School Days, — July 13, 2010 9:38 — 0 Comments

Games at the Mill Corner

The Mill Corner (Clontifleece – near Warrenpoint) was an especially attractive place during the summer months and especially on Sunday afternoons. Then the ‘entertainment’ was at its best. Many’s an afternoon was spent in pursuing our three favourite pastimes, skittles, pitch-and-toss and cards. 

I have never played skittles elsewhere so I have no idea whether the game we played was the same as was played elsewhere. 

 

We used five wooden pegs about eight inches high and an inch across. They were placed in a yard-diameter circle, suitably separated. The player tossed a cylinder of wood – approximately eighteen inches long and four or five inches in diameter – and scored the number of pegs he drove out of the circle. We scored three points a peg and the first to twenty-one was the winner. If you scored more than twenty-one you returned to nought! This game occupied us for hours!

 

Pitch-and-toss was played everywhere around the countryside. The adult version was for gambling and as much as a half-crown was wagered on each toss. Each tosser (excuse-me!) had his own style. I found that if one side dominated while the pennies were spinning in the air, then that (heads or harps) was likely to be the final outcome. I perfected a style to achieve that outcome and won more often than not!

 

The childish version was for fun only and was more just ‘pitching’. A stake was driven into the ground and the pennies were thrown, the object being to get as close as possible. Sometimes this latter was used by the gamblers to determine the order of tossing. The stake was called the motee. Pitching a coin was ‘having a dig’. A coin that rolled away on its edge was mocked: ‘away on her pidley’ was the cry.

 

Coins were balanced on the two fingers nearest the thumb (sometimes a short flat stick was preferred) and tossed, spinning high in the air. ‘Give them plenty of air!’ Sometimes we played just for the coins used: two heads were pocketed: two harps were forfeited: one of each warranted another go. Mostly the tosser was banker and covered any bets against his achieving two heads. This way, more could be lost or won.

 

… more later …

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