Ninnies and Numbskulls

Can anyone remember a board game from the 1970s that had ninnies and numbskulls? It came to mind as I was trying to think of a theme or tagline to my blog post in my head as I walked. I was fumbling mentally for a word to describe someone and it just brought back memories from school when I was about 10 years old. The game was a bit like chess but with only three or four types of piece and with possible moves printed on the board. I have long said that an afternoon per week of board games would be massively positive for children, in building skills of strategy and problem solving that are all too rare among young adults – however, they are just the sort of skills that are so vital in many workplaces. Anyway, my teacher of the time, Mr Clyma, allowed us every now and again to play these sorts of games. I heard a couple of years afterwards that he had passed away – that may or may not have been true, children can have vast imaginations. Anyway, on reaching home after today’s work I did a bit of investigating and this may jog some memories.


I can’t remember it being called Smess or even ‘Take the Brain’ but I do vaguely recognise the board.

So why did this all come about? On walking back from Eastleigh, I was close to some traffic lights when a driver called out to me. When I took out my earphone, he proceeded to call me a host of names under the sun before driving off. Well, a few years ago, I might have been really upset and thought I’d done something wrong or in some way that it was my fault, but I am content to consider that that was probably the highlight of his day and had nothing more worthwhile to do. Even now at the moment you are reading this, he might be talking to his mates, telling him how brilliant it was. And that was his great achievement, wow, have an OBE.

A remarkably similar sort of walk to last weekend, with a grey late morning, a grey afternoon and just some drizzle in the air for much of that time. The first half of the walk was at a decent pace with the second half more steady for a good total of 19.5 miles. During some of this time, I realised that it is that time of year when I try to put together a list of possible birthday and Christmas presents for Pammy and Matt (to buy for me – yay) and I should point out that Pammy asks me to do this! Well, there is an absolute bargain 11 CD box set of ELO’s first 11 studio albums at ¬£19.99. Hang on, I think I will buy that now…. Ok, that’s done. I ought to be thinking about kit for walking – I do need some maps and guides for walking Offa’s Dyke, but my boots are still great, perhaps I need a couple of base layers, the others are starting to wear and not wash so well, and I do need a couple of long sleeved Sunday League footie-type shirts for a few quid each. Oh right, it’s only mid-November, plenty of time to think a bit more. Perhaps a board game or two, except that my immediate family are not enthusiastic board gamers. Thinking cap on…………


One thought on “Ninnies and Numbskulls

  1. Pingback: The return of the breakfast box? | Spiceboy's Very Long Walk

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