The Author is going indoor bowling.

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Our kitchen of ‘give and take’

While sitting in front of the computer dispensing words of comfort if not wisdom, can be very fulfilling, there needs to be interaction with people in the flesh as well. We are not all islands on one’s own although with age, one gets the sneaking impression it might not be all that bad. Just reading this morning that my car is fitted with faulty airbags. In America a man was found dead in his car with his face so badly lacerated, police thought he had been shot at close range. It was a faulty airbag!

Of all the things that death might come to visit me one day, to have had life finished by a faulty airbag is about as futile and ineffectual as it can get. One can just imagine the grandchildren going through the Oosterman’s heritage finding out Grandpa died by an exploding airbag. A cunning one could well add, ‘he always was.’

It was with the insightfulness of not having enough real-life people around that I felt something should be done to meet more people.  H. said on a few occasions ‘You are cranky lately, and not easy to live with’, followed by  ‘you used to make me laugh.’ This last one bit me. I knew it was serious.

Some time ago I joined the local Labor Party, but it was held in one of those musty Halls of Women’s Christian Fellowship. The moment one stepped in, the wafting of aged doilies and stale biscuits, forlorn plastic bouquets fading in forgotten corners, Christian dust to dust photos and so much more would greet one inconsolably.  On top of it all are my hearing impairments, making the whispered minutes of the last meeting inaudible. I went twice and with all the support of keeping the refugees locked up by Labor as well, I quit and joined the Greens. It still did not really result in more people contact. It was too sporadic.

Of course, the daily walk with Milo often brought bystanders to stop and ask if they could pat him. Only last week, a man stopped who was wearing very thick gloves. I noticed them and thought it a good opportunity to talk about gloves; where are they from, what are they made off, where did you buy them? I wrought the conversation out as long as possible and went home wiser about gloves. I even bought a pair.

It was in the afterthought of H’s remark of getting about more, that I took the decision to join something of a more physical nature. In my foolish youth, so many decades ago, I was always amused to walk past the East-Balmain outdoor bowling club. The ridiculously white uniformed Bowlers, all bending over to bowl, showing bulging bums and possible medical devices compensating amputations or irritating bowel syndromes.

The sport seemed to attract the retirees who on a Sunday could combine all this bending over sport with a couple of beers with ham and cheese wedged-sandwiches ( no crusts). Later on, those sandwiches as a result of Slavic incursions could well contain garlic and gherkins. I even remember stalking past seeing platters of olives doing the rounds.  I swore never ever to reach an impasse in my life that involved becoming a member of this white uniformed bending over bowling fraternity.

And yet, it has come about, dear readers. I joined the Mittagong RSL and this Wednesday join the Moss-Vale RSL ( Returned Soldiers League)indoor bowling club. I have reached the age of Bending Down (or over) to Bowl. I loved my first bowling day yesterday and even took to the cubed sandwiches. Ham and cheese. It was all a rather casual affair. Vaughan, a wiry haired gentleman, explained to me the basics of the game. It included that the balls that one bowls with are weight-biased. Anything biased takes my attention. I took to it like a duck to water. I love how the game includes the bending over and how this bias can be used to advantage in order to get to the aimed destination. It is surprisingly skilful AND both sexes play together. Banter is the norm. No uniforms or protocols. Being mainly elderly players, there is no fuss.  Nice people.

I have reached the age of Bowling.



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28 Responses to “The Author is going indoor bowling.”

  1. leggypeggy Says:

    Sounds perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Therese Trouserzoff Says:

    Hi Gez. Both my parents were ace bowlers. When tennis became too stressful and in Dad’s case, insufficiently lubricated, they became foundation members of PPBSC otherwise known as Picnic Point Bowling and Social Club aka “The Point”.

    Mom was a betterbiwler than Dad and often let him win to assuage his male ego- especially in front of his mates.

    Mom was women’s club president three times , treasurer three times and District President for years until her dementia caught up and her lovely mates – allsomewhat younger, gently eased her out of the decision-making as a rarely given ‘life member’ award.

    I have barefoot bowled just once but my firmer work colleagues could spot the pedigree and knew on whose team they ought to play 🙂

    Anyway, they were and are a fine, if somewhat conservative lot and I know , with cunning and skill – and an ability to get closer to the turf, you’ll be loving it .

    Cheers to you and H. Emm

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I resisted the lure, Emm. Who could have foreseen that those years would pass so quickly, to now have reached the age of bending to ‘bowling?’

      Tomorrow will be my next bowling adventure. The balls are round but the left side heavier than the other side. A most beguiling issue when bowling. It simply is impossible to bowl in a straight line, Emm.

