FIRST LINE PROMPT ~ Bacon sandwiches always reminded her….


by John Yeo

  Bacon sandwiches always reminded her of the time she spent visiting a smallholding in the depths of rural Wales. Philip Jones was a hard worker on his land and managed to come close to self sufficiency in food. 

   My college roommate Patsy, his only daughter, would always extend an invitation to spend time with her family on this beautiful smallholding. Patsy was a tall girl, with long red hair and freckles all over her face and arms. We have always been inseparable friends.

     Patsy stopped me in the quad one beautiful spring day.           ‘Are you coming to stay with us again this year again Belle? you know you are always welcome. Dad always appreciates your help and we can enjoy ourselves in the village again. They still hold the Saturday dance in the village hall.’ 

Patsy had a habit of shortening my name from Annabelle

   “Yes please! I can hardly wait.’

  During the History lecture that afternoon my mind drifted over the coming visit. I was looking forward to playing with the farm animals again, feeding the chickens, walking the dogs and mucking out the pig sty. I had grown quite fond of the friendly  single family pig, I always had time for Priscilla, I swear she was extremely intelligent and I would converse with her while I was in the sty.

   The last two weeks at college passed in a blur, and we were soon on a passenger train speeding through the beautiful green hills and valleys that famously go to make up Wales. We were met at the village railway station by Mr Jones who shook my hand. 

     ‘Hi Annabelle lovely to see you again.’

  He gave his daughter a huge hug and smiling broadly

       ‘Hello Freckles! climb aboard both of you.’ Patsy frowned at this old nickname.

  In contrast to Patsy, Mr Jones was a short, stocky, well muscled man, with an unruly mop of brown hair that he kept in place with a fashionable Barbour hat. He loaded our bags onto the vehicle and we were soon on our way.

   We arrived at the smallholding where we were greeted by Mrs Jones, with a large pot of tea, a huge plateful of bacon sandwiches and buttered scones. Mrs Jones was a beautiful lady, tall with long red hair; it was obvious which side of the family the freckled skin came from.

 The bacon sandwiches were delicious and I couldn’t help enquiring after my friend Priscilla the family pig.

 There was an embarrassed silence as Mr Jones pushed the plate of bacon sandwiches towards me and offered me another sandwich. 

  ‘Such is the reality of life on a self sufficient smallholding.’

It was from that precise moment I became a life-long vegetarian.

©️ Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.


Writing Prompt ~~~ Your dream is to open a restaurant and be a top chef, but how can you do that when you were born without taste buds?


by John Yeo

 ‘My name is Peter; I am 20 years of age. I was born in the leafy suburb of Hampstead in central London. Mum and Dad owned The Velvet Experience, a large Michelin starred restaurant and we lived in a roomy flat above the business. All my early life I was surrounded and suffused with the aromas and the excitement of growing up and working with my parents. It wasn’t until I was eight years old that I realised I had been born differently to everyone else. One day I was working alongside Mum in the large kitchen when she thrust a large silver spoon into my hand and said, 

  ‘Taste this Peter. What do you think of this curry, is it too hot?’

    I dipped the spoon into the tureen that was bubbling away on the stove, I could smell the aroma of what looked like a delicious curry. Then I realised, I couldn’t actually taste the curry. I could smell the beautiful aroma and feel the temperature on the inside of my mouth but I had no sensation of the taste.

 Mum was puzzled, this wasn’t the first time she had noticed my inability to taste things and she’d usually put it down to my suffering from a cold which was interfering with my taste buds. Dad was horrified and immediately decided with Mums approval that I should see the family Doctor as soon as possible. The Doctor sent me off to see a specialist who consulted with another specialist and after numerous tests it was discovered that I’d been born without taste buds. 

 Although Mum and Dad were both upset and disappointed with this result, they were still quite happy to allow me to help and study them at work in the kitchen. I studied the menus, the food people enjoyed and the aromas as the food was being prepared in the kitchen. My sense of smell took over the sensations that would have been recognised by my nonexistent taste buds.

