Memory Magic | Peter Clover


It’s hard, when living in lockdown, to ignore what’s going on in the big, wide world outside. The ideal of living in a safe bubble, nurturing positivity, is shattered each time you switch on the TV with the news being full of Covid-19 updates and grim reports of the current pandemic tragedy devastating all our lives.

The media is full of it. Everyone is talking about it! Everyone is writing about it! And some despicable people are actually taking advantage of this unprecedented global disaster and actually scamming and cheating people in order to make a cheap, fast buck!

In a world where dedicated, medical professionals from all areas of the health services are risking their lives on a daily basis to assist, serve and comfort others, there rises from the slime pits, the unscrupulous scammers, cheats and scum! Those lowlife thieves and petty criminals, who choose to walk the easier ‘take advantage of everyone and everything’ route through society, in order to satisfy their own, selfish, greedy, heartless, pathetic and shameful lives. They have no integrity, certainly no heart, and feel absolutely no remorse whatsoever for any of their unforgiving actions against the rest of us.

Vulnerable people suffering in lonely isolation whilst removed from family and friends are the prey to these scheming scammers, who are constantly devising ways to rob and cheat innocent people – particularly online, with a promise of products or a service they have no intention of ever delivering! Don’t these slime-balls have mothers, fathers, grandparents, children, brothers, sisters, loved ones or any friends at all? Their actions in this time of global concern are shameful and fill me with sadness beyond words.

Thankfully, on the other side of society, it is so heart warming and uplifting to know that the vast majority of people out there are good, honest citizens, and all the wonderful stories we hear of self sacrifice, hope and kindness, in a time when we should all be pulling together instead of pulling a fast one, are absolutely vital for our positive, mental stability.

As an island, Majorca is generally behaving itself. Naturally, there will always be a few ‘special’ individuals who fail to see why they should conform to government protocol, but generally, as an island community we are currently doing OK, and will work through these most challenging of times towards a brighter future where these days will soon become a distant memory, and we can look back knowing that as individuals, we did everything we could to aid the recovery by staying at home.

We can see through Facebook, Instagram and most social media platforms that people are actually being very creative with ways of reaching out, entertaining and amusing others via the blessing of digital dialogue and humorous video antics.

Our smart phones, tablets and laptops have actually become lifesavers! And probably, for once, parents are quite grateful that their little ones are occupied in silence as entire families are being forced together 24/7 in often, challenging surroundings!

With all this time on our hands you can’t help but reflect. And I suddenly remembered how we used to amuse ourselves, many moons ago, growing up in a family of five before the introduction of the World Wide Web!

Yes surprisingly, life did exist back then in the Jurassic age. We didn’t just race dinosaurs around the garden for entertainment! But we did actually do more things together as a family unit, which some people are struggling with at the moment, especially with boisterous children needing constant entertainment.

So, with time on your hands, here are a few ‘party games’ as we used to call them back then, for young and old alike, to entertain, amuse and improve your state of mind along with your memory! As kids we used to love challenging the adults, so these games are also a great way to introduce friendly, inter-active competition.

Memory Magic One: Take a large tray or use a table top, and on it place between 15 to 25 small household articles, eg: biro, kitchen scissors, nail file, spoon, lighter, piece of jewellery, coin, comb, toothpick, a small toy, TV remote, absolutely anything goes (the more you use the harder the game).

Smallish objects work best as you can get more on the tray/table! Pack them close together and make them as variable as you can. Start with 15 objects then as memories improve you can add more items.

Get the children involved with choosing the objects, but nothing silly like the pet Labrador or a suitcase! Taking it in turns, the player studies the tray for 10 seconds only. Getting everyone else who’s playing to count down adds fun and drama, plus it helps to put the player off a bit.

The player then either turns away or leaves the room (more drama and additional exercise) while one object is removed from the tray and concealed. The player returns and uses their memory to study the tray and name the missing object within a given time frame.

It sounds easy, but you will be surprised at how competitive it gets, and how increasingly difficult it becomes when you start adding more items. It really makes your brain ache, especially if you’re currently having trouble remembering which day of the week it is! But great fun.

Memory Magic Two: Take one pack of cards and after a good shuffle, lay them all out, including jokers, face down in a large block format on the floor. The idea of the game is to ignore suits but match coloured pairs, eg: 2 x black 4’s. 2 x red 5’s, 2 x red queens etc.

Players take turns to turn over two cards. If the cards are a matched, coloured pair, the player keeps them (highly unlikely on the first turn unless of course someone is cheating!)

If not, the cards are replaced face down. You have to use your incredible powers of memory as to where the previously revealed cards are to match the pairs! It’s a great game to play with all ages, and actually helps improve the memory in the elderly.

Children are usually exceptionally good at these memory games, and nothing satisfies a child more than beating an adult! If there are a lot of you, you can use two packs of cards, which can be really funny as you have to reach and stretch to reveal the cards, turning the game into more of a ‘Twister’ experience, with more of a reveal than is sometimes intended!

To add interest to your family games, winners can be given rewards, and losers can be given forfeits. Get everyone to write forfeits on pieces of paper which are then plucked from a bag or container, but avoid the idea of suggesting setting light to farts, especially in a confined space! Remember though, that lightening up your time in lockdown is supposed to be fun and not the start of World War 111.

So if you are a moody grump, a big sulker or a bad loser then don’t play, just go to bed on your own while everyone else is having fun without you!

When I was growing up, we used to play cards, and various social, family games every Sunday afternoon. But without the internet back then, I suppose anything was better than watching the mould grow on the outside pantry wall! Stay together. Stay sane. But above all, stay with us!