Guess what I saw in a shop today. Sticks with ’orse’s ’ead ’andles. I believe they’re properly called hobby horses, but I prefer the Albert and the Lion version:
So straightway, the brave little fella,
Not showin’ a morsel of fear,
Took his stick with the ’orse’s ’ead ’andle
And shoved it in Wallace’s ear
I never had a hobby horse. Boys didn’t, at least not where I grew up. The only boys who had hobby horses were the poncy little spawn of the landed gentry, decked out in pristine sailor suits and embellished with golden curls and rosy pink cheeks.
‘Oh look, Mater, do look,’ cried little Lord Henry de Fartingwell, destined to be the 12th Viscount of Blithering once the old Pater had received the regulation assegai up the Khyber (Cockney rhyming slang – Khyber Pass – get it?) ‘Do see how fine I look on my white charger as I close on the massed ranks of our cowardly enemies.’
‘You do, you do, my darling,’ cried Lady Blithering as she mopped the glow from a brow set to burst with pride. ‘Doesn’t he, my dear?’
‘Doesn’t he what?’ asked the Viscount, as he looked up in irritation from his parlour maids’ bed duty roster.
‘Doesn’t he look grand and noble, sweeping across the breeze-blown grasslands of Natal, sabre raised and blood at boiling point?’
‘Natal? That? Stupid little shit. Get him off to school, I say, and a good whipping or three. And make sure he takes that damned ’orse’s ’ead ’andle thing with him. You know where they’ll stick it, don’t you? That should put a bit of backbone into him if nothing else does.’