Wednesday, 16 April 2014

My Village

Welcome to the SilverWood Books Blog Hop!
A few of our authors have come together to share a variety of articles and items of interest on their blogs for your enjoyment. There are some lovely giveaway prizes, and - to stay in keeping with the Spring and rebirth theme at this time of year - some colourful Easter eggs. Feel free to collect the eggs, and use them where you like. They were drawn by SilverWood author Peter St John who writes the ‘Gang’ series about a boy who was evacuated to a village in East Anglia during WWII. Meet Peter and his characters on the Blog Hop, along with a host of eggcellent SilverWood authors. ;-)
Have fun!
Helen Hart
Publishing Director
SilverWood Books

Jennospot 118  Moi Village

Moi village o' Widdlin'ton ain't a big an' important place, 'cept fer them wot live there, o' 'corse, wot don't mean that there ain't no visitors from toime ter toime. Any'ow, a real noice lady from Pennsyvania, wot's in the United States o' America, come by recently an' she were kind enough ter write a piece about it (even although she din't say nuffink about me) but she did say somefink about a "Boy". Well, it jus' so 'appens that that "Boy" lives jus' in the back o' me, be'ind moi chicken run, an' cripes, Oi know all the trouble 'ee 'as wiv gangs, an' wiv 'is aunt an' all. This American lady's name is Katherine Ashe, an' she writes super novels about English 'istory, so she really knows wot she's talkin' about. Any'ow, this is wot she wrote about the "Gang Territory" in Widdlin'ton:

"World War II and the bombing of London brought about the displacement of multitudes of children. We see photos of them, wan, frightened as they’re herded onto trains bound for the safer countryside or they’re led away by the firm grip of strangers’ hands. But what happened to them after that, when they arrived at their unfamiliar destinations?
Peter St. John’s autobiographically inspired story of a boy from a destroyed London orphanage gives us an insight. An insight not only into the new hazards such children faced, but into the noble code of boyhood, a code that forbade complaining when one was abused and that produced a degree of self-reliance that would serve well in later years – provided the noble spirited little lad survived.

As in a medieval romance, the hero’s name is never revealed to the reader. We will call him Boy. Boy arrives in the rural village of Widdlington which is scant of indoor plumbing but rich in gangs of children. Every street has its own gang who guard their territory from intruders. And an intruder is any other child who does not live on that street. This of course makes life exceedingly difficult for Boy, whose aunt and guardian seems oblivious to the juvenile culture surrounding her, for she makes a habit of sending him on errands where his very life depends upon his ingenuity in getting to his goal and back home again unobserved.

There may be individuals as completely lacking in humane feeling as this aunt, so completely focused on a sense of being put upon, so resentful of a young boy, and so determined to gain every instant of advantage from the unwanted presence of a child, as to resemble a slave driver with a savage tongue in place of whip. When the aunt seems to relent at sight of the boy’s injuries one senses that self-protection, not pity, is her foremost, driving motive: fear of being discovered as the abuser she is. Why is she so cramped and mean of spirit? Seen from the viewpoint of Boy, we never learn.

But if the aunt makes his new home hellish, the principal local bully, known as Slug, turns the entire outside world into a trial of strategy for Boy as he must navigate from place to place nearly always under the threat of severe bodily harm if he loses his focus of attention for a moment. St. John sets up hazards and triumphs that make the plot predictable but that also create suspense – and a certain admiration in the reader as we know what must be coming but well drawn intervening events keep forestalling the inevitable.

Widdlington is peopled with kindly folk as well as brutes: from teachers to parents to children – mostly girls – and the local derelict known as Dummy. Many speak in dialect although, thank heaven, Boy does not. As yet another “Oi” for “I” is uttered, the words of Henry Higgins spring to mind: “Why can’t the English teach their children how to speak?” Walter Scott loved writing in dialects too, so St. John is in illustrious company.
The issue of bullying is as timely now as ever and St. John’s exploration of the ways in which children cope: isolatedly, determinedly, with fear and bravery, is as resonant in Gang Territory as in Huckleberry Fin, and as a salutary reminder of obtuse adult perceptions and the complexity of the world of childhood."


It's me, Jenno, wot put in the pictures of Widdlin'ton 'cos Oi thought yew'd loike ter see a bit o' moi village, so if'n yew don't loike 'em don't yew go a-blamin' the noice American lady. An' if p'raps yew'd loike a few more, yew c'd go ter
 By the way, the American lady reckons as 'ow a lot of us in Widdlin'ton speak wiv a dialect. Well Oi don't want ter be impolite, but ter moi ears its them Americans wot speak wiv a dialect. Any'ow, when Oi want, Oi c'n speak posh English just as well as Oi can proper English, only if'n Oi did it wiv moi gang around, they'd fink Oi gone all superior on 'em, an' they'd chuck me out. So Oi mostly don't do it. Oi'm glad ter 'ave cleared up that little point.

'Ave yerselves a real 'appy Easter.

Wiv luv from Jenno an' PStJ...

