Friday, 18 September 2020

She's phoning again ...

 

Phone rings. Telephone-answering machine. Female voice.
 
Your call cannot be taken at the moment. Please leave your name and number after the tone. BEEEP ...

Hello ... it is aunt Elma again ... are you still there? I phoned Vic yesterday and you answered the phone ... what are you doing in his house? Just because his wife and children have gone to London for a few days, you have no business being there. I bet you never told him I rang ... you're a hooor ... that's what you are ... a street-walker ... leave him alone ...

Jim ... Jim ... answer me you daft bat ... I'm calling you ... I phoned Vic again and he's got this woman with him ... she's answered the phone again ... she's keeping quiet now ... but she's listening all right ...

Come here Jim ... speak to her and give her a piece of my mind ...

What do you mean you don't want to? Of course I'm not interfering ... it is my duty to tell her she is a hooor ... she should not be there at all ...

Can you hear me you brazen hussy? Yes you ... I am talking to you ... I know you're pretending not to hear me ...

Leave Vic alone ... he's a nice little boy ... I have known him ever since he was a baby ... I used to change his diapers when they visited us here in Glasgow ... nice family they are ... all of them ... 

Leave him alone you family breaker ... with your posh fancy voice saying you can't take my calls ... who do you think you are you common hooor ...

What are you doing there in his house anyway? ... Don't tell me ... don't tell me ... I can only imagine ... Heaven help us ... oh the vision of it all on my mind ... it will be with me for ever ... 

He always had a weakness for dumb blondes, Vic did ... I bet you're a dumb blonde with large bosoms and red lipsticks ... Oh I feel so weak just thinking about it ... you and Vic together.

Jim ... Jim ... come here I tell you ... come here or you'll regret it for the rest of your days ... which will not be many I promise you ...

Tell her ... tell her Jim to leave our Vic alone ... what is she doing there answering his phone?

TELL HER or I'll hit you with this phone ...

(Pause)

Hello Miss ... this is Jim ... Vic calls me uncle Jim ... I am aunt Elma's husband ... she is very worried about Vic you know ...

She phoned him yesterday and you answered the phone ... she's been up all night worrying about it ... 

She kept me up as well ... she asked me to worry with her ... we both worried all night although I am not sure what we're supposed to worry about ...

Tell me there is nothing to worry about so I can get a good night's sleep ... tell me ...

(Pause)

OK ... if you can't tell me ... at least tell Vic to phone us soon ... thank you dear ...

Elma ... Elma ... stop crying ... I told her to get Vic to phone us soon!


Thursday, 17 September 2020

Hello ... Hello ...

 

Phone rings. Telephone-answering machine. Female voice.
 
Your call cannot be taken at the moment. Please leave your name and number after the tone. BEEEP ...
 
Hello ... hello ... is that you Vic? It sounded like a woman ... Hello ... Hey Jim ... I've just phoned Vic and a woman answered. You don't think he's got some woman now the family are on holiday in London? Hello ... can you hear me Vic? 

There's no answer ... I bet she hasn't told him I phoned ... I'll ring him again.

Phone line goes dead. Phone rings again. Telephone-answering machine. Female voice.
 
Your call cannot be taken at the moment. Please leave your name and number after the tone. BEEEP ...
 
Hello Vic ... I know you got a woman with you ... this is auntie Elma ... my phone number is ... wait a minute ... I'll get it for you ... have you got a pen and paper ready? Jim ... Jim ... what is our phone number? 
 
(Pause) 
 
Of course I don't know it ... I don't usually phone myself do I? Hold on Vic ... I'll get you my phone number ... here it is ... write it down now ... it's 0987 23 76 12 ...
 
This is aunt Elma ... that's E ... L ... M ... A ... Jim and I are ringing to see you and the family are all right. We haven't seen you since last Thanksgiving. 
 
We are all well here in Scotland ... your uncle Jim was in pain with his carbuncle ... your little nephew called him uncle carbuncle ... what a hoot ... but he was in pain poor soul ... he's a martyr to his carbuncle ... he went to the hospital ... one day like ... and now he's OK. He can sit down all right and no longer needs the inflatable ring.
 
I had some difficulties too you know ... women things ... best not to talk about it ...
 
That and my feet ... I've always had problems with my feet Vic ... they are far too small for my body ... I look like a penguin I do ... when I stand up and look down I cannot see my feet ... 
 
It's the same with your uncle Jim now he's put on some weight ... when he stands up it's something else he cannot see too ... he makes me laugh he does ... can't reach it either I guess ...
 
Hey ... You'll never guess who has died ... I bet you can't guess ... died suddenly ... any ideas?
 
