“Norm!” I cry, giving a hearty back-slap to a man called ‘Norm’.
Big A follows me in. “Norm!” he echoes.
Norm gives us a sheepish look, like a defence barrister concluding his explanation of how the blood got into the jelly. I pull out my deeply unfashionable shoes from the bowls bag and return him a kind smile.
“It’s just that we weren’t sure whether we’d see you again,” persists Big A. “There was quite a lot of swearing and everything.”
Norm shakes his head. “I spent most of the next morning apologising. It was just, with tempers running high, and then words and stuff, and then he [jerks head] got involved, and…”
“We’re not really used to fights at bowls,” I reflect. “I think there were a couple of raised voices last year when a mobile went off inappropriately, but no actual physical violence. Did it come to that in the end?”
“I think it was just a bit of silly squaring up,” confirms Big A.
“Nice of you all to go straight afterwards, leaving me on my own to sign the cards,” complains the Club Captain, a man with a beard. We make apologetic noises.
“Anyway – good to have you back here,” I assure. I like Norm. He is a jovial and friendly chap; one of those people who is the heart and soul of a club.
My deeply unfashionable shoes are donned; I take my woods and my mat out onto the green to participate in a satisfying draw. There are no blows exchanged.