Antrobus Bridge Club
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  50 Sheds of Grey


50 SHEDS of Grey


The novel “Fifty Shades of Gray” has seduced women – and baffled blokes.

Now , Fifty Sheds of Grey, offers a treat for the men.

The book's author Colin Grey recounts his love encounters at the bottom of the garden.
Here are some extracts...

We tried various positions – round the back, on the side, up against a wall.
But in the end we came to the conclusion the bottom of the garden was the only place for a good shed.


She knelt before me on the shed floor and tugged gently at first, then harder until finally it came. I moaned with pleasure. Now for the other boot.

Ever since she read THAT book, I’ve had to buy all kinds of ropes, chains and shackles.  She still manages to get into the shed, though.
“Put on this rubber suit and mask,” I instructed, calmly.
“Mmmm, kinky!” she purred.
“Yes,” I said, “You can’t be too careful with all that asbestos in the shed roof.”
“I’m a very naughty girl,” she said, biting her lip. “I need to be punished.”
So I invited my mum to stay for the weekend.


“Harder!” she cried, gripping the workbench tightly. “Harder!”
“Okay,” I said. “What’s the gross national product of Nicaragua?”

I lay back exhausted, gazing happily out of the shed window. Despite my concerns about my inexperience, my rhubarb had come up a treat.

“Are you sure you can take the pain?” she demanded, brandishing stilettos.
“I think so,” I gulped.
“Here we go, then,” she said, and showed me the receipt.
“Hurt me!” she begged, raising her skirt as she bent over my workbench.
“Very well,” I replied. “You’ve got fat ankles and no dress sense.”

“Are you sure you want this?” I asked. “When I’m done, you won’t be able to sit down for weeks.” She nodded.
“Okay,” I said, putting the three-piece lounge furniture on eBay.

“Punish me!” she cried. “Make me suffer like only a real man can!”
“Very well,” I replied, leaving the toilet seat up.

Last updated : 5th Mar 2015 10:00 GMT
  What is good shuffling and does it matter?

We all become accustomed to what “normal” bridge hands are like. Few of us regularly play where computer dealing is the norm, as the equipment is expensive, and not many bridge clubs can afford it. When we do get a chance to play computer dealt hands, we often find the hands a bit odd – for example, more voids and long suits than usual, and when we are playing a contract, the adverse trumps seem to split more unfavourably than we might expect . A typical conclusion is that the computer isn’t providing properly random hands, and we are suspicious of it.  Why might this be? Is there a problem with computers not being able to generate truly random deals?  Actually, no.   



When a hand of bridge is played, there is an obvious tendency for cards to be played in sets of 4 of the same suit – a non-random pattern.  When the hand is finished, we gather our 13 cards up and put them back in the board, ready for the next table.   What we should of course always do is to give them a bit of a shuffle first, so that the next player doesn’t receive clues about what order the cards were played in. But when it’s the last hand of the evening, what’s the point? Do we just put them back in the board as they are, because they are going to be shuffled and re-dealt next time?



At the start of a new session, when we all sit down and are presented with a few boards to shuffle and deal, what do we do? Do we just pull out the 4 hands, stack them into a deck of 52, give them a quick shuffle, and deal? If so, we only partially reduce the non-random pattern of the cards. It is rather hard to properly mix a deck to fully randomise – it takes several expert riffle shuffles, and few of us have the skill to do it, even if we had the time. But we’re usually in a bit of a hurry to get on with things, and don’t want to spend ages and ages shuffling.



The result is that we get a disproportionate number of flattish hands. Over time, that becomes the “norm” – what we expect to see, and judge to be typical.



Why should it matter? After all, we’re playing duplicate, so the hands are the same for everyone.



There are at least two very good reasons why it does matter. Firstly, we are playing for the fun of it, and most of us would agree that it’s a lot more enjoyable when there is competitive bidding, plenty of game and slam calls (especially based on shape rather than just a huge point count), and not so many evenings when you get a large number of rather dull hands.  Secondly, it keeps us sharper and improves our skills, as thoughtful play of the cards, and overcalling, get rewarded more often.



The good news is the choice isn’t between  investing in an expensive shiny new computer dealing system, or putting up with things as they are. There is a third option, that the maths experts tell us is remarkably effective. And it’s really very simple.  The answer is to give your 13 cards a good shuffle before you put them back in the board, after the last hand of the evening.  This breaks up the sequence of the cards, so that when they are dealt next time, even with imperfect shuffling, the probability is that the new deal will be much more random.



If we can get into the habit of doing that, then our bridge stands to become more fun, and better for everyone.

Last updated : 18th Jan 2015 18:08 GMT