(Pause)
 
It's poor Mr Mac Merton ... remember him? He lived down the road from us ... just by the bakery ... you know ... Ivor Bun Bakery ... where we got the crumpets ... next to I Pullem the dentist ...
 
Poor Mac Merton died suddenly this morning. I saw him yesterday ... he was as fit as a fiddle ... always healthy and never a day ill ... he was 83 he was ... and very healthy ... died suddenly ... hit by a bus in town ... just by Doug M Deep the funeral undertaker it was ... at least they didn't have to go far to collect him ...
 
I'll phone you again later Vic ... here's your uncle Jim ...
 
(Pause)
 
Hello Vic ... you OK mate? Whilst the cat's away is it? Your secret is safe with me ... see you soon!

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

The Haunted

 

IMPORTANT NOTE
 
 You may wish to click on the video below first. 
BEFORE reading this article.
 
THERE IS NO NEED TO WATCH THE VIDEO  
JUST LISTEN
 

THE HAUNTING
 
As she approached the haunted castle in Scotland at three minutes past midnight, the door creaked loudly as she pushed it open and got in.
 
She stood at the doorway for a while until her eyes adjusted to the darkness therein, (therein meaning the castle, not her eyes). She noticed that all the curtains were drawn. But everything else was real.
 
It was then she heard the ominous music. The haunting frightening music which accompanies every ghost story, or when Dracula or some frightening creature lurks in the darkness. 
 
She felt a cold go up and down her spine. One would have called it a frisson, save for the fact that she was in Scotland and not in a neglected old château in France.

She turned to her left and saw the orchestra playing this haunting Bach Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.
 
She was about to say something when the conductor, no lesser a figure than Bach himself, or his ghost, motioned her to keep quiet and move on.
 
She moved a few steps forward as the gloomy, portentous, menacing music continued. She put away her dictionary for a minute and stopped searching for synonyms to ominous music. She could have said ill-omened music, or melody, but she chose not to.
 
She picked up a lit candle and moved forward. Who had lit it? she wondered. Perhaps it was Bach, or one of the orchestra. 
 
She went up the dark creaky stairs. Slowly. Fearful. Trembling. Awaiting at any moment for the sudden suspense and shock that would make anyone jump out of their skin and needing a change of underwear. 
 
The sort of sudden shock just like you get in Alfred Hitchcock films. You know ... like in that shower scene in Psycho with the music building up to the suspense ... or is it suspenders? 
 
Only this time she was not in the shower. She was going up the stairs, as I said. Maybe she'd go to the bathroom later. Just pay attention and sit on the edge of your seat. Let's see what happens next.

As she went up one step at a time she noticed the whole orchestra following her. Led by Bach and followed by his massive organ being carried by several people whilst the organist was still playing it. Then came all the other musicians with their various instruments too.

She stopped.

All the musicians stopped moving but continued playing.

Bach motioned her to go on up the stairs.

Had there been a film crew there, they too would have walked behind her. The camera men. Sound engineers. Lights engineers. Producer, director, wardrobe mistress, hair stylist, make-up lady, and the plethora of other people who follow every scene as it is filmed.

But there were no film crew there. 

Just the orchestra and me, standing behind her, writing this for you on my notebook, to be typed on my laptop later.

And now there is also all of you here following me. Reading this. And wondering what will happen next.

Well ... she got upset and moody all of a sudden, as actors often do ... and for no reason at all she got out of the castle and drove home.

We might as well listen to the end of this music.

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

It was an accident ... honest!

 

You know how it was. It all happened suddenly. Almost an accident you would say. A sort of big bang and then it all happened. Perhaps some planets collided together. Or something collided with something else. I don't know ... but as a result of that collision it all happened. It all started and planets were created, and they somehow moved around each other and spinned round as well; as they circled the sun.

And that's how life on earth started. A slimy jelly like creature slithered out of a pool of mud somewhere and somehow it was alive and it evolved ... that's right ... it evolved ... it turned into something else, then something else again, and eventually it became man. It became you and me. Although it may have been a monkey before that ... I don't know. But that's how it happened. Scientists tell us so.

Or it could be a different way. Maybe Someone made it all. Some person or some being made it all happen. He'd have to be really clever and powerful to make it all happen. You know ... the planets spinning round and moving about. Life on earth. People, plants, animals and all that. 

Let us stop for a moment and take a deep breath. Let's consider the science.

Let us look at a tree nearby. What do you see? A trunk, branches and leaves ... perhaps some flowers or even fruit.

