Since we left high school, my six oldest mates and I have had an annual, drunken, early-Christmas gathering. Doing barefoot bowls at Hornswood Bowling Club last Saturday, I had a surreal moment. Not overly funny, but surreal.


We did not know when we booked, that there was a wake taking place inside the club that afternoon. Harry, club secretary, had tragically passed away at 91 and there was about a hundred people crammed into the little club, to say goodbye.

The classic old bowling club catered for all tastes, having Tooheys New, Tooheys Old and Tooheys Lite (only) on tap. We were the only ones bowling and were putting away jugs of beer like veterinarians on a pharmaceutical company junket.

Being sensitive to the feelings of secretary Harry’s friends and family, when we got our first round at the bar after making our way through the tightly packed emotional throng, we asked the lady could she bring our drinks out to us? We would tip her every time, so we wouldn’t have to insensitively weave through the mourners.

This worked wonderfully, up until the time it was my turn, to pay her for the shout.

Our jugs were empty, but our lady, who had been so attentive when it was the other lad’s rounds, was nowhere to be seen. The boys were thirsty from bowling, so I had no choice but to drag my inebriated self through the despondent crowd of secretary Harry grievers. Not good.

I went inside and EVERY guest was now SEATED, listening to speeches. The rows of seats went all the way back to the wall. There was absolutely no way to get to the bar, unless I was completely tactless and insensitive and was prepared to walk up and over the stage, behind the speaker at the lectern, with 100 highly emotional attendees, staring at me.

The trip over the stage was harrowing. I could feel all 199 eyes (one very old guy in the front row appeared to only have one) burning a hole in my brain as I tried to make my 110-111kg frame unnoticeable, as I snuck along behind the speaker.

Getting to the bar, I was pretty angry about the bar lady making me run the gauntlet. I am very respectful of age, funerals, bravery, hard work and the like.

Me – “Two jugs of New and two packets of salt and vinegar chips thanks”.

I smiled at the girl who had been, up until now, bringing our drinks out to us.

Me – “Are you… surprised… to see me in here?” My tone was brash, but her forgetfulness had forced me to walk behind the lectern and distract all those people from secretary Harry’s eulogy!

Her – “Yeah I am”. She gave me a funny look.

Me – “Well I certainly didn’t want to come in here.” I gave her the old stink-eye.

Her – “No. What?”

What was the point? I paid, gathered up the two jugs and the chips and prepared to traverse back over the stage and receive the looks of seething rage from the 100.

Up I went, the only thing in my favour was that I knew nobody could yell loudly at me in the middle of the eulogy.

Then, the old guy with one eye, yelled loudly at me.

Old one-eye – “HEY MATE! IT’S A WAKE YOU KNOW!”

I was mortified. Even through my shield of intoxication and my socially thick-skin… I was mortified.

I stopped for a second, looked up from my two jugs of Tooheys New and stared meekly at the predominantly elderly crowd. Half of them had tears in their eyes and the others just looked angry as all hell.


After a fraction of a second of torturous hesitation, the whole place erupted into cheers. Secretary Harry was obviously fond of a beer himself, as everybody burst into applause.

I made my way back to the safety of the bowling green, with a good story to tell.

The lads meanwhile, were drinking the two jugs that the bar lady had brought out, just when I had gone inside!

It actually turned into a great night and celebration of Harry’s life. We moved inside with the crowd once the sun went down and enjoyed a brilliant night of music with a local band playing 80s classics. So much so:




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Thanks for reading my blog, where I put my heart and soul down in words, for you! What's new? I love my Sea Eagles, but Manly make it EXTREMELY difficult to be loyal. Like a noble, armour-clad knight astride a powerful war-steed, in dogged pursuit of my elusive dream to one day make a living as a writer/blogger, I've started writing emails for small businesses, to entertain and entice their customers. Imagine "Hornswood Pool Shop", who if they exist are probably spamming customers a few times a year. When it comes to catchy writing that people will actually read, Hornswood Pool Shop are good at... pools. Perfect pH, but their communications though accurate and informative… are also boring and sadly perish, unloved and unopened. But thanks to me, their campaigns can be worshiped by the people! Opened. Read! Cherished!! Held aloft, like the Life of Brian shoe or that chubby little Lion King. At the moment I'm... low-tariff, because I'm just starting (despite often nearly doubling industry open-rates). Know any businesses who could benefit from having wonder and awe sent out to their database? You’ll allow me to continue claiming at parties much to my wife's chagrin, that I am in fact, a writer. If you could Like or Share, to help me become famous, would be wonderful. Twitter? Cheers.

6 thoughts on “BAREFOOT BOWLS”

  1. Jase, you are either the Chauncy Gardener of Hornswood or a genius. There you are on a drunken, Homer Simpsonesque quest for more beer when your insensitivity to the grief of the assembled crowd is called out. Your reply gives the assembled crowd permission to celebrate his life.

    The jury is still out as to whether you are a genius or an idiot but, I fear I am starting to favour the former.


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