Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Playing in the traffic!

When I was little, my way of passing the time on long car journeys were:

-       To see if I could spot my future husband driving in the opposite direction.
-       To see how long I could suck a polo mint for. My record was from Doncaster to Stamford along the A1 on the way to visit my grandparents.
Whenever I go and visit my dad now in Lincolnshire, I find myself doing that same bit of the journey. I always look out for a chocolate brown 1980 Morris Marina taking the turning for Doncaster Racecourse, with a green looking little girl in the back trying desperately hard not to be sick. 

Dental etiquette forbids extreme polo sucking these days. Besides I’m generally talking too much to suck. These days, I’ve devised alternative forms of entertainment, which I thought I might share. Look upon it as my gift to you. Silly they are, but they do make the journey go much quicker.

Crossing the county boundary game

This started whenever I would cross into Scotland or Wales or back into England. While crossing the border you have to sing an appropriate song. It’s a mark of respect for the cultural differences of the regions.

England to Scotland – Scotland the Brave
Scotland to England – Land of Hope and Glory
England to Wales – There’ll be a Welcome in the Hillside.

Since then we’ve taken it one step further to include counties. There are 83 counties in England alone, so I don’t have a full set yet. All suggestions welcome. Here are my top 10 to sing with gusto when crossing the county line.

  1. Temptation by Devon 17
  2. Robin Hood, Robin Hood riding through the glen – for Nottinghamshire
  3. Ilkley Moor Bar Tat (all the verses) -  for Yorkshire
  4. Cumbria – my Lord, Cumbria
  5. Heartbreaker by Dionne  Warwick(shire)
  6. Hold me close, don’t let me go by David Essex
  7. When will I see you again by The Three Degrees – for Oxfordshire
  8. Making your mind up by Bucks Fizz (Buckinghamshire)
  9. Wish me love a wishing well, to kiss and tell by Terence Trent D’Arby(shire)
  10. Durham, Durham, Durham, Durham, Durham, Durham, Durhaaaaaaam, Durham, Durham, Dum – The theme tune for the Pink Panther.
You can also play this game when visiting towns and cities. I regularly sing ‘Twist and Shout’ when entering Liverpool. 

I’m also looking forward to going global later this month when we visit the US for our honeymoon. ‘New York, New York’ is a given as is ‘New England’ by Kirsty MacColl. I’m expecting Camden, Belfast and Bangor in Maine to also give good lyrical inspiration!

This leads me on to the next game:

Turning village names into people (this can be played alongside giggling over place names which sound rude)

In England, we are blessed with a plethora of ridiculous village names. In this game you try and imagine, if they were a person, who they would be and what’s their story. The drive down the A1 to Dad’s has some splendid examples, however my list of favourites is drawn from a much wider hill and vale. Top five this time:

Burton Coggles (near Lower Bitchfield in Lincolnshire) was a World War II Spitfire pilot. Married to Fanny Coggles he flew on many raids over Europe, but only after a nice drop of Scotch and one of Fanny’s mutton hot pots. He was known for saying ‘What what’, and ‘By jingo’ while twirling his moustache and admiring himself in his leather flying jacket and white scarf. Burton was shot down in 1944 over France and spent the rest of the war hiding in Rene Artoise’s cellar along with the Fallen Madonna with the big boobies!

Nun Monkton (near York) was a God fearing woman, although she did have a few bad habits. She had a thing for the Abbot – Russ. Nun Monkton did like a good old knees up. She liked a party, with an atmosphere. One evening, after evening prayers, she snook out of the Abbey for a secret assignation with Abbot Russ but was caught in the cloisters by Mother Superior. To rid her of her wicked ways, Nun Monkton was expelled from the church. Try as she might she couldn’t keep away from men of the cloth and eventually found a position in Bob’s Monkhouse seeing to their dirty habits!

Kirk Smeaton (near Pontefract, North Yorkshire) a cad and a villain with an eye for the ladies. Kirk was the son of the local landowner who liked nothing better than breaking in a nice young filly. After one too many blots on his copy book, Kirk’s family disowned him and he was forced to emigrate to Canada. Kirk was an excellent horseman so was quickly promoted to Captain while serving in the Mounties. One day on his way to visit his secret love, the wife of the Major of Montreal, he was caught in the middle of a stand-off between a grizzly bear and a Moose and sadly Kirk Smeaton was eaten!

Edith Weston (the county of Rutland) sang in the music halls of the East Midlands. Edith was no little sparrow, in fact she was known locally as ‘The Big Bustard’! Edith was renowned primarily for two songs, ‘Roll me over in the Clover’ and ‘It’s a sad, sad day when your ship gets lost’. At the ripe old age of 36yrs, while actually rolling over in some clover with one of her fans, she was bitten on the bottom by an Adder. Her last song before departing for that great music hall in the sky was ‘A little of what you fancy (does you good)’!

Blatherwyke (NorthamptonshireSwithins day, forced out from its nest by a persistent downpour. 
I’m not the first person to play this game. If you look at some of the characters in Bridget Jones Diary, there is Penny Husbands Bosworth (Leicestershire) and The Alconburys (Cambridgeshire).

Moving on to villages that make you giggle – well recently I drove through Wetwang and we will be holding the reception for our wedding blessing in a pub in the village of Dyke (he he he!)

Your final game for today, to help you while away long car journeys, is:

Going to a fancy dress party dressed as the next car on the road

Cars like Rover and Golf and Polo are easy – a dog, Nick Faldo and Prince Charles, the polo years. But how about some of the more challenging makes and models. What would you wear? I’ll try for a top 10 again:

  1. I drive a Citroen C4, so I would go dressed as a big French Lemon.
  2. A Ford Escort could be a tarty prostitute.
  3. An Alfa Romeo could go along with his Alfa Juliet.
  4. A Morris Minor could go in an orange overall with a miners lamp.
  5. A VW Beatle – as a Beatle.
  6. A Renault Laguna could wear a paddling pool and go as a lagoon.
  7. A Seat (Ibiza) could go as either – a seat, or a clubber.
  8. A Honda Civic could go as the Mayor.
  9. A Porsche could go as a temporary shelter with a curtain across the door made from long strips of plastic (a porch).
  10. A 2CV could have a curriculum vitae pinned on their front and back.
Think this sounds silly. Well it is, and I guarantee that these games will both exercise your imagination and give you a good giggle. Enjoy :-)

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