Posts Tagged ‘games’

Train Story

July 22, 2015

Train Story is the name of a new display area at Havenstreet – headquarters of the Isle of Wight Steam Railway. But keep reading for this post is not really about trains but more about games and toys.

We paid a visit having travelled on the line, enjoyed a picnic and taken in the fun of the fair at a charity event being held that day.

It was fun for all the family.

image002 Granddaughter enjoyed playing with a wooden toy train layout, set out on a map of the island.


The map shows the real railways that once existed on the island but granddaughter seems to be dealing with a problem on a never built Brighstone Bay branch, reaching right out to sea. Hey! She was just having fun.

And so, too, were her mother and grandfather. They were playing giant top trumps at a special table.


It has to be said that the cards were all Isle of Wight locomotives some of which are shown on that background display. It was, of course, good fun for two avid games players. We called it an honourable draw.

Just in case you are a rail nerd and don’t like this kind of frippery, you can hurry through this bit, and miss the cab mock up where youngsters (of all ages) can pull the chain to sound the whistle and you can enjoy the trains on display, relaxing in first class comfort or enduring the hardship of third class.

It’s well worth the visit and well done to the railway for making such a good, child friendly display which has much to offer to the rail enthusiast as well.

Bobs Y’r Uncle

February 23, 2015

My wife was recently sorting out an accumulation of junk on top of a tall cupboard in a spare room. She came upon three containers which I must have put there aeons ago and had forgotten about. The boxes contained playing cards from my childhood days.

Some of the packs are just playing cards – normal enough – but others are specific games and amongst them is a pack of Bobs Y’r Uncle cards.

What happy memories they bring back.

Let’s look at the back at one of the cards.


We note that the game has no apostrophe in ‘BOBS’

The game is clearly designed with children in mind. The face side of the cards (most of them) have extracts from nursery rhymes on them. Six cards are needed to make up each rhyme in a set.

Here’s the set that make up Little Bo Peep.


The rules are really quite complex for children who would need to know the rhymes, be able to add scores and, hardest of all as I recall, remember the importance of saying ‘Bobs y’r uncle’ at the right time. Some thought and strategy are needed as well.

There are different ways of winning. One way was to place all of your cards correctly and another was to get the three uncle cards into your hand.


There are also three little boy cards and you can win by collecting all three of them. These cards are now deemed so politically incorrect that even I am not prepared to show them. No doubt in the 1930s, when the game was first produced, they would not have been deemed offensive.

I remember playing the game as a child. I also recall that in my family after someone had said, ‘Bobs y’r uncle’, we had a correct replay which was, ‘and Fanny’s your aunt’. I have no idea why we said this, but it certainly was said by all three generations of us who played the game.

I could be tempted to try the game with my grandson now but I’d foresee difficulties. Like all kids find (including me back then) just holding cards is hard. He may not know the nursery rhymes although he’ll know a plethora of equally OK other songs. But we might have a go. Maybe I could hold the cards and he and I could be a team.

You can find more about this game including a full set of rules on the Victoria and Albert museum website at .

More shove ha’penny

December 22, 2014

I made a mistake yesterday and published the post about the old game of shove ha’penny which I intended to publish today. So we’ll regard this as a shove ha’penny bonus with a bit of carpet croquet thrown in.

This is my sister having a go at pushing the coins. It is Christmas 2002.


Of course Paula, my sister, won’t be up for a game this year for she died in the summer.

We had a whole range of silly games that Christmas and here are members of the family engaged in carpet croquet.


This is half-sister shoving the ½ds.


And here we see her mum – my step mother. She is much more like my age than the age of a mother!


Happy Christmas past! We’ll certainly miss my sister this year but I’m sure we’ll still have a good time. And half sister, with her two youngsters and step mum will be part of it.

Playing Games

February 15, 2013

I am a games player.

Many of the games played nowadays are on the computer but in our household even these tend to be what might be termed traditional games that can be played without a computer but when the family arrive all sorts of games will come out and be enjoyed.

In childhood, it was mostly cards. I dare say a pack of cards could be bought for next to nothing at a jumble sale.

I think this clearly staged photo must have been taken because my parents thought my brother and I, washed scrubbed and in our pyjamas, looked particularly angelic. I’ll apologise to big sister who, no doubt, was angelic but has her back to the camera here.


This picture dates from 1954. How my mum managed to make my hair (on the right) and my brother’s hair look so neat I’ll never know.

I daresay my sister – she trades in antiques – would love the Lloyd loom chairs and table now. I believe, in good order, they are collectable.

By the way, my sister and I live about 100 miles apart but we regularly play a game together on computers. If you happen to like the word game boggle, then try . This lets you play against anyone else in the world who happens to be on-line at the time. The game is just like the real thing and it has chat as well so you can congratulate the winners. I gather there’s a Facebook page but having been a teacher I have seen so much bad, bad, bad about Facebook that I keep out of it. My sister uses it and I suspect she thinks I’m daft because I don’t. But damn it, she’s also better than me at the game we play. I beat her sometimes if on my own. My wife and I together make a good combo though. If you join the game, we play as Nibbin in Wilts. My sister plays as Monkland119.

And my brother? Sadly, he died as a young man back in 1980 leaving a wife and two children. But I believe he’d have been classed as dyslexic these days so he probably would not have played.