JOHN PLUMMER ~ A WORKHOUSE TALE

This is one of the stories I put together on a Creative Writing Day at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse in Norfolk.

OBJECTS AND INMATES

I concentrated on JOHN PLUMMER, Writing from this brief introduction.

“John Plummer decided he wanted to. Become a tramp when he turned 16 in 1938. The Guardians didn’t want John to do this as he would be dependant on the workhouse system. This would cost taxpayers’ money. They found John a job but he ran away. He was brought back to the workhouse and sent to Wallingford Farm Training School.”   

JOHN PLUMMER ~ THE INHALER

by John Yeo

  I have been forcibly returned here to take part in a training course at Wallingford Farm Training School.

 I was on the road for a while before they caught up with me, at least I will be working in the open air. I couldn’t stand working in that bloody factory any more! I ran away. I have developed this chesty cough now and I have to regularly attend the sickbay. The nurse says I have to use this strange china thing whenever I get clogged up with mucus. Apparently it is filled with hot water and I breathe it in before I go to bed at night or in the morning, before I go to work. I slept rough for the time I was on the road and the Matron thinks that is where I became ill, from the damp and cold. I spoke to the Doctor when he visited last.

      “What happened to me?” I asked.

  “You are a victim of your own stupidity.” Replied the Doctor.

    “Me stupid? Never. At least I got free from the chemicals that were swirling around that factory.”

    “You will have to continue to use the inhaler morning and night in future. The fresh air working on the farm will do you good. I will see you again in a month.”

  I like working outside but I do have this chesty cough that keeps me awake at night, I have to take the inhaler to bed now. The man in the next bed didn’t wake up today. They took him away and he disappeared. I think he died of TB, someone said it is a curse of the age.

 It is my birthday next week. I will be seventeen. 


Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved 

A prompt response for INSPIRATION MONDAY ~ “LOVE AT FIRST FIGHT”

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Image © Copyright John and Margaret

A prompt response for INSPIRATION MONDAY ~ “LOVE AT FIRST FIGHT”
Posted on February 27th 2016 by John Yeo
A prompt response for Inspiration Monday

http://bekindrewrite.com/2016/02/22/inspiration-monday-love-at-first-fight/

PLAY YOUR CARDS RIGHT

by John Yeo

     The ship had sailed away from Southampton on a long voyage to the Caribbean. I have never experienced this type of holiday before, and I was  keen to find a way to pass the time during the interminable days at sea.

    “I think I would like to learn Bridge,”  I said to the Social Hostess, when I went to collect my copy of the morning crossword puzzle and the quiz. “I have never played the game before and it will be a rewarding way to kill some time while we are at sea.”

    “That’s a good idea.” Said, Angela the friendly crew member on duty. “Just turn up and introduce yourself. It doesn’t matter if you are an absolute beginner, the Bridge tutor is friendly and you are certain to fit in.”

      “Thanks Angela, I will let you know how I get on.”

   I was early, for the Bridge session and I made my way outside on deck to sit and do my crossword. This was definitely wistful thinking as I soon became aware of the gusty winds outside on deck. The ship was miles out at sea and the waves were high rolling, and foam topped. The view on all sides of the ship was exactly the same, broiling grey-blue waves on a moving sea reaching out to a far distant horizon. The cloudy sky was broken by a few patches of blue, revealed by the wind-blown clouds racing across. I was astonished at how few seabirds there were, until one of the crew informed me that the birds were usually seen close to the shore.

    The only visible thing was a distant spot on the horizon, I asked my new found friend the crew member. “Is that another passenger ship in the distance?”

    “No Sir, that is probably a container vessel, on the way to the docks.”

   “However can you know what that is from this distance?  I asked.

   “Ah! We only usually see cargo vessels on this route, if that was another passenger ship the Captain would have informed everyone over the loudspeakers.”

   “Thanks for your help.” I said.

     “You are welcome!”  Was the friendly response“

  I made my way to the card-room where I was full of questions. Would I like this mysterious card game? Would I be able to pick the basics up quickly enough to be able to take part in a serious game? The Bridge tutor bustled up to me as soon as I entered, a friendly looking, middle aged lady with piercing brown eyes, looking over a pair of brown plastic spectacles, smiling broadly she said.

     “Good Morning, and welcome have you played this game before? I’m Cheryl and this is my husband Bill. What is your name?”

     I was overwhelmed with the warmth of this friendly greeting, and as Bill shook my hand, I replied. “I’m John, and No! I am an absolute beginner. I would like to learn the basics to enable me to play when I return home.”

   “Of course John, welcome!” Said Bill, “You have come to the right place, luckily we have three people here who are looking for someone to make up a four, let me introduce you to Jen and Lew, and their travelling companion May.”

  I shook hands with Lew, a tall portly man, with a bald head and a friendly manner.

      Jen responded with a welcoming smile and said, “Sit down, John.” I liked Jen instantly, her dark hair and very brown eyes gave her an open but wary look.

    I smiled and nodded as I took a seat at the table, opposite May. “I’m sorry to say that I am a total beginner, I have never played this game before.”

  Lew responded and said, “Don’t worry Jen and I have played a little before, but May is learning, you are welcome to join us.”

  Cheryl bustled up towards our table and said. “May I suggest that you play men against ladies that will put one absolute beginner, up against another, together with one of the more experienced players?”

    I found myself paired up with Lew against Jen and May. Then total card war broke out as the game began. Closely followed and supervised by the two tutors, Cheryl and Bill. I have never experienced a card battle like this before. I found myself getting exasperated looks from Lew as I bidded wrongly and made many amateurish errors. I could see May was getting by, but she was also overcome by the tension of this fight to the finish.

The ladies won hands down, and Lew was rather peeved, I could see it in his demeanour.

I found myself warming to May, her total genuine attitude, her bright blue eyes and blonde hair, and her smiling personality. We arranged to meet later for tea.

Drinking Camomile tea in the cafe and discussing the philosophy of non-verbal communication, we rapidly fell head over heels in love at first fight.

We never played Bridge again!

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

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