PRINCE ARTHUR AT POTTERS MAY 2014
Hopefully the following, albeit a bit long winded, (well very long winded actually, as per usual), will give you a view of the PARIBC 2014 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. If anybody takes offence, (and takes the garden gate as well!), then please contact my solicitors via the usual channels! Get the tea and biccies ready as this could get boring!
Once again, thanks to the extremely hard and tireless work of “Langley’s Leisure Ltd”, (managing directors, Doreen and John); PARIBC enjoyed its fourth annual tour away at “Potters” in Norfolk in the penultimate week of May 2014. 64 brave, hardy, nay foolish, souls, (54 bowlers and 10 guests, Doris Carter, Eileen Carter, wife of Charlie, Marion Crowne, wife of Bob, Antoinette Hart, wife of Lew, Tony & Vera Murr, Joan Pont, wife of Mick, Gloria Smith, wife of Mick, Marjorie Startup, wife of John 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. The fine weather all week was also a bonus.
Dealing with the bowling itself, PARIBC had 15 teams of 4’s, entered into a 44 team leagues competition. With the last 16 stage dispensed with this year, the tournament went straight to the quarter final stages, for which PARIBC provided 5 of the 8 teams, (teams B, C, H, K, L). Teams B and H were pitted against each other, with team B prevailing in this local derby on neutral soil and they in fact were the only PARIBC team to get through with teams K and L getting soundly beaten and team C only losing on the last shot in a much closer affair. Alas team B got no further than the semi – final stage, but well done to the Green / Heward quartet for getting this far! Also what all the quarter and semi – finalists must remember is that they were coming up against strong teams, with the Oppo rinks normally playing as the same four in club, county and national matches, week in and week out. And even those PARIBC teams that felt that they didn’t perform in the first four group matches, it must be noted that even if they only won one game, 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 which yet again PARIBC picked up the cup for the club side with most teams progressing. This cup is now on display at the Club………………..alongside all the others!
All 14 teams acquitted themselves well, (see details below of teams / results), and despite the losses, PARIBC came out with a 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 during all the matches, both on and off the green, throughout the whole of the week.
A = John & Doreen Langley, Bob Crowne, Pam Epthorp, (Played 4, Won 2, Lost 2, Drew 0 = 4 pts).
B = Peter & Ann Green, Tom & Christine Heward. (Played 4, Won 4, Lost 0, Drew 0 = 8 pts).
C = John & June Clayton, Pat O’Meara, Pat Wells. (Played 4, Won 4, Lost 0, Drew 0 = 8 pts).
D = Tony & Val Hoy, Graham & Mary Featherstone. (Played 4, Won 1, Lost 3, Drew 0 = 2 pts).
E = Trevor Bishop, Sue Smith, Dave & Dot Elliott. (Played 4, Won 2, Lost 1, Drew 1 = 5 pts).
F = Mike & Deidre Williams, John & Pat McFarland. (Played 4, Won 3, Lost 1, Drew 0 = 6 pts).
G = John & Bernie Mercer, Jean Braithwaite, John Bee. (Played 4, Won 2, Lost 2, Drew 0 = 4 pts).
H = John Lake, Peter Britton, Chris Davis, Charles Wells. (Played 4, Won 4, Lost 0, Drew 0 = 8 pts).
I = Roy Baston, Jean Lacey, Joan McLaughlin, John Thompson. (Played 4, Won 2, Lost 2, Drew 0 = 4 pts).
J = Jim Masters, Lew Hart, John Startup, Eileen York. (Played 4, Won 3, Lost 1, Drew 0 = 6 pts).
K = Linda Hoare, Charlie Carter, Mick Smith, Glynis Whatman. (Played 4, Won 4, Lost 0, Drew 0 = 8 pts).
L = Dave Hood, Bill Howlett, Mr and Mrs “X”. (Played 4, Won 3, Lost 0, Drew 1 = 7 pts).
M = Trevor Bucklee, Albert Lee, Elsie Miller, Dee Moore. (Played 4, Won 1, Lost 3, Drew 0 = 2 pts).
N = Mick Pont, John Brown, Ann Mayne, Tim Fletcher. (Played 4, Won 3, Lost 1, Drew 0 = 6 pts).
Due to an increased number of teams this year, then almost all of the PARIBC teams found out, (in time this year), that they had to play their first match on Monday night, so the evening meal was a bit of a rushed and calorie controlled affair, but they made up for it later in the week. Equally on the Thurs the efforts of possibly having to play 3 matches in a row on the same day, meant that the Wed night before was an early to bed slot for a lot of people………….professionals don’t you just love them!
