by Jenno (or Peter St. John)
Oi'm s'posed ter write somefink wots 'istorical. Oi ain't really inter 'istory,
though there are some people around as reckons as 'ow Oi'm somefink a bit 'istorical mesself (or do they mean 'isterical? Wot ain't polite...). Any'ow, wot Oi'm goin' ter do, is ter tell yew a bit about ow we make soap-box carts in Widdlin'ton, wot is the village in England where Oi come from. Incidentally, there's a map o' Widdlin'ton on http://www.peterstjohn.net/ wot shows where moi 'ouse is. It shows the Mountain Glide where we race, an' all. Yew c'n 'ave a look if'n yew loike. There's some pictures of me there, as well as pictures o' some of our soap-boxes. Any'ow, back ter cart makin'...
pram wheels too, wot come off my perambulator after my daft bruvver let it roll down the steps in front of ol' farmer Catchpole's tractor… The wheels were still okay though.
fastest cart in Widdlin'ton, even if it's me wot says so.
O' corse, yew're also goin' ter need a good wooden soap-box. Yew used ter be able ter get one from the local store; they were only too glad ter be rid of 'em. It's
probably a bit 'arder ter get one these days, wot wiv the war, an' crises, an' modern packagin', an' all that sorta fing. Still an' all, yew c'n always make a box out of a plank or two; in which case, it's a good idea ter use somefink a bit thinker, 'cos, when all's said an' done, them usual soap-boxes are just a bit flimsy. They don't stay tergevver so well if yer cart 'appens ter turn over;
wot ain't so rare.
A real important part of the cart, the long plank wot 'olds everyfink tergevver, is wot we call the "Spine". That's gotta be real thick, three-quarters of an inch at least. If it's any thinner, it'll be all springy, loike wot them big American cars are, an' then yew c'n get kinda seasick when it bounces up an' down over the bumps. Besides, it's gotta be solid enough ter take the 'ole at the front fer the steerin' bolt. If'n it's too thin, yew'll lose the front axle the very first toime yew ride down over a curbstone. See wot Oi mean?
When Peter an me made moi Emmeline P, Oi come along wiv a tin full o' nails, only Peter said that nails weren't no good fer makin' carts. Yew 'ave ter screw 'em, or better still, bolt 'em tergevver, 'cos nails work loose pretty quick. Oi pass the tip on. Yew don' 'ave ter thank me fer it, 'cos Oi didn't know it either at the toime. The best sort o' bolts, are them wiv a little square under the ‘ead. They call 'em "coach" bolts. Yew need ter fix 'em wiv a washer under the nut,
ovverwise it 'urts the wood, an' then they come loose as quick as yew c'n say Akron Hill.
Go well. 'Appy cartin'!
Wiv love from Jenno.