Monday, February 21, 2011


I've never written about one of the highlights of my week before and I don't know why. The thought kept getting shoved aside by others of more global urgency like the gift of my new visa credit card, etc.

Anyway, every Tuesday night in our community hall we have cards. Not just any cards. A card game called 45. Note to Wikipedia: You do not mention Newfoundland in your sweeping analysis of where this game is played. That frosts me. Thoroughly.

A little bit of history of the game:
Forty-Fives is a descendant of the Irish game Spoil Five, which in turn is a descendant of a game that King James VI of Scotland popularized in the 17th century called Maw. Maw was first seen being played in 1511 and the earliest written rules come from 1576 Scotland. [1]

I first learned this as a child in Ireland. So the game must have come across to Newfoundland way back in the mists of time when the Irish emigrated here for the fishing. So when I first heard about these weekly games in my village I headed over with Leo (who is a great hand at it). Ever since then I never miss it. All age groups play and my daughter and granddaughter when they are here join in.

We have great fun with it, the craic is ninety as we say back home, and we move around the tables as we(there are two people in a team)win. It is a great way of getting to meet people and the prizes are amazing:

The complete fixings for a Jigg's Dinner - a Newfoundland specialty.
A pair of chickens.
A case of evaporated milk.
24 rolls of toilet paper
6 rolls of paper towels.

I pick up on a lot of the local lingo and folklore and the conversations really reinforce how connected with the land and sea and their bounty the people are. I find out all about the berry seasons, the different fish seasons, moose, rabbit and ptarmigan, etc.

This way of life has GOT to be maintained. It is the best kind for living sustainably in our future.


  1. Oh 45 sounds like so much fun and I'd just love to win a pair of chickens.

  2. I'd love to win 6 rolls of paper towels and get the low down on everything in the village.

  3. It'd be fun to listen in to the craic, WWW. the card game sounds too much like hard work though!

    LOL! I read your post before sipping first coffee and had read the list of prizes as being one prize: the "fixings" mentioned in the first item (Jigg's Dinner).

    That woke me up!

  4. I've never heard of forty fives, even from my granny who was fanatical about card games and knew dozens of them. I think I'd prefer the chocolates to the detergent....

  5. Mammy & Daddy played 45 every Saturday night with Gus & Nora, the couple who came to our house twice a week. You will remember me writing about them. They were from Cork and I always thought that was where the game came from!

  6. My parents used to play a game called "Auction 45" which I never understood. My speed is a hyped up version of Solitaire here on the laptop.

    By the way, did you ever think that perhaps those Irish fishermen from centuries ago, perhaps found the game here in Newfoundland and brought it back to Eire? (Just like the silly people who think the potato was invented in Ireland - balderdash!) LOL

  7. Marcia:
    My ambition is the full Jiggs! I've reached the pinnacle of the chicken win. And gave one away.
    Yes, Tuesday night has many benefits!
    Anything worthy getting is worth the hard work - I love the game, so don't view it as anything but fun!
    Maybe she heard of 110 or 120 which is the 'double' version of 45?
    Somehow I knew you'd heard of it! Yes, I do recall you writing of the friends. Now I know what they did!
    I think that was probably 120 - the double version mentioned above where you bid for the cards based on your hand. I've played that too.
    And I sure like your way of thinking on this. Perhaps the Beothuks played it then?


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