Ready. Steady. Go. And they are off. The bottle caps. Rushing through the pavements of the estate. France is overtaking Greece. Ireland couldn’t make the bend and is off the track. Germany and Poland going side to side. The others not far behind. Who will get the final push to cross the finishing line?
That’s what we – Generation X – played in the summer months of the 90s. First you needed to get a bottle cap – as flat and undamaged as could be. We filled it with some plasticine (nowadays bluetac would do just fine) and decorated with some cut-out country flags. The trick was to get this perfectly balanced cap that was neither too heavy nor too light, easy to move forward but not too jumpy. Once your cap was ready, tried and tested all you needed was a bit of chalk to draw the route. Pavements were easy. Kerbs were tricky. Puddles were challenging. So were tunnels, if you could find any.
The rules are simple. Each racer gets their own cap and places it on the start. Then one by one each takes their turn to move their cap by flicking the fingers. There are 3 attempts in each turn. If you master the game you can really move forward quickly. If you are off the track you need to go back to your previous spot. The first cap to cross the finishing line gets all the glory.
The game does not get old, even though we might, and we still play it with the kids in the street outside the house every summer. Having great time. So get your caps. On your marks. Time for tour de street.