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.
I wrote this post for ‘The Quintet’ our church magazine in response to the theme of…SLAVERY.
Image courtesy of pixabay.com
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.
We enjoyed a wonderful show for our final night of this festive break at Gunton Hall in Suffolk. We soaked up the music and magic of Elvis Presley, performed by Mark Summers, backed by the Memphis Sons; an excellent tribute band, Mark Summers, the Elvis Presley, lookalike and sound-alike was magnificent, full of the energy and sophistication required to pull off brilliant renditions of legendary song after legendary song; bringing many pleasant dormant memories to life. The audience were mainly from the age that experienced these massive hits when they were performed by the great man himself. Mark Summers had his audience waving their arms in the air while singing along to the well-remembered words of these Elvis Presley classics. With the help of an attractive lady backing singer and the brilliant sounds of his backing group, the Memphis Sons. Margaret and I enjoyed this show enormously and we finished the evening dancing pleasurably to the music as this enigmatic singer performed the encores demanded by his smitten audience.
I wrote the following piece of flash fiction for our church magazine in response to the theme of Electricity. Sadly there is a lot of truth embedded in this little tale Somewhere there has to be a solution to our need to power new homes for our ever increasing population. At what cost?
ELECTRICITY AT WHAT COST
by John Yeo
The electricity of inter-species tolerance and communication in action.
The sun was shining and although it was quite cold, we decided to go for a stroll around the lake. Sweet chestnuts and empty husks lay in great profusion under the trees. Autumn leaves underfoot scrunched as we strolled along a well-worn path. There was a distinctly autumnal feel to our walk, as we strolled along treading the crunchy leaves underfoot. Many sweet chestnuts and husks were piled under the trees, left behind by the ever-busy grey squirrels as they secreted sweet chestnut kernels in hidden larders as a store of food for the long winter months ahead. Many of these playful squirrels were chasing each other up and down the trees as we strolled along. A good number of Moorhens and Mallard Ducks were swimming on the surface of the lake and in tiny inlets under the trees. The ever-present avaricious Gulls were swooping around over the lake and floating on the water squabbling with each other. We passed a pair of Egyptian Geese sleeping on the banks of the lake, who obligingly awoke and posed for a photograph as we walked by. Many Wood Pigeons were pecking around in the grass, it’s a wonder there is food enough here to support this large community of different species of birdlife, together with the Squirrels and the ever increasing number of Rabbits.
Then, nailed to a tree was a notice. We had heard rumours on the communal grapevine about the fate of this beautiful spot, and here it was plain for all to see. The owners of this lovely beauty spot had sold out to big business. This beautiful area was to be destroyed and replaced with two giant wind turbines and a mast for telephone and broadband reception. The bases of these three monstrosities would be concreted over for stability and ease of maintenance. These two turbines would generate enough electricity to power up to 6000 homes.
Sadly, we continued along our way, thoughts were racing through my mind. Ripples in the lake betrayed the presence of many large fish, the lake is situated within a few hundred yards of the coast. Freshwater fish obviously thrive here, kept under control by the attention of the local family of Herons. Another pair of Mallard Ducks swam lazily on the surface of the water and a Moorhen raced for cover as we walked noisily by on the multi-coloured leaves. Suddenly there was a movement at a small pool on the banks of the lake as a large Toad with a distinctive yellow stripe along his back came into view. He didn’t hop along he almost walked out of the reeds alongside the pool.
‘My God!’ I thought, ‘I don’t believe it; that is certainly a Natterjack Toad. A member of a protected species. This development will never go ahead’
Our mood suddenly became euphoric as the implications of this discovery became clear.
I quickly pulled out my iPhone and began taking many photographs of this saviour of the natural environment.
The rest is history, the turbines were relocated, providing the much-needed electricity for the planned new homes and in the following Spring many baby Mallard ducks and Egyptian Geese will be born here and there should be strings of Natterjack Toads eggs in the pools surrounding our beautiful protected lake.
I wrote the following piece of Flash Fiction for our Church magazine in response to this months theme of WATER..
The Relentless Sea
by John Yeo
Driftwood, bobbing and bouncing on the top of the waves, was the first clue that Old Tom had claimed another unwary, unsuspecting victim. Our hearts sank whenever large spars of wood came drifting in on the foamy, relentless, rough waves in exceptionally stormy weather. Old Tom was the name given by the locals over many centuries to a line of cliffs that were hidden at the entrance to the harbour. Obscured from the sight of incoming vessels by the high waters. There was a large rock, shaped like a giant, hence the name and the well deserved ugly reputation.
