Monday, 1 July 2013

Soapbox Cart Smells

Jennospot 100  Soapbox Cart Smells

Cripes, this is moi hundredth blog post. Oi'm goin' ter celebrate by telling yew a bit about moi fav'rite sport, wot is soapbox cart racin'.

Did yew know that soapbox carts 'ave got a smell? It's a particular kind o' smell an' it's diff'rent fer each cart.

If'n yew didn't know better, yew might fink that they'd all 'ave a smell like the perfume o' soap. Moi cart, "Emmeline P", is loike that, only it ain't the perfume yew moight expect 'cos she originally 'ad carbolic soap in 'er wot gives a smell a bit loike the caretaker's room at school, an' a bit loike the girls privy on Monday mornin', only less strong, if'n yew see wot Oi mean. O' 'corse, the smell got a bit less after she'd been painted, but it ain't never gone completely away yet, if'n yew sniff real 'ard.

O' 'corse, not all soapbox carts are made from boxes wot 'ad soap in 'em. Yew often 'ave ter make do wiv wot comes ter 'and, 'specially in wartime. Take Molly's cart fer instance, wot were originally called "G.G.G." an' later on "E Pacer", wot is an anagram (there's a noice word fer yew) of Pearce, wot is the real name o' Dummy wot made 'er. Molly were so grateful ter Dummy for makin' the cart she made up the name. But that ain't got nuffink much ter do wiv smells, 'cept that Dummy made 'er out of a box wot 'ee 'ad used ter store onions in.

At first, the onion smell were enough ter make yer eyes water, but it wore off a bit after a few races, because of the weavver an' the dust. Still an' all, it always reminds me o' Dummy when Molly comes wiv 'er cart; 'cos it's loike the smell wot 'ee always 'as about 'im. After all, loike most of us in Widdlin'ton, 'ee ain't got no barfroom, an' 'ee ain't got no laundry neither, so 'ee don't get ter wash all over, all that frequently; so it ain't really 'is fault. 'Ee didn't 'ave no pyjamas neither until the air-raid. But that's anuvver story.

Moi gang leader, JJ, 'as got a cart wot still pongs a bit, even after we all complained, an' 'ee eventually got down ter givin' 'er a good scrubbin'. We reckoned as 'ow JJ wanted 'is cart ter stink, 'cos the smell were so powerful, nobody wanted ter come near 'im in a race, wot gave 'im an' unfair advantage. JJ found the box fer 'is cart in summer alongside the railway line. It were a good strong box, wot is essential fer makin' a cart; the problem were, that it 'ad been used fer transportin' fish, an' we reckoned as 'ow the delivery 'ad been so long delayed, wot wiv the war an' ev'ryfink, that the train guard couldn't stand it no more an' 'ad slung it out of 'is van. Any'ow, p'raps Oi'm bein' unjust ter JJ; maybe 'ee jus' ain't got a sensitive nose. After all, 'ee is moi gang leader, that is, until 'ee got called up fer the army.

Soapbox carts 'ave got ovver smells to 'em wot come from the lubrication (cripes, Oi jus' love that word!). Yew 'ave ter put grease or oil on the wheels an' on the steering pivot, an' when yew're racin' lyin' down yew've got yer nose roight close ter the pivot an' the front wheels, so yew notice the smell more, as it were. Ordin'ry oil an' grease is okay, but it costs real money, wot most of us kids ain't got much of, so we sometimes use wotevver comes ter 'and fer free.

Fer example, moi bruvver, when 'ee 'ad is bad coughin', were given some greasy stuff ter rub on 'is chest an' there were a whole lot left over when 'ee got well again. Any'ow, it works a real treat fer lubricatin' yer steerin' pivot, but when yew've got yer nose down close in a tight finish ter a race, the pong don't 'alf clear yer 'ead.

Then take them Haflin twins up The Street. In their shed, they found a whole big bottle o' cod liver oil wot 'ad gone more than little off. Well Oi reckon as 'ow they must o' got noses even less sensitive than wot JJ as, 'cos after they'd recently oiled the wheels of their carts, yew c'd smell them a-comin' a mile off.

So, as yew c'n see, soapbox racin' is a real perfumed sort o' sport. Oi c'd tell yew more, but if'n Oi do, Peter St J'll get real miffed 'cos 'ee writes about soapboxes in 'is "Gang" books, but so far, 'ee ain't never said nuffink about the smells, so Oi'm jus' fillin' in a gap fer 'im, as it were.

That's all fer now 'cept ter send yew luv from Jenno.


An if'n yew want ter know more about soapbox carts, (but not 'ow they smell) yew c'd do worse'n ter visit Peter St J's website:

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