from the diary: “9/11/88 Sunday
“Coming back along Hyde Park … I strolled over to watch grass bowling or whatever it’s called. While i was standing next the green an older couple, the man a typical American upper ‘middle’ class paunchy … the wife the usual slender-in-comparison & neatly dressed & made up … They spoke, I recognized the American in their voices. The man asked me about the game.
“’I know as much as you. I recognize your American accent. I’m from California.’ He said he was, too, then proceeded to pay me no more attention. … Overheard the man inquiring: ‘Hate to be rude here but is the object to get the large balls closest to the white?’
“The players genteelly laid out the basics, which I understood no better than my fellow countryman. He persisted with, ‘Is there a winning score?’ & ‘When does someone win?’
“Winning occupied his mind. Prob’ly occupied the players’ minds quite as much tho they made it sound rather secondary. I dint much care one way or the other, I just thought it looked comfortable, sedate, careful, possibly boring.
“After he left with … ‘Don’t know if I got it all, but I’m closer to getting the rules on this one than cricket. That one’s still got me.’
“The elder woman to the younger: ‘What do you usually tell the Americans?’”