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Pole to Pole

Day 121: Bulawayo

Michael Palin - Pole to Pole'You get a very representative crowd, people from all walks of life and all ages and everything, they all come and play bowls.'

I ask Pearle if the club has black African members.

'Er . . . we don't have any, no. Actually the Africans are not particularly interested in bowls. The only black bowlers we've got in Bulawayo belong to the Blind Bowlers Association . . . It's really quite fantastic to see some of them play, because they might not be able to see anything yet they call out instructions to them and they sometimes play incredible bowls.'

A Scots lady is the current Zimbabwean National Champion and she is on the green today, broad and tanned, her hat at a rakish angle, with a cigarette permanently on the go. She encourages her opponents vigorously. 'Beautiful weight, Doris . . . Oh, magic adjustment Ethel, well bowled!'

When her turn comes she delivers the bowl with one hand and retains her cigarette in the other. As the bowl describes the gentlest of arcs she straightens up, pulling slowly and thoughtfully on her cigarette as she encourages it across the green, 'Come on, kiddo . . . come on, little one.'
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  • Series: Pole to Pole
  • Day: 121
  • Country/sea: Zimbabwe
  • Place: Bulawayo
  • Book page no: 268

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