Category: Sports & Games

Sungka – Filipino Mancala Game

Sungka Board, photo by JMorton

Sungka – Filipino Mancala Game

I used to be obsessed with this board game when I was a little girl.

For whatever reason my mother used to discourage us playing sungka.  She was really adamant that we should not play it.  I think I heard her say that it was a game of the dead or something.  She made it sound like there was something sinister about it.

But I’ve  always  had a mind of my own, and the more I was told ‘NO’ the more I had to do it; it was like a red rag to a bull to me, a fascination of the forbidden. 🙂  I was a tad naughty!  LOL

Probably that was the reason I loved playing sungka.   I used to ask a neighbour, Lagring, who was a year or two younger than me to play sungka.   We did not bother with the wooden board; at my instigation we would just dig little holes similar to those in the wooden board on the ground under our mango tree.  We would then gather little stones and away we play for what seems like hours.  🙂

My mother always knew what I was up to as I would come home with dirty hands and even dirtier finger nails.  And of course those little holes which suddenly appeared all over our backyard!  🙂

In the end, knowing that I would not really listen, she just gave up on her embargo against sungka.  Funnily enough as soon as the ban was lifted I moved on to another obsession, Jack’s Stone!  🙂

By the way the photo above was taken at late president Ferdinand Marcos childhood residence in Batac, Ilocos Norte.  It seemed President Marcos used to play sungka as well.  🙂

Click here to see a quick tutorial.

I actually want one for Christmas, thank goodness they are easily available here.

Soccer Curse of Mick Jagger – Brazilian Pe Frio

Football Curse of Mick Jagger

Brazil 2014 has been one to remember for a long, long time.  So many unforeseen events have happened.  Unfortunately these events, especially the losing part bits are  categorically and serendipitously (for the winners) being blamed to a modern day living icon.  LOL   Arise Sir Mick.  LOL

It seems Mick can’t get no Satisfaction even if he tries!  But not as bitterly and heartbreakingly disappointed as the whole of Brazilian footballing peninsula, when their team failed to provide a semblance of satisfaction to the expectant crowd of the host nation of World Cup 2014.   Their proverbial and iconic Brazilian team failed to Move Like Jagger hence completely and utterly trounced by Germany in an unprecedented 7-1 to Germany.  Thus Mick is now being called Pe Frio, which literally means Cold Feet, meaning a jinx!

Mick Jagger and 15 year-old son, Lucas

Mick Jagger and 15 year-old son, Lucas

Apparently the jinx brought on by Sir Mick started a long way off before the World Cup 2014.   Below is an except from an article from


Sir Mick’s bad luck began in South Africa in 2010, when he watched England being knocked out by Germany, then joined Bill Clinton to seeUSA being knocked out by Ghana. For good measure, he turned out in a Brazil shirt to see Brazil lose to the Netherlands in the quarter-finals.

For most of the 2014 World Cup Sir Mick has been touring with the Rolling Stones, but cemented his reputation as a jinx by telling Portugal fans at a concert in Lisbon their team would win the tournament (they failed to progress beyond the group stage).

He then tweeted a good luck message to England before their group game against Italy (they lost 2-1) and before their game against Uruguay, saying: “Let’s go England – this is the one we win!” England suffered another 2-1 defeat.

At a concert in Rome he told Italy fans their team would beat Uruguay in their final group game, just hours before Uruguay won 1-0 to send Italy home.

Uruguay fans, wise to Sir Mick’s growing reputation as a bad luck charm, took a poster of him wearing an Italy kit to their match, which prompted the craze among Brazil fans for cut-outs of him wearing the colours of Colombia and Chile, both of whom were beaten by Brazil on their route to the semi-final.

Last month, as part of the Rolling Stones’ current world tour, they played gigs in Berlin and Dusseldorf. The good news for Germany fans as they look forward to the World Cup final is that there is no record of Sir Mick lending his support to die Mannschaft.


Apparently last night, Sir Mick affiliated his support to the Netherlands, who I have to admit gave a crackling performance against Argentina, who eventually won through the heart-rending but exciting penalty shoot-out.

What we all want to know now is which team is going to be chosen by Mick for the much anticipated world cup final?  Would it be Germany?  Would it be Argentina?

ha hahahahahaha

Football, the beautiful game, is not called beautiful for nothing!!!!


2014 FIFA World Cup – England Vs Uruguay


Churchill, the mascot Photo by PH Morton

FOOTBALL IS COMING HOME or the team will, one or the other!!!


It is now so quiet in our neighbourhood.  Not a peep, nor sound of cars driving by.  No children playing in the street.  I can see from the window, the street is uncommonly deserted!

Everyone, I can safely assume is, is inside congregating in front of the telly waiting for the start of the game.

