Dear Mr Jones,
Thank you for agreeing to act on behalf of Boules International. I enclose the entire correspondence I have had to do with the organisers so that you do not feel you are being left out of anything. What is missing from all of this is the feeling of summer gaiety, the madcap excitement as you feel you might actually win a point, the delirious relief as you realise you are going to be knocked out by a team that takes things far more seriously than you do, the smell of barbecued quail wafting over the ancient square, the hoarse cries of the police as they beat back admirers, the incessant chanting of the hordes of Bath estate agents (PRICE REDUCED! PRICE REDUCED!) the gay abandon of a drink in one’s hand (last year I was offered, and accepted, a large Pernod from an enchanting French girl who turned out to be on the other side – as one of my players said to me, “If you weren’t the captain, you’d be dropped by now”. . .
I think it will be fun. What I am taking for granted so far is that a) you are coming to play b) you are bringing Alison with you, both of which would give me great pleasure and Caroline says aye to that, And what about if, on Saturday night, we all went to Homewood Park, not a mile away, to dine and discuss tactics.
Incidentally, to play the game needs no great experience. The main assets are:
2. Tolerable spatial co-ordination (e.g. ability to get rolled up paper in litter bin.
3. The sort of competitiveness you always disclaim but secretly you have
4. Willingness to have one practice session beforehand
5. Glass of something in one hand.
6. Captain who has played before, so can be blamed for any loss of form or exit from contest.
7, The possession of enough boules
5,6,7, are already to hand, so I see no problem.
Incidentally, I have reread my exchange with Palin, and he is going to a wedding in Suffolk. Whether it is part of a programme is not clear.
The most enjoyable thing about last year’s competition was that one or two French restaurants had practised like demons to win their national game, and were all knocked out early on. The final was between an English and Chinese team. Much crying was done into the red wine that night.
Hey, I’m looking forward to this. I’ll phone you tomorrow about Gilliam – if no go, I’ll spend the rest of the week either getting someone agreeable to both, or wrecking Palin’s wedding.