02 December 2005

Beer Cans for Table Tennis Nets

As I’ve said before used to I live in Edinburgh. We had an old house that needed much work doing on it as it hadn't been touched since the 20's. As I was about 3 when we moved in and much of the work was done I only have vague memories. Although I do remember lead piping on the front lawn and big men who had paint splashed on their trousers.

This was also the period of when we were so poor... so work got done as and when it could be afforded. When I was about 7 or 8 it was time for the pantry to be sorted out, my father decided to put down a new floor down in it. Chipboard was purchased, cut to size then the family decided that were coming to us for Christmas, all of them; my Grandma, my father's brothers and family and my Granddad. My father also had a PhD student who would not be able to go home for Christmas, so my parents had invited him over as well. This would be a sit down for dinner of 12 maybe even more.

We did not have a table big enough, we couldn't afford to buy such a table. It was at this point the chipboard was looked at with narrowed eyes, the words "legs" "coat of varnish" were tersely muttered and low and behold we had a new dining room table. Practically all the chairs in the house were pressed into service and a make shift bench was constructed

To me the table was huge, it was certainly big enough to play shove ha'penny football on. Then from somewhere (I suspect a skip) two slightly tatty ping pong bats appeared and a ping pong ball, no net unfortunately but in the spirit of make do that we had. empty beer cans were used instead. They were about the right height and we had enough of them because it was Christmas.

So equipped I learnt to play table tennis. A few weeks later we, my mum, my brother and I were walking back home when Patrick spied an old table tennis set lying on top of some bins along with other old toys. It wasn’t complete but there were a couple of bats and a table tennis net. It fitted perfectly on the table, the cans could be thrown away.

We'd have become expert table tennis players, if Dad hadn't eventually decided that our table should really be put to it's intended use, pantry flooring!


  1. Ah, old houses needing work... This city is full of them!! Some of them are beautiful, though...

    And a poor show on your father's part! Using flooring for the floor. Whatever next?!

  2. and lucky finds in skips are in great supply too! i have two really good old chairs that just needed recovered and a fabulous 1930s cupboard that i found in the street!

  3. Hannah, I know Edinburgh is stuffed with lovely old houses and sometimes parents can be so dull and convential, bah.

    C'lam, now I'm older I always look in skips to see if there is anything worth taking but when I was little I used to cringe everytime my parents did it.

  4. waste not want not :o)

    Jane...I had to delete my other blog (trapped in the body of a civil servant)...long story ...my new blog is at http://aginoth.blogspot.com/


  5. Great story! Life is full of curves and half the fun is adapting them.