Monday, 30 January 2012

Soap-box Cart Buildin'


Soap-box Cart Buildin'


Yeah, well a certain person, wot shall remain nameless, reckons as 'ow Oi ought ter write a post. Trouble is, writin' ain't exactly wot Oi do best, if'n yew see wot Oi mean. Any'ow, fer the sake o' peace an' quiet, Oi said as 'ow Oi'd give it a go. So 'ere it is:

Oi'm s'posed ter write somefink wots 'istorical. Oi ain't really inter 'istory, though there are some people around as reckons as 'ow Oi'm somefink a bit 'istorical mesself (or do they mean 'isterical? Wot ain't polite...). Any'ow, wot Oi'm goin' ter do, is ter tell yew a bit about ow we make soap-box carts in Widdlin'ton, wot is the village in England where Oi come from. Incidentally, there's a map o' Widdlin'ton on http://www.peterstjohn.net/ wot shows where moi 'ouse is. It shows the Mountain Glide where we race, an' all. Yew c'n 'ave a look if'n yew loike. There's some pictures of me there, as well as pictures o' some of our soap-boxes. Any'ow, back ter cart makin'...

It ain't very difficult ter make a soap-box cart, provided yew've got a box an' some good wheels. The best kind 'ave got ball-bearings rather than ordin'ry plain bearings. Yew c'n sometimes get 'em off'n an old perambulator (Wot lovely word! But Oi fink that in America it's wot they call a "baby carriage"). The underneath part is loke wot Molly 'as in the picture 'ere. My own cart, "Emmeline P", 'as got pram wheels too, wot come off my perambulator after my daft bruvver let it roll down the steps in front of ol' farmer Catchpole's tractor… The wheels were still okay though.

Moi cart is named after that there Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst, wot chained 'erself ter railin's an' went ter prison, an' all, so's women c'd get ter vote in England. A right great lady she were, even though she weren't very big; loike me. She's got 'er statue in a little park roight by the railin's o' Parliament 'Ouse, near that woppin' great clock wot they call Big Ben, though roightly speakin' it's the bell wot sounds the hour wot is really Big Ben. Any'ow, moi cart's called Emmeline P; loike yew c'n see in the picture 'ere, an' nat’rally, it's the fastest cart in Widdlin'ton, even if it's me wot says so.

 O' corse, yew're also goin' ter need a good wooden soap-box. Yew used ter be able ter get one from the local store; they were only too glad ter be rid of 'em. It's probably a bit 'arder ter get one these days, wot wiv the war, an' crises, an' modern packagin', an' all that sorta fing. Still an' all, yew c'n always make a box out of a plank or two; in which case, it's a good idea ter use somefink a bit thinker, 'cos, when all's said an' done, them usual soap-boxes are just a bit flimsy. They don't stay tergevver so well if yer cart 'appens ter turn over; wot ain't so rare.

A real important part of the cart, the long plank wot 'olds everyfink tergevver, is wot we call the "Spine". That's gotta be real thick, three-quarters of an inch at least. If it's any thinner, it'll be all springy, loike wot them big American cars are, an' then yew c'n get kinda seasick when it bounces up an' down over the bumps. Besides, it's gotta be solid enough ter take the 'ole at the front fer the steerin' bolt. If'n it's too thin, yew'll lose the front axle the very first toime yew ride down over a curbstone. See wot Oi mean?

When Peter an me made moi Emmeline P, Oi come along wiv a tin full o' nails, only Peter said that nails weren't no good fer makin' carts. Yew 'ave ter screw 'em, or better still, bolt 'em tergevver, 'cos nails work loose pretty quick. Oi pass the tip on. Yew don' 'ave ter thank me fer it, 'cos Oi didn't know it either at the toime. The best sort o' bolts, are them wiv a little square under the ‘ead. They call 'em "coach" bolts. Yew need ter fix 'em wiv a washer under the nut, ovverwise it 'urts the wood, an' then they come loose as quick as yew c'n say Akron Hill.

If'n yew use screws ter fix the box ter the spine, then it's best ter put some glue on as well. Then it won't never come apart. The wheels, complete wiv axle, yew c'n fix underneath wiv "U" bolts. Oi reckon as 'ow Oi don't 'ave ter describe wot a "U" bolt is, 'cos it looks exactly loike wot it's called. An' that'd be useful fer everyfink, don't yew reckon?

One last fing: If'n yew can, troi ter get a real, proper, bushed pivot bolt ter fix the steerin' bar wiv. It'll give yer cart a roight solid directional (Oi loike that word!) feel. It c'n give yew a worfwhile advantage (yeah an even better word!) in a pushed start, or in an emergency. Besides, it don't work loose, neither.

Go well. 'Appy cartin'!

Wiv love from Jenno.

Jenno's Widdlington


Jennospot 52   Jenno’s Widdlington

Oi ain’t ’ad a moment lately ter do moi blog ‘cos Oi’ve been puttin’ tergevver my very first book. Sorry about that. Since it’s moi first, it goes a bit slow, if’n yew see wot Oi mean. But at least Oi’ve got the cover done, so Oi thought as ‘ow Oi’d show it to yew already.

Any’ow, it ain’t really wot yew’d call a full-blown book loike a novel, but more of a kind of a booklet. Even so, it’s got nearly a hundred pages. Cripes, an' each page ‘as got a picture on it, wot ain’t nuffink yew c’n sneer at; when yew fink about it.

Fact is, it’s a collection of the stuff wot Oi put up on Facebook over the past year. An’ jus’ ter make it a bit more interestin’ loike, Oi’ve put in some extra bits about moi village of Widdlin’ton. There’s pictures of some of the people wot live there an’ all. They may not loike ‘em p’raps, but there ain’t nuffink Oi c’n do about that, ‘cos it ain’t their book, see.

Besides, they ain’t payin’ fer it neither, ‘cos Oi’m goin’ ter put it up on the web ter be downloaded free; that is, if’n Oi can, ‘cos Oi ain’t too sure yet ‘ow ter do it.  O’ course, them wot got’s their picture in it moight wanna pay me not ter show their picture, but Oi ain’t goin’ ter be bought, nor even ter be threatenened, not even if’n it’s that there bullyin’ “Slug” wot wants ‘is picture taken out. So that’s that.

Still an all, moi book ain’t quite ready yet, but as soon as it is, Oi’ll let yew know.

Till then, Oi wish yew ‘appy days.

Luv from Jenno

Sunday, 15 January 2012


Soap-box Cart Buildin'

Yeah, well a certain person, wot shall remain nameless, reckons as 'ow Oi ought ter write me own post fer once. Trouble is, writin' ain't exactly wot Oi do best, if'n yew see wot Oi mean. Any'ow, fer the sake o' peace an' quiet, Oi said as 'ow Oi'd give it a go. So 'ere it is:

'Ee says as 'ow Oi'm s'posed ter write somefink wots a bit 'istorical. Oi ain't really inter 'istory, though there are some people around as reckons as 'ow Oi'm somefink a bit 'istorical mesself (or do they mean 'isterical? Wot ain't polite...). Any'ow, wot Oi'm goin' ter do, is ter tell yew a bit about ow we make soap-box carts in Widdlin'ton, wot is the village in England where Oi come from. Incidentally, there's a map o' Widdlin'ton on http://www.peterstjohn.net/ wot shows where moi 'ouse is. It shows the Mountain Glide where we race, an' all. Yew c'n 'ave a look after, if'n yew loike. There's some pictures of me there, as well as pictures o' some of our soap-boxes. Any'ow, back ter cart makin'...

It ain't very difficult ter make a soap-box cart, provided yew've got a box an' some good wheels. The best kind 'ave got ball-bearings rather than ordin'ry plain bearings. Yew c'n sometimes get 'em off'n an old perambulator (Wot lovely word! But Oi fink that in America it's wot they call a "baby carriage"). The underneath part is loike wot Molly 'as in the picture 'ere. My own cart, "Emmeline P", 'as got pram wheels too, wot come off my perambulator after my daft bruvver let it roll down the steps in front of ol' farmer Catchpole's tractor… The wheels were still okay though.

Moi cart is named after that there Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst, wot chained 'erself ter railin's an' went ter prison, an' all, so's women c'd get ter vote in England. A right great lady she were, even though she weren't very big; loike me. She's got 'er statue in a little park roight by the railin's o' Parliament 'Ouse, near that woppin' great clock wot they call Big Ben, though roightly speakin' it's the bell wot sounds the hour wot is really Big Ben. Any'ow, moi cart's called Emmeline P; loike yew c'n see in the picture, an' nat’rally, it's the fastest cart in Widdlin'ton, even if it's me wot says so.

O' corse, yew're also goin' ter need a good wooden soap-box. Yew used ter be able ter get one from the local store; they were only too glad ter be rid of 'em. It's probably a bit 'arder ter get one these days, wot wiv the war, an' crises, an' modern packagin', an' all that sorta fing. Still an' all, yew c'n always make a box out of a plank or two; in which case, it's a good idea ter use somefink a bit thicker, 'cos, when all's said an' done, them usual soap-boxes are just a bit flimsy. They don't stay tergevver so well if yer cart 'appens ter turn over; wot ain't so rare.

A real important part of the cart, the long plank wot 'olds everyfink tergevver, is wot we call the "Spine". That's gotta be real thick, three-quarters of an inch at least. If it's any thinner, it'll be all springy, loike wot them big American cars are, an' then yew c'n get kinda seasick when it bounces up an' down over the bumps. Besides, it's gotta be solid enough ter take the 'ole at the front fer the steerin' bolt. If'n it's too thin, yew'll lose the front axle the very first toime yew ride down over a curbstone. See wot Oi mean?

When Peter an me made moi Emmeline P, Oi come along wiv a tin full o' nails, only Peter said that nails weren't no good fer makin' carts. Yew 'ave ter screw 'em, or better still, bolt 'em tergevver, 'cos nails work loose pretty quick. Oi pass the tip on. Yew don' 'ave ter thank me fer it, 'cos Oi didn't know it either at the toime. The best sort o' bolts, are them wiv a little square under the ‘ead. They call 'em "coach" bolts. Yew need ter fix 'em wiv a washer under the nut, ovverwise it 'urts the wood, an' then they come loose as quick as yew c'n say Akron Hill.

If'n yew use screws ter fix the box ter the spine, then it's best ter put some glue on as well. Then it won't never come apart. The wheels, complete wiv axle, yew c'n fix underneath wiv "U" bolts. Oi reckon as 'ow Oi don't 'ave ter describe wot a "U" bolt is, 'cos it looks exactly loike wot it's called. An' that'd be useful fer everyfink, don't yew reckon?

One last fing: If'n yew can, troi ter get a real, proper, bushed pivot bolt ter fix the steerin' bar wiv. It'll give yer cart a roight solid directional (Oi loike that word!) feel. It c'n give yew a worfwhile advantage (yeah an even better word!) in a pushed start, or in an emergency. Besides, it don't work loose, neither.

Go well. 'Appy cartin'!

Wiv love from Jenno.

Monday, 9 January 2012

It ain't Fair


Jennospot 50  It Ain't Fair



Lot's o' fings in life ain't fair; 'specially if'n yew're a girl. D'yew know wot I mean? Loike when some o' the boys in our village (an' Oi ain't talkin' about the Lions Avenue Lot), don't let girls join in wiv wot they're doin'. Well, sometimes yew've just gotta put up wiv it, 'cos there ain't nuffink else yew c'n do. But sometimes, wot's unfair, is that they cheat, an that's jus' plain nasty. Any'ow, today Oi'm goin' ter tell yew about the start of a cart race, where not only were us girls left out, but the boys in the gang wot we was racin' against cheated as well. Cripes, it were enough ter make a girl spit. This is 'ow Peter told it:



We went on up The Street towards Hibberd's general store. Four Streeters were already there, including Arthur and Albert. They had drawn a chalk line across the width of the road.

‘Oy!’ exclaimed Arthur. ‘No girls.’

‘Winnifred's not racing,’ said Roy.

‘Wot's she doin' 'ere then?’

‘Since she's not racing, she can be the starter,’ I said.

Arthur pushed his face aggressively into mine. ‘Ain't yew got no ears? Oi said, no girls; 'n Oi meant, no girls.’

I was severely tempted to hit him, but after an inner struggle, contented myself with a glare.

‘Who's going to start us then?’ asked Roy. ‘Where are the rest of your gang?’

‘They've gorn down Water Mill Lane ter the finish by the bridge. Oi'll start us.’

‘That's not fair,’ objected Dismal. ‘That gives you an advantage.’

‘Just yew shut up, dimwit Dismal. If'n yew lot come up on our territory, yew'll do things our way.’

‘Let it drop Dismal,’ said Roy. ‘We'll beat them anyway.’

‘Huh, sez yew,’ replied Albert.

‘How are we going to score?’ asked Brian. ‘Lowest aggregate wins?’

‘First past the post is the winner,’ said Arthur.

‘With you as starter? Not likely,’ said Dismal. ‘I want lowest aggregate wins.’

‘Me too,’ I said. ‘First over the line scores one, the second two, and so on. That way everyone in the race counts.’

‘Yeah— okay,’ said Arthur reluctantly. ‘So let's get started. Everyone get 'is cart behind the line. Get outta the way with yer stupid cart, Winnie.’

‘My name is Winnifred,’ said Winnie with dignity. ‘Miss King to you. And I'm not in the way, Mister misogynist Haflin.’

‘Wot's misogynist?’ said Albert.

‘Look it up in a dictionary,’ retorted Winnifred. ‘That is, if a great intellect like yours even knows how to read.’

‘Just yew shut up, Winnifred King,’ snarled Arthur. ‘Or else—’

‘Or else what?’ said Winnifred mildly. ‘Don't you threaten me, Arthur Haflin. Unless, that is, you want Mr Trundle to learn of certain things that you'd rather he didn't hear about.’

‘Yeah— well— okay— just stand to one side.’

‘Please,’ said Winnifred.

‘Please,’ echoed Arthur.

We lined our carts up along the chalk line. The extreme left was the most advantageous position, but the four Streeters had already positioned themselves on the left.

Roy saw me getting ready to protest. He shook his head at me. ‘Doesn't matter,’ he said. ‘It's a long race, with a lot of punting. The start positions aren't that important. We're going to beat them anyway.’

‘Oi'm goin' ter call, ready, steady, go,’ announced Arthur. ‘Nobody's ter move until the go. Ready— steady—’ Arthur pushed off. ‘Go!’

‘No!’ shouted Roy. ‘You cheated. It's a false start.’

Arthur glanced back with a grin. ‘We're racin'.’ he yelled. ‘See yer at the finish.’

All the Streeters punted on.

‘After them,’ yelled Roy. But the Streeters had already gained a stolen five-yard advance.



 (Gang Petition chapter 13)


Sunday, 1 January 2012

Jennospot 49 Jus' Flyin' By

Oi'm jus' flyin' by wiv a message fer terday, wot is the first day, in the first month of a new year. So Oi 'ope the year's goin' ter work out 'appy fer ev'ry one, including yew.

If'n yew'd loike more from me, c'd Oi please ask yew ter wait a bit, 'cos there's been a lotta celebratin' lately, an' it sometimes takes a little while before fings settle down ter normal... if'n yew see wot Oi mean.

Of course, if'n  yew're short on stuff ter read, an' only if'n yew loike, yew c'd always take a peek at http://www.peterstjohn.net. wots jus' been updated. Yeah, an' cripes, it's now got no fewer than five coloured pictures of me in it, not countin' the one, wiv me in a different hairstyle on the front of a new paperback edition of "Gang Territory". Cripes, Oi've become a cover girl. No, really, it's true...

Anyow, 'Appy New Year!

Till soon...