Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Gang Petition Review

Jennospot 93 "Gang Petition" Review


'Ave yew ever been ter Lunnon? Oi were there once, an' Oi saw Buckin'am Palace, the 'ouse where the Prime Minister lives, that famous bridge by the Tower o' Lunnon wot opens ter let ships through, an' I saw the statue o' Emmeline Pankhurst an' all. That were real special.


Any'ow, it were a proper adventure, an' Peter St John wrote it all down, as well as ovver stuff, in a book wot's called "Gang Petition". An then cripes, ain't it amazin' 'ow sometimes real noice fings come a-flyin' at yew out o' the blue, so ter speak, 'cos Mr Richard Denning, wot writes books too (http://www.richarddenning.co.uk/) 'as written a real 'appy-makin' review about it fer the Historical Novel Society (http://historicalnovelsociety.org/reviews/gang-petition/). Oi've copied it out fer yew below jus' in case yew'd loike ter read wot 'ee says:

"1941 – Britain is at war with Germany. But the children in the Lions Avenue Gang are focused on a predicament in their home town of Widdlington. A local man, known to all as ‘Dummy’, is threatened with eviction from the allotments which he farms and where he grows vegetables for all of the townsfolk. The Women’s Land Army has been given the land and it seems that no one will be able to do anything about it as Dummy has few allies. This is when the local gang of children step in and take on the vicar, the parish council and eventually the government. Between go-cart races against their rival gang, Peter, Jenno and the others must find a way to get a petition to the King.

Gang Petition is the next instalment of a series which describes the goings-on and adventures of a gang of children. The books are based on the childhood memories of the author, who was evacuated to the East Anglian countryside in 1940 after his orphanage was bombed during the Blitz. (Actually the author has a fascinating story of his own to tell! I would like to know more about his jobs in the RAF, European Space Agency and even Australian and European governments.)

The Gangs in this series are not objectionable; yes, there is fighting between rivals, but these are children’s gangs – full of fun, camaraderie, and they yearn for adventure. These were the halcyon days when children went “out to play” after breakfast and did not return until suppertime. This feels like an authentic reproduction of children’s lives 70 years ago, during the war. The interaction between the children, and also the relations they have with adults, feels genuine and at the same time quite funny.

This is a pleasant, fun read and should appeal mostly to adults who are nostalgic for their childhood but might also appeal to some children wanting to understand how totally different it was growing up during the war. Leaving the war aside, there is a timeless element in these pages for I also recall playing with a cart and getting up to a certain amount of mischief in a gang, and I was born in the 1960’s much later than this setting.

The author has added his own map as well as illustrations which have an old fashioned hand-drawn feel to them, and they charmingly compliment the book.

Overall the story is well written with good use of slang terms, nick names and local dialects to create the world in which the adventure is set. It is not a demanding read but should be taken as it is – lighthearted and enjoyable.

(Author’s own printed version read - available for sale on Kindle only)"

Thank yew Mr Denning, an' thank yew the Historical Novel Society. Just fink of it: Oi reckon as ‘ow Oi've become 'istorical. Cripes, Peter St John'll laugh 'is 'isterical 'ead off… (http://www.peterstjohn.net/)


Oi'm goin' ter leave yew now, wiv luv from Jenno.


Monday, 4 February 2013


Jennospot 92 Snow
There's some people as reckon as 'ow the world is getting' warmer and warmer. Well, people are free ter believe wotevver they loike, provided they don't get too stroppy about it, an' prap's they ain't wrong. Any'ow, when Oi look out the winder, Oi see it's snowin' again, wot is all roight wiv me, specially if'n Oi can't get ter school fer a couple o' days, but that don't 'ardly never 'appen, worst luck…

The best is, Oi've taken the wheels off'n moi cart "Emmeline P" an' fitted some runners, wot are actually a pair of old skis wot moi posh aunt Gertrude 'ad given 'er when she were young just before the Great War, but Oi don't fink she never used 'em, 'cos 'er 'usband got killed an' then she didn't 'ave no money ter go ter Switzerland, or wherever it is yew go fer the skiin' when yew're rich an' posh.

Still an' all, the skis make Emmeline P inter a real good sled. Oi went out wiv 'er last week, an' the snow were so deep Oi near got drowned in a snowdrift. Got moi boots full o' snow too, an' it went up moi sleeves. Cripes it weren't 'alf wet when it melted, but that didn't matter none 'cos Oi got real warm  strugglin' through the snow, an' up the 'ill. It were worf it too wiv the run down again. Me an' moi bruvver 'ad races wiv the rest of the Mob, 'cept fer J.J. 'oo 'ad ter help 'is mum split some logs an' bring 'em in fer the fire.

We've got a fire too, but only in the kitchen range wot we also do the cookin' on. The rest of the 'ouse is pretty parky this wevver, 'specially moi bedroom wot is up in the attic. Got a good view out the skylight though, when it ain't covered wiv snow. We ain't lucky loike them posh people wot live up Lions Avenue. They've got a fireplace in the livin' room. Only trouble is that yew've got make it ev'ry day. 'specially if'n there ain't nobody at 'ome most of the time, loike at Peter's place. Don't reckon as 'ow 'ee gets ter see a fire most days. Fact is, Oi know 'ee don't, 'cos there's ain't no smoke from 'is chimney. 'Ee just 'as ter put on an extra pullover. Reckon 'ee wouldn't mind too much if the world really were getting' a bit warmer.

Any'ow, it's snowin' again, an' Oi'm goin' out ter see if any'body wants ter go sleddin'.

'Ave yerself an' 'appy snowfall, wiv luv from Jenno.