Skittles was a common form of bowling in European pubs since the fourteenth century. Played with a cheese wheel shaped bowling ball aptly named the cheese and nine pins called skittles shaped like an American football with the ends chopped off. Players had three shots to knock down as many pins as possible and each knocked over pin would earn them a point. Rules varied widely even from one pub to the next.
The saying ‘beer and skittles’ was first referenced in literature by Charles Dickens in his Pickwick Papers in 1837 when he said, “It’s a reg’lar holiday to them – all porter and skittles.” Later in 1857 Thomas Hughes writes that, “Life isn’t all beer and skittles.” My modern day equivalent of the phrase would be, “Life isn’t all fun and games.” My won’t be all fun and games, but it will be Beer and Skittl.es!