Monday is an interesting day for me
I’ll skip the breakfast routine and the scary journey to the swimming pool on the edge of town, and I will even leave out the afternoon carpet bowls with its elderly interesting characters. Those lads have been around, they pull no punches – they tell it as it is. No malice, they just speak their mind, and to hell what people think. To be honest it’s quite refreshing to listen to them for a couple of hours. Lots of their banter makes sense when you don’t have to think you may offend someone.
Monday evening for me means going back to the swimming pool, sauna, steam room and spa, where another set of characters greet me with tales of their weekend exploits, decorating disasters and family problems. Being one of the oldest in our little group, they seem to confide in me. Personally I think it’s great because I have lots to tell the wife when I go home. Obviously I put a bit of a spin on it, and make it even more interesting, like you do…
When I’ve gleaned all the gossip out of my friendly bathing companions, it’s time to dry off, hit the road and head to the best part of my day: the Camera Club. This is a huge pub on the edge of a children’s park and housing estate. This is the sort of pub where you wipe your feet when you leave the place, because it’s so dirty I think the landlord uses a pig as an air freshener. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. It certainly makes you appreciate what you have got back home…
The ladies darts team are in full swing. You would be forgiven if at first glance you thought they had Christmas jumpers on from a distance – but it’s not, it’s their tattoos. Fingers, arms, necks, ears: as colourful as it is, it’s not my cuppa tea.
In the middle of the room are the pool team players. Six guys in crisp white shirts and black trousers from the car showroom just up the road. Then there’s our lot: five or six photographers sat discussing cameras, and where they have been snapping over the weekend. The leader of our group is called Charlie. He’s about four foot ten, bald as a badger, but has the most hideous wig that looks like a dead cat, and probably bought from pound shop. He owns around 25 cameras bought off the internet. I’m sure most of them don’t work. The ones that do are dented, scratched, or are film cameras.
Introducing you to the others in the club; next is John. He seems to have one of those photographic memories. You only tell him something once and it’s stuck in his noddle for life. A very interesting guy. When John speaks the rest of the club listens in to his conversation. He makes every sentence interesting and informative.
Charlie has just told us he’s going home for two minutes. His wife is locked out. As he zooms by the window on his Norton 500cc motorbike, I glance at Stu. Nice guy, locked in the 60s and 70s. He was in a pop group, and played local gigs. He shows us all pictures of himself every week without fail: photos of when he had hair and it was black, and shoulder length – Breaking off just to tell you one of the women dart players has just been pierced by a dart… There will be more accidents like that as the night progresses and the beer flows.
Getting back to our gang, there is Carlos, who owns a boat, a jag, and several top of the range cameras. He’s a quiet unassuming guy, takes fantastic pics, owns a studio that he rents out, and has all the latest versions of photoshop and knows how to get the best out of it.
Argggh, another piercing from the womens dart team. Our leader has just returned, and the club’s eyes are on him as he takes his helmet off. Silence for a few seconds, and then lots of cheering as we witness his wig still in the helmet. The dead cat came off, and it’s now lining our leader’s crash helmet.
Arrrrgh, yet another piercing. By now our leader is laughing at the darts team and we get a double whammy – an injury and our leader’s sweaty bald head reflecting all the pubs wall lights on it.
Time to go for my diet Coke, and while I’m waiting to be served at the bar, I observe what’s going on. The pool team is looking a bit worse for wear. By the time one of the sales guys has taken a round of drinks towards the pool table, another sales guy is ready to place another round of drinks at the bar. The ladies darts team seem to be surrounded by about nine or ten bottles of prosecco on their tables.
It’s getting on for 9.30pm. We’re all done talking about cameras and stuff. The sales guys are all slumped in their chairs barely coherent and texting their wives and girlfriends. The darts team are ready for a rest and nursing their wounds in between texting people. Charlie has seen his wig in his helmet and had a good laugh with us at it.
I’m the last of the Camera Club to leave and I thought I would have one last bit of fun. I switch on my bluetooth on my mobile, change my paired device name to ‘pool player’. Most of the female darts players’ names pop up and I write: I love you.
I send the message, half the women through glazed eyes look up and glance at the pool players. Eyelids are fluttering towards the pool team. They haven’t a clue how to react. I thought, “That’s it, let’s get out of here.”
Roll on next Monday…
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