairs and held the door. A convoy of twinkling eyes turned my direction, full of unhurried routine and mischief. Cups of coffee and juice, soft shoes and gold watches. Simple rules for simple pleasures. The man in the office listened to my explanation about the assignment in silence, gave a tilt of his head and leisurely pointed to a silver haired player. "Is your camera insured?"
I sensed a ripple of silence around the room.
"See Ronnie, he'll break the glass." Deadpan.
But that was all it needed.
Far away, from across the room,
"Dis he need a photy o' you Davey? I hope you're wide angle son."
"Aye, show him yer good side Davey."
Davey drops a shoulder, pouts and flickers his eyelids.
And back and forth the banter went, uninterrupted and good natured. A relaxed and measured vibe around the floor. Until one of the real seniors stepped forward as all the ridicule was calming down and suggestively asked "Eh son, are you from News of the World?"
Serious laughter. All about.
I didn't get it.
Aye, blade of grass there pal.