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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ENSLAVEMENT BY ADDICTION

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

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Image courtesy of pixabay.com

MODERN SLAVERY

by John Yeo

 The first thing that comes to mind when one thinks about slavery, is the horror of the period between 1600 when legal mass slavery was reputed to have begun in the UK and 1863 when slavery was officially abolished in the USA.

Although slavery in one form or another actually began much earlier, in the form of war captives, and the domination of one tribe by another.

 However, slavery comes in many forms; human slavery is just the tip of a hidden iceberg. Almost every one of us is a slave to addiction in one form or another. Whether it be one of the obvious big four, Alcohol, Drugs, Tobacco, or Gambling or another enslaving addiction such as the habitual rejection of food as in questionable diets and slimming fads that could lead to the horrors of Anorexia or Bulimia.

 A miser’s enslaving addiction is the storing up of wealth and hatred of expenditure.

Addiction can take many forms, in fact, people can become addicted slaves to almost anything, from eating too much ice cream to viewing obscenity.

By far the newest trap, with the potential to become the biggest modern path into enslavement comes in the form of Internet addiction. Particularly the new, so-called, Social Media, it starts as a wonderful way to keep in touch with friends but it can slowly and insidiously become a time-consuming, enslaving addiction. ‘Just one little look!’ becomes hours and hours of pointless time-wasting.

 The dangers of internet enslavement to the younger generation have been recognized and well-recorded. This has the potential of becoming the biggest threat to the unwary in recorded history. With the added side effects of leading the young astray along a maze of unforeseen addictive paths. Children, of all ages and many adults, are becoming bombarded with images and alluring, time-consuming pathways embedded in the World-Wide-Web.

This is not to downplay the obvious advantages of the web for education and instant communication.

One of the biggest challenges in the near future will certainly be a coming to terms with the effects of this widespread, self-inflicted, modern form of enslavement of the unwary; who become ensnared by this highly addictive web.

©️John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

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.

 

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.

BURY THE SEEDS ~ SPRING

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

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SPRING

by John Yeo

To the gardener, Spring is an exciting season of birth-rebirth and renewal.

 Seeds are planted in the sure hope that new life will spring from the ground in the form of food and flowery sensations. Some plants in the borders appearing dead and past resuscitation suddenly spring back to life from their Winter dormancy. The cacophony of birdsong and calls that is known as the dawn chorus begins as wild birds build their nests laying numerous eggs, nurturing and helping them to develop into chicks.

Spring always a season of new life has been extra special for us this year as Margaret and I have been presented with a new Great Grandson, a Spring baby. I wrote this poem which I have dedicated to him and I am delighted to share here as a tribute to all concerned with our grateful thanks to God.

 

BURY THE SEEDS

by John Yeo

 

Bury the seeds in the minds of the young,

Nurture and take care of their fertile minds.

Allow them the freedom to think things through

Watch the growth of ideas spring forth.

Harvest the results of future growth

In technology, the arts, and science.

Enjoy the improvements in life.

~

Bury the seeds of peace and freedom,

Nurture a caring, sharing empathy for all.

Allow a mixture of cultures in life

Promote a feeling of self-worth with thought.

Harvest the feelings of peace and love.

No more war, free speech with equality.

Enjoy sharing the feeling of a natural life.

~

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

 

A DRAMATIC SHOCK REACTION

A REEDSY PROMPT

A DRAMATIC SHOCK REACTION

by John Yeo

   That night, the action backstage was even more dramatic than the story unfolding onstage. Harry Houston, the leading man of this highly successful production was in a terrible rage. Harry stood himself up to his full 6 foot 6 inches height and shouted aggressively and belligerently at the diminutive figure of Peter Whelks, the stage manager.
    ‘Look here Whelks, I’d like you to get rid of that so-called makeup artist at once. She is awful, I’ve broken out in a rash all over my face and my neck.’
Harry Houston’s veins were protruding through his leathery skin as an effect of his incredible rage. Peter likened his performance to a cross between Godzilla and a fire-breathing dragon.
     ‘Sure thing Mr. Houston, there will be an instant investigation and if she’s responsible she will be dismissed instantly.’