Several battered suitcases and wooden barrels arrived bobbing into the waiting arms of the people lining the shore. These wrecks always drew a crowd of locals searching for the remains. This wreckage seemed to be different than the usual detritus that floated into shore.
“I wonder if there were many lives lost out there this time. Last time Old Tom claimed twenty-nine. I hear we must be thankful for small mercies, the rocky arms of Old Tom have embraced many of our enemies in the past and saved us from invaders.” Billy Martindale said to his wife Josie.
Josie looked pale and drawn, dragged from her customary hard routine of caring for their home, she had always accompanied her husband to lend assistance if there was a shipwreck.
“I sincerely hope not!” she replied.
Billy and Josie had lived on the cliffs of this perilous coastline for thirty-five years, a harsh way of life, that both of them had learned to accept the hard way, as they knew no other. They had two sons Bert and Jack, who had long since left the safety of their home and gone to sea. The first of the dead floated in.
Josie gasped, “It’s a baby! Oh no! Look, Billy.” Then another group of bodies was washed up on the shore. These were families, and the horror set in as the extent of this tragedy began to slowly unfold. The Coastguards and the Lifeboats returned to shore after a fruitless search for survivors. The newspapers reported another boatload of refugee asylum seekers had been drowned that day off the rugged, rocky coast. At the final tally, Old Ben had claimed another forty-nine lives. Sadly the horrors that drove these people to seek sanctuary, seem so ongoing and insoluble that we can only pray for future peace and goodwill in this world.
I wrote the following piece of Flash Fiction for our Church magazine in response to this months theme of 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.
I wrote the following piece of Flash Fiction for our Church magazine in response to this months theme of 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.
Happy Fiction Friday! Here’s your prompt: You finally build up the courage to talk to that cute someone you see every day on the bus. Their face turns dark as they respond, “You shouldn’t be able to see me.” Happy writing!
by John Yeo
It’s raining hard this morning with a strong wind that keeps trying hard to blow my umbrella inside out. It’s a good job I don’t have far to go to the bus stop. I turn the collar up on my raincoat, this helps a bit to keep my neck warm and dry. Glancing at the time on my iPhone I see I am right on time the usual crowd of commuters is gathered at the bus stop. Most of them crammed into the bus shelter. I smile and nod at some of the more familiar faces. A smartly dressed young man pushes back into the shelter to allow me room to squeeze inside, much to the chagrin of old sourpuss who has to suffer the indignity of actual bodily contact with a couple of other commuters. She rewards the young man with a look of pure hatred, even though I have been traveling on this route for a year, old sourpuss would never deign to acknowledge my existence. The young man, who wears a thin gold earring, then acts in a totally unexpected way and pokes his tongue out at the tall grey-haired elderly lady. A look of shock covers the face of old sourpuss as she angrily turns her face away. I have an added incentive to make sure I get the usual bus. I have been admiring a certain pretty young woman for several months now. She usually gets aboard the bus at the next stop after I board the bus and she always gets off at the stop before mine outside the private hospital. I have never seen such an attractive person in my life before, she is so adorably beautiful I get shy and unsure of myself whenever I see her. I have noticed she never speaks to anyone and no one else seems to know her. I wonder how I can ever pluck up enough courage to break the ice and to introduce myself to her. I choose a seat near the entrance to the bus where I knew I was sure to catch her eye as she entered the bus. I had a vague plan in my mind that may give me the opportunity to break the ice and have a chat with her. The rain was still pouring down when the bus reached the next stop, where the cute young lady usually gets on board. The bus came to a stop and three passengers boarded together. A young couple got on first and there was a few minutes delay as the young man began fishing for some change from his pocket while his wife and the bus driver patiently waited. Finally with a grin followed by a laugh the couple took their seats on the bus. Then came the moment I had been waiting for when my dream lady got on the bus. She shook the raindrops off her red umbrella and placed her ticket on the automatic digital charging icon. Her long blond hair was tied up in a ponytail hanging behind her. As she walked by my seat I got up with a paperback book in my hand, ‘Is this yours?’ I asked, ‘Only I found it on the seat you sat in after you had got off the bus yesterday.’
I was taken aback as the young woman’s face darkened with a horrified surprise. ‘You shouldn’t be able to see me, I am an alien from a different world than you. I must exist in your imagination. No one ever takes any notice of me or pays any attention to me. That’s why I attend the hospital for treatment every day. Are you a patient there?’
I shook my head and backed away in stunned surprise, I smiled at her as she got off the bus at the private Psychiatric hospital. I still think she is a dream on legs, a figment of my imagination or not.
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.