These are my new “Bowls” .
What do they say about me?
I guess you need to know a little bit about them to work that out. TAYLOR, that’s easily explained, it’s the brand name, but BLAZE? That tells you a little bit more.
Flat green bowls don’t roll in a straight line, they roll in a curve. The direction of curve is decided by which way you hold them to start your shot, but the arc of the curve (to a novice like myself) is decided by the type of bowl. There were plenty of bowls to choose from in the bowls cupboard so in my first few weeks I practiced with a few different types and sizes and finally settled on Taylor Ace, size 2.
Size 2, chosen purely for comfort. The sizes range from the smallest, 00, up to a 5, size two is the biggest size I can comfortably pick up with one hand.
Of the Taylor bowls, the Ace is the one which curves the most, it’s quite difficult to use, but if you can learn to control it, it’s perfect for slipping in through small gaps from the side of the rink at the end of the game.
I haven’t done a bad job with the aces over the last few months, but they need a very wide shot to allow for the bowl to arc inwards to do its job and for that you need to not be afraid of aiming too far out.
Until recently, Taylor made, I think, six different styles of bowls, the ace making the biggest arc, and the Vector being next in line. I did have a go with a Vector set from the cupboard, and was more comfortable with their arc, but there wasn’t a size two so in the end I decided to buy a set of Vector bowls, but continued to use the size two Aces while I waited for a friendly payday.
As I got used to the Aces, instead of making my mind up, I was more and more undecided between Ace and Vector… then Taylor released the Blaze… with an arc which rolled between the two… perfect.
The colour ? Well most older bowls are black with coloured emblems on them. It’s only recently that bowls have been made in colours… And of course I looked for orange and found them.
Then the confidence fell and the doubt set in again. The orange bowls were very bright and could be seen clearly from the far end of the green. An advantage to follow a good bowl with another, but since I only manage for about one in four shots to be good, my bad shots would show up from the other end of the green more than my good ones.
Bowls aren’t cheap and I’m probably only ever going to have one brand new set so I made up my mind, I would go for the orange ones. I couldn’t find them again online so eventually phoned Taylors in Scotland … Limited edition… The words sunk in and my smile fell to the floor… The decision had been taken out of my hands … No orange bowls.
New colours available in the new catalogue ? Not yet online?
I vaguely remember giving my address and waiting for a catalogue to arrive.
Well, the catalogue arrived and so did the friendly payday. Green bowls, not quite as good as orange, on the plus side though, not quite as bright as orange either. Another delay, they were so new a colour that the compound to make the bowls hadn’t arrived, there was another plus side though, since my bowls were still a twinkle in someone’s eye, they would be made from scratch for me and I could choose whatever emblem and colour paint I wanted…
Orange of course, and the scorpion? My birth sign.
And then my smiles arrived in the post, all four of them, and they’re perfect.
So, what do my bowls say about me?
I like orange and green (of course I like orange and green), it’s taken over six months to get to the stage where I get the odd really good shot with the more difficult bowls, so I guess there’s perseverance, but I’ve bought the slightly easier bowls to use… There’s that confidence thing again.
Oh, and the scorpion ? Pretty standard really, I’ll back away from most things for a quiet life, but just bear in mind I have a nasty sting in my til and given no other choice, I know how to use it.
More from before: living into “Semi-retirement” and beyond…