    ‘Of course, she’s responsible man! She’s the only person who gets paid an enormous salary to apply the muck here that masquerades as makeup. I want her fired immediately.’
Harry then proceeded to cover the offending itchy spots with swathes of calamine lotion from the first aid kit, which had the effect of turning his face and neck bright pink.
At that point, Mrs. Imelda Spinks, a competent professional, who represented the theatre company as head of the makeup department responsible for the facial appearances of the whole cast, bustled into the dressing room. A short-haired lady with streaks of grey showing through her dyed blonde hair, she had piercing blue eyes reflecting an expression that announced she would brook no nonsense from anyone.
     ‘Oh my God! Mr. Houston what have you been doing? You’re on stage soon, you have ruined my carefully applied makeup, what’s that stuff all over you? Here let me help you wipe it off.’

     ‘Stay away from me you old dragon! It’s all your fault, by smearing your dreadful muck all over my face you have managed to bring me out in incredibly itchy spots.’ Shouted the leading man in a threatening aggressive manner.

    ‘Now hold on a minute, Mr. Houston, we have to establish the facts before you are able to accuse anyone.’ Interceded Peter Whelks, nervously stepping away from both of them.

    ‘Don’t you dare speak to me in that tone of voice, you rude ignorant excuse for a gentleman. I’ll slap your face hard for you and you’ll need more than camomile lotion. How come nobody else in the company is showing any signs of these spots?’

    ‘Shut up you idiotic clown! Of course, it’s the gunge you call stage makeup that you’ve been spreading all over my face for the last two weeks now.’ Shouted Harry Houston.

     ‘Look here Harry, You are out of order here. I must insist you apologise to Mrs. Spinks at once please.’ Peter Whelks broke in again.

  With a sudden crack, the tall 6-foot figure of Harry Houston staggered back under the force of a sharp slap from the diminutive Mrs. Spinks.
To everyone’s surprise, Harry Houston suddenly attempted to speak but his tongue seemed to be thick and swollen. He collapsed and rapidly passed out as he hit the floor. It took seconds for Peter Whelks to react
    ‘Call an ambulance quickly!’ he shouted, ‘ He’s not moving at all, I think he is unconscious.’
Derek, a stagehand, who had been standing by, enjoying this unplanned spectacle instantly pulled out his mobile phone and dialed 999. Twelve minutes later a Paramedic arrived on a motorcycle followed by an emergency ambulance. Three professionals were soon hard at work, desperately trying to bring Harry Houston around.

   Mrs. Spinks meanwhile had turned a deathly shade of white and Derek, the stagehand quickly bought up a chair for her. Peter Whelks ordered him to fetch a glass of water for her from the kitchen adjoining the stage. Then turning to Mrs. Spinks he said, ‘Don’t worry, my dear, there is a lot more happening here than meets the eye.’
Mrs. Spinks, her lips trembling and her hands visibly shaking with shock, sat still, transfixed into silence.

     ‘Has anyone telephoned Belinda Houston and let her know what’s happening here?’ enquired Peter Whelks.

  At that precise moment, a tall immaculately dressed lady arrived. Belinda Houston had appeared, right on cue.
    ‘What’s going on? I hear Harry has collapsed and is receiving medical attention.’

  ‘Yes,’ replied Peter. ‘He is in that ambulance there undergoing treatment, the young paramedic standing over there will give you the details.’

Belinda approached the young lady paramedic and said,
‘I’m Mrs. Houston, What’s happened to my husband? I hear he has suddenly collapsed.’

     ‘Yes Mrs. Houston, I’m Ruby Dawson, a senior paramedic. We have brought him around, he seems to have been undergoing a shock reaction to an, as yet, unidentified substance. Can you tell us if he’s allergic to anything obvious? He has a nasty rash on his face and his neck.’

   ‘Oh! Of course, he has a strong allergy to peanuts, the slightest trace of a peanut is enough to provoke a reaction. He knows better than to go near peanuts.’ replied Mrs. Houston.

   ‘That’s it! Exactly what we thought, he has had an anaphylactic shock episode. I’m sorry to say he’ll have to spend the night in hospital under observation. Would you like to accompany your husband in the ambulance?’

   ‘No thanks, I think I will follow in my car after I’ve collected a few things from home.’

  After the ambulance had left the theatre, Peter Whelks called Imelda Spinks and Derek, the stagehand into his office and announced that the show would go on with the understudy in the leading role. He stated quite emphatically that in the interests of confidentiality they were forbidden to discuss the events of the day. He assured Imelda that the management would act with every sympathy for her predicament as the treatment meted out to her by Harry Houston had been unacceptable.
Several days later a huge bouquet arrived for Imelda from Harry Houston with a note of apology attached.

