Meditation

Gunton Lake

I thought I would like to share this beautiful picture of Gunton Lake again. Margaret captured this image from under some trees using her iPhone. I like the way the gold Autumn leaves on the trees are reflected in the blue surface of the lake. The deep blue colour of the water gets increasingly lighter as the water flows beneath the direct sunlight. With a scattering of wind-transported golden leaves floating on the surface of the water this picture is a magic carpet ride into meditation.

 

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ELECTRICITY AT WHAT COST

I wrote the following piece of flash fiction for our church magazine in response to the theme of Electricity. Sadly there is a lot of truth embedded in this little tale Somewhere there has to be a solution to our need to power new homes for our ever increasing population. At what cost?

ELECTRICITY AT WHAT COST

by John Yeo

The electricity of inter-species tolerance and communication in action.

  The sun was shining and although it was quite cold, we decided to go for a stroll around the lake. Sweet chestnuts and empty husks lay in great profusion under the trees. Autumn leaves underfoot scrunched as we strolled along a well-worn path. There was a distinctly autumnal feel to our walk, as we strolled along treading the crunchy leaves underfoot. Many sweet chestnuts and husks were piled under the trees, left behind by the ever-busy grey squirrels as they secreted sweet chestnut kernels in hidden larders as a store of food for the long winter months ahead. Many of these playful squirrels were chasing each other up and down the trees as we strolled along. A good number of Moorhens and Mallard Ducks were swimming on the surface of the lake and in tiny inlets under the trees. The ever-present avaricious Gulls were swooping around over the lake and floating on the water squabbling with each other. We passed a pair of Egyptian Geese sleeping on the banks of the lake, who obligingly awoke and posed for a photograph as we walked by. Many Wood Pigeons were pecking around in the grass, it’s a wonder there is food enough here to support this large community of different species of birdlife, together with the Squirrels and the ever increasing number of Rabbits.

   Then, nailed to a tree was a notice. We had heard rumours on the communal grapevine about the fate of this beautiful spot, and here it was plain for all to see. The owners of this lovely beauty spot had sold out to big business. This beautiful area was to be destroyed and replaced with two giant wind turbines and a mast for telephone and broadband reception. The bases of these three monstrosities would be concreted over for stability and ease of maintenance. These two turbines would generate enough electricity to power up to 6000 homes.

Sadly, we continued along our way, thoughts were racing through my mind. Ripples in the lake betrayed the presence of many large fish, the lake is situated within a few hundred yards of the coast. Freshwater fish obviously thrive here, kept under control by the attention of the local family of Herons. Another pair of Mallard Ducks swam lazily on the surface of the water and a Moorhen raced for cover as we walked noisily by on the multi-coloured leaves. Suddenly there was a movement at a small pool on the banks of the lake as a large Toad with a distinctive yellow stripe along his back came into view. He didn’t hop along he almost walked out of the reeds alongside the pool.

‘My God!’ I thought, ‘I don’t believe it; that is certainly a Natterjack Toad. A member of a protected species. This development will never go ahead’

Our mood suddenly became euphoric as the implications of this discovery became clear.

I quickly pulled out my iPhone and began taking many photographs of this saviour of the natural environment.

The rest is history, the turbines were relocated, providing the much-needed electricity for the planned new homes and in the following Spring many baby Mallard ducks and Egyptian Geese will be born here and there should be strings of Natterjack Toads eggs in the pools surrounding our beautiful protected lake.

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

 

THE RELENTLESS SEA

I wrote the following piece of Flash Fiction for our Church magazine in response to this months theme of WATER..

 

The Relentless Sea


by John Yeo
  

  Driftwood, bobbing and bouncing on the top of the waves, was the first clue that Old Tom had claimed another unwary, unsuspecting victim. 
 Our hearts sank whenever large spars of wood came drifting in on the foamy, relentless, rough waves in exceptionally stormy weather. 
 Old Tom was the name given by the locals over many centuries to a line of cliffs that were hidden at the entrance to the harbour. Obscured from the sight of incoming vessels by the high waters. There was a large rock, shaped like a giant, hence the name and the well deserved ugly reputation. 


Several battered suitcases and wooden barrels arrived bobbing into the waiting arms of the people lining the shore. These wrecks always drew a crowd of locals searching for the remains.
 This wreckage seemed to be different than the usual detritus that floated into shore.
  

    “I wonder if there were many lives lost out there this time. Last time Old Tom claimed twenty-nine. I hear we must be thankful for small mercies, the rocky arms of Old Tom have embraced many of our enemies in the past and saved us from invaders.” Billy Martindale said to his wife Josie.
  

  Josie looked pale and drawn, dragged from her customary hard routine of caring for their home, she had always accompanied her husband to lend assistance if there was a shipwreck.


   “I sincerely hope not!” she replied.
  

