The Gentlemen's Ale Sampling Society

        1982-2017  35 YEARS OF BEERS









The Prince Arthur Indoor Bowling Club

Prince Arthur Road, Gillingham


A very good turnout, it must be something about members wanting to meet kindly elderly ladies whose hands have grown accustomed to large balls, or something along those lines.  Everybody bowled up at about the right time and we were pleased to be greeted by about 25 instructors, all dressed in grey trousers or skirts, all with white tops, and all with matching white hair. 


Boy! do they take the elf'n'safety job seriously.  A five minute briefing established that in the event of fire, the exits are here, here, here and here.  If you hear a bell the assembly area is there, however, if the bell is at 8.50pm that is NOT a fire bell, it is the same bell, but this time it means 'last 10 minutes of play'. Please step down from the side of the rink onto the green just so, please now practise stepping down everyone.  Please bend carefully when picking up a ball ...............  It went on and on! 


Finally we were allowed to step down, just so, and enjoy another 25 minutes of instruction, before ..... finally being able to pick up a ball, whereupon we had another 25 minutes of instruction before ..... finally  being allowed to roll a ball the full length of the rink.  It took me less time to learn to drive!


No matter, we were all soon quite proficient and enjoyed a needle match until the bell went - "FIRE!!!!!!!!!!!!", no that's just the 8.50 bell sir, 10 minutes to go.  "FIRE!!!!!!!!!!" No sir, I have tried to tell you. "FIRE!!!!!!!!!!!!"


The results were that the winning team of Brian/Don/Andy pissed all over their weedy opponents Gary/Keith/Ian, literally tore them apart 7-2.  The runners-up of Nick/JB/Ron made 6-3 against Tony/Steve/Peter.  The others were too late to play a match.  They could have played, but the instructors were very, very strict and unless you had exactly the right number and exactly the right amount of time then no chance.


It has to be said that the instructors were absolutely charming and really made our evening.  To show how grateful we were the Chairman stole one of their hand-made (part of set) lane markers as a trophy for the winner.  At the presentation ceremony he explained that they had caught him stealing one earlier and made him put it back, so he came up with the brilliant wheeze of stealing a different one.  He did this apparently safe in the knowledge he was not seen the second time.  Some more professional criminal minds in GASS pointed out to the Charwomen that the Bowls Club MAY put two and two together and surmise that it was GASS and may then use the fact that the person who booked the event was known to them by name, address and telephone number.  Raffles was kind enough to drop it back the following day.


Raffles and friends under instruction - note the blue shoes - on their feet (oddly)




The three musket-losers                         Total concentration                                 Not as easy at it looks




Hew slightly failed to get the purpose of the shoe covers.  But give Hew his due, he stuck with it all night long.

The fact that he stuck with it struck the ladies as a more than a little odd.



"hold my hand until that funny man goes - he scares me!"





After the game we repaired to the KGV for some of John & Di's lovely grub.

It was a sit down dinner - which was odd as it was JB who, at the AGM,  asked for more buffets to give everyone more scope to circulate.

(I only mention this to cover for the fact that Swank will also be a sit-down!)


A great night.