Fifteen to One-A Blind Reading -by Peter Devlin


‘Every December sky must lose its faith in leaves

And dream of the spring inside the trees’

Beth Neilsen Chapman


Somewhere in the middle shires of England, on the 10th day of December there was an evening gathering.  They had come for the food but used subterfuge to announce themselves as competitors for the LWC Blind Reading event.

In the beautiful setting  of a sitting room; decked out in winter, I scanned the arena to eye up the competition.  The scent of Crimson Berry & Vanilla fat candles mildly distracted me for a second before I got down to cataloguing my usual suspects.

There was a Tony, a Yev, a vice president, a Clare, a Miss Lindsay-host, a president, a treasurer, a secretary, a first-time Blind Reader, the web controller, a former Chief  Secretary to the Treasury-LWC, the man who-would-be-king, myself, a bloke called Dave and Mr. Jacob Ross-host.

The civil salutations were being tacitly regarded with the lift of a hand or the raising of an eyebrow when the host announced that the kitchen was staging a buffet.  Now, it’s not every day that we can say our food has us smacking our lips.  But that is exactly what we had.  Furthermore, we were able to fill our boots over and over again.

As they were in the majority, the shame of the ‘Returning Empty Platers’ to and from the kitchen was negligible, however I did take notes.

By a recess in the corner of the Sitting Room, past winners compared tactics and considered the novel idea of sharing those tactics in a  short pamphlet with the title ‘The Blind Readers handbook.’

Now fed, watered and as warm as new buns, we got down to  business.  Armed with our favourite lucky pens, we began the Blind Reading with more intensity than an episode of ‘Fifteen to One’

A bloke called Dave explained that statistically each competitor is guaranteed to score two points.  This theory was arrived at  using the following logic.  That each competitor will recognise their own work; 1 point, and that if one gives the same name for each reading then one must; by process of elimination get one right; another point.

Despite the obvious signs that all had employed high end intellectual and strategic firepower, it will come as no surprise that when the final tallying up was done, some members scored only one point and someone; with no shame, declared that they had scored no points.

In the end the man-who-would-beking won.

Now, I can only give you a syntactically ordered ink version of the  event.  Should you wish to experience this for yourself, then get yourself booked up for this years event.

Of course unlike Low Cost airfares there is no premium pricing, but one should not be  complacent, so if you can buy Christmas paper online this year whilst watching the Men’s Mixed Up Doubles Wimbledon Finals, then you can diarise a date for a Blind Reading in December.

This event held together with warmth  and kindness was also host to a reminder that the much lauded and efforted pamphlet ‘Over Land , Over Seas’  is in need of readers.

Immediately after the curtain fell on the reading, the lights came up and for some it was off to the kitchen.  Conversations could be heard on subjects such as ‘The market place for works of art’   ‘The literary scene  in London’  ‘Whether or not one should have milk and sugar in Earl Grey’   and so on and so forth.


The man who would be king, offered to  submit his workings on the basis that his score was so amazing that some were left  saying,’He’s unplayable  with a high watermark and  unrivalled eight points.’

However, this was only  offered after  the third umpire, Hawk eye, the fourth official and a High Court judge were involved.  In recognition of his fine achievement the committee were going to award him a trophy engraved with the  words ‘I Got Lucky’  but on a democratic vote; where four people tell three people what to do, it was decided that a much cheaper option would be to commemorate  his eight point score by  holding the event on the 8th day of December 2016.

%d bloggers like this: