Tag Archives: Peny for the Guy

The Case of the Vanishing Months

I’ve recently become convinced that someone steals hours from the day, days from the week, weeks from the month and months from the year. It must be so since yesterday it was Halloween 2011 and now it’s almost Christmas 2012. But I have a little secret you thieving wretches, you won’t beat me as I shop all year round so my Christmas list is ready. Yes, OK, don’t smirk, I haven’t got the food yet but that’s mainly because I can’t find a crowbar to get into the freezer which seems to have frozen over while I was asleep. Further proof that I’m right about time thieves.

Maybe I have it all wrong though. Maybe it isn’t thieves but a case of time-slip. Is that possible I wonder. That would perhaps fit better with my thoughts that I’m only about 40 really and not the ‘Hrumph’ the 2012 calendar says I must be.

It is actually a funny thing that when we’re younger the anticipation of Christmas makes everything seem a long time.The same goes for Easter, birthdays and special holidays in the caravan where time drags even more. As we get older these things seem to propel themselves into our lives like a manic merry-go-round one after the other till we all say “Hang on, I saw that horse just a moment ago.” Another strange thing is how Christmas has started earlier in the year than it used to. Only this time it’s not related to my increased age, it’s reality. My American friends will have to forgive me for a moment while I reminisce.

When I was a child of perhaps 9 or 10 my friends , OK OK no need to be pedantic, my friend and I used to look forward to November. On the first we would create a figure from old clothes ( or otherwise if no-one was looking) and in the evenings take it out on the streets in an old wheelbarrow or similar contraption. During the day we’d be collecting wood and things to make a bonfire. On 5th November we’d make special efforts with the ‘Guy’ as our figures were known and we’d be calling “Penny for the Guy” as we either rolled it along or settled in a convenient spot. In all honesty the best spots were just outside pubs. The money we collected would be spent on fireworks to be set off when the bonfire was lit, but not before the Guy was added to the top of the bonfire in place of honour. All of us knew Guy was in fact Guy Fawkes who had tried to blow up Parliament. These days of course we’d all be offering him a hand and giving him a medal. As the fire burned we ate potatoes baked at the edge, parkin ( a kind of ginger cake) and treacle toffee.

Once the bonfire was done and sparklers all spent it was time for a break. Nothing happened until at least the 1st of December. Oh do stop niggling me, of course life went on as usual, school, play etc. As the 1st arrived you’d see shops start to dress their windows in Christmas colours- predominantly white. My memory may be faulty here but I seem to recall we had snow on the ground sometimes too and quite often at Christmas. I certainly remember snow deep enough to make getting to school difficult. No,I don’t mean anything over half an inch, I mean at least a foot. The shop window displays grew along with out excitement. And I can’t recall what my parents did but I remember emptying my piggy bank to go out and buy gifts. My mother would take me but in the main would not interfere. To be honest, it was so long ago I only recall one gift I bought. It was a small glass dish with what looked like moss in it from which rose some flowers with glass petals. It was for my Nana whom I loved dearly. She may have hated it instantly but she would never have said so, and years later when I was in the RAF it was still standing on the shelf of a little unit beside her.

I can remember being in hospital when I was about 5 yrs old. It was Christmas time and I’d been in a few weeks. My mother came to collect me to bring me home. I remember I was given a cowboy outfit that year with a rifle. I don’t remember exactly what happened but my sister tried to scare me back into hospital and the rifle ¬†ended up getting broken over her head. I was a big reader because I was often unwell. Sometimes I was rushed out by ambulance, so blue people must have thought I was a Mekon.( Sorry, Dan Dare and the Mekons was on the front of the Eagle comic). Maybe that’s who’s responsible for these damn time slips. Come on now, play fair. Give me my missing time back, I promise not to squander it.


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