“That’ll be four pounds, please.”

We took our two pints into a suitable corner. Nick’s alsation lolled on a bench and eyed me with casual disinterest, secure in the knowledge that should we come to any disagreement about seating arrangements, it could always create some room by eating me.

Having just walked off possibly the nicest village bowling green in Britain, my heart was full of the joy of Englishness – the land of Betjeman, of Elgar, Nelson and Constable, of Drake, Shakespeare and Allsopp. I sipped my beer with satisfaction and pride.

The LTLP returns to work in around a month’s time, basically because they have stopped paying her to sit around at home occasionally changing nappies. This will leave me in sole charge of looking after a baby all day, which is personally quite worrying as nobody else in the world has ever had to do this ever.

And, more to the point, she cannot guarantee to be home by the time I leave for bowls. I explained this to Nick, who made cross noises about fulfilling fixtures, etc., and gave me a list of games that I was down for. I read this with some growing alarm.

My gut feeling is that the LTLP will be happy to leave work early occasionally so I can get to my important bowls matches, but two or three nights a week would be pushing it a bit. I am not sure how my playing schedule got to be so intense, given that I am by far the most rubbish player in the club and display no signs whatsoever of getting any better. But the list was there in black and white, mainly black as it was the paper that was white. I made positive noises from the back of my throat.

My plan at present is to experiment with playing whilst carrying the baby in a papoose. I think I can sort of dip down quite vertically to release the wood (nb that is the real name for a bowl, if you call it a bowl people will think you are an idiot) – this would ensure that the baby did not fall out the top.

I do not think this has been done before, but it will be worth a go.

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