Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Playin' Ben The Room

Play must go on, even in the dark, bitterly cold winter days. Thank you to guest blogger, Ronnie, for sharing this entertaining account of how you made your own indoor entertainment as a child in 1940s Govan.
Apart from a place to live, our house was a place to play. The kitchen was our Las Vegas, the wee room our Hampden Park and the lobby doubled as St. Andrews and a darts venue.

A favourite pastime was playing cards round the kitchen table; the games included Newmarket, Rummy and Knockout Whist. When younger, no money was involved but to make it competitive, a box of matches was divided between the players and once you lost your matches, you were oot. Even when we played for matches it was very serious, so you can imagine how intense it got when we got older and the stakes were higher.

The lobby, due to its length, was an ideal place for practising golf and playing darts. A blanket would be hung on the outside door to protect it from over-hit golf balls or mis-placed darts. In golf, a bucket was put in front of the door and you had to chip into it. Fortunately, the ball didn't go too far if you missed the bucket, as it was the only one we had.

If the lobby was our St. Andrews, then the wee room was our Ibrox, Hampden or Wembley - you mention it, we played it. Never has such a small area fulfilled so many fantasies.

The room was only about 10 feet wide by 12 feet long and contained a double bed which also served as a grandstand. Not much space for the important matches held there, but nothing stopped the game. The door served as one goal and the window looking out the back was the other. With such a vulnerable goal, a tennis ball was out and instead a ball was made out of paper and rags held together with rubber bands.

One of the most memorable games held in the Stadium was Scotland v England with Duncan representing Scotland and Danny playing as England. The crowd was myself and my two sisters, Nan and Maureen, seated in the grandstand (bed). The VIP Guests of Honour were my sisters' dolls who were watching from the Royal Box, which also happened to be the mantelpiece. These dolls were their pride and joy as they were the first, after the war, they'd ever had with 'wally heids'. Prior to this their dolls had been made of cloth but these two beauties had cloth bodies and painted china clay heads.

Enough of the preamble and onto the match. Things were pretty close with first England going ahead and then Scotland fighting back. As the game neared full time, the countries were being forgotten and it was getting personal with Duncan claiming a goal and Dannny screaming it had never crossed the line. Even then we could have used tv technology! In the middle of the pushing and shoving, Duncan grabbed one of the dolls and smashed it over Danny's head, leaving him crying. This caused a furore in the grandstand with my sisters wailing at the top of their lungs as they watched the destruction. On hearing the stramash, my mammy appeared in the doorway and cuffed Duncan's ear. Never before had their been such a dramatic ending to a Scotland-England match!

1 comment:

Ellen said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your childhood memories Ronnie - thanks for that. What great imagination kids had then, great fun with very little space and play equipment.