The war was over, family life was in a turmoil. Betty was at her wits end. She was pregnant and in overcrowded lodgings with her two babies, Peter and Penny. The landlady, a widow with three daughters, was sharing her house with Betty. One day a man wearing a dark blue overcoat arrived and spent a long time with Betty in the parlour. Her children, both under five, were waiting with the landlady, playing games in the kitchen, oblivious of the life changing decisions being made by their Mum. Finally with tears filling her eyes Betty announced the heartbreaking decision she had arrived at. Her babies would have to go into a children’s home.
These photographs show an amazing tropical tree that mysteriously appeared in our garden about 10 years ago. It grew from a tiny shoot and became larger and larger until it is now over eight foot tall.
Our next door neighbour has an older, even larger version of the same tree and we can only draw the conclusion our tree is an offspring of that splendid specimen. We think somehow a seed, perhaps delivered from a passing bird or insect was transported to our garden and took root.
This year is special though as it has burst out with a huge white branch of small white flowers. Google lens identified it as a Cordyline australis, or a New Zealand plant.
‘Cordyline australis, commonly known as the cabbage tree or cabbage-palm, is a widely branched monocot tree endemic to New Zealand. It grows up to 20 metres tall with a stout trunk and sword-like leaves, which are clustered at the tips of the branches and can be up to 1 metre long. (Wikipedia)’
I came up with the following information from the internet. Some comprehensive facts on the edible parts of the tree and how the Cabbage tree got its European name and the many interesting uses discovered by the native Maori people.
The huge flowers are too high on the tree for us to experience the reputed fragrance. There are many bees and insects visiting this unusual tree so there should be some interesting flavoured honey in a hive somewhere nearby.
Poetry on a tragedy. I was asked by an old friend to resurrect one of my poems to reflect a sad addiction. After some minor adjustments I came up with this seven year old piece. Love ❤️ and Peace ☮️ to all
‘Tell the story of what you imagine your close friends would do if they won the lottery.’
by John Yeo
Arthur and Angela lived their lives happily together, drifting into their later years with deep loving feelings for each other. They were close at the beginning of their relationship and they just continued to become closer and closer as the years went by. When they first met they were both players of the National Lottery and both had their own personal sets of numbers. They decided to continue playing with these numbers jointly and set up a standing order at the bank to defeat the problem of remembering to pick the weekly ticket up. Strangely enough they had both played their individual numbers for years, based on family birthdays and other memorable dates that had affected their lives before they met each other. They both played two lines, twice a week and it was just a case of marrying the entries together. Mystical, magical thinking on both sides, decided these numbers mustn’t change as they would never forgive themselves if one of the lines came up and they missed the jackpot. They certainly never considered stopping playing as they were aware that once they stopped they would never be able to win. As online players they were automatically informed by email if any of their numbers came up. One day they received an email that informed them there was news about their Lottery ticket. Excitedly they logged onto their online Lottery account to discover they had won a £25:00 prize and the money would be paid into their bank account. They had indeed won the lottery, not enough to radically change their lives. They now had to decide what to do with this unexpected windfall. Foreign holidays or new cars were certainly out of the question. They decided to blow the lot on a meal out together, even though the winnings would hardly pay for a posh restaurant meal, perhaps they could manage a Fish and Chip supper together at home. While they were happily discussing their options the front doorbell sounded and Angela opened the door to a man in a smart pin striped suit and a red, white and blue tie. ‘Good Morning, I’m Mr. White, I’m extremely pleased to inform you that you’ve won one million pounds first prize with your Premium Bond, number ******************. They were both stunned to hear the news that they’d finally come up with the top prize on an old bond that they had held for years. As Arthur and Angela were eating their Fish and Chip supper the following Saturday evening, they were busy dividing up the Premium Bond winnings between their family on paper. The next morning they received another email from the National Lottery, with news about another winning ticket??
Today What Pegman’s Saw. travels to Chechnya in the republic of Russia. As always, feel free to stroll around until you feel inspired to write up to 150 words. When you’re finished, post a link to your story on the InLinkz page to share with the other contributors. Remember that reading and commenting on the other stories is a big part of the fun!