And there are a host of other exciting and interesting articles – hop forward to the next SilverWood Author for more interesting articles, some colourful Easter eggs to collect, and a few Giveaway Prizes:

·          Anna Belfrage : Is Freezing in a Garret a Prerequisite?
·        Lucienne Boyce : The Female Writer's Apology.
·        Isabel Burt : Friday Fruitfulness - Flees for the Easter Hop...
·        Caz Greenham : Springtime and Hanging Baskets.
·        Edward Hancox : Seaweed and Cocoa.
·        Matlock the Hare : Pig-padding the Self-published Highway...
·        Helen Hollick : Let us Talk of Many Things - Fictional Reality.
·        Alison Morton : Roma Nova - How the Romans Celebrated Spring.
·        John Rigg : Television Lines. - Television Lines.
·        Peter St John : Jenno Presents - My Village.
·        Michael Wills : A Doomed Army.
·        Debbie Young : Young By Nature - The Alchemy of Chocolate.
·        Helen Hart : SilverWood Books Spring Blog Hop.

And here is your Easter Egg to collect - there are six in all scattered throughout the Blog Hop - collect them all and feel free to use them on your own Blog or Facebook - or wherever you like!


  1. Replies
    1. Cripes, Ginger Dawn, ev'ryone speaks in dialect, 'cept me o' corse. It all depends on where yew come from an' wot gang yew're in...

  2. Wow! I'm such a big fan of yours! Great artwork! I'm downloading all of yours books! Thank you for sharing. I loved it. Happy Easter, Caz x

    1. Cripes, thank yew, Caz. Fer mesself, Oi jus' love Eric Seagull. Wish 'im an 'appy Easter from me, an' ter yew an' all, natch...

  3. Fascinating insight to life for evacuated children, thanks.

    1. Thank yew, Lucienne. Oi weren't never evacuated mesself, but that boy wot come ter live near me went through some nasty stuff Oi c'n tell yew. an' it didn't even stop after 'ee come ter live in my village. Any'ow, 'ave yerself a real 'appy Easter...

  4. Love that Jenno's cart is called the Emmeline P.
    Happy hopping, Peter!

    1. Thank yew, Alison. There ain't nobody more famous than wot is Emmeline P. Any'ow, Oi reckon as 'ow yew must 'ave seen moi cart when she come ter Bristol recently. An' 'appy 'oppin' ter yew an' all, Alison...

  5. Just a quick comment as I'm battling flu - I LOVE this post peter, and I love the Gang books. Personally I think every school library should have copies - far better way to learn about WW!!. The gang books are suitable for everyone from 9 - 90 years old!

    1. Cripes, Helen, yew don't 'alf say some noice things. Thank yew. Get well soon 'cos the 'flu ain't no fun at all; even if'n yew're only 9 it makes yew feel loike 90...

  6. Children can be extremely ruthless - and extremely brave. "Boy" seems to be the gutsy type, and I do hope his aunt got her comeuppance somehow. Adults who fail children are the worst type of humans - and sadly, there are quite a few! Great post, tweeted!

    1. You ain't wrong, Anna; there's a few real ruthless kids in Widdlin'ton. There's even some wot reckon as 'ow Oi'm pretty ruthless mesself, but then there's always them wot go around exaggeratin' ev'ryfink; don't yew fink? As fer Aunt gettin' 'er comeuppance, there's them wot say she did, an' there's them wot don't agree. Fer mesself, Oi reckon as 'ow she changed, but wevver it were fer the better or fer the worse, Oi'd be 'ard put ter it ter say. Any'ow, Oi thank yew real 'eartily fer yer kind words. By the way, Oi 'ope yew loiked the pictures, even though it weren't me wot done 'em...

  7. Interesting insights from your friend Katherine Ashe there, Jenno. I loved the first book of your exploits that I read, and I'm looking forward to reading some more soon. (They make me think about my father's experience as an evacuee during the war to a similar village - his favourite girl friend there was called Dorothy Duckett, but I'm sure he'd have loved you too!)

    1. Oi don't know no Dorothies, Debbie, wot don't stop some people callin' me "Dotty", but Oi jus' duck under that sort verbiage (cripes, ain't that a noice leafy sort o' word?). Any'ow, thank yew fer tellin' me about yer father, Oi 'ope 'is toime as an evacuee weren't too bad. By the way, did yew know that Oi've got some books of moi own about Widdlin'ton. They don't cost nuffink neither, Just 'ave a look at an' yew^ll find 'em. 'Appy Easter, Debbie...

  8. Replies
    1. Thank yew, Denise. There's some real picturesque places in Widdlin'ton, even if Oi say it mesself. Glad yew c'd visit. ?Ave yerself an 'appy Easter...

  9. Oh how I can relate to the "gang in every street"! Every I time I had to go to the local shop I had to traverse "enemy" territory. A bribe of an aniseed ball or a gob stopper usually guaranteed immunity to a thumping.

  10. Cripes, Michael, so it ain't only in my village that people 'ave such problems. Oi sometoimes try ter fraternise (wot a lovely word - sororise w'd be noice too) wiv them ovver gangs but moi gang leader JJ don't approve. Oi don't always 'ave ter take notice of 'im any'ow. Thank yew, Michael, fer yer kind comment...