Olly the Owl here, from my nest high in the trees overlooking your croquet club.
I have to report some odd goings on last Tuesday (Ed: 4 Oct). The day started very early and strangely with a man in a white hat, and some others, hammering in a number of hoops not in the normal place and far more than normal (I am a wise old owl and know about these things!). When they had finished it looked as though they had made 4 courts out of two, very clever I must admit. However there were only 6 of them (Ed: Jason Carley from Watford, Bridget Goodman from Ealing, Russell Robinson from Phyllis Court, and Catherine Shore, Ian Shore and Chris Webbley from our club) so all their work seemed misplaced - until that is I saw the next peculiar thing.
A large group (Ed: They were business people over from Paris), I counted 22 of them, arrived in six very small cars to be greeted on their arrival with what looked like wine (Ed: it was fizzy apple juice!) and tasty nibbles. As you know this is not normal practice for your roll-ups - and anyway this was a Tuesday when normally there is more chance my sleep will not be disturbed. Following the party, well to be fair they only had a few minutes, the man in a white hat started talking. However, here was another strange thing, he only spoke in short phrases and waited until someone else has translated what he said into French (in which I am fluent of course as I am a very wise old bird!). It seems the man in the white hat was not proficient in the visitors' language. Nonetheless with some pointing and gesturing he seemed to achieve what he wanted as suddenly all the visitors flooded out across the lawns, waving mallets and knocking balls about. However the six who were wearing whites soon got the situation under control (some of them obviously fluent in French) and I saw the semblance of some Golf Croquet being played on each court. There was a lot of laughter, which papered over where the skill was missing. The fun had hardly started it seemed before suddenly everyone gathered in front of the club house for a photograph and then equally swiftly the visitors returned to their very small cars and departed (Ed. they were off to lunch at Le Manoir Restaurant!).
Once the visitors had left I could hear the people in white congratulating themselves - I am not sure why as they had not played a stroke! Anyway the white hatted chap seemed very pleased - I heard him say they had raised £420 for their new lawns (not more noise I hope?!).
Heigh ho, back to some very welcome sleep,