Monday 29th September
The day of assembly, when Club Bullwinkle’s magnificent Team Not Only But Also was to make its collective way to Caloundra and meet up in one of the resort’s ten swimming pools, or on its private beach, or in our five-star luxury villa… Only, the Rydges didn’t have any of these things, because it wasn’t where Regina stayed last year, and she was actually feeding us false attributions from the Coolum Hyatt. (Not that we really needed ten swimming pools & conference facilities, unless the team felt some perverse desire to go swimming separately and then meet up later for an official report.) Recriminations and evaluations of the Rydges proved in any case to be quite moot, for the Scottish Rugby Union team had made a belated mass-booking and we’d been shafted over to a different resort entirely, much to our disgruntlement. Thus, we left Nik at the captains’ meeting, and trudged forlornly off to the Windward Passage – surely the arse-end of the coast? – to check out our accommodation. The Manager gave us a garage key but neglected to hand over the electronic door-opener, and so we spent five very frustrating minutes trying to break it down by brute force, before returning to reception and snarling our sour acknowledgement of the smug bastard’s humorous take on the situation. Thankfully, Dave and Jon had arrived early in the afternoon, and thus had been able to work out from first principles the remarkable key system that guarded the resort from incursion by all but the most persistent of its guests. Club Bullwinkle’s units – 12 and lucky 13 – were adjoining only in a numerical sense, and were actually located on separate floors. This presented something of a problem for team togetherness – especially given that the lift would only take you to the floor of your room (as indicated by your key) – and it took until Karina’s brainwave on Wednesday for us to find a sensible solution to the dilemma. These minor issues aside, the units proved perfect for our needs, and indeed provided an excellent launching pad for our assault on all things vice-driven. Once Nik returned from the captains’ meeting, we put our pre-tournament drinking on hold and gaggled off down the road in search of food.
Tuesday 30th September
A day of playing in the Pelican Room of a nearby RSL, the Rydges function room having been commandeered by the Scottish Rugby Union team for their piss-up. Club Bullwinkle put in a lamentable performance against St George, losing 1½ –6½ and in fact coming perilously close to scoring a perfect doughnut. The only positives to take from the match were that I made my young opponent cry and that Jonathan blundered away his highly-treasured record of never having lost to a woman (and hence could be paid out on mercilessly). Round Two saw us draw 4–4 against the Gold Coast, with whom we’d split the Queensland Interclub title earlier this year. We probably should have done better on this particular occasion, but nobody really cared. More important by far was to congregate in lucky unit 13 (quick stop at the bottle-shop), where Nik was cooking up some pasta extraordinaire and the team was drinking its way into a preparatory state of relaxation. Alcohol bottles were knocked over and dropped, massage oils were produced and used, and the evening culminated in a highly ambitious undertaking to see how many people could be crammed into the ensuite spa.
Wednesday 1st October
The rest day proving somewhat overcast, our morning trip to the beach was put aside in favour of much-needed sleep. As lunchtime approached, we wandered over to the Rydges spa – which proved the perfect medium for flaunting the much-admired Club Bullwinkle physique – and then drove off in search of fish and chips. Although much of the team was in denial, it was eventually conceded that we had to play a match in the afternoon, and so we took on Team Oliver of Belconnen (having cunningly decided to rest our ex-Canberra duo of Michael and Jess). I think we won this match 5½–2½, but the entire tournament is something of a blur, to be honest. I do remember that we went out to dinner at a steak place with three different menus; that ribs, fungus, veal and baby octopus were consumed; and that our frantic efforts to find an open bottle-shop were rewarded just before ten o’clock. David and Regina played some slightly inebriated handicap lightning at one stage – as evidenced by Regina’s taking her own Bishop with her own Knight, only to retract the move and take it with Dave’s Knight instead – but broke the clock and had to stop. The music of Delta was probably playing. It usually was.
Thursday 2nd October
The day when exhaustion became the official criteria for selecting our team, and our opposition faced Not Only the raw talent of Club Bullwinkle But Also its raw nerves, bloodshot eyes and sheer belligerence at having to be awake so early. An 8–0 win over the Suncoast left us comfortably anchored in the harbour of third place, and so the last round match against Universities was used as a medium for lethargic expressions of, “Whoops, yes, there was that, wasn’t there?” A 3–5 loss resulted and we immediately began paying tribute to our own mediocrity. The prize-giving dinner proved an excellent forum for speech-making, and the official Club Bullwinkle celebratory function extended well into the early hours. (Apologies to anyone who may have been offended by the ill-fated alcohol run, the heated discussion on the economic workings of Jonathan World, or Nik’s infamous Cat in the Freezer story…) I’ve never ever been associated with such debauchery.
Friday 3rd October
Sheep Go To Heaven
I belatedly noticed that the Windward Passage units are built around a lonely palm tree, which has been locked away in solitary confinement like some mass-murdering psychopath. In other noteworthy instances of observation, a clean-up of lucky unit 13 uncovered 64½ empty bottles of alcohol – more liquor than squares on a chessboard – and one carton of eggnog. Club Bullwinkle dispersed in a manner similar to its arrival, and it now seems commonly accepted that goats go to hell.
– J. Edwards (Vice Captain)
It has been rumoured that our future Vice Captain – Mister Nik Stawski – introduced himself to a young lady in the following self-deprecating manner: “Hi, I’m Nik Stawski, Feeble Master.” (This being, of course, a play on Nik’s FM title); and that the lady in question mis-heard him as having uttered the somewhat less self-deprecating: “Hi, I’m Nik Stawski, FIDE Master.” (To this day Nikolai can be heard to lament the unforeseeable consequences of poor enunciation and/or poor hearing); it can now be confirmed that all rumours to this effect are cat-in-the-freezer-egorically true.
It has also been said that Nik sat down at the post-tournament dinner and began loudly to tell everybody how – after a poor start to the event – he had finally got a win or two on the board. “My last game was brilliant!” Nik exclaimed. “It was just brilliant! I smacked him!” Nik’s opponent (who happened to be sitting right next to him, sadly unnoticed by Nik) was humble enough to shrug and agree. “It’s true. He did.” This, too, can be confirmed.