THE JOURNEY’S END

THE JOURNEY’S END

by John Yeo

  Gupta and Jai were fellow travellers who travelled over 10,000 miles from Northern India to reach Panama, leaving behind their families and friends. They had endured damp steaming dense tropical jungles between Colombia and Panama. Linking Central and South America, the Darién Gap is one of the most dangerous jungles in the world, filled with deadly wildlife and guerrilla fighters. It is between 100 km and 160 km of lawless, hazardous wilderness. Gupta had a black belt in Karate, a useful skill, especially when they had fought with a small group of bandits as they crossed through the infamous gap. Jai, an officer in the Indian army, was a technology expert. They were now in the centre of Panama City enjoying coffee with some friendly Panamanian students. The good life beckoned. 

Then the ironic announcement….

   ‘Due to the medical emergency, the borders are now sealed, travel is strictly forbidden.’

(150 WORDS)

Panama City skyline

© Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

Word count: 150. Written for this week’s What Pegman Saw  writing challenge. Every week, Pegman takes us to a new place on Google maps, and we get to search around for whatever sights catch our fancy. 

This week Pegman takes us to the isthmus of Panama,

Information from the web

  The estimated number of migrants is thought to be 100,000 per year. Half of the migrants come from India, and many others come from Cuba, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Eritrea. In 2017, migrants crossing into Panama also included people from Iraq, Sierra Leone, Yemen, Angola, and around 30 other countries.

Panama  has taken some of the toughest measures in the region to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The country has banned all domestic and international travel. It has shut down airports and — after a March 22 deadline — prevented even Panamanian citizens from traveling to the country.

MARIGOLDS AND TOMATOES

SATURDAY 30th MAY 2020

  I worked extremely hard today potting our tomato plants into their final pots. I have 30 really healthy plants sited in our back garden. I can never believe the size these large healthy plants have grown, when I look back and consider the tiny black seeds I planted. Although Margaret is unable to eat tomatoes as she’s developed an allergy to them we both enjoy growing them.

  Our geraniums are looking splendid this year, I always find these wonderful standby plants so easy to grow. Geraniums require the absolute minimum of attention and they come in some glorious colours.

There is a suggestion that geraniums are a beneficial companion plant to tomatoes. I got this information from  https://modernsurvivalblog.com>

Companion plants for tomatoes include Basil, Oregano, Parsley, Carrots, Marigold, Geraniums, Petunias, Borage, any type of Onion or Chives.

When ‘companion plants’ are applied throughout the garden, they can be an effective form of pest management, allowing nature to do its job.

‘Companion planting can discourage harmful insects and pests in your garden without harming the beneficial ones.

Many plants have natural substances in their roots, flowers, and leaves that can repel or attract insects and can enhance the growth and flavour of other varieties of plants.’

Written by John Yeo

MARGARET’S BLUE ROSE

FRIDAY 29th MAY 2020

MARGARET’S BLUE ROSE

These photographs show our beautiful blue tea rose. I bought this rosebush as a present for Margaret 12 years ago and it has rewarded us with a multitude of magnificent blooms, year after year. This is certainly the most successful floral present I have ever bought for her. The blooms get bigger and better as the years go by. The blooms have an extremely delicate perfume, so fresh and enticing to easily intoxicate any passing bees and insects to promote pollination.

   However in my experience, roses are one of the hardest plants to grow in the garden and need a great deal of tender care and protection. In Spring the shrubs need to be pruned and all the dead wooden branches removed and a good measure of rose food needs to be applied around the roots. They need careful, regular examination to detect any attacks by pests, in the shape of greenfly, black fly or aphids. A good quality bug spray needs to be applied at the first sign and regularly throughout the season. Then there is the dreaded rust-like fungal disease that looks unsightly and causes the leaves to discolour and drop off. A regular spraying with a fungal deterrent is the only method I know to counteract this. 

Regular watering in the dry spells is essential to encourage the buds to swell to produce new wonderful blooms. Another measure of rose food should be applied halfway through the Summer.

Sometimes spurs pop out from well down below the bush, I always remove these as they take energy from the bush that could go towards promoting the flowers. Finally at the end of the flowering season, which can last through to the years end, I have to prune the branches right back to prevent wind-rock. The winter wind blows fiercely and rocks the plant, loosening the roots in the soil, causing weakness or in extreme cases, death.

