October 2014 – Patshull Park

Friday – The Early Birds

Way back in the midst of time this special Meeting was discussed via e-mail, telephone, carrier pigeon, smoke signals and even snail mail! Should we have a theme? Or should we not? A brief chat was held among the OT’s who had founded this Society (OT’s .. Old Tarts!!) and a theme was decided upon … an Oscars evening, movies, TV, etc., and then a retro Disco of 70’s music!

Those who had arrived the night before arranged to meet in Earl’s. We pottered down and met up with some other early birds. Some had had nightmare journeys, driving through heavy rain, road works, accidents, etc. The Kent contingent, in particular, had a pretty horrendous time with the Dartford Tunnel almost at a standstill! Waiting time at this problematical tunnel varied from an hour to the best part o two hours, then the joys of the M25 took look forward to!

Our peace was shattered with the arrival of JVC who, in full flow, raised the decibel level. Norma and Liz arrived. Liz had decided to travel with Norma, so there was little chance of her getting lost! The wealthy amongst us, then departed to the Hotel Restaurant, while we enjoyed Earl’s best and perhaps another small top up on the amber nectar. Some further chat developed about the absence of The Twins!!! I think we had all looked forward to their appearance at The Oscars. I had this dream they may appear as Bette Davis and Joan Crawford in the classic Movie ‘Whatever Happened to Baby Jane!!

Saturday – The Course

The course had looked very wet and we wondered if buggies would be allowed. The roads around Patshull were very wet and some minor flooding appeared in the fields. We did notice that there was some work being carried out by the main fishing lake – it said a wave barrier was being built! Fingers crossed we would be allowed buggies and the course would be open. However, no rain, sunshine and a light breeze greeted us.

The Plan

We felt sorry for SWMBO (Sue Town) as there were over 40 playing participants and it was a logistical nightmare sorting out teams. Some announced they were slightly damaged and could only play nine holes. But, to her credit, SWMBO took it all in her stride and got it sorted. Non-combatants included Norma Jean and Liz, who were going off to meet up with an old school chum. Meg also out of action with very painful hip.

Day One

SWMBO had organised us and we would play a TexMex Scramble. Good idea and, hopefully, we would be in before it was dark ‘Twas the night the clocks go back. Buggies were on, so we load up the vehicles with coffee, extra blankets, umbrellas and extra wet clothes just in case. It is always difficult to do a valid report on the day’s golf. Stories of varying magnitude emerged; scores also were of variable magnitude. We were very wary of those who declared their scores were nowhere good enough – and those who kept silent were to be worried about.

However, quick drink, shower and change for dinner and a quick(?) Meeting. Various discussions arose: job vacancies to be filled, fixtures for next year, uniform, plus money to be collected. Thanks given to Sue Everitt, who was retiring from her job as Treasurer and venue finder, and Sue Town, who had done a thankless job as SWMBO (She who must be obeyed!). They would receive their rewards at our next Meeting. Coral Handley would take over as uniform finder.

At prize giving, the usual “I don’t believe it!” cries echoed around the tables as the scores were read out! Thanks for Clare and Susie for the presentation. The WCAGS logo on the mugs, bag tags, etc., showed their imagination – a great effort and very much appreciated. The prize giving lead to the much feared “fines” time!! As usual, Taff Martin dug deep into her list of misdemeanours – reported or imaged – as those caught coffed up!

Sunday
Another stunning Autumn morning. I am partnering Chris Watmough in our buggy and we are already sharing a few laughs. Naturally, this involved the variety of birds on view, especially Canada Geese and Greyleg(?) geese.

The par 3s are all well protected and a bit on the long side for the Ancient Order of Cricketers. Also, the bunkers had retained water and were now pretty well solidified, so splashing out of them required a fair bit of strength and luck. Greens were also suffering from the effects of water and were ponderous. It later transpired that this did not impair the scoring. Two visitors were espied hiding behind a tree on the 15th – probably the safest place on the course! Good to see Jenny Humphries and Gail Donnison after such a long absence. Finished the round, unloaded the buggies, re-load the car and then head for something warm and liquid at the 19!

Two more visitors arrived and, again, it was good to see Plim (Helen Plimmer) and Sarah after another long interval. Already the evening was beginning to look good. The normal chat about the scores. The horrors encountered, the trees that interfered with superb approach shots and then that evil uphill green where your best efforts ended up coming back to you and would probably have gone further if the grass had been dry! Norma (Izard) and Liz (Evans) had been to visit the RAF Museum at Cosford. By now, we were beginning to get ourselves mentally prepared for the evening. Lots of speculation as to who would wear what.

We arrived in our “Oscars” outfits at the prescribed time and the looks of sheer bewilderment and amazement from the other residents said it all. Liz E, worried that Pam and I were late, sent someone down to our room to see if we were OK! We had been standing next to her in our Grim Reapers gear, complete with face masks!! The arrival of Shrek and Donkey was met with much applause and then Marge and Butter…. words fail me! Other ‘celebs arrived – a Phil Tufnell, several Whoopee Goldbergs, The Harry Potter Experience, James Bond and many others. Chris and her camera recording everything.

Liz E and Kath Sharman were designated Judges for the night. Liz had intended to come along as Mary Berry, but Kay firmly refused to get dolled up as Paul Hollywood! I experienced some difficulty in locating alcohol as my face mask did not provide enough space for a glad of bottle! Great to see the spirit of Cricket Week still lives on. Lots of remembering about the ‘old days’ of the entertainment and how talented some of the old tarts were. The village hall at Colwall used to be packed with the villagers and cricketers and enjoyed royal entertainment. BUT nothing compared to what we were about to enjoy.

After dinner, Taff invited Pam to make her Presidential State of The Union speech. She recorded several unforgettable moments of our history, the origins of the Society and thanked all the Officers past and present for their hard work, time and energy in making us a very happy and, hopefully, long living group.

What a Night – late October
The evening started with all present sitting down to dinner and finding at their place settings a WCAGS ball marker, complete with logo, registering dates, plus waterproof ball marker pen. This was one of the ideas Margaret (Campbell) had planned for us, so thanks to Margaret as we raised our glasses to her memory.

The winners of the day’s golf were congratulated, especially one who had played out of her skin to record 42 points off her own bat … 6 under – not bad Angie!!!! In fact brilliant given the conditions. Taff then called on the Judges to deliver their verdict on The Oscars. Liz and Kath had their work cut out, as some very imaginative costumes had been paraded. Before dinner they had been seen making copious notes! The expectant atmosphere became more hushed as The Judges took the floor. Six prizes were awarded – the most tacky, cheap awards I could find on Amazon, plus the tacky red carpet … no expense spared.

On view were a recently married George Clooney with new Mrs. (she didn’t look at all that new to me!). Two Mary Berry’s in The GBBO, the Halloween theme was in evidence, with Witches and many Nuns … not sure if they were Call The Midwife or Sound of Music, or even the chorus from Nabucco, but it transpired we would find out later. After much consideration, the decision was made, so onto the presentation and we looked forward to the acceptance speeches.

There were six magnificent awards to be made and my memory has deserted me as had the notes I made on those awards. I am sure the Nuns were in the frame as was The Harry Potter Experience and a Whoopee Goldberg. The Grim Reapers came third and Shrek and Donkey second place, but the winners were Marge and Butter!! Much applause all round and JC made a verbose acceptances speech and then June (AKA Butter) took centre stage and said how much she felt the spirit of not just Cricket Week, but the whole ethos of the game that brings us together .. it is, she said, very special. Wiping the tears from our eyes as we applauded the worthy winners.

An unscheduled moment then occurred. Kate Brown and her Band of Bruvvers gave out hymn sheets and we were encouraged to join in the chorus of their tribute to our Society. Much embarrassment from Pip and Pam then took place. The song was sung to the tune of John Brown’s Body and the chorus was belted out in fine style. Kate Brown and The Bruvvers were accompanied by two very fine guitarists. There followed a surreptitious entry, stage left, of The Nuns Chorus, who were joined by Nan who led them in fine style, although a little off-key (deliberately) who massacred The Hills Are Alive.

Then in was announced that the Staff had requested an encore from Kate Brown and The Bruvvers, as they had missed the whole rendition! My mobile ‘phone then rang (non-finable offence) and Gareth Malone asked if it would be possible to come and audition at our next gathering. Mention of a CD was made???

