Games people play

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Isabel Colegate, 66, writer

I may occasionally play a slow game of tennis on a grass court if the sun is shining and the opportunity arises. Otherwise I'm not much of a game-player. I'd rather read a book, go for a walk, or have a conversation.

I'm too defeatist for competitive games. Not that I like losing - I just always do. I know how to play bridge, but I get bad cards, which is annoying for any partner. Besides, bridge tends to go on far too long - like most games.

When I was a child we played consequences, or Lexicon, which was a precursor of Scrabble. Then there was Monopoly, but my eldest sister usually won, and my third sister always cried. We were happier when we sailed small boats together - which we continued to do after we had all grown up, but I suppose that's a sport, not a game.

I like watching University Challenge on television - that is a sort of game, isn't it? - and shouting out the answers, right or wrong. Although generally speaking I don't like clever games any more than stupid ones. I'd have been miserable in Edwardian country house society, where they did nothing but play games of one sort or another.

You could say that story-telling is a game, and I've spent my life doing that. I dread to think what would happen if all my worries didn't from time to time coalesce and turn themselves into a story; I'd go mad I suppose. On the other hand, story-telling is only half a game. It's also intimately related to reality - or at least it's a bore if it's not. So for me, whether as reader or writer, it's much more than a game. But I suppose a real addict could say that about dominoes.

The film of Isabel Colegate's `The Shooting Party' is available on video. Her latest novel, `Winter Journey' costs pounds 6.99 in Penguin paperback.