Today is a most crucial game for England.  They need to win.  They must win.  If they lose, they are probably out of the group, going the way Spain shockingly did last night.

Apparently England supporters who trekked to Brazil to watch the game, were unable to afford to watch in the stadium as the prices were going sky-high by the minute.  The England game is being held at Sao Paulo. The tickets were selling from £500 – £1000.  Rather expensive to watch England lose.  LOL

Oh, none of that, we shall throw out and out support to England.  They can do it, yet they can.

Come on England, Come on England!!!

DSCN9695There you go, we have our England inspired motiff glass and  coasters, we are ready to watch and hopefully enjoy and celebrate.

Get the beer, Peter.

England World Cup Team Theme Tune by Rik Mayall

Flag of St.George  England

Flag of St.George England

Noble Englishman England World Cup team theme tune by Rik Mayall.

For this 2014 World Cup, there is no official England team theme. We guess as the team and expectations for winning the WC are low and realistic.
During our walk around locally with our dog diesel we have seen a few England flags draped from windows, but not as many as previous World Cups.

Anyway a popular and unofficial theme has been found as a tribute as sadly this week one of our comic genius’ Rik Mayall passed away at only 56 years of age. I enjoyed laughing at his manic antics in BBC’s “The Young Ones” and “Bottom.”
He was also brilliant as the slippery, odious and ambitious at all costs politician in ” The New Statesman.” Hmm..he was an amalgam of real-life politicians. 😉

Rik also guest appeared in several episodes of the brilliant and clever historical and hysterical funny “Blackadder” comedy series with Rowan(Mr Bean) Atkinson.

This video made by Rik some years ago in 2010, has now been adopted as the 2014 England World cup team theme..brilliant and a fitting tribute.
Rik invokes Shakespeare’s Henry V the bulldog spirit which the English and British have been known to display. We hope the England team do well, they a have a tough group but have talented younger players are coming through and we shall see how they perform on footballs biggest stage.

With this fuss about his video coming back, Rik would no doubt be telling us all to “f**k off.” 😉

Enjoy the video and RIP as much as your frenetic energy and humour will allow Rick. 🙂

Global Beautiful Game in Brazil for the World Cup 2014

Global Beautiful Game in Brazil

Yes the global beautiful game has begun. Teams from 32 countries now contest the greatest of games trophy in Brazil. Whilst England is the home and originator of the modern game of football, Brazil is regarded as the game’s spiritual home. This once poor country which is now among the richest, adopted football with a passion and fervour unrivalled in any other soccer playing nation.  Brazil have won the WC five times and national pride demands they win a sixth on home soil. It would be a national disaster if they don’t!
England have won the WC once, way back in 1966 at Wembley Stadium.  I was 11 years old and have memories watching the games on the family’s TV in black & white view, as widely available colour TV was a few years away. 
The 1966 England  team were most talented as they proved.  My favourite player was the legendary goal keeper Gordon Banks, I am lucky to  have his autograph.  Gordon was acknowledged as the world’s greatest Goalkeeper of his era. When England played Brazil at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, Gordon’s stunning save against Pele the then world’s greatest football player, has become the stuff of legend in football folklore.
Since 1970, England have never shone at subsequent World Cup Finals. Only under the late great England manager Bobby Robson did they show some promise in the 1980s.
Many think that England cannot produce the team spirit and understanding of the 1966-70 team, where most of the players came form one or two clubs and knew each others style.
Since the 1990s, the English Premier League (PL) clubs and the many millions of pounds generated have dominated the English club game to the detriment of the national game.
Rich PL clubs buy top talented expensive foreign players on fabulous wages.  This has weakened  home-grown talent coming though and those talented  English players can be pressured by certain clubs they play for not to get injured  in international tournaments as the investment and money-making potential is the priority for Premier League clubs, who want to win the top club competitions such as the European Champions League (domestic cups such as the FA Cup are now a poor second in the goals of rich PL club owners ).
The England team and squad now have a crop of talented youngsters coming through, if only they can make a  team spirit and national pride above club when required,  that teams like Germany and Brazil have created to meld together a winning team.
England fans are passionate about their game and team. 
England Flag
Our flag out and proud!
As Jean and I take our lively Terrier for a walk around our neighbourhood in the evenings, we have seen the gradual appearance of a number of England flags with the distinctive Red Cross of St. George being draped from bedroom windows in houses and flats/apartments; many cars and vans now sport a small England flag too!   We must look for our flag too and we look forward to the England games and hope that our team will progress in the tournament of this Beautiful Game.

The Genuises of the Beautiful Game

fociFootball, or soccer as known in many countries in Asia and the Americas, is called the beautiful game.

I am used to people being passionate about games but not as much as those who  live and breathe football.

What is it about the game that even the geniuses of soccer come out with the strangest or weirdest adage, quote or saying.

