I love going Dutch! No, I don’t mean sharing the bill (Marie knows she always has to pay!). Just joking (I pay and she grabs the VAT invoice). No, what I mean is that I love going to Holland, because the Dutch people are the most hospitable in the world.
Nothing is too much trouble and it’s a pleasure to play darts with nice people and to be treated so well at all times.
I recently went over to play in exhibitions at the invitation of Hans Senders, who is so tall that he should play basketball instead of darts! Hans always comes to Lakeside and is a great ambassador for darts in Holland.
He met me at the ferry and took me to my hotel in Utrecht and nothing was too much trouble. I reckon he would have done the exhibition for me it I’d have asked! It brought back happy memories being in Utrecht, because that’s where the World Darts Trophy and International Darts League were played.
They were great tournaments in which both me and my boy Richard were involved, and we drove past the venue and the Mitland Hotel, which is where all us darts people stayed. Happy days! Shame those tournaments are no more.
Anyway, as usual I went over on the night ferry and the manager Kate has now got so used to seeing me that we are on first name terms and she always gets me and Richard a good cabin. It’s like we are all part of a big family, and I look forward to each crossing.
Mind you, I made a bit of a boo-boo when I asked a bloke in a white shirt if he was working in the engine room. He looked at me all funny and said: ‘No, I’m the Captain!’
We were put into Cabin 310, and I only mention that because by one of those strange coincidences when we got to the hotel, which was a huge modern one (not the Mitland) we ended up in Room 310!
What are the odds of that happening? About as good as me picking every runner-up at Lakeside!
Me and Richard reckoned it was an omen (as you do!) and I worked out that 310 is one of those numbers like 210 and 410 that produces 6 numbers: 3, 1, 10, 13, 33 and 30 so we put them on the Euro Lottery.
Guess what? I’m still having to work!!
When Hans got us to the hotel I was so knackered (sorry, tired!) that I went up to our room while Richard had a coffee and chat with Hans in advance of last month’s Dutch Open.
By the way, congratulations to Martin Adams and Trina Gulliver for repeating their Lakeside victories. Never mind getting the same cabin and room numbers, Wolfie can’t stop winning at the moment, and it’s a good habit to get into!
Oh, yes! To keep the theme going Wolfie wore the same shirt in which he won the World Pro and World Masters. Never take it off again, mate!
Back to the story: When Richard decided to go to the room he felt for the ‘key’ in his pocket (one of those credit-card style swipe keys) and couldn’t believe his eyes when 310 wouldn’t open the door to 310. That was because he still had the card to Cabin 310 on the ferry in his pocket.
He’d forgotten that I had the 310 hotel room key and was snoring away in the room!
As an addition to the story, when we got on the ferry to come home, we got the key to the cabin next door to 310! It would have been too spooky had we got it again!!
Forgot to mention that on Valentine’s day last month me and Marie celebrated the 27th anniversary of when we first met. Not a good lotto combination, but we haven’t done so bad (Marie wrote that bit! Only joking!!).
Went to a corporate do for the England Rugby team organised by IMG and they all knew more about darts (the rules) than I do about rugby. All I know is that they have different shaped balls (sorry, I mean they play with different shape balls!) and all get in the bath together!
Can you imagine darts players doing that after a match? Not a pretty sight!!
Anyway, I had a great night in the company of some great players and personalities and do happen to know that the Rugby World Cup will be played in New Zealand later this year.
Robbie Green is a darts player who is as big as a rugby player and I would like to send congratulations to him and his lovely lady Ruth on the arrival of their little boy, Robert.
And there’s another string of coincidences here, because I am Robert ‘Bobby’ George and have a son named Robert; then there’s Robert ‘Bob’ Potter, the boss of Lakeside (where we all thought Ruth might go into labour) and in the next room to Robbie and Ruth at Lakeside was Robert Holmes and his wife Sylvia!
Which just goes to show what a smashing name Robert is. Good choice Robbie and Ruth!
I was invited to the opening of the new William Hill betting shop in Colchester (but they weren’t interested in using me as a tipster! I wonder why?
It was a very enjoyable occasion but, just like rugby, my knowledge of betting is absolutely zero!
I met some lovely people at Wm Hill’s, like John Adam and his daughter Margaret, who is the manageress and young Bill Reilly, who had a ‘Jedward’ style haircut so I called him ‘Haircut 100’!
The photo shows (for l to r): John, Margaret, me and Billy. To show what a small world it is, I found out that John and Margaret are friends of a bloke I call ‘Scottish Ricky’ who is always at Lakeside. John has known him since the age of 8, so he shared his love of darts.
I’ve got to tell you about a punter who was in the betting shop wearing shoes not only of different colour, but completely different styles. His name was Freedom (honest!) and he must have done what I did as a kid and ‘nicked’ a pair of left shoes from outside a shoe shop! I told him that I couldn’t walk straight in them, but they were great for going round corners! We had a real laugh when he said: ‘It’s funny, Bob, but I have another pair exactly the same at home!
But is got even funnier, because there was a raffle in the shop for a signed copy of my book ‘Bobby Dazzler’ so I asked him what size shoe he took and found out it was a 9. I got someone who took the same size to offer him their left shoe to make a pair......and guess what? Another geezer took off his shoe and waited with it in his hand just to see if he won the raffle! What a laugh we had when I ended up calling him ‘Okey, Cokey’ . Get it? ‘Put your left leg in, your right leg out..........’
He didn’t win the raffle, but what a laugh we had!
And finally, remember UK Sports and all the charity events, like marathons, to raise money for normal and disabled sportsmen and women? Well, I helped them last time and I’m going to do so again later this year.
What could be more appropriate as we head towards the 2012 London Olympics?
You will be reading more about it very shortly, but until next month: May The Darts Be With You!