JOHN PLUMMER ~ A WORKHOUSE TALE

This is one of the stories I put together on a Creative Writing Day at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse in Norfolk.

OBJECTS AND INMATES

I concentrated on JOHN PLUMMER, Writing from this brief introduction.

“John Plummer decided he wanted to. Become a tramp when he turned 16 in 1938. The Guardians didn’t want John to do this as he would be dependant on the workhouse system. This would cost taxpayers’ money. They found John a job but he ran away. He was brought back to the workhouse and sent to Wallingford Farm Training School.”   

JOHN PLUMMER ~ THE INHALER

by John Yeo

  I have been forcibly returned here to take part in a training course at Wallingford Farm Training School.

 I was on the road for a while before they caught up with me, at least I will be working in the open air. I couldn’t stand working in that bloody factory any more! I ran away. I have developed this chesty cough now and I have to regularly attend the sickbay. The nurse says I have to use this strange china thing whenever I get clogged up with mucus. Apparently it is filled with hot water and I breathe it in before I go to bed at night or in the morning, before I go to work. I slept rough for the time I was on the road and the Matron thinks that is where I became ill, from the damp and cold. I spoke to the Doctor when he visited last.

      “What happened to me?” I asked.

  “You are a victim of your own stupidity.” Replied the Doctor.

    “Me stupid? Never. At least I got free from the chemicals that were swirling around that factory.”

    “You will have to continue to use the inhaler morning and night in future. The fresh air working on the farm will do you good. I will see you again in a month.”

  I like working outside but I do have this chesty cough that keeps me awake at night, I have to take the inhaler to bed now. The man in the next bed didn’t wake up today. They took him away and he disappeared. I think he died of TB, someone said it is a curse of the age.

 It is my birthday next week. I will be seventeen. 


Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved 

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COMPETITION ENTRY ~ 29th July 2015

daisies

Image © John and Margaret

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.

Copyright © Written by John Yeo  ~ All rights reserved

~~

This piece of writing was written as a competition entry to demonstrate aspects of learning on a creative writing course’
I chose to demonstrate Dialogue.

HEADLINES

Imagine Part Of Your Body Has A Voice

 Decide on a particular part of your body and imagine it has a voice – what do you think it would have to say for itself – humorous or sensible – your foot, your mouth, your ear, your head, etc.

Your piece of writing might include detailed description, facts, names and technical details. Or just Imagine it can tell us about itself and what it feels like to be it.

THE INEVITABLE AGEING PROCESS

by John Yeo

The inevitability of the ageing process.
As the body begins to slow down
The mind continues to function on regardless.

~

Millions of brain cells communicating
Talking to each other and remonstrating
Generating a hubbub of noisy chatter.

~

The continuation and maturation
With ongoing natural development,
Brings the added inevitable complication
Of slow diminution and deterioration,
Leading to insidious mental retardation.

~

As brain cells enter a mode of self destruction.
The process is slow but sure degeneration
Forgetfulness brings further complication.

~
Leading to the hopeless realisation

Although getting old is inevitable

~
Silence can be golden.

photo

Image from the net

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

Memories of Schooldays

FIRST DAY IN THE JUNIORS

by John Yeo

The day is here, Mum is near.

I can hardly suppress a tear

My uniform is new and clean

Off to attend my very first day

In the Junior school.

 

We don’t go far, in Dad’s car.

My Mum called me a star.

Concrete playground drab and drear

Many children going my way

To the Junior school.

 

Dad says goodbye, I will not cry

I make a friend and by and by

The bell goes and the teacher arrives

With a smile. “Hello! I’m Miss Prim

Here in the Junior school.

  

An oblong block,

Then a chalk-filled duster

Both throw up clouds of chalky dust.

Inkwell and dipping-pen with

Blotting paper that soaks up inky blobs.

A wooden desk with an inkwell

Initials gouged in the lid.

Silence as the register is called

Before the lesson begins.

My thoughts stray from the subject.

Until with a blunt request.

“What do you think, boy?”

I feel flustered and I bluster,

“I am not too sure, Miss”

I daren’t reveal my thoughts.

“Go to the back of the class”

“Stupid boy!”

 photo

Copyright © ~ Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved