Alexandra Bowls Club Tour to Bournemouth 2021
What a success this was! Everybody who came got on very well with those they didn’t necessarily know very well. We had visitors from other clubs namely, Terry Garraway from Bath, Bernie and Dee from Weston, Bath, Mandy and Peter from St John’s in Eastbourne and Pete Brewer from SLATS.
Starting out early from Bath on Friday 10th we travelled towards Shaftesbury only to turn off for a wee break. The coach driver took us up narrow lanes, under narrow bridges but the Walled Garden proved elusive so SatNav (such a helpful person) took us to Wilton where we stopped briefly – just as well really as there were a few crossed legs and dry throats!! On to Salisbury by pass through our lovely countryside to Moordown B C.
Here, we were greeted by Dee (another Dee) who, together with Peter Holden, had laid on a light buffet so that we could bowl at 2:30pm. The bar was open but tea and coffee were available in case anybody did not want to bowl half cut! This club was exceptionally welcoming and friendly and I think we drank the bar dry. We did not win the match overall but the sweepstake was won by Stuart’s team – a sizeable pot – as everybody played except our visiting non bowling ladies.
Paul, our driver, agreed that we should leave at 5:30pm giving us adequate time to arrive at the hotel, book in and get ready for dinner at 7:00pm. Hiccup number two was that Dee and Bernie had not got a room on arrival, but all was well as two ladies had dropped out of the tour due to illness so there was a room vacant, because the hotel had not been informed that they were not coming with us! Otherwise they had been threatened with a bed on the squash court floor. Phew!!
Dinner was very welcome, the choices were varied and catered for our vegetarians. The waiters were also very helpful and cheerful.
Following this we had entertainment in the form of a very capable soloist and comedian. He did not seem to mind that part of the cabaret was our club members dancing to his renditions of familiar and popular songs for our age group. Gradually other people, not necessarily ours, joined in and we all fell into bed later than normal that evening well replenished with food, wine, and beer although I do understand that a couple of pizzas were ordered and consumed in a room, mentioning no names!
The morning was free for people to do as they wished (take paracetamol for headaches or drink more beer – which I think is termed “hair of the dog”). Some chose a short walk others were slightly more adventurous. We all congregated for the journey to Fordingbridge B C. Another good game in the friendliest of atmospheres – again we did not win and we were slightly worse than the day before. Would this be due to the amount of alcohol consumed – who knows!! What the heck!! This time the sweepstake was shared following the popular vote at the evening meal, by Mandy Dow’s team and John Clifford’s team. On arrival at the hotel I noticed bowling shoes on one of our players – mentioning no names. He had left his shoes in the changing room at Fordingbridge BC – there is always one! However, at dinner that evening, another player admitted that he had left his jacket at Moordown. Would you credit it! It transpired that Dee, the lady who had set up the lunch for us at that club, lived only a short distance from Knyveton Gardens B C which was to be our last attempt at bowling, and she would leave it there. I had been told to expect rain for our last match so the jacket would be more than welcome. Triple phew!! From then on we checked to make sure that everybody had everything they needed.
After another morning doing what we fancied it was on to Kings Park B C. This is only a small club and had to import players. Again the match was played in good spirit. I think it was here that one of our crew discovered a cheaper source of wine and persuaded her opposing skip to purchase one for her and she would repay him; he decided that this would be a gift as he had so much laughter playing against her. Our loss was greater than the day before and there seemed to be an abundance of men who were quite happy to imbibe but this affected the bowling from the opposition not us! They got better and we put up a good fight but alcohol overtook us. Never mind, it is only a game!
It was here that my skip was a speedway competitor in his youth driving in Bristol and other places worldwide. His daughter lives in Keynsham – what a small world! The most amazing thing was that he drives, at the age of 90, a whizzy, whizzy sports car!!!!
The evening passed with Danny playing sing along songs from the computer. Requests were made, Status Quo danced to in original fashion, alcohol consumed and one couple left the room but I think it was because they had made an 18 hour journey from Scotland and needed the rest. Although, I was asked if we had won that day to which I replied that one or two rinks had won but that we always behaved like this. I believe that Roy Toogood’s team had won the sweepstake but don’t take my word for it as I had consumed alcohol and danced with Nigel Fry!
Last day, bags on the bus by 10:30am and a jaunt to Poole where, I daresay, a Wetherspoons was sought out. The coach came back for the stragglers at 1:30pm and we made our way to Knyveton Gardens B C. The jacket was there, thanks to Dee. A good six rinks were chosen but it was peculiar on two or three rinks as they were particularly wet. Some of us could not find the line! Paul Beards had organised a lovely supper for us, prior to our journey home, and again this was accompanied by more alcohol – only to be expected! We did not win this game overall – the worst score of all –definitely due to the amount of alcohol consumed. John Clifford won the sweepstake.
Paul Barry, our driver had watched every match and asked to have a go. Knyveton were very kind and with the aid of two of Danny’s bowls and two others borrowed from Frazer, I showed him the basics of bowling. He was loudly cheered as he drew shot and I was told to sign him on. A bit difficult, as he lives in Swindon! We agreed that he would look for a local club and carry on with some coaching.
We parted company with the players of Knyveton and Paul drove us home taking a more direct route this time. All unclaimed property left on the bus has now been returned to its rightful owner.
Thanks to the generosity and continual dobbing in, the swear box contained £29.85 when counted last night. The empty pot will now reside on the bar ready for the next public outburst. Thanks to Tracey for coming up with the idea. Brian was on his best behaviour.
A Special “Thank you” to Paul our driver, for his helpfulness and his superb driving skills.
Well done all – – – – Where shall we go next year ?????