A seasoned look at life - October 25, 2012

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HOW’S your finesse?

Your answer will depend on whether you play bridge – the king of card games.

In bridge “finesse” involves style and stealth but is also a way of 
playing the odds and making the most of your cards.

As in life, this can be the 
difference between winning and 
losing the game.

I learned to play bridge at the suggestion of She Who Knows – but it holds lessons for us all.

“It could save you from dementia later,” she reasoned, “and we can play together when too old for tennis.”

Anything for a quiet life at 
Edmonds Towers! We both attended classes and are now playing – mostly on the internet, although we have also attended clubs around the Fylde.

My ideal bridge scenario would be a few rubbers with friends beside an elegant fireplace – with glass of claret or cognac to hand.

But, of course, you have to concentrate. The intricacies are endless. Whole books have been written on just the opening lead.

Thankfully, those who do play regularly are patient and polite. It’s their code. Besides, all have made a mess of hands in the past so know how it feels.

Again, that’s rather like life – and a good reason to appreciate people older than ourselves.

Recently I’ve been partnering my mother-in-law, a veteran socialite on our coast and popular figure at Fylde bridge tables.

“You’re doing well!” She encourages me with a regal smile, while putting opposition players at ease with jocular asides.

I’m learning all the time. It’s not just the cards but also social and mental agility. Every person you play is different, every deal unique. While making small talk and sense of the game, you share mutual respect and a couple of thoughtful hours sustained by tea and biscuits.

Of course, cards have always been a popular and sociable pastime. Back in my childhood there was little other home entertainment than what you made.

We played rummy or whist and later crib (once the only card game allowed on licensed premises, as it was enjoyed by the lord who made that ruling!).

Bridge, however, is a partnership game and takes cards to the highest dizzying level. It requires finesse, so to speak, and – as with the tricks of life – its accomplishments prove widely useful.

In my next novel ‘At Heaven’s Gate’, a light thriller to be published before Christmas, the hero employs bridge principles to solve a 
mysterious death on the Fylde.

This will be my 10th book and is the best to date.

It just goes to show life, like bridge, is a long learning curve.

n Visit royedmonds-blackpool.com for details of books and more.