Monday 6th August 2012
Games involving circular objects
POOL requires a steady hand and a sharp eye. The nearest Rhetan equivalent, Broadskin Rollies, relies more heavily on good fortune.
It can be played on any surface by any number of participants. According to The Records of Bogus Ink-Nose, six hundred and thirty-one players entered the largest ever contest, held at the Lip of Curd Lawn, during the tenth Amateur Chef Rollie Festival.
The prize (which can be anything) is placed in the centre of a circle (which can be of any size) and players take turns to roll (from anywhere outside the circle) their six rollies (any circular object) towards the prize, the winner being the roller whose rollie lies closest to the prize when all have been rolled. If your rollie is knocked out of the way by another, well… you just have to be broad-skinned about these things.
Variations abound: rollies can be pebbles, apples, cheeses; the circle might be an irregular shape, a cloth, field or frozen pond; nor need it be flat.
Serious contests, with wooden balls of a decreed weight and dimension, are few and far between.
Traditionally, the prize reflects the mathematical relationship between the diameter of the playing area and its own circular shape, which is why the winner of the afore-mentioned contest at the Lip of Curd Lawn (actually a wide valley) needed a cart in order to take home the trophy: an enormous, mouth-watering pi.
In the Red Lion public house, tradition dictates that the loser of each game of pool buys the winner a drink.
Having not played before – and with no means of purchasing prizes – I owed Brendan a total of four drinks by the time we left, but was pleased to have knocked five yellow balls into the pockets in the last game. I assured him I would soon be able to reduce the debt.
Our third – and final – visit to the Red Lion was on the afternoon of the day after the day on which, he told me, priests once distributed to poor people the Money placed in boxes in churches by parishioners.