Don Your Way column: Eyes down for an unexpected night at bingo in Doncaster

By a strange twist of fate, last week, for the first time in years, I ended up playing a game of bingo (or several to be accurate).

Tuesday, 20th August 2019, 11:47 am
Updated Tuesday, 20th August 2019, 11:48 am

Let me explain.

The intention had been to attend a quiz in Doncaster’s Wool Market. However, upon noticing that the said quiz was Disney themed, we decided against, believing that our knowledge of The Lion King and Mickey Mouse was scant to say the least.

Plans were hastily drawn up to find another venue hosting a more suitable general knowledge offering.

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Darren Burke - an unexpected night out at the bingo.
Darren Burke - an unexpected night out at the bingo.

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We scoured the web and pub Facebook pages and thought we’d pinpointed a couple.

But for one reason or another (ie, our chosen venue denying all knowledge of one advertised on the internet) it didn’t happen and all of a sudden, the idea for a game of bingo was mooted instead.

And so it was that I found myself inside a cavernous Doncaster bingo hall, dabber in hand (no laughing at the back) preparing to go ‘eyes down’ for the first time in many, many years.

I’d feared that I might be one of the few blokes there and possibly the only person this side of 70, but my pal Julie assured me that wouldn’t be the case.

And so it was. There were plenty of other chaps (although some looked like they’d been dragged along unwillingly by their other half) and rather than it being an OAP convention, there were plenty of people much younger than my good self (which is 21, obviously).

Now the last time I played was probably in one of those seaside arcades where the dulcet tones of the caller drift across the seafront intoning things such as “on the blue line, 54, red 81” and so on.

Armed with a sheaf of bingo books the thickness of War and Peace, I was a little uncertain if I’d be able to keep up.

The pace was fast and furious and there were several times I found myself lagging behind and missing numbers.

In fact, several games were missed altogether as our chat, reduced to a whisper (the sacred rule of any bingo hall) took precedence over shouts of two little ducks, legs eleven and top of the shop (although, disappointingly, they don’t actually say those things anymore).

As game after game passed by and shouts of ‘here or ‘house’ followed by collective groans filled the air, it was quite clear that plans to share whatever winnings we’d accrued by the end of the night were hardly going to create our nest eggs.

But despite the avalanche of numbers and misplaced dabbers (stop sniggering), a fun night was had and we realised that we’d not actually missed the quiz too much.