"I trail back to the main yard where Alan is playing chucks with Dennis Freeman."

Chucks is a traditional children's game in the North East using five small wooden cubes, usually of different colours. It is a variation of games such as five stones, onesies, knucklebones, snobs and jacks, though the latter uses star-shaped pieces and a rubber ball.

Chucks progresses from simple throwing and catching first one cube, then two etc up to five, then combinations, and finally more complex catches such as 'crabs', where the blocks have to be caught between the knuckles and 'caves' where some pieces have to be flicked through arched fingers while others are caught.

There is a very similar Japanese game called Gonggi  ,which is demonstrated in the following video.