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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2005 11:30 pm
by John A Silkstone
Hi folks here I am again. The following is one of the many events that have happened within my working life.

By John A Silkstone

Some people say that they can remember exactly what they were doing when the news broke that American President John F Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.

I remember I was in Cyprus at the time, but I can’t remember what I was doing.

Now the 30th May 1971 I do remember, for that day’s events are etched deep into my brain.

I was on the middle shift at the Queen Alexandria Military Hospital, Millbank, London. I was looking forward to my 11 o’clock break when I was summoned to the Deputy Matron’s office.

“Morning Johnâ€￾ she said “take a seat.â€￾
This in itself was unusual. Deputy Matrons don’t call you by your Christian name, nor do they ask you to sit down. While taking a seat my mind worked overtime with thoughts of mishaps that could have befallen on my family.

The Deputy Matron carried on. “John, a mother and father will arrive at 11.45 hours to view their son who is to be buried this afternoon. I would like you to go to the Chapel of Rest and lay out the body for viewing, also make sure that everything is neat and tidy.â€￾

Inwardly I gave a sigh of relief. It had nothing to do with my family.
Having laid out many cadavers in the past, one more wouldn’t make any difference and so I answered. “Yes Ma-am.â€￾

Leaving the office I made my way to reception and collected the keys to the Chapel of Rest. Entering the chapel, I noticed a small white coffin on the dais.

Taking a deep breath I paused. Being in the forces I had assumed that the body would be that of a soldier, and not that of a soldier’s child.

Lifting the casket lid, I stared down at the grey waxy face of a child that was only a few weeks old. An autopsy had taken place and some of the scars were quite visible and ugly.

Replacing the lid I left the chapel.

Returning to the ward I pleaded with the female nurses to lend me some of their cosmetic make-up, I also removed a pillow case from the cupboard.

Once again in the chapel I applied powder to the child’s face, highlighted the cheeks with blusher and applied a small amount of rouge to the small purple lips. Cutting off a corner of the pillowcase, I placed it over the child’s head to form a skullcap.

Having completed my duties, I was about to leave the chapel when I heard a knock at the door.

On opening the door I found the Deputy Matron with the child’s parents.

Even before entering the chapel the mother was in a pitiful state. At the coffin side she broke down sobbing. The father comforted his wife while at the same time keeping his military bearing and training. Though he stood soldier like, I could see the hollow man within his eyes. I knew then, that he would grieve for his loss at a later time and in private. However, at this moment in time he had be the rock that his wife could lean on.

On leaving the chapel the Deputy Matron silently mouthed “Thank youâ€￾ and nodded her head.

Nothing else needed to be said.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2005 11:42 am
by GrimDad
Well I am glad that nasty hacker did not get any of your great short stories John, nor most of the others - look forward to more soon !!

PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 8:06 pm
by John A Silkstone
By John A Silkstone

"Chaz !" bellowed the editor, his voice booming across the office floor.

Young Charlie dashed round the typing room and into the large glass office of the editor. Between breaths, he gasped: "Yes chief ?"

Eyeing him up and down, the editor said. "I've got a job for you. Get on that motorbike of yours and go round to Chestnut Avenue. There's an old lady's cat up a tree. Get the story. Then straight back here with it. Okay?"
"Who? Me?"
"Yes you, you ruddy idiot. What are you still standing here for? You should be there by now."
"Yes chief, right away chief," called Chaz over his shoulder, as he barged into the door frame in his haste to be out on the job.

The chief smiled as he watched Chaz grab his crash helmet and dash out of the main door. "Was I that eager to be out on my first story?" he mumbled himself.

Crossing the car park to his bike, Chaz thought about the big story he would soon be writing. Stop the presses! Headline news coming in! Cub reporter on scene as cat is rescued from tree! Well; perhaps not a big story, but if I make a good job of writing it up the editor might print it, and I will have my first by-line. Starting up, he embarked on his assignment.

