Chao Lin was the daughter of a rich Chinese businessman. Just approaching marital age, she was betrothed and her wedding was arranged to take place within the next few days. Lee Wen-lin, was the lucky man to be betrothed to Chao Lin, he was fascinated with her tiny feet. It had been a centuries old Chinese custom to bind a woman’s feet to enhance their beauty. This painful process often resulted in deformity and difficulty in walking. Yet Chao Lin showed no signs of difficulty in gracefully getting around on her tiny feet.
The day before the wedding, the young couple stole away for a few moments together and Lee Wen-lin, who was besotted with his wife-to-be said, ‘Chao Lin, I love to look at your beautiful feet, was it not painful to go through the binding to encourage them to grow so beautiful.’
Chao Lin, who was equally very much in love with him, replied,
‘No my tiny feet are naturally small and petite my love. Let me show you.’
She removed her tiny slippers to reveal two beautifully formed, perfectly pedicured tiny feet.
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..
THE STING OF REJECTION
The scene was played out in the rural peace of central suburban England. Deaven and Gertie were lovers and they had enjoyed a long affair together throughout their years at University.
They had returned from a long holiday together in the sun of the Caribbean now a fragment of both of their memories as they landed in windswept, rain-lashed England.
‘Will your parents be at home when we get there Gertie? I would like to meet them and have a chat with your father.’
‘Yes! They should be there Deaven. What do you want to see him about?’ asked Gertie, feigning ignorance.
Deaven smiled and said nothing in response to this. The chauffeur was waiting for them when they alighted from the train and they were whisked off to the Manor House; Gertie’s home.
Immediately they arrived; after the introductions had been completed, Deaven asked to have a private word with Gertie’s father and the two of them retired to the library.
Raised voices could be heard and the noise of a gunshot broke the silence of the manorial splendour.
The servants dashed in to find one man shot dead and the other man with a serious head wound.
It seems Deaven had asked for the hand of Gertie in marriage and the sting of her father’s response of total rejection had caused him to lose his sense of reality. Deaven had pulled a ceremonial sword off the wall and attacked the overbearing man. Gertie’s Father had pulled a gun from a desk drawer and killed the young man in self defence.
The tragic effect of the sting of abject rejection had a permanent irredeemable effect on all their lives.
Here is my take on the eye-opening performance of the play ‘Les Blancs’ written by by Lorraine Hansberry., currently streaming on YouTube by the National Theatre. I think this is what reality theatre should be highlighting. The unacceptable face of a whitewashed history.
Take a shack, place it in the middle of a revolving stage. Surround it with throbbing beating African music and let the story unfold. Except this was no story, this was the largely untold and hidden history of the horror and abject cruelty of racist imperialism. The hidden history of many European countries who colonised parts of Africa and bled the inhabitants dry of resources and treated the inhabitants as slaves or lesser members of humanity. This play obviously focussed on British imperialism, although it was written by an American, Lorraine Hansberry. Three African brothers are drawn together to attend the funeral of their Father. The shack represents a mission, where the local hospital is located. At the same moment an American writer arrives to research a book he’s writing on the situation in this unnamed part of Africa. The brothers are all from different spheres of life. The first of the brothers we encounter and who plays a leading role in the play has traveled from the USA, where he is married to a white woman, with whom he has a child. The second brother we meet is a priest who is preaching the white man’s religion and is thoroughly imbued with the white man’s culture. The third brother is a helper in the mission and appears to have a relationship with one of the white medical staff who provides him with alcohol and cigarettes. He is a half brother, conceived as a result of a rape of their Mother by an Army officer. There are a melange of important characters who make up the white colonial cast, including a blind elderly lady missionary, two doctors, one male and a lady doctor. The dialogue and the interaction between the various players is a powerful statement of the undercurrents of racism and revolution running through the country at a certain point in time. Revolution against the imperialist invaders is always in the background. The music and the scenes of cold blooded murder, by both the oppressors and the oppressed. There are rumours of white families including babies slaughtered by the rebels as the revolt against imperialism builds apace. Watching and recording everything as it happens in this racist microcosm of African life is always the American writer. Observing and questioning the background and behaviour of both the native rebels and the imperialist invaders. The language and the portrayal of the white supremacist treatment of the natives is shocking and the murders take place openly. The background culture of the lady missionary and the lady doctor as they try to make sense of an insensitive situation is an education in itself. The military presence is portrayed brilliantly by a cruel, racist military officer who has no qualms about shooting and killing a suspect in cold blood. The tension builds as the revolt draws closer and closer to the mission and the white population are ordered to evacuate and leave the area. As the American writer leaves, the lady missionary pleads with him to, ‘Write it and tell it as it is.’ The play makes its way to the final scenes. The remaining two brothers are arguing in a passionate scene and the priest is killed by his brother, who returns to his tribal roots and joins the rebels. The revolution arrives with fire as the mission shack is engulfed in flames. The reality behind this extraordinary play is the hidden history behind the story the author has vividly brought to life. This is the reality of a history that is never taught in schools, perhaps because the establishment is ashamed to draw attention to a past that will always be a stain on the conscience of imperialist colonialism.
