I am not one for outdoor sports, as anyone who knows me will tell you (usually after they have finished laughing). I am not really one for indoor sports either, unless carrying 11kg of toddler in one arm while holding 11kg of laundry in the other counts as weightlifting (or wrestling!), in which case I am practically an Olympic athlete.
So, when I saw that the East Dulwich WI event for July was a summer picnic on Peckham Rye, I was delighted that I would be able to indulge in 3 of my favourite activities all at the same time – eating, drinking and sitting.
Then I read on and saw that there would also be games… and my first thought was, BLEURGH (my thoughts have a very limited vocabulary).
It didn’t help that it had been raining all afternoon, but I rather cleverly thought that at least I could use the wet grass as an excuse for not being able to throw a frisbee in a straight line. That, and the wine.
So, armed with wine and food for sharing (store bought – if cooking was a sport, my personal best would be unburnt toast), I made my way over to the park after putting the little nipper to bed. Now, I have only known these women for a couple of months but they greeted me with such great big smiles that I instantly felt pleased to have made the effort.
The first game we played involved throwing wooden sticks at wooden blocks in the aim of knocking them over. I don’t think anyone was quite sure why…
But we went along with it and it was harder than it looks! I think we were throwing those sticks for about an hour before someone FINALLY knocked over the big wooden ‘King’ block in the middle and the game was declared over. Phew. Time to hit the all you can eat buffet.
Next up was croquet, which I initally lacked enthusiasm for, being as it clashed with my turn by the potato salad at the picnic table, but as my name had been called, off I went for a quick tutorial and walk around the ‘course’.
I was partnered with Mimi, who is so lovely that not only did she pop home halfway through the wooden sticks game to get scarves for everyone shivering in the cold, but she was also happy to play the ‘you hold my plastic wine cup and I’ll hold yours’ game while we took our turns at croquet.
We lost the first point to the other team, who HAD played before, I hasten to add.
So we spent a few moments strategising about our next move… (and watching how the pros did it)
… and realised we were holding the mallet too high. So, we readjusted our technique to match our opponents and won the next two points easily, with a bit of added focus Mr Miyagi style.
I tried to convince Mimi to do the ‘crane’ on the last hoop, but she didn’t want to, and it didn’t matter anyway because we still won!! It was the most fun I have had playing sport, like, ever.
My new love of croquet is such, that I can’t wait for someone to invite me to play again! I have even discovered on google today (yes, move over Vampire Eric) that Dulwich has it’s own croquet CLUB! So watch this space is all I’m saying….
Next month, we’re meeting the Peckham Pickler, who is going to talk to us about utilising local Southwark produce by foraging, scrumping and generally rummaging about in shrubberies!
There’ll be wine there too.
If you live locally and would like to join the East Dulwich WI, or even just want to pop along to the next monthly event, it’s really easy (see previous blog post) and then just click here for details.