Jennifer Goddard and Rod Smyth take time out from a serious game. Photo: ANDREW PERRYMAN

How many of us have spent lonely mornings with the newspaper, clutching a crossword dictionary in a desperate effort to keep the neural pathways if not zapping along, at least open?

The Bendigo Bridge Club Inc is inviting people to enjoy the gentle challenge of learning bridge and at the same time participate in a wonderful social outlet.

“If you’re looking for some brain exercise, bridge is perfect as well as a social activity,” Rod Smyth said.

And while some may feel apprehensive about learning bridge, Mr Smythe and president Jennifer Goddard would like to reassure beginners that bridge is essentially an engaging and pleasurable activity.

Ms Goddard said their free come and try sessions will be held at the Bendigo Library activity room on Tuesday, February 12 and Tuesday, February 19.

Both sessions run from 6.30pm to 8.45pm.

If these sessions pique your interest the BBC is running a series of six introductory bridge lessons on Tuesday nights starting March 12 from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.

These lessons are $60 for the series and will be held at the Quarry Hill Croquet Club rooms on the corner of Mitchell and Olinda streets.

Ms Goddard said that newcomers can be introduced to a mentor to guide them along.

According to Mrs Goddard the Bridge Club started in 1980 with 70 members and currently has 140 members.

Other incentives to join BBC are the cost of the membership – a mere $25 a year, the afternoon tea and of course the companionship.

“There have been a few marriages as well,” Mrs Goodard said with a twinkle in her eye.

“Our youngest member is in her 30s, the eldest are in their 90s and most would be in their 70s.

“We play Standard American but there are more sophisticated systems.

“Once you’ve acquired the skills you can simply enjoy the game and build on that.

“Wednesday afternoons are casual and Tuesday nights are supervised and relaxed.”

For more information go to www.bendigobridge.org.au or phone/text 0419 378 709.

Di Dempsey