Back to Prince Arthur at Potters
Hopefully the following, albeit very long winded and as per usual, grossly and most definitely and blatantly, plagiarised, (believe you me, it gets harder to write the general "stuff" differently each year!), from previous year’s reports, will give you an overview of the PARIBC 2016 tour to Potters. It is intended as a light hearted look at the week and hopefully it will be read and the comments taken, in the good natured manner that they have been given. Apologies in advance if anybody takes offence………so that will be 67 people upset then?!
Following the retirement of regular tour organising firm "Langley Leisure Ltd", ("LLL"), we were indebted to the replacement firm that stepped in to run the tours, namely "Bishop - Smith Excursions", ("BSE"), which is run by the managing director Trevor Bishop and all the hard work done by company gofer, Sue Smith. Thus thanks to the extremely hard and tireless work of "BSE", (not a farmer, nor bovine in sight!), PARIBC enjoyed its sixth annual tour away at "Potters" in Norfolk in the third week of May 2016, which was a week earlier than previous years tours. 68 brave, nay foolhardy souls, 54 bowlers, (see below) and 14 guests, Shirley Arnold, partner of Ron Lawrenson; Marilyn Bailey, sister of Christine Heward; June Clare, wife of Dave; Rose Clive, wife of Eric; Joy Cox, wife of Danny; Jane Edwards, wife of Kevin; Marion Floyd, wife of Lindsay, Tony & Vera Murr; Margaret Norman, wife of Reg; Gloria Smith, wife of Mick; Fran Sutherland, wife of Dave and Norma Thompson, wife of John, descended on the Norfolk resort for a week of competitive bowling along with many other leisure pursuits and the chance to relax and unwind. (Also up at the resort as the same time as us, but not bowling, was other PARIBC member Frank Collins and his good lady wife and see later on for news of PARIBC renegades Eddie Bell and Tim Fletcher, who were also part of the touring party).
Dealing with the bowling itself, PARIBC had 13 teams of 4’s, entered into a 36 team tournament. All 13 teams acquitted themselves well, (see details below of teams / results), and despite the losses, PARIBC came out with the usual high reputation for good bowls, but perhaps more importantly, a very high regard from, (nearly), all the other teams present and also with the non - bowling members of the public that were there on their holidays, for our very social nature and good fun, (despite out loudness!), during all the matches, both on and off the green, throughout the whole of the week. Thus a big pat on the back and well done to all, (players and guests), for representing and promoting PARIBC in a good light all week, it does count for a lot.
A = Roy Baston, Jean Lacey, Joan McLaughlin, John Thompson. (Played 4, Won 2, Lost 1, Drew 1 = 5 pts).
B = John Bee, Jean Braithwaite, Ron Lawrenson, Mick Smith. (Played 4, Won 2, Lost 1, Drew 1 = 5 pts).
C = Sonia Bignell, Mike & Pat Carr, Linda Hoare. (Played 4, Won 2, Lost 2, Drew 0 = 4 pts).
D = Trevor Bishop, Dave & Dot Elliott, Sue Smith. (Played 4, Won 3, Lost 1, Drew 0 = 6 pts).
E = Trevor Bucklee, Danny Cox, Chris Davis, John Lake. (Played 4, Won 3, Lost 0, Drew 1 = 7 pts).
F = Dave Clare, Chris & Sylvia Day, Mick Day. (Played 4, Won 2, Lost 2, Drew 0 = 4 pts).
G = Malcolm & Lesley Clark, Kevin Edwards, Glynis Whatman. (Played 4, Won 2, Lost 1, Drew 1 = 5 pts).
H = John & June Clayton, Patrick O’Meara, Patricia Wells. (Played 4, Won 2, Lost 2, Drew 0 = 4 pts).
I = Eric Clive, Dave & Val Cook, Dave Sutherland. (Played 4, Won 2, Lost 2, Drew 0 = 4 pts).
J = Lindsay Floyd, Jim Masters, Reg Norman, Mick Pont. (Played 4, Won 0, Lost 3, Drew 1 = 1 pt).
K = Jean Gulliford, Vic & Margaret Jordan, Dave Thorne. (Played 4, Won 2, Lost 2, Drew 0 = 4 pts).
L = Tom & Christine Heward, Mike & Deidre Williams. (Played 4, Won 2, Lost 1, Drew 1 = 5 pts).
M = Dave Hood, Bill Howlett, John & Bernie Mercer. (Played 4, Won 3, Lost 1, Drew 0 = 6 pts).