Away from the bowls, perhaps this is where the true spirit of the tour was fostered and nurtured, which meant that everybody, both new and returning tourists, (I think? / I hope?), had a good time and managed to enjoy themselves? Here are the highlights or low lights of the week judging by your perspective and how I saw the tour……..should have gone to SpecSavers! 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 your name does not come up then think yourselves lucky, (as nobody grassed you up!), but remember, there is always next year!
Each night the evening meal, (at which the PARIBC ladies once again looked very nice and most of the PARIBC gents scrubbed up well!), brought stories of bowls near misses, the joys of playing with and against straight woods 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 and then the social dancing that followed saw many a PARIBC member strut their stuff, with many PARIBC ladies up and leading from the front. June Clayton and Pat Wells brought a new height and laughter adjusted variation to both the St Bernard’s waltz and barn dance, whilst Trevor Bishop just caused carnage on the dance floor. Instead of looking lovingly into dance partner Sue Smifffffffff’s eyes, he was trying to watch what June and Pat, the dancers, (and I use the word dancers in the loosest sense!), next to him were doing to see how it was done. Well within 3 steps to the left, let alone 2 steps back and clap, he had cleared the dance floor, but at least he was fully clothed and didn’t just have his speedos on, (more of that later as well)!
The nightly entertainment shows were up to the usual high standard but I still maintain that the best sound from them can be found in the gents toilets at the end of the bar! Not only is it loud but every word from every song can be clearly heard in both high clarify and definition. If they fitted a window to see the stage, then ablutions aside, this would be the perfect place to see the shows! If you are going next year, try it out to see if I’m right! Once the shows had finished, a small hard core group of PARIBC members, which seemed to grow as the week wore on, carried on partying and dancing, each night in the late night bar, taking on board more alcoholic intake and the midnight meal, until kicking out time and they then retired, ready to start all over again the next day.
A lot of the party travelled up on the Sunday prior to the week starting and suffered much longer than planned journeys due to a couple of bad accidents and diversions. However thanks to complaining about service, food and missing items, at places they stopped off at for meals en route, as well as their meals in the evening and the accommodation they stayed in, many of them received some good compensation returns and thus did quite well out of it! Meanwhile, the accommodation at the Potters resort, be it in the hotel or bungalows on site, was more than adequate, considering that you didn’t spend much time in your room and the other facilities were as good or better than remembered from last year, with upgrades going on to a lot of rooms.
We thought that this year, we had got away without any troubles or arguments, but that man Dave Hood was to prove us wrong. After causing mayhem and distress for the last two years, the worst being last year when involved in a fight with an Oppo ladies team, he yet again provoked more trouble this year, with an Oppo lady captain and the “understanding of the rules” about being on the mat. Diplomacy has never been one of Dave’s strong points and so after the incident, the rest of the match was played out in a tense and terse icy silence. Next year, Dave might be banned from playing completely, if only to give the PARIBC hierarchy a rest from having to be on troubleshooting and pacifying – other – teams duties each time said gentleman plays! He perhaps also needs to refrain from shouting his catchphrase “Timber” at the most inopportune times, because this could land him in more than just hot water! The words “time” and “place” come to mind! However, the big man may now have a new catch phrase, “Hot Shot”, which you may well hear him shout quite a bit. This is “thanks” in no small measure to Club Captain Trevor Bishop, recently dropping 8 shots on the last end of a rinks match, (against Adur IBC), which up to then, he was winning! Having said all that, Mr Hood’s first comment to Potters staff, on arrival at 8.30 a.m. on the Monday, of “When does the beer open?”, (let alone when does the bar open!), meant they knew that the big man was back in the house! “Timber” indeed!
At the nightly bingo sessions there were the usual wins for the Baston / Lacey / Heward group, (yes, yes, I know they win every year, ho, ho!), and their luck was even more in this time as for one of their wins they claimed on the next number out after another claimant had failed to attract the caller’s attention on the previous number. Luckily a fight was averted but Joan McClaughlin from that group was ready to step in and mix it if required! Next year she is playing in the same team as Dave Hood, to assist him when the trouble that follows him around kicks off on the bowling green! Equally at the bingo, one man managed to dose off through the half hourly sessions as his good lady and rest of the family tried to win the jackpot and then commented that this was the best sleep that he had all week. And, said gentleman was none other than Dave “I think I’d make a very good waiter!” Elliott. Now then, how does that well known saying go again, about walking up the stairs? Oh yes, if at first you don’t succeed, then tray, tray, tray, again. Double brandy anybody, my shout?!
