This is a response to a Flash Fiction prompt from ‘The Daily Post on WordPress’  


Tell us about a sensation – a taster, a smell, a piece of music, that takes you back to childhood.

The boyhood of Raleigh by John Everett Millais 1870


by John Yeo

   The sensation that is the strongest transporter back to my childhood will always be a strong smell of ronuk fXxurniture and floor polish. Our school reception area was full of highly polished panelled wood, with a polished wooden floor. These wooden areas were kept highly polished by the school cleaners, using ronuk, floor and furniture polish. The powerful smell of this wax polish will live with me forever. 

  However, there was another sense at work in this area that will always stay with me and that is the sense of curiosity and wonder every time I gazed at a painting that was prominently displayed in the main entrance area. Every time I passed this work of art, I would spend ages just standing, soaking up this image, surrounded by a strong smell of ronuk floor and furniture polish.

   In the foreground of the painting was a bearded man

 wearing a distinctive hat, seated in front of a beached fishing boat.

 The fisherman was in conversation with two young boys 

pointing to a distant horizon with one hand, while holding a fishing net with the other hand. 


 by John Yeo

 A distant horizon, where the clouds meet the sea 

 An unbroken line as far as the eye could see

Representing mystery and imagination to the schoolboy mind.

  A gateway to the unknown an escape route from reality,

The sailor, telling tales of wonder across the waves.


  Waves as high as mountains and fish as big as a man.

Huge sea monsters  with many humps spouting spume

Swordfish, mermaids, sharks and pearls in shells

  I would stand and be transported to distant lands  

Journey to  places I was encountering in classes.


 Ivory and the slave trade, copra, with spices

Sandy islands with Palm trees and Robinson Crusoe, 

Cannibals and treasure with footprints in the sand.

Pirates and corsairs with cutlass and gunpowder.

Gold-filled galleons sailing the storm-tossed seas.


Hornpipe, sea shanties, shipwreck and disease.

Colourful birds flying high above the waves

Leading the traders to many distant lands,

Jungles, filled with lions, bears and monkeys, 

Elephants and tigers, and strange perfumed flowers.


Faraway lands filled with milk and honey

With many peoples of the world in traditional dress.

Contrasting strange lives of splendour, and sad distress.

Deserts with oasis and camel train routes from the east.

The mystical oriental thousand and one tales of wonder.


 Magic lamps with genies granting wishes galore.

The science of Arabia, the wisdom of China and more.

The perilous journey home across the seas braving storms

Carrying the cargo from ports and people round the world.

Unload a hold full of fish mend the nets whilst ashore.


A dream-filled reverie cut short with a caustic shout to implore.

‘You there! Stop daydreaming boy, and cut along to classes’.

© Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.