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!!
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:
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.
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:
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:
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:
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:
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!
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!
What do you think??
Below is the closet equivalent I've found:
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