ALWAYS EARLY TO RISE

WEDNESDAY 28th APRIL 2021 ~ FLASH FICTION ~ POETRY 

This is a response to a writing prompt from WordPress

PROMPT ~ Your time to shine
Early bird, or night owl?

ALWAYS EARLY TO RISE

by John Yeo

I always get up with the lark,

My mind comes to life about then.

I always wake around four am

Before the sun has come up

I pull back the curtains to greet the dark,

Always early to rise.

~

I stretch and switch on my computer

Check on my emails and comments from friends

Around the world on social media.

Chat to friends thousands of miles away,

Sharing messages, news and the gen,

Always early to rise.

~

I always brew the morning tea

Take a cup to my wife still abed

I have always been an early riser

Wide awake before dawn breaks

I always wake around four am

My mind  comes to life about then

Always early to  rise.

~

© Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

WHAT ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT?

WEDNESDAY 14th APRIL 2021 ~ FLASH FICTION ~ POETRY 

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

Prompt ~ WHAT ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT?

S/he said
Pause whatever you’re doing, and ask the person nearest you what they’re thinking about (call someone if you have to). Write a post based on it.

WHAT ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT?

by John Yeo

 The person seated next to me responded with ‘I’m reading the newspaper.’  Which happened to be an online version of the ‘Daily Mail.’  I am aware that one of the prime reasons for this  choice of newspaper is the crossword puzzles and mind games that go some way to the alleviation and defence against dementia. The news is almost a bi-product of the investment in purchasing the newspaper. I then asked,

‘What would you be reading if it wasn’t for the puzzles and mind games? In that particular newspaper?

 The unsurprising reply came as, ‘I’m not sure, probably The Independent.’ This reply was obviously based on the more serious aspect of buying a newspaper as an independent slant on the news.

   This response got me thinking about the influences that shape the mind. Most people’s habits of thought and inspiration come from the newspapers that we tend to devour on a daily basis. A constant flow of opinion and the slants on what is happening in the world is ingested and percolated from our reading habits. Usually our choice of newspaper is not so much dictated by our parents, but largely influenced by their choice of newspaper. Until we get to our further education establishment where we develop our own instinctual choices. 

 The wide variety of news sources today allows us to ingest the news in many different ways including the single daily take of our regular morning newspapers.

WHAT ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT?

by John Yeo



‘What are you thinking about?’

‘The trail is very obscure,
Many twists and turns
Millions have come this way
The path is very well worn.’

~

‘What are you thinking about?’

‘Across the seas, another shore,
There are many signs,
Many corners, many directions,
Many examples to follow.’

~

‘What are you thinking about?’

‘One door unlocks another door,
The instinct quickly learns
The only way is forward,
Be kind, be gentle, be firm.’

~


‘What are you thinking about?’

‘Your trail began at birth,
Already the myriad clues and signs
Were building a pattern to follow.
The learning never ends.’



© Written by John Yeo, All rights reserved.

DECISIONS? ~ DECISIONS?

 MONDAY 12th APRIL 2021 ~ FLASH FICTION ~ POETRY 

This is a response to a Flash Fiction prompt from ‘The Last Post on WordPress’ ~ Prompt ~ DECISIONS, DECISIONS


How are you more likely to make an important decision — by reasoning through it, or by going with your gut?


Personally I tend to tailor my decisions to the situation I am making the decision about, as I humorously describe in my little piece of poetic Flash Fiction below.

DECISIONS? ~ DECISIONS?

by John Yeo

   The fictional garden needs a lot of work and we are at the planning stage. I would say this internal dialogue suggests that in this case there was a lot of reasoning through the problem involved.

  ‘I think if we cut the trees down, we can lay lawns and have a lake for wild-fowl, with flower beds and borders. We can build a summer-house with many arbours and marble statues everywhere. Nature can be modelled, shaped and controlled.’

   ‘No! Why not have a forest garden and encourage wildlife with deer, squirrels and much birdlife. A natural garden would be best, we don’t need the artificiality of manicured lawns and borders, that is too much like hard work. Nature always wins in the end, whatever we do.’

  “We can always concrete the whole area over and build high-rise flats, we could make a lot of money that way. Nature would take a long time to win then!’

  ‘Now you are being silly, I know you don’t like to be overlooked and feel crowded, I see a natural garden, where we keep the trees and shrubs. We would have our isolation with privacy to write and create. We will have a vegetable plot with chickens in the middle of our own forest. Nature would be our friend and we would both win then.’

  ‘Yes! We can build a small gallery with workshops and encourage a community of artists and writers. We will build cabins in the yard and sell our work in the gallery shop. Nature would be our partner and our friend.’

  © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

THE PREGNANT GUPPY

SATURDAY 2nd JANUARY 2021

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..

