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'Drum': a Story, and a Racehorse Pic!

'Drum' is a story I wrote several years ago - another one of those word challenges for an Uxbridge Writers' Circle meeting! The words I had to use are in italics.

I chose it because it reflects, in some part, Richard Osman's (he's my favourite author at the moment - see my previous post) statement that he is 'proud' that his novels put the spotlight on the elderly. He's quoted in the Daily Mail as saying "...these people are so smart, know every trick in the book, have played every trick in the book, but they're underestimated."

Most of you know that I worked in services for seniors for many years.

And, by the way, the incident in the desert is based on an adventure my father had when he was a Captain stationed in Egypt during WWII.

And my sister arranged music for cadets (and won a national competition). That's where the idea for the ending came from.

I follow my story with a pic of It's a Fluke. He's a handsome boy! (racehorse!).


I’m Brigadier General Stanley William Farthing, and I’m sitting on a hard, plastic-covered geriatric chair and staring at nothing in particular. The tantalizing aroma of frying breakfast sausage wafts through the open window and makes my gut rumble as if it’s starved. And it is starved—of decent food worth eating.

The people here treat me as if I’m a stupid, senile old man whose only purpose is to wait for death. They see my wrinkles, my gnarled hands, my shuffling gait, and my thin skin. They think there’s nothing inside.

I long for companionship—someone who wants to know something about me, someone to whom I can tell a few of my life’s stories. I even catch myself wishing my wife was still alive. We shared a lot together, but boy, that woman could nag. And she certainly didn’t want to hear about the time I spent in the desert during the war. The sweat, the grit, the dry, the fear. There were fun times too, though. Once I rode a dromedary, or camel. I was told he was good-tempered and would tolerate an amateur rider. Amateur hardly described me—I’d never been on a dromedary before. Well, as soon as he got up from his knees, he took off. I hung on for dear life as he covered the ground at an alarming speed with huge, powerful strides. The golden, shimmering sand was a shiny blur beneath us. I tried to lift my head to see where this thing was determined to get to, but, without any warning, he grunted and stopped with his huge feet planted into the shifting sand. I flew over his head. It seemed like a bloody long flight to the ground. They couldn’t believe it when they found me standing up, dusting the sand off. I soon realized that the grit had found its way into every crevice of my body and clothes. It took me a week to rid myself of its rasping and grinding.

But I’d rather have that sand aggravating and scratching me than go on living in this nursing home with nothing to do. They think because I’m ninety that I have no brain.

I can’t see at all well, so I don’t have a television. But couldn’t someone turn on a radio? Couldn’t they play music?

I learned to play the trumpet when I was an army cadet. Boy, that was a long time ago. It was fun to march and make great music. You could say it was choreographed. We had to be very precise in our timing. I was good at it. I could play quite a complicated march on my trumpet and follow a pretty fancy drill pattern at the same time. Harry couldn’t. He couldn’t handle it. So they took his trumpet away and gave him a drum. I would like a drum now. I could beat out a great rhythm while I wait for something—anything—to happen before I die.

Vicky Earle Copyright 2023

Handsome Racehorse!

This is It's a Fluke. Martin and I have just fed him some carrots.

He's not looking at me, he's giving Martin a sideways glance to see if he has more!

He loves his food.

He came third in his most recent race (his first of the season) and is keen to run again.

He has a great team of grooms, exercise riders, hot-walkers, farrier, chiropractor, veterinarians, jockey, and of course the trainer (who pulls it all together) to support him, as well as doting owners! We hope he'll be racing in a week or two.

Thank you for reading my post.

Please share!

Thank you.

2 commentaires

01 août 2023

How I’d love to pay Brigadier General Stanley William Farthing a visit!


Anne Leueen
Anne Leueen
01 août 2023


Brigadier general languishing in an elders home is a sad thought. I hope he gets his drum!

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