Signalling to turn into Chestnut Avenue, Chaz saw a policeman on point duty. The officer raised his hand with palm forward and fingers extended, Chaz stopped.
"Sorry sir, this road is now closed to all traffic."
Feeling ten feet tall, Chaz removed from his pocket a press card. "Press." he announced, showing the card to the constable. The officer peered at the card and scrutinized the motorbike rider. He saw a youngish face with acne spots below the domed top of the crash helmet.
"How old are you son?" he enquired.
"Nearly eighteen." replied Chaz with a frown.
The constable pointed to a spot across the road. "Park your bike over there son, no vehicles allowed beyond this point."

While Chaz did so, the constable gave a little shake of his head and thought; these reporters get younger every day.

Chaz ran up the avenue to where the emergency vehicles stood. The two ambulance men are talking to the fire crew by the fire tender.
"Morning chaps; I'm the Evening News reporter, what's the story?"

The members of both crews turned to look at him.
"Bit young for a reporter aren't you lad" said one of the firemen.
"I'll have you know that I'm the top cub reporter on the paper" retorted Chaz.

Another fireman interrupted, "You must be young Charlie Adam's?" Chaz's chest swelled with pride,
"Yes I am. You have heard of me then?"
"Yes I have heard of you. My younger sister works on the paper; she told me that you started three weeks ago as the proof runner and cub reporter. As you are the only cub reporter on the paper, then you must be the top one. Right!"

Ego deflated, Chaz pleaded. "Come on chaps, please help me. The editor will have my guts for garters if I don't get a good story."

They all started to laugh and one of the firemen men interjected,
"We're only having you on son; we all had to start somewhere. What do you want to know?"

Chaz began to relax and removing his notebook and pencil from his pocket, he thought about the five Ws - Who. What. Where. Why and When. He then started to ask questions.
"whose cat is it?"
"Cat? What cat" inquired the ambulance driver?
"The cat up the tree!"
"It's not a cat up the tree," exploded the paramedic, in vehement tones. "do you think that I'd be in attendance for a cat? It's an elderly lady that's up the tree."
Old lady up a tree, this is more like a story, thought Chaz.
"An old lady up a tree. Why?" he asked.
"That's what the governor and the police sergeant are trying to find out," answered one of the firemen, as he gestured with his head towards the top of the avenue. Chaz's eyes followed the direction of the action; he saw for the first time the fire officer and the police sergeant. They were standing about a hundred and fifty metres away under a tree.

"Oh I see. I'll go and have a word with them then."
He started to move off, when a fireman caught him by the arm.
"No you don't sonny, you being up there could startle the lady and cause her to fall out of the tree, and we don't want that, do we?"
"Well how I going to get my story then?"
The same fireman answered, "The governor will fill you in on all the facts later."

The group stood about talking, when one of them said, "The sergeant's coming back."
Everyone looked up the avenue.

As the sergeant got near, Chaz ran forward to meet him.
"Excuse me sergeant, I'm from the Evening News..."
Cutting him short in mid-sentence, the sergeant snapped. "Later laddie, later." Chaz, a pace behind the sergeant moved onto the group of men.
"Right men," said the sergeant. Then looking at Chaz, "Take your notes now son, I'm only going to say this once. It appears that the occupant at number 72, a Mrs. Edith Smith, placed a ladder against the tree at 0730 hours this morning. Climbing into the tree, she then knocked the ladder away The council workmen turned up at 0800 hours to cut down the tree because it's a danger to the public. They couldn't perform their task as Mrs. Smith was sitting in the tree. It appears that Mrs. Smith has been fighting the council over this tree for a long time; she doesn't want them to chop it down. She refuses to come down and has threatened to jump, should we try to remove her. A neighbour informed me that Mrs. Smith goes to church every Sunday, so I have radioed for a car to collect the vicar. Perhaps he can talk her down."

After writing down the salient points, Chaz asked. "How old is the lady and is she fit enough to stay up the tree?"
"Good questions son, the same neighbour also told me that Mrs. Smith is nearly seventy and for most of her life she was a dancer. As for being fit, she takes the local keep fit class in the church hall, twice a week."
"Can I talk to her?" inquired Chaz hopefully. "No son you can't."
"But my Ed..."

Once again the sergeant cut him short. "Son, the safety of Mrs. Smith is paramount. She comes first above anything else. As for your editor, he can go and jump in the lake. If I find you anywhere near that tree, I will arrest you for interfering with an officer in the course of his duties. Do you understand?"
"Yes but..."
"No buts son, you have been warned, Do ... you ... understand?"
"Yes sergeant," answered a downcast Chaz.

