DELIGHTS AND DELICIOUSNESS


SUNDAY 2nd AUGUST 2020

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..

DELIGHTS AND DELICIOUSNESS

by John Yeo

    ‘Hey what are we going to do today? We can’t go far as we are in the middle of the ocean all day long.’ said Dominic to Joy, his wife.

    ‘I don’t know Dom, I think I’m a little bit seasick, my stomach feels really queasy, turning over with the billowing waves,’  Joy replied.

  ‘That’s funny, so do I, It’s as if I’ve been on the fairground, Big Dipper ride. This is our first cruise so we are probably taking a while to get used to the swell of the waves at sea. We can get some seasick tablets free from reception.’  said Dominic.

  ‘Hey Dom, look! They’ve organised a special lunch today with a free cocktail, on the house.’

    ‘Doesn’t appeal to me, not with my crazy upset stomach.’ 

   ‘Oh! Can’t we just go and take a look. Please Dom.’

    ‘OK,’

They entered the crowded dining room where they were immediately handed a free green coloured cocktail drink with a cherry on the top. They both grimaced and abandoned them on the nearest vacant table.

    ‘Oh Dom, your face has gone as green as those two horrible concoctions.

  The couple then surveyed the tables around them, groaning with the weight of a wonderful array of delights and deliciousness. The first thing was the meticulous way the food was displayed. Multi breads from around the world, with cheeses in abundance with olives, grapes and pickles. A large salad bar with seafood and fish, including a whole smoked salmon and caviar displayed in abundance. Exotic fruits were carved into the most amazing shapes, around a huge ice-sculpture of a large eagle. The main courses were representative of foods imported from around the world. Then to finish there was the temptation of the dessert section, pavlova, ice cream, and much more.

Joy looked at Dom and burst into tears. ‘All these delights and deliciousness but we daren’t touch a morsel.

Dom frowned.

© Written by John Yeo

A VISIT TO FELBRIGG HALL

SUNDAY 14th JUNE 2020 ~ BLOG POST

A VISIT TO FELBRIGG HALL

   We decided to book a parking slot and visit Felbrigg Hall, a National Trust property.. We did try to book a visit to Sheringham Park, also part of the National Trust but there was a high demand for parking slots and we were unlucky. The after-effects of the partial lifting of the lock-down restrictions due to the Coronavirus has created a high demand for places in these open air environments.

  We parked our car in a lovely spot overlooking acres of  fields full of cows, sheep and lambs munching the luscious green grass. 

  We set up our chairs and sat ready to enjoy our picnic lunch. We were a little early and we spent an hour seated, reading and taking in the sounds and sights of Nature. It was a pleasant day to spend doing very little, just relaxing, watching the grass grow as it were.  

  After lunch we took a stroll towards the main building where we came across a small herd of cows feeding on and under some trees. 

  As we passed a large black cow stepped up towards me with her head down.

    I stepped back and she took another step forward. I would have given her a friendly stroke or a pat on the head but I noticed her head was full of flies, she was that close. Margaret and I decided it was time to move on and we made our way to take some photos of Felbrigg Hall.

  We passed a pretty, well-cared for garden at the front of the building. There was a notice to inform visitors that although the walled garden was closed to the public, the Head Gardener was still working.

 I snapped a lovely photograph of a small tortoiseshell butterfly sipping nectar from a large lavender bed. The plants were literally covered in insects and butterflies.

We continued strolling around the front of the house.

 Finally we made our way to our car where we enjoyed a nice cup of hot tea from our flask before we made our way home.

© Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

CABBAGE TREE

WEDNESDAY 10th JUNE 2020

CABBAGE TREE

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.

https://www.tropicalbritain.co.uk/cordyline-australis.html

 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.

Written by John Yeo © All rights reserved

DOUBLE WHAMMY

MONDAY 8th JUNE 2020

FLASH FICTION PROMPT

 

‘Tell the story of what you imagine your close friends would do if they won the lottery.’

DOUBLE WHAMMY 

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??

© Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

FRESH PERSPECTIVES

MONDAY 1st JUNE 2020

FRESH PERSPECTIVES

   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.

© Witten by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

MARGARET’S BLUE ROSE

FRIDAY 29th MAY 2020

MARGARET’S BLUE ROSE

These photographs show our beautiful blue tea rose. I bought this rosebush as a present for Margaret 12 years ago and it has rewarded us with a multitude of magnificent blooms, year after year. This is certainly the most successful floral present I have ever bought for her. The blooms get bigger and better as the years go by. The blooms have an extremely delicate perfume, so fresh and enticing to easily intoxicate any passing bees and insects to promote pollination.

