• A Blog About Lawn Bowls

      1 Not allowed! Not allowed!

      Following the outstanding success of my book ‘7 Top Tips for Top Skips’ (download it for free at -http://verns-lawn-bowls-tips.blogspot.co.uk), which has had over 30 downloads and counting, I have been urged to write a blog. “What’s a bleeding blog?” I hear you ask. I certainly did when Raymond first suggested it. I had visions of a confused Oriental gent lost in Cardiff and desperate for the toilet wandering around muttering, “Where nearest blog pleese?” For the benefit of those readers who don’t live in Penypont ‘bog’ is a word we use to describe what our overseas friends call the ‘can’ or ‘loo’.

      Apologies, I digress, the last thing I want is for my first blog post to be just about a load of s**t. I have to admit when Raymond went on to talk about blog posts my imagination shifted into overdrive. Perhaps Oriental councils are more strapped for cash than we are in Wales but the idea of replacing a public toilet with a post smacked of desperation to me. Imagine having to wait in line behind a couple of staff bulls and a poodle when you’re caught short on the way home from the club. This was obviously before Raymond explained that a blog post was a page of information posted on the world wide web or internet.

      To be honest I didn’t have a clue what he was on about. I think he could see that. He suggested I take a year off bowls and concentrate on writing my blog. Jack Pryce, our captain, was very supportive, a bit too supportive for my liking. “Take as long as you like Vern,” he said, “we’ll struggle on without you for a season or two. The world of bowls needs you.” I couldn’t argue really after the comments I got back from readers of “7 Top Tips for Top Skips”. Here’s just a few:
      “Never read anything like it. . . unbelievable!”Gwyn Rees (Treasurer Rhondda Indoors Bowls Club)
      Is this man for real?” Anon
      “Great advice if you’re ever going to play a transvestite or a woman in surgical stockings!” Harry or Harriette (Maerdy, Rhondda)
      "Thank you very much, a GREAT publication." Warren Miller (Australia)
      “I’ve always been amazed how you handle those big balls of yours Vernon. Now all has been revealed.” Jimmy Sparrow (Ynyscynon BC)
      (I’d better explain that this last comment refers to an incident I described in ‘Top Tips Number Two’)
      There were other comments but they tended to be on the bitter and sarcastic side. Envy is a terrible thing. Raymond said he was going to make my book available directly from my blog. All I have to do is tell everybody to look up in the top right hand corner and ask them to provide their name and email address – whatever that is. I just nod as if I understand what he’s talking about half the time. Too brainy for his own good that boy, probably end up inventing something that will do more damage to the environment than plastic bags. I blame whoever helped him with his homework.

      My father never fell into that trap. He made sure I was a fit and healthy child. “Vernon,” he would say, “nip up the shop and get me a packet of fags there’s a good boy.” In the winter this was a chore he would make me repeat two or three times a night. Sometimes he would vary the route so I wouldn't get bored and send me down the bookies instead. By the Spring I was built like a greyhound but with severely chapped legs. My mother was very supportive too and always ready with useful advice. “Don’t talk to strangers and don’t chew on your balaclava,” she would say as she pushed me out through the front door. I will always be grateful for the sacrifices they made. Without them I would not be the man I am today.

      Raymond suggested I include some coaching videos from somewhere called YouTube and give them my own rating so people will know what’s worth watching and what’s rubbish. He wants us to make our own video, says it will only take a morning, then he’s going to post it somewhere and if we’re lucky it will probably spread like a virus. I told him straight, “Raymond,” I said, “I want to pass on my vast knowledge of the game of bowls not start a bleeding epidemic.” That boy seriously worries me on times. Oxford my arse!

      We also need sponsors according to Raymond. Sponsors are business people who will pay to be linked with my blog on account of me being a Top Skip. I did warn him I would not have my good name linked with surgical stockings or any other kind of sexual appliance. This is an educational and motivational blog I reminded him. You know what they’re like at that age, all exploding hormones and acne. To listen to them you’d think they invented sex. “Raymond,” I explained gently, “sex is almost as old as the human race itself.” You should have seen the look on his face. Someone had to tell him.

      At the moment our only sponsor is one of our members, Phil Rowlands. One book and he thinks he’s Enid Blyton. My wife Megan has started reading it. To be honest she’s getting on my nerves a bit. Every now and then she peeps up from the bit she’s reading when she thinks I’m not looking, stares at me, smirks, then goes back to reading the bleeding thing still chuckling to herself. I’ll have to get round to reading it seeing as I’m one of the most important characters. But getting back to the issue of sponsors, what this blog really needs is sponsors with a bit of class, not to mention cash! My vote goes to Brylcreem and Henselite.

      Right, I think that’s enough for today. Don’t want to overload your brains with too much information. Next week we’ll take a look at why this so-called coach encourages new bowlers to use two fingers – it’s not what you think. Also how Brylcreem can give you the edge in a tight match.

      If you haven’t already read “7 Top Tips for Top Skips” what are you waiting for? Sign up and grab a copy because if you don’t your next opponent definitely will.

      Also next week our ‘viral video’ – whatever that means – will be ready, so Raymond assures me. He’s negotiating with Mel Gibson to play the part of me.

      See you then.

      Vernon "Top Skip" Lewis
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