I wrote the following piece of flash fiction for our church magazine in response to the theme of Electricity. Sadly there is a lot of truth embedded in this little tale Somewhere there has to be a solution to our need to power new homes for our ever increasing population. At what cost?
ELECTRICITY AT WHAT COST
by John Yeo
The electricity of inter-species tolerance and communication in action.
The sun was shining and although it was quite cold, we decided to go for a stroll around the lake. Sweet chestnuts and empty husks lay in great profusion under the trees. Autumn leaves underfoot scrunched as we strolled along a well-worn path. There was a distinctly autumnal feel to our walk, as we strolled along treading the crunchy leaves underfoot. Many sweet chestnuts and husks were piled under the trees, left behind by the ever-busy grey squirrels as they secreted sweet chestnut kernels in hidden larders as a store of food for the long winter months ahead. Many of these playful squirrels were chasing each other up and down the trees as we strolled along. A good number of Moorhens and Mallard Ducks were swimming on the surface of the lake and in tiny inlets under the trees. The ever-present avaricious Gulls were swooping around over the lake and floating on the water squabbling with each other. We passed a pair of Egyptian Geese sleeping on the banks of the lake, who obligingly awoke and posed for a photograph as we walked by. Many Wood Pigeons were pecking around in the grass, it’s a wonder there is food enough here to support this large community of different species of birdlife, together with the Squirrels and the ever increasing number of Rabbits.
Then, nailed to a tree was a notice. We had heard rumours on the communal grapevine about the fate of this beautiful spot, and here it was plain for all to see. The owners of this lovely beauty spot had sold out to big business. This beautiful area was to be destroyed and replaced with two giant wind turbines and a mast for telephone and broadband reception. The bases of these three monstrosities would be concreted over for stability and ease of maintenance. These two turbines would generate enough electricity to power up to 6000 homes.
Sadly, we continued along our way, thoughts were racing through my mind. Ripples in the lake betrayed the presence of many large fish, the lake is situated within a few hundred yards of the coast. Freshwater fish obviously thrive here, kept under control by the attention of the local family of Herons. Another pair of Mallard Ducks swam lazily on the surface of the water and a Moorhen raced for cover as we walked noisily by on the multi-coloured leaves. Suddenly there was a movement at a small pool on the banks of the lake as a large Toad with a distinctive yellow stripe along his back came into view. He didn’t hop along he almost walked out of the reeds alongside the pool.
‘My God!’ I thought, ‘I don’t believe it; that is certainly a Natterjack Toad. A member of a protected species. This development will never go ahead’
Our mood suddenly became euphoric as the implications of this discovery became clear.
I quickly pulled out my iPhone and began taking many photographs of this saviour of the natural environment.
The rest is history, the turbines were relocated, providing the much-needed electricity for the planned new homes and in the following Spring many baby Mallard ducks and Egyptian Geese will be born here and there should be strings of Natterjack Toads eggs in the pools surrounding our beautiful protected lake.
Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.
This is a resurrected and revised piece of work I wrote some years ago. I am submitting it now for publication in our church magazine in answer to the theme of music.
Image courtesy of pixabay.com
The Piper’s Legacy
by John Yeo
The two brothers, Donny and Flip were out playing in the fields, wandering around at the bottom of Piper’s Hill. This steep local hill was suffused with local legend and magical tales were told about many mysterious occurrences throughout the ages. The two brothers were as alike as chalk and cheese as the old saying goes. Donny was tall and thin with a shock of black hair and piercing blue eyes; he was the oldest of the two by eighteen months.
Flip was shorter, much to his chagrin, with brown straight hair and brown eyes to match. A daredevil, always game for anything.
The one thing the brothers had in common was their quick wits and friendly demeanor.
Flip was acting as a hunter and racing along ahead of Donny.
‘Slow down Flip, we don’t want to lose track of each other, it’s getting late and we don’t want to get lost.’ shouted Donny.
‘It’s OK, I know exactly where we are. That’s old man Grieves farm over there.’ replied Flip. A startled Blackbird flew up as he continued to run, making the familiar squawking sound that is the Blackbirds cry of alarm.
Then he suddenly shouted, ‘Hey Donny, come quick.’
Donny pushed his way through some bushes at the bottom of the hill and suddenly saw Flip standing in front of the strangest wizened wrinkled old man he had ever seen. This man was wrapped up in an incredible multi-green coat, covered with streaks of brown that looked suspiciously like mud. The old man had a twinkle in his green eyes that were almost dazzling when he looked directly at Flip and Donny.
‘Hello,’ he said, What do I see here? Two young escapees from humdrum, looking for adventure? Sit on this handy log here and I will tell you a story.’
Donny sat down straight away and signaled to Flip to join him. Both of the boys were captivated by this strange old man with his merry grin.
The old man picked up an intricately carved wooden tube that was lying at his feet and waved it in front of the boys.
‘You see this? This is an ancient tube, in the right hands, it makes the sweetest sounds you have ever heard. I inherited this from its mysterious owner many years ago. When I was your age, our town was plagued with vermin. The town council hired the man who owned this magical tube to get rid of them. A price was agreed and the fun began.’
The man then suddenly picked up the tube, put it to his mouth and blew once. Soon every tree and bush in the vicinity was covered with hundreds of birds of all shapes, sizes, and varieties.’
The strange old man continued.
‘This musical man dressed in a strange multi-coloured costume was leading the thousands of assorted troublesome vermin from the town. My Mother and Father watched with glee, as the Piper worked his magic. Just as he had predicted, his music was hypnotic to the ears of the vermin and his assignment to clear the town was an instant success. I was 7 years old at the time, and the sight of these vermin leaving the town produced loud cheers and much happiness from the townspeople.’
The old man continued, laughing loudly. ‘What do you think happened next?’
Both boys were dumbstruck and simply shrugged their shoulders.
Flip piped up and said, ‘Can I have a blow on that whistle?’
Donny kicked him in the shins and said,
‘Shut up Flip! Please carry on with the story.’
The old man smiled. ‘Well, the mayor decided not to pay the agreed fee and tried to cheat the piper.
The piper was angry at this and blew a strange tune on his whistle. A tune that got into the ears of every child in the town. I remember beginning to dance along with hundreds of my friends. The urge to dance was overwhelming. We followed the piper, dancing to the merriest tune you have ever heard. We danced to this very hill and suddenly two huge cave doors appeared and we all danced inside, to find a Wonderland. A place where dreams come true in the blink of an eye.’
The boys were overwhelmed with curiosity.
‘Why have you come back?’ Asked Donny.
Then Flip interjected. ‘Can we come with you to see this place?’
With a shake of his head and a wave of his hand, the ancient traveler suddenly disappeared in a puff of smoke.
Then Flip bent down and picked something up, something long, tubular, intricately carved, with holes in. ‘Look, Donny, he’s left the pipe behind.’
Donny grabbed the pipe and put it to his lips but nothing happened. Flip tried to get a sound from the flute without success.
Both boys then returned home with their treasure. They tried many times over the years to get a sound from this pipe, without any success.
The boys didn’t let on to anyone about their magical meeting with the little old man on Pipers Hill.
However magic certainly came from the meeting as Donny became a talented well paid Flautist and Flip made a name for himself by playing the Saxophone in a famous orchestra.
The brothers later became renowned as a duo that rocked the jazz world.
Written by John Yeo, (With apologies to ‘The Pied Piper of Hamelin.’)
© ~ All rights reserved.