Tuesday, 19 November 2013


Jennospot 109  London

'Ave yew been ter London? Oi went there one toime wiv Peter by train when the Lions Avenue Lot got up their petition.
London's a real big place, yew c'd fit the whole o' moi village o' Widdlin'ton in one corner there an' yew wouldn't even notice it. An' cripes, all them people! Oi didn't even know there was so many people in all the world like wot yew find there. There's so many people, they 'ave ter 'ave trains wot run in tunnels under the ground, so as there's enough room in the streets, an' even then there's 'ardly enough room. Some of the stations under the ground have even got places where yew c'n sleep, but that's only because o' the war. It's safer down there from the bombs, see. Peter'n me 'ad a little kip down there durin' an air-raid, but it weren't noight time. It were mostly 'cos we was a bit tired after runnin' away from ticket collectors, an' traipsin' around tryin' ter see the the King an' the Prime Minister, an' all. Wot didn't work out loike wot yew might expect.

Any'ow, we saw some anti-aircraft guns in St James' park an' a barrage ballon by Bucking'am Palace. The best was visiting Emmeline Pankhurst; at any rate seein' 'er statue, wot is roight up against the fence o' the 'Ouses o' Parliament, so it weren't a complete waste o' toime. Did yew know that Emmeline Pankhurst were quite little? Oi wouldn't never 'ave thought it until Oi saw 'er statue, 'er bein' so important an' all…

Annuvver fing we did was ter visit the famous Tower Bridge. Yew know, that's the one wot lifts up in the middle so as ships c'n go through. It were just getting' dark when we got there, wot is the favourite toime fer air-raids ter start. An' one of 'em did. There were an air-raid warden there wot sent us down under the ruined church o' All Hallows by the Tower. We met a vicar there wot 'ad the name o' "Tubby", leastways, that's wot 'ee said we should call 'im. It were only afterwards that Oi learned that 'is real name were Clayton, wot is curious, 'cos it's also the name o' the village next after Widdlin'ton. Actually, Tubby were real famous, 'though we didn't know it at the toime, cos 'ee started up an organisation ter 'elp soldiers called TocH. (Yew c'n google that if'n yew want 'cos Oi ain't a-going ter say no more about it 'ere).
We didn't get bombed that noight, even though one came pretty close. Tubby only shrugged, 'cos 'ee said that wot wiv the church bein' bombed last year, it'd be real unlucky if'n it were 'it a second toime. 'Ee weren't wrong neither…
The next day we went back ter see the Prime Minister, wot lives near a big lump o' stone in the middle o' the street called the Cenotaph, only we 'ad ter run from there 'cos the perlice were after us by this toime. An' then 'oo would o' thought it, we finished up at the BBC wiv the famous radio programme, "In Town Tonight" (Yew c'n google that an' all, if'n yew want).
An that's about all Oi c'n tell yew 'ere about London (wot ain't bad fer jus' one visit, if'n yew ask me). If'n yew'd loike some more, yew c'd do worse'n ter take a dekko at http://www.peterstjohn.net/index_6.htm.

Luv from Jenno.


Saturday, 9 November 2013


Poppy Seller

Buy a poppy, lady?
A few pennies for a poppy?
Please give, just for a poppy.
Won't someone buy a poppy?
Some pennies for a poppy?
Buy a poppy, mister?
Just a poppy sir.

Poppies grow in upturned land 
Such as dug by bombshells. And
Fed by blood and bone manure
They bloom bright red. As pure
As spikes of crimson sun
Flowers fit for everyone...
Buy a poppy, lady?

Retail poppies, up for sale.
Poppies tell a wartime tale.
Poppies peeping where none grow
Hats, and buttonholes also
Buttonholes instead of eyes.
Button-eyed, a whole world cries...
A few pennies for a poppy?

Buttons trimmed with petals red;
Lacquered holdfast to the dead.
Button up and cry inside.
Batten down and seek to hide.
Poppy fields were blooming there
In the smoking, stinking air...
Please give, just for a poppy.

Scarlet petals, blood-like stains;
Black dark pit of stamen grains;
Poppies waving in the breeze;
Poppies writhing into wreaths.
Opium for a suffering few;
Drugged with poppies. Poppies new...
Won't someone buy a poppy?

Black death; red death; poppy bright.
Only death can stop the sight;
Poppy bright evoking blood;
Poppy shining from the mud.
Hope, despair, gut-wrenching fear;
Fleas, disease, and tin-can cheer...
Some pennies for a poppy?

Pretty poppy pepper-pot,
Blood-red petals now forgot,
Shake out far your hard black seeds;
Poppy flowers are not weeds.
Some saw carnage; poppies there.
Shake my can, and show you care...
Buy a poppy mister?

Just a poppy, sir.

© Peter St John

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Guy Fawkes

Guy Fawkes


The Lions Avenue Lot were gathered on the Meadow with their carts to collect kindling for the Guy Fawkes bonfire.

Six-year-old Wikky looked up into Peter's face. ‘What's Guy Fawkes?’ she asked. ‘Is it like garden forks?’

‘Guy Fawkes was a bad man who put a bomb under Parliament in London,’ he replied. ‘He was hung for it.’

‘Did the bomb make a big bang?’

‘No. It was discovered before it could be set off.’

‘Was he a German?’

‘No, he was English.’

‘Why did he put a bomb under Parliament then? Was he Hitler's spy?’

‘No he wasn't a spy, he was a catholic.’

‘What's a catholic?’

‘Somebody who goes to a Catholic church.’

‘D'you want to blow up Parliament?’

‘Why should I want to blow up Parliament?’

‘You go to church.’

‘But it's the village church.’

‘Isn't it the same?’

‘I don't think so.’

‘Did Guy Fawkes go to church?’

‘I suppose so.’

‘But you said he was bad.’

‘What's that got to do with it?’

Wikky's face began to pucker. ‘I don't want you to go to church any more.’

‘Why not, Wikky?’

‘You're not bad. I don't want you to be hung.’

‘It's all right, Wikky. This happened a long time ago.’

‘When my mother was little?’

‘A long time before that. A long, long time even before her mother was little.’

This was too difficult for Wikky to grasp. She began to cry.

‘Never mind, Wikky,’ I said consolingly. ‘It's just a story, like the big bad wolf. Here, get into my cart and I'll pull you.’

One behind the other, we went with our carts up the slope towards the Layers.


(Adapted from "Gang Warfare" chapter 12. http://www.peterstjohn.net/index_3.htm)