Billy and Josie had lived on the cliffs of this perilous coastline for thirty-five years, a harsh way of life, that both of them had learned to accept the hard way, as they knew no other. They had two sons Bert and Jack, who had long since left the safety of their home and gone to sea.
The first of the dead floated in.
  

    Josie gasped, “It’s a baby! Oh no! Look, Billy.”
  Then another group of bodies was washed up on the shore. These were families, and the horror set in as the extent of this tragedy began to slowly unfold.
The Coastguards and the Lifeboats returned to shore after a fruitless search for survivors. 
The newspapers reported another boatload of refugee asylum seekers had been drowned that day off the rugged, rocky coast.
 At the final tally, Old Ben had claimed another forty-nine lives. 
Sadly the horrors that drove these people to seek sanctuary, seem so ongoing and insoluble that we can only pray for future peace and goodwill in this world.


Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved 


SPORT

I wrote the following piece of Flash Fiction for our Church magazine in response to this months theme of SPORT…

Hunter !

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 a sport.

 To see and experience the horror of a beautiful creature torn to pieces by a pack of snarling angry dogs.

  Such is the fate of some beautiful Stags.

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

 Then there are Pheasants, the 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. These are killed for food and the pleasure of 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 the 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.’  

   Our hard-won freedom of choice can lead to some strange Sporting scenarios.

Pheasant

SHOOT TO KILL

by John Yeo

Grey November, cloudy skies.

Men in rustic clothing

Carrying guns, primed to kill.

Dogs to chase the falling bag,

Many birds will die today

As part of the annual thrill.

All in the name of sport you know.

~

Crows and Gulls gather

Flock to feed on the slaughter.

Dogs retrieve the balls of feathers,

Beaters create noise to scare the prey,

We will feast on fowl today.

As part of the annual kill.

All in the name of sport you know.

~

Take aim, pull the trigger, fire!

Missed! Nothing slaughtered, nothing falls.

Bang! Bang! The shotgun speaks again,

Blood spurts from gaping wounds,

Invisible blood on the killer’s hands.

‘I say! How many did you bag today?’

All in the name of sport you know.

~

We feed our friendly garden birds,

We have six feeders at home.

Robins, Blackbirds, Finches, and Tits,

Beautiful creatures, almost tame.

We only eat game birds in season

They are just part of the annual kill.

All in the name of sport you know.

~

Chicken on Sunday, roast to taste

Eggs for breakfast, boiled or fried?

Turkey for lunch in sandwiches,

During the season we’ll eat a brace

We are bird lovers after all

We take no part in the annual kill.

~

Copyright © Written by John Yeo. All rights reserved.

SKIP

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Image courtesy of pixabay.com

RANDOM FLASH FICTION

SKIP

by John Yeo

  The stick was thrown as far as the strength of my human arm would allow. A small bundle of fur would race along the grassy parkland to retrieve it and a well gnawed stick would be returned to my feet, dripping with doggy saliva.
Allow me to introduce Skip, a small, unclassifiable mongrel dog who had somehow managed to attach himself to our family. It must be every young persons dream to have a faithful four-legged friend to take care of. Skip arrived in our house after the family next door decided to emigrate to Australia. Obviously we were chosen by Skip who had seen us coming and going and received many occasional strokes and pats when he was walked by his owners on a daily basis.
Skip was a small light brown velvet coated dog of many variations. The nearest classification one could get for Skip would be a German Shepherd mixed with a Labrador, mingled with a Golden Retriever. The resulting entity was a fearless little bundle of fur intensely loyal and brave.
One memorable day, Skip and I were walking each other in the parkland for our daily exercise. Skip had the habit of disappearing into the undergrowth after chasing birds and any other small creatures that moved.
  Suddenly I was confronted by an unaccompanied Pitbull Terrier who stood in my path growling menacingly. I froze as I had heard many stories of people who had been scarred for life after an attack by these vicious dogs. I wasn’t sure what to do next, I knew it would be fatal to run away so I just stood still, staring the Pitbull Terrier straight in the eyes. The ugly growls became louder and more threatening. I could actually see saliva dribbling from the teeth and jaws of this menacing creature.
  Suddenly there was another fearsome sound as a small bundle of fur leapt from the undergrowth barking loudly and with a frightening growl seized the larger Pitbull Terrier by the throat drawing blood. The two animals went for each other in a cloud of dust and swirling pieces of fur. Skip bravely stood his ground and I could see he was actually beginning to wear the larger dog down. Then after a few minutes that seemed to drag on into hours, the Pitbull Terrier was beginning to get the better of the brave little mongrel.

   With a shout a young man appeared, carrying a dogs lead. ‘Sampson’ here. The Pitbull let go of Skip’s foreleg and answered the call.
I rushed to pick up my poor brave companion and not stopping to talk to the owner of the Pitbull, I quickly made my way to the local Vet.
Sadly Skip lost a leg, but the Vet managed to stem the blood and save my faithful friends life.

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

I wrote the following piece of Flash Fiction for our Church magazine in response to the monthly theme of Lambs.

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT

by John Yeo

   The lake is still at sunset after the wildfowl and the birdlife have gone to roost. Silence replaces the noisy squabbling of the gulls and ducks for food and personal space. Darkness is descending on the shrubs and trees around the banks of the lake as the sun disappears. Nocturnal wildlife will soon be appearing. Owls will be spreading their wings and will be heard hooting in the near trees as they venture out on their hunting forays after dark. Bats can be seen fluttering and searching for insects, using echolocation their powers of ultra-sensitive hearing for guidance. Foxes will soon be on the prowl searching for small mammals in competition with the local neighbourly domestic tomcats who have their own territories to patrol.

    It’s lambing time on the farm that borders the lake and Farmer Wrigglesworth and his wife Lilian have been hard at work all day, with their son James. Lambing is hard work and the family has to endure long hours working from dawn to dusk in the lambing sheds. It’s after dark when danger rears its ugly head in the shape of the nocturnal predators that are always on the prowl. There are just a few predators on sheep these days, foxes, badgers, and large predatory birds, mainly from the crow family. Farmer Wrigglesworth is unable to afford to hire a shepherd to look after the sheep at night and it’s too expensive to permanently keep his whole flock in the lambing sheds. There are electric fences around his two fields designed to go some way to keep the predators at bay. Sadly there are always casualties but on balance, the majority of the new lambs survive.

   Another threat to the smooth running of his business takes the form of human intervention in the form of animal rights organisations. There had been threats from a group in the vicinity recently and there had been an instance of the electrified fence getting tampered with last year. A man had been shocked and the local police had managed to trace him through the local doctors surgery. There was never any proof, even though he was a member of a certain organisation.

  Farmer Wrigglesworth had his own personal views on the meat industry. ‘We work our socks off raising sheep that feed millions of people. The sheep are specially bred to fulfill this function and would never survive in the natural world without our help.’

  Dawn broke with a cacophony of bird calls from around the lake. Farmer Wrigglesworth and Tom were up in the early hours in the lambing shed, Tom was expert at helping the ewes give birth. Over the years he had faced many experiences at lambing time and Farmer Wrigglesworth was extremely proud of his veterinary trained son’s expertise. Tom’s iodine stained hands had saved countless lambs and ewes from a painful death.

   Farmer Wrigglesworth left Tom in the lambing shed and took a walk to his fields with Shep, his trusty sheepdog.

  Shep raced ahead and discovered the grisly remains of two lambs, he was soon barking loudly to alert his master.

  The farmer shook his head sadly, ‘Shep I, must take steps to try harder to control these predators next year.’

  Later in the farmhouse, Lilian produced a large English breakfast for both men who had been up and about hard at work for hours. There had been another telephone threat from an unidentifiable caller purporting to be from an animal rights group.

    ‘Tom we are hated by the few and we feed the many. The jury is out and will always be out on the ethics and morality of how we earn our living.’  Sighed Farmer Wrigglesworth,

‘Meanwhile, let’s get going we have our flock to take care of.’

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Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

 

A Winter Wonderland

This is a piece of Flash Fiction for our church magazine, in response to the theme of Snow.

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THIRTEEN WAYS OF LOOKING AT SNOW

by John Yeo

 

I see flurries of silent snowflakes

falling, drifting, settling,

A winter wonderland is created.

~

The snow hangs thickly

on the branches of bushes and trees.

Bending, almost breaking

beneath the weight.

~

Garden birds search hungrily

for hidden food under the icy blanket.

Snow covers and hides all.

~

Water is frozen, solid and hidden,

beneath the thick snowy blanket.

Thirsty birds and animals

lick snowflakes for moisture.

~

A snowflake is a thing of beauty

ice crystals that shine

with geometric splendour.

~

Children wrap warmly in scarves and gloves

to welcome the snow with joy.

Skating and sledging, to and fro

With whoops of sheer delight.

~

A snowman is built by children of all ages,

Mum and Dad and old Uncle Tom.

A carrot for a nose and an old battered hat

with a scarf around the neck.

~

In the snowy wastes, travel

over the glassy smooth surface is fast,

furious and exhilarating.

~

Visibility in a snowstorm is impaired,

the snow falling thickly, too dense to penetrate.

Snow blindness can result from the glare.

~

Housebound by thick snowy drifts

the old folk are trapped indoors,

many look out desperately for help.

Sleigh bells ring jubilantly as horses arrive

with a sledge,

laden with food and warm clothing.

~

Falling flakes add wonder to

the miracle of dazzling white snow.

A thick white carpet brings clean,

fresh magic everywhere.

~

Life is harsh as plants push through

the snowy white blanket.

When the snow stops falling

sunlight begins the thaw.

~

The world becomes a sea of slush

as the snow melts swiftly away.

Leaving behind a muddy, watery, dirty

sea of sludge.

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Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.