Thursday, 18 December 2014

Dummy's Party

Jennospot 127  "Dummy’s Birthday Party"

Yuletide is a time for merry-makin' an' parties. So come an' join some wunnerful authors fer an Online Virtual Party wiv a whole lot o' fun readin', an' a few giveaway prizes...!

That noice Helen Hollick, wot writes real excitin’ books about pirates an’ ovver ‘istorical stuff, loike wot ‘appened a long toime ago in 1066 f’rinstance, ‘as asked us ter write somefink about parties. Any’ow, in Widdlin’ton we ‘ave lots o’ ordin’ry parties, wiv cake an’ jelly an’ games an’ such, but there were one wot we ‘ad fer Mr Pierce, wot everybody calls “Dummy”, wot got stuck in moi mem’ry special loike. But Oi ain’t all that good about writin’ stuff down, so Oi asked moi friend Peter ter put down a few words about it. So ‘ere it is. ‘Ope yew loike it:
I was the last to arrive at Dummy's birthday party. Everyone was sitting stiffly around the table in the school shelter. Nobody was speaking.

I went straight up to Mr Pearce. His much-worn clothes were too tight round the waist and under the arms. He seemed ill at ease.

‘Happy birthday, Daniel,’ I said.

‘Arrgh, thank'ee kindly,’ he replied. He showed his misshapen teeth through a matted beard in what was more a grimace than a smile.

‘What's the matter Daniel? Aren't they looking after you properly?’

‘Reckon as 'ow it's more'n a little whiles since ol' Dan'l 'ad a party fer 'is birthday. Reckon as 'ow 'ee's roight thankful. There be a fine cake with candles wot Miss Winnifred gave and Miss Molly's biscuits an' all.’

‘You could look a bit happier about it,’ I said.

‘Reckon ol' Dan'l's leavin' Widdlington afore soon. 'Ee'll be roight sad ter be leavin' 'is friends.’

‘You're not leaving today at any rate, and you're not in the lockup,’ said Molly.

‘So cheer up,’ said Winnifred.

‘Have some beer,’ said Miss Hangar.

‘Don't moind if'n Oi do,’ said Daniel.

‘Everyone's saying it was Daniel who sabotaged the survey of the allotments,’ said Leta.

‘But it wasn't him!’ exclaimed Winnifred. ‘And Mr Trundle knows it.’

‘Unfortunately, people will gossip,’ said Miss Hangar.

‘We know it wasn't you, Daniel,’ I said. ‘And we're going to prove it absolutely, so that it doesn't depend just on the word of Winnifred. We've already got some clues.’

‘That's right,’ said Roy. ‘But we need you to help us.’

Dummy looked bewildered. ‘Clues?’ he said. ‘'Ow can ol' Daniel 'elp when the Parish is puttin' 'im off'n the allotments and sendin' 'im into a home?’

‘It hasn't happened yet,’ said Roy.

‘And we're going to make sure it doesn't happen,’ said Molly. ‘Miss Hangar's going to help us.’
‘Of course she's going to help us,’ said Jenno in her best BBC voice, ‘Aren't you Miss Hangar?’

‘I, er—’  said Miss Hangar.

‘She's on the Parish Council,’ I said. ‘And she and Mr Trundle will tell the others what the truth is. Won't you Miss Hangar?’

‘I er— that is— yes. I'll certainly tell them the truth about the sabotage when I know myself what the truth is.’

‘See Daniel?’ said Roy. ‘But there are some things we need to know. And only you can tell us.’

‘Ar—?’ questioned Daniel.

‘For instance,’ I said. ‘Did you buy those Wellington boots you promised yourself for your birthday?

‘Mr Hibberd were roight put out when ol' Dan'l asked 'im. 'Ee din't roightly know 'ow ter come out wi' it. It's the war, 'ee said. Anything wot were rubber was next ter impossible ter come by. 'Ee said as 'ow 'ee'd be roight pleased ter favour me, but that it weren't fer termorrer nor the day after. When 'ee 'ad some Wellingtons in 'ee'd be rememberin' a pair fer ol' Dan'l.’

‘You didn't buy any then?’ asked Roy.

‘Arrgh— just so.’

‘You don't possess any other rubber boots?’ asked Jenno primly.

‘Where would ol' Dan'l be findin’ a shillin' or two fer rubber boots wot 'ee don't roightly need?’ replied Daniel.

‘The footprints aren't Daniel's,’ said Roy.

‘I never thought they were,’ said Winnifred.

