Jaqui's Daily Blog

Rules, Prizes and Preparing for a Railway Adventure

Tomorrow afternoon is the last meeting of our Nomination Whist Group. We have decided to give ourselves a bit of a break during August, which seems eminently sensible given that various grandchildren will be descending upon us over the course of the school holidays.  We shall, however, go out in style, serving Something Sparkling in the garden before the start of play.  Whether this will improve our performance or not is anyone’s guess.  Delia won’t mind, just so long as we still serve up her favourite shortbread biscuits.


One of the ways in which I try to inject additional excitement into our group is by announcing prize winners at the end of each “term”.  My job this evening, therefore, is to calculate everybody’s average score over the last four months and decide how to award prizes so that the same people who won last time and / or the time before don’t win again. This means thinking up unusual categories like Most Improved Player and Second Most Improved Player. We might even have to have a Third Most improved Player just so that somebody new can win this time round. All this must be done before 56 Up comes on TV -  I have been following the fortunes of the participants since they were seven years old and I am not about to miss the latest instalment of their fascinating lives. Last week Mr B and I tried to think of what was happening in our lives at 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, 42, 49 and 56 years of age. Since 21 our lives have been intertwined – we doubt we would have made very good television.


Talking of Mr B, he is a bit cross that I do not take his Scores on the Doors into account when calculating our Whist Winners. My reasoning is that, if I did, he would win every time which, as he is supposed to be the tutor of the group, would seem inappropriate. Mr B says it is not so much inappropriate as unfair.


At our last meeting, a fortnight ago, we had a bit of a debate when one of our members queried the rules.  Basically, she called into question the whole basis on which the scoring is based. No matter what arguments we raised to prove our case, she batted them away.  In the end I had to end the fruitless discussion by saying “Sorry, but rules is rules” – which was both ungrammatical and unlike me to be so dictatorial.  Fortunately the rest of the crowd backed me up.


As well as getting ready for tomorrow’s Nomination Whist group, I have also spent much of today preparing for next week’s visit by two of my Little Welsh Boys. I am determined, I tell Mr B, to be better organised this year.  He nods in silent encouragement but I need greater commitment than this from him. After all, I am going to have to entrust him with a number of important missions while I am away fetching the boys from their home in Cardiff.  For a start it will be his total responsibility to dress the Giant Penguin and ensure that he is in position on the front door-step ready to greet the boys on Monday.  Mr B blanches at the thought.  He is more comfortable with the task of doing a Tesco shop to pick up the kind of food beloved of small boys.  He feels at home at Tescos.  He also knows how to treat a grandchild. Over the years a visit to Tescos with Grandad has figured high on many a grandchild’s list of favourite holiday activities, mostly because of his complete inability to walk past either the confectionery or the comics without stopping to buy.


I have borrowed an idea I used successfully for my own children all those years ago and am producing “Journey Boards” to keep young Sam and James amused on the long train journey from theirs to ours. We are (I have decided)  going to be Railway Adventurers, tracking each station we stop at and awarding them one, two or three stars depending on the facilities they offer. Is there a cafe? How many seats are there on the platform? Are there flowering baskets brightening the day for travel-weary passengers? I’ve bought the clip boards and the stars and drawn up lists of stations.  We could maybe sell our research to First Great Western in return for a free trip next time round? We shall have a minimum of rules and a maximum of fun.


Incidentally, checking out the rules of Nomination Whist with good old Google, I was relieved to find that my interpretation of the rules was the one generally favoured.  I also discovered a few fascinating facts about Nomination Whist which I shall be sure to share with the group tomorrow. Did they know, I shall ask them, that in its earliest days the game was known as “Oh, Hell!” I think most of them will appreciate why that might be. Less easy to understand is the fact that it is also known in some circles as “Weetabix.”


Now that, Delia, really does take the biscuit...

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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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