By Val Rhead
My husband and I enjoy travelling. We particularly like learning about the country we are visiting by talking to the local people. We’ve found that an interesting way to do this is to drop into some Bridge games. In New Zealand, we had found a list of Duplicate Bridge games throughout the country on the internet, and during our two-month stay, visited twelve Bridge Clubs. We would always call ahead to check that the scheduled game was running, and we always were welcomed enthusiastically.
Bridge is fairly similar throughout the world, but there are some differences. In New Zealand, most players open “four-card majors,” unlike the “five-card majors” that are most commonly played in Canada. Also, most people in New Zealand play a Weak No-Trump. That is, they open One No-Trump with 11 to 14 points. We found it often made our life difficult. If I had a 13 or 14 point hand that I was planning to open with a Better Minor bid of One Club or One Diamond, my opponents would open One No-Trump and I could no longer make my bid.
As well as enjoying the Bridge, we also appreciated the chance the games gave us to talk to the locals, and not just other tourists. One very pleasant elderly lady told us about a scenic hiking trail she thought we would like. Hikers take a water taxi from the town dock. At the end of the hike, they’d catch another water taxi to return. Recently I had knee surgery. I looked at her. She was fairly old. I thought well if she could do it, I can certainly do it. As I hiked up one steep trail and down another and peered over the edges of cliffs at the sides of the trail, I thought to myself, “I bet she hiked this a long time ago”.
As we trundled along the trail, we ran into a couple of other hikers. The woman worked as a nurse in a doctor’s office. She explained that the Health System had recently been revised into a two-tiered system. The office that she worked in was in the top tier. She felt it was an improvement over the previous system. I wonder how the patients in the lower tier felt.
At another game, we played against a farmer who milked a large herd of dairy cows. He invited us to come to his farm the next morning and help him with the milking. We were a little nervous when we arrived. He was totally protected by a waterproof suit, and we were dressed in shorts and T-shirts. Apparently, the problem was that because of the fertilizer that was spread on the fields, the cows were a little, how would you say it, “loose.” Well we did get in place behind the cows and mechanically milked a few, somewhat hurriedly, but we escaped without incident. It’s a good thing too, because he took us to a nice restaurant for lunch. We enjoyed a pleasant meal and discussions about Bridge, and farming practices in New Zealand. Many farmers are now switching from shearing sheep to milking cows. The number of farms raising sheep is declining.
A player at another game invited us to visit the factory where he worked restoring vintage aircraft. The double-winged planes of yesteryear were being restored as closely as possible to their original condition. The main changes were that stronger fabrics and stronger glue were being used. We also learned from him that New Zealand had changed their voting system from a First Past the Post system, as we have in Canada, to a Proportional Representation system. With the change, he mentioned that they had acquired more Green members in parliament than they had previously.
Our visit to New Zealand was a wonderful trip. We learned a lot about the country. That was primarily because we met so many interesting people over the Bridge table who were eager to talk to us. If it wasn’t for the recurrent earthquakes, and missing our family and friends back in Canada, we’d be happy to move there. What more could we want? The scenery is spectacular, the people are friendly, and the Bridge is great.
If you wish to promote an activity in your bridge group or ask a bridge question, send the information to [email protected]gmail.com and I will try to include it in this column.
NEW SOCIAL BRIDGE GAME IN HUNTSVILLE
Games are at the Active Living Centre on Thursdays at 7 p.m. in the multi-purpose room on the second floor (elevator) at the back entrance of the Canada Summit Centre. Just come – with or without a partner. For information, please contact Donna or Peter Tikuisis at 647 471 1774 or [email protected].
For now, this game will be played following Chicago Rules (allowing both fast and slow games). You will keep your same partner for the entire evening. Cost is $1.50 per person. Parking is outside the North Entrance opposite Heritage Village Railway Station.
PORT CARLING SOCIAL BRIDGE CLUB
Games for the Port Carling Social Bridge Club are Monday afternoon 1 p.m. at the Port Carling Community Centre, 3 Bailey Street. Please arrive with your partner at least 10 minutes before game time. For information, contact Andree or Scott 705-764-3827 [email protected]
Monday, May 13, 2019 results: 1. Kathy & Jim Haller 5,550 points; 2. Peter Rhead & Els Vandenberg 4,520; 3. Joan & Len Frost 3,440 points.
We will be playing on the holiday Monday afternoon, May 20th, 2019 at 1 p.m. Beginning on June 10 we switch to evening sessions, starting at 7 p.m.
HUNTSVILLE DUPLICATE BRIDGE CLUB
Games are now EVENING PLAY, Tuesday 7 p.m. Trinity United Church 33 Main Street. Please arrive with your partner at least 10 minutes before game time. For partners and information call Liz Graham (705) 789-7187 or email at [email protected]
The following winners are for Tuesday, May 14, 2019 with 15 pairs playing a Howell movement. 1. Mary Whitehead and Helen Pearson; 2. Liz Barnes and Bev Howard; 3. Vern Foell and Rod Dixon; 4. Art Insley and Don Evans; 5. Jinty Stewart and Jim Smith; 6. Liz Graham and Dorothy Russell; 7. Susan Marshall and Jan Roberts; 8. Betty Fagin and Brian Brocklehurst
MUSKOKA DUPLICATE BRIDGE CLUB (Bracebridge)
Games for the Bracebridge Club are Mondays 7pm, Knox Presbyterian Church, 120 Taylor Road. Please arrive with your partner 10 minutes before game time.
The following winners are from Monday, May13, 2019 with 16 pairs playing a Mitchell movement. North-South 1. Betty Fagin and Brian Brocklehurst; 2. Frank Vagnoni and Gerry Lawrence; 3. Kel Andresen and Jim Smith; 4. Mary Mitchell and Susan Maddocks; East-West 1. Lyn Walisser and Bev Howard; 2. Gail Lederer and Donna McIntosh; 3. Kathy Kent and David Kent; 4. Art Insley and Don Evans
Looking for more bridge tips? You’ll find them here.
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