Let us look a little closer, much closer. Did you know that on every leaf there is a multitude of small magnesium atoms? So small you can't see them ... not even with your bifocals. Did you know that as photons from the sunlight hits the electrons in these magnesium atoms that's how photosynthesis starts? That's the process by which green plants and certain other organisms transform light energy into chemical energy. During photosynthesis in green plants, light energy is captured and used to convert water, carbon dioxide, and minerals into oxygen and energy-rich organic compounds. And that's how the plant grows, and bears fruit and food for us to eat.

Let's look at something else. The human brain ... yeeak!!! Did you know that the human brain has many many connectors. These are like switches or connection boxes that relay, (receive and send), information to various parts of the brain and body. Did you know that the human brain has more connectors than all the connectors in all the computers in the world? Fantastic don't you think?

Yet, despite all these brain connectors we still manage to breed idiotic morons in the world. But that's another debate for another day.

Concentrate now ... pay attention. Let us look at something else. Have you ever wondered about the reproduction system? How a man and a woman get together and somehow they create a new life? How marvellous and un-believable the whole system is. How it happens and how it works. 

Yet we take it all for granted. We have done it billions and trillions of times and we no longer think about it. Not me of course ... I haven't done it trillions of times, or else I'd be a little tired. But people in general. They don't think any more about the marvellousness of it all. 

Let us look at something else. A long treadmill with washing machines coming off a production line. Or it could be microwave ovens, or television sets, or cars. You imagine what you want coming off the production line. I'm not going to do it all for you.

Now think ... whatever is coming off the production line must have been designed by somebody. Plans written and diagrams drawn. Someone collected together all the components needed ... metals, plastics, glass. wires and so on ... Then someone else put all the components together. Welded them, stuck them, screwed them together or whatever. And hey presto ... we have a washing machine ... or whatever it is you are imagining. I'm not in your head you know!

Now isn't it odd that the washing machine did not just happen to be from a slimy jelly like thing that slithered out of a pool of mud and onto the conveyor belt?

Someone made the washing machine. We have the instruction manual to prove it. Here it is. Written in several languages. Which is a waste of time since I cannot read several languages. Only English.

Maybe ... maybe ... Someone made us all. Maybe He made the planets, the universe and all that is in it. We have the instruction manual to prove it. It's called the Bible. Mine is written in English. Maybe God is English!

Monday, 14 September 2020

Examination of Conscience

 

Once upon a time there was a man whose son was possessed by an evil spirit. The son often got into fits and was thrown into the fire or into water. The man had heard of Jesus, but was not quite sure what to do. He approached Him and said, "If you can do anything, please help us!"

Jesus looked at him and said, "If you can? Everything is possible to he who believes!"

The man realised what he had said to Jesus, so he confessed, "I believe, help my unbelief".

Jesus had pity on him and healed his son. (Mark 9: 23-27).

Let's examine this story closely, especially how it applies to us. 

What the man said here, or perhaps meant to say, is: I believe, as best as I can. I believe. But I have doubts. I'm confused. Help me in my doubts.

If we're honest, perhaps we're all like that sometimes. When we pray to God, or Jesus, and ask for a favour; do we not sometimes doubt? Or when we ask Him for some help; are we not impatient?

Or when something has gone wrong in our lives, or that of a loved one; and we ask Jesus to help, are we sure He will help us?

When we pray; do we really trust Him? Do we know that He has listened to our prayer and that He will respond, in His way, in His time?

Or do we go back to worrying about our problem? Wondering whether it will be OK? Whether God will resolve it? 

Do we go back and pester Him again and again wondering whether He heard us, and whether we are on top of His priority list?

You know how irritating it is when you phone an organisation and their machine says, "Your call is important to us. Please hold. You are number 6 in the queue of calls to be answered. An operator will be with you soon".

Is it the same with God? Is He too busy with someone else's problems to deal with ours?

Let's look at this another way. 

Imagine someone came to you and asked for a big favour. Something that would greatly help them. And you promised you'll take care of it.

How would you feel if that person kept contacted you to check you'll do as you promised? Phoning you every day, or sending you a text or e-mail? 

You'd think this person does not trust you enough to keep your promise.

But Jesus said, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me." (John 14:1).

(OTHER VERSIONS: "Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me." "Don't be worried! Have faith in God and have faith in me.")

So do we trust Him enough to take care of us, and our loved ones, in the most difficult of circumstances in our lives?

In my life I've had many dark moments. Many I would not discuss or talk about here. And when they happened, more often than not, I was so preoccupied with the difficulty or problem I was in that I even forgot to pray. I forgot to ask for God's help. Can you imagine that? I was so busy, or afraid, about what was happening that I even forgot to ask for help.  

At least that man in Mark's Gospel (above) had the sense to ask for help; despite his confusion and doubts. But I didn't.

