What a pity he meant bowling.
David used to be something of a demon in the bowling alley - during our courtship he dazzled me with his strikes and spares and the way that he looked dashing and handsome even when he was wearing those ludicrous shoes they make you wear. At the time, I did that girly thing of lumping the ball down the lane and then clutching my face as I didn't manage to trouble any of the pins.
As he set off for work, he left me to do a ring round "the gang" and to book a "lane or two" at our local Hollywood Bowl. By a quarter to twelve I'd spoken to Nathan ("Ollywoodbowlhowcanihelpyoooooooo") and booked two lanes for 7pm and had corralled Bea, Stephen, Lydia, Matt, Charlie, Token Gay Man Friend Andy, Marjorie and Frank (the latter two only because Marjorie was with me when Charlie rang to confirm her attendance) into joining us for some bowling fun. Enormous Au Pair would be delighted to look after Mac and his cousins would be over the moon to welcome him for a sleep over said Bea as she pondered what to wear for her first ever trip to a bowling alley. I warned her that she would have to wear shoes that other people had worn before her. She went quiet for a little while and vowed to wear six pairs of socks "and all of them Stephens".
For those of you who have seen the (truly terrible) Grease 2, you will possibly understand why I get the urge to sing this every time I think of/see others bowling. I was ten when it came out and was (for a very short while) obsessed with it but then I shunned it in favour of the original and better Grease. The fact that it starred Adrian Zmed swung it for me I think - what can I say? I was young and I was hormonal.
Anyway, there was no singing, dancing or gymnastic displays when we all gathered at ten to seven. "Do you remember your Grease 2 obsession?!" Bea crowed as she slithered out of her coat to reveal skin tight black trousers and a "genuine bowling shirt" complete with poodle with diamente collar appliqued on the back. Oh, and her name embroidered on the front pocket. Quite how she managed to arrange this in the time since ten past nine that morning is a mystery but, as the lady herself said, "I have a fab PA". She caused quite a stir, especially with the group of "young people in lane 17, the ladies with Croydon facelifts and enough gold to dazzle Mr T and the gentlemen covered in Burberry and DelBoy jewellery".
We gathered at our lanes having previously agreed to Boys versus Girls. There was the usual amount of bravado from The Boys as they strutted their stuff and immediately took over the setting up of the computer. The Girls were more interested in stowing our bags safely and deciding what we'd like to drink. Bea was horrified that they did cocktails "by the jug darling, whatever next" and plumped for a jug of Pimms which was "just about acceptable".
There were no balls left on the racks for us to choose - I spoke to Der Management who suggested that I venture into other lanes and ask other bowlers for some balls. A challenge I relished as you can imagine. But nearly all of our fellow bowlers were selfish and refused access to their balls, despite lane 26 having six medium pink balls. I chuntered loudly and went back to shout at Der Management. When I returned to our lanes I was informed by Marjorie that "our balls aren't coming back". A maintenance man of Spanish descent appeared in front of us "zee balls, zey are not returning, zere is a problem viz the lane, I be maybe five, maybe ten, maybe 15 minutes to sort?" he said as he headed off up our lane carrying a drill.
Fifteen minutes later we had more balls than we knew what to do with - they'd all been stuck in our lane. It's a wonder that no-one else had complained. I shot the occupants of Lane 26 a disparaging look as balls of all weights and descriptions shot out at us. Bea went back to the bar to order another jug of Pimms.
Incidents of note: I broke my thumbnail and got a strike, Lydia proved to be adept at putting The Boys off their stroke and attempted to nobble Matt by snogging the face off him - but it merely bouyed him up enough to get two strikes, one after the other, Marjorie loudly cheered every time Frank hit any of the pins, Charlie patented Drunken Bowling and did really well and Bea, so stunned at how good she was at this "bowling lark", got carried away on her return from a triumphant spare and fell arse over tit down the ramp which led to our seats.
David took the whole of the first game to regain his sheer brilliance but won the second game at a canter, Matt won the first game and has not yet let his father forget it, Frank spent most of his time in the gulley and tipping Carlsberg down his neck, Andy made up for his lack of bowling ability by keeping us all in (rather juvenile) hysterics with a non stop stream of double entendres and Stephen wanted to set up a team and "do this regularly".
The Boys beat the Girls in both games but Charlie won our first game and Lydia the second. I came a respectable third then fourth and whinged so much about my poorly thumb that I managed to drag David over to Pizza Hut for an Italian Meat Feast.
And, once we got home, the bottle of red put in an appearance too.