‘Twas brillig, and the Toovey Clips
Did jingle-jangle in the breeze;
All mimsy were the borogroves
And the bisques climbed the trees.
“Beware the Jabberhoop, my son:
The jaws that catch, the wires of steel.
Beware the Rover Bird, and shun
The frumious Triple Peel.”
He took his mallet bold in hand
Long time the perfect stroke he tried;
Then rested he by the WC
And checked the Rulings Guide.
And as in baffled thought he stood,
The Jabberhoop with jaws so tight
Emerged from out the distant mist
And cried, “Come on! Let’s fight!”
One-two! One-two! Each mighty blow!
The double taps came thick and fast --
Alas, no referee -- and so
He ran the hoop at last.
“And hast thou run the Jabberhoop?
The victor’s oil thy head anoints!
You gain -- oh joy! Oh, whoopy-whoop! --
Three hundred index points!”
‘Twas brillig, and the Toovey Clips
Still jingle-jangled in the breeze;
Still mimsy were the borogroves
Like the bisques up the trees.
Chris Webbley, with many apologies to Lewis Carroll
‘Twas the month before Christmas and all through the town
People wore masks that covered their frown.
The frown had begun way back in the spring
When a global pandemic had changed everything.
They called it Corona but, unlike the beer,
It didn’t bring good times, it didn’t bring cheer.
Infectious and deadly this virus spread fast,
Like a wildfire that starts when fuelled by gas.
All aircraft were grounded and travel was banned,
While borders were closed across air, sea and land.
As the world entered lockdown to flatten the curve
Economies stumbled and folks lost their nerve.
From March to July, we rode the first wave,
And people stayed home as they tried to behave.
When summer emerged, the lockdown was lifted
But away from their caution so many folks drifted.
And now it’s December and cases are spiking.
Wave Two has arrived, much to our disliking.
The folk on the frontline like doctors and nurses
Are trying to save people from riding in hearses.
This virus is awful, this COVID-19,
And there’s some way to go till we get the vaccine.
It’s true that this year has had sadness a-plenty.
We’ll never forget it, the year 2020.
So, now it is time for the holiday season
But oh, why be merry? Is there even one reason
To decorate my house and put up the tree
When no one will see it, nobody but me?
But outside my window the snow gently falls
And I think to myself, come on, let’s deck the halls!
So, I gather the ribbon, the garlands and bows.
As I play those old carols, my happiness grows.
True Christmas ain’t cancelled, and neither is hope:
If we lean on each other, I know we can cope.
Wherever you are now, I wish you good cheer,
Warmth, safety and peace,
(and a better New Year!)
By an anonymous writer, sent in by Jane Gloster.
It all came about through a conversation I had with Sharon early in August, when we were able to play again. She indicated that many of the newer members felt rather lost, not knowing other club members to fix games with, and as the “Newbie “ sessions had finished and no roll ups were running, what could they do?
Following this I contacted Richard with a few ideas and got the job of organiser!
The format proposed was 6 players per lawn (as set down by CA), one single and one doubles. The playing order would be decided in advance, thus avoiding any cross-infection risk from digging for a golf ball in the bag. A note to all members inviting interest got some 30 names and availability and the first "roll up” took place on 17th August.
Since then, and bearing in mind the November lockdown, up to 14th December there have been
Let’s hope 2021 will be plainer sailing and more croquet!
Those members who have been at the club recently will know that the ground is muddy in places and can be treacherous. Please do be careful and walk carefully. No running ;-)
You may also be opting for a warmer, more robust shoe. But please note that not all flat shoes are the same. In the picture below the shoe on the left is a bowls shoe with a completely flat sole - in fact it this makes it quite slippery in current conditions. The shoe on the right is broadly 'flat' but has raised dimples. This shoe has good grip but is not suitable for croquet use since it tears the soft surface.
Whilst not being proscriptive, please consider your footwear. It must of course be flat. Some grip is good for safety. Too much grip becomes damaging to the lawn.
Lawn Management team
I hope you have enjoyed sharing fellow members' stories and reflections on good things that croquet has given us. Here are the last of the set, all on two themes -- 'achievements' and 'people'
Alan Clark gets us started:
"One for the AC player---during lockdown Sharon can't do a 2 ball break against me."
A best moment for Jean Douglas-Withers:
"Having been a golfer I found playing Croquet a big challenge. My best moment was a 'Hoop in One'.
Also it was a good way to meet other members, we were all beginners and helped each other understand the rules of the game, always with a smile on our face."
Julian Webster on people who helped get him started:
"A friend in Norfolk took me to the Hunstanton Croquet Club on their club afternoon. He explained that it was a different game, Club Croquet, from the Garden (Association) Croquet we used to play at home. He lent me his wife's mallet, the first square one I had ever seen. I played with him as my tutor all afternoon. Having found everyone so friendly I "Googled" 'Croquet Buckinghamshire' on my return home, found HWCC and joined in 2013 when they played at Missenden Abbey. I ventured up to the Hazlemere Recreation Ground and found a very flat piece of newly seeded earth.
Subsequently I learned that Duncan Reeve started his croquet career at Hunstanton CC.
Finally, Ralph made me my own square mallet!"
