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Banburyshire Family History

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go back to the last page you were on Games in the Street

Smokey

Queenio, a game played in the street, was favourite among girls of a certain disposition with ringlets. The chosen one stood with her back to other players and threw a ball over one shoulder; if the ball was caught cleanly the catcher became Queenio.

With the ball collected (after bouncing), players chanted: "Queenio, Queenio, who's got the ballio?". Turning to face the other players (who had hands hidden behind their backs), Queenio nominated a player as having the ball. If correct, Queenio retained her position, if not then the holder of the ball became Queenio. A game teaching body language, bluff and double-bluff.

A game with more scope for politics and manoeuvre, was "Farmer, Farmer". This was played with the farmer standing alone in the middle of the street, all other players on one kerb. Everyone chanted "Farmer, Farmer may we cross your golden river?", to which the farmer responded: "Yes if you are wearing <colour>".

Anyone so fortunate was allowed to walk to the other kerb. Others were required to dash cross the road and avoid being touched by the farmer. Touched players became auxiliary farmers. There were many alternative qualifications, such as: "Yes if you have <letter> in your name". The final player to be caught became the farmer.

One of the participants, Strange Alice, had never really grasped these rules, and it was accepted that she would cross in either direction in random fashion; the other players considering her as a natural hazard. Wee Arthur, a very quiet lad, who lived alone with his grandmother and never smiled, would squat down sucking his thumb, watching all but never participating. How now I wish that I'd shown him more consideration.

A personal favourite and derivative of "Farmer" was "Sticky". Anyone caught was required to hold a hand with their captor; players crossing the road now needed to avoid a chain of chasers, with the tail of the chain whipping about, or attempting to follow a quite different direction. Capture required an unbroken chain.

If Muriel had ever come out to play. I would have caught her first.

Written by Smokey