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Sunday, 17 January 2016

All fun and games until someone loses an i...

I used to play Scrabble a lot.  Serious, competitive Scrabble, with words like Ky and Hackamore, which always seemed to get on triple word scores and drive everyone mad.  As I've been producing more novels though, playing Scrabble seemed a bit like a busman's holiday.  I bet builders don't spend their downtime making Lego villages either.

Our Scrabble set, while I was growing up, used to belong to my parents.  I mean, technically it still did, they were still there and they played, or rather, my father played with my brother and I and my mother hovered in the background (not literally, she is as bound by the laws of physics as the rest of the family) and 'advised'.  We also inherited their 'Game of Life' which is nothing like the new Game of Life; in this one you had to collect diamonds or hearts or...other things which I can't remember. And you had to fill in bits of paper with how many of each thing you wanted...look, anyway, we liked it and it would keep us busy for hours on a boring Sunday afternoon.  Remember those?  When the shops were all closed and there was no television?  And you'd read all your library books and had to spend the morning cleaning your bedroom?

Forget endless repeats of Big Bang Theory, in the old days, it was this on a Sunday afternoon, or pumice the bath.

Secretly I wanted 'Mousetrap'.  A friend had the game and I used to spend hours round at her house trying to persuade her to set up the board so we could knock the little man into the trap.  But there were, apparently, 'too many pieces' and I was never allowed a set.  I repeat, Too. Many Pieces...whilst we were encouraged to play Scrabble and do jigsaws, to the extent that I could finally complete one of our puzzles (I think it may have been the Queen Mary in 500 pieces. Or maybe it was just Queen Mary, I am so old that she was practically current) in about five minutes, with one eye closed.

So my vocabulary was trained up on Scrabble games, played round the dining room table, with my father and my two-years-younger brother (whose star turn came during a game of I-Spy..'something beginning with C'...it was seagull.  So you can imagine him playing Scrabble), where I learned the art of spelling, increased my range of words, and also learned the value of a well-placed two letter word. Plus, having a horsey turn of mind, I had a whole range of words at my fingertips..crupper, surcingle, pelham...
In case you were wondering. Or were mid-way through a particularly competitive Scrabble game
So, if you want a writing tip... play more Scrabble! It's great for picking up new words, and for filling in the time until you have to go upstairs for a bath and to do your homework...

3 comments:

angela britnell said...

I never played Scrabble until I married my husband - as an only child there's a limit to the board games 3 people can play when two of them are purposely letting the 3rd win! Probably why my competitive streak is sorely undeveloped.

Stephanie Cage said...

I love Scrabble, but what I gain by having an excellent vocabulary, I lose by having no tactical ability whatsoever. My 'Lissom' can easily be bested by 'Why' on a triple word score! Do you play the online version? I have a game of online Scrabble going at the moment with a friend in Australia. Not surprisingly, I'm losing.

Revjackal said...

I am reduced to online games as well. My wife has memories or her bickering parents playing scrabble and calling on her to be judge and jury over questionable words. Not a good association for wanting to play herself. Mind you, she could likely cream me into the ground. Perhaps she is being careful of my feelings. :)