  In my mind looking after my roses is simply a replacement for taking care of small children, keeping the roses fed, watered and protecting them from predators. The reward of my labour is the smile on Margaret’s face when she picks a perfect rose to photograph and view again year after year.

    I took this brief paragraph of the origin of roses from Wikipedia, there is a lot of information, myths and information there.

  ‘Ornamental roses have been cultivated for millennia, with the earliest known cultivation known to date from at least 500 BC in Mediterranean countries, Persia, and China. It is estimated that 30 to 35 thousand rose hybrids and cultivars have been bred and selected for garden use as flowering plants. Most are double-flowered with many or all of the stamens having morphed into additional petals.’

© Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

SPORT


THURSDAY 28th MAY 2020

SPORT 

by John Yeo

 Freedom to do as one likes is a hard-won state of mind.  

Freedom to enjoy life with the diversification that is Sport.

Support the team, follow the trials of athletics. 

Sportsmen and Sportswomen displaying incredible feats of sporting prowess.

~

Many levels of entertainment come under the title of sport.

A beautiful creature torn to pieces by a pack of snarling dogs.

Such is the fate of some beautiful Stags.

 ‘All in the name of Sport, you know.’

~

Then there are Pheasants,

A male bird has a colourful plumage, that can only be described as magnificent.

Sadly they are shot in their millions. 

‘All in the name of Sport, you know.

No harm done, they are bred to be shot.’

~

Wild Ducks are killed by the sporting hunters. 

Killed for food and pleasure 

The exhilarating thrill of the hunt. 

‘All in the name of Sport you know, culling is essential sometimes.’

~

The Fox can be a nuisance, randomly killing for the sake of it 

Leaving dead carcasses all over the place.

Traditionally Fox Hunters wear a smart red outfit,

Mount splendid Horses and follow the Hounds, 

~

Revelling in bloodshed as a Fox is torn to pieces.

‘All in the name of Sport, you know.

No harm done, their death is all part of the fun.

The hunt is an established tradition.’  

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

NOT HOMELESS, JUST HOUSELESS

WEDNESDAY 27th MAY 2020

NOT HOMELESS ~ JUST HOUSELESS

by John Yeo

   Saturday night, the stores in the mall put the shutters up for the night. The last shoppers made their way to the exits, joined by the last of the mall staff. The night security staff arrived and manned the CCTV cameras continuously filming the whole of the shopping area. Joe and Pete were night security men who did regular foot patrols outside the mall.
    The Saturday midnight patrol was always eventful, many a time they came across drunks arguing with each other or young lovers canoodling in the rear doorways and entrances to the mall. This Saturday was different, one Joe would remember for the rest of his life. The two men came upon, what looked like a bundle of rags heaped in a shop doorway.
    Pete, a large stocky man with a shaved head, and a tattoo on his right cheek  noticed it first.

       “Hey Joe, look at that! Someone has dumped a heap of rags in the doorway. No, wait, it’s moving, someone is asleep under there. We will have to wake them up, we aren’t allowed to let people sleep on the mall property.”

     “You’re right Pete, I will just shake the bundle with my foot, to get a response!” Then without thinking he kicked the edges of the rags gently. Joe was the shorter of the two men with dark, greasy hair, he was the most aggressive of the two.
    Both men stepped back, extremely wary, as the bundle of rags came to life with a squeal and a thin, unkempt woman, began furiously attacking them with a tatty umbrella.

    “Please leave me alone you ignorant sex-starved animals, I have no money and I am afflicted with an STD, that will infect you instantly.” The lady screamed.

   “Now hold on,” said Pete. “What are you doing here? You can’t sleep here, you should go home and sleep! We are security officers, doing our job. What’s your name?”

    “Mary,” said the lady, now noticeably calmer. “I have tried all the night shelters and hostels, even the Salvation Army hostel is full. I knocked and the duty security man just said.   “Sorry we have a full-house, there are no beds available.”

      Joe said, “You can’t sleep here, it is more than our jobs are worth to allow that!”
    Mary started sobbing uncontrollably. The two men were both taken aback at this turn of events.

