A night with numbers....
Legs 11, clickety click 66, highway to heaven number 7 – I think you’ve all guessed what I’m going on about. If the words Gala, Beacon, Coronet mean something other than their dictionary meaning then welcome to my world.
Many moons ago the words “let’s go to bingo” were met with “but that’s for old people” but how things have changed. When I first started out it was Gala bingo and that was in Banbury or even treks out to Swindon were not uncommon. The quick decision at just after 6.30pm meant jumping in the car and flying at break neck speed (of course at speed limit only) to Swindon to get there for the 7.30pm start.
After a while Gala started to go downhill and the money for a line, 2 lines and a house weren’t very much so my mother introduced me to Beacon. The nearest Beacon for me is Northampton – ok so it’s a 45 minute drive but worth it once I get there.
The avid dabbers would already be sat at their normal tables – yes they were the ones that always sat in the same place and god forbid if you sat in their seat. If you did, then you would get that look as they walked in and that same look for the whole time you were there. Some people can be precious about their seats. And no I don’t go to the same seat each time I’m there, oh well possibly I might on the odd occasion if it’s my lucky seat and I’ve won.
Do you become superstitious when you go to bingo? Wear the same outfit that you won in last time, go to the same seat, mark with the same pen/dabber that won you. You are all nodding no of course not, but come on you know you’ve done it and you are now laughing at yourself. I’ve even kissed my dabber pen and said “come on baby let me win tonight”, like that’s going to help.
So how does the evening pan out, arrive early for food and then do anything and everything to avoid playing on the party bingo machines. I try hard not to as these can eat all your money up before the bingo has actually started, so I take my book to read and fiddle on my mobile. 7.30pm is bingo time, I’ve been going for so long that I know what order the books are played. You can notice the newbies as they have no idea and their books aren’t laid out in the correct order so you see them scrabbling to find the first one before the first number is called.
Now the bingo callers, I raise my eyes to the ceiling when the lady that calls stupid numbers (none of them are actually on my ticket!) heads up onto the stage and pray that she’s just heading up there to water the plant or something but no such luck she picks up the mic and says “hello I’ll be calling for you tonight”. I know my evening is not going to be a winner. 6 tickets, 90 numbers and she can’t manage to call them so that I can win. I can usually get a line but it’s never on the same ticket, just a pretty vertical one. Sometimes she calls numbers and I make pretty patterns on my tickets.
I’ve always feared that I would miss my numbers or miss a line, house or something so I really do concentrate, dare anyone interrupt my concentration. What’s worse is when I’m needing 1 or 2 numbers to win. I suddenly go into praying mode, please please please let me now win, I can hear myself chanting away. When the line gets called by someone else, I can hear it come out of my mouth “stupid woman” I mumble. Anyone that does win I always say they didn’t deserve to win, I should have. I am a quiet person but for some reason when it comes time to letting the caller know I’ve won I develop what I can only describe as a shout of YES that would make a fog horn sound dull. Those around me tend to jump out of their skin. Well they do say shout loud. It’s the only time I proudly thrust my bingo wings into the air and hold that winning ticket up high.
At some point during the evening when you are playing bingo you will always hear that one little mobile phone ring and then the person frantically trying to dig it out of their handbag/pocket to silence it. How many heads turn to hunt this person out and then tut at them, this is quite amusing actually. However some people still come to the bingo for a good old catch up and chat with the pals and have no problems with chatting the whole session and letting us all hear they are receiving text messages. You can learn a lot about the lives of some people as they are quite vocal about it.
If you don’t win at the bingo you say “I’m never coming back here again its rubbish”, if you do win “ooh I can’t wait to come back”. Needless to say you keep returning and giving the bingo your hard earned cash and getting nothing in return as we all live in hope that you will win the big one someday.
My (not so) Lucky Outfit
Shirt - New Look - Ebay
Vest Top - Primark
Jeans - New Look
Shoes - Primark