It must be noted that Eddie Bell, graciously agreed to stand down and act as a reserve, which helped out organiser Trevor Bishop big time, when it came to the unenviable task of team selections and trying to keep all happy! So big thanks to Eddie for doing this, but unfortunately for him, he then drew the very short straw and ended up by being forced to play with Tim Fletcher, (also put down, [he should be!], as a reserve, because as usual no one from PARIBC wanted the worst bowler from the club in their team and I don’t blame them!), so hard luck Eddie! These two "played" as independent individuals along with a charming couple, Margaret and Ken Kelly, (she 79, he 84, but very good bowlers), from Havering IBC, (no chance to ask them about the Havering IBC drinks policy, as they only played in their clubs internal matches), and had an enjoyable, if unsuccessful, week on the green, (Played 4, Won 1, Lost 3, Drew 0 = 2 pts).
Although there were less teams than we are used to in the competition this year, (week earlier than before), it seemed the standard was higher, with the Tye Green IBC teams strong as usual and the eventual winners Monte Mar, a club from Spain, (so PARIBC now mixing with European Oppo, but don’t think PARIBC can be cited for influencing the forthcoming June 23rd referendum!), also having some strong teams entered. So praise must go to all those teams who got through from the opening rounds. Over the years, I suppose the bench mark has been set and PARIBC are disappointed if they don’t have teams that at least make the semi – finals. Those teams that didn’t make it any further than the first round, said that on the whole they had had good games and were either beaten by better bowlers on the day or they didn’t have the luck………..you can decide which of the two excuses was used the most, ho, ho! However, for those PARIBC teams that felt that they didn’t perform in the first 4 guaranteed matches, it must be noted that even if they only won or drew 1 match, this may well have stopped Oppo sides from completing a clean sweep and allowing PARIBC, as a group, to advance, so their minor success helped the overall picture for PARIBC.
It was yet another good effort by all the 13 PARIBC teams, which ensured that we managed to get 7 teams into the last sixteen, namely teams A, B, D, E, G, L and M. From this we got 3 teams into the quarter finals, teams B, D and G, then 2 teams into the semi - finals, teams D and G and the latter, team G, got into the final, where they unfortunately lost, but only by the width of a fag packet on the last wood bowled. Our current, defending champs, team D, (Bishop, Smith, Elliott’s foursome), managed to make it to the semi - final, after some nip and tuck earlier round games and it was a valiant effort in their quest to retain their crown. They fell, but only just, losing 7 shots to 5 shots, to the other PARIBC team, G, (Edwards, Whatman, Clark’s foursome) and it was a case of roles reversed, after last year when the Clark’s team had been beaten by the reigning champs, at the same stage.
In the Final itself, on the last end, with the Oppo 2 shots up overall and coasting to victory, skip Kevin Edwards rallied his troops, (Glynis Whatman and Lesley and Malcolm Clark), for one big effort and they held 1 shot, with just Kevin’s last wood to go. As such, Kevin downed his pint in one and then the big man drew in a perfect wood to gain the extra shot, level the overall scores and take the game to a deserved extra end. For the extra end, the Oppo won the toss and had the advantage of the jack and all their players put at least one wood in the head and so again with his side down and only his last wood to bowl, Kevin looked for inspiration as he ummed and arred on whether to play backhand or forehand. He looked over at his good lady Jane, who with all the tension was now knitting away like a whirling dervish, so fast that her hands, the wool and needles were just a blur! The decision was made and forehand it was, he finished another pint, (again downed in one) and released the wood. And then silence as up the green the wood trundled and then we heard squeals of delight as victory was acclaimed. However, for the audience watching, no one knew who had won. Potters ambassador and current EIBA men’s No 1 ranked player, Greg Harlow, grabbed the microphone and walked off up the rink to find out who was victorious. Unfortunately for PARIBC Kevin had fallen short, but only by a matter of 2 inches or so, (the story of his life, he says!), but graciously conceded that the better team had won on the day and it had been an enjoyable game against a very social Oppo. He then slipped into premier footy interview mode by adding that they’d taken it 1 game at a time, but it had been a team effort throughout the comp to get them to the final and thanked his team mates. Greg Harlow then did the presentations and pictures are up with the others, on the wall by the bar, in the Club.
