I have been thinking about the ways we are spending our dual self-centred time during this horrible pandemic. It’s amazing how we constructively fill in the hours with hardly any time to spare to look around.
After a good breakfast we spend time nourishing our brain cells. Margaret completes daily crossword and sudoku puzzles published in the Daily Mail and I play online chess and scrabble against friends, including Margaret.
We both spend a good few hours on our allotment, Margaret has cut back on the allotment work now the winter is setting in and she sometimes chooses to spend time at home catching up with her other chores.
Sporadically, weather permitting lately, we will go for an active walk around the block together.
We both read a lot, laugh a lot and enjoy each other’s company a lot.
We also both enjoy taking part in regular Tai Chi sessions via YouTube, which stretches our muscles and keeps our joints flexible. The breathing and relaxation part of these exercises are a marvellous way to defeat the lockdown blues.
I will lose myself in enhancing my cerebral health by writing and composing poetry. In between using her creative cookery skills to produce some tasty evening meals, Margaret will then read everything I write and make some constructive criticism. Then after our evening meal we will spend the evening watching some favourite television programmes or listening to music.
I was curious to find an unexpected visitor on my doorstep when I returned from work today. I encountered a man who looked about ten years older than me leaning up against the doorpost. He had long fair hair, with striking green eyes. His eyes were noticeable as he had a permanent squint and he wore a pair of rather large plastic spectacles. He was over six feet tall and towered above me as he gave an impudent grin and said, ‘Hi! Pleased to meet you. I’m Damion, your long lost step-brother.’
These words were delivered with a broad West Country accent. I was taken aback and I looked up at him and replied, ‘Are you mad? I don’t understand what you’re talking about. Get out of here before I call the police and have you removed.’
‘Hear me out and I will explain, I promise you we’re brothers, we have the same father, George Alexander. I was born in Somerset, where our father had set up a second home with my mother. I was the product of that relationship.’ This was said with the same impertinent grin.
I responded angrily, ‘You’re obviously mistaken Damion! You look nothing like me and I don’t believe a word of your story. Now get out of here before I call the police.’
He nonchalantly grinned and pulled a large envelope from his pocket and withdrew some photographs.
This is a response to a Flash Fiction prompt from ‘Putting My Feet In the Dirt’, Writing Prompts hosted by ‘M’. Which can be found by following the link below..
Today’s prompt ~ A PINCH OF PURPOSE
A PINCH OF PURPOSE
by John Yeo
Magwich, Megan and Mary had been friends for years. They’d all met up at Professor Merlin’s magical college in the depths of a root encrusted, mysterious, haunted wood. No one who graduated from this academy had any illusions about their future careers. They left as fully qualified witches.
Magwich was a tall slim attractive blonde, with blue sparkling eyes that had a habit of involuntary fluttering whenever she was concentrating. She wore her traditional black pointed hat at a jaunty angle that betrayed something of an impish sense of humour. Her parents were successful industrialists who hadn’t done much research when they’d sent her away to school. They were just happy to have her education completed at a school where she would be well looked after.
As a total contrast, Megan was born to be a witch, her parents were both steeped thoroughly in the magical arts and they knew exactly what they wanted for their only child. Her father was a practical working wizard who had enjoyed great success in curing people through his use of magical spells. He had been somewhat disappointed when he discovered he’d fathered a daughter, although he was genuinely proud of her. His wife Miranda thought the world of her bright, dark eyed daughter, with her long flowing black locks that hung freely down her shoulders. Megan was somewhat short and quite dumpy, which was a direct result of her mother spoiling her and over feeding her with tasty titbits from the family cauldron.
Mary, our third and most remarkable member of this trio of spellbinding witches was an individual character in her own right . She had bright reddish auburn hair and a fiery temper to match. Mary was an orphan. No one knew what had become of her parents, or indeed if she had ever bothered to be born to conventional parents. The story went that she was the offspring of an egg laying large black tabby cat and a red feral feline wanderer. Apparently they were shapeshifters who had been originally born in the shape of humans and were able to take the feline form at will.
Professor Merlin was seemingly an easygoing wizard who had educated many students over the centuries and inoculated them all with a sense of purpose. It wasn’t until you looked into his eyes that you realised there was a streak of steel running through his educational purpose.
Graduation day had arrived and Magwich, Megan and Mary were destined to become a coven in a far off nation, where they were to reside until they received further orders from the Professor.
Mary acted as a natural leader and she bluntly said.
‘Listen here you two, we haven’t been informed what this elusive sense of purpose is. I’m certain it’s not going to be pleasant for certain people and I need you both to be loyal and obedient to our coven. We are going to live in a place in the Black Forest in a country far away from here.’
Magwich flicked her blonde hair to one side, fluttered her right eye and spat on the floor. ‘Look Mary, I don’t take your orders but I respect your judgment. If we have to live together indefinitely I will do my best to tolerate you and your insolence but don’t push us too far.’
Megan scowled and nodded at these remarks and aggressively responded. ‘My Dad is an important practising wizard and he knows what this sense of purpose is. I have been shown the universal sign of a magical sense of purpose.’
With that she turned to Mary and administered a sharp pinch on her face that resulted in a scream of agony. Mary instantly retaliated and viciously pinched Megan back. Mary then savagely pinched Magwich and soon all three young witches were rolling all over the place pinching each other wildly, on the buttocks, in the face, literally everywhere.
Suddenly there was a loud shout as the Professor arrived and waved his magic wand and some sort of peace was restored.
