IN a bid to improve our little granddaughter’s understanding of letters, I challenged her to a game of ‘Hangman’.

I’d taken Chloe and her dad for a half-term pub lunch and thought it would keep her occupied while we were waiting to be served.

One of the gifts she’d requested for her seventh birthday was a whiteboard and some markers, so she took them with her to play the game.

“I’ll go first,” I declared, eager to take grandfatherly control. “Whoever wins has to pay for lunch!”

“OK, Grandad,” she giggled, excitedly.

We chose the theme of ‘movie titles’ and, knowing how much she loves the Harry Potter stories, I knew straight away which film I was going for.

“Is there a C in it, Grandad?” she asked.

“Nope,” I replied, and let out a macabre cackle as I drew the first part of the gallows.

She gave her dad a worried glance, and her anxiety mounted as she failed with G and S.

But then she struck lucky with her next letter – R – and her face lit up as two spaces in the first word were filled.

“Mmm, is there a H in it?” she chuckled.

“Yes, there is,” I agreed, inserting the letter at the start of the first word.

She was on a roll and, before long, HARRY POTTER was filled in, along with an assortment of letters in the remaining words.

But that’s when she started to struggle, becoming more and more puzzled. “I know it’s Harry Potter, but I can’t get the rest,” she groaned. “Will you help me, Dad?”

He was just as stumped. “Are you sure you’ve got this right?” he asked, quizzically.

“Absolutely,” I replied, smugly.

They sat there for another five minutes or so, desperately trying to work it out. Even the waitress, taking our drinks order, was asked if she could help but she shook her head, non-plussed, and apologised, no doubt hoping it wouldn’t affect her chances of getting a tip.

“Hang on a minute,” said Chloe’s dad. “Is there an M in it by any chance?”

“Indeed, there is,” I agreed, inserting the M at the end of the last word.

He then looked at me, shook his head, and sighed. “You do know it was Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom, not Harry Potter, don’t you?”

“Oh,” I mumbled.

I had a son in fits of laughter, a granddaughter with her head in her hands, an eaves-dropping couple on the next table looking at me with patronising mock sympathy, and my credibility on the floor.

“I think you need to be hanged, Grandad,” said Chloe, snatching the pen off me.

(I paid the bill, by the way.)


Thanks to John Davidson, from Darlington, who recalled the time he was playing I-spy with his sister when they were kids.

“It’s something beginning with L,” she declared.

John tried everything before giving up.

“Lastoplast! she revealed, triumphantly.