• Games at 9DR

    At 9 Derwent Road we played a lot, naturally because we were on holidays. I have already alluded to some games (rounders, especially, and plastic animals), and I suppose swimming was a kind of sports-game of sorts. Indoors, it was with Auntie Olive that we played most (check here), and so this post is going to be a reminiscence of the games she introduced us to, and readily took part in through the years. There'll be a few others from 9DR too, and if you notice that I've forgotten some of them (I'm sure I have), don't hesitate to exert your commentator's rights!!

    Games at 9DR

    Snakes and ladders! Preparing this post, I discovered it originated from India. Interesting, but alas, lost on the little Vivi who absolutely loved this board and everything it meant in terms of excitement. Note how all the squares are moralistic little lessons! The great snake whose head is on square 87 used to terrify me! And I always used to think the little coily tails of some of them were shaped like some sort of poo...!

    Then there was Tiddly Winks:

    Games at 9DR

    And I think this is exactly the version of the game which Auntie Olive had bought for us. It was nice to try and land the coloured coins in the plastic container, which then rang with a victorious clink!

    We played draughts, I know, and little horses. There was a game whose name I have forgotten, which I think had been built by Monsieur Père, where you have to follow the twists and turns of a wire with a battery connected loop, and if you touch the wire with the loop it lights a bulb, so you lose, and you have to pass the loop to your opponent. The one who reaches the end of the coil without lighting the lamp wins. Remember the name? (I used to be very bad at that game).

    I remember also that Auntie Olive bought us some marbles, and that we used to take them at school while still in England. The English marbles were different from the French ones, which were slightly smaller and had more colours inside. The English ones had only one or two coloured streaks only.

    Games at 9DR

    Marbles were a heavily emotional object: if you had a lot of them in the playground, or if you were good at collecting them, you would be given the school's complete attention, which made up for much of the pleasure (or lack of pleasure) of going to school. So upon returning from England, with foreign looking marbles, you could bank on a certain rise in your playground status. Only a certain rise, mind you, because there would always be some jealous brats who would declare that different-looking products weren't valid! So it all depended on the judgement of the influential playground bosses, those with the big bags full of the coveted kind... But anyway, the love which as a boy I lavished on these little prism-like glass balls... only those who have shared it can understand!

    While we're onto marbles, another game available at 9DR was bagatelle, the ancestor of pinball:

    Games at 9DR

    The one in the front room at 9DR was a rediscovery each time we came. I don't know if someone has it still today. We must have spent hundreds of hours with it, scoring better than our opponent's scores, and recording our records. I distinctly recall Monsieur Père showing us how not to push the stick too hard, just the right pressure so as to vary the angle with which the little metal ball was going to glide back down, and therefore enter the best nailed circles. I think Noel was especially good at Bagatelle.

    A number of cards games were introduced us by Auntie Olive, and I think Monsieur Père too. I remember canasta, and whist as having actually been taught us, probably during rainy afternoons, on the dinner table in Grandma's kitchen. There were also, I'm sure, some happy families card-games, but somehow I don't remember which.

    One year (I think it was 1971) Monsieur Père had bought me a model plane to build (photo here), having been informed no doubt that I liked building them (but the ones I had done before were plastic), and so it was real fun that this time it was a wooden model, made of balsa wood, which I loved touching as it was so light and delicate. I was allowed to use a sharp cutter to cut out the pieces according to the blueprint, and then paint the plane. But as explained before, it was a good thing the photo was taken before I actually tried it for real: the rubber band was too wound up and instead of making it fly, it wrenched the inner structure to pieces! Still, I had such a great time building it that it didn't matter. That summer, my days had been filled with a special glow because of this model plane! I would wake up in the morning and have this wonderful activity to look forward to. It was paradise!

    We also had lots of matchbox cars and toy vehicles, some of which were there as a sort of permanent stock, and some which we added along the years. Here are some photos from the Internet, where some of the cars present at DR are pictured:

    Games at 9DR

    Games at 9DR

    Let me know which games you remember!

    May 9th 2014: I've had a nice FB exchange with Janet about the twin spinning planes which Grandpa had made, and which she'd kept for some time (see further down). She also mentions the quiz game Tell me which Auntie Olive used to play with us:

    Games at 9DR

    Here's what she writes about the game: "Tell Me had a spinning wheel with a little window on the edge that when spun around would land over a letter. I think then you picked a card with that letter, say 'P' and read the card. I know that because that's when Auntie Olive explained to me the meaning of the virtue 'patience' , seems so funny now, but it really stuck in my memory."

    Janet also sent me this picture of the Chinese Chequers:

    Games at 9DR

    June 1st, 2014: Carol sends me the pictures for Auntie Olive's fabulous dominoes: one set of coloured ones, and another one, that went up to double nines!

    Games at 9DR

    Games at 9DR

    Games at 9DR

    Games at 9DR

    Looks she still knows how to play: thanks Carol!!

    August 29, 2014: Recently, I have had a go at trying to represent the twin metal aeroplanes we have been discussing in the comments and on Facebook. Here's the result!

    Games at 9DR

    Games at 9DR

    What do you think??

     Below is the closet equivalent I've found:

    Games at 9DR

    « More catholicismLondon outings »

  • Comments

    Wednesday 23rd April 2014 at 17:38

    As a matter of fact, I was quite bad at the bagatelle game... Don't know who told you I was good at it, Vivi.

