Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Fifty Shades of (Rhondda) Grey

Raymond tells me that now I’m writing a blog I have to ‘ride the wave’. I wonder if he knows what he’s talking about half the time. Ride the wave? I’ve never been surfing in my life where does he think we are, Bondi Beach? Mind I did use to go to Barry Island twice a year regular back in the day, once with the club and once with the chapel. There always used to be a religious revival about three weeks before the chapel outing. The Sunday School teachers couldn’t cope. Most of them left to join the Jovies.

‘Ride the wave’ be buggered! The beach was so packed you had to queue to get a sight of the sea. I usually ended up in the ‘lost children’ enclosure that was sectioned off at the top end of the beach. After a few trips the people there knew me by my first name. I even had my own plastic mug with a picture of Mickey Mouse on the side. My mother and father never failed to pick me up five minutes before the bus left. Like clockwork they were. There was just that one time but to be fair they hadn’t had me long and it was my first trip.
Happy days!

Raymond’s just explained what he meant by ‘ride the wave’. Apparently the wave he wants me to ride is a book called ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’. Very popular at the moment it is. They’ve even made it into a film. Why anyone would want to watch a film about different shades of paint is beyond me. Raymond says if I can work it into this blog it will double the circulation and maybe even tempt Brylcreem on board. I told him, “Raymond”, I said, “I am a trained athlete not an interior decorator.” Raymond said he would show me the trailer before I write any more.

 I’ve just seen the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ trailer. It’s not about paint!
I told Raymond straight, “I’m not having anything mucky in my blog.” Anyway it’s something me and Megan never talk about, haven’t for years. Its common knowledge that s-e-x is bad for highly tuned athletes like me. I told Megan before we got married, “Bowls comes before ‘the other’ mind Megan”. She didn’t seem to object too much, funny that now I come to think about it.

S-e-x once reared its ugly head in our club, quite by accident mind, and ruined a promising bowler’s career. Simon was a new bowler and hadn’t quite got to grips with the proper terms (see 'Top Tips Number Two') . He kept calling the bowls ‘balls’ and the kitty ‘pussy’, though I have my suspicions that some of our less serious members had a hand in deliberately misleading young Simon. He could possibly have one day become a top skip like me. Sadly it was not to be.

Only recently married he returned home from a game in which he had been awarded ‘man of the match’ to be greeted enthusiastically by his young bride with the words, “Hello darling how did you enjoy yourself?”
To which Simon replied equally enthusiastically. . .

I have not seen so dramatic a change come over a person since Dr Jekyll turned into Mr Hyde. Before I had a chance to explain she had yanked poor Simon indoors and slammed the door.

It was as if Simon had disappeared off the face of the earth. For months afterwards neighbours only ever caught glimpses of him cleaning the windows from the inside. Somebody said his leg was chained to a radiator. Whatever, we never saw him at the bowls club again. One day a removal van turned up outside his front door and the next day they were gone.

I’m glad my Megan isn’t the jealous possessive type. She often says laughingly, “If they want you they can have you.” Too much passion can play merry hell with your delivery. So I told Raymond straight,
“No way is my blog going to be a platform for mucky stuff about ‘the other!”
He said,
“It’s a bit late for that now.”
I started to get worried.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Haven’t you read our sponsors book yet?” he said smiling.
“What,” I said starting to panic, “not that book Rowlands wrote?”

As it happens he had a copy of Jack’s High with him. He turned to a page that had a corner turned down and pointed to a paragraph. I had to sit down.
“Rose leads him onto the centre of the green just as Eve led Adam before the Fall. Jack knows he should be worried about his mother and the members who will shortly be arriving for the AGM but he no longer cares. He wants to be seen with this beautiful woman, his desire for her transcends any boundaries shame and decency might attempt to impose. She lay down on the grass. . . ”
I couldn’t read any more! Jack Pryce our captain, and his floozie, rolling around on the green in the altogether when he should have been in the AGM, and his mother had spent all afternoon making the sandwiches. Are there no depths of depravity to which men will not sink when the sexual sap rises? He didn’t even think about the damage they would do to the green. You’d never catch me and Megan rolling around on the grass, she knows exactly what to do whenever my sap starts to rise and I am a better bowler for it.

