It’s not just today or yesterday that Big Ron began to bring his influence to bear on the evolution of English language and literature.
When Charles Dickens got his big break in the 1830’s with the Pickwick Papers, he described fondly how Samuel Pickwick and his pals in the Pickwick club liked to relax with a game of bagatelle at the Peacock Tavern. Although ostensibly a work of fiction, it is now generally excepted that Big Sam was largely based on a youthful Ron.
Ron’s obsession with bagatelle could only come from an experienced practitioner of the old game. Bagatelle was a slightly messy early hybrid of billiards and ten pin bowling. Smaller table and cues and with pegs surrounding the holes like a kind of flimsy defensive wall. When the action kicked off, there were pegs tumbling and balls pinging everywhere. Little wonder then that Ron should recall the carefree days of his youth every time he saw the ball bouncing around in a frantic goalmouth scramble between Leicester and Middlesbrough.
Just as Henry, Pires and the rest brought some order to the bagatelle football played in the Premiership, so too did the French play their part in the evolution of bagatelle itself. Louis XIV’s brother Duke Arthur – a bit of a playboy, by all accounts – installed a billiard table with pegs in the games room of his Castle Bagatelle gaff. Doubtless the shorthand “Are you heading over to Arthur’s for a few frames of bagatelle?” spread like wildfire among the Parisien geezers of the time.
Ron might say:
He’s flipped that in the mixer, there’s a crowd scene in there and it’s bagatelle football with the ball pinging around.
Mrs. Ron might say:
You won’t like this Ron, but we might need a new garden fence. Could have sworn I had your new Beamer in reverse. A bit of bagatelle parking, if you like.