When the nights are drawing in, it is time for parlour games. Whereas in the summer you might spend your evenings going for long hikes before or after supper, roaming the hills and the moors, as autumn descends you will want to close the shutters and gather round a blazing fire, pater and mater familias and your bewildering number of tinies. And on such evenings, even reading aloud lengthy passages from the Bible can pall, so you will want other resources, and what could be better than a diverting parlour game?
To play Poop Or Orlop? (sometimes known as Orlop Or Poop?) all you need is a supply of cardboard and some string and some glue. One member of the family is designated as the “Admiral” (if you are upper class), the “Captain” (if you are middle class) or the “Skipper” (if you are working class). Everyone else leaves the parlour and gathers crammed in the pantry for an hour or so. The “Admiral” or “Captain” or “Skipper” uses this time, and the cardboard and the string and the glue, to transform the parlour into a nautically-accurate poop or orlop deck.
When the rest of the family returns from the pantry, each in turn must use skill, judgement, and knowledge of ship construction to declare whether the parlour is now a poop deck or an orlop deck. Those who decide correctly are treated to a “feast at the captain’s table”, that is, they are each allowed to go back to the pantry and choose a snack from among the snack items on the pantry shelves. Those who decide incorrectly are “tossed into the sea”, that is, they must clamber out of the open window and wait shivering in the garden until the next round.
The “Admiral” or “Captain” or “Skipper” then dismantles the cardboard and string and glue poop or orlop deck and returns the parlour to its pristine condition. The winners come back from the pantry stuffed with sausages or pies or fruit, and the losers climb back in through the window, and someone else is designated as the “Admiral” or “Captain” or “Skipper” and the game begins again.