stepping stones of truth

A journey along the path of life - the stones can be rough, smooth or even wobbly!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Bowled over

My youngest daughter, aged twenty six, celebrated her return to live in Dorset by becoming the village ladies' skittles champion! A skittles night is held once a year on the eve of the village fete. It takes place in our village hall next to the river, with a barbecue and real ale which flows until the mens, ladies and junior winners are decided. There were several ladies all on the same score until she stepped up to take her turn. And down all the skittles went! And she came home with £5 prize money!

For those living outside the south west of England (and the Midlands apparently) I will quote Wikipedia :- "Skittles is an old European target sport....the game remains a very popular pub sport in England, though it tends to be found in particular regions, not nation-wide. It is perhaps most common in the south west counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire."

We haven't got a pub in the village, so our village hall floor has a few small holes, used to anchor the bits needed. In Dorset you have to have a "back board" because experienced (usually male!) players use it to launch themselves from a squatting position, and fling themselves onto the floor - releasing the ball with both hands, which then have to save them from a dreadful impact onto the floor. I am sure some get splinters in their chins!

You can see the eventual men's winner having just thrown, and the ball about to make impact up the other end - where the stickers-up await to clear the fallen skittles and then replace them all at the end of his turn. The contraption of a descending gutter is to return the three balls back down to the skittler (you get three balls to knock the nine skittles down) . There are straw bales at the back end behind the skittles.

At this point in the night most people were still outside in the still evening air chatting and watching the mist rise along the river valley (and incidentally spotting the Mir space station going overhead) and drinking the locally brewed real ale known as Tom's. Simple pleasures.


At 4:42 am, Blogger Sonia said...

Congratulations to your youngest daughter!

At 6:11 am, Blogger Val said...

Your village, despite having no pub, sounds like being a wonderful community. I had heard of skittles before, but have never seen it firsthand. Love the term stickers-up!

At 10:50 am, Blogger Tanya said...

I love that game! My sister, her husband, my (then) boyfriend and I all wandered into a remote pub somewhere in the south of England one evening several years ago. There were a few people drinking beer and we found the old skittles alley - it looked like we had just stepped back about 500 years. We played a few games, realised we were hopeless, so settled down for the ales instead.

Congratulations to your daughter on the five pounds (she's clearly better than we were ).

And thanks for the comments on my hair - I'm still loving it, though I still can't style it!!


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