       Pete turned to Joe and said, “We may be jobsworths, but we are not made of concrete.” Then he turned to Mary and said, “Come and have a cup of tea with us, we have a storeroom you can use, for tonight!”
      Photographs Mary carried, revealed she was Maria Popova, a famous ballerina who had been missing for weeks. Joe gained her confidence and informed the authorities. It turned out Maria had suffered memory loss, becoming isolated from her family.
  Joe and Pete became her personal security guards, both men were substantially better off for their kindness to a stranger in distress.


Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~All rights reserved

UNITED IN MERCY ~ DIVIDED IN FEAR

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TUESDAY 26th MAY 2020

UNITED IN MERCY ~ DIVIDED IN FEAR

by John Yeo

    My picture today reflects the turbulent sea. I recently became aware of the still prevalent problem of refugees and people- smuggling, that is still happening, in spite of the current pandemic that is raging around the four corners of the globe. I’m sure the last thing that springs to mind when one is frightened and desperately searching for a new life in a new land, is social distancing. These unfortunate travellers are crammed together in small dirty boats, or sealed into the backs of lorries using every inch of available space. Many of these people are caught and escorted back to where they came from. Sadly a high number die on the journey. The hidden,  unknown, almost unthinkable side of this ongoing situation, is the thought of the uncountable number of people who actually get through and melt into the population. The incalculable risk of the spread of Coronavirus by this means is something that can never be included in the Scientific data.

UNITED IN MERCY ~ DIVIDED IN FEAR 

by John Yeo

Many  official vessels from different navies

United in a common cause, 

To stem a very sad tide. 

A tidal wave of unfortunate people.

Fleeing their homelands 

Through fear and persecution.

~

The United forces of the comfortable world, 

Come together to save the lives

Of the refugees from oppression.

Crammed into unsafe vessels 

Preyed on for profit by cheats and thieves.

Led to Death by drowning in cruel rough seas. 

~

Divided by cause, culture and strife,

The refugees from hard pressed lands

Arrive to find salvation in a makeshift camp.

To ask for asylum and begin a new life

The saviours argue the point, 

Divided by the situation of overpopulation.

~

United in mercy and compassion.

They discuss going to war to stem the tide. 

Of hopeless humanity on the cruel rough seas.

Divided by the morality of taking life

To save the lives of the unfortunate few.

The disunited, divided impossible solution.

Can this worldwide situation really be true?   

Copyright © Written by John Yeo  ~ All rights reserved 

AN ELEPHANTINE DILEMMA.

Photograph © John and Margaret

AN ELEPHANTINE DILEMMA.

by John Yeo

  The two Asian elephants  in this photograph are from Thailand. For the purposes of this blog post I will call them Sava and Sabina, and just in the corner of the photograph little Shaheen can be seen, trying her hardest to get a taste of some of the tender bamboo shoots. It’s obvious though that Sava and Sabina have their trunks firmly in the trough and Shaheen as usual, will just get the leftovers.

 Sava and Sabina are part of a large herd of governing elephants that ruled over all the Thailand elephant population. Indeed Sava has an important job as chief adviser to the President Elephant.

At present all the herd are under strict quarantine rules due to the outbreak of a mysterious, mosquito-borne virus that seems to strike the elephants in the part of the anatomy where their tail protrudes. Sava and Sabina are in danger of total exclusion from the herd as they have broken the rules and wandered off to have fun with some relatives at a distant waterhole. Sava was spotted by some roving Indian Elephants who were on a visit with a circus from Delhi.  All hell broke out among the whole pachyderm population. Sava must be forced to pay for his impudent disregard of the regulations and be sent back into the furthest reaches of exile where he originated. However the President Elephant was a personal friend of Sava and lifted his trunk and trumpeted out, loudly claiming the rest of the world were all mistaken and Sava and Sabina made the journey simply to protect little Shaheen from the dreaded mosquito virus. This whole situation became not just a nationwide example of elephantine hypocrisy but a worldwide reflection of how not to handle a crisis. As one elephant in one area trumpeted his thoughts to another elephant, the Trumpet Major himself, the most powerful elephant in the world declined to trumpet a comment.

