A Game of Scrabble®

My childhood memories include playing Junior Scrabble®, first the easy side, where the words were given and had to be covered with letters, then the freestyle version on the reverse.  Next my parents invited me to join with them and sometimes Grandmother playing Scrabble®.

While I was not given any advantages due to my youth, they did help me learn some techniques to improve my score.  I wrote in an early post on this blog about my competitive streak.  I enjoy playing. As well as being fun, it helps keep my vocabulary active and (as I usually keep the score) gives me a reason to do simple arithmetic.

Now there are only two people left against whom I ever play.  One is Mum, who taught me the word QI, after playing with a neighbour.  However, she does not like the fact that I have learned most of the permitted two letter words!  The other is hubby, who is not good at spelling, but has his own methods of winning.  He is likely to block all the places the Q could be played, if he thinks I am trying to put it on the board!

Also we have adjusted the rules for our own enjoyment.  Each of us has a reference book to hand.  Instead of waiting to challenge a possible wrong word, we look before playing.  My favourite reference book includes the meanings.  If hubby puts down an incorrect word, I do not penalise him for it, but let him take his turn again.  “What’s that word?” is a regular question.   Sometimes it is a technical word I haven’t met (or remembered).  Other times it is a genuine spelling mistake.

Recently I managed to play all the seven letters in my rack twice in the same game.  I have to admit I played a word I did not previously know – MANDIRS.(I was checking whether MANDRIL was permitted (no) and spotted it.  I also checked that REECHOES does not require a hyphen.

(In a subsequent game, when I had cheated by using a word I had discovered in the book, I lost.  We considered that to be poetic justice!)

At the end of the game the scores were 481 and 236 giving 717 in total.  Of course this included 2×50 in bonus points.  I had two tiles left.  As far as I remember they were both the letter I.


A high-scoring game

It is interesting that every game of Scrabble® seems to be unique.  It does not seem to be possible to use every triple word score space in a game.

Do you play Scrabble®?  Have you any interesting observations to make about the game?


10 things to do in a power cut

In bad weather the power supply may not be reliable.

Be prepared for power cuts by having

  1. candles and the means of lighting them (do not leave them unattended)
  2. one or more torches
  3. a telephone plugged in to the telephone socket (not relying on electricity)
  4. warm clothes and blankets (use these before you feel cold)
  5. fully charged batteries for any devices you wish to use during a power cut
  6. a plan for keeping tropical fish warm (if you happen to have these – we don’t)

Possible activities during a power cut (in no particular order)

  1. craft projects (knitting, hand sewing, crochet, origami, etc.)
  2. dusting and sweeping
  3. reading
  4. board games, card games, jigsaw puzzles
  5. writing (in a notebook if you cannot use a computer)
  6. playing musical instruments
  7. conversation
  8. listening to a battery-powered radio
  9. playing charades and other family games
  10. making sure elderly neighbours are OK

One day between Christmas and New Year the stormy weather conditions damaged the power supply to our area and we were without mains electricity for over 17 hours.

I got up early (as I have begun to do recently) and used my lap-top with its fully-charged battery to draft three blog posts.  (I normally take the battery out and use my lap-top plugged into the mains.)  Of course, we had no internet access, but I set my lap-top to flight mode to prevent it wasting its efforts hunting for a network!

We are fortunate in having mains gas and a hob.  We are able to use this to cook (and boil water) even when the electricity is off.  However the gas central-heating does not work without electricity to run the control system and the pump.

The temperature outside was higher than expected for the time of year, but the ambient temperature indoors was falling throughout the outage.  It is important to keep warm.  I dressed in extra layers.  When I began to feel cold sitting at my lap-top, I thought of one of the items on my to-do list which involved some physical activity.

I have begun to catalogue our books.  I am doing this using Excel (which I don’t really understand).  I carry a pile of books to from a shelf to the table, enter the details I wish to record, return the books to the shelf and take another pile…

At a fund-raising coffee morning before Christmas I won a raffle prize – a set of three jigsaw puzzles.  Over the Christmas holiday period I did these for relaxation and as a change from craft projects.  During the daylight hours, I was able to continue with putting pieces in one of these puzzles.

We kept up-to-date (by telephone) with the progress of restoring power and decided to cook our main meal mid-afternoon in order to do this by daylight.  We had eaten lunch at midday, but were hungry enough to enjoy a cooked meal earlier than usual.

It was too dark to read music by the time I decided I’d like to play the piano.  I cannot play from memory or by ear, so I found my treble (alto) recorder and played some Christmas carols from memory.

I played patience with real playing cards (designed for games of patience) by candlelight after a game of Rummikub with hubby had proved too much like hard work.  The light was not good enough to distinguish the colour of the tiles easily.

The day was something of a challenge, but I was pleased with what I managed to achieve.  We often take modern comforts for granted.

Last time we knew the electricity would be turned off for essential maintenance work, we planned a day out in the countryside, which we enjoyed.  This time the weather was unsuitable for leaving the house unnecessarily.


Blog Every Day in November is a challenge hosted by Elizabeth of Rosalilium a lifestyle blog Today’s topic is How do you relax on Sunday?

Sunday is traditionally a day of rest or Sabbath.  This is important.  It is one of the Ten Commandments.  The Jews were very strict in their observation of the Sabbath.  Jesus shocked them on many occasions by the things He did on the Sabbath.  He healed the sick on a number of Sabbaths.  So how can we observe the Sabbath in the modern world?  God has made it clear that it is important that we rest and do not work every day.  We have our weekends, which for many people are not working days.  However for others working shifts means that some weekends are workdays for them and some weekdays are not.  There are many tasks which cannot be left undone on any day of the week.  However, I believe that there are certain days (Sundays, Good Friday and other Holy days) when shops should be closed.  Holy day is after all the derivation of our word holiday.

So what about my Sundays?

As I am in the church choir, I have to be ready for a fairly early start.  We have a practice each Sunday (except in August) beginning one hour before the service.  We practise most of the hymns and an anthem for that morning’s worship, we learn new anthems or practise carols or other works, which will be needed later in the year.  As I sing alto, I have to read the music and listen to the piano and other singers to learn my part.  It is much harder work than just singing the tune!

In the service the choir has to concentrate and be ready to lead the congregation in words and music.  After the service I like to stay for a drink of coffee and a chat with various people.  I like to give out leaflets and any other items of information, which people may forget to pick up.

I sometimes chat with visitors.  Usually there is at least one other person to walk part of the way home with at lunch-time.

There are plenty of programmes on Radio Three which hubby likes to listen to on a Sunday afternoon.  I am not good at sitting and doing nothing, so after lunch (prepared by hubby) I might sit and knit or read.  I have to confess I do not make this a computer-free day, although I try not to do much writing at the weekend!  I may also play the piano at some stage in the day.  If the weather is fine we sometimes go for a walk.  I may do my homework for the Bible study group I attend.

I usually make a roast dinner on Saturday, so that there is something left-over, which requires less preparation time the next day.

In the evening we sometimes play games such as Scrabble and Rummikub.