It is fun seeing John Probst and his family. They are staying in a holiday flat, and the family expects him to make breakfast. One morning Diana and Richard were walking around bleating for their breakfast. Eventually it occurred to them to check John's room and the truth emerged: he had not yet returned from a little drink with a few friends!
John's son, Richard, appealed in the Swiss Pairs, and duly handed over the £20 deposit requested by the TD. The TD returned after the appeal was heard, saying he had good news and bad news. "The good news is that the deposit is only £10, so here is £10 back. The bad news is that the Committee decided not to give the other £10 back." Actually the frivolity of appeals seems to be increasing this year: out of fifteen appeals the first weekend two deposits were kept, but in five other cases the Committees commented how close they were to keeping the deposits.
I watched one player go into the hotel's revolving doors and try to turn them the wrong way: they turn for a time, then jam, and there was this puzzled looking player pushing and going nowhere! Even Robin Barker had trouble with a lift: he tried to catch the doors as they were closing. After a brief struggle the lift emerged victorious!
I have just returned from directing the Swedish National week, and some things stand out. Directors never wear ties, and several wore shorts and sandals, even bare feet. They are still recognisable by a uniform shirt. They let me keep my shirts so I think they want me back next year.
Apart from the main event, the Chairman's Cup, everything else was barometer-scored pairs. The Chairman's Cup was named by the current Swedish Chairman, who made a rule that the Chairman subsidises all the prizes himself - and they were considerable. Future people aspiring to this office should note this rule. Perhaps David Harris would like to subsidise the Spring Foursomes? Anyway, I recommend the Chairman's Cup to our top teams: three days Swiss Teams followed by 64-board knockouts, a great competition, won this year by a Bulgarian team. The "foreign" teams (not Swedish or Danish) were allocated to me to look after since (for example) the Chinese had difficulty understanding the Swedish Director's English! I remembered the very strong-minded captain of the two Chinese ladies teams for her appearance in Brighton a few years back. A member of the English team was declarer and claimed. She explained that (a) the claim was fatuous and (b) if he had not played it like an idiot he would have made it anyway. Burn was heard to mutter "Quite right too!"
There were lots of caddies in the barometer events, and one of them was a girl in her early twenties called Lotta. At one point we were in the same section.
I reckon Lotta is practicing to make someone a wonderful wife. I wrote this up and put it in their bulletin under Memories of Skövde. Lotta showed it to her mother. "Sounds just like you, dear," said Lotta's mother.
Boris Shapiro was heard in the bar telling someone a risque joke. He answered "Boris, you are not improving with age" to which Boris replied "I don't need to - I am good enough already!".
Nissan Rand was somewhat surprised on being three minutes late for a session to find he had missed the announcements: Nissan is used to playing in events elsewhere in the world where nothing happens until forty minutes after the published start time! Talking of announcements, some of us were a little puzzled when John Pain announced "The Orange section is Yellow". John was not quite sure why he said that himself!
As usual I have been to the races in my efforts to lose enough money to keep the bookies happy. However, the last race showed me why I go: one horse shot away, and two others kept him within their sights. As expected the runaway leader tired and dropped away. However, my horse, which had been third, realised he had work to do here: the second horse was still going fast. You could see the jockey steady himself as low as possible in the saddle and the horse put his ears back and went for it. When he passed the other horse with a stride to spare all the money lost to the bookies became worthwhile!
I always like to visit some of the preserved steam railways, but August is not the best time: the trains are full of kids asking "Why is the engine on fire, mummy?" "Why can't we go to the seaside?" and two minutes into the ride "But mummy, I want to go NOW!"