If there’s one classic sort of play that adults engage in with their children it must be this: car games. Playing I Spy, Animal, Vegetable or Mineral or any of the variety of number plate games is well-known to be a sure-fire way of either making the journey feel shorter, or the child hate all sorts of forced play!
But, on a journey to the peak district, we have a choice of play, rather than being forced, so we’re able to opt for a game that might actually be fun. I propose thinking up a word that contains the three letters on the end of a standard UK number plate in the order in which they appear. Initially I think this will be easy – OPU and CYN don’t seem too taxing, but are hard enough that there’s some joy in finding a word that fits.
Lots of hilarity (well, in our car) erupts from excitedly proclaiming a word that clearly doesn’t fit. “OPALS!” for OPU, for example. Somehow there’s something delicious about thinking you’ve found a word with a set of difficult letters that means you have to shout it out loud, only to realise immediately it’s wrong.
But then pretty soon we discover that almost every single number plate has a double ‘J’ or an absurd number of ‘Z’s. I exaggerate – but only, it seems, a little. I become frustrated by the lack of derivative verbs of jujube or syzygy.
Does it feel like it shortens the journey? Actually yes. It’s a good distraction, and I don’t miss Radio 4 for the half hour we enjoy a fun little game.
Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac? – George Carlin
Ease of play: 8/10
Resemblance to play: 8/10
Potential frequency of play: Medium