Thursday, July 16, 2009

Behind the Tweed Curtain

After a day of sitting behind a reception desk I really needed to get out and take in some air the other night. The weather has been spectacular, and this evening was no exception.

Behind our house (a half block or so away) are several sports fields leading to a Recreation Centre. I can leave my house and not have to walk along a street. Last night I decided to do just that - stay off the busy street - and see what was up at the baseball diamonds. Between the baseball diamonds and the Rec Centre, and in the middle of the parking area lies a plot of land surrounded by a tall, thick hedge. Rarely have I seen any kind of action in this secret place, and most of the time you kind of forget its there. However, tonight - there was activity on the large scale, albeit low rumbled almost whispered voice levels.

It turns out the hidden place behind the green hedges is a lawn bowling pitch. There's always been something slightly mythical or sacred to me about lawn bowling pitches. One part because of the mystery that surround the thickly boarder area, and in part because - you only ever see seniors gaining entry.

Quite by happenstance I found the entrance, which was clearly marked with a "Visitors Welcome" sign, so I walked in.

What to my wondering eyes did I see ....? A sea of white hair, white shirts, and manicured lawn and many many many little black balls rolling down the green. I am by nature a introvert, however my curiosity and the welcoming feel of the elder onlookers drew me in to ask "Excuse me, can someone please explain the rules to me?"

You never know about the older generation. They might likely bite your head off to gain back some misspent youth. I was fortunate to interrupt four of the more kindly kind, and they were more than willing to explain the basic gist of what I was observing.

As they explained, in the obvious Scottish dialects, the basic rules of the game it would appear that lawn bowling is a loose combination of bocce ball and curling. This game is taken VERY seriously by its players, as was evident on the tournament contestants faces, as well as my new found teachers.

To be honest - with 4 of them all speaking at me at the same time AND in varying degrees of brogue I was hard pressed to completely grasp the finer points. However, one thing I did learn is that the balls that are thrown are weighted, and you throw or roll the ball in such a way that the weighted side will make the ball roll to the left or to the right. The ultimate objective being to be the closest a small white ball at the center and end of the alley.

Clear as mud, right?!

I stayed for 10 minutes or so, and was given a warm welcome to return on Saturdays and Sundays and watch again - on a non-city-wide-tournament day. Marie and Mary would keep a lookout for me. They truly were lovely ladies, and they were very quick to tell me that there is a league in the city for younger set - of which I clearly qualified.

I continued on my walk home with visions of lawn bowling possibilities in my future. My far far far away distant future.


The Bumbles said...

That's funny - at first as you were describing odd noises behind a clump of trees I was thinking you were stumbling upon horny teenagers!!!

What a lovely story - I can only imagine the language challenge - my college roomie was from Edinburgh and I never understood a word her father said when he called other than her name!

Good Timing said...

I thought the same thing as Bumbles!! LOL!!
Glad it turned out to be a simple match of lawn bowling. :)

LJ Ducharme said...

You're ideas never crossed my mind. That tends to happen at another part in town. Too funny. Now I've got a completely different picture of those seniors behind the hedge. Nooooo!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh, I just love moments like that!

Carolyn said...

How fun! Sometimes we have to step outside of our "normal" selves to enjoy something new. BTW, this was written so well. I love to read mysteries and this held my attention like a good book! Thanks for sharing.