Sadly I think very few people will see this performance as the bulk of the viewers will be too busy watching soaps to tune in.
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..
by John Yeo
Pantrus was one of the lesser Greek Gods. He knew he was immortal, but he’d fallen in love with a mortal and wanted to make her as immortal as he was. He introduced her to the substance of immortality and when the Gods heard of this they were extremely angry. When Pantrus realised his error, he ran away and took a trip through time to the twentieth century.
When he woke he found himself in a lodging house in Brixton in the centre of London. Millie the landlady was from the West Indies.
‘Oh you’ve woken up, you were very tired when you arrived at the door last night.’
Pantrus could instantly communicate with her as he was an immortal God with extensive powers.
‘Yes, of course, I wanted to land in a place of security.
Where am I?’
‘You will be safe here alright Sir. We are a very peaceful family.
The strange gold coins you presented when you arrived should pay the rent for ages. What would you like for breakfast?’
Pantrus thought for a moment and said, ‘I would like a glass of nectar and some ambrosia please. Then I will explore the area.’
Ten minutes later Millie came back with a tray containing a cup of tea and some rice pudding.’
‘What’s this?’ asked Pantrus irritably. ‘I will not eat this strange substance.’
Millie looked puzzled and said, ‘That’s Ambrosia rice pudding and the nearest I could get to nectar.’
George entered the surgery and waited by the reception desk. He was a large overweight man in his early forties, he was conspicuously wearing an anorak with the hood up. Ruth the red headed receptionist bustled in from the room behind the reception area.
‘Can I help you?’ she enquired,
‘Beg pardon?’ George replied.
‘CAN I HELP YOU?’
‘Yes of course! I have an appointment with Dr,Green.
‘Take a seat! Ruth said rather loudly, she was wondering if this patient had a hearing problem.
A few minutes later the buzzer sounded and George made his way in to keep his appointment.
‘What seems to be the trouble?’ enquired the doctor.
‘ Well, Doctor, I’m hearing things.’ Said George.
‘What sort of things?’
George said, ‘Noises, like a train on the tracks.’
‘Ah!’ said the Doctor, sounds like Tinnitus. Let’s have a look at your ears.’
‘’Yes please Doctor, it’s like being on an endless railway journey’
Today I will focus on our Asparagus beds on the allotment The photograph above was snapped earlier today after I had spent a couple of hours weeding and manuring the beds with compost.
The compost I’ve used is a mixture of well-rotted horse manure and some of our waste kitchen vegetable matter. There’s also a good portion of grass cuttings and some shredded paper. A good combination of nutrition for these greedy feeders. Over the past 25 years of growing Asparagus on allotments, I find this is a potent mixture indeed. In my opinion it’s wise to feed the plants twice a year. I choose to feed them in the early Spring and again when I’ve finished cutting the spears.