A HOSTAGE OF WAR
by John Yeo
Dawn broke over the war-torn streets of Grozny. Russian aircraft had devastated another area of the city overnight. Abdullah and Melissa were moving furtively on their way to feed the Russian hostage. They were both aware of the land mines that were still around. When they reached the dilapidated garages they were surprised to find Bashir, waiting at the entrance.
‘Food won’t be required, the hostage is dead.’
‘Dead! How come?’ asked Mellisa. ‘Did he try to escape?’
‘No!’ replied Bashir, ‘Selina killed him! Apparently her whole family were wiped out last night; she came straight here in a rage and killed him. It’s not a pretty sight, she went wild.’
‘ No!’ Screamed Melissa, ‘Where is she?’
‘She’s in a terrible state, hysterical, begging for forgiveness from God, she’s in shock!’ Bashir replied, tears drenching his eyes.
Abdullah put his arm around his friend, said. ‘We’ll take care of her.’
Grozny has only partly stabilized enough to be safe for travel. Take extreme caution when visiting war-torn areas as there are some unexploded land mines. Rebels often take tourists as hostages, so try to blend in with the population.
Travel Warning WARNING: The UK Foreign Office and other governments advise against all travel to Chechnya. There have been many incidents of foreign and Russian citizens going missing, or being killed or kidnapped. Government travel advisories United Kingdom (Information last updated Dec 2018)
I remember an unwilling, uninspiring English language teacher several years ago, who demonstrated some individual views on life that would have been highly criticised today. His major goal in life at the time was a high degree of self-promotion. His outward role was to attempt to instil in his pupils, (subjects), an interest in writing and appreciating poetry. He would start a session by reading his personal examples of poetry, then invite comments, which were obviously expected to be positive. The class would then be invited to write a poem on a set subject. An hour later our teacher would sit and take them apart piece by piece. The session would end by him handing out a subject to take away and use as an impetus to write a piece of poetry. When I wrote the above poem, I was influenced by some of his views and his comments. I included a couple of sentences that to this day I hope he noticed and took away with him.
Of course I’ve reworded and rejigged some of the words, since I resurrected it. When I look back, I can’t help thinking perhaps he wasn’t a bad teacher as he certainly stung me into action.
I thought I would resurrect an old post of mine from five years ago.
DIALOGUE WITH A DAISY
by John Yeo
The garden was a mess, there had been an incredible North wind overnight that savagely blew everything to bits. I leaned on my spade and surveyed the damage, branches and leaves had been ripped from our trees and were lying everywhere.
Then out of nowhere a tiny voice whispered ‘Please don’t tread on me!’
Shaken, as I knew I was totally alone, I wheeled around in surprise.
‘I’m down here! Next to your incredibly large foot.’
I looked down to find there was nothing there except Dandelions, Daisies and Grass.
‘I can’t see you! If you are real and not a figment of my imagination, make yourself visible!’ I declared.
At this point I seriously doubted my sanity.
‘Look again! I am the good looking one with the purest white petals and a yellow heart of gold’
Stunned, I was now certain madness loomed and I was headed for hospital, I made to get away from there fast.
‘No! Don’t go please, I would love to talk to you about many things. I have been watching you very closely. Why do you work so hard, and worry so much?’
I thought, Why should I be worried about one small insignificant voice claiming to be a natural being.
‘What do you mean by petals and a yellow heart? Do you mean to say you are a common Daisy? If so, I can’t tell one of you from another, you all look the same to me!’
The tiny Daisies voice reflected a note of annoyance as it politely stated.
‘Less of the common, Big-Feet. We have a unique way of survival that excludes individuality and we are rooted here as one. Funny though, I can never differentiate the different clodhoppers that stomp around and squash our leaves and petals!’
‘Listen Daisy, if you actually are a talking flower how did you acquire the language I use, and how do you manage to express yourself? You ask me why I work so hard, I have to say the garden would quickly go to rack and ruin if I stood rooted to the spot like a daisy!’
