After a weather affected false start to the year's rallying season, there was a change of pace this week - to curling on wheels.
The sponsors of the tenth anniversary Tunnock's Wheelchair Curling Tournament in Hamilton Ice Rink made 'yours truly' an offer he couldn't refuse. With the wheelchair curlers captivating viewers with their skills at the recent Paralympics in South Korea the suggestion was made that this annual domestic competition could provide the ideal introduction to those seeking a new challenge. And so a few Press Releases and photographs were sent out to the local media.
Curling on wheels presents a rather different challenge to its participants. Not only is there no sweeping, but the competitors have to be steadied on the ice with a brakeman or woman otherwise they would sail off backwards as they pushed the stone forwards. Not as easy as it sounds - ice is quite slippy, as rally drivers will have us believe, and the stones are sufficiently heavy to defeat the best efforts of the England Cricket Team over-arm bowlers!
Anyway, the competition got underway this morning and will continue tomorrow (Tuesday) and Wednesday with 3 sessions commencing at 9.00 am and again at 1.00 pm and 3.00 pm.
Opening proceedings was Tunnock's Bakery MD, Boyd Tunnock CBE himself who has taken a personal interest in this competition since it started ten years ago. He welcomed the players and their families and friends and told a wee story which would have had the 'pc brigade' harrumphing in disapproval. But the man could charm the bobble off a woolly hat and everyone fair enjoyed it. Then it was on to the competition with the players being piped on to the ice by a young lady piper. Marvellous, absolutely marvellous.
Naturally, Boyd didn't come alone. He was accompanied by a few boxes of Teacakes and Caramel Wafers which went down a treat.
P.S. It should be pointed out that no biscuits were consumed whilst this was being written and the photographs were being taken!