Given the important 10 year milestone, we had a tough decision as to where we should hold this year’s bridge weekend away. Should we go back to Eastbourne or Brighton or somewhere exotic in England, like maybe Scunthorpe? But no, we decided to pack our bags and bridge books and head for the love in Slovenia.
We were a party of about 50 people and the plan was to enjoy a long weekend with a smidgeon of bridge (of course!) but also to enjoy Slovenia. Why Slovenia? Well, as we were to find out it is a country with many treasures but there were a couple of jewels that we already knew about in Maruša Baša and David Gold.
They had agreed to host us and helped to make this trip absolutely sensational – not just me saying it either!
Some of us learnt about splinter bidding, courtesy of a seminar from Simon Cope. There is a rumour that one of our pairs, after the benefit of this seminar, ended up in 4♠ on a 2 card fit after a splinter sequence wasn’t recognised, but I am quite sure that this is not true!
But let’s not dwell on such possible misunderstandings - what about Anne and John Robbins bidding and making an excellent 7♥ and to Patricia and Bridget Denny for making 7NT during the individual! Over the years, our bridge is definitely improving. We played over 80 boards and were still playing the teams after midnight on the Friday without mutiny or moaning – not even a murmur from Mr Longville!
Our base was Bled and Bled is beautiful: lake, castle, island and gorgeous gorges. There were spectacular walks and, at the time of writing, we are still waiting for a full report from Gavin and Simon who are probably still wandering between local cafés and remote farms to enjoy the full experience…
We know that bridge is a game where counting is critical. We count trumps, points, distribution, shape etc etc. The harder we work at our bridge the more we count. And by the time we came to the break from bridge with our planned coach trip to Ljubljana, your author was, not unreasonably, taking a break from all this counting and was just relaxing in the luxury of the coach to enjoy the ride…
I was sitting without a care. Enjoying the great weather and looking forward to the day ahead. The phone call from mum, was a surprise. She and her boyfriend, Frank “de Niro”, had joined the party and it seemed a bit lazy of them not to just leave their seat on the coach and come and talk directly to me.
They weren’t on the coach – we had left them behind. I tried to explain about the counting fatigue, but there is something about leaving your own mother behind, which surpasses the failure to count up to 13 or the number of passengers expected on the coach. I was in trouble!
We were incredibly lucky to have some inspiring bridge experts with us. Our very own Simon Cope and Tom Paske but also David, Maruša and Adele Gogoman. They have the patience of saints and were a pleasure to partner. But as demonstrated in the master class, where the pros were playing and analysing as they were going, they are a superior alien species and not quite of this planet as far as normal bridge reasoning is concerned!
Slovenia is beautiful, clean, efficient and sadly, incorruptible. I took a small side bet on which of the two boats, pictured above, would get to the island first. I was quietly confident. I suspected that offering our oarsman 80% of my pay-off would secure this important win. True, he wasn’t quite as “hench” as my wife might say, but a small financial incentive can work wonders.
As we set off, I made my proposal. But this was not taken well. I got a disapproving stare and the comment that, “this is not a boat race”. I had got the partnership understanding very wrong and lost my €10 into the bargain!
To finish this latest adventure by 10cc, I need to mention some people that went out of their way to make this all work so well. In terms of going out of their way, Gerry and Benita made it a truly international event, coming all the way from Canada. Great to see Gerry and have his bridge skills present. He has managed to attend several of the 10cc weekends. Delightful to see Benita – provided you have lots of ice for her coke zeros!
Huge thanks to Maruša; she sourced everything; negotiated everything and made our stay run very smoothly. We had a small but effective committee for Slovenia – Diana, Alison and Rob as treasurer. Great work from them and greatly appreciated.
I have mentioned Simon’s lesson, which is always inspiring and how lucky we were to have such delightful pros/experts with us. David’s talk and insights were very well received, now all we have to do is apply his ideas! Don’t forget, there is no such thing as a singleton king…
Other committee members Jo and Bridget Rampton have also been busy and their contributions are very much appreciated. Thanks to Jenni for helping finance some of the delightful Slovenian wine (and even the odd beer). Not forgetting all the effort and negotiating from Ms Gilet or as she is better known, Lesley.
|10cc bridge players in full swing
|Some 10cc’ers sporting gilets – including Lesley!
List of Winners
Bridget – 1st Individual
David Gold – 2nd Individual
Geoff Pasvol – 3rd Individual
Martin Williams - 4th Individual
Anne and John Robbins – 1st N/S Saturday pairs
Paul Johnson and Richard Bowley – 1st E/W Saturday pairs
Rob, Alison, Adele and Jenni – 1st Teams
Heather, Jo, Maruša and Richard – 2nd Teams
Bridget Denny and Laurence - 1st N/S in random pairs
Joan and Richard Bowley - 1st E/W in random pairs