To every man there comes in his lifetime that special moment when he decides that he needs to buy a Quoits set.
Quoits, innit? Sort-of like hoopla or ringtoss. Wooden pegs (called hobs, motts or pins), on a crucifix arrangement, that you throw rope hoops at from a distance. A game to be played in the garden, ideally with a jug of Pimms. Pictured above.
I didn’t set out to buy a Quoits set, but I was noodling around on Amazon and they were selling them on special; £9 instead of the usual £30. And it was a very nice compact set, manufactured by Jaques of London. Jaques of London have been crafting handmade Quoits sets for over 100 years (at least that’s what they claim and I can’t see why they’d lie). Suddenly I realised that – yes – I really needed a Quoits set. Perhaps I was seduced by the sunny weather, but I could really see myself playing Quoits on a summers day.
Also it would be something for the younger guests to play at my birthday party, so they could leave me alone to barbecue meat and drink myself into a giddy stupor.
The set has arrived and it’s very nice. The rope quoits have a nice wait to them and the pins (or hobs or motts) were easy to assemble. I’ve had a go, practicing my quoit-tossing action, and I feel that it’s something I could excel at. Perhaps I could start a local Quoits league? The nearest extant one is in Essex and that’s a bit to far to commute.
In America they have a United States Quoiting Association (USQA). Of course they have. I don’t know why I ever doubted the possibility. That’s for Traditional Quoits, though. Not Indoor, Slate-board or Trenton-Style Quoits. It’s a can of worms and no mistake.
As for the manufacturers, ‘Jaques of London’ I’ve had a look on their website to see what other traditional English outdoor games they offer. They offer Boules sets (although that’s French, obviously). ‘Bat and Trap’ sets (no idea). Three foot tall “Tumble Tower” sets made from New Zealand pine (and advertised as “Tumble Towers” not “Jenfa” so as not to attract the attention of Hasbro’s lawyers).
We have a giant Jenga set at work we used to take to local community fun days until it toppled over onto a toddler and we faced a threat of legal action. A frankly spurious one really as the bloke who knocked it over was the father of the toddler. Still, it’s been gathering dust in a cupboard since.
Jaque’s of London’s pride and joy are their croquet sets. They claim to have invented croquet 1851 and have been selling quality croquet sets. They do beginners croquet sets for £55, an “Olympic” set for £850 and the “Sandringham” set £5000. The latter is their “finest set to date”. You’d hope so, wouldn’t you? It’s a symphony of brass and mahogany. I’d expect it to be made of unicorn ivory for £5K.
So don’t expect crochet at my birthday barbecue. It’s a rich man’s game. We’re strictly a Quoits household.