 I went to catering college to obtain my culinary qualifications where I successfully got by, using my highly developed faculties I passed the exams with flying colours.

 Sadly, while I was finishing my studies, Dad had a stroke and became paralysed on his right side. Of course this put an end to his cooking in the restaurant and he would supervise Mum and the employees from the safety of his wheelchair.

 I went straight to work after I’d left college and took over the kitchen from my Mum who was beginning to show signs of the worries of both working and taking care of Dad.

 I had a good team working with me, Jose and Ali, both excellent would be chefs who had been trained by Dad.

 I became adept at judging how our dishes would taste, by the aromas and the quantity of the ingredients backed up by the satisfied looks on our diners faces.

 One day unbeknown to me or the staff, we had a visit from a Michelin star assessor. I prepared the speciality of the house myself and it was no surprise when I received compliments from a well dressed portly gentleman.

 A few weeks later we were surprised and delighted to receive another Michelin star for our restaurant. This made a certain chef who was born without taste buds and his aged parents extremely proud indeed.’

 © Copyright ~ Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved


grafitti (2)

Image courtesy of

A prompt response for ~ Inspiration Monday: ARTISTIC DECAY

Grafitti (1)

Image courtesy of


by John Yeo

  We ran down the platform at top speed, the train had been sitting in the station for at least fifteen minutes.

  “C’mon Betty! Keep up, we mustn’t miss the train, I’ve been waiting so long to get this interview over with. Means a lot to both of us.” Joe said, literally tugging her along.

 “Alright Joe, I’m coming! Please don’t pull my sleeve like they. You will ruin my new coat, I bought it especially for this college interview. It will be great to go to the same Art college together.”

 “Wait, please wait!”  shouted Joe to the Guard who stood on the platform with a flag and his whistle, which he raised to his lips ready to set the train in motion. He smiled as the young couple dashed up and jumped into the nearest carriage.

  “Phew, that was close!” Joe went on, as Betty collapsed in the nearest seat to the door. The train soon pulled away from the station into the leafy countryside speeding through the rural beauty of England on the way from their hometown of Ware to the city of London.

It was then that they took notice of the other two passengers in the carriage, an elderly gentleman with a smartly dressed young lady, both were politely smiling, as Joe and Betty settled back into their seats.

 “Look at that wonderful view Joe,”  said Betty. “Beautiful farms and country houses set in acres of rolling countryside.

Joe grunted in reply, as he put his head down studying his iPhone intently.

The closer they got to the city, the more derelict and decrepit the buildings looked as the large blocks of flats and terraced houses with washing lines on the balconies, became views of factories and industrial units. The buildings were covered in graffiti; an amazing variety of shapes and patterns and pictures that seemed to accentuate the general state of urban decay.

Betty was shocked at this change of scene. “Joe, that’s disgraceful, look at that shocking rubbish and abandoned litter, piled around the buildings and the graffiti all over the walls!”

Joe looked up from his device and said, “Betty, I hate the rubbish and the piles of junk all over the place, but I think some of the graffiti is good and actually has the effect of brightening up the urban landscape.”

 Betty then replied, “Joe that graffiti is mostly rubbish and has no meaning, just block initials and hearts and zigzags.”

There was a polite cough as the elderly gentleman in the opposite corner of the carriage broke in. “I beg to differ, young lady, the graffiti is an example not only of urban decay it reveals the underlying artistic decay of the population. This is an example of youth expressing themselves in the nearest they can get to pure art.”

 Joe then looked closely at their traveling companion and gasped, “You are Sir Larry the television artist, who has made millions from art! We are off to college to be interviewed for our places.”

The young lady then smiled and said, “Sir Larry will be on the selection panel!”

Betty said, “I hope I haven’t put my foot in it by what I said.”

The gentleman smiled and said, “I am sure you will get a place, both of you, I am a prime example of Artistic Decay, I was a graffiti artist once a long time ago when I was young.”

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved