The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.
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3:13pm on Tuesday, 16th March, 2010:
When I was a teenager, I used to carry a pack of cards around in my blazer pocket at school. We'd play at break and lunchtime — mainly (hardcore) Solo, but other games too — especially when it was bad weather outside. Living on the East Yorkshire coast, this meant quite frequently...
The packs I carried would get beaten up fairly quickly, becuse they were used a lot and they were sharing my pocket with other things a good deal harder than they were (keys, coins, small pieces of wood, paperclips, screws — gawd knows what else). The cards would get bent in play, dropped and trodden on, and generally sustain injuries that meant they were either unusable or identifiable from the back. Once too beaten up to use, I'd throw them away and get a new pack.
Here's a pack I didn't throw away, though. This one I kept:
As you can see, those are no ordinary cards (although I did buy them from my local newsagent's). They are, in fact, Slavonic — or as they say, Slovonic. Here's their box:
I left the lid flap open so you could read where it was manufactured: the USSR. I don't exactly know how the one thing I ever saw that came from from the Soviet Union was a pack of cards exported to the shop a mere 5 minutes' walk from where I lived in the back of beyond, but that's how it was.
The cards were used: they have sweat stains on them from where scores of schoolboy hands have held them, and you can see from the box that it was subject to the same rigours as the other cards I used. I kept it not because it was from the USSR (which in the mid-1970s was still 15 years away from collapsing); neither did I keep it simply because it was different (although that is why I bought it); no, I kept it because I liked its look. I'm glad I did, too, because when I open it up and riffle the cards, for a fleeting moment I'm 14 again.
Ah, happy days...
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