The first time we came to Friday Bingo Lunch at Ty Llywelyn was my first time playing bingo, ever. I didn’t even know what to shout. At one point I thought I’d won and preemptively shouted ‘bingo’, which is apparently not what the experts shout. I triumphantly marched up to the prize table, which included, amongst various biscuits, a cd of 90s pop and some tinned tomatoes. The MC, Norman, told me I had counted wrong, and so blood rushed to my face and I sat right back down. Everyone started talking to us after that, and an ongoing inside joke, and therefore a light solidarity, had been established, which was that I needed to ‘practice’ more. This carried on into subsequent Fridays.
We usually sat with Jenny and Ted, having a delicious and unbelievably affordable three course lunch, followed by a round of bingo each time. Ted was a sailor who worked on cargo ships. Sometimes they’d carry whiskey from Scotland to all over the world, and would tap the barrels on the way to sneak some of the contents. He said that the weather could get really bad along these routes, and that he remembered one night there was a storm so bad that they sent all younger, greener sailors below deck, but that he was experienced enough to stay above. He said one wave came up over the side that was so big it swept him off his feet and engulfed him, and all he could see was green. The only thing that stopped him from getting tossed overboard was a bit of rigging that caught him.
Also another guest drew a portrait of me as a boy on the back of his bingo sheet.