Over the years, I've participated in all sorts of corporate bonding sessions - something that companies appear to do to keep morale up every so often. I've been go-kart racing, free form painting, ten-pin bowling, drinking (back in the old days) and paint balling. All things I wouldn't do in my normal life but quite enjoy for an afternoon.
Today, at lunchtime, they shuffled the extended team into a couple of maxi-taxis for an afternoon of lawn bowling.
For those not in Australia, there has been a resurgence in lawn bowling in the last couple of years - a lot of it due to the movie Crackerjack, which somehow made lawn bowls acceptable among the young for the first time in history.
For me, bowls are in my genes. I've got fond memories of waiting at the green for my grandparents - all four of them played when I was a child. Lawn bowls was what you did when you retired back in the seventies. Probably why most of the clubs still have beer at 1972 prices. Waiting for grandpa to finish his end was commonplace. I remember that all of my grandparents loved this strange game.
So I find myself forty years on barefoot on a bowling green. (Grandpa would be turning in his grave if he had one - okay, he's milling around at the end of Robe Jetty, horrified). It has been noted that I'm not the world's worst bowler - I'm actually reasonable for somebody who goes and does this about every two years. I've got the pitch, I can do the distance. Reckon that if I played regularly I could actually get into it - if my mother wouldn't disown me in the process.
I know that I can get a set of bowls. My sister has my grandfather's bowls - something that got handed down when my father died. My brother-in-law showed me the bowls - in pristine condition - shoe-shine sparkling. He then showed me the polishing cloth - a pair of my grandfather's old Y-fronts...
Regardless, I have friends who would disown me if I took up lawn bowls - though I don't think they'd object to the odd social end over summer. It's a really cool thing to do on a balmy summer evening.
In all, a very pleasant afternoon - even more pleasant - we were given the rest of the afternoon off and I was home by 4 p.m. An unexpected bonus - made even more special by the fact that I surprised the cat coming home early. No tinkling bell greeted me at the door. Instead, she was found in her blanket nest on my bed, twitching in dreamland. Giving her a pat, she jumped up and mewed in surprise. Most unimpressed she was - her reaction to being woken up had me smirking until I went the the gym.