Bowling Along and Making Memories

“Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions, they can take away your money, and they can take away your health. But no one can ever take away your precious memories.
So, don’t forget to make time and take the opportunities to make memories everyday.

Judith Baxter, mother, grandmother,
blogger and friend.

Long before I ever thought of writing a blog I devised and ran a course on writing and saving your memories for your grandchildren or those who come after you.

Many people would like to write their life story for their family but it is truly a mammoth task and beyond most of us.  But writing your memories – ah that is an altogether different thing.

The courses each ran for 6 weeks at the end of which time participants had 6 stories ready for their memory books. They were encouraged to keep up the writing, one memory a week so that at the end of a year they would have 52 stories ready to publish.  I have heard from some of those people who are keeping up the writing.

I have a tidy number of memories written and bound for my grandchildren but alas since I took up blogging, no more memories have been added.  But in fact, these post have taken the place of writing memories and will be a lasting keepsake for my grandsons.

And now did you see this post from Photographic Memories entitled Bowling Green?  This made me think of a memory that I wrote about and here it is.  Please note it was written for my grandsons.


Grampa’s best friend was the President of the local bowling club and he was very keen for Grampa to play bowls but Grampa thought it was an old man’s game.  However, he went along to the club with Fraser, his friend,  one Saturday afternoon and from then on he was hooked.

He started bowling when he was about 51 and he and his friend brought the average age of the membership down to about 60.  The rest of the members were old men. 

Once Grampa joined and while Fraser was the President of the club his wife Elizabeth (Libby) and I went along and provided afternoon tea for the players.  Just like a boys’ boarding school tea.  Lots of noise and scoffing of sandwiches, biscuits and buns and copious cups of tea.  Then back to the bowling greens and Libby and I were left to clean up after them.

Every Saturday and some Sundays, Grampa would don his whites and with his lunch packed and his bowling bag he would leave for the bowling club.  Competition was very fierce and Grampa was in his element.  He loved the game.  With three other men he formed a foursome and they travelled around competing against other teams.

When he was 55 Grampa decided to retire and this opened a whole new life of bowling for him. He could find somewhere to play almost every day of the week.  At this time I had started my own business and was busy every weekday.  So Grampa bowled while I worked.

He and his team mates were very successful.  They played in inter-club tournaments; they played in national tournaments and they won a lot of trophies.  Some of the trophies were only minor rewards, tea spoons mainly.  But occasionally they won major trophies, shields etc.

Grampa Goes Bowling

Grampa second from left

We made lots of friends through bowls.  I used to go with him when he was playing at other places.  And when he played in the national competition we went to other towns.  One time we went to Christchurch where they played for four days.

I went along with my puppy Ben (the spaniel) and we both made lots of new friends. Ben loved the car and looked forward to going anywhere.  However, he was not so keen on the ferry between the north and south islands.  Here he was left in the car on the vehicle deck for the three hours that the ferry takes to cross the Cook Strait.  And usually he couldn’t see anything.  He was always delighted to see us when we came back to the car to disembark.

Before he retired Grampa had been the General Manager of the Hotels Division of Lion Breweries.  Whenever we went away we stayed at one of those hotels.  Dogs, of course, are banned from hotels and motels in New Zealand but this obviously didn’t apply to the GM.  So Ben came with us.  One of his best friends in every hotel in which we stayed was the chef.  He was fed steak every time the chef or any of the kitchen hands saw him.  I had to take him for lots of walks to get his weight back to normal.  Each morning once Grampa had left for the day, and before we joined him at whichever club he was playing, Ben and I would explore the neighbourhood.  I admired the gardens in this very English city and Ben admired the smells.  Then we would go to Hagley Park where he could have a long run after which we would join the bowlers.

Bowlers are a happy bunch of people and always made me feel welcome at every club we visited.  Grampa’s club was right in the middle of the Capital City, Wellington and was well-known around the country.  Unfortunately the club property was sold and then converted into apartments just after Grampa died.

Often Grampa and his team would be playing at a little club with few members.  These were great places to visit.  We got to know some of the players quite well and saw them again and again over the years.

Grampa was playing in a tournament on the West coast of the South Island when he first became ill.  But as soon as he was better, and once we had moved to Waikanae, he joined the Raumati Bowling club and made many new friends here.

He continued to bowl and go to the club until he was really too ill, but occasionally after that he would go to the club to watch his team mates play.  He really enjoyed his bowls and the friends he made through bowling.       end

So the memories keep coming and I shall keep recording them for my grandsons.  Apologies if some of the references are not known to you but I have tried to include links wherever possible.


18 responses to “Bowling Along and Making Memories

  1. Smiles galore, thanks.
    I was thinking of looking for the bowls club in our town and these wonderful memories have made me think of it again, I’ll look harder.
    Thanks for the mention too. 🙂


  2. I love this idea, Judith. I’ve been wanting to write letters or something to my granddaughters, but had no idea where to start. Thanks! 🙂


  3. Dear Judith,

    Thank you so much for subscribing to my blog. I love your pic and your writing. You are a true inspiration and I am great that there are people like you out there. I wish I could write like you in English, yet, I am working on it:-)

    Love and sunny smiles for you

    Ginger alias Ellen


  4. This was in case you found my German page:-)))


  5. By the way: Do you any nice gentleman, cultured, interested in golf and tennis and travelling at the age of about 75-80 for my mom! She is such a young women and lost her husband two years ago. She is so full of life and energy and really beautiful!!! If you happen to know someone like this, who also has enough money not to be after her money, please contact me at

    Thank you dear!

    Love you



    • Well my friend I too am looking for such a man. I have been on my own for 13 years now. If I find one for your Mom I shall let you know. By the way I am very impressed at how you write in English – is German your first language? 🙂


  6. Bowling is tons of fun! Thanks for sharing, Judith.


  7. This is a very nice post, Judith. Yes, I agree, I can say totally agree. Precious time, precious memory more important than material.
    I love bowling 😀



  8. What a treasure for your grandchildren, Judith. I wish I could remember more. I would love to write more of my memories, but they escape me. My father wrote an entire spiral-bound book of memories after my mother died. It is so wonderful to have.


  9. Susan your blog posts will act as such a store of memories for your grandchildren. Val at Absurd old Bird – told me how to get them all printed and bound. I have kept that information somewhere and when I have a whole year’s worth of posts I am having them bound.


  10. What a great gift for your grandsons, Judith.


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