 ©  Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

PIRATE QUEEN

THE PIRATE QUEEN 

by John Yeo

  The Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley, was perturbed as her ship pulled away from Clare Island. The plan was to sail to England and plead for mercy from Queen Elizabeth. There were just two major hurdles to climb. Her two piratical rivals Drake and Raleigh were reported to be at court. Granuaile, as she was popularly known, had encountered both of these pirate seafarers on the high seas and there was no love lost between them. The ship was first scheduled to visit Galway harbour to stock supplies. Granuaile and her bosun Patrick met with some fellow seafarers in a hostelry near the Spanish Arch. It was here she received a message from Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster, Walsingham, warning her not to attempt a meeting at this time as her two infamous rivals knew her plans and were waiting. However, the message clearly inferred she would be received by the Queen.

(149 WORDS)

© Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

Word count: 149. Written for this week’s What Pegman Saw  writing challenge. Every week, Pegman takes us to a new place on Google maps, and we get to search around for whatever sights catch our fancy.

This week Pegman takes us to Galway, Ireland. 

Connemara Galway Folklore and Legend
Connemara’s bleak and beautiful landscape and strong tradition of storytelling have given rise to fantastic superstitions, folklore and legends which were passed down through the generations in tales told by a winter fire. The most legendary of these surely Granuaile or Grace O’Malley, a fiery 16th-century pirate queen. She married Connemara man, Donall O’Flaherty, one of the ferocious O’Flaherty clan members, and they lived for a number of years at Bunowen near Ballyconneely. Renowned for her bravery, wrath and lawlessness, she became the scourge of any English ship that dared to sail her waters.
Confident to the last she reputedly sailed to London to meet Elizabeth I, secure a pardon for her wayward son and a pension for herself.

THE CAREFREE DAYS

SATURDAY 23rd MAY 2020

 

THE CAREFREE DAYS 

by John Yeo

 

  These photographs bring back a lovely memory of a time in March 2017 when we attended a wonderful concert performance by Andre Rieu and his wonderful orchestra. I can’t help thinking that these days are over now for the foreseeable future.

 

 

    I remember we entered the crowded arena, where our bags were screened and we joined a throng of people attempting to locate their seats. I must admit there was order in the chaos and the security people were very helpful in locating our seats, we were soon seated comfortably awaiting the show to begin.

 

 

    A spectacular colourful musical extravaganza followed, featuring the orchestra, a female choir, three tenors and three diva sopranos. This was professionally overseen and put together by Andre Rieu, a showman and a character supreme. The female musicians in full length colourful ball gowns and the smartly dressed male members of the orchestra made for wonderful entertainment. They all seemed to be enjoying the experience enormously, which added a wonderful flavour to our evening’s entertainment. 

 

 

 Then the stunning scenery and dramatic effects added to the occasion and brought out the wonderful timeless music. The audience were invited to dance in the aisles and sing to the popular strains of well known songs.

 

 

 The show seemed to go on forever, with encore after encore. People were dancing in the aisles and still singing to the music, as the security people were trying to establish order and safety.

 

 

 I have to look back on these unrepeatable photographs and think how sad it is, we will probably never again feel the unabandoned exhilaration of being a part of thousands of people crammed together just enjoying a musical extravaganza such as this. 

 Life for everyone has changed out of all recognition since the arrival of the Covid19, Coronavirus pandemic. Some changes will be permanent. Although the current social distancing measures will certainly be eased in the future, I doubt if the memory of the ease of this sort of disease transmission will ever be forgotten and crowded arenas such as the one shown in these photographs will surely be a thing of the past.

 © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

 

FRIDAY 22nd MAY 2020

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FRIDAY 22 MAY 2020

 

We had a busy day yesterday on the allotment. Having completed preparing our three Bean wigwams, we went on to transplant some Beetroot plants and water some of the existing plants in the beds. Our Rhubarb hasn’t done particularly well this year and a good friend who has a surplus kindly gave us some impressive stalks. Margaret has them in the photograph ready to transport them home. Our friend gave Margaret a good idea for a recipe for a Rhubarb and Strawberry crumble, something we haven’t tried before. Our Strawberries are still in flower and we look to be expecting a good crop around the beginning of June. Hopefully with another donation of Rhubarb stalks we will try it out.

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