Why do people not play board games anymore?

Over Christmas we had guests and played quite a lot of games. Charades of course, a tournament of a card game called “sh*thead”, funny rummy, dobble and more. But the only proper board game we played was this Lord of the Rings version of Risk – and even then we ran out of time to finish it.

When I was growing up we played a lot of board games. I was one of four children and over board games we learnt how to be competitive while still friends – most of the time. In particular with my brother Michael, we would spend long afternoons over Monopoly, Cluedo, Wembley, Flutter, Battling Tops. Each Christmas our parents would buy us a new game to share and it became a Christmas morning favourite after Church to play the game while our Mum made the dinner (different times).

When I first met my wife Mandy, we also played a lot of two person games – backgammon, othello, pass the pigs. We have a cupboard stacked high with games which these days are gathering dust. I am not sure why we don’t play them. We still play cards when we have people round. This week we learnt a new card version of golf, where you have 9 or 18 holes (rounds) to minimise your strokes (points on the cards). I guess when we were growing up there were no computer games, and only three channels of black and white TV. I am also aware that I am really speaking for myself. There are millions of dungeons and dragon players across the world that would laugh at my comments.

But I do miss board games. Perhaps I can persuade Mandy today to choose one of the dusty boxes from our cupboard, and we can return to our usual arguments over the rules. For the avoidance of doubt, there is no rule in Monopoly that says all fines should be put onto free parking and picked up by the next player that lands there – even if it is a good idea!

I wish you a very happy and game-full New Year.

Ten reasons Christmas is my favourite day of the year

Christmas is my favourite day of the year. Always has been. I wonder why.

My tree
  1. I love the anticipation. Probably more than the day itself, I love the run up – getting things prepared, making plans, organising.
  2. For a little while everyone seems friendly. When I am out walking the dogs, strangers greet me with a “Happy Christmas” instead of ignoring me. People all seem to smile a little more, be more patient.
  3. I like food. I like drink. I realise it can be excessive, especially the Christmas lunch. But there is a generosity in excess that I love.
  4. So many happy memories of Christmases past. As a child excited to find out what Father Christmas had left. As an adult making it just right for my own children.
  5. I love the carols and ceremonies. My Dad was a vicar, and even just the smell of a church at Christmas reminds me of the time when we came out of a midnight service to find snow falling on Christmas Day.
  6. I love the decorations, the tree bedecked with baubles and tinsel, the cards around the rooms, the lights.
  7. I love hearing from distant friends. Even if it is just a note in a Christmas Card once a year, it maintains the connection. We had a visitor from New Zealand this week, who we had only seen once in the past 30 years. But we had stayed in touch at Christmas and it made this week’s visit possible and memorable.
  8. Cold is good. I much prefer cold weather to hot weather. Last week in particular was crisp, bright and very cold. Nothing better than going out for a bracing walk, and then returning to a warm house and a wood burning stove.
  9. I really like Christmas films. I am a real weeper for soppy films and they don’t get much more soppy than at Christmas.
  10. It is all about family. We are fortunate enough to have our sons with us this year, and I am so looking forward to our time together – playing games, eating, drinking, chatting, slobbing.
My fire

On the narrowboat, the dogs food is kept in an old Christmas tin, with the label “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”. Hardly a day goes by through the summer, when I don’t hum the song to myself, because for me it is true.

To my blog followers and readers, whatever your faith, I wish you a very merry Christmas and hope you too enjoy a bit of seasonal magic this year.

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