The evening is unexpectedly beautiful; I smile contentedly as I slam the car door. Lugging my bag with me, I step through the gap in the fence and into the arena.

“You’re looking fat this year,” are the words with which I am greeted. I take this with cheery good heart. It is a competitive environment after all – people will take any advantage that they can.

The chickens have taken over my life a bit recently. This is fine, as they are chickens, but I have been getting a bit concerned that it might be getting boring for the readers of my Private Secret internet diary. Fortunately, just in the nick of time, the bowls season has started up once more, bringing with it an injection of fresh excitement.

The pre-season roll-up is sparsely attended; worryingly so. I join Ned, who has a beard, in playing a friendly against Big A and his mate, but if we are to get a strong team out to challenge for the title this year then we may have to recruit new blood. I am hoping that what with all the excitement in the region about the Olympics being held in London in years and years time, I will be able to persuade some more hopefuls to join us.

“Evening!” – a couple more players have arrived. “You’re looking a bit porky!” they call across.

It is worrying. I put on a lot of weight anyway over the winter, as I do not really do any exercise during the bowls close season. Also I am having two dinners a day – one with the Toddler and one with the LTLP. We play a few gentle ends, but I do not find myself out of breath at all, which is encouraging. Maybe I am fitter than I thought. AND there is a slight slope on our green.

The competitive season begins in earnest on Friday. I hope to write up full match reports here, which I know will cause some interest worldwide. For too long the followers of bowls have been starved of information about their favourite passion; web 2.0 will change all that.

It is good to be back in the saddle (which is a metaphor for ‘on the mat’ as you do not use a saddle for bowls, the expression is from riding horses).

44 thoughts on “I take a deep breath of fresh air.

  1. Ani Smith says:

    Chickens, bowls, blah. When are you going to start posting about the colour of your mobile phone or the upholstery in the village pub again?

  2. JoAnne says:

    I’m #2! Which means I have to try harder.

    Question for you, Jonny – is Bowls the same as Bocce? Initially – years ago, now – I thought it must be another name for cricket, but I just don’t really know and it’s perplexing me no end.

  3. Pat says:

    Do bowls feature in the Olympics I wonder? With synchronised swimming included anything is possible. If you made it, how exciting that would be.

  4. mb says:

    web 2.0? I feel some form of customisable google maps mash up using locational information from a facebook application.

    And i’ll somehow shoe-horn youtube in there so we can appeal to young people. And there will be glossy buttons and the name will be written all in lower case.

  5. AndrewM says:

    Have you put on a bit of weight, mate?

  6. Mr Wibble says:

    Yeah man.

    iBowls is where it’s happnin’.


  7. Mary says:

    Bowls…’injection of fresh excitement’…just who, exactly, are you trying to fool?

    If bowls becomes an olympic ‘sport’ I will eat my shoes (bowling, for the use of).


  8. Brennig says:

    It is good to be back in the saddle (which is a metaphor for ‘on the mat’ as you do not use a saddle for bowls, the expression is from riding horses).

    Bugger. I was going to give it a try tonight until you disabused me of the notion…

  9. Eddie 2-Sox says:

    I’d like to see a game where bowls is played on horseback. Horseback Croquet would be good too. And Horseback Synchronised Swimming.

    Don’t worry about adding the extra timber over winter. Walking 20 metres up a bowling green 15 times a week will soon shift that.

  10. Put on any more weight and they’ll saddle you, fatso. Don’t bother fixing the chicken run. Chasing after your bolshie fowl is about your only hope for exercise right now.

  11. Duck says:

    They’re obviously talking about your head.

  12. Hamish says:

    Chicken Number 4 is DEAD and you go and entertain yourself at some BOWLS warm-up. Have you no FEELINGS man?

  13. Lola says:

    I like your blog. I can’t compete with your commenters on erudition and wit, but I thought I’d let you know anyway. Chickens are more fun to read about than I’d have guessed, but bowls isn’t shaping up well. I’ll stick with you though, I’m sure it will be OK in the end.