‘I’m happy to see you have all administered several pinches of purpose to each other. Bear in mind you are all equal and I’m equally proud of you all. There aren’t any leaders among you. You will all work together or I will see you are reminded with some further unpleasant pinches of purpose. These will be stronger and more hurtful. Now go in peace and work together for the benefit of your coven.
Margaret and I enjoyed an interesting day trip by coach to Chatham dockyard, where we visited the sets and the background for the extremely popular ‘Call The Midwife’ TV series. We were both amazed at the ingenuity of the filmmakers and TV producers in turning a naval dockyard into a fairly convincing reproduction of the East end of London. We had an informative tour, presented by a guide who was appropriately dressed in the uniform of a 50’s NHS midwife.
We met up with our tour guide; a bubbly, smiling middle aged lady with striking yellow blonde hair, dressed in an authentic midwives uniform. She was exceptionally well informed and illustrated every area we visited by referring to a large book of photographs. We were astonished as she pointed out the various areas that were used as a background to several of the scenes in the series. It took some really creative imagination to construct a series about London’s east end and to film this in a naval dockyard.
The tour concluded with a visit to an interesting garden where several of the romantic scenes in the series were filmed.
After this interesting tour we went on to visit some of the ships and the naval artefacts that are the actual reality of Chatham dockyard. We wandered around a large comprehensive display of historic retired lifeboats, in a large hangar-like building. This was adjoining another large area that displayed some huge shipbuilding and repairing machinery.
We then made our way to our coach for the journey home.
The answer to this question goes back many years to the dim and distant past to my school days. In the days when pens were dipping pens that scratched on exercise books using an inkwell that transferred thoughts to paper. I remember I was always in my element in the English class where my imagination was allowed to run riot as we were all encouraged to write short stories and poetry. My fingers would become stained blue and sometimes the blots of ink would reach my face as I bit the end of the pen in absent-minded concentration. Sometimes the teacher would read out loud one or two particularly interesting pieces of work for the benefit of the rest of the class.
I remember one young lad who wrote about his life at home and the bruises his Mum and him would sometimes receive on a Friday night when his Dad returned from the local pub full of drink and frustrated anger. This was a story that wasn’t read out loud to the class but involved the headmaster and the police getting involved to stop this violence happening.
It was then I first began to realise the importance of writing and the changes writing could effect in our lives.
PROMPT ~ You have a billion dollars in your bank account. How did you make it?
by John Yeo
I was fourteen years old when the seeds were sown for my fortunes beginning to arrive by the lorry load. My name is Sebastian Large, I am a self made billionaire and I put all my large fortune down to a combination of luck and hard work.
It was shortly after my fourteenth birthday when my Grandfather Albert died. This made me feel terrible and I remember crying myself to sleep, every night for a whole week.
Grandad was always a good friend to me and we used to laugh with each other whenever Mum and Dad took me to his house for a visit, which was usually about twice a week. Grandad was a tall man, slightly stooped in his shoulders with a shock of grey hair that was always unruly and usually in need of a visit to the barbers. He had bushy eyebrows and pale blue eyes that seemed to pierce through you to your heart. He was an ex-naval man, having spent over twenty years in the merchant navy on cargo ships. Grandad had been around the world many times over and he had a fund of tales and stories that he would relate to me almost from the day I was born. I loved hearing these wonderful tales of life onboard the trade vessels and the descriptions of the crews and sailors he had worked alongside.
Grandad was also a keen stamp collector and he had a roomful of stamp albums and stamped envelopes that he’d picked up during his travels. I remember looking through them with him many times, admiring the colourful square pictorial stamps from all around the world. Grandad would tell me many tales of the countries where these stamps originated from and how they came into his possession.
One day we were going through an album of old English stamps when Grandad suddenly turned to me and said,
‘Seb. When I take my leave of this world, I intend to make sure you receive my entire stamp collection. Take real good care of them and they will someday take good care of you.’
I laughed nervously and replied.
‘Grandad you will never die, I would miss you too much if you ever left us.’
Sadly a year later, Grandad died and I inherited thousands of stamps all neatly pasted into stamp albums and on many different sized envelopes. I kept them in one of the rooms in the house where they simply began to gather dust and spiders webs.
I left university with huge debts and a degree in creative writing and I soon discovered that budding writers weren’t paid much money. I suddenly had the bright idea to have my inherited stamp collection valued and perhaps they would raise enough money to pay my debts and start me off in business.
The day of the valuation arrived and I asked a couple of auctioneers to value the collection. Imagine my surprise when I was informed, Grandads stamps were worth hundreds of thousands of pounds at a conservative estimate. I was delighted when they were finally sold for close to a million pounds as there were some rare oriental stamps among the collection printed in gold leaf paint and some extremely early valuable English stamps.
This was my springboard to making me a billionaire. I invested much of this money in technology and oil shares and soon my fortunes rapidly increased.
However this wasn’t anything to do with the main income that led me to amassing my billion pounds.
No! I wrote down many of my Grandads stories and sold millions of books, some became films and plays and then several television series.
I became a considerably wealthy famous author and I bought and sold many mansions and even two private Carribean islands.
Yes I have a billion dollars in the bank, thanks in many, many ways to my hard working, seafaring Grandad.
(I picked up this prompt from a site on the internet called freewrite.com I was at a loss as to where to find my subject for the day. I think this response turned out pretty well and I wrote the above piece in about an hour. The words just seemed to flow once I got started and I’m extremely pleased with the result.I intend to publish it on my WordPress site and expand the story later.)