Games People Play Posy Simmonds, 53, Cartoonist And Writer

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The Independent Culture
I USED to play cricket during boring lectures at boarding school. Not literally cricket. One of the lecturers used to wave his arms in the air very much like an umpire, and, if he stuck one arm up and a finger, that was a wicket. He often did that several times in a row, so six wickets fell. Or if he opened his arms wide, that was a wide.

Because we played cricket at this school, we knew all the umpiring signals. And so sometimes you could get two innings, or even six innings if there was a lot of wagging during lectures about drainage patterns in the Nile or the evolution of bee language - things like that, which you're then stuck with remembering for the rest of your life.

It was a girls school, but we played cricket with a hard ball. I liked cricket, and I had brothers and could bowl at them during the holidays. My father played cricket, my mother not, but I don't recall if there were any particularly amazing matches.

Other games were played in the dormitories after lights out. We'd tap out Morse code on the central-heating pipes; things like "Are you all right?", "Have you done your Latin prep?" and "It's my bath night". Boring stuff like that.

One thing we used to do when we couldn't go to sleep, was to recite the alimentary canal. Sometimes you got as far as the kidneys before you dropped off. Other times, you went right down to the rectum. I can recite it now: "Food-enters-the-body-through-the-mouth-where-it-is-moistened-by-saliva..." and "Kidneys-are-a-pair-of-bean-shaped-glands-situated-in-the-dorsal-wall- of-the-abdomen...". It's very good if you can't go to sleep.

Posy Simmonds' 'The Freezing Alphabet' and 'Fred', a cartoon story about a pop-star cat, have just been reissued (Red Fox, pounds 6.99 each)

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