As usual it wouldn’t be a PARIBC game without a wrong bias or four. The guilty parties being Glynis Whatman, (who was apparently also seen throwing empty spirit bottles around, don’t ask!); Ron Lawrenson, (who blamed his error on Malcolm Clark, yet Ron was playing in the bowlers bar whilst Malcolm was playing in the international arena at the time!); Bill Howlett, (the resident PARIBC gnome said he dropped his fishing rod and this got caught in his woolly jumper, just as he bowled) and Dave Hood. Now Mr Hood this year amazingly managed to go a whole week without upsetting any Oppo players or causing a diplomatic incident, but had his serious competition mode head on all week and was coming down hard on his own players, when they did not come up to the levels he expected and causing angst among his own team members. The big man is a hard taskmaster and I suppose it was fitting justice that his wrong bias, done in front of a packed bowlers bar, during an evening practise, travelled from rink 1 across an empty green, (as he was the only one practising), to rink 6, received the rightful loud derision it deserved and as they say, what goes around, comes around. The fact he was taken ill after failing to finish off the 3 cheesecakes he had at one of the evening meals, may also show that time is catching up with him, as he approaches his 60th year! Just as well that there wasn’t chicken casserole on the menu this week!
The question that no one seems to be able to answer is what happens to the John Lake dream team each year? Each time they are the bookies favourites to win, of whom so much is expected and anticipated and then they seem to implode at the last 16 or quarter final stages. John says next year will be their year, with his training camps already started, in preparation. We look forward to who he will keep in his squad and who he will drop, in his quest for glory!
As usual, away from the bowls, then this is where the true spirit of the tour was fostered and nurtured, which meant that everybody, new, old and familiar tourists had a good time and managed to enjoy themselves, (I think / hope)? What follows are some details of life, (all events are true!), away from the green and how it was seen by yours truly. I trust all (dis)honourable mentions will hopefully be taken by all in the good natured way that they are intended and in the continued vein of the good humoured banter between all the PARIBC tour party, that was infectious. If you don’t get mentioned then you are lucky, but remember, there is always next year!
The evening meal, at which all PARIBC members seemed to scrub up well in their finery, brought numerous stories of bowls near misses, the joys of playing with and against straight woods, excuses of being outside bowlers in May time and also tales of what others had been up to away from the bowling greens. After the fine food, the bingo sessions saw more PARIBC successes this year, but more of that later before the evening entertainment which as usual was to a high standard, followed by a nightcap or 3, the midnight meal and then off to sleep the good sleep, before doing it all again the next day! As usual your correspondent will talk to anybody, (yes, he is that desperate for friends!), and so it was good to catch up with some of the people from the other clubs we have met during previous years and renew old friendships and also to make new friendships. And as said earlier, it was nice to hear people from other clubs comment on the good social atmosphere, (who said we were loud?!), that seemed to abound from our tour party, regardless of the time, day or night. No doubt there was much more than this that went on but all in all, it was the usual good social week away, with an excellent group of people, who nearly all seemed to gel and get on with one another and whose inhibitions, at times, were lost amid the holiday atmosphere, (the amount of alcohol consumed also helped), which was a good thing as people relaxed and let their hair down, well those who still have hair left!
They say that the camera never lies and this can be seen in the pictures taken by the usual Potters in house photographer of all the bowlers in their various bowling stances / poses and you can gauge how old you are getting and how much hair you have left, by comparing previous year’s picture. But there was one picture that stood out, of one of PARIBC’s young distinguished County and National lady bowlers, bent over in correct delivering mode with her derriere pointing out and proud, as taught. However I don’t know from what angle the photo was taken, but the prominence of said behind, (Kim Kardashian eat your heart out!), seemed to be taking up the whole of the picture! Thus Sonia Bignell shall hence forth be known as Beyoncé Bignell, as she brought a whole new meaning to the phrase, "bottoms up!"
Hopefully those PARIBC tourists having their first time at the resort, (Potters virgins), enjoyed themselves and as I said at the time, who would have thought you would ever get to hear a sentence with the words "Mick Day" and "virgin" in it, but there you have it! Also hopefully all the guests enjoyed themselves and whilst their partners and friends were bowling, if not watching them then they were often to be found participating in the other activities that Potters had to offer, or embracing the fine Norfolk weather. One lady in particular, Marilyn Bailey, I think did almost every activity going and was still going strong, well into the night. We are still trying to find out where she gets all her energy from!
At the nightly bingo sessions PARIBC did well, with wins for Eric and Rose Clive, Dave and Val Cook, Dave and Fran Sutherland, Jean Lacey and Patrick O’Meara. I also hear that, despite Potters taking away the specific fruit machine, that Rose Clive and Fran Sutherland cleared out big time last year, (how do you think hubby Dave Sutherland gets the money for a different hat each week that he wears?), they still managed to come out in profit from the remaining machines, as did that other bookies basher and purveyor of many a new pair of bowls shoes, Jean Lacey. It is always the quiet ones isn’t it and as such, representatives from Gamblers Anonymous will be visiting you 3 ladies at your homes next week! Meanwhile the John Lake all-star quiz team were sweeping the board at the nightly quizzes and nearly getting banned for being so good………as well as for being so loud! Also nice to see that John Lake made a new friend with an "estranged", nay "mad", West Ham FC fan who was quite vocal all day and all night, for the whole week!