The Retro Disco that should have followed was put on the back boiler and some 60’s music blared from the speakers. Dusty Springfield led off and immediately the scene for the rest of the evening was set. As the wine flowed, and the stories unfolded, the Cricket Week memories came flooding back. The Ballroom of The Horse and Jockey came alive again. The spirit of Cricket Week will never be dead as long as our Society lives.

We were treated to an impromptu performance of an air guitar solo by June, still in her Butter strip, but minus the blue rinse wing! Plenty of performances on the dance floor with so many variations, it beggared belief. The evening eventually closed; we crept back to the safe haven our rooms and enjoyed a nightcap accompanied by some stories of glories past.

Monday

SWMBO had issued the orders for today’s play. Something that had been worn last night MUST be in evidence on the first tee. It is here I hand you over to Annie Crawley for her report on this final day of Competition.
Pip Vyvyan

The day after the night before, or the first day of the next twenty years!

By Annie Crawley

Early tee times meant an even earlier breakfast and the Dining Room began to fill up just after 7.50 a.m. Various items had been mislaid the night before and Reception reported that they were in possession of two guns and a replica trophy! The format for the golf was teams of four with “ONLY” three scores counting on all holes, with the added bonus of 3 free kicks and 3 throws per player. One item from last night’s fancy dress was to be worn. This caused much discussion and there was great interest in how Shrek and Donkey would get on as they looked as though they had been wearing the ultimate onesies!!

As usual, everyone stepped up to the mark and the first group to tee off included one Nun (AKA Mary Pettit) in headdress/veil – whatever you call it (wimple is the correct term! Ed.), and Marge Simpson in her blue beehive hairdo. She found it difficult to keep her hair on whilst hitting the ball and admitted to having had a balloon up her wig the previous night. She also had a sore throat from overdoing the Marge voice.

Out on the course it became quite normal to round a sheltered corner top find a couple of Nuns chatting together (why are Nuns always in pairs!?) – though what the men’s Society behind us made of it all GOK!

The format took a little time to work out and scoring on the first few holes was low, whilst throbbing head cleared. Once mastered, it became a very technical challenge. Throwing proved the more difficult skill (yes, we are all ex-cricketers) and was mainly used for getting out of bunkers, the rough, and avoiding chipping onto the Green. J. T-T (Jane Thornber-Taft) managed to throw her ball into the same bunker she was trying to throw out of. Kicking was best used to side foot the ball into the hole, but from no further than 4 inches and it did require great concentration. Two men waiting on nearby tee looked dumbstruck as they watched a Nun throw her ball onto the Green, then kick it into the hole to loud cheers from her team.

The players met in the Spike Bar for the presentations, where the Birthday cakes made yet another appearance (and, subsequently, disappearance). The format was a success and somehow the scores were much better than the day before.

The End of Monday

Some of us had decided to forego this entertainment and headed home early on. Reading about the goings on, I think we wished we had stayed.

Extras

The fine imposed on Ruth Bailey – apparently she wore white (!) trousers and somehow failed together any mud or goosh and then she had to explain a shot she had made that required a very long, drawn out rigmarole that still failed to win her a reprieve from a hug fine.

The Birthday cakes that appeared that necessitate Susie making monumental efforts to blow out the candles thereon. The Barmy Army and their rendition of the John Brown chorus.

ATTENDEES
C. Bailey, R. Bailey, A. Bainbridge, M. Birch, M. Botha, J. Britten, C. Kenyon-Brown, V. Castle, S. Clark, S. Clarke, J. Court, P. Crain, A. Crawley, J. Edney, L. Evans, M. Evans, S. Garner, K. Greenstreet, N. Haggerty, C. Handley, J. Hennessy, N. Izard, C. Jenkins, S. Jenkins, E. Martin, T. Martin, A. Monaghan, J. Osborne, M. Pettit, S. Redfern, R. Russell, K. Sharman, L. Smith, D. Stock, S. Taylor, S. Town, A. & J. Thornber-Taft, P. Vyvyan, C. Watmough, P. Weeks, L. Whelan. Guests: G. Donnison, J. Humphries, S. Illingworth, H. Plimmer. Apologies: Rachael Heyhoe-Flint.

AWOL
Missing, presumed absent without leave:
Dot Furby, Shirley Hodges, Freda Simkin and then the Dynamic Duo of Freda and Shirley. Retrospective fines will be enormous.

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