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

 

MUSED MOURNING

A prompt response for Master Class ~ Assignment ~ Mused Mourning

http://ourwriteside.com/category/prompts/master-class/

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MUSED MOURNING

by John Yeo

The black-edged cards were delivered to many friends and family in distant parts, announcing the sad news, with the date and time of the funeral.
The deceased man’s wife had tears in her eyes, as she checked the wording.
The children of the couple, rallied round her, sympathetically consoling her, while holding back their personal tears.
There was no positive response over the next few days, just guarded replies expressing deepest sympathy.

The day of the funeral arrived and the dead man’s wishes were followed as the service in the little village church took place in his desired format.

We were gathered around the grave. Thirty people, composed of the close family and friends of the deceased, stood back as the priest mouthed the last rites. Some were openly crying as the poetic words were expressed over the remains of someone who was once a respected member this small community.

My mind drifted over the life of this unusual person.
His childhood spent in an unsettling wartime environment. Followed by a spell in a reasonably happy home, with brothers and then newly acquired stepsisters.
Then came Boarding school and the trials of learning in a regimented environment.

Youth, with the challenging teenage years, and the swinging sixties, with blue jeans and rock and roll. Girls and dances: Everlasting love, followed by several broken hearted partings.

Love and marriage, fulfilled with happy children and the many ups and downs of
a successful career, followed by a happy retirement.

My mind continued to rove over the peaks and troughs of this familiar man’s life.

How could he have found the dream, and lived with peace and contentment having experienced so many peaks and troughs?

My inner self, placed myself forward in time. Would my life’s end reflect the life I have led, or would my demise be just another death, mourned by the few, and forgotten by the many?

Perhaps if I follow my path through life and take life as it arrives?
My mind continued to drift, musing over the obvious realization that a life lived has already passed. The past is fixed and unchanging.

I will certainly live life while I have a life to live.

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

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A PANOPLY OF FOOLS

PanoplyDaily Prompt on WordPress 3rd December 2016 ~ PANOPLY

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Titania and Bottom in a scence from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, by Edwin Landseer. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons –

A PANOPLY OF FOOLS

by John Yeo

  It was a rather special afternoon all the members were holding their breath in anticipation. Today was casting day for the local drama society, rumour had it that some extraordinary special guests would be attending the auditions.
   The play we would be performing was to be William Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.
    I had reluctantly joined the West Chester drama society at the behest of my dear wife Penelope, who is a regular performer. This was to be a first, I have never acted in my life before and I was feeling incredibly nervous about the prospect. I gingerly made myself known to the other members of the group as we entered a local pub, “The Leering Donkey.”

       “Hello everyone, I’m Peter, nice to meet you all.” There were several nods and smiles of welcome and approval from the assembled members of the drama group.

   I was a bit unnerved, when a tall young man came bustling up and said;
     “Hi and welcome I’m Lawrence. Wow! You will be perfect for the role of Nick. Penelope darling! Well done; your husband will be perfect for the role I have in mind.”

   “Nick?” I asked, “I don’t remember a character by the name of Nick in Midsummer Nights Dream. I read the play last night at home!”

Lawrence smiled and said, “Don’t worry Peter, the character you have been selected to play has an important role to play! I think you will be perfect for the role of Nick Bottom. A very sought after role indeed!”

“BOTTOM!” I exclaimed: “You mean the character with an Asses head, the bloody fool?”

“Peter this is not just any old fool you will be playing here! Bottom is a very important fool. Out of all the panoply of Shakespeare’s fools Bottom is the finest. I think this role could be the start of a well-revered career: Bottom was one of the leading performers in the Mechanicals. I think you will be perfect for this part. Am I not right Penelope darling?”

“Are you mad? I refuse to get involved with this! Anyway! Who do you think you are calling darling? That’s my wife you are addressing.” I said, becoming quite annoyed by the sly inferences of this toffee-nosed idiot.

“Just a theatrical term lovey. It’s a great pity; Won’t you change your mind? I think you would be perfect for the role; I’m sure you would look exactly right playing the character with an asses head.”

“Bugger off!” I said walking out of the pub.

One month later Lawrence and my wife Penelope had set up home together. I swear if I ever wake up from this horrible dream, I will get my revenge.

 

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved