It is heartening to visit a WRI that is celebration ninety years at the heart of the community. Over forty members attended the AGM and then went on to watch and play the games many of them played when they were wee.
Here are some of the stories we gathered during our visit. The question posed was “what games did you play when you were wee”?
Jean Lambroughton lived at Corsewall Farm near Stewarton and she had to walk three miles to school in the village of Kingsford even when she was five years old. She played “wi a ba against the wa – plainie, birrly". Peevers wi a bit o slate and hide and seek.
Marion Currans, nee Gladstone, lived on Middlefield Farm, Galston played kick the can, skipping ropes doing treble X with the single rope. Marion and her pals ran on the gutters between the byre roofs. They were in trouble when caught as it was dangerous.
Jean McDougal from Stewarton played at rounders, skipping ropes and beds.
Hannah Miller from Strathaven went to Strathaven Academy. The most popular games she played were kick the can, rounders and hide and seek.
In the open session where it is difficult to catch names and all that is said we picked up the following.
Donkey – one in the middle of a circle and the children in the circle throw the ball over to someone opposite. Each move spells the letter of D O N K E Y. If the person in the middle catches the ball she swaps places with the thrower.
The name Doulens was mentioned along with rolly and clappie. If you know what this game is/was please share the information with us! We would appreciate that.
One person remembered playing skipping ropes and the queue waiting their turn. Skipping, I would love to be able to this now!
Marion Muir originally from Hazel Head Farm remembers playing for hours in the burn. She and her pals built dams and spent hours swimming in them … often till dusk.
Sandie Findlayson, originally from Mosspark Glasgow, happiest memories were of being evacuated during the war (World War 11). She went to Muthill (pronounced Mewthel) in Perthshire. She loved climbing trees (they didn’t have trees in Mosspark then) and playing in the burn.
Following the Cydebank blitz a plane came over Muthill and dropped its bombs on the way back to it's airbase. It offloaded its bombs close to the village. Folks ceilings fell in.
“No school that day!” Off we went and I found a piece of shrapnel to keep. We had paraffin lamps and candles then.
Thank you all! We hope that we have done your memories justice. If you want to add to these stories we will be happy to hear from you.
Annie 1st May 2013.
Braco WRI, Perthshire.
Joshua was the youngest peerie spinner at the event.
The pictures you see on this website have been made possible by the good will of schools, Guilds and WRIs.
Thank you all and especially Struthers Primary School in Ayrshire and Croftfoot Primary School in Glasgow. We hope the children and thier families enjoy seeing the pictures. Thank you to the children for all their hard work in learning these games in a short time.
No Show Snow – Carnwath.
Peerie spinners join Anne Kay, second from the right, collect her prize.
Two sleeping bags and a snow shovel at the ready and we were off to Carnwath WRI. We stopped for tea at Ken and Edith's in Crossford and then cross country to our destination. We were delighted to have a cleared space waiting for us at the hall. We were ushered in and encouraged to start “any time”. We set up our gear and again invited to start. We were early. No we were late. We should have started at seven o'clock not seven thirty which is our usual time. Sorry girls our mistake!
Elizabeth Moffat girded her way to win the championship and her prize.
However once the show went live we accelerated through our programme and finished on time. Peever beds were hopped skipped and jumped. Songs were sung to the rhythm of the skipping rope. Girds were run and peeries were spun. Memories of games were shared and laughed about. It turned into one of our best evenings and we went home happy. We are sure that all the girls did too.
Thank you ladies of Carnwath WRI for being so patient and welcoming. We will remember our evening together for a long time to come.
There was plenty snow around but the roads were clear. The sleeping bags were put away unused. The shovel remains in the boot. Winter is not over yet.
Fun and Games at Hazeldene Nursery March 2013.
The children at Hazeldene Nursery, Mearns Kirk, participated in a traditional and new games session which was a fun activity workshop with lots of new games to learn.
Our plan was to play playground games comprising traditional and new games which the children could continue to play at the Nursery following our visit. We achieved it in some parts and not in others. Sometimes the game was too complex for some of the children and for others it worked well.
Here are some of the games we played.
Nessie the Loch Ness Monster featuring Nessie and the little ducklings who have to cross the Loch without being tug by Nessie or her helpers. Some sessions went very well. One was a hoot as the loch emptied every time the duckings crossed sweeping away Nessie's little helpers as they went.
Confused … you are in good company!
Demonstration of Whip and Peerie and Gird. We will return to teach the children how to master these traditional toys at a later date.
Wizards and trees was very popular as the children related it to Harry Potter. Wizards take giant steps and have “pointy” hats and trees stay still and have branches. A tig game where everyone starts as a wizard and if tug becomes a tree. Tug again … back to a Wizard again and so on.
Peever beds and skipping created an interest. Most grasped the footwork required to move up and down an aeroplane bed. For skipping we had intended to stick with Snakes and Waves as a simple easy jumping exercise using the long rope. However we drifted into the beginnings of skipping when perhaps we should have concentrated on jumping on the spot as a simple exercise. The children were used to single ropes but not the long skipping rope. Practice will help the children to jump at the right time.
We played Dodgem Cars with a difference. This is usually played with the engine at the front with eyes closed as a trust game. This time we played the game with the person at the front with eyes wide open. It was a hit.
The world song to finish was good fun with plenty of singing and actions to keep everyone busy. We went around the world Africa, India, America, Australia, Scotland and Mearns Kirk.
The children were wonderful, happy and gave the sessions their best shot. The staff also entered into the spirit of the games and supported the activities. We noticed that this nursery encourages children to be out in the fresh air a lot. We were certain that the children would be sleepy heads after a day at Hazeldene Nursery. Thank you all !!!
Ochiltree WRI Ayrshire February 2013
On the road again, were travlin on that road again … Ochiltree here we come.
We were a wee bit rusty after “resting” since last year. Never mind. There's no business like show business when the girds roll into town. The cheering of the crowds, the crying of the children and the barking of the dogs. OK, there was only a barking dog. Everyone needs a bit of drama in their lives!
Another splash of colour helps the players find their peeries when spinning and whipping.
However rested we may have been the girls of Ochiltree WRI got us buzzing and jumping again. On a mountain stands a lady, who she is I cannot tell. Brian's skipping was awful and he now knows he has to go into training! The girls who gird were good. Some of the best girders we've had. Well done.
Lots of concentration and action on the floor. May Smith, on the right, whipping her way to the position of Ochiltree Whip and Peerie Champion 2013.
The girls gave the whip and peerie laldy and the winner spun her peerie the length of the hall to collect her prize. Yes ... a whip and peerie. The singing of traditional skipping songs went fine as did the practising parachutists. They remembered to bend their knees when landing. Finally everyone enjoyed a pat and massage from their neighbours. OOo it was lovely.
Janette Harvey, who grew up in Lanark.
Janette's contribution to "the games we played" was -
PK chewing gum, penny a packet
First you chew it and then you crack it
Then you stick it into your jacket
PK chewing gum penny a packet.
Thank you, girls of Ochiltree WRI. We had a lovely time together.
Over the next few months Annie will appear running with her gird in Scotland. Can you tell where she is? Here is a clue. The location is in the Dear Green Place.
Send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org The names of all the entrants with the correct answer will go in a hat at the end of August. The first the name out will win a whip and peerie which will be posted to them. If you win we contact you by email and arrange delivery which could be to your school if you agree this with your teacher. Good luck!
Congratulations to Mrs Nancy Gemmel of Paisley who identified the earlier location which was the Peoples Palace, Glasgow Green in the City of Glasgow, Scotland.
Scotlands Traditional Games - What I Do.
One of the fun things I do is to go to WRI's and Guilds to put on a traditional games show which encourages those present and willing to play games and have fun. It certainly brings back happy memories for the company.
2013 presents great challenges. In our current economic climate times are tough and funds in short supply. I plan to continue my work with schools and uniformed organisations such as Guides, Brownies, Girls and Boys Brigades and Cubs and Scouts.
I will continue to help schools. I create and deliver workshops for children in schools - traditional games, new games and playground games. I also provide in-service training for teachers, classroom assistants and playtime supervisors.
In addition I give talks and reminiscence sessions for older people in sheltered accommodation and in lunch clubs. Very often I collect information on the games people used to play with a view to teaching these to children and publishing the information. I gather new information regularly and learn about the many variations in games in different parts of Scotland. Have you heard of Ba Beds and Catty and Batty?
Pupils of Croftfoot Primary School master the gird.
I also run open come and try sessions at Folk Festivals and Communty events all over Scotland. These events are for all ages and it is not unusual to have eighty year olds telling eight year olds how they ran with their girds and cleeks.
Using a programme of new and old games I run fun play sessions at childrens parties. The aim is to give the children an hours fun and games. I use singing games, as part of my programme, which children love.
Talks to Guilds and WRI's
During the winter months I travel to Guilds and WRI's to give "talks" which turn into Gird and Cleek Championships and Whip and Peerie spinning contests for the audiences.
"I've never laughed so much in ages" is a typical responce at the end of an energetic evening of fun and games. Those who are able take part and the others spectate and laugh. In fact everyone laughs. For me it is an uplifting experience.
Spin yer peeries! Members of Carnbo WRI have fun.
I supply traditional toys which are robust enough to withstand normal wear and tear in school playgrounds.Girds and cleeks, whips and peeries are very popular with children and older people.
I can also try to source traditional toys for clients when I don't carry particular items.
Bill Cordiner, our gird maker, from Drumlanrigg Castle in Dumfries and Galloway has retired. We wish Bill every hapiness in his retirement. Lang may yer lum reek .. Bill!
The good news is that we took delivery of twenty girds from our new gird maker today. Thank you to the ladies of a WRI for putting us in touch with potential suppliers. Our girds are now hand made in the traditional style in South Lanarkshire, Scotland.
I have a lot of fun with Scotlands Traditional Games and I know that children and people of all ages do too.
I would be happy to hear from you. If you would like more information you can contact me via this web site or via the information set out below. If you would like to share your memories of the games you played as a child I would be delighted to hear from you.
Games Old and New
661 Clarkston Road
Telephone:0141 633 2228
Thank you to the ladies of Gartcosh Womans Rural Institute for thier kind permission to use the Workshop photographs on this website. Thank you also to the ladies of Abington Womans Rural Institute for their kind permission to use pictures.
Scottish Womens Rural Institutes and Women's Guilds.
This winter we are busy entertaining WRI's and Guilds. We have travelled widely to put on my Traditional Games Show. This is where the "girls" get lots of fun taking part in Gird Races and Peerie Spinning competitions!
Here we go - Kenmuir Bishopbriggs, Kenmure Mount Vernon, Jackton WRI, Symington WRI Biggar, Blairlogie WRI Menstrie, St Andrews Church Dennistoun, Balfron Youth Cafe, Hawksland WRI Lesmahago, Broughton WRI in the Scottish Borders.
Have gird will travel!!!
I am happy to record my appreciation to the children of Struthers Primary School in South Ayrshire for appearing in the photographs on this web site. They are the stars!
Thank you to the parents and staff of the school for kindly agreeing to these photographs being taken and shown on the site.
Victoria Park, Victorian Day September 2012
Young and old have fun!