      Your mom would have been a formidable president. Any swearing or coarse oaths, might well have resulted in a good soapy mouthwash by the offending members afterwards.

      Picnic Point would have been the richer for your parents dedication to the sport of bowling.


  3. auntyuta Says:

    Is H bowling too?
    Maybe she just likes watching you or maybe sometimes she likes to stay home on her own. Or would she perhaps like to find her own social group? I do play Scrabble and Rummy every Friday afternoon with a group of women. We have been doing this for the best part of ten years or so. I love the company and I do not want to give it up even though Peter hates it that every Friday he misses out on my company for about three hours. And on Thursdays I join for one hour a group of elderly people doing slow movement exercises with an instructor who plays invigorating music, usually a lot of South American music. Peter could join this group too, but he does not want to. Only some Tai Chi exercises we do together at the moment: We were offered some free lessons at the Wollongong Hospital.

    Faulty airbags. How is this possible?
    Aren’t airbags supposed to save lives? Are they only released in case of a collision or can they appear just out of the blue for no reason? In any case, it seems some horrible mistakes in the production of these things have been made.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      No, Uta. H. does not bowl but did accompany me at my introduction last Sunday at Mittagong RSL. She’ll be delighted to have time by herself away from me. She was the one to urge me to ‘do something.’ ‘Stop sitting around’ she would admonish me often. I rarely get bored ‘sitting around’ which seems surprising but which at times irritates H. She is always busy and reads a lot.

      When my parents went back to Holland my dad was given a small parcel of land to do some gardening. Like most city dwellers in Holland, many use the bit of land to grow vegies. My dad build a little shed, but according to neighbours did not do all that much gardening. He just used to sit inside the shed, totally content to do nothing. He would smoke a lovely cigarette, and just look out and philosophise. Perhaps he too was happy to have time by himself!

      My mum also loved scrabble and rummy, made many friends in the neighbourhood.

      As for those exploding airbags. I think the odds are very small. The thing about death, which I find of great comfort, is that one is unlikely afterwards to worry about not having replaced the airbag at the local garage. Why is the news always so geared to frighten us? If it isn’t airbags it is Isis or crocodiles, anything to make us feel nervous. Why not write about daffodils or the delights of a pork roast with crackling?

      Your reminder of Tai Chi brought memories of really getting a lot of benefits from it many years ago when we were still living in Sydney. It is a lovely exercise.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. algernon1 Says:

    Not always a young persons sport Gerard, Junior, played it for sport at school. We received a letter from the local bowling club suggesting that Junior was a natural and should take up the sport. Junior 13 at the time looked bemused. The letter was addressed to the right address and to the right surname, but a first name of Steve, Juniors first name isn’t Steve.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I believe it is a sport with many challenges. I was encouraged by the friendliness of many of the elderly, Algy. I suppose at a certain age one can let go of ambition or superfluous morbid thoughts about meeting preconceived goals or paying for life insurance, and concentrate on the ‘now.’
      I was most impressed, when last week on TV, appeared a group of enthusiastic retirees making their own coffins in their garages. Now, that is what I call life affirmative. The wisdom and keen eyed foresight! Awesome!
      Yes, Algy. I do believe one has a flair for bowling. It is very much geared to ‘having a feel’ to this game. Your son might well have the gift.


  5. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    I bet you will have a fun time at bowling, Gerard! And will enjoy the other bowlers! 🙂 Watch out for the gutters! 😀

    Love the greenery in your kitchen window view! 🙂

    HUGS!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Hugs too.
      Your remark about gutters makes me feel you too know a bit about bowling. The perfect bowl is to go wide and with enough speed behind it to come to rest near the Jack. Too much force and the bowl might indeed end up in the gutter.
      There is so much to learn.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Robert Parker Teel Says:

    Where I’m living, it’s “bocce”, similar but with symmetrical balls, I think your bias toward elliptical balls is right, that must make it a more interesting game. From my limited experience with bocce, the banter is the main point, and also a chance for theatrical performances and wild hand gesturing, if it’s at the Sons of Italy club, but I imagine things are more restrained and decorous in your town, and no helmets or airbags needed to protect the players. Joining this Mittagong club sounds like a great idea.
    You probably know this, but New York City still has a little park, in Lower Manhattan, called the Bowling Green. from the Dutch days. There used to be a statue of George III there, now it’s a huge metal bull. But no bowling, that’s done in Central Park.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Bocce is truly a social game, Robert. Even though my first game of bowls was inside the RSL club, no one had an alcoholic drink. The strongest was imbibing a cup of tea or a Nescafe with 31 beans.

      This might well have more to do with age than sobriety. Alcohol does takes its toll on the elderly, although in my own case I seem to have been spared.

      Bocce and vino are one, in total harmony during a warm day in the shade of a well aged European oak.

