THE little bowling ball's pride and joy - his ancient Moggy - is no more. We are not talking about a household cat here, however, but his Morris Minor 1000. The old motor has survived a number of scrapes and has been patched up more times than Freddie Flintoff's wounded knee. Unfortunately it finally met its match while tootling down a country lane the other day.
To make matters worse for the Bowling Ball, who only ever reached a top speed of 20 in it, he was not driving the car at the time. Rather, he had lent it to one of his mates, 'Drew Jenkins.
Now I don't suppose 'Drew bumbles about at the same speed as Bowling Ball and would hazard a guess he was hurtling down country lanes at an absolute maximum speed of, say 32mph, when suddenly a wild horse leapt out in front of him.
Unable to avoid the rampaging object he ducked as first the horse careered into his front bumper, then did a somersault over the roof of the old jallopy, finally smashing the back window as it rolled to a stop in the road behind him.
'Drew, concerned for the animal's welfare, jumped out promptly, only to look on in amazement as the horse shook its head as if to try to rid itself of an inconvenient headache, scrambled to its feet and then hoofed it off into the distance, seemingly none the worse for its adventure.
The same couldn't be said of the Moggy. "It's a write off," admitted the little Bowling Ball glumly.
Talking of the little Bowling Ball, Wales' equivalent of Roger Whitaker, on Monday Mrs R and I finally spent the night in our new cottage and decided that, to celebrate, we would visit the local hostelry - the Mason's Arms in Stapleton, Bristol. And a very nice little boozer it turned out to be.
I was a bit wary at first when I noticed the three red nosed locals at the bar drinking something which looked rather dangerous. It was thick and murky with an orange tinge and I could only deduce that it was what we West Country folk call "Natch" - that is natural dry cider, or scrumpy, as others know it.
Mrs R was certainly enthused when she learned there were FIVE different ciders available as well as a number of real ales like old Gobshite and Monkey Scrotum. I, being the adventurous kind of chap I am, settled for a pint of Fosters.
Two pints later, on visiting the little boy's room, I noticed a framed picture on the wall with a plaque that read: Our Secret Garden. I realised it was actually referring to the Masons itself.
So, grabbing Mrs R and her scrumpy, we headed out to investigate and not only found a smoking area to put all of Cardiff and most of Wales to shame, but also a tiered beer garden in full bloom making its way down in the direction of the River Frome. A beautiful setting.
Unfortunately while sitting there we had to listen to the absurd whitterings of two former inmates of the nearby Colston's private school who, for some unknown reason, had to speak very poshly and very loudly about all their old chums like Fudgwick and Lampton and, no doubt, Blob (that last reference only relevant to those who remember the old Rowan Atkinson sketch which consisted entirely of reading out a school register).
Then we thought we had been saved from this inane posh codswallop as a group of people joined us in the smoking area, scaring off the wannabe contestants from the Twit of the Year show.
It was only afterwards that I noticed the guitar. Aaargh! We had entered the pub frequented by Bristol's version of the Little Bowling Ball, complete with his entourage of faintly strange followers.
And my mood didn't lighten up when he began to pluck away at the first song of the evening. It turned out to be the guitar version of Duelling banjos, the song made famous by the inbreds in that nightmarish Horror film deliverance. All I needed then was for one of the number to turn to me, revealing lopsided head and one twitching eye, and inquire with Wurzel accent: "You're not from around 'ere, are you?" It would have sent me running for my life, Mrs R trailing in my wake.
Back up to London on Wednesday after a few deliveries at the house, and this morning there was a pleasant surprise in the offices of the Screws. Sports Editor Macca turned up with a large green holdall, then announced: "Anyone want a meat pie? ESPN have provided them to us for free. There are loads of them." Well, in these hard times, beggars can't be choosers, can they?