It was the British Matchplay Scrabble Championship this weekend. There is always a pre-event Ladies tournament and now also a Mens. Six games - 3 Friday evening starting at 7.30 p.m. and 3 Saturday morning.
I was ready as arranged to travel down to Yarnfield with Allan, who was directing the pre-events, on Friday at 11 a.m. when the phone went. Allan was running late. He arrived to pick me up at midday, his car loaded high with boxes of scoresheets, computer... We just about managed to fit in my bag and set.
We decided to drive across to Carlisle via Hawick. It was a very pleasant route, but slow and we got to the M6 after about 2 hours. We had a short break in the first service station we reached and then continued on. The traffic was dreadful and at 5 p.m. whilst stuck in yet another jam Allan phoned ahead to say we were still 5 junctions away. Luckily the traffic cleared, and we arrived after about another hour.
I left Allan to get everything set up and went and chilled out in my room for a while. I later wandered over to help 'running' for the ladies event. This involves collecting any challenges and taking them to the adjudicator for checking. I have only 'run' in round-robin events before, where a player sits out one round and just 'runs' for the rest of their section. I now have great respect for the runners who do this for the whole of an event - it is very tiring.
Margaret Bailey, the wife of one of the players in the Mens, was covering the back of our room. Natasha Pratesi, the 8 year-old daughter of Mauro (who operates the computer) and Diane (a player), and sister of Jessica, who was also playing, was covering the front. I was attempting to cover the middle. At times I felt somewhat redundant in this task, as Natasha was treating running as a competition in its own right. Several times as I begun to set off she came racing past me. Tongues were stuck out if she got to the challenge slip before I did :)
I must admit to copping out of the last round on the Friday evening, and retiring down to the bar with a large glass of red wine.
Di Dennis won the Ladies event and Christian Brown the Mens, each with a perfect record of 6 out of 6.
The trials and tribulations of a life of leisure...
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