There was also a couple of first ever wins for the Baileys Bingo Posse formed of 5 “quiet” ladies, (namely Mrs: Clayton, Mercer, Wells, Whatman and Williams), and 3 blokes who just can’t get a word in, (Messrs: O’Meara, Hood and Fletcher). One of their wins was for the last big jackpot of the night and when the number came out, never has such a loud noise been emitted from one so small, as Deidre Williams almost screamed the house down. As usual the two Pat’s, (Mrs Wells and Mr O’Meara), had to take it just that little bit further, as in the style of a footballer celebrating scoring a goal, they both pulled their tops over their heads, (not a pretty sight believe me!), ran round the main hall, then slid on their knees shaking their arms across the whole of the dance floor, finally embracing and ending up looking like a very cheap version of Torvill and Dean after their Olympic Bolero performance! Oh well this is what money does to you! But it must be noted that this group nearly had an embarrassing “false call” for a completed book, that still needed 2 numbers, but luckily this was averted. Thus from now on, a false call, (perhaps in any form of life), will be known as a “Glynis”, but that is all I can say, as I don’t want to mention too many names.
With both John Lake and Charles “Chas” Wells, (or “Jazz”, nice, smooth, as he is now to be known!), never seen without either their tablet computer or their mobile phone respectively, then rumours of match fixing and giving out inside information to local Indian Bookmakers in the Norfolk area were rife. These accusations were enhanced by another member of their “dream team” rink, namely Peter Britton, constantly disappearing out on his bike in the direction of Great Yarmouth, carrying betting slips and coin money bags. Norfolk police have been called in to investigate, dropping their current high profile case of searching for a lost scarf, missing from a scarecrow in a field in Lowestoft! Also the fact that both “Jazz” and Peter, (along with Ann Green), were the only ones to bowl wrong biases at strategic times during the week did not help their integrity. What also raised police suspicion of something dodgy going on was when “Jazz” decided to bowl one of the Oppo skipper’s woods in the first end of the quarter final, instead of his own and then couldn’t hear when they asked where was the skipper’s missing wood? Thus the bookies cleaned up there, but John Lake did seem to be the one winning all the prizes at the Potters evening quizzes, so obviously he is the main man you want in your team for future social night quizzes up at the club? Sign him up now!
Lovely to see Joan Pont with us and able to make the trip after all her recent illness and hospitalisation and hopefully enjoying the recuperation in different surroundings. If only she had been able to bowl, then she would have done a far better job playing at number 3 for hubby Mick’s team, rather than the worst bowler in the club playing at number 3, that he was lumbered with! Equally our condolences to John Brown, (I still can’t believe this man is the age he is!), and Ann Mayne, who were on their first trip as they too had to put up with said worst bowler for all the matches and also all the meals as well. Their depression had set in after only the starter of the first meal, but don’t worry, if you go next year we promise to not let him sit with you!
Not mentioning Pat Wells’s height, but her favourite game is short tennis and she teamed up with Deidre Williams, there is a pattern emerging here, height wise, to play doubles against Novak Williams and Rafa Fletcher on two days. Needless to say it was a mismatch, (or should that be a Mrs match?), as the men won easily and had the women running everywhere, to which Novak said it was just like being at home, which didn’t go down too well! The men obviously let the women win some points, if only to make a game of it!
It was nice to see Marjorie and John Startup again, after their move to Essex to be closer to their family. Marjorie said that when looking for a place to move to, she wanted somewhere close to the shops, on a main road and bus route, good walking and transport links and good established area with a church close by. John just said he wanted to be near a pub! Enough said!
Tony Murr a noted good golfer, now showed his prowess at both the rifle and clay pigeon shooting comps. Perhaps he needs to take up bowls as he may be a dab hand at this as well? Meanwhile his good lady Vera must have walked and danced many a mile whilst on the trip, but not a lady to cross if all the cornflakes had run out at breakfast, especially as she taught Tony how to shoot!
And talking of golf, but perhaps more to emphasise the phrase “couldn’t hit a cows behind with a banjo”, Dave Hood on the pitch and putt course after a bad round where he was whopped big time by former banker John McFarland and lost a fair amount of money to him, (money to money, I know!), decided that it was the balls fault he had had such a poor round and decided to launch the ball into the sea from the cliff top. Now he couldn’t even get this right, as the ball shanked left, hit the only tree on the course, flew back, hit him on the left elbow and bounced onto the 7th green and into the hole. Surely his best shot all day!
