Sunday, 26 September 2010

These boots were made for walking

Sea views, paper thin walls. A band of happy, suited and booted Baptists on a weekend away wander through the hotel. Fifty-year-old Mods zoom past on a scooter rally to Woollacombe. Fred Perry shirts, Doc Martens under half-mast Levi's. Long, wistful looks at Lambrettas and Vespas. Those were the days.

Mr Loggins and Darling, bodyboarding in wetsuits in between the flags on the acres-long shore of white sand. Mrs Sheepwash going into raptures at a springer spaniel puppy running and laughing along the beach, all the time looking back to make sure mum and dad are still watching.

This is The Enchanted Village annual outing. Some 32 people of us are on tour, Lush Places gone large. Out to settle old scores with a team from Trowbridge, Wiltshire.

Canteen catering, plenty for seconds. And thirds. Plates piled high.

Chips on the seafront, £4.50 for parking. Mr Grigg buys me new shoes because he's left my hiking boots at home. Or so he thinks.

A walk up the hill, Manual and Mrs Regal Bird stopping to give us a lift. Farmer Mayfield giggling along corridors, Mamma Mia putting my name down for every team game under the sun.

And in the afternoon, as Dorset play Wiltshire, Maddie Grigg goes up to the table skittles table and calmly takes the ball on a chain. She gently pushes it. She shoots. She scores. A heroine. All nine down at once.

Mr Grigg walks in slow motion across the bar .

'You're a star!' he shouts, as he engulfs me in a big bear hug. 'You got a flopper!'

A flopper. This is something I have heard talked about for over forty years, in the skittle alleys and around the table skittles tables all over the pubs of West Dorset and South Somerset and beyond. But until this moment, I never really knew what a flopper was.

I am on cloud nine, an imagined laurel crown around my head, borne on a chariot of invisible village menfolk, toasting my legendary performance.

And then we lose to Wiltshire 14-12.

And then this morning, a quiet knock on our hotel room door. I find a plastic bag on the floor, with my hiking boots inside and Mr Sheepwash creeping away. They've been in our friends' room all weekend.

Oh, the games people play.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

1 comment:

  1. Not exactly a weekend at a Great House with scampering around the halls after dark - but your philandering boots surely have a story to tell.


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