PLAY YOUR CARDS RIGHT
by John Yeo
The ship had sailed away from Southampton on a long voyage to the Caribbean. I have never experienced this type of holiday before, and I was very keen to find a way to pass the time during the interminable days at sea.
“I think I would like to learn Bridge,” I said to the Social Hostess, when I went to collect my copy of the morning crossword puzzle and the quiz. “I have never played the game before and it will be a very rewarding way to kill some time while we are at sea.”
“That’s a good idea.” Said, Angela the friendly crew member on duty. “Just turn up and introduce yourself. It doesn't matter if you are an absolute beginner, the Bridge tutor is very friendly and you are certain to fit in.”
“Thanks Angela, I will let you know how I get on.”
I was very early, for the Bridge session and I made my way outside on deck to sit and do my crossword. This was definitely wistful thinking as I soon became aware of the gusty winds outside on deck. The ship was miles out at sea and the waves were high rolling, and foam topped. The view on all sides of the ship was exactly the same, broiling grey-blue waves on a moving sea reaching out to a far distant horizon. The cloudy sky was broken by a few patches of blue, revealed by the wind-blown clouds racing across. I was astonished at how few seabirds there were, until one of the crew informed me that the birds were usually seen close to the shore.
The only visible thing was a distant spot on the horizon, I asked my new found friend the crew member. “Is that another passenger ship in the distance?”
“No Sir, that is probably a container vessel, on the way to the docks.”
“However can you know what that is from this distance? I asked.
“Ah! We only usually see cargo vessels on this route, if that was another passenger ship the Captain would have informed everyone over the loudspeakers.”
“Thanks for your help.” I said.
“You are welcome!” Was the friendly response“
I made my way to the card-room where I was full of questions. Would I like this mysterious card game? Would I be able to pick the basics up quickly enough to be able to take part in a serious game? The Bridge tutor bustled up to me as soon as I entered, a friendly looking, middle aged lady with piercing brown eyes, looking over a pair of brown plastic spectacles, smiling broadly she said.
“Good Morning, and welcome have you played this game before? I’m Cheryl and this is my husband Bill. What is your name?”
I was overwhelmed with the warmth of this friendly greeting, and as Bill shook my hand, I replied. “I’m John, and No! I am an absolute beginner. I would like to learn the basics to enable me to play when I return home.”
“Of course John, welcome!” Said Bill, “You have come to the right place, luckily we have three people here who are looking for someone to make up a four, let me introduce you to Jen and Lew, and their travelling companion May.”
I shook hands with Lew, a tall portly man, with a bald head and a friendly manner.
Jen responded with a welcoming smile and said “Sit down,John.” I liked Jen instantly, her dark hair and very brown eyes gave her an open but wary look.
I smiled and nodded as I took a seat at the table, opposite May. “I'm sorry to say that I am a total beginner, I have never played this game before.”
Lew responded and said, “Don’t worry Jen and I have played a little before, but May is learning, you are welcome to join us.”
Cheryl bustled up towards our table and said. “May I suggest that you play men against ladies that will put one absolute beginner, up against another, together with one of the more experienced players.”
I found myself paired up with Lew against Jen and May. Then total card war broke out as the game began. Closely followed and supervised by the two tutors, Cheryl and Bill. I have never experienced a card battle like this before. I found myself getting exasperated looks from Lew as I bidded wrongly and made many amateurish errors. I could see May was getting by, but she was also overcome by the tension of this fight to the finish.
The ladies won hands down, and Lew was rather peeved, I could see it in his demeanour.
I found myself warming to May, her total genuine attitude, her bright blue eyes and blonde hair, and her smiling personality. We arranged to meet later for tea.
Drinking Camomile tea in the cafe and discussing the philosophy of non-verbal communication, we rapidly fell head over heels in love at first fight.
We never played Bridge again!
Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.