Quite an afternoon's Ecumenical Bowling.
It was all so friendly in theory. A 10-pin bowling game between our Women's Bible Study group and six of the women from the Extremely Primitive Methodists of the Manshead Hundred. A bar snack, maybe a half of lager or a glass of wine, and the peaceful reconciliation of a couple of disagreements the two groups have held about the position of men in the church.
This issue of men in church is quite important. At the Beaker Folk the only reason we can see for letting them be at the front at all is so you can see what they're up to. Whereas the Manshead Methodists have come to the conclusion that they can do without men in church completely. The last male in the congregation died 10 years ago, and their view is they've managed without him perfectly
well ever since.
So as I say, we settled down to some friendly rivalry. There were some complaints from the Methodists about Charlii's victory dance when she bowled a strike. Apparently all that break-dancing on the shiny part of the lane was putting them off.
So they retaliated - all shouting "look out" in unison as Marchwold ran in to bowl. She turned round to see what the fuss was - without stopping running - went over the foul line and her feet went straight up in the air.
Not best pleased, Marchwold decided she would get some revenge, once she'd worked out which way was up. That was a lovely strike she bowled, as well. I'd like to say that was because she channelled all her anger into the speed and direction of the ball. But in fact it was because she bowled old Mildred from the Methodists down the lane. I was impressed she managed to get her fingers up Mildred's nostrils.
So now the people running the bowling alley were grumpy. It's really hard extracting a Methodist from the machinery of those lanes. And Mildred came out fighting, and hit a mechanic with a skittle.
The management enforced a truce, to a degree. But it really went downhill after Jazmin from the Methodists got that turkey. I don't mean she scored three strikes on the trot. It was a ready-basted turkey. Leaves a nasty bruise, does 15lb of deep-frozen poultry.
So the whole thing completely broke down. Godly women throwing turkeys and bowling balls at each other. Heads being whomped with handbags. Charlii got a bump to the head after being hit at long range with a copy of Wesley's Sermons. It was a bloodpath.
So, in the event, it was just as well we had the "Service of Reconciliation and Healing" afterwards. Although the handshakes of peace were rather guarded. Still, if we'd not had that fight, we'd have nothing to be healed or reconciled, would we?