Thanks are due to both John Mercer and Trevor Bishop who were the unofficial tour photographers and their efforts can be seen elsewhere on the website and also posted on the notice boards at the club, as they gave the official photographers and paparazzi a good run for their money! However you didn’t want to be around them when they started talking cameras and equipment. They managed to put a whole row of OAPs watching the bowls to sleep with their opening topic of conversation being about the merits of using high resolution colour film to take pictures, without a flash, in a confined environment, whilst utilising a slow shutter speed, yawn, yawn, yawn! Judging by the pictures taken by the official Potters photographers of all the bowlers in action, some of the poses struck by the PARIBC party were a little strange to say the least. Most of the men looked in pain and agony. Either that or there was an outbreak of constipation prevalent, whilst the women equally looked a little perplexed! The picture of Pat Wells wearing an extremely low cut bowls blouse with buttons not done up, bending over in full bowls delivery pose, was, (and I have no idea why?), getting the most viewings, by both male and female onlookers when the pictures were posted in the main hall! There were also other pictures posted of other activities and those of Sue Smifffffffff, Trevor Bishop and John Mercer, decked out in full safety gear whilst riding the “Segway’s”, were perhaps not the most flattering to say the least. The image of the trio in their crash helmets, will give me nightmares for weeks to come!
Also, the usual very simple task of getting a group photo taken, once again turned into a soap opera saga worthy of a week of “EastEnders” episodes, but the patience of Mr Mercer saw the task get completed! If you look very closely, you can spot your club favourites and you will see that they are all nearly smiling! And speaking of one of the lens men, has John Mercer been enjoying just a little too much of the good life of late, what with all these holidays and all. It certainly wasn’t a case of “getting too big for his boots” because this would never happen, but it was more a case of getting too big for his trousers, (and he admits as much himself), and there is only so much “letting out” of material that wife Bernie can do!
The usual very simple task of getting a group photo taken, once again turned into a soap opera saga worthy of a week of “EastEnders” episodes! You may have to look very closely to pick out your club favourites but they are all there and nearly all are smiling!
Good to see, (and hear!), the Claytons, (June and John), back amongst old friends, as they have now moved down to Somerset. If you get the chance, ask John to do his Somerset accent, blimey if you close your eyes when you hear it, it is almost as if you are right there…………….in the middle of rural Ireland! Equally perhaps the Somerset air may be having an ageing effect on June, because one night in the toilets, she was accosted by a lady from another holidaying party, (no spring chicken herself!), who asked her, “Why are there so many old people at Potters this week”? For once June was left speechless and seeing her in this non – speaking state, left us all in shock!
Luckily the Heward / Lacey / Baston / McLaughlin group, got through the week this year without any medical problems, (now that is a first in 4 years), although there was a clothing malfunction this year, which kept them in the news and nearly matched Roy Baston’s lost jacket fiasco from last year! This involved Jean Lacey and her “economy” range, children’s white polo shirts bought from Tesco. The story loses a lot in translation but suffice to say, Jean’s trim figure means that she can easily get into the child size shirts, but surely top of the range garments should be the order of the day, after all, this is the prestigious PARIBC that you are representing! Try M&S next time for a bit more quality!
Jim Masters and Bill Howlett had travelled up with Dave Hood and they said that the journey up and back took them back to their days of military service, when riding around the countryside in a tank, being chauffeured by a much lower ranked subordinate than themselves! I think Jim was also using his military training on the ladies, as he always seemed to be chatting with or sitting with a different lady whenever you saw him around the complex!
As usual it was left to the ladies to dazzle in the fashion stakes each night with the men being told that they “must do better”! Even the clash of 2 women wearing the same dress luckily passed without incident, thanks mainly to the fact that they, (well their hubbies!), both paid the same price for them! Meanwhile that woman, Sue Smifffffffff, as usual turned many a male head again, (not just that of “Fletch the Letch”!), with that dress and those jeans, yes, yes, those jeans as well as her swimming outfits! Although many a male head soon turned the other way when they spied her other half, Trevor Bishop, alongside her in the pool in his speedos. Not a sight for the feint hearted or those of a nervous disposition, although the Norfolk whale watchers group had a good time!
Peter Green added his own Northern slant to the world of bowls fashion, as he was resplendent wearing his brand new bowling glove. But apparently this is used to cover the massive scar, where his hand got injured when he was forced, (being from Yorkshire and all that!), into opening his wallet on two occasion within the last year! Where he had super glued the retaining clips and lock on the wallet it meant that it could now only be opened using an industrial pickaxe and sledgehammer. And when eventually opened, the glare from all those white fivers in it, caused him to slip with the chisel as he tried to get an up to date coin out of the bottom of the wallet from amongst all the three penny bits, half crowns and shillings that had all rusted together! Thus our token Northern gentleman once again also drew a large audience for the annual holiday opening of his wallet on the Wednesday evening when he knew he had to buy his good lady Ann a drink whilst she was on holiday! We better not mention also, that Peter had got half way to the Potters resort on the Monday when he realised he had left his piece of chalk behind at PARIBC and turned the car round to go back and get it! “I’ve had t’at chalk for nigh on t’eight years and I’ll be buggered, if I’m going t’fork out for a new piece now. It’s expensive stuff, tha knows”!
