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Ah well …

I’m fairly confident that I notched another milestone on the route to senility yesterday.

Having travelled some way in the morning in advance of our Christmas meal with relatives, we handed over our presents and then together set off en masse across London to spend an hour raising a pre-lunch glass of champers with another family before returning and ‘digging in’ for the day.

More drinks and cocktail food followed before our version of the traditional British Christmas ‘turkey plus trimmings’ lunch finally hit the table, about 20 minutes before ‘The Queen’. We then duly paused at the trough in silence for the live broadcast of Her Majesty’s speech, which was playing on the television behind us across the drawing room.

‘Reconciliation and ebola’ seemed to sum it up, if memory serves. It didn’t seem one of her best to me, if I’m honest – I felt she was gabbling it somewhat.

gameAfterwards we played a version of that parlour game where, in turn, each participant holds a series of cards against their forehead with the name of a person, film or play displayed outwards upon it.

The other players then have to ‘guide’ them – by suggesting clues or ‘word associations’ – to the answer on the first card, but (of course) without using any of the names/words upon it. As soon as that has been correctly guessed, the participant in question picks another card … and thereby has a minute to ‘score’ as many correct guesses as possible.

The novel aspect yesterday was that, instead of cards, one of my nieces possessed a smartphone app whereby the ‘names’ to be guessed came up randomly and automatically on its screen. The categories on offer included ‘movies’ ‘music’ and ‘celebrities’. The first ‘victim’ held the smartphone to their forehead, which then displayed the target name. Then, every time they registered a correct answer, they dipped their head downwards which caused the smartphone to move on to the next target name.

We must have played the game for between 40 minutes and an hour – you can imagine the noisy, chaotic scene yourselves …


Your author noted quite early on that the target names coming up were rendering him at a significant disadvantage.

In this regard, I estimated that the year 1990 seemed to be of crucial importance.

Given my date of birth, this is the point in history at which my general hotch-potch detailed knowledge of the various arms of the entertainment industry inevitably tends to tail off alarmingly, e.g. as if off a cliff-edge.

By the same token, it had become clear to me that the vast bulk of ‘target names’ being supplied by the smartphone app seemed to begin from about the same year.

You can see where I’m coming from. Those in the younger generation (in their twenties) were going to be ‘in touch’ with the target names. The older generation was not.

I made my play early. The first time it was my ‘turn’ to hold the smartphone to my forehead, I announced that, if nobody minded, on this occasion I was not going to play the game – I was just going to chill out and watch.

This request to be excused was swiftly and firmly turned down by the niece sitting to my immediate left.

“No, no, Uncle Arthur – don’t be silly, you’re definitely playing and there’s no getting out of it. Half the fun of this game for the rest of us is the fact you have no idea what’s going on and give the most ridiculously hilarious answers!”

Like anyone of my age, these days I am increasingly ‘on guard’ for warning signs that I’m on the slippery mental slope.

The realisation yesterday that, without previously registering it, I have probably been the butt of considerable family amusement for several years now was another staging post on that journey.


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About Arthur Nelson

Looking forward to his retirement in 2015, Arthur has written poetry since childhood and regularly takes part in poetry workshops and ‘open mike’ evenings. More Posts