Mike Porter takes us further afield:
"One of my most amazing croquet experiences came when I was still a student. Our university team went on a tour of the North-Eastern United States, from Delaware up to Boston, for about ten days. Croquet in that part of the US was, from what we could tell, a rich person’s pastime … and many of the rich people were keen to be hospitable. Most notably we stayed overnight in a mansion in downtown Philadelphia where one of the paintings on the wall was a genuine Van Gogh! In Newport, Rhode Island, we stayed in another mansion overlooking the Atlantic. Not only that, but we played croquet in Central Park.
An incredible trip!"
(Editor's note -- I did promise you Van Gogh, all those weeks ago!)
Here are some moments of dedication to the sport from Pam Mead:
"Getting soaking wet after playing all day in the rain and still managing to be cheerful. Was I supposed to be enjoying this!
Breaking down on the M25 on the way to a league match at Southwick. Standing behind the barrier whist waiting for the AA to come with cars and lorries hurtling past. We eventually arrived three hour late and played the match."
An illuminating croquet tale from Geoff Youd:
"Many years ago when the club was at Bassetsbury Manor, a final of the doubles competition saw Pam Darvill and me up against Ruth Youd and Peter Meyers. It took place in the evening, and play went on in gathering darkness. Eventually, we even had a car's headlights turned on in the car park to give some (dim!) light.
Peter and Ruth were in the lead. Then, I asked Pam to send the ball over to me at hoop 3 back. She made a perfect shot landing in front of the hoop. Peter and Ruth could do nothing more than join up, I was able to run the hoop and thus my partner and I won the trophy."
Jennian Geddes makes a comment that we can all relate to:
"One of the nicest things about croquet is that you can be as thrilled and pleased over a great shot by an opponent as you can by your own master strokes. No word in English for that feeling, but I’ve been told that Norwegians recognise it and have an appropriate word: now I only have to find out what it is..."
Duncan Catterall reports progress in a tricky year:
"Normally I live in London, working full time in a job that demands a lot of my time. However for lockdown I decided to head back to my parents' house, conveniently located 20mins from the club. Temporarily moving back and working from home has allowed me to play far more croquet than ever! Last year I only played 4 times; this year - a lot! And the extra practice has paid off, as I have gone from an 8 handicap last year, to a 4 now.
I have also had the delight of meeting many more HWCC members this year."
As Jane Gloster relates, sometimes other things take priority:
"I was playing in a friendly, away match. Halfway through the game, my opponent suddenly --- and without a word -- walked off the lawn. I was concerned that she might be feeling unwell, so I asked her when she returned whether she was feeling okay. "Oh yes, I'm fine thanks," she replied. "I just remembered that I had forgotten to put the cucumber sandwiches in the fridge to be fresh for tea."
How very English, I mused, as our game resumed.
And finally, Don Rutherford takes us to two very good moments of croquet:
"The first occurred at Bassetsbury a few years ago. I was playing Roy Josh. He played first and absolutely amazingly his shot went up to Hoop 1, made a right-angled turn and went right through the hoop. We went up to the hoop to see what obstruction had caused the deviation but there was no sign of anything! As he was a spiritualist we put it down to a friendly intervention. He was highly chuffed.
But more was to follow - he went on to a score of six hoops with one to me. And then our fortunes changed. I went on to take the next six hoops!
I do wonder whether that event was what caused him to drop out of croquet ...
The second event occurred much more recently. I had just had a special lesson from Cliff Jones, which was really about keeping my head down, something that had always eluded me. The next day I played at Roehampton with Alan Clark as a partner. We played against some strong opposition. But I went on to play a near perfect game (much helped by Roehampton's billiard table smooth lawns ). Any shot I made, no matter how far, I hit the opponent's ball. I finally made a shot at a ball from about fifteen yards from beyond hoop eight. The opponent's ball was about two yards from hoop nine at an angle of 45 degrees. I hit it, my ball deflected and then nurdled right into hoop nine. At that point the opponents gave up.
Alas, that performance was never to be repeated."
Thank you, Don and everyone for sharing your 'one good thing from croquet'. Chris Webbley
To mark their appreciation of the way that Geoff Brook has organised the GC Roll-Ups, the players on Monday gave him a well-earned round of applause. Better still was the presentation of a bottle and a card signed virtually by all the roll-up players and arranged by Sharon Clark. Thanks to Geoff, people have been able to take part during the tricky periods of restrictions with confidence, which has been a boon to all of us who value our sociable sessions of croquet.
Geoff takes a break now, while Pauline steps up to organise the next few weeks. Thanks go to them both.
Eight hardy and determined croquet players turned up for the latest GC Winter Tuesday Handicap Tournament yesterday. The pictures tell the story of the cold weather through the day. Keith Toovey and Chris Webbley, facilitating, were relieved to have the expert judgment of groundsman Russell regarding the playability of the lawns at the start of the day, and you can judge for yourself how hardy and determined the players needed to be as the afternoon fog descended!
Some tight matches, some extreme numbers of Extra Turns exchanged, plenty of cheerfulness, and a taste of mulled wine and mince pies to help the afternoon along. Martin Dock won the prized bottle of bubbly after a tense 13th hoop final.
Well done, everyone. The next tournament is due in January -- here's hoping for more of the middle photo weather and less of the start and finish conditions!