The sergeant was about to return to the tree when he heard a police siren. Looking down the avenue he saw the policeman on point duty waving through a patrol car, which then drove up the avenue to stop at the rear of the ambulance. As the sergeant approached the car, the vicar climbed out.

"Morning vicar, if you'll come with me I'll explain about Mrs. Smith and what is happening."

The vicar and sergeant moved off, to walk up the avenue.

Chaz crossed to the other side of the road to get a better view. Because of the foliage on the tree, he couldn't see Mrs. Smith, but he saw the vicar rest a ladder against the tree, and climb it. After a few minutes he descended the ladder and held a conference with the two officers at the foot of the tree. The fire officer jogged smartly to the fire engine.

Moving towards the tender, Chaz tried to hear what was being said. The governor asked one of his men to get him a small hand saw from the tool box. He returned to the tree and handed the saw to the vicar. The vicar once more ascended the ladder.

Halfway up he stopped to say a prayer, after which he proceeded to saw off a small branch.

Back on the ground, the vicar spoke to the fire officer, who then called forward his men. The firemen and the ambulance crew ran up to the tree, while Chaz brought up the rear.

A fireman climbed the ladder and carefully placing Mrs. Smith over his shoulder in a fireman's lift, returned her safely to the ground. Mrs. Smith refused medical treatment and was escorted into her house by the vicar.

As the emergency vehicles left the scene, Chaz knocked on Mrs. Smith's front door, which was open. by the vicar.
"Excuse me vicar, I'm from the Evening News and I would like to interview Mrs. Smith as to why she was up that tree?"
"Well my son, I will talk to Mrs. Smith about your request. If I don't open the door in the next few minutes, please don't knock again, but wait for me by the gate. I will inform you of her decision when I come out."
"Thank you vicar."
"God be with you my son," he said, and closed the door.

Chaz was gathering information from a neighbour at number 75, when he saw Mrs. Smith open her door to say goodbye to the vicar.

Dashing across the avenue, Chaz met the vicar at the gate.
"Please vicar, can you let me know the details, or my editor will think that I am no good at my job
"Very well my son, Mrs. Smith has given me permission to inform you as to why she was up the tree. Five years ago, Mr. Smith died. On his death bed, he told Edith, that's Mrs. Smith, that he would never leave her, and that his spirit would always be sitting in that tree outside their house. He would watch over her and await her arrival. Once together again they would start their final journey hand in hand. Mrs. Smith was worried that once the tree was cut down, she would lose her husband forever. She now has the branch that I sawed off, and as long as she has that branch, she knows that her beloved husband is still waiting for her.
That my son is your story!"

PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 8:13 pm
by John A Silkstone
Hi GrimDad,

Thanks for your remarks, here is another story for all to read.

Sorry for being away for so long, but I've been writing book one of a trilogy.
It's gone off to a publisher and I'm just waiting for the rejection slip.
(Ye of little faith.)

I'm writing book two and book three is on the back burner.


PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 9:50 pm
by GrimDad
Hi John, love your new short story 'Waiting'.

And I am pleased to hear that you have been busy writing - a triology is certainly something to go for !!

Hope your book 1 does not get too many rejections, you write too nicely for that I'm sure John.

PS. Not sure what publishers are up to these days, but I notice that Lincoln poet Valerie Rose had a small book of poems published as a book and then recently with Wilmots here as an e-book selling in the Online Store at £2.99. Maybe that could be another option later on for you. Shakespeare e-books are popular anyway especially when they are free !

PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2006 11:15 pm
by John A Silkstone
Hi Andy,

Went to the reunion dinner over the weekend and met Lance Milo Operating Theater Tech. Last saw him at Tidworth hospital in 1962. Had a good time. six Chelsea Pensioners and two Beef eaters there. Will show you the photos some time.
Silky :crazy: :crazy: :crazy:

PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2006 7:25 pm
by John A Silkstone
This was me after two pints at the Army Reunion Dinner.

:think: :wtf: :crazy:

PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 2:34 pm
by Clare

Very good John. Lots of energy and even a little style !?