GORDON SANITAIRE by Gordon Urquhart (XXXV)

Fun And Games

The best place to play board games is in the dining room at the mahogany table which belonged to Sir Philip Game and which Nancy and I found at a small antique shop in St. Kilda. In Melbourne they don’t seem to value relics owned by governors of New South Wales who dismissed premiers of this state, and so the price was good. It was very good indeed. Transporting it to our place cost us more than the price of the table, as a matter of fact. It goes very nicely with the drinks cabinet, also made of mahogany, which belonged to Sir Dudley de Chair[1].

Through the windows the lawns were soggy and lank and the lowest lawn was obscured in a fine mist which had rolled off the water and partially blocked our usually very good view of the Harbour Bridge. It was raining, and despite the fact that the view was largely gone I spent a couple of hours last weekend staring out the dining room window. Inside we were playing games I have no ability to play well and no interest in improving my performance at. Fleur was with us. Fleur went to school with Nancy. Fleur’s new husband was with her and he doesn’t drink and so I wasn’t even able to get something refreshing from Sir Dudley’s cabinet to take my mind off the fact that we were playing Scrabble and I am the world’s worst Scrabble player.

It is for readers to judge whether old Gordy has a formidable vocabulary or not, but I like to think that I know my way around the English language pretty well. This though does not translate to Scrabble success. I just can’t do it. All I can muster is short words like do and and, and they never earn bonus points. I’ve never taken the time to really focus on this game, so it’s still a mystery after years of playing. Fleur is good at it. She plays frequently. Ralf is an enthusiastic participant who can at least explain his poor results by pointing to his Austrian birth and the fact he mostly deals with diamond traders who speak exclusively Afrikaans. I have no such excuse. Nancy, naturally, is an expert, if only to remind me of my own inadequacy.

Whenever I play this game I try to annoy others by slipping in words they won’t like. Recently I have attempted to include business jargon words, which even I do not understand, and have then found myself forced to define and use these terrible, meaningless monstrosities in a sentence to justify their inclusion on the board, and it can all get quite heated, and the reason, quite simply, is that I’d rather have an argument about something trivial than to play Scrabble.

I managed to put down impactful, keepage, and surplused, and none of them, after lengthy discussion, were accepted.

It was decided that we should play something else and so boys took on girls at charades. The girls won. Ralf was trying to help Fleur win, for some reason, and I kept popping out on various pretexts only to return a little lighter on my feet, if you get my drift. It was that kind of night. Next month we’ll be visiting them, and that won’t be nearly as much fun. Not for me anyway. Or so Nancy says.

[1] The dining room is a sort of anti-monument to Depression era NSW Premier Jack Lang. Both Governors Game and de Chair removed him from office, using different methods, and replaced him with competent, patriotic, reasonable people who could be relied on to do a decent job of not bankrupting this state. The Senator could go on about Jack Lang for hours, days in fact, and often did. He thought Lang was a German spy.

Published in: on October 8, 2012 at 7:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

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