I suppose I could have written about a royal engagement given the the ravings of the media retinue this morning, but I find the rites of the royals a rather ridiculous racket so I shall write about riddles instead.
My love of riddles started innocently enough with my grandmother who used to test us with conundrums of the: “When is a door not a door?” variety. But it was the start of the slippery slope into riddledom.
Before too long I couldn’t wait for my weekly Friday fix of Uncle Ben’s Corner in the Ashton Reporter with its corny jokes and even cornier riddles.
What has a mouth but cannot eat? What is black and white and red all over? What has a face, but cannot see and hands, but cannot feel?
Later there were the silly ones: How do you get four elephants in a mini? Two in the front and two in the back. How do you get four hippopotamuses in a mini? Don’t be silly. All the seats are taken by the elephants.
Of course, riddles have a venerable history. As I was going to St Ives for example was first published in a manuscript in 1730. There are more modern versions on this theme:
“Without using a calculator: You are driving a bus from London to Milford Haven in Wales. In London, 17 people get on the bus. In Reading, six people get off the bus and nine people get on. In Swindon, two people get off and four get on. In Cardiff, 11 people get off and 16 people get in. In Swansea, three people get off and five people get on. In Carmarthen, six people get off and three get on. You then arrive at Milford Haven. What is the name of the bus driver?”
But the best riddles are simple, they rhyme and have sensible answers. This is my favourite:
Twice three of us are ten of us, and six but three
Eight of us are five of us, what can we be?
If this is not enough, I’ll tell you more
Eleven of us are six and five but four
Answers on a postcard please, or use the comment box.
Ruminate by the Pedalogue
Rupert Bear by Rinkly Rimes
Replica Cross at Ashton-under-Lyne
Recycle at A Raft of Apples
Rampage at the Depp Effect
Rocky Horror Show at Weighty Matters