So last week I finally got to experience Bingo and cross it off my bucket list….but did it make me happy? Here is my story……

I met up with my youngest niece for a meal and a drink tonight at Frankie and Benny`s. That was fun in itself – great food (for the price) as well as great company and a positive tarot reading!

Just across the complex is Bingo, so I suggested to my niece (who I will now refer to as Empress for the ease of typing as well as the tarot reading) that we go to bingo. Empress was so up for it learning that I had never been before, plus she was a member, so she knew the layout and the “ways of Bingo”

We arrived and the ladies behind the counter asked if I had been there before. I said I had a membership from years ago in my maiden name. They humoured me and asked me for my full maiden name – and low and behold – they had my details! Along with my previous address and old mobile number!

Once they had taken down all my new details, they were delighted to tell me that the last time I had been to bingo was 12th March 2002!!!!

As Empress and I walked away, I informed Empress that I had never actually been to Bingo, but had signed up with the new Bingo place down the road from me – but then never went!

 (If it was YOU that I signed up with let me know as I can`t remember that much detail back in 2002)

Anyway, I digress…….so we walk up to the counter and ask what games were on and how much they would cost.

“£1 for a ticket of 5 for the main game that starts soon” so the lovely lady behind the counter.

Me and Empress looked at each other rather `impressed” at the cost and said

“We will have two of those please”

Just as we said that, another man came behind the counter and said to the lovely lady

“This game is about to start soon and so if no one takes this ticket it will be nul and void”

“We will take it” I said looking at Empress “It will be our warm up game?”.

So we now had our 5 strips and a small multi coloured squared ticket to play with.

Now the hard decision of the night!

Do we go into the main room where all the `serious` players play (which is what I always imagined bingo to be like) or do we stay in the not so quiet area where you can drink and chat and play….

You guessed it – the not so quiet areas was for us – plus it was quite empty so lots of choices as to where to sit.

We finally (after looking at all the empty tables) decided on the round table near to the bar and I went to order us a drink only to hear that the next game was starting! We quickly sat down and started to concentrate.

Rapidly it dawned! on us “Is this the correct game???” We both looked at each other anxiously.

I left Empress with the small coloured card and ran over to the lovely lady who assured me it was not that card that was being played for.

I let Empress know and set off to the bar to get our drinks. The bar was in the “serious” hall and so I whispered to the bar tender our order and hurriedly scuttled away not to make a whimper or a sound for the “hard core” bingo players.

I literally sat down (well tried to sit down but the coin drop machine was in the way – more about that later) so I had to enter my chair from the right hand side (which is a trifle awkward for a left handed person – trust me) and finally sat down only to find out our warm up game HAD started! Talk about no time to breathe, rest or have a sip off your drink.

Empress was busy dabbing away on the multi – coloured card, but alas – we did not win.

Before we could have drink and a catch up about our bingo experience so far the  main game commenced!

We quickly opened up our sheets to the first ` brown` sheet and started dabbing away.

Empress realised sooner than later – thank god – that they were still mentioning things like

Red 22, Blue 25, White 73……..

“Hold up” she said grabbing my dabber, “why are they mentioning colours again?”

We look bewildered and confused at each other!

Empress called a man over who worked there. He once again assured us this was not the game with the 5 strips – that was the next game!

By now I am a little stressed and my heart is palpating (and that was not due to the menopause!)

“So what do I do with the 3 dabs I`ve put on this card”? I asked her almost in tears…

“Put a cross in the actual game instead” she replied – GENIUS I thought.

Within 3 minutes and shouts of “here” (apparently no one shouts bingo no more) and calls out of £200 to that winner….it was finally our turns for the 5 strips we had bought.

So……the numbers started coming fast and we both started dabbing away.

I have played bingo on the Wii  where you have the same number but in different squares. So there is me frantically thinking there will be duplicate numbers!

I am now growing a small sweat on my fore brow and the concentration is immense.

This is soon stopped by the Empress querying once again whether we are playing the correct “matching game”. Rather than asking another member of staff and looking really stupid, I decided to saunter over to the big party table with balloons (who were near the toilets so it looked like I wanted to go there) and realised that we WERE playing the right game…and now I had missed 10 numbers.

I nodded furiously at Empress to show that she needs to keep going and returned to my brown sheet and put the rest of the game” down to practice “

During the next ONE minute interval, Empress explained to me that there were no duplicate numbers. Thank god for that! Now at least I was a little less anxious about looking for duplicate numbers.

So….. the next game was starting (and once again no “eyes down everyone”) this was it!!! I was focused and ready to play (heart still palpitating)

After every call off “here” all you could hear from me and Empress was “for fxxk’s sake”

To cut a long story short – that is was we kept saying until all the 4 games finished.

Needless to say, we didn`t win anything.

However I really enjoyed bingo – more for the company of the Empress…but also because now I know what I want to do for my birthday….especially since I also now know that you can use one off their  “I pad tablet`s” and it does the whole bingo thing for you.!!!!! NO SWEATING, JUST BETTING!!!! Bring on February!!!!!!!!!

MY TOP TIPS FOR BINGO:

  • Do go to the toilet before hand – as you won`t have a chance during the night!
  • Do buy all your drinks and food before hand – (see above)
  • Keep the staff on side – because you will need then to help you understand which games are coming up and when – and you might (WILL) be doing this throughout the night.
  • Have a back up person who isn`t playing and can keep an eye on your cards – in case you missed a number
  • Bring a pack of tissues to mop your sweaty forehead!
  • Alternatively – use the I Pad and relax!
  • Finally – don`t expect to win!!!! Keep it cheap and cheerful.