      Bowling in Australia is done with round bowls (or balls) but one side is heavier than the opposite side, indicated by a little green coloured circle. It is therefore impossible to bowl in a straight line. The art seems to be in holding the bowl, whereby the heavier and lighter side are perfectly balanced upright. This will make the bowl go on its trajectory without wobbling but with enough of a curve to reach its intended destination.

      You are right about the theatrics. The expert seasoned bowlers are almost willing the bowls to go their way by doing little side-steps with almost ballet style gesturing with arms held parallel to the floor. In fact, Tchaikovsky’s Ballet ‘Swan-Lake’ came to my mind.

      Should I brush-up on the Fox-Trot, Robert?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Robert Parker Teel Says:

        🙂 I think the ballet, Fox-Trot, or maybe Tango would be great. I am extremely uncoordinated, but love bowling, I guess technically “10-pin bowling,” the kind with an oiled wood lane and well-oiled Americans rolling 16-pound balls (here it’s beer, not wine that’s essential). When the real bowlers are done with their leagues, the alleys do some evenings just for fun, with blacklights and rock music. I hadn’t thought of combining it with dance moves, but in my case, it couldn’t possibly hurt. I just go for fun and talk, and have the house record for gutter balls.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    Sounds like fun. Maybe they will have a National Bowling Team. A neighbor has the Italian version in their backyard.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, it is fun. Kayti. I am going again tomorrow. I wonder who makes all those sandwiches or bake the cakes? There were pikelets as well.
      I could suggest making spicy chilli chicken wings , although one has to be careful with mixing spice when bowels and bowls come together in a group of mainly ‘advanced matures.’
      I’ll be careful!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. shoreacres Says:

    So, this bowling isn’t the sort we used to do in bowling alleys, I take it — rolling the ball down the alley toward the pins? I can’t for the life of me imagine what the ball is like. If, as Robert mentions, it’s elliptical, how does it roll? This is all very mysterious. Maybe “weight biased” means differently weighted balls? I see he mentioned something called “bocce.” I don’t know what that is, either. In fact, I’ve never realized until about five minutes ago that the name of Bowling Green, Kentucky, might be related to a game.

    In any event, the important thing is that you went, and you enjoyed it. Casual, with banter, is my cup of tea. Add in the ham and cheese, and it’s perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Spot-on, Linda.
      The ten pin bowling is straight towards the middle and the balls are evenly weighed. The ‘weight bias’ in Australian (British) bowling is, even though the balls are round, one side is heavier then the other side. This make it impossible to get the ball bowled in a straight line.
      There is a lot to it, Linda.

      If the ball is not held perfectly before throwing the ‘bowl’, it will wobble. Mind you, I have only been once. I could be wrong.
      I do feel it is a game of skill.
      One can also bowl the opposite team off the green by knocking it off. Disputes are resolved by soothing females. I find that refreshing.

      You would not want males in a rage with those heavy balls lying around.


  9. Curt Mekemson Says:

    Well.congratulations, Gerard. It sounds like fun. I especially like the banter concept since it suggests no one takes the game too seriously. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, the banter is what I like best. Time for competitions are over, even though it is better to win than not.
      Social contact is the aim rather than obsessing knocking the ‘Jack’ off the green. The jack is a small almost golf-ball sized ball. The aim is to get as many balls near this Jack as possible. The opposite team tries the same.


  10. Yvonne Says:

    You’ll have to post some photos of the action at your new sport, Gerard. I can’t do carpet bowls this winter, because that darn arm I damaged in Naples has healed badly, and I can’t bend or straighten it. Poor me!

    Have you had a recall notice about your car? I think my car (2005 Nissan Pulsar) is one of the affected ones, but I don’t know how to find out. Poor me! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Oh, dear. I was curious and worried about your sudden appointment with the surgeon while back in Napoli. You must have had a nasty fall. Hope the arm gets better, Yvonne.

      Our BMW 2006 model might be effected, I am not concerned though. Less than 0000.1 %, I’ll take the risk until BMW contacts us.
      The Peugeot is fine.

      We have two cars out of sheer spite to annoy the cyclamen thieving neighbours.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Yvonne Says:

    Good on ya for annoying the bad neighbours. 😆

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Patti Fogarty Says:

    Anything that gets you out of the house is good!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Forestwoodfolk Says:

    I don’t believe it. Not the death bowls! Well if it has to be, I am sure that you would make it entertaining. My father always played it from an early age for social reasons he said.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. elizabeth2560 Says:

    Good for you getting out and about. The introversion thing takes over when living alone and I must admit that I an going through an almost hermit stage, although I have joined a choir that meets up once a week … and chat to the neighbours every now and then.


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