Being from a large deaf family I spent a good part of my life attending deaf clubs. I’d go as far as saying I was a member whilst still in the womb.
My first deaf club was a strange building that you entered on the ground floor to be faced with a flight of stairs leading up to a large open plan room with a tea bar in one corner, two snooker tables and in a separate room, a chapel.
Unfortunately (in my opinion) we left the club to resettle in a council run disability and aged centre where we mostly had the use of the games room. Why we left I have since been told was down to finances…..nowt new there then.
In the new club we used to meet up on Wednesday evenings, Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons. Mostly I used to play snooker with my dad or maybe 5*3 dominoes with an uncle…..as I mentioned my entire family were deaf so barring a handful of strangers the club was like a family get together mostly.
I can’t complain really as I enjoyed the company and felt mostly relaxed there.
One ongoing issue though was that a few tables were moved together so those who wanted to could play bingo.
This meant that every time the white ball on the snooker table rolled over towards the bingo side we had to excuse ourselves as the peop!e playing bingo moved over to give us room to play the next shot!
Other less contentious memories are of buying The British Deaf News magazine and marvelling at the round The Clubs section where scores of clubs were mentioned.
I had the opportunity to visit some of the other clubs with being involved with the deaf sports league and fondly remember a couple of clubs that had bars (alcohol bars not teabars) where I downed a few whilst waiting for my turn to play.
Time moved on and better TV, some acrimonious family arguments and general lack of interest spelt the death knell of an organisation I had literally grown up with…
Aw well,there’s always bingo.
Chris Bradley is a 52 year old partially deaf hearing aid wearer who comes from Lancashire. His hobbies include chess and playing guitar, which is made easier by having no neighbours.
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