I saved up money for a considerable time to purchase a penny-farthing. My wife wanted a new set of pots for the kitchen, but first things first. Nearly every male of age in this town is out and about on their penny-farthing every Sunday afternoon. My wife wanted to try riding it and I said, “Goodness me no, darling. Not in that dress!” Before one could blink the hem of her skirt would get tangled in the spokes of the wheel. And what a disaster! How very unlady-like! Of course, it would be my entire fault letting a woman onto what is clearly designed for the male anatomy. It’s a bit like riding a horse. But on a horse women ride side-saddle, and one could hardly expect a woman to ride side-saddle on a penny-farthing. How would one peddle?
The first time I went out (of course I’d been practising my balance in the backyard behind the house) I went with three friends on a Sunday jaunt. Such freedom! Such speed! The second time I went out was the last. I was with a larger group. We bicycled I suppose ten miles into the country and back. It was a wonderful experience.
As I said, that was the last time I went out on the penny-farthing. I wouldn’t be seen dead on it these days. You see, my wife and her so-called emancipated friends made fun of my tight pants.
Ruth and Rex Irwin didn’t have much money to go on. But they did have two of the loveliest children under the sun. Every spare penny was spent on the kids. Not that they were spoilt. They weren’t. Ruth and Rex didn’t have enough money to spoil their kids.
It was Guy Fawkes Day. Almost every family in the world (unless you didn’t live in England) had fireworks of some kind or other. How exciting! Ruth and Rex Irwin and their two kids didn’t have any fireworks. It’s not that they disagreed with celebrating Guy Fawkes with a BANG! It’s simply that they couldn’t really afford it. The Livingstone-Miller’s and their two kids had lots of fireworks. They were set to show the neighbourhood just how rich they were.
The evening of Guy Fawkes came. The Livingstone-Miller’s began their display. It was nothing to write home about. The best fireworks were the arguments. Mrs Livingstone-Miller argued with Mr Livingston-Miller. And their two kids argued. And Mrs Livingstone-Miller argued with her son, and Mr Livingston-Miller argued with his daughter. And they lit everything and forgot to look, so busy were they hating each other.
Meanwhile the Irwin family had their dinner and then Mr Rex Irwin pulled out from his pocket a penny-farthing. For those who don’t know, a penny-farthing is not just a bicycle. He obviously didn’t pull a bicycle out of his pocket, silly. A penny-farthing, when it comes to firecrackers, is the tiniest little cracker imaginable. Or is it in fact called a tom-thumb? When it is lit it does more of a POP than a BANG.
“I found it on the street,” said Rex.
The Irwin’s went out onto their veranda. They lit it. It went
The Irwin’s laughed and laughed and laughed. It was the most fun Guy Fawkes celebration in the whole world. It was one that Ruth and Rex Irwin’s kids remembered their whole lives.