‘Me neither,’ said Katy.

‘You are going to help then, Miss Hangar?’ said Jenno.

‘Yes Jenno, er— Jean,’ said Miss Hangar. ‘I'll do what I can; but you know, there's really very little I can do now concerning the allotments. The project is already approved and far advanced.

‘As for The Old Vicarage, it's a decision for the Church and the vicar. Any interference by the school would only arouse resentment. But I can certainly help Mr Pearce to learn to read and write. That way he could become independent of support from the Parish.’

‘And not go into a home!’ exclaimed Molly. She stuffed her knuckles into her mouth and looked horrified towards Daniel.

‘Don't ye be a-fazed none, Miss Molly,’ said Daniel gently. ‘Ol' Dan'l baint be deaf; 'ee knows roight well wot people say. 'Ee bain't be such a dummy as 'ow they think.’

An embarrassed silence fell. It was broken by Winnifred: ‘I think it's about time we lit the candles. Who's got some matches?’

‘I'll ask my mum,’ said Leta. ‘Wait a tic and I'll nip indoors and get some.’ She ran into the school caretaker's house and emerged a moment later rattling a box of matches. ‘We didn't know how many candles to put on, but in any case, Hibberd's store only had one box—it's the war you know—so we put them all on. There are twenty.’

‘Heh, heh,’ chuckled Daniel. ‘Roight kind ye be. Arrgh— but two-and-a-half boxes 'uld 'ave been more loike.’

‘Blow them all out in one go and you can make a wish,’ said Katy.

Daniel took a deep breath and blew. Twenty tiny flames disappeared to be replaced by twenty slender columns of smoke.

‘Make a wish,’ cried everyone.

‘But don't tell anyone until it comes true,’ cautioned Jenno.

Daniel shut his eyes; held them screwed tight and then opened them again.

‘Have you made a wish?’ asked Molly.

‘Aye,’ said Daniel.

‘And so have I,’ said Molly.


From "Gang Petition" Chapter 7

Thank yew fer joinin' in wiv our party. Oi 'ope yew liked moi bit. If'n yew like, yew c'n foller on now ter the next bit o' the fun... 

1. Helen Hollick : “You are Cordially Invited to a Ball” (plus a giveaway prize) -  

2. Alison Morton : "Saturnalia surprise - a winter party tale”  (plus a giveaway prize) -

3. Andrea Zuvich : No Christmas For You! The Holiday Under Cromwell -

4. Ann Swinfen : Christmas 1586 – Burbage’s Company of Players Celebrates -

5. Anna Belfrage :  All I want for Christmas (plus a giveaway prize)

6. Carol Cooper : How To Be A Party Animal -

7. Clare Flynn :  A German American Christmas -

8. Debbie Young :  Good Christmas Housekeeping (plus a giveaway prize)

9. Derek Birks :  The Lord of Misrule - A Medieval Christmas Recipe for Trouble -

10. Edward James : An Accidental Virgin and An Uninvited Guest - and - 

11. Fenella J. Miller : Christmas on the Home front (plus a giveaway prize) -

12. J. L. Oakley :  Christmas Time in the Mountains 1907 (plus a giveaway prize) -

13. Jude Knight : Christmas at Avery Hall in the Year of Our Lord 1804 -

14. Julian Stockwin: Join the Party -  
15Juliet Greenwood : Christmas 1914 on the Home Front (plus a giveaway) -
16. Lauren Johnson :  Farewell Advent, Christmas is come" - Early Tudor Festive Feasts -
17. Lucienne Boyce :  A Victory Celebration -
18. Nancy Bilyeau :  Christmas After the Priory (plus a giveaway prize) -
19. Nicola Moxey : The Feast of the Epiphany, 1182 -
20. Peter St John:  Dummy’s Birthday - Hi! Yew're already 'ere. So there ain't no link.
21. Regina Jeffers : Celebrating a Regency Christmas  (plus a giveaway prize) -
22. Richard Abbott : The Hunt – Feasting at Ugarit -
23. Saralee Etter : Christmas Pudding -- Part of the Christmas Feast -
24. Stephen Oram : Living in your dystopia: you need a festival of enhancement… (plus a giveaway prize) -
25. Suzanne Adair :The British Legion Parties Down for Yule 1780 (plus a giveaway prize) - 

26. Lindsay Downs: O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree -  (plus a giveaway prize)

Thank yew fer joinin' us. 'Ave yerself a real enjoyable Christmas, wiv luv from Jenno...!