All that childhood competitive card playing has finally paid off.
That's right, while you were watching the Goonies or playing Tetris, I was learning the art of how to win at all and any card game ever invented. We Willis's like cards.
In Lockerbie to visit Gareth's gran, Faith, we accompanied her to the local village hall for her weekly Progressive Whist night. Gareth had forewarned her I liked cards and she'd jumped at the chance to take us along.
I was a little nervous beforehand. I may have been playing cards since I was knee high to a grasshopper, but my father, my teacher, had a habit of 'improving' games by adding Willis Rules. Thus I've never really been sure if I know how to play the same games as the rest of the world, or just Dad's ones.
I needn't have worried. A few games in I realised I was capable of giving these kind and welcoming old folk a run for their money - and I mean that literally - it was £2 a head to play.
Progressive Whist is a game for four, and you play opposite your partner. To my right was Jean, a woman pushing 100 with one white, and therefore blind, eye. The opportunity arose to either let her win, or cruelly beat her. Jean played a trump. It was my turn. I had an even better trump, or an average card. One way, I'd win the hand, the other, she would.
Obviously I took no prisoners. This wasn't a charity night. Jean was going down and taking all the other pensioners with her. As I thwarted her trump card with an even better one, I received a nod of approval from my partner - beating the blind was clearly encouraged here.
Later, I played my best round of the night with Jean's older, more doddery brother, Jock. He was my kind of guy - if I'd been 50 years older Gareth would have been fighting him off with a walking stick.
Jock helped me on my way to becoming the second highest female scorer and thus, proudly I won a prize of £1. I went to thank Jock for his part in my success and he - and this was where my night was complete - gave me a Worther's Original.
I was over the moon. Until:
'Haven't you been here before?' Jock asked.
I assured him it was my first time.
'Oh. Then you look just like my favourite glamour model,' he declared.
Oh Jock. It was going so well...
"The composition of my soul is made, too great for servile, avaricious trade.
When raving in the lunacy of ink, I catch my pen and publish what I think."
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