Sunday, 25 December 2011

Milk Monitor

Jennospot 48  Milk Monitor

It's the day after Christmas; an' it's that sorta day when everyfink feels kinda flat, if'n you know wot Oi mean. It ain't only that, 'cos this mornin', my 'ead feel like it ain't got nuffink much inside it 'cept cold Christmas puddin' an' custard, wot ain't particularly good fer composing this week's blog. Any'ow, speaking o' custard, makes me fink o' milk. an' that reminds me of school milk, of wot Oi ain't particularly fond, an' that reminds me of the first toime that Peter 'ad ter be one o' the milk monitors fer the day. It were 'is classmate Golfball wot was the ovver monitor. Peter didn't know wot it were all about, so 'ee asked:

‘Okay, Golfball, what do we have to do?’

His answer surprised me; I would not have thought this gloomy, strangely-named Golfball capable of such a flight of dry humour. ‘What we 'ave to do is our national duty,’ he declaimed, drawing himself up into a parody of stiff military attention. ‘We administer a government programme for the benefit of present and future generations.’

‘See this table at the classroom door?’ he went on, saluting it smartly. ‘We 'ave to go'n fetch, from the duty teacher at the service entrance, twenny-eight bottles of milk and twenny-eight straws. We place the bottles on the table. As the pupils come out for mid-mornin' break at 'alf-past ten, we 'ave to see that each one takes a bottle and we give each one a straw.

‘When they've drunk the milk, we 'ave to make sure that there are twenny-eight empty bottles come back. We 'ave to make sure that the waxed paper cap is still on the bottle and that each one 'as a straw passing through the 'ole made for the purpose in the cap. If anyone 'ands in a bottle what is not completely empty, or without a cap or a straw, we 'ave to take 'is or 'er name.

‘When all the bottles are back, we return them to the service entrance, then we can go back into class.’

He made a face and shuddered. ‘I 'ate milk and I 'ate bein' milk monitor.’

‘I hate milk too,’ I said. ‘Can't one refuse?’

‘No way,’ he replied decisively. He then recited, as though he had learned it by heart, ‘We 'ave to be thankful for our free Government milk, provided generously at the risk of men's lives so as we can grow up to be strong an 'ealthy.’

He shuddered convulsively again and made a vomiting noise.

 ("Gang Territory" Chapter 2)

'Ave yerself an 'appy Boxin' Day.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Katy's Secret

Jennospot 47  Katy's Secret

It’s nearly Christmas, so Oi’m goin’ ter wish all of yew wot is so kind as ter follow moi blog, a Very Merry Christmas. And then, fer no good reason at all, Oi’m goin’ ter tell yew about the time when Katy told Peter 'er closest secret. The secret became a bit 'ard fer 'im ter keep in the finish, an' got 'im inter even more trouble. But if'n yew want ter foind out wot it were, Oi reckon yew'll jus' 'ave ter read the whole of "Gang Territory", 'cos there ain't enough room 'ere in moi blog. Sorry:

"I found Kate waiting for me on the bridge as announced. ‘Come on, Peter, we've got to hurry!’ she exclaimed as soon as I was in earshot. ‘I nearly set off without you.’ She began trotting quickly in the direction of Lions Avenue.

‘What's the rush?’ I called. Her trot hurt the injury in my side.

‘I'm late already. My mother is expecting me. If I'm not home in five minutes she'll begin to worry. At dinner-time I was late―you know why―and if I'm seriously late again it could be disastrous.’

The trotting was agony but I had to find out what the mystery was and why all this secrecy was necessary.

‘Katy, can't you slow down to a gallop just for a moment? Please— we need to talk.’

She slowed down to a fast walk. ‘What is it?’ she said, slightly irritated. ‘Isn't it enough that I get you off the hook with the head teacher?’

I felt annoyed, but then, she didn't know that I'd been hurt, and I wasn't about to tell her.

‘Katy look— what happened today was on your account. I've been through a lot because of you. Just tell me please, if it's not too great a secret, why you didn't want me to let on that you were being bullied by the Slug?’

At this she stopped and tears came into her eyes. ‘I'm sorry. I've been selfishly thoughtless.’

This wasn't my opinion but I wasn't going to stop her now to say so.

‘It's just that my mother thinks that Widdlington school is too violent. She talks of sending me to a private school in town. I'd hate that, I don't want to go away from my friends here. If she knew what had happened today she'd send me to the private school straight away. Please, please, don't breathe a word to anyone.’

‘I understand,’ I said as gently as I could. ‘I wouldn't want you to go away either. You can count on me. Run ahead now. We can talk some more tomorrow.’

‘Tomorrow,’ she confirmed, and started off at a run that set her long shiny braid dancing and shimmering behind her.

I followed, much more sedately."

 ("Gang Territory" Chapter 4)

Friday, 9 December 2011

Cripes is Right

Jennospot 46  Cripes is Right

Fer five days, startin' on 12 December, moi fav'rite book, "Gang Loyalty", is free in digital format from Amazon Kindle. It's moi fav'rite 'cos it's mostly about me. Besides, Oi reckon it's a lotta fun. Any'ow, if'n yew got a digital book reader, now's yer chance, 'cos it won't cost yew nuffink. Down below is a little extract, jus' ter give yew a bit of a taste of wot it's loike:

Just before the bridge was a cattle gate. It was closed. At the very last moment we both broadsided to a stop. But there wasn't enough room. The carts touched. Locked one to the other, they slid off the path and overturned. Thrown off, Jenno and I rolled together down the grassy slope to the edge of the river.

 ‘You all right?’ I asked breathlessly. I could feel Jenno laughing. ‘What're you laughing at?’

‘Oi won,’ panted Jenno.

‘You cheated. You didn't give me a fair start.’

Jenno rolled over and knelt astride my stomach. She grinned down into my face.

‘But Oi won. Oi told yew moi cart, Emmeline P, was good.’

I grinned back. ‘You cheated.’

‘Oi did wot?’

‘You cheated.’

Jenno pummelled my shoulders.

‘Emmeline P's good— an' so am Oi.’

‘You're a cheat.’

Jenno pummelled some more. I caught her by the wrists.

‘Wot is Emmeline P?’

‘Emmeline P is good.’

‘That's better. Wot am Oi?’

‘A cheat.’

Jenno twisted her wrists free and pummelled me some more.

‘Wot am Oi?’

‘You're pretty good too— but you're still a cheat.’

I caught her wrists again and we rolled over, wrestling in the grass.

Suddenly, as I tried to pin Jenno's shoulders down, I caught sight of somebody on the bridge. There were two people. They each had a cart. It was Winnifred and Molly!

Jenno must have sensed something was wrong. She stopped wrestling, and sat up. I sat up too.

‘Come on, Molly,’ said Winnifred. ‘There's too much of a rough crowd here.’

She and Molly turned and stalked off the bridge. They went back up in the direction of the Manor Lodge at the top end of The Street.

I thought of calling after them to explain, but I knew it wouldn't have been any use. I watched them go. My exhilaration slid out of my boots, slipped into the river, and sank like springtime out of sight. It was replaced by darkest gloom and doom.

‘Cripes,’ said Jenno.

‘Cripes is right,’ I said.

"Gang Loyalty" (Chapter 16)

Available Free from 12 to 16 December: