5 Christmases and No Hungry Hippos

30 Nov

book-tree-1Apologies for my tardiness in posting and replying to you wonderful people, I have had a bit of social life and haven’t had the time with work and all to post.

In fact I was going to do a book review but seem somewhat lethargic and uninspired so today on the eve of December I shall choose to ignore the lack of Christmas shopping that I have so far successfully completed and instead embark on some sort of random rant that loosely involves mentions of Christmas.

Ignore that last bit, I just thought of a book that tends to get me in the mood for the festive season and brings back a whole raft of nostalgia and also makes me exclaim out loud over pictures, which is not something I tend to do in polite society.

TV Cream Toys: Presents You Pestered Your Parents For – Steve Berry

Do you remember tearing down stairs at five in the morning, in wide-eyed anticipation of the mountain of wrapped boxes under a Woolies’ fireproof silver tinsel tree? Do you remember the sense of disappointment when what you asked for wasn’t among them? Or – worse – when you found a cheap, knock-off version of a toy you really wanted?

Personally, no I don’t, to any of them but you get the gist of where the book is going.  It’s a nice light-hearted ramble through the toys of yesteryear (from the 60’s to the 90’s), which lets face it were better than the ones today which are all cheap plastic and noises.

Before finally succumbing to buying this, i.e hanging around at a mates house to read it for free, It had always been one of the books on the ‘bargain’ table at W.H Smiths which makes me dubious and on guard straight away, so I was happy to part with whatever little cash it cost to take this home. I do feel I should point out that this is the one and only thing I have ever found to be a bargain on that table and this only worked because it wasn’t attempting to be a substantial read or a dictionary.

I found myself lost in the easy-going nature with which this book is written as so often happens with books of  9781905548279-lthis type, what starts off as a casual flick through to kill a bit of time becomes time well spent as I devoured the book in one sitting and lost a couple of hours in the process, before coming online to enjoy more hours searching around the subject matter.

Beside the full colour photo or photos of each item there are a series of ratings such as envy, breakages and ebayability each of which is interesting in its own way, although it is just a little touch it adds a bit of depth.  For proper expansiveness though just drop any old toy into conversation and spark endless debate about what items in the book were the best and what should have got in instead of the Zoids which in my personal experience just fell apart a lot.

Depending on your sense of humour you could find the book hit and miss although I thought referring to perennial family game Sorry! as Ludo for bastards was pretty much spot on, you do have to have a cold-hearted approach to your fellow humans when that comes out of the box.

If you’ll indulge me on one personal and emotional reminiscence that will scar your very soul, I asked for Hungry Hippos for five Christmases in a row and never got it because my mum and dad didn’t think it was something they’d want to play.  I did play it years later but that experience was sullied by having to be the pink hippo, no one wants to be the pink hippo.


Posted by on 30/11/2012 in Eccentricities


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16 responses to “5 Christmases and No Hungry Hippos

  1. Bumba

    30/11/2012 at 19:49

    Sympathies about the Hungry Hippos. Compromise on the color of the hippo is something acquired in adulthood, but by then the whole game is too noisy and silly for any serious consideration. Kids love it, tho. I myself love it and I’m always ready for a game of HH.


    • StetotheJ

      30/11/2012 at 20:11

      I refuse to compromise on being pink. That of course was a girls coulour in my day and shall always remain so, although the PC brigade will string me up if they read this. I will accept the yellow hippo but that is as far as I will go. I had no idea how noisy it was, it adds a frenetic and somewhat stressful layer to the game. Add in a lot of sugar and it would be a nightmare. If we can get two more players and a lot of cash we could have an international championship which I’m sure would be epic.


  2. Claire 'Word by Word'

    30/11/2012 at 21:16

    I want to see a picture of the Hungry Hippos!


  3. Bumba

    30/11/2012 at 21:30

    Flexibility on the yellow indicates strong character, and is predictive of high HH scores!


    • StetotheJ

      02/12/2012 at 15:21

      I don’t mind compromise, I should work for the UN.


  4. RoSy

    30/11/2012 at 23:27

    LOL on wanting HHH & your parents not getting it because THEY didn’t want to play. I like the way they think 😉
    My sister wanted that so badly back in the day & got it. I remember playing with her a couple of times.


    • StetotheJ

      02/12/2012 at 15:22

      On reflection it would have been stressful for all involved but at least you got the ‘honour’ of having a game. I hear these days refusal to buy a much sought after game can mean social services get involved.


  5. letizia

    01/12/2012 at 13:32

    I remember owning a rubix cube (and being terrible at it). I love the cover of the book, wonderfully PoP-y! And that Christmas tree is just wonderful… was it yours?


    • StetotheJ

      02/12/2012 at 15:31

      I haven’t the patience or the skill, let alone foresight to create anything as wonderful as that, happily there are people that will post internet pictures of trees like that. Rubik’s Cubes were robust from all the abuse they got, I must admit, I was rubbish at it too. Then there was the Rubik’s Clock which was equally as bad…


  6. gargoylebruce

    03/12/2012 at 03:17

    What on earth is that skeletal donkey-like creature on the front of the book?? I can’t imagine anyone particularly wanting that, but perhaps I am missing something.


  7. pennycoho

    04/12/2012 at 06:28

    Excellent tree, great post SteJ. so very … you! Here I am sneaking around again I don’t think your up yet anyway. You need to decorate, at least put the stocking up! I tend to get out some of my favorite Christmas story favorites to reread this time of year. This one is interesting and sadly true, Sorry about the Pink Hippo!


    • StetotheJ

      04/12/2012 at 20:24

      This year i am looking forward to reading (for the first time), Through a Glass, Darkly by Jostein Gaarder. I shall hopefully review it in a festive way of I get time. I shall get decorated at some point, I am so woefully behind, whilst making time for reading and blogging. You may have the pink hippo at any time.


      • pennycoho

        04/12/2012 at 20:40

        Thank you so much lol! Looking forward to your next review 🙂


        • StetotheJ

          04/12/2012 at 20:53

          Why thank you, not sure what it is going to be yet, I change my mind more than a woman in a soap who is having an affair.



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