  14. JonnyB says:

    Hullo Lola and thank you. Do not worry. As the season gets into gear there will be excitement and thrills and spills galore!!! Like the Premiership. In fact John Motson watched us a couple of years back.

  15. guyana gyal says:

    With all this talk about chicken and bowls and worldwide and starved…for a second I thought you were talking about…oh well, never mind…

  16. johng says:

    Don’t let the chickens try to hatch the jack!

  17. Pat says:

    One thing I do know about bowls is you have to adopt the crouching position, so it behoves you to shed some avoir dupois.
    I look forward to someone answering my original query.

  18. Clunky says:

    Jonny are you allowed to shoot bowls?……….just wondering

  19. Sarah P says:

    Wohoo an entry not about chickens (I know nothing about chicken other than it’s tasty). Booo I know nothing about bowls either… I shall continue to read never the less.

  20. Jayne says:

    @ Pat – now synchronised swimming with bowling balls is something I’d watch!

  21. Richard says:

    You ought to come up to the frozen north, Jonny. We have crown green up here. For you East Angularans that would almost be mountaineering with balls.

  22. Keith says:

    Your mention of chess in the previous thread reminds me that I have given up golf to play correspondence chess to save energy. Five days allowed for your move. Not too exhausting if you have early nights and TWO Weetabix in the morning.

    Bowls, well I’m not sure about, Jonny.I suppose it has a sufficiently un-athletic aspect to it for it to warrant some consideration as a pasttime. As long as you don’t tell me that the modern player wears Lycra shorts and Nike shoes with digital calorie counters attached to them.

    (I’m sorry if the mental image of our apparently somewhat large Jonny clad in Lycra has upset anyone. At least I didn’t mention the sight of him from the rear as he bends down to release the bowl into the flower bed on the other side of the green. ((Oh dear. I just did))

    Hurriedly back to chess. I like Blitz chess – whole game to be completed within three minutes. It is the only time my New York Times Touchscreen handheld, utterly unviewable screen computer doesn’t checkmate me. I switch if off from exhaustion after seven moves. I count that as a drawn game.

  23. cramerj says:

    Bowls used to be called old men’s marbles.
    But with you sveldte ‘in people’ things will change.
    It is quite possible that chickens could be used / encouraged to herd the bowls and take ovarian inspiration from them.

  24. Never mind all the fat jokes, Jonny. This most excellent news will surely cheer you up.

    Just imagine the amount of pork scratchings you can pack away whilst slumped on the couch watching that. Who needs bowls when you’ve got the magnificent 7 back, eh?

  25. Diana says:

    If you saddled up a horse and rode it, that would shift the pounds in no time.

  26. Dave says:

    I may be moving down your way later this year. I don’t play bowls though. Still, that would make me fresh blood if I did, wouldn’t it?

    They do have bowls in the Commonwealth Games, don’t they?

  27. JonnyB says:

    Seven hours to go!!!

    WordPress seems to have sent a few legitimate comments to the spam queue recently. I apologise if your comment has taken ages to appear.

    I am sure that they will play bowls in both the Commonwealths and the Olympics. It would be a fiasco if not.

  28. JoAnne says:

    Jonny, you don’t type fat. So I think those other..umm…are they bowlers? are probably just being silly.

    But the thought of any man in lycra bending over in front of me is just making me want to puke a bit. Sorry.

    And since Jonny saw fit to ignore my question, I’m going to Wikipedia to find out what bowls actually is.

  29. JoAnne says:

    Ok. It is bocce, basically. Now I feel better. It is just this sort of difference that can fan the flames of hatred and divisiveness between nations, and a little education goes a very long way in keeping friendly relations.

  30. Grimy Miner says:

    JoAnne – as P G Wodehouse describes it, bowls is oversized marbles played by spavined ocogenarians yipping and gibbering as they trundle their missiles along the grass – however, the version that JohhnyB plays is altogether more manly and exhilarating ( probably )


  31. Eliza says:

    i can’t wait for the match report- do you think the beeb will start bidding for the rights this season?

    ps. you seem to have forgotten your promise about the chickens johnny!

