It has been a strange couple of days.
However, yesterday morning I woke up in Kirkcaldy, thanks to Callum Leslie, but more to his mum Susan and step-dad, for putting me, Kristian and Jenny up after Andrew Reeves's funeral. However, with Callum dashing off to Manchester for Liberal Youth at stupid o'clock and me having to back to the airport two cars departed in quick succession.
Callum's mum it was who left me in to the airport. The reason for the ungodly hour? Well I had a bowls match to play, not just was I playing I was skipping. I got off to a decent start, playing some good bowls to convert shots then at 9 all. My rink managed to drop a five.
Editor's alert blog readers are warned that Stephen will start to use a lot of bowling terms, not all of which he explains. You may wish to skip to the end for a nice bit of music, but bear with it for the drama, it is worth it.
Now for the uninitiated I'm talking lawn bowls, not ten-pin, and for league matches there are four players on a rink, with two bowls each, therefore a maximum of eight of your bowls could be closer than the opposing team. So to drop a five is quite dire.
However, the next end was something to behold. Slowly all my bowls got knocked up past the other team's best bowl until there were only three bowls to come.
With my first bowl I drew another shot. I turned to the guys behind and said there's seven in that now. They said don't count your chickens. Quite right my opposing skip had been keeping them in it.
He comes back up from the head and goes to deliver his last bowl. It looks good, it goes into the head. I set my last bowl down and walk up to the head, where I see the damage. It is a measure for shot but I prefer their bowl.
I walk back down to the mat, step forward, but don't feel right. I step back and reset myself. I deliver the bowl, the line looks good, then it starts the turn. I've followed it slightly up the green. I watch as it head in toward two bowls, my other one and the skips. It goes past mine hits the skips full.
Now the laws of physics state that energy is not destroyed it can only change forms.
My bowl had a bit of momentum behind it when it hit their skips shot bowl. However, it almost stopped dead as the energy was transferred to the other bowl and it carried on along that track. I knew from the reactions that it had gone far enough. I walked backward to the mat waiting for the thirds to declare the head. First three bowls are taken out straight away. Then a fourth and fifth. I'm saying under my breathe, "Come on give me the rest". The third then turns out the sixth.
My two shortest bowls at the front remain I know that the only bowl that could be better than them was the one I had just moved. But finally the other two are both turned out, to congratulations all around.
Getting an perfect eight is a rarity, although I have secured five of them in my career, but there are easier ways to get them than to have to turn out the opponents shot bowl as the skip to achieve it. Leads, seconds and thirds, often are resigned to the fact that there is bound to be a bowl gets in amongst their bowls before the end of the head. One did, but their skip showed the mettle to calming take it out and restore parity.
It is a perfect eight that I will remember for many a year. It really was a created rather than a given eight and therefore in honour of that I think a little Beautiful South seems just fine.