Let us see who these culprits are:

Argentina are the second best team in the world and there is no higher praise than that.
– Kevin Keegan

Don’t ask me what a typical Brazilian is because I don’t know what a typical Brazilian is. But Romario was a typical Brazilian.
– Bobby Robson

“I can see the carrot at the end of the tunnel.”
– Stuart Pearce

“I couldn’t settle in Italy. It was like living in a foreign country.”
– Ian Rush

“I’m not prepared to make any comments on the World Cup in Qatar in 1922.”
-England manager Roy Hodgson

I felt a lump in my throat as the ball went in.
– Terry Venables

If you can’t stand the heat in the dressing room, get out of the kitchen.
– Terry Venables

“My parents have been there for me, ever since I was about 7.”
– David Beckham
“Too many of today’s owners have carte blonk.”
-Southend manager Phil Brown

The Germans only have one player under 22, and he’s 23.
– Kevin Keegan

We must have had 99% of the match. It was the other 3% that cost us.
Ruud Gullit

“We haven’t been scoring goals, but football’s not just about scoring goals. It’s about winning.”
– Alan Shearer

You’re on your own out there with ten mates.
– Michael Owen

England Vs Poland


We are waiting for the crucial game of England versus Poland for World Cup qualifiers.  It is important that England wins the game and top their group and qualify.

They are playing in Wembley.

England is only 1 win away for qualifying.

England must match Ukraine’s win tonight.  Ukraine is playing San Marino.




Goal from Rooney!  And a good goal too.

Perfect touch from Wayne Rooney.




On the 87th minute, Steven Gerrard  sealed victory by scoring a second goal for England.

He lobbed the ball over the keeper.  Perfect.

Another 2 minutes and it is all over.

Come on ENGLAND!


It is over.

England 2 – Poland 0

England qualifies for the World Cup finals in Brazil in 2014

England Flag England is going to Brazil

England Flag
England is going to Brazil

As to Ukraine, they won their game against San Marino. The score was 8 – O

As England topped their group, it guarantees them a place in the finals in Brazil 2014; all is not lost for Ukraine though, they still have a chance to qualify by playing and winning against the second placers of the other groups.

Come on Ukraine!!!


All Conquering Conkers

I just remember from my childhood aged 7 to 11 in my primary school playground the enjoyment and fun playing a traditional autumn game with my friends. The game was called ‘Conkers’ and is a traditional childrens game in Britain. A conker is the seed of Horse Chestnut tree also called a conker tree.

We knew when autumn was begining and around early-mid October, the seeds surrounded and protected by a spiked green casing fall form the branches onto the ground. The casing splits opens exposing the brown seed. Eager children and adults eagerly pick the shiny (unedible) seeds each. Each conker is 2–4 cm diameter, glossy nut-brown with a whitish scar at the base about the size of a chestnut (an edible relative which is delicious when roasted).

in 1848, the first recorded game of conkers using Horse Chestnuts  was played on the Isle of Wight.  

The game is played by two players, each with a conker threaded onto a piece of string: they take turns striking each other’s conker until one breaks.

The conker eventually breaking the other’s conker gains a point. This may be either the attacking conker or (more often) the defending one if harder.
A new conker is a none-er meaning that it has conquered none yet.

If a none-er breaks another none-er then it becomes a one-er, if it was a one-er then it becomes a two-er etc. In some areas of Scotland, conker victories are counted using the terms bully-one, bully-two, etc. In some areas of the United States and Canada, conker victories are counted using the terms one-kinger, two-kinger, etc.
The winning conker also takes over the previous score of the losing conker, as well as gaining the score from that particular game. For example, if a two-er plays a three-er, the surviving conker will become a six-er (the sum of the two previous scores plus one for the current game).
If a conker was thinner and flatter on one side, we would call it a ‘cheese cutter’ as it had an edge to it which could slice/cut into a more rounder conker.
Also if your opponent droped his conker, you could stamp on it crushing out of the game and so claim victory 🙂

We knew various tips (cheats 😉 ) to make our game conkers harder, such as coating with clear nail varnish or soaking and /or boiling in vinegar.

Today now early October, my lovely four year old grandson Nathan gave us two conkers that he had collected near his new primary school.

I was hoping that little Nathan would play conkers in a few years time with his new school friends, however the inane Health & Safety ‘dickats’ from an out of touch government, now prohibits this harmless playground game which has had no recorded injury in it’s 165 year old history! Commentators wonder why children are always playing with mobile PC games alone ignoring others and not mixing more with other children! Conkers helps children interact, build friendships, friendly competition and have fun! At least they can hopefully play out of school if time permits.