Prompt ~THE PREGNANT GUPPY

image courtesy of Aero Spacelines

THE PREGNANT GUPPY

by John Yeo

  Living on the Space Station is out of this world. Life is lived at a different pace, when one is attempting to colonise outer Space. Captain Mark, an aeronautical engineer was in sole command of the infrastructure here. Dirk, Kirk and Birk were the rest of the crew when a huge rogue asteroid hove into view. This asteroid suddenly altered it’s course leading to an unavoidable collision. Part of the station-shell got destroyed, leaving Captain Mark to make an instant decision. Kirk and Birk would have to return to Earth to arrange for the transfer of some heavy spares to be transported in a Pregnant Guppy. Kirk would handle the ordering of the spare parts and Birk would handle the Pregnant Guppy. When all the details had been completed Kirk met up with Birk who handed him a plastic bag with a rather large goldfish swimming in it.

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

 ‘What’s this?’ Kirk asked Birk, grinning all over his face.

  ‘Oh! just an extra pregnant guppy to take with us to the Space station. The  important  one is on the launchpad  waiting for us to lift off.

© Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

A WALK IN THE PARK


FRIDAY 20th NOVEMBER 2020 ~ BLOG POST

A WALK IN THE PARK

by John Yeo 

The afternoon was cold without the strong winds we’ve been becoming accustomed to lately. Margaret and I decided to take a good long walk through Sheringham Park. This is a National Trust (NT), property, comprising a large wooded area surrounding Sheringham Hall. The woodland walks are carefully maintained by NT employees and are extremely pleasant to visit. There are many mature trees with Rhododendrons, Azaleas with several species of Magnolia.

A striking young tree, resplendent in its Autumnal golden yellow foliage is the first colourful image that strikes the eye, giving a flavour of the season. Many crunchy, brown Oak and Beech leaves were covering the ground along the way. I couldn’t help imagining a fine tilth of leaf mould all over our allotment if only I could solve the logistical problem of transportation.

We continued to wander along the woodland trail and next encountered this wonderful pink Azalea tree at the edge of the pathway. This was the only shrub  in bloom at this time of the year, although many shrubs were covered in plump strong buds which promises well for a gorgeous display of blooms in the Spring.

Margaret came prepared with a walking cane to aid her balance on the uneven terrain. We passed a few people also enjoying the solitude of a woodland afternoon stroll, mainly couples walking the family pooch. Everyone we encountered strictly observed the social distance recommendations and cheerfully said Good Afternoon to us as we passed.

I was examining some rich green ferns, almost ankle-deep in Oak tree leaves here. The tangled branches in the background sadly feature a good number of branches that had been torn off the trees in a recent terrific storm.

We were just in time to see a Squirrel dashing  up the trunk of a large Beech tree and I noticed the ground was covered with the empty husks of Beechnuts. Obviously there is a secreted hibernation larder nearby.

The normally prolific birdlife was either roosting or away on migration. However we did notice a Magpie, a Crow and a few smaller birds darting around. At the end of the afternoon we had walked two miles in about 50 minutes. A good healthy lockdown exercise experience for both of us.

© Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

PANDEMIC PURSUITS

MONDAY 19th OCTOBER 2020 ~ BLOG POST.

PANDEMIC PURSUITS

    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.

© Written by John Yeo

RUNAWAY

 Prompt  ~. Tell a story from your favorite era.

THE RUNAWAY 

by John Yeo

     I woke up in a haystack at the side of a large field near the village of Sparkwell. I’d run away from our home near Dartmoor after a pedlar had visited our village with the news that the Spanish were on their way to Plymouth with a huge armada. 

  My name is Jim Wilson, I’m 15 years old and I can hardly wait to get there and join the navy. My Dad and Mum wouldn’t let me volunteer so I’ve run away to join up. Oh! I think I may be in luck, here comes a hay wagon.

     ‘Hey stop! I need a lift. Stop!’

The driver slowed and turned his weather-beaten face towards me. He was wearing a worn black outfit that most farmers and their vassals who followed the Puritan religion wore.

     ‘Hop on the cart son; I’m only going about two miles along this road. Where are you headed?’

 I started to climb onto the back of the cart but the driver signalled to me to sit beside him on the front. I answered his question with the single word Plymouth.

     ‘Plymouth! that’s about ten miles from here. Why are you heading that way?

      ‘Have you heard the latest news? The Spanish are on the way and I want to join the navy to help with the fight.’ I responded.

      ‘No! I didn’t know they were nearly here. I had heard they were on the way to invade England and King Philip wanted to inflict the Catholic religion on us. I’m sure the Queen has organised a fleet to meet them, but I know we’re heavily outnumbered by the Spaniards.’

