Tuesday 14 August 2018

Silly old games put the fun into the festivities

Festive traditions are great but they can also take their toll. Whatever happens, Christmas is also a time for having a laugh, writes Victoria Mary Clarke

Victoria Mary Clarke having fun in Funderland in the RDS.
Victoria Mary Clarke having fun in Funderland in the RDS.

I like the traditional Christmas as much as anyone. But there always seems to be so much work involved in it. The cooking rituals in particular seem to be designed so that they must be executed with military precision or else it will all go horribly wrong and the people who are doing the cooking will feel like they failed Masterchef.

If you are not five, there isn't a lot of room for actual fun in this situation. I have given this a great deal of thought and while I have eaten a lot of turkeys and plum puddings over the years, I couldn't tell you anything about them now. And that is why my quest this year is for the most fun that can possibly be had within this tradition. To which end I have researched the best ways to do this.

One lovely young man told me that each Christmas without fail, he and his siblings play a game called 'Are you there, Moriarty?' The concept, he explained, is not simple, and I would have to pay close attention if I am going to get it right. What you do, he said is you get a newspaper and roll it up and then tape it so it becomes a hard, cylindrical object much like a truncheon. Then you and the other players get into pairs, are blindfolded, and hold hands. One person holds the newspaper truncheon and asks the other one "Are you there, Moriarty?" The other person must respond by saying "yes", whereupon he or she is beaten violently with the truncheon. "It is loads of fun," he assured me. I promised him I would try it.

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