    Wednesday 23rd April 2014 at 17:43

    There were actually lots of other games to play with at 7DR, like Spite and Malice and Chinese Checkers, with Auntie Olive, of course. Grandma wasn't much of a partner for that kind of entertainment...

    Wednesday 23rd April 2014 at 19:41

    Spite and malice! yes, I remember that one now!

    Friday 9th May 2014 at 19:28

    Do you have any recollection of the shed that had a very odd but familiar smell of who knows what....paint or something very damp, but where the tennis balls were kept?

    Friday 9th May 2014 at 19:31

    The sand pit with the three different sized metal scoops? Ha!

    Friday 9th May 2014 at 19:41

    Oh yeah, of course I remember AO's shed, I think it was painted with cresote (I linked it to Wikipedia if you don't know what it is!), and I believe this was the smell it had. I have a pic of it here!

    The scoops had completely escaped my mind!

    carol phillips
    Monday 19th May 2014 at 14:01

    Don't you remember those rubber coloured hoops? Auntie Olive always played catch with us and do you remember sitting out on the grass with her with plastic sheeting and those brown blankets placed on top so we didn't gets damp bottoms?

    carol phillips
    Monday 19th May 2014 at 14:05

    There were dominoes too. The double 9 set. They are just brown with whit dots for the amount of numbers. I still have them and auntie Olive also bought a very colourful dotted double 6 set. I have that too. Very fond memories. I'm sure she always let us win!

    Monday 19th May 2014 at 20:56

    Lovely! I'd totally forgotten those astounding double 9 dominoes! I remember I was rather fascinated, because I'd seen domino sets in various houses and places, but never the kind that went up to 9. In France anyway, they stopped at 6. Carol d'you think you could send us a picture??

    Yes I know she'd let us win! She was such a dear.

    I don't think I was ever treated to the plastic sheeting treatment. Perhaps because we mostly came in the summer...

    Monday 19th May 2014 at 21:07
    You know. I have a vague memory of plastic sheeting but it might be grandma's big kitchen table. And the signed (by many if us), and embroidered table cloth. I really have no recollection if the 9 dominoes.
    Monday 19th May 2014 at 21:34

    Now of course I remember that embroidered cloth (where is it?), which she would bring out for special occasions, and we saw it, we would all reminisce about the moment when she had made us sign. Auntie Jo also had one, which I believe she did as she thought Grandma's idea was so great.

    Monday 19th May 2014 at 22:03
    I haven't got a clue where it might be now. But I bet someone will have it somewhere. Do you remember the wooden fridge? Apparently they're not as rare these days but I always thought it was a novelty.
    Monday 19th May 2014 at 23:04

    The wooden fridge, yes, for sure! the one here? I have half a feeling it was used only for storage in later years: am I right?

    Monday 19th May 2014 at 23:16
    Yes. You are! But I think it did once work. I'm sure I fetched milk from it once.
    carol phillips
    Tuesday 20th May 2014 at 16:55

    I'll get onto the dominoes thing . The embroidered cloth with our signatures on and bunnies I seem to remember, I think mum might have. She has a tablecloth that had been embroidered without the writing that comes out every time someone is round.

    carol phillips
    Tuesday 20th May 2014 at 17:02

    Buttons! Does everybody remember them? Auntie Olive always thought of some game to play to keep us amused. It usually involved maths! Mum had some buttons from 9DR in those delightful tins just like Auntie Olive. We used to empty the buttons on those wooden trays that had sides and handle holds so the buttons wouldn't fall off if you carried the tray .

    carol phillips
    Tuesday 20th May 2014 at 17:07

    ......And! I've just remembered the drawer right hand side of the dresser by the serving hatch at Auntie Olive' s, were the hot water bottles with knitted covers! We didn't play with them ....I just used to love smelling the drawer. Lovely rubber  pure Auntie Olive memorable smell! Not her personally you understand, just something she had ha ha

    carol phillips
    Tuesday 20th May 2014 at 17:11

    Does anyone remember her cribbage set? I can remember playing that game with her many times. She didn't always let me win either. She would gracefully chuckle if she beat me!

    carol phillips
    Tuesday 20th May 2014 at 17:19

    I found out about the planes. They were made out of gun metal but mum doesn't seem to think grandfather made them. She says they were given to 9DR from a friend of the family . She did tell me her name...I think...Gwen?  Nora?   I would have ask again

    Tuesday 20th May 2014 at 19:50

    About the planes - I shouldn't be surprised if somebody with more advanced machinery than Grandpa had was found to be the manufacturer: for me they were cast, and I don't think he would have had the necessary equipment.

    Yes,  I remember the buttons in their box, but not what AO might have used them for in terms of playing... And I can't have played cribbage a lot because this picture is very faint.

    Carol I loved your evocation of "lovely pure Auntie Olive rubber smell"!

    carol phillips
    Wednesday 21st May 2014 at 12:21

    There was also ludo. There was a square tin just a bit bigger than the board to put it in and the counters. There was a small weeny dice and a pink plastic shaker. I loved it! There was also roulette with red and black chips which were ever so light .

    Wednesday 21st May 2014 at 14:37
    Yeah.... I so remember the pink shaker and the weeny dice. Also the ludo board that just fit into the tin box! Ha! I like the Xmas stampers too. You know. The ones you had to press into the ink pad. we used to make little cards and colour them in.
    Suivre le flux RSS des commentaires

    Add comment

    Name / User name:

    E-mail (optional):

    Website (optional):