   However in my experience, roses are one of the hardest plants to grow in the garden and need a great deal of tender care and protection. In Spring the shrubs need to be pruned and all the dead wooden branches removed and a good measure of rose food needs to be applied around the roots. They need careful, regular examination to detect any attacks by pests, in the shape of greenfly, black fly or aphids. A good quality bug spray needs to be applied at the first sign and regularly throughout the season. Then there is the dreaded rust-like fungal disease that looks unsightly and causes the leaves to discolour and drop off. A regular spraying with a fungal deterrent is the only method I know to counteract this. 

Regular watering in the dry spells is essential to encourage the buds to swell to produce new wonderful blooms. Another measure of rose food should be applied halfway through the Summer.

Sometimes spurs pop out from well down below the bush, I always remove these as they take energy from the bush that could go towards promoting the flowers. Finally at the end of the flowering season, which can last through to the years end, I have to prune the branches right back to prevent wind-rock. The winter wind blows fiercely and rocks the plant, loosening the roots in the soil, causing weakness or in extreme cases, death.

  In my mind looking after my roses is simply a replacement for taking care of small children, keeping the roses fed, watered and protecting them from predators. The reward of my labour is the smile on Margaret’s face when she picks a perfect rose to photograph and view again year after year.

    I took this brief paragraph of the origin of roses from Wikipedia, there is a lot of information, myths and information there.

  ‘Ornamental roses have been cultivated for millennia, with the earliest known cultivation known to date from at least 500 BC in Mediterranean countries, Persia, and China. It is estimated that 30 to 35 thousand rose hybrids and cultivars have been bred and selected for garden use as flowering plants. Most are double-flowered with many or all of the stamens having morphed into additional petals.’

© Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

FRIDAY 22nd MAY 2020

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FRIDAY 22 MAY 2020

 

We had a busy day yesterday on the allotment. Having completed preparing our three Bean wigwams, we went on to transplant some Beetroot plants and water some of the existing plants in the beds. Our Rhubarb hasn’t done particularly well this year and a good friend who has a surplus kindly gave us some impressive stalks. Margaret has them in the photograph ready to transport them home. Our friend gave Margaret a good idea for a recipe for a Rhubarb and Strawberry crumble, something we haven’t tried before. Our Strawberries are still in flower and we look to be expecting a good crop around the beginning of June. Hopefully with another donation of Rhubarb stalks we will try it out.

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BEANS

wp-1590075316468.jpgTHURSDAY 21st MAY 2020

BEANS

by John Yeo

  Today I intend to write about Beans. Yes, common Runner Beans. Part of most people’s childhood in the west is an introduction to the English fairy tale, ‘Jack and the Beanstalk.’

Where the indomitable Jack sold the family cow for a handful of beans that later grew into a giant beanstalk. Later after a few, ‘Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman,’ yells, the giant dies and Jack and his Mum live happily ever after feasting off the proceeds of the hen that lays golden eggs.

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   We planted our Runner beans on the allotment yesterday. 

   I constructed the above wigwam from a bundle of 10 new 

6 foot bamboo canes for the beans to climb. Margaret has volunteered to climb this particular beanstalk to harvest the freshest tastiest beans at the top on the frame. If she does encounter a giant, I will be at the bottom with a pair of pruning shears.

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   It won’t be long before we are enjoying fresh new potatoes with mint and gently steamed fresh beans. Runner beans are a great source of fibre, which not only plays the lead role in making sure our digestive system is running at its best, but has also been shown to help prevent weight gain, some cancers, heart disease and diabetes.

  We also have some french bush bean seeds in rows alongside the mighty runners. These will certainly not be high enough to harbour any giants or hens laying golden eggs.

I looked up the phrase ‘Full of Beans’ and this is what I came up with.
  Originally, this phrase was known as “Full of Prunes” and then “prunes” was replaced with “beans”. The phrase originated in Europe in the 14th century when horses were fed with beans grown solely for fodder. After feeding the horse, the owners often noticed that the horses became quite energetic and lively. Hence the phrase originated to refer to this state of liveliness.’
Source: theidioms.com

  The beans in Jack and the Beanstalk are believed to be fava beans and they have a magical history all their own. With evidence of their incorporation into diets dating back to at least 6000 BC, fava beans are one of the oldest cultivated plants. Their hardiness and ability to endure cold climates contributed to their endurance as a crop. It also earned the beans magical status in Sicily, where they were considered more than merely food.

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/fava-the-magic-bean/

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   One of the things I notice occurring frequently on the social media areas of public entertainment is the propensity of people who tend to jump on the bandwagon. Since I’ve begun to cultivate my blog and publish on a more frequent basis, I’ve had several emails offering me work. I have to say I usually explore these offers but I have never been guilty of taking the bait, particularly when the person refers to the mysterious ‘us,’ i.e. ‘Would you like to write for us?’ When tackled about who these unidentified ‘us’ are, the reply is usually a woolly, ‘some very big people.’ … 

 I offer this advice to all prospective grow your own bean experts.

