I decided to devote a separate page to this subject, mainly because the characters are a story within the story. Keep an eye on this page as I will update it regularly.
Mr Matchstick. (Robert)
He is one of my earliest memories, not knowing their names I reverted to observation and named them accordingly. He always chewed on a match and the other thing I remember is that his trousers were held up with a heavy piece of string. He did not like me very much and poked fun at me at every opportunity especially when I played poorly. Sadly he died of a heart attack quite early on and never saw me develop as a serious player.
Mr Slipper. (Claude)
So named because he wore his tartan slippers to play in!! A very strange 70 year old. His behavior was unbecoming of his age, with his slicked back hair he was regularly involved in arguments. He used to play Englebert Humperdink very loudly in his car, His idol, so he told me. On one occasion I had to step between him and another player during an argument which threatened to become violent. He was eventually banned from the club for insulting another member which developed into fisty cuffs. I quite liked him, sometimes. He was a real split personality type of character
A lovely man, a retired butcher who lived in Pessac. He had been a very good player in his day and was the first person to give me advice on my game. He made and canned his own pate’ up until a few years ago which was delicious. His wife died in 2009 and hers was the first french funeral I attended, most members attended as a mark of respect. Sadly he was troubled terribly with leg ulcers and had to give up playing, he is now in a nursing home in Mussidan. I liked him and will always remember his friendship.
Another tough old character who became my culinary advisor on local produce and recipes. He taught me a lot about seasonal local dishes and the best local wines. Again, he had been a fair player in his day, a very good pointer. He has not played for a year or two but still comes two or three times a week for the crack! Joyce and I still enjoy some of the seasonal recipes he taught us.
Guy (St Antoine de Bruilh)
Guy is someone I remember from very early in my adventure, I think he may have been one of the original 5 playing on my first day. He took a long time to warm to me, mainly because he was a very good player and my standard of play in the early days used to annoy him, particularly if we were part of a team. After a couple of years and considerable improvement in my ability we became great friends he even referred to me as ‘ mon petite Gary’ a real compliment. Sadly he died very suddenly about a year ago and his became the second French funeral I attended. I liked him and miss his humor around the place.
He was one of the original five. He tried hard to make me welcome and I encouraged that simply because I needed all the help I could get. As time went on I realized he was a creepy, sleazy little man. I started to understand that most of the other players simply suffered him. The final straw for me was when he made some unacceptable comments about a couple of young schoolgirls wearing short skirts when they passed by from the school nearby, they were not much more than twelve.
He still arrives regularly, but it is clear he is simply suffered, interestingly it was him who got Mr Slipper banned from the club. Sadly he also lives in the same village as us, so he is a neighbour.