The trials and tribulations of a life of leisure...


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

4 Nations 2008

I set off for Colin and Maureen's after lunch on Friday. The sat-nav again decided it was not going to talk to me. I was making good progress and as I was going to hit Glasgow around 3 p.m. decided I could afford a comfort break at the services on the M8. Good job I did. As I neared Glasgow the traffic came to a standstill. Signs overhead were telling me 5 miles of slow traffic. And then the temperature gauge in the car hit the red zone and the STOP light came on. I managed to pull over onto the hard shoulder and opened the bonnet. I gave it the best part of half an hour to cool down and then made the decision to try to continue on. The traffic was still atrocious so it was going to be very hairy. Luckily I had a police car behind me for quite a way so did not feel intimidated to edge forward every time the traffic moved a car length. Wait for a reasonable gap to get a little speed up, stop, engine off. I made it - eventually the traffic started moving at a reasonable pace and by the time I got to the Erskine bridge it was free flowing. And the sat-nav switched itself off...

I got the train in to Glasgow the next morning. It was pouring down and despite it being only a short walk from Central station to the hotel I arrived a la drowned rat.

My scrabble on day one was as much a disaster as my previous day's car journey, only winning two out of seven. However, it should have been zero with my two wins being gifts from my opponents mistakes in the end games. I don't think I was playing that badly - I only missed one bonus of the hopeful looking racks that I checked and it was probably not that costly as I scored 48 from a 4-x with INH(O)OPS (holding an O of my own but no place to play it), and the bonus would have been face value opening a 9-x.

We finished playing around 10.30 p.m. and headed for the bar. I had a bit of a headache and wasn't going to stay that late but a couple of paracetamol and a large glass of red and I suddenly felt a lot better. Thank God the clocks went back that night, I switched to drinking water for the last half hour and I had the foresight to order a wake-up call for the morning before I tottered back to my room.

I felt surprisingly good in the morning and thoroughly enjoyed a decent breakfast to set me up for the day.

My scrabble turned around, winning the first battle of the day against Wayne.

The game of note here was against Gareth. He had played ROSETTE making S(KOW) which I challenged off. It would have played underneath making KO/LOS/WE or some such, so I blocked with WOOL. Gareth dumped TE and I had AEEIUST on my rack when the fire alarm went off. Clocks neutralised we all trooped out. Gareth came in for a good bit of ribbing as I enquired why hadn't he played ROSETTE underneath KOW as it scored more ponts there and he said he didn't think LOS was allowed :) It was the best part of half an hour before we got back inside to resume our games. Gareth and I then both went through a series of vowel dumping moves before I bonused with MOTILES and he hit straight back with something equally difficult on top of it. I had picked the Q with nowhere to dump it but had a decent lead so just kept scoring, awaiting an opportunity to offload it. Nearing the end ZAPS from Gareth for 50 down from J14 to get within 32 points. I made a mistake now - I should have blocked with BI/AB/PI but I had previously manoeuvred a decent place for the Q and played it. Gareth hit me with LINDANE for 95, taking a 37 point lead but emptying the bag. I had BEIRRT? but the only place for a 7 needed to start with an E. Panic was just setting in when I spotted a C sticking one square up above a parallel play of EF to its right, and the bonus hit the board to seal victory.

I finished the tourney with a battling win against Chris Quartermain when he had got ahead with two consecutive bonuses and had been clamping the board down. He had left one spot open and I got the bonus in to draw level nearing the end. It may have been closer if Chris had known SHULED but luckily for me he didn't, so I finished on 7 out of 12 with a clean sweep of Wales.

The final result was the closest ever. Wales in fourth with 16, Ireland third with 26, Scotland second with 27 and England just pipping us also on 27 wins but scoring a mere 15 points more in spread than us over 48 games played!

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