Friday, 5 October 2012

Missing a trick

Once upon a time families would play cards together. Just about everyone we knew could play dominoes using a pack that had double nines, or could play knock-out whist. The great attraction was that age did not necessarily give an advantage. Luck played a huge part, so children could take on adults of any age and show their superiority. Card playing uses many natural talents including memory, logic, the ability to bluff and the ability to interpret the behaviour of others. It's also usually a lot of fun, provided that 'post-mortems' are not allowed. Their major advantage over electronic activities is the social interaction generated. Also it's not vital to have a rapidly moving thumb or finger, so over 60's are not at a disadvantage.

Another historic family pastime that is still possible, thankfully, involves going for walks. In fact walks these days have become quite an industry. We have a local forest area on Cannock Chase which would probably take several years to explore all the walks and tracks available. One Forestry Commission site has the most splendid huge statues and wooden carvings scattered along a 'toddle walk' along with a fairy glen, maze, 'den-building and a set of empty plastic drums which produce a satisfying rumble when hammered with pieces of wood. Refreshingly there is also a playground housing a variety of swings, slides and climbing challenges. Only the car-park needs a cash feed! Bikes, horses, dogs and skegways are all welcome.

Somewhere between these two extremes there is the brilliant team game of Choral Singing , an all-age activity which is best when there is a wide variety of age and experience. Youthful enthusiasm combined with experienced voices make for an exciting noise and a real adrenalin rush especially if a public performance is involved. Hearing your voice bend with others generates a tingling pleasure that is the equal of scoring a goal, a rugby try or taking a wicket.

As winter approaches I look forward to board games and card games. It seems to me that reliance on television, Facebook and electronic gadgets for entertainment is missing a trick or two..

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