Once again, I managed to have a great time on the weekend... by getting out of London.
Rach and I travelled to Bath to basically crash a party - it was the birthday party of a girl who's sister we had visited in Leeds because Rach met her when she was living in Australia a few years back... that doesn't sound tenuous at all, does it? These people had no idea who I was, but they welcomed me and threw an awesome party anyway! It was held on the family 'estate' outside of Bath (due to some poor planning, we didn't actually get to Bath, so I'll have to head back there another time to make a nerd pilgrimage to the eponymous ruins).
The party was great, with a bizarre range of people in attendance - from a German South African devoted to internet gambling, through an ex-city worker now training to be a physio, to an engineer with the Royal Marines, who, as he puts it, "blows stuff up." On arrival, we discovered a croquet course (is that the right word?) set up on the lawn and got into a friendly game with the gambler and engineer. The first round went to the Australians, showing that we're naturally great at all sports, no matter how unfamiliar or ridiculous. However, we lost the rematch, which was much less friendly, and a decider had to be played on Sunday. This was an absolute nail biter, and it came down to the wire as shown in the photo above - to save the game, I had to defy all laws of physics and get the pink ball to hit the black one hiding behind the pole. I would have made the shot if they'd let me chalk the mallet.
As you can probably guess, I'm a bit of a croquet convert now - and why wouldn't you be? It's a sport that you can, nay must, play with a drink in hand, and unlike golf or beer cricket there's very little actual movement required. I can't believe it hasn't taken off back home. Oh, that's right, you need to have a lawn... dirt croquet doesn't have the same appeal does it?
I've already had a few nasty comments about my rapid Anglicization (as demonstrated by the constant whining and use of the word 'crisps'), and my new found love of toff lawn sports won't help my defence. I have to admit that it's gotten worse - like all the 'locals' I was running around with my shirt off on Sunday, but only for medical reasons. But unlike all the topless Brits in Hyde Park, my pasty whiteness is at least minimised - I still haven't regained the weight lost from my bout of food poisoning on arrival, and I haven't had a packet of crisps in weeks.