In the daily swindles based on the Potters nightly bingo numbers, the first number out often resulted in that person failing to pick the main top prize, but that is just the luck of the draw and proves that although you may not be first out, you could still be lucky. The top prize winners each day, as said, more often by luck and default, were John Lake, Mike Williams, Pat Wells and Dave Hood, thus backing up the claim that money goes to money! A shorts clad, hovering organiser with a clutch of envelopes and a question of "pick a number" is not the most pleasing sight first thing in the morning, so apologies to all concerned! As per normal, the group lottery syndicate for the various lottery draws throughout the week, failed to bring in any wins, apart from a lucky dip entry for the Saturday lotto draw. This also proved unsuccessful, although the separate ticket I had bought, managed to win just under £10,000. Now I don’t think I got the 2 tickets mixed up………but then again, I might be mistaken………oops too late now, as I have spent it!
As usual the PARIBC women were often to be seen first up and staying up, on the dance floor, putting the PARIBC men to shame. We still don’t know whether June Clayton or Pat Wells was taking the male role in the St Bernard’s waltz each night, whilst Sonia, sorry, Beyoncé Bignell, was certainly seen to be shaking her booty and was also doing some "twerking", as the youth of today call it! Meanwhile, Dot Elliott, Pat Carr and Linda Hoare seemed like they had absolutely no control over their limbs when in dance mode, but were enjoying themselves no end! There were a couple of male exceptions and who knew for instance that, that dark horse, Mick Day, was a bit of a dance diva, and was pretty adept at shaking what he had got. Although the website picture of him asleep in the chair was taken after one bit of enhanced gyrating to Gloria Gaynor’s hit "I will survive"……which he obviously didn’t! We also had Trevor Bishop and his two step boogie, (any less steps and it can’t be done, any more steps and it’s far too exaggerated), which was like a magnet drawing the females on to the dance floor, as he had a harem of women around his gesticulating body. However with that image in your mind and the thought of Trevor in Lycra and going on "Strictly", then perhaps he should stick to the bowling!
Meanwhile, how Pat Carr ever got to her seat with her food still hot at meal times is beyond me, because every time she went to the serving area for food, on her return with a full plate, she chatted to every table and on most occasions got called back again, to start another conversation. And speaking of said lady, there was one night, when during the evening show, the compere on stage told a story and there was a rather naughty double entendre contained within it, that hardly anybody in the audience got. Not Pat Carr, I think she got it before the final sentence was uttered and was creased up with laughter. So much for thinking that she is a prim and proper lady!
During the week, Lesley and Malcom Clark celebrated their 47th wedding Anniversary, (blimey you get less time for murder!), and as such found themselves called on stage at one of the nightly shows to talk about their love in front of all the people. Needless to say the mick was taken in a light hearted way by the compere and we also got to see Malcolm recreate, his original proposal from 47 years ago. We think Lesley must have been drunk back then at the time, although the late 60’s was a time for experimental drug use, so this might have had something to do with it!
Those two old sly foxes, namely Jim Masters and Bill Howlett were often to be found talking to many of the other females on holiday at the resort. However by the time they had worked their charm and asked the females for their phone numbers both had fallen asleep before said females could get past the first four digits of their numbers!
On arrival on the Monday morning, Mick Pont went for a walk on the beach and on the way back got involved in a conversation with a woman, who was also staying at the resort for the same week. She said that she and her husband had a massive room in the hotel with both a double and 2 single beds and asked Mick if he fancied joining them to make up a triple. Mick played it straight and although slightly taken aback by this, remained in bowls mode and suddenly remembered he had already been picked in a team. When he said to her that he couldn’t join their triple as he was already in a picked foursome, the women’s eyes lit up and she wanted to know more details. At this point Mick thought that perhaps she wasn’t talking about bowls, politely made his excuses and headed for the safety of the bar for a stiff drink! He did pass on the women’s room number to other single PARIBC males, but we have no further news of how this story ended!