  32. sablonneuse says:

    I’m just a wee bit worried that chicken four’s injuries could have had something to do with loose bowls. Were you having a quiet night time practice session Jonny?

  33. JonnyB says:

    Oh – er – sorry. I am getting a bit behind. I shall look for the answer to your question on Wikipedia. The answer will be there.

    Less than four hours!!! The build up has already started.

  34. Oli says:

    Are you sure the problem was permanant, maybe she just needed exercise!

    What you need is a mini treadmilll for your chickens.

  35. Keith says:

    I must admit that when he wrote “The pre-season roll-up ” I thought our eminent diarist was smoking the funny smelling baccy again.

    It is nice to know now to what he was referring. It would have been a pity to lose him on here whilst he spent a few days explaining to the blue uniformed ones that his exotic roll-ups were only for purely medicinal purposes. “Indeed, taken on account, M’Lud, of a painfully stiff arthritic finger acquired from an excessive amount of chickenery veterinary work.”

  36. Jules Ritter says:

    Clunky, I don’t think you can shoot bowls as in “with a gun” only shoot as in aim. However, I’m worried Short Tony may take his finger to them or are they not the same as indoor bowling bowls?

  37. Keith says:

    My ‘puter says that the page is running a script that is making it excessiveky slow.

    Maybe that is why we are ending up in Jonny’s spam. (why does that sound so undesirable? I quite like Spam if it is deep fried with a Mars Bar).

  38. Keith says:

    The great thing about all our posts not getting through is that we can write endlessly on Jonny’s blog without incurring his wrath or having people tell you to get a life (it is raining here in Wales and everyone should know that there is no life to be got when it rains in Wales)

    I have just read on the BBC web site a news article which says:

    “Balding Pierre the penguin has been given a specially-designed wetsuit to encourage him to get back in the water.”

    (Well, I suppose that the BBC has to write about something to use up my license fee rather than use its journalistic skills to tell us what is REALLY going on in Iraq.)

    Anyhow, it just shows that someone is prepared to go that little step further to try and find a solution other than the shotgun to solve aviary problems.

    Meanwhile, the message that appears on my computer screen when I come on here says:

    “Stop Running this script?

    A script on this page is causing Internet Explorer to run slowly. If it continues to run, your computer may become unresponsive”

    It then asks me if I want to take a shotgun to it YES or No.

    Those symptoms sound awfully like what was wrong with Chicken Four. Have all our computers now caught a form of chicken avian virus? Will Jonny take responsibility and come and stick his finger in our USB ports?

    (For those of warped mind, I mean the computer’s USB ports. We don’t get USB ports implanted until a year after the government issues us all with micro-chipped identity cards.)

  39. Do you wear those funny white starched jumpers for that? What an image…

  40. Lisa says:

    I’m sure the bowls are a pathetic attempt to distract your chicken slaves from the misery of their imprisonment, and I think it’s time to mount a protest/ban comparable to the one the EU is about to instigate concerning seals..cute furry mammals, vs. ugly feathered avians..which will win?

  41. Blossom says:

    No, I don’t think bowls feature at the Olympics, although certainly in the Commonwealth Games. Lawn bowls is well-known in NZ – (note the results and rankings on the Wikipedia page, and the prominence of Antipodean countries there!)
    Note that these kind of bowls do NOT have holes for fingers, like indoor 10 pin bowls, but are weighted assymetrically, making them tricky to bowl – much skill involved!

  42. Blazing says:

    I’m surprised you haven’t been ‘illegally approached’ by the president of the club in the next village, Jonny. Such loyalty, playing for the same club two years running, is an admirable trait in a finely honed sportsman.

  43. Pat says:

    The sad thing is I can’t remember the question I was miffed about because no-one answered it.
    Should I seek help?

  44. AndyB says:

    If you’re going to watch that new Blakes 7, Jonny, please make sure Toddler Servalan is safely tucked up in bed; it would be very traumatic for her to find out after which evil leader she was named.

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