‘My language skills are a result of much study of your people’s thought patterns and I am the result of much floral cross-breeding. We have very friendly relations with your newborn babies and we mingle our minds with them and learn your language as they learn language.’
‘That’s amazing!’ I shouted to the array of daisies around my feet,
I was desperately trying to identify which of the numerous daisies was actually responsible for the conversation. I wanted to dig it up and put it in a pot to take indoors and perhaps have many deep inter-species conversations.
Then I heard a sound that was suspiciously like a giggle coming from the vicinity of my neighbours fence. Then a chuckle was clearly evident leading to an embarrassing roar of laughter, that led to enormous fits of laughter. My face became bright red as I realised the implication of these odious sounds.
Realisation dawned as I remembered my neighbour was a ventriloquist and very skilled at throwing his voice.
The seas were extremely rough on a day our vessel was moored in the picturesque port of La Gomera, one of the Canary Islands.
We were unable to proceed with our journey, due to high winds and rough waters, our Captain decided that caution was the best way forward. The Captain made an announcement informing everyone that we would be staying in this port for the night and heading straight for the port of Funchal, Madeira, not making the planned stop at Santa Cruz, La Palma. Our estimated time of departure would be 06.30am tomorrow. The waves shook the ship from side to side and the sea swell was just too powerful to risk departure. The Captain had decided to stay put for the night, and await a window of opportunity before attempting to leave this very picturesque harbour. Although the powerful wind shook and buffeted the vessel, there was a bright deceptive sunshine beaming through the windows and the ship’s stabilisers did their job. We were quite comfortable on board and I settled down and wrote a poem.
There was a round of applause the next morning when the Captain announced over the tannoy speaker system, he was about to attempt to turn our ship and leave Gomera harbour. There was a moment of silence and general relief as the ship slowly turned and pulled away from the dockside then headed out to the open sea.
‘La Gomera, the second-smallest of the main islands in Spain’s Canary Island chain, is marked by craggy volcanic mountains crisscrossed with hiking trails. In higher altitudes, dense forests of ferns and moss-covered trees grow in the mists of Garajonay National Park. The upper reaches of this densely wooded region are almost permanently shrouded in clouds and mist, and as a result are covered in lush and diverse vegetation: they form the protected environment of Spain’s Garajonay National Park, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. The slopes are criss-crossed by paths that present varying levels of difficulty to visitors, and stunning views to seasoned hikers. The central mountains catch the moisture from the trade wind clouds and yield a dense jungle climate in the cooler air, which contrasts with the warmer, sun-baked cliffs near sea level. Between these extremes one finds a fascinating gamut of microclimates; for centuries, the inhabitants of La Gomera have farmed the lower levels by channelling runoff water to irrigate their vineyards, orchards and banana groves.’
Today we ventured out from our self-imposed lockdown and visited Felbrigg Hall, a National Trust property. The Hall buildings and the lovely walled garden were closed, due to the Coronavirus pandemic. However, the beautiful grounds were open and Margaret prepared a picnic lunch and we made our way to the estate. We had to book and reserve a parking slot online, as the management had limited the number of parking spaces available, to prevent overcrowding.
We found a lovely spot near the car park, overlooking some panoramic sweeping fields, full of sheep and lambs. There were also cattle in a distant neighbouring field. We set up our chairs and began to enjoy our picnic.
Margaret spotted a hare dashing through the grass and a couple of pheasants in the distance. There was a continuous cacophony of rooks and crows cawing in a nearby stand of trees and a few wood pigeons visible. Quite a number of other visitors were strolling around, but everyone was keeping their distance from one another and religiously observing the social distancing guidelines.
After our lunch, we followed a footpath and wandered through the field containing the sheep and took many photographs of the lambs on the way.
Several people were wandering through this field with well behaved dogs, on leads but the sheep paid no attention.
We walked to St. Margaret’s church where we stopped to take yet more photographs, the church building was closed. We made our way back to our car where we sat and enjoyed a last cup of tea and admired the view.
This was a lovely way to tentatively break the repetitive routine of the last few weeks and start to come out of social isolation.
I had to photograph the notice on the church gates. One cannot allow cattle or sheep to interrupt the church service.