One of my photos

Being sociable

November 21st, 2010 · Posted by Skuds in Life/Work · No Comments · Life, Work

Diego Garcian dancers at the CCAR international social evening

It is not that I am unsociable or anti-social, but as time goes on I do admit that I am more and more content with my own company.  I am happy enough to go out with friends but I don’t feel bad if I am spending a night in – and now that I have all my books, music and instruments together in one place that is more of a pleasure.  All of which is by way of explaining how unusual it was last week to find myself going out three nights in a row.All three events were different excuses for drinking and chatting, although I only actually had a drink on the third night, but thoroughly enjoyed all three.

First off was a night at a bowling tournament organised by somebody at work.  To be honest I am not great at bowling and have only been a few times in my life but went to make up the numbers and show some solidarity with the rest of the department.  We went to the Hollywood Bowl in Crawley, where we had booked every single lane for the evening, so quite a big evening.

When we started the first one of our team to go got what I believe is called a strike.  The second member of the team then also knocked all ten pins down first go.  Things were looking good when the third person did the same.  I rather ruined it when my first shot went down the left-hand gutter and the follow-up went straight down the right-hand gutter.  Things did get better after that, but not by much, and I ended up with a measly 52, which I am told is very, very bad.

In the second game I picked up a bit and my first three goes were two half-strikes and a strike.  Such competence couldn’t last for ever, but I did eventually end up with 122, which is at least respectable if nothing like the 199 one of my team-mates got in the first game.  Fortunately I am not competitive – I guess everybody guessed that when I stodd for the Labour party in Horsham anyway.

It was a fun sort of evening though, but I have to say that the Hollywood Bowl is looking a bit tired these days.  When it opened about ten years ago it was bright and shiny and state of the art, but now it looks a bit tatty.  All the display screens are huge CRTs with ten years’ worth of screen burn on them.  Our one was fuzzy and almost unreadable.  Sometimes our lane would take 5 minutes to think about whether to reset the pins and the whole place now looks no better than the old bowling alley it replaced, which was very old by the time it closed.

Friday night was the Ifield Scouts’ fund-raising quiz night.  I went with a couple of colleagues from work and an ex-colleague. There was the usual arguing about a couple of answers – none more heated than the topic of whether Smurfs were Dutch or Belgian.  Suffice to say we chose the wrong one and the chap we over-ruled is never going to let us hear the last of it.  It was all good fun, as quizzes generally are, and included some particularly nice cakes.

The last night out was the Crawley Campaign Against Racism’s international social evening.  This is usually an entertaining evening out, and this year was no exception.  Entertainment was provided by dancers from the town’s Diego Garcian community, music and dancing from the local Portugese Society, a couple of singers, a stand-up comedian and Mr. Chris Mullins performing solo on his bodhrun after reminding us all (yet again) that the largest ethnic group in town is the Irish.

I was quite impressed actually.  I had seen the drums up on the wall at his house so I knew he played, but I didn’t realise he could play well enough to hold together a solo performance.  Maybe next year we should get him to bring along a couple of friends with fiddles or something.

The great thing about these evenings is the chance to catch up with people I haven’t seen for ages, including a couple of people who left my company a year or two ago.  It was also a pleasant surprise to see George there.  George is somebody I ‘met’ on the Flickr photosharing website a few years ago.  We sometimes compare notes and comment on each others’ pictures, but I had only actually met him once before when we were both taking photos at a vintage truck event.

I felt a bit left out at the end, when everybody on my table won a prize in the raffle except me, but otherwise it was a fine time.

And now back to my hermit-like existance for a few nights, though there are a few seasonal events coming up to drag me out of the nest – not least of which is the Spizzenergi gig in Camden Town on the 2nd.

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