Yet, looking back, God was there all the time. And dealt with the situation without me even asking Him to. Isn't He great? He knew I was up to my neck in it and He dealt with it. I only realised afterwards; sometimes a long time afterwards, that He had helped me. And I had even forgotten to thank Him.

I bet if you look back on your life you'll find instances where God helped you without you knowing it.

He does so even now. Every day He saves us from many situations we don't even know we are in, or we are facing.

So next time you need help, even if you are hesitant, doubtful, or worried; just be honest and tell Him about it. Be patient. Trust Him. He's got it under control.

Sunday, 13 September 2020

Let's be cheerful

 

OK folks ... let's cheer up. There's enough gloom and doom in this world. So for the next few minutes I'd like you to cheer up with me. Let's forget our troubles, worries, and washing our underpants for a while. Just sing along with me and tap your feet, hands or whatever else you wish to tap.

Let's start with an easy one. I've put up the words for you so you can join in.



This next song is just as cheerful and should make you happy for a while. Let's sing along.


Now this last offering is just a famous happy tune. Just sit back, relax, and learn how to keep calm, cool, and collected ... and focussed no matter what happens in the background around you ... 


 

Saturday, 12 September 2020

Old Henry's Sin

 



As Father Ignatius arrived at Old Henry’s cottage he recognized the doctor’s car pulling away, so he parked in the vacant space and rang the doorbell.

The seventy-five year old opened the door ashen faced and not having shaved for a few days.

As the priest went into the house he asked tentatively, “That was the doctor leaving … have you not been well Henry?”

The old man sat down and said: “I’ve been in terrible pains since Friday night. Shivering and feeling cold yet sweating and with a temperature. I felt tired and light-headed and thought my time had come!”

“Since Friday night?” asked the priest, “did you call the doctor then?”

“Yes I did. There was no one there. And they don’t work during the weekend either. The doctor finally came on Monday … and he came again today. You just saw him leaving!

“He gave me a variety of pills … all different pretty colours like sweets, and said if I don’t improve he’ll take me to hospital.

“Fat chance! I can’t go to hospital and leave the dog at home alone.”

“But … if this started on Friday night, why did you not call me Henry? I would have come straightaway!” said Father Ignatius.

“Oh … I thought you’d be too busy Father” Henry replied, “I bet you had the church full of sinners at every Mass this weekend. Am I right?” he asked with a glint in his eye.

The priest smiled.

“The thing is …” continued Henry, “at my age I don’t have much opportunity to sin. I don’t think I’ve broken any of the Commandments. I haven’t killed anyone nor stolen anything … and I doubt I have the energy to covet anything my neighbour might have … either his wife, who is ugly and as large as a gorilla, or his donkey … because he hasn’t got one!!!” He chuckled to himself.

“But I’ll tell you something Father …” he continued, “I did despair with God over the last few days … Now that’s a sin I’m sure!

“I was in terrible pain and although I prayed He didn’t listen. Too busy with someone else I suppose … I begged Him many times to take the pain away, but it got worse. At times I did pass out and slept for hours then the pain would wake me again.

“I thought God had abandoned me.

“I still believed in Him you know. I believed in His power to heal and His love for us. I knew He could heal me … but I felt He did not want to.

“Now why would He do that?

“He can heal, yet He withholds His healing power for some … including me. I suppose I lost my Faith in Him.”

“That is not so,” said Father Ignatius gently, “when we are in difficulty, or as in your case, in great pain, we doubt and we question, but we do not lose our Faith.

“Our human nature can’t understand what is happening to us. But deep inside we still believe. The very fact that we pray when in pain, or in despair, shows that we believe there is Someone there listening to our prayers. Such moments of great difficulties strengthen our Faith, not weaken it.

“You said yourself that you still believed in God. So your Faith remained intact.

“But your pain and your fears said otherwise. The trauma of it all overwhelmed you.

“It’s human nature. God knows that.

“When Jesus was on the Cross, His human nature thought He’d been abandoned. But His Godly nature, as part of The Holy Trinity, knew otherwise.

“So have no fears Henry! God loves you and He has already forgiven you.”

The old man smiled feebly.

“Now tell me,” continued the priest, “did the doctor say what you can eat?”

“He said toast and butter would be OK, and tea with lemon, not milk.”

“I can do that … how about a hot meal?”

“He said chicken soup with bread … something light!”

“Mrs Davenport, our housekeeper, makes a great chicken soup with vegetables,” said Father Ignatius, “I’ll ask her to bring you some this afternoon.”

Over the next few days Father Ignatius made sure that a group of people took turns at visiting Old Henry until he was up on his feet and ready to sin again. Small sins of course!