Meanwhile after last year’s swimming costume disaster, Deidre Williams, was more worried about getting into her outfits for her son’s forthcoming wedding in America and was watching everything she ate and drank, after 5 weeks of continually being on the lash. Well that is what she said, but it must be noted that the bar did run out of Baileys and Pringles, early on in the week and she was the main customer! Any connection there perhaps?!
Surprisingly Peter Britton only changed his woods once during this week, needing a smaller size to fit into his bike accident damaged hand. But he had to pay over the odds in the Potters shop to get a ladies set of woods that felt comfortable, but he said you are only here once and so money doesn’t matter. Come the end of the week these woods were on Ebay for sale at a knock down price and he was already taking an interest in an Oppo player’s woods that were luminous yellow in colour. We wait to see what woods he turns up with for the next match!
As per last year, the group lottery syndicate for the various lottery draws throughout the week, failed to bring in any wins, no change there then! The main winners in the daily “bingo / envelope” competition, that no one understood how it operated, run by the slim, big eared, bloke, were Eileen Carter, (twice and thanks for the card by the way!), Jazz Wells and Elsie Miller. If only the other smaller prize winners could pick the right envelope then they would have been better off.
There were a couple of Birthdays whilst we were away, Dee Moore whose was noted by all and even the compere broadcast it at the evening meal, although Dee seemed oblivious to being wished a Happy Birthday through the microphone, as she made her way in for the meal! Also the Chairman had a big special birthday but he kept it pretty quiet, but we know how old and to be honest we all thought you were much, much older!
And as said earlier, it was nice to hear people from other clubs comment on the good social atmosphere that seemed to abound from our tour party, regardless of the time, day or night. And it was also good to catch up with some of the people from the other clubs we met during previous years and renew old friendships.
No doubt there was much more than this that went on but all in all, it was a good social week away, with an excellent group of people, who all seemed to gel and get on with one another and whose inhibitions, at times, were lost amid the holiday atmosphere, which was a good thing as people relaxed and let their hair down.
The group presented a framed caricature of both John and Doreen Langley as a present to Mr and Mrs L., to show their appreciation for all the hard work that the 2 directors of “Langley’s Leisure Ltd” put in to making the trip such a huge success. It was hoped that the picture was accepted and appreciated in the manner that it was given by the party. So much effort goes in behind the scenes with things like monies, accommodation, communications with Potters, etc., which we don’t see, but this ensures that all we have to do is turn up and enjoy ourselves. This year has been particularly trying for the pair due to all the health problems, (which are out of anybody’s control), encountered by so many who were due to go on the trip, (and speedy recoveries to Gloria Behan, Chris Day and Ann Lawrence, to name but a few). As such John has had a big thank you from the British Telecom shareholders as they have seen their profits rise 300%, as John has had to phone Potters at least once every day for the last 4 months to advise and discuss the constant changes. Without the effort and all the hard work done behind the scenes by Mr and Mrs L., then the tours would not be the success they have been, so a huge “thank you” is due to them as each year we seem to go from strength to strength, so roll on May 2015. Many thanks are also due to all those who drove and gave lifts to others to / from Norfolk.
The PARIBC tour party also presented a silver parker pen to Tim Fletcher for all his, (so called), efforts during the tour. Although very, very, much appreciated, it is a bit of an embarrassment as all he does is collect money off people and 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. So something wrong there me thinks?!!!
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 beach and away from the main complex! Long may that continue say 63 other people along with everyone else who was staying at Potters this week!
Looking ahead, hopefully next year’s fifth trip will be even better supported? If you fancy going then speak to any of the people who have been before to get their views on the place and to perhaps get a more balanced view, (both good and bad points), rather than all of the above, but as they say, the more the merrier. In 2011 we took 35 people, in 2012 we took 52, in 2013 we took 57 and this year we took 64, so perhaps we could be pushing up towards a 70 plus strong tour party next year? Now that would be good! See the notice boards at the Club or contact “Langley’s Leisure Ltd” direct, for full details.
So much for a quiet week away then???!!!
Kind regards, your correspondent,
THE THIN MAN.
Pics courtesy of John Mercer