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farms in the land of the long white cloud
driving from Invercargill to Queensland, New Zealand; Mar 8, 2005

lawn bowling

Susan bowling while Sylvia & Alan look on

I step up for my second attempt and take a few practice swings. The ball pulls on my shoulder like a screaming 2-year old. I feel ready... I release... DAMNIT! As soon as the ball leaves my hand I know I've overshot. Dejected, I step to the side. Sylvia (Grace's mom) steps up to the mat. She's coming off a psychological bogey after her last shot curved into the wall instead of towards the target (she was holding the ball backwards, so it curved the wrong way – a rookie mistake that's haunted her for a good 3 minutes - might as well be a lifetime). This time she lets go… and it's a good one! It makes a slow, lumbering curve towards the jack and lays to rest. (The jack is a smaller white ball that is thrown first and functions as a target for the larger black balls, called bowls).

a model of concentration

Now Grace. With all the seriousness of a brain surgeon performing on Einstien, he steps up to the mat and freezes like a statue. I can only imagine the precise visualization exercises he's performing now (he does this with regular ten-pin bowling, too). He pulls back his arm and lets go. It's a beauty. The bowl leaves his hand with a slight right trajectory, then banks hard to the left and slams into the jack! Cheers and high-fives erupt in the crowd (ok, just the three of us) until we're informed by Alan, our Lawn Bowling mentor, that actually it’s not a very good shot (Grace has knocked the jack too far away from his bowl). Oh well.

We're at Te Rangi (Lawn) Bowling Club in Invercargill. We're here because we saw some people bowling when we were driving around the other day and thought it would be fun. We mentioned it to our Aunt Fran (we're staying with Grace's aunt and uncle in Invercargill) and she called up the club. After she got off the phone she told us we had an “appointment.” Grace, Sylvia and I showed up at the designated time and were greeted by Alan, a spunky, snow-capped, smiley-eyed man with the gigantic calves of a serious bowler. Even though the club was closed, Alan opened it up and gave us a lesson. He was ever-patient, chasing our errant balls, teaching us the rules and giving us pointers with every shot. After he felt we were sufficiently ready he let us play on the "official" lawn outside.

Alan, our mentor, looks down upon his domain

We were so appreciative, and he wouldn't even let us pay for the club time. We had a lot of fun and would love to play again. We returned that afternoon to watch the club's tournament (Alan did very well) and they invited us to stay for afternoon tea. Everyone’s friendliness and generosity was overwhelming and we'll always remember the whole experience fondly (it was just a prelude of things to come in NZ).

© 2004-2012 susan & grace, all rights reserved

-- comments from readers --


ok, I'll try lawn bolling (was this so really exciting?)

--Anonymouse (Brussles, Belgium); Jan 26, 2007

Well... it wasn't edge-of-your-seat, driving-a-racecar exciting, but we enjoyed it. :)

--Grace; Feb 12, 2007