Looks like I’m stuck with bleeding ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’. To raise the tone and finish on a positive note here’s my favourite Welsh artist, Max Boyce, singing about a different kind of grey, Rhondda Grey.

I must apologise to everyone who was expecting me to tell them how to get cheap clobber. You can blame Raymond and ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ for that. Well now I’ve ridden the wave I’ll tell you all where to get it in my next post. 


Vernon "Top Skip" Lewis

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Lawn Bowls and the Power of Brylcreem.

Hello again, Vernon Lewis, Top Skip, here.

Today I’m going to explain why:

  •  (i) this particular coach thinks using two fingers is acceptable on the bowling green and 
  • (ii) how Brylcreem can give you the edge in a tight match.

When I started bowling as a young lad I had to be very careful what hand signals I used on the green. Most of the bowlers in those days were ex-miners with short tempers and no sense of humour. Hard to believe now but back then I was a bit na├»ve and thought everything my father did was universally acceptable practice. 
The game against Wattstown proved it was not.

The Wattstown boys were always a touchy lot at the best of times and Saturday afternoon was never one of them. It was the first round of the Carruthers Cup and the score was level. Our rink was the last left on the green and the rest of the bowlers crowded around the edge like they were circling a couple of prize fighters locked in mortal combat. The opposition skip, a beast of a man called Mansell Ketley, was about to bowl. We were holding shot and you could cut the tension with a knife.

My father was our skip and stood behind Mansell as he prepared to deliver his bowl. He looked down the rink straight at me and shook his head sadly just like he did when the bailiff loaded another piece of our furniture onto his van. For a moment I was transported back to our bare little living room staring at the back of the beefy bailiffs as they struggled to get the sofa out through the front door. I raised my two fingers in a gesture of defiance as my father had taught me. A deathly hush followed by a sharp intake of collective breath whistled around the green like an oncoming storm. Mansell slowly put down his bowl and then the storm broke.

I see his purple face looming larger and larger in my recurring nightmares as he stomped down the green towards me. My father bless him, always sensitive about my welfare, covered his eyes with his hands. His was the first face I saw when I regained consciousness. He offered me his hand and pulled me up to my feet. I can still remember the sadness in his voice as I wobbled unsteadily in front of him.
Vernon,” he said, “we bleeding lost again!” 
Then he turned and trudged forlornly back to the club house.

But I digress. Here’s the video teaching bowlers how to use two fingers so they won’t get clobbered by bad tempered opponents with no sense of humour.

Bit too technical for me, I’ll be showing you a simpler method in a future post
Now here’s how Brylcreem, who would be a brilliant sponsor by the way, can give you the edge in a tight game. Sadly Brylcreem has gone out of fashion since the invention of hair gel. You know the stuff, sort of liquid Viagra for your follicles. In my reckless youth I used to be a Teddy Boy and any kind of Viagra would have been a ‘no no’ in those tight drainpipe trousers we used to have to wear. If your flick-knife ever went off in your pocket you were in deep trouble let me tell you.

For this method you will need:
i) a healthy dollop of Brylcreem smeared all over your hair (which you then comb neatly);
ii) two absorbent rags. It is very important you keep one rag in your left trouser pocket and one rag in your right. NEVER MIX THEM UP.

Now imagine the game is going against you because the opposition is wicking off everything under the sun. After the completion of a particularly depressing end kick the woods back making sure at least two of your opponent’s lands in the ditch. Run you hand through your pre-prepared Brylcreemed hair and sportingly pick up your opponent’s woods with your generously smeared Brylcreemed hands. Now reach in your LEFT pocket and wipe your hands on the clean rag. The next time your opponent attempts to deliver the affected woods they will squirm out of his two fingered grip like startled catfish. Sportingly hand him the rag from your LEFT pocket, he’ll assume it’s Grippo.  

Some of you out there will probably say that I am being unsporting or that there is even an element of cheating in this tactic. I say to you, “All’s fair in love and bowls!”

Now, as I promised, my first video shot by our captain Jack Pryce and produced by Raymond. Raymond says he’s already posted it on YouTube and I could be on my way to celebrity status. Tell you one thing for a start, they won’t get me parachuting into that bleeding jungle!

In my next post I'm going to tell you beginners how to get your hands on cheap clothing and equipment. No it's not that eBay thing although some people will probably whinge about it being it in bad taste. There's always one moaner.
See you in a fortnight.