Wednesday 3 November 2010

ABC Wednesday - P is for Patience

Denise Nesbitt and her Playful Pals host this Perfect weekly meme. Thank you all! To enjoy more Ps please click here.

P is for Patience, a virtue of which I have very little. The Patience to which I refer is the game of that name. I believe it is usually known as Solitaire in the States. It is said, probably quite correctly, that people either play cards or they play Patience. 

I am not keen on card games. I can never remember the rules, apart from ‘Cheat’ which has none. My mother used to play card games with me when I was little – Gin rummy and Beat Jack Out of Doors – and though I enjoyed playing them then I cannot remember the rules now. The thought of playing Bridge or Canasta fills me with horror – far too serious! My father played many card games in his years at sea and had a sharp brain and an excellent memory. He was an exception to the rule that one either plays cards or Patience and taught me to play Double Patience. That was always fun, if rather a long game. Most of the time I play solitary Patience.  

I ran a Patience club when I was teaching, which was well attended and enjoyable. We learnt many different forms of the game, including Baker’s Dozen, Rosamund’s Bower, Labryinth and Puss in the Corner. The sessions were too short to embark on learning any of the Double Patiences. I also taught my children and grandchildren to play Patience.

There are only two Patience games that I can always remember – Clock Patience and Klondike. The latter is one that is often found on computers – sometimes it comes out, more often it doesn’t. If I want to play another version I have to refer to one of my books. 
The King of Hearts on the cover of this well-used book is playing Clock Patience
Another of my well-thumbed paperbacks
I prefer to play with real cards, in any case, and am fascinated by Patience cards. They are smaller than a standard pack, so take up less room when playing – this is something to consider when the tableau (initial lay-out) may take up considerable space. 
The deck on the right came from a Christmas cracker - cheap quality but with colourful illustrations. The deck on the left is  larger, better quality, but still smaller than a standard Patience deck
I like Piatnik cards – they are very good quality and feel smooth and easy to handle. Piatnik is based in Vienna, Austria, and has a long history of manufacturing high-quality Playing cards
One of my favourite sets is a double deck in a zipped leather case. 
It has two small booklets with the rules for 15 games of Patience.
The cards have Monet illustrations on them.

Many and varied are the historical figures who have enjoyed playing Patience. Napoleon, exiled on St Helena, is believed to have passed many evenings playing it. There is a game named after him called, unsurprisingly, Napoleon at St Helena. Tolstoy could be said to be obsessed by Patience, sometimes using it to decide on a course of action. If the result was not pleasing, he would replay the game. He even included it in a scene from ‘War and Peace’. A fellow Russian, Dostoyevsky, had the character Grushenka play it in ‘The Brothers Karamazov’. Magda Goebbels played Patience in the FΓΌhrerbunker after she killed her six children. 

Playing Patience will not increase your measure of this virtue. In fact, it can lead to great frustration! Beware, though, if you feel inspired to play any version of this game – it can become addictive.


  1. My mother used to play patience all the time as long as I can remember. When we were freshly married we played cards with my parents each Sunday it was Canasta if I remember well or Rummy. Anyway I have no patience at all and I don't like playing cards since a looooong time.

  2. I loved playing Patience when I was a kid and I still play on the computer once in awhile. I just learned a new one called Spider Solitaire.
    Poor Napoleon, his last years must have been boring, but that's what he gets for causing so much havok!

  3. Super, Janice. I learned a lot.
    Mother loved to play these games - we call them Solitaire in Canada, same as the US. She'd enjoy herself for hours on end with a deck of cards.
    The only one I ever got truly hooked on was FreeCell on my computer. Then I switched from a PC to a Mac, and FreeCell was never the same again until I got a PC netbook to take traveling. Now, however, I'm hooked on blogging, so, although I think of taking out my netbook to play, I never do.
    Really enjoyed your choice for P day.
    -- Kay

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  4. we also have a card game called patience but it doesn't really require much patience; even I could play it! love the monet set - he's my favourite artist.

  5. I loved this post - I've never heard of this game before. It would be perfect for our little Casita that we tow around when we meander away from home. We never take the computer or TV or anything like that so card games are a super option, so thank you!

  6. Oh I love solitaire - it is getting away from the game which I find difficult lol! But yes, I remember playing patience with my nana - such fond memories of home entertainment and contentment.

    Thanks so much for taking part.
    ABC Team

  7. I had to delete the Solitaire game from my computer so I dare not even buy a pack of cards ... yet! A fantastic P post - thanks.

  8. A most excellent post - the best I've read this week! I loved it.

    Yes, you've guessed it. I am a patience addict - but like your father, I enjoy playing cards too. Canasta - love it! Also Bezique and Crib. I used to like Whist, but can't find anyone to play it with these days without going out of an evening which I hate to do. I've never learned to play Bridge, but if I did, I'd probably be obsessive, so maybe it's best if I don't!

    Solitaire is such a restful game. I mostly play on the computer these days. Double Scorpion, Klondike, Pyramid Golf, and La Belle Lucie are my favourites.

    On behalf of the team, thanks for contributing such a great post this week! :)

  9. Patience and I are not the best of friends either.
    I never heard of the game Patience but I have played Solitare. I guess that must be the same thing. Terrific choice for the letter P.

  10. Love card games (hearts, pinochle, bid whist, spades, even canasta), but never heard of PATIENCE.
    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  11. Patience is a virtue, great post!

  12. I learned something new today, that solitaire is called patience in Britain!

    I used to play solitaire, but now I blog and take photos instead. :)

  13. Interesting and documented post.

  14. Some pretty cards, they must be useful when travelling. I have some of my uncles patience cards, I don't think he every used them because there is some strange, unused, score card in the box.

  15. I love playing cards and board games. I usually have patiende on while I am on the compter - I always seem to have to wait for uplaoding etc, so it fills the time.
    My fav. game tho is euchre and with my kids it was Crazy 8 Countdown.
    Great post!

  16. Ahh, Patience. Not as good as HMS Pinnafore, bit okay

  17. I've played for years and you're right - it hasn't made me more patient. :) Excellent post!

  18. An interesting post; I was not aware of special smaller Patience cards - very practical though.

  19. Fascinating post, I only ever play patience on the PC now but I can remember playing it with cards as a child.

  20. i might try this game one day, great post.

  21. Nice choice. Patience is a game that actually teaches patience. Yes, you are right, it is known as Solitaire in the states and with Microsoft in other parts of the world too.

    My Ps

  22. This looks like a lot of fun and I enjoyed looking at your card collections.

  23. I love the Monet cards, but I fear that I don't have enough patience to play Patience!

  24. I too love playing cards... Nice, interesting post!!

  25. I like playing Patience too but since I keep at it when I start I try never to begin. Nothing else would get done.


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