'That Reminds Me' - Hobbies & Pastimes

This week we are looking back at things we did to pass the time. It’s interesting to see how many people are rediscovering some of these in the current lockdown situation!
What hobbies and games did you enjoy when you were growing up?

It may help to bring back more memories if you think about the following:

WHERE you played.  Maybe chose a couple of spaces – one indoors, one outdoors. If you are playing outside is it the street or in a garden? Perhaps you went to a playground or park?  If you are indoors, which room are you in, and are you playing on the floor or at a table?

WHO you played with. Were you mostly on your own or did you have lots of siblings or friends to play with?  Did you play different sort s of games, or share hobbies, with particular people? Were there “crazes” for certain games or playthings?

WHAT you played with.  As well as board games and ball games were there other imaginative things you did or used?  Who built a den – outside or under the kitchen table? Who organised their toys into make pretend schools etc? Perhaps you liked jigsaws, had a train set, or built model aeroplanes? Maybe you had a toy farmyard, zoo, Noah’s Ark or a garage? What about construction kits? Did you have any dressing up clothes? What about fuzzy felt or Mr Potato Head?

We humans love collecting things so the chances are that you had a go at collecting something. (Postage) stamps were a big thing for many youngsters. Cigarette cards may have been discontinued in the 1930s, but there soon came other collecting cards to fill the gap. (See last week’s quiz!)  Who still has an album of these? What about toy cars or dolls in different national costumes?

Don’t forget to add a note, a picture (or a sample) of anything you particularly loved and remember to your personal scrapbook and/or memory box.

(Not my shove halfpenny board, but this is what one looks like incase you needed reminding!)

YOUR CHALLENGE (Should you choose to accept it…)

Is to revive a favourite game or hobby.  If it is practical (and safe) to do so, have a go at doing it again. It can be anything you like, from building a go-kart (joking!) to recalling the details of a playground skipping or clapping game. It could be a card game you haven’t played for ages, or something like dominoes or draughts. Play it with, or teach it to, someone else. If you can’t manage this for social isolation reasons, perhaps you can phone a friend or write down the instructions and send them to someone else to try (like the grandchildren or a bored friend?)  If you can’t remember all the rules yourself perhaps someone else can help? Let us know how it goes.

My example:

I have a shove halfpenny board propped up in my hallway. For some reason my dear old mum and dad bought it for us as a Christmas present about 30 years ago. I’m pretty sure we have mislaid the shiny metal discs that came with it, so I intend to track down some suitably worn (slide-able) old coins and to brush up on the rules before challenging my husband to a game. Traditionally played in pubs, shove halfpenny belongs to something called the shuffleboard family and apparently dates back to a time when the groat was common currency – hence its original name of shoffe groat or slype groat. 

If you have anything you’d like to share with us, and are happy for us to post onto this page, and our social media pages – please email them over to sam@activlives.org.uk.

We’d love to hear from you, and make this a fun community activity with loads of people taking part and sharing their stories, photos, comics – and anything else!


1. What model plaything was the name of Hornby most popularly associated with?

2. Newmarket, Pairs and Patience are all types of what?

3. Which toys came in a small box based on the design of a common household item or smoking accoutrement?

4. Can you recognise the following children’s television characters from the descriptions?

a) “Wore a blue and white suit, often seen in the company of a rather naughty bear and a floppy doll. Operated by strings.”
b) “White and black horse and donkey cross, also operated by strings”
c) “Furry little yellow fellow, often seen in possession of a wand. Hand operated.”

5. What’s the name of the popular series of little pocket sized books called that encouraged people to go out and look for and collect things they saw?

6. The origins of the game of marbles can be traced back to the time of

a) The Romans
b) The Tudors
c) The Victorians
d) The Ancient Egyptians

7. What game is played with sqidgers and winks?

Answers next week

Have Your Say!

“Just read the item about Shove-a-halfpenny – Now you have me thinking!  We have also lost our discs, but 2p’s work fine. Some of the old boards have the metal strips between the ‘beds’ which you could lift up to see if  a disc is ‘in’ (between the lines or ‘in the bed’). We played a lot as kids with my Dad and the neighbours. We took alternate turns, 3 in a bed and you can give points away if you leave a disc in a bed that you have already filled and your opponents still needs. First to fill all of their beds, wins!

A great game – easy to play but devilishly tricksy to play well!

I remember seeing it featured on the tele on a programme called ‘Indoor League’ in the 1970’s, presented by Fred Trueman.

We used to ply the board with talcum powder to make the discs run really quickly. I also once saw it being played for money, in a London pub.”

– M

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