The nutritional benefits of eating Asparagus are many and this makes the effort of persevering with growing these attractive plants, worthwhile. Asparagus is a low calorie vegetable that is an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals especially folate and vitamins A C and K.
The cutting season for me lasts about eight weeks, from the moment the spears first appear in the middle of April until the 15 June. This cut-off date is extremely important as the spears have time to develop into the attractive Asparagus fern. The ferns soak up the sunshine during the remainder of the Summer, which swells the roots to encourage a good crop of Asparagus spears the following year.
The most important threat to Asparagus is an infestation of the dreaded Asparagus beetle that lays its eggs on the emerging spears. They eat the spears as they lay their eggs, they also excrete a substance that is unsightly on the spears and the plants. The larvae eat the centres of the red Asparagus seeds and strip the leaves of the fern.
Over the years I find frequent cutting during the harvest season keeps this pest from laying eggs in the early part of the season. However the danger of infestation for me lies in the period directly after I’ve stopped harvesting, when the spears first appear before they transform into the impressive ferns. On the neighbouring allotment gardens there are many small patches of Asparagus plants growing and as the Asparagus beetle is a flying pest there’s a good chance of infestation from these sources. The only organic cure for the Asparagus beetle appears to be physically plucking the beetles and their eggs off the plants by hand and immersing them in soapy water.
At the end of the season the ferns turn yellow. This is the time to burn them, as opposed to composting them, to prevent any further infestation of the Asparagus beetle.
When first planting Asparagus crowns its best not to cut and harvest the spears for the first two years. Once they’re established Asparagus plants will continue to crop for over 20 years, if they are well looked after.
‘In mythology, Asparagus has been renowned since ancient times both as an aphrodisiac and medicinally, for its healing properties. … With its active compound asparagin stimulating the kidneys, bladder and liver, Asparagus is a powerful detoxifier.’
Today What Pegman’s Saw. travels to Chechnya in the republic of Russia. As always, feel free to stroll around until you feel inspired to write up to 150 words. When you’re finished, post a link to your story on the InLinkz page to share with the other contributors. Remember that reading and commenting on the other stories is a big part of the fun!
A HOSTAGE OF WAR
by John Yeo
Dawn broke over the war-torn streets of Grozny. Russian aircraft had devastated another area of the city overnight. Abdullah and Melissa were moving furtively on their way to feed the Russian hostage. They were both aware of the land mines that were still around. When they reached the dilapidated garages they were surprised to find Bashir, waiting at the entrance.
‘Food won’t be required, the hostage is dead.’
‘Dead! How come?’ asked Mellisa. ‘Did he try to escape?’
‘No!’ replied Bashir, ‘Selina killed him! Apparently her whole family were wiped out last night; she came straight here in a rage and killed him. It’s not a pretty sight, she went wild.’
‘ No!’ Screamed Melissa, ‘Where is she?’
‘She’s in a terrible state, hysterical, begging for forgiveness from God, she’s in shock!’ Bashir replied, tears drenching his eyes.
Abdullah put his arm around his friend, said. ‘We’ll take care of her.’
Grozny has only partly stabilized enough to be safe for travel. Take extreme caution when visiting war-torn areas as there are some unexploded land mines. Rebels often take tourists as hostages, so try to blend in with the population.
Travel Warning WARNING: The UK Foreign Office and other governments advise against all travel to Chechnya. There have been many incidents of foreign and Russian citizens going missing, or being killed or kidnapped. Government travel advisories United Kingdom (Information last updated Dec 2018)
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.
I worked extremely hard today potting our tomato plants into their final pots. I have 30 really healthy plants sited in our back garden. I can never believe the size these large healthy plants have grown, when I look back and consider the tiny black seeds I planted. Although Margaret is unable to eat tomatoes as she’s developed an allergy to them we both enjoy growing them.
Our geraniums are looking splendid this year, I always find these wonderful standby plants so easy to grow. Geraniums require the absolute minimum of attention and they come in some glorious colours.
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.’