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storye book title with rollover image of doubletoothed narwhal

Batch 1, story 50




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frame and 3 coins: penny, ha'penny and farthing

close up of Queen's face

the penny

Queen's head and shoulders



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A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A PENNY (when nothing jolly-well happened to it)


Before dawn, the playground was huge and dark. A penny lay in the centre. When it saw the sun it shot a ring of fire round its own clean, copper edge and grew a thin shadow like a new, black moon.

The sun rose a bit. There was a crashing and gritting of gravel and a bent, white, half-smoked cigarette landed near the penny. Boots flailed and there was shouting as Joe’s and Donald’s twenty grubby fingers scrabbled for it. They smelled of old clothes, antiseptic and football boots. The penny was turned over, showing its muddy side, as the sound of wind and birdsong came back.

When it was very hot and there was no shadow next to the penny, a glossy, red, high-heeled shoe stopped a foot away, and a blue, lace skirt with flowers swung in the breeze. There was the smell of lavender, coffee and clean washing. Outside the schoolyard railings a black car drove by slowly. It was full of flowers. The mud on the penny was dry now and starting to blow away. When the tear fell on it, half the mud was glued on again.

A bell rang and the sun was on the other side of the sky, falling into the clouds. Rain came. Where the dawn had been there were stripes of pink, yellow and green. Many small, brown sandals scraped their way across the gravel, and under the magic light of the rainbow the penny was covered in dust.

When it was dark, a torch wrapped in paper sent streaks of blue over the gravel. A heavy jemmy was laid down gently. The penny could not be seen, but a gloved hand picked it up anyway, and it tinkled its way down through the bag of dinner money, some knives and forks, and Mr Jeffries' stopwatch.

Copyright © 1991 LS


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enlargement of penny showing nice casting and finish.

frame with 3 coins: penny, ha'penny and farthing

close up of face of Elizabeth II

the penny

close-up of Queen's head and shoulders


the farthing


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the ha'penny