In January our monthly visit to the Rutland and Derby on Millstone Lane, for their varied and entertaining quiz and good food, was unproductive as we struggled with the intros, and bombed on various rounds, but didn’t stop us going back for more in February.
Recovering our wits, we engaged our brains to win some Mah-jong hands, enjoying the beauty of the tiles, and a pleasant social evening, as the experienced player coached the novices, in an evening with a game which involves skill, strategy, calculation and a degree of chance, not to mention wine and nibbles. Developed in China during the Qing dynasty, Mah-jong has spread throughout the world since the early 20th century. Familiarising ourselves with the set of 144 tiles based on Chinese characters and symbols, we draw and discard tiles until we complete a legal hand using the 14th drawn tile to form 4 melds (or sets and a pair (eye). We also try to remember the myriad of special hands, we collect winds and dragons and get our heads round the scoring, trying to remember how much the beautiful scoring sticks are worth in the final countdown. Great evening.
Then we exercised our bodies, with an evening of friendly competitive badminton, and a return to the table, this time for cards, to pit our wits at crib. A trip to the cinema, to see Mary Queen of Scots was rounded off with some exciting coffee and alcohol options at carluccios, and great DVD evenings over the festive period were relaxed and sociable. The month concluded with a day trip to Southwell minster, where we learnt an amazing amount about the history and art there from our lovely guide, and sustained our inner selves with some good grub at Southwell garden centre. A great social start to 2019.