In the various short tennis matches, Pat Wells, was as usual, in her element, as her, (not tall), size came into play, much to her advantage, as she had the men running all over the court. Namely, John Clayton, Mike Williams and even John Lake! But she is well known for giving the men the run around and it must be noted here that this well - known County and National female starlet, had a secret, which was suddenly revealed. After a few drinks, (9 pints and 4 double Baileys chasers!), had loosened her tongue, she was asked what she did once the lights went out. Her reply was "I fake it". Now obviously both the question and her subsequent answer, covers a wide spectrum of things, but I think we can read more than enough into Pat’s guilty secret, that’s now out there for all to know! Equally, next time you see Mrs Wells, ask her about the adult scenes in the BBC TV programme "Peaky Blinders" that she apparently has on constant replay on her I-player! Back to the tennis itself and the winner of the PARIBC comp., was the elder, lesser known of the famous tennis playing Williams sisters. No, no, not Serena, nor Venus, but Deidre, who now holds the trophy for a year!
Finally, as for your correspondent, well as usual he enjoyed himself no end and enjoyed everyone else’s company. Whether they enjoyed his company, (and his legs!), is another matter indeed, even more so after reading this! However one blessing for all the others on tour is that he continues to be kept away from the main party, with his accommodation getting ever closer to the wind turbines out in the sea and certainly well away from the main complex! Hurrah and long may that continue say 67 other people along with everyone else who were staying at Potters this week!
Trevor Bishop and Sue Smith of "BSE" carried on the previous good work of "LLL" and seemed to certainly have enhanced the good relationship PARIBC looks to have with the Potters resort. As usual, so much effort by these two goes on behind the scenes with things like monies, communications with Potters, accommodation, trying to please all tourists, etc., etc., which we don’t see, but this ensures that all we have to do is turn up and enjoy ourselves. Without this, then the tour would not be the success it was and will hopefully continue to be. So a massive thank you is due to this soon to be married couple. In appreciation of this year’s efforts, the tourists presented Sue and Trevor with an engraved crystal vase, which seemed to go down well, although it does mean that Trevor now has no excuses for buying his far better half flowers every week, so I don’t think he was too pleased! Many thanks are also due to all those who drove and gave lifts to others to / from Norfolk.
The PARIBC tour party also made a presentation of a personalised bowls carrier and some alcoholic refreshment to Tim Fletcher for all his, (so called), efforts during the tour. Although as usual very, very, very, much appreciated, it is a bit of an embarrassment as all he does is collect money off people, hassle them for his dodgy scams and walk around talking and boring people to tears and then he gets a presentation and thanked for doing it. Something definitely wrong there, me thinks?!
Next year it is hoped to extend the hols by an extra night, subject to a deal being able to be brokered with Potters, (now if Sue Smith wears that revealing top and tight jeans, that might just sway it when the deal comes to be done, but if Trevor Bishop wears that revealing top and tight jeans, then I think PARIBC may be banned from Potters for life!). Regardless of what you have read here, please ask any of the PARIBC members who have been on any of the trips to Potters, for their views. It won’t all be good and hopefully, won’t all be bad, but will give you a more balanced view of the trip, (both good and bad points), rather than all of the above, if you are undecided about coming. Everybody seems to mix and gel on the trips and you are not left on your own. We are a friendly bunch, despite what they say and even the author of this report will talk you………only because, as said, he has no other friends! Equally if interested then speak with Sue and Trevor, ask them any question, no matter if you think it is silly and they will hopefully be able to answer you queries and sign you up and we would love to see as many of you as possible. Thus looking ahead, hopefully next year’s seventh trip will be even better supported, so look out for the notices on the notice boards and on the website. In 2011 we took 35 people, in 2012 we took 52, in 2013 we took 57, in 2014 we took 64, in 2015 we took 67 and this year we took 68, so who knows what figures we will see for next year?
So roll on 2017!
Kind regards, your correspondent,
THE THIN MAN.
We await more photos from the Potters week so please send yours to
"On the other hand
even the top (Sorry Sue, 2nd) organiser needs his time in the sun! Yes the sun did shine"
Sue & Trevor receiving a vase as thanks for organising the Prince Arthur trip.
Lesley & Malcolm Clark "celebrating" their Wedding Anniversary on stage
The Prince Arthur Team Semi Finalists
Trevor Bishop, Sue Smith, Greg Harlow, Dot Elliott & Dave Elliott
The Prince Arthur Teams who played each other in the Semi Finals
The other Prince Arthur Team in the Quarter Finals
Mick Smith, Ron Laurenson, Greg Harlow, Jean Braithewait & John Bee
The Prince Arthur Team Finalists
Malcolm Clark, Lesley Clark, Greg Harlow, Glynis Whatman & Kevin Edwards
Other pics from the week taken by Ron Laurenson of people watching the matches
Jean Braithewaite and John Bee
One of the Quarter Finalists Mick Smith and his wige Gloria.
The oldest onlookers? Jim Masters & Bill Howlett
The intrepid Camera Man Ron Laurenson and Shirley Arnold