Some Pastimes

This is a child page of Our Monaghan

How did people pass the time before television was invented? You might well ask how did people pass the time before electricity was invented? Sometimes when there is a power cut and we have no light, only a candle or lamp, we begin to realise what it was like not so very long ago.

Out of doors, the children played hopscotch, skipping, tig, hounds and hares, tallyho, rollerskating and spinning tops. There were many other games which the children made up themselves, as they do nowadays.

Spinning tops has died out all together. The top was bought in the toyshop. It was made of wood, and it had a tip, or point of metal, on which it could spin. When you got a top, you had to make a whip out of a stick and a piece of string. This was used to scourge the top to keep it spinning, once you had it started. To start the top off, you took it between your two hands and gave it a spin. Then you started to use the whip to keep it spinning.

Pitch and toss was a favourite with the older boys. If they had some money to spare they would gather on a piece of ground and the pitching and tossing would commence. A stone was placed on the ground and it was called the "butt". Each player pitched a coin, in turn, trying to place it near the stone. The player whose coin was nearest the "butt" was the first to toss. Sometimes they had a flat piece of stick on which they placed two coins, side by side, to toss up into the air. Sometimes they just used fingers. The coins were tossed and if they landed "heads" up, the player who tossed them kept them. Many players lost and won, some people thought it was a bad pasttime, but when the stakes were low, it was a harmless and enjoyable way to pass a few hours.

There were numerous other pastimes which have died out. You could ask at home what games your parents or grandparents used to play.

(Extract from Monaghan Images)

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