What Would David Vine Do?

18Oct09

Australia has been our home now for 12 days so we felt is was about time we met up with some fellow Brits to reminisce about the Old Country. We signed up online to a group of ex-pats at www.meetup.com. They planned to go Bowling and have a few drinks and we arranged to go along.

We have had some fairly unsatisfactory previous experience of attempting to broaden our social life via the internet. When Susie and I first moved to Devon from London a couple of years ago, we didn’t know a soul. As we worked from home, we had very little human contact apart from secretly watching the postman through the letterbox each morning. After a while even this wasn’t enough so we arranged through Gumtree to meet another couple for drinks one evening.

We made plans to call for them at their house before heading to the pub. When we turned up, there was no sign of life. All the lights were off, complete silence reigned and there was a distinct lack of response to our fairly prolonged doorbell ringing. We thought we may have the wrong place so gave them a call. After quite a few rings the phone was answered by a hesitant, reluctant voice. Yes we had got the right house but apparently they had been so engrossed in watching Ski Sunday they hadn’t heard the doorbell or our knocking. This meant they had been watching Ski Sunday in complete darkness and with the TV off. I began to sense that they were having second thoughts about meeting us.

This hunch was confirmed shortly after when we first sat down in the pub. The male contingent of our new BFF’s confided with blistering and slightly unwelcome honesty that they hadn’t really felt like coming out tonight after all and could have very easily done without it. With that bouncy conversation starter setting the tone, we faced a minimum of three hours of bonhomie at gunpoint. Time passed like bricks through a cloth sack but after an evening punctuated with ostentatious yawns and longing looks towards the door (and in fairness to Susie she’d had a long day) time at the bar was called. Before you could say “hang on, Ski Sunday hasn’t been on TV since the eighties has it?” we were all out the door and going our separate ways.

Check out the guy with the inappropriate trousers. Maybe if we all sit next to him he'll let us be his friend!

It's bowling. Not a popularity contest.

So it was with hearts in mouths and bodies in clothes that we arrived at the bowling alley (that being the intended subject for this post before I got completely sidetracked). Inside it was all thumping dance music, flashing strobe lighting and neon signage. It was pretty much the way I imagine all bowling to be in the future if 1997 was still in the future.

We didn’t know what the group would look like or exactly where they would be but we fairly soon spied a gathering of about ten people who looked suspiciously British. It’s quite difficult to pinpoint exactly how we knew they were British. I could say it was because they were the only people there not wearing sleeveless T-shirts but that would be a cheap gag and only partially true.

We approached our Blighty brethren – nervously offering them Marmite, Jaffa Cakes and Tetley tea in a pathetic and entirely imaginary attempt to ingratiate ourselves.

As it turned out our apprehension was entirely unfounded and we couldn’t have wished to meet a more friendly or welcoming bunch. We supped a few schooners, had a few laughs and dared to dream a dream that one day all human social interaction will take place in a gargantuan bowlerama discotheque.

Bowling shoes are like normal shoes except more suited to bowling.

Bowling shoes are like normal shoes except more suited to bowling.

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One Response to “What Would David Vine Do?”

  1. 1 Paul c

    Australian bowling shoes look like 90s skater pumps…British bowling shoes are more like 30s spats.


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