  I introduced myself and explained that I had left home and had spent the night in a haystack.’

    ‘Probably the one in the field where I stopped to give you a lift. I’m Farmer Frank, Have you eaten anything today? No, I didn’t think so. Why don’t you come to our farmhouse and share breakfast with my family. My wife will look after you and we can see if we can find someone who is heading towards Plymouth Hoe. That’s where you are certain to find the English fleet. I believe Sir Francis Drake is in command of the fleet.’

    I was so grateful for his help, I couldn’t help smiling broadly, I thanked him by offering to do some jobs around the farm for him. He readily agreed to this and we were soon pulling up outside some ramshackle barns and outhouses where Farmer Frank unhitched the horses and I was shown where the fresh hay was. I filled the feeding trough and poured some buckets of water into the water trough. I enjoyed a substantial breakfast and met the Farmer’s wife Sarah and their two strapping sons Terry and Robin. I was then asked to clean out the pig sty and the stables to pass the time while Farmer Frank went to make some enquiries among his neighbours. 

  I set to work willingly and cleaning and clearing up after the animals while Terry and Robin went off to work in the fields. Farmer Frank was visiting several people in the neighbouring farms and didn’t return until late. I must admit I was feeling dead tired when it was time for our evening meal. Sarah the farmer’s wife had fed me a lunch of cheese and apple with a huge chunk of rough bread earlier in the day.

  Farmer Frank said,  ‘Jim, not good news I’m afraid; nobody is going towards Plymouth for a while, but you’re welcome to stay for a few days and earn some money working on the farm. You can sleep in the small barn’

 I reluctantly agreed to this and I made my way there and settled in the corner on some warm hay. I was so tired, but you can imagine how much sleep I got when I heard the sound of bolts on the outside of the door getting drawn and I realised I was locked in and a prisoner.

  I tried the doors but they were firmly shut and I desperately searched for an exit to enable me to escape. I found a boarded up window high in the barn and began to physically break the rotten wood that comprised the window frame. A barn owl had made a hole and I smashed my way out through this, to the consternation of the owls that were screeching loudly as I broke out. As I jumped through the hole and landed on a pile of straw ten feet below, the farmyard dogs began barking loudly. A lantern was alight inside the farmhouse as I hobbled away, having twisted my ankle when I landed. I hid in a huge water-filled wooden barrel and escaped across the fields before dawn.

   I was fortunate to be picked up along the road by a pedlar who was heading into Plymouth. This man was a tinker who made a living selling and repairing pots and pans. A large red-faced friendly travelling man who was jovial and glad of my company. He introduced himself as Peter Potter. He was shocked when I described my recent experience with Farmer Frank and said he would spread the word everywhere he went for people to be on their guard.

 We were both surprised to find Sir Francis Drake calmly playing bowls when we arrived. Apparently the Spanish were defeated by the weather. I joined up anyway and soon became a cabin boy on the good ship, VIctory.

© Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

THAILAND (5)

TUESDAY 6th OCTOBER 2020 ~ BLOG POST

THAILAND (5)

by John Yeo

  This will certainly be the final part of this series of blog posts. I decided to focus on an incredibly memorable section of our holiday in Thailand. Earlier we had visited a cultural show in Phuket where we photographed a couple of captive elephants in a procession. We were unaware of the controversy surrounding the use of elephants for entertainment at the time.

  We had the opportunity to visit the Green Elephant Sanctuary in Phuket. This is an ethically run sanctuary that operates as a retirement home for elephants. Mainly elephants rescued from cruelty and for retired working elephants. The sanctuary doesn’t promote elephant riding or performances and is famous for it’s treatment of these beautiful creatures.

  We booked a half day visit and we were incredibly impressed with the spacious layout of the sanctuary which is situated in a large jungle area with large spaces that enable these impressive creatures to freely roam around.

 First we were welcomed by one of the keepers who gathered everyone together and delivered an interesting, informative talk on the sanctuary and some safety tips for when we got close up to the elephants.

    Firstly we were provided with baskets of bananas. We then met and hand-fed some of the residents. This was done from a distance as we were taught to hold the banana towards the elephant who grasped it with his trunk. There were always keepers hovering as the visitors slowly became more confident of interacting with the elephants. 

  There was a cute baby calf elephant who captured the hearts of everyone on the site. The mother was pregnant when she was rescued and actually gave birth to her calf in the sanctuary. 

    An onsite photographer was taking photographs of the visitors interacting with the elephants and these were later to be downloaded onto Facebook and freely available.

   We were led to an area where the elephants and an onsite night keeper spend their nights. This was accompanied by an interesting lecture by a keeper with the opportunity to question her on the treatment and some of the stories of where these beautiful creatures had arrived from.