However the grown-ups still like to play and every year there is a World Conker Championship held in England 🙂 Video below

Nathan's Conkers

Nathan’s Conkers
Photo by P H Morton

Horse chestnut (conker) seed in it's casing

Horse chestnut (conker) seed in it’s casing

Conker game past and now

Conker games past and now



Spider deterrent

Spider deterrent


There is and old wives tale that house spiders fear conkers and will vacate rooms containing conkers collected in a dish. Scientists are investigating this claim made by many trying this ‘anti-spider’ remedy!

2020 Olympics Winners and Losers

Tokyo Resident Loses Second Home To Olympics

Kohei Jinno was forced to move after the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games – and now the 2020 Summer Olympics are threatening his home.

5:44am UK, Thursday 19 September 2013
Kohei Jinno shows an old photo of himself, inside Kasumigaoka apartment complex which is located near the National stadium in Tokyo
“Kohei Jinno shows an old photo of himself, inside Kasumigaoka apartment complex which is located near the National stadium in Tokyo”

Thousands of Tokyo residents celebrated their city’s winning bid for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games – but for Kohei Jinno, the win means losing his home for a second time.

Mr Jinno and his family were forced to move after Tokyo first won the Olympic Games in 1964, to make room for a new stadium.

Fifty years later, it has happened again.

“Fate has not been kind to me. It may be great fortune for the nation, but having to leave this place fills me with sadness,” he said.

An elderly woman climbs up the stairs at Kasumigaoka apartment complex, which is located near the National Olympic Stadium in Tokyo
The Kasumigaoka apartment complex is earmarked for demolition

The public housing complex where Mr Jinno lives with his wife is earmarked for demolition in preparation for the Games as the National Olympic Stadium is redeveloped.

The futuristic stadium designed by Zaha Hadid will seat 80,000 people and will replace the stadium used for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1964 Games.

Mr Jinno, a tobacconist, ran a shop attached to his house before he was evicted ahead of the 1964 Games.

He lost his business and was forced to wash cars for a living to support his wife and two children.

Aerial view of the Tokyo National Olympic Stadium which will host the Opening and closing ceremony
The National Stadium will be redeveloped for 2020

In 1965 he moved into the municipal housing complex where he lives today and was able to reopen his shop.

But another Olympics means another move.

“It’s like they’re taking away the most precious thing I have after my family,” he said. “Because of the Olympics I’m going to lose the community I love so much, the friends that have kept me going so long.

“In their place I’m getting uncertainty, loneliness and pain.”

Resident Kohei Jinno looks for his family photos inside his shop at Kasumigaoka apartment complex, which is located near the National Olympic Stadium in Tokyo
Kohei Jinno inside his tobacco shop

Mr Jinno, who turns 80 next month, said there are around 200 other families in the same position.

“I wish they wouldn’t have the Olympics in Tokyo again,” he said. “I can bear getting evicted if it’s just the once in a lifetime. But twice? It’s ridiculous.”

Japan Upset with French Cartoons

Japan upset by French cartoon linking Fukushima to Olympics

ReutersReuters – 14 hours ago

japan japan2

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan is to formally complain about a cartoon that appeared in a French weekly newspaper showing sumo wrestlers with extra limbs in front of the Fukushima nuclear plant and linking this to the Olympics, the top government spokesman said on Thursday.

Tokyo won the right to host the 2020 summer Olympic Games after overcoming concerns about leaking radioactive water at the stricken Fukushima plant north of Tokyo, with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe assuring the International Olympic Committee that the situation was “under control”.

The cartoon, carried in the satirical Le Canard Enchaine, shows two sumo wrestlers, each with an extra leg or arm, facing off with the Fukushima plant in the background as an announcer says, “Thanks to Fukushima, sumo is now an Olympic sport.”

Another cartoon shows people in protective gear by the side of a pool, the Tokyo Shimbun daily reported.

“This cartoon hurts the feelings of those who suffered through the Great East Japan Earthquake,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, referring to the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that wrecked the Fukushima nuclear plant, triggering the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

“It is inappropriate and gives a wrong impression of the Fukushima contaminated water issue. It is extremely regrettable.”

Suga said Japan would lodge the complaint through the French embassy in Tokyo and that the Foreign Ministry had been directed to “thoroughly explain the situation” to avoid similar incidents.

Japan was angered last year after a French broadcaster used a composite picture that showed Japanese national football team goalie Eiji Kawashima with four arms and the caption “Fukushima Effect” about a save he made in a game between the two nations. The broadcaster subsequently apologised.

Japan was chosen as host for the 2020 Olympics on Sept 7, beating out Madrid and Istanbul despite the issues posed by the Fukushima plant, some 230 km (140 miles) from Tokyo.

The crisis shows no signs of ending. The operator of the plant said on Wednesday that levels of tritium – considered one of the least harmful radioactive elements – spiked more than 15 times in groundwater near a leaked tank over three days this week.

(This story has been refiled to change the headline)

(Reporting by Elaine Lies; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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