‘Beans and some other legumes, such as peas and lentils, have a reputation for causing gas. Beans contain high amounts of a complex sugar called raffinose, which the body has trouble breaking down. Beans are also rich in fiber, and a high intake of fiber can increase gassiness.’

© Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

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REALITY STRIKES HARD

,

Emergency overcome! ❤️

by John Yeo

Life goes by like lightning as the happy years unfurl and seem to drift by at the speed of light. The cruising holiday went well, we toured around some popular ports around the Mediterranean Sea. The food was plentiful and available in many forms.
The carefree consumption of many high fat, high risk food didn’t concern me. I have always been an extremely fit man, indulging in some healthy exercise on my allotment, in our garden and on the club bowling green. With an always optimistic outlook on life I was sure I would contentedly go on forever.

We were at our Bowls Club when the first signs of something untoward occurred, although I suspect the signs and warnings were already there, silent and unrecognised.
I stood at the edge of the bowling green where I suddenly became aware of a strange pain in my chest. I immediately sat down and began to take some deep breaths, I suspected I was suffering from a bout of indigestion. My wife Margaret, asked if I was alright and I nodded and said,

“Don’t worry, I have a funny pain, probably just a touch of indigestion.”
I took a drink of water and after a few minutes the pain seemed to disappear.

We played a great game of bowls together, we were drawn to play on the same side and we gave each other the support we needed to win the match.

We returned home and enjoyed a super-tasty chicken meal, prepared by Margaret. After an evening spent watching television we went to bed.

At 01.30, I woke with a pain in my chest and neck, about ten times worse than the pain I had suffered at the Bowls Club. Margaret woke and became concerned,
“Do you have pain radiating down your arm?”

“No!” I replied. “just a funny pain in my chest and my neck.”

Margaret then decided to immediately telephone 111; NHS Choices.
Margaret spoke to an efficient operator, who advised I take 4 Aspirin, chewing them as opposed to swallowing them for a faster effect. The operator then telephoned for an ambulance.
A paramedic arrived within 10 minutes closely followed by an emergency ambulance. My pulse was taken, my blood pressure was measured and an ECG was done which proved to be slightly abnormal.
The ambulance personnel then informed me I would have to go to the Norfolk and Norwich hospital for further tests. Margaret decided to drive herself to the hospital to give me some support.
On the way to hospital, I had a further four ECG readings which were still showing an abnormal reading, with many other tests. The young lady paramedic was polite and caring and extremely efficient, as she filled in her forms collating the readings and information.

The ambulance arrived at the A&E department, where I was subjected to a barrage of further tests and several blood samples were taken for analysis in the lab. I waited on a trolley for around half an hour before Margaret arrived, bringing several things for me in case I was admitted to hospital. I was really happy to see her.
After about another half an hour doctor arrived and said,

“You have had a heart attack, we are waiting for some results of blood tests from the lab. I am afraid you will have to stay in hospital for a few days.”

The doctor then turned to Margaret and said she should go home and sleep as things may take a while from here.

An hour later, after a further chat with the Doctor,
I found myself in bed, in the male admissions assessment ward. This was an experience that I will remember for a long time to come. I was shown to a bed next to a window, with a pleasant view of the greenery in the hospital grounds.

Copyright © written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

VOLUNTEERS

VOLUNTEERS


by John Yeo

It’s a sunny day in the popular seaside resort. Michael is constructing a garden shed for a customer of his DIY store, when his pager goes off. He scans the device briefly then turns and starts running. His colleagues are not surprised. They’re used to it. Within minutes he arrives at the local lifeboat station on the southeast coast. Soon he and the rest of the crew are at sea, powering towards the rocky cliffs, where two swimmers are trapped against the rocks by a heavy swell.
It’s a tricky operation to steer the rigid inflatable boat close enough without it being smashed against the rocks. The team have to bring it in quickly then hover, balancing carefully at 90 degrees to the swell. The crew hoist one man out and manoeuvre the boat round for the other man before turning for home. With both men delivered safely to the emergency services, the lifeboat is rehoused, washed and prepared for the next incident. Within hours Michael is back at the store.
This is just a solitary incident in the life of an unpaid ordinary member of the public who devote their time and efforts to saving lives at sea.
Imagine for a moment that you’re part of the crew on a lifeboat. It’s 2.30am on a freezing January morning and the pager’s just woken you from a deep sleep in a snug warm bed. You then head out to sea in complete darkness and 10m waves rise and fall around you, ready to swamp you at any moment. Strong gale force winds throw the lifeboat around like a toy.
Most lifeboat crew members are volunteers, ordinary people who simply and selflessly want to save lives at sea. When the pagers go off, they drop everything and are regularly called away from their families, their beds and their work, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
A donation to to the RNLI, is always money well-spent, to enable this important rescue work to continue.

© Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

I wrote this post for ‘The Quintet’ our church magazine in response to the theme of…VOLUNTEERS