    Next came a highlight of our visit, when we had a mud bath with the elephants. After we had thoroughly coated them with a thick coating of mud; which they enjoyed immensely; we then shared a large elephant shower where we proceeded to clean off the mud. Wonderful fun for everyone concerned, both the pachyderms and the humans. Good thing we remembered to bring our swimsuits!

    Finally we showered in some conventional showers and we enjoyed a tasty meal of Thai curry and rice accompanied by fresh fruit.

     A wonderfully informative fun day.

©️ Written by John Yeo

THAILAND (3)

SUNDAY 4th OCTOBER 2020 ~ BLOG POST

Prompt ~ Explore what your travels in Asia have been like.

THAILAND (3)

by John Yeo

    During our visit to the Thai Hua museum, which is housed in an old school building, built in the Portuguese style, we were impressed at the huge influence the Chinese community had on Phuket. We were able to examine many photographs and artefacts relating to the early Chinese immigrants here. This was a great informative cultural episode in our visit to Thailand.

   We were enormously impressed with the sunsets and the wild life in Thailand and I couldn’t resist snapping a few photographs during our visit.

  Then came one of the huge highlights of our visit to Phuket island in Thailand when we visited a facility called the Tiger Kingdom. 

    This tourist attraction is laid out in three areas where the visitors can interact with their choice of Tiger by size, ranging from cub to full grown.The most popular area was the cage containing the tiger cubs. The areas were individually priced or there is a ticket available for all three areas. 

     We chose to visit a cage containing fully grown adult tigers. We waited quite a while for our turn in a long queue and we had to sign a form that effectively stated we knew the dangers and would follow the printed rules.

   We entered a cage containing two full grown tigers accompanied by a keeper, armed with a bamboo pole and a professional photographer. Apparently the bamboo pole is used as a form of control by the keeper. If the tiger shows any sign of aggression, the keeper administers a sharp rap on the tiger’s nose. This is a form of control that apparently works.

   We were then able to experience some extremely close contact with the tigers which involved stroking and petting them while the photographer took photographs. We had been advised to always sit and stand behind the tiger when we were stroking them and not to make any sudden moves.

 This was an incredible feeling of our vulnerability in the scheme of things and we were both overwhelmed with the experience. We were able to take many photographs on our mobile phone cameras.

   I was somewhat wary before we made this visit as I had read and heard many horror stories of cruelty to caged animals in the guise of conservation. I enquired on the net and I questioned the keeper who was in the cage with us during our visit. I had heard these magnificent cats were drugged to make them docile. I was assured they weren’t drugged and the reason they were compliant was because this was normally their sleeping period and they were ready for sleep. These tigers are bred and raised in captivity and their way of life in captivity, with food and shelter provided, makes them totally dependent on their keepers. So much so that if it was necessary; these tigers would never survive in the wild, making it highly questionable if there was any conservation going on here at all.

    We did enjoy this memorable experience of getting up close to one of these huge, magnificent big cats. At least we can assume that our entrance fee goes some way to keeping them alive, even if it’s a captive life.

©️ Written by John Yeo. All rights reserved.

SHADOW MONSTERS

MONDAY 17th 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..

SHADOW MONSTERS 

by John Yeo

    Elaine was late coming home after a wonderful evening out with her new friend Robert. They had danced the night away at a local youth club and the time had just flown by. Elaine’s dad was a stickler for timekeeping and she really didn’t want to be late and get grounded. Robert had left her after the youth club had closed, when his Mum arrived to pick him up. They had offered Elaine a lift but she had declined in favour of walking home. In reality she wasn’t ready for her Dad to find out where she had spent the evening.  However there was just one way of getting home on time before her Dad’s deadline time and that was to take a shortcut through the local cemetery. 

    The gate was always open, day and night, no one ever bothered to lock the gates at nighttime for obvious reasons.

 The gate squeaked eerily when she pushed it open. Elaine shuddered to think of the short walk past the rows of headstones. An Owl hooted from the top of an Oak tree. Elaine’s heart was in her mouth as she broke into a run along the pathway.  A sharp wind blew and the trees alongside the pathway were bending and leaning towards her as she quickly ran past. There was a shape lying on one of the benches in the shadows that seemed to be a body. Elaine ran faster and faster until she raced through the gates at the other end and was soon at home knocking on the front door.

    ‘Hello Elaine, you are out of breath! Have you been running? You look all pale as if you’d seen a ghost. Come inside in the warm.’ exclaimed her Dad as he closed the door behind her.

   ‘Thanks Dad, I didn’t want to be late home so I ran.’

    ‘Silly girl, we wouldn’t have worried if you were a few minutes late.’

© Written by John Yeo