Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Peter Paul and ... Me

  

The other day I noticed that the shower was dripping, even though I had turned it right off. I turned it on again and got totally wet. Luckily I was in the shower at the time, so it didn't matter. I turned the shower off and it continued dripping.

I decided to phone Peter the Plumber. That's what it said in the advert in the local newspaper. "Phone Peter the Plumber - No job is too small or too big!" 

"Great," I thought, "whilst he's here he can also change a light bulb in the garage which has just died. That's a small job, isn't it?"

So I got dressed first, before phoning Peter. I'd read somewhere that some people use the phone whilst naked. Can you imagine? You phone your friends and they answer the phone without any clothes on?  

After I got dressed, I tried testing the shower one more time to make sure, and I got wet all over again. So I changed once more and phoned Peter the Plumber. He said he'd be round in thirty minutes. He did not say what shape he'd be after that.

Well ... it took over forty-five minutes before a white van arrived outside our house. The man that came out of the van was round all right. So I assumed he was Peter who had retained his shape from a few minutes beforehand.

"Are you Peter the Plumber?" I asked.

"No ... I am Paul the Painter!" he replied.

"Where is Peter the Plumber?" I asked.

"He is at my home painting the ceiling," he replied.

"Why did he not turn up here?" I asked.

"He didn't want to stop half-way through a job, so he sent me instead," he replied.

"But ... can you fix the shower," I asked, "and change the light bulb in the garage?"

"I can try," he said, "Peter said he'll talk me through it on the phone. A bit like landing a plane when the man on the ground talks you through it ... you know, like in the movies!"

He looked at the shower. Turned it on and got his clothes wet. I did not offer him a change of clothing. He was round ... and I am not.

Talking on his cell phone he used a wrench and undid a nut somewhere. There was water bursting everywhere. He asked me to turn off the stop-cock. That is a mains handle type thing that turns off the water in the whole house when repairs are to be done. I knew the mains cut off handle is in the garage; just where the main water pipe enters the house.

I rushed to the garage but could not get the lights on. The bulb had died previously the day before this one, but I did not change it myself preferring to get an electrician who also had a no job is too small policy. Instead we got Paul the Painter to replace Peter the Plumber.

I tripped in the dark. Stubbed my toe against something or other. The pain shot right up my leg. I took off my shoe to rub my foot. Walked a few more paces and stepped on a Lego brick that the children must have dropped and started dancing in pain and curses on all plumbers, painters and electricians too for good measure.

Eventually, with the water turned off, and Paul on the phone to Peter he tried fixing the dripping shower.

He made small conversation with me whilst talking to Peter. Why do workmen insist on making small talk? Plumbers, painters, electricians, taxi drivers, hairdressers ... they all make small talk whilst working.

"Have you been on holiday yet?" they ask. 

"What's it to you? You nosey so and so ... just get on with your work. I have hired you to fix the shower not start a conversation whilst flooding my house like happened at the time of Noah!"

In this particular case, I was making small talk conversation with Paul the Painter in my bathroom, and Peter the Plumber on the cell phone in Paul's house painting his ceiling. A three-way conversation with two tradesmen doing one job ... for me that is. I hope they don't charge me for painting Paul's ceiling as well!

Anyway, Paul the Painter told me that he was a Christian. He told me his conversion story.

He used to be a cheat and a scoundrel. He used to thin the paint with turpentine to make it go further, and he charged his customers full price for the paint.

One day he was painting the outside of a church. As he was up on the scaffolding, painting away, the job nearly completed, there was suddenly a horrendous clap of thunder, the sky opened, and the rain poured down washing the thinned paint from all over the church walls, and knocking him clear off the scaffold to land on the lawn among the gravestones, surrounded by tell-tale puddles of the thinned and useless paint.

He realised that this was a judgement from above …

He got on his knees and cried:

“Oh God … oh God … help me … what should I do?”

And just then a thunderous voice replied:

“Repaint !!! Repaint !!! And thin no more !!!”

Monday, 28 September 2020

He taught me how to pray

 

I was feeling a little despondent and down-hearted thinking about this and that and everything else. I decided to pray. Did not know how to start and what to pray for. So many things on my mind.

Then as if a voice in my mind said, "Thank me!"

Hein ??? Who said that? Where do I start?

"Think as far back as you can remember ..." said the thought in my mind.

You know, it is a good idea every now and then if we spend some time thinking back on our lives. Recalling events far gone and yet somehow they influenced our lives. Times when we needed help, and never realised then that God was by our side all the time. Helping us without our asking.

Try thinking back as far as you can remember. When you were seven or eight perhaps. Try to remember difficult times then. At home perhaps. Unhappy childhood. At school. Bullying. Unable to keep up with school work. Severe teachers. Exams and so on.

Try to recall growing up. Teenage years with teenage problems. Friendships hurt and broken. Family events and troubles perhaps.

Think of other milestones in your life. Difficulties and dark moments for you or those close to you. Parents disagreeing perhaps. Loss of work. Money problems. Illness or even death of loved ones.

How about when you grew up and left home to start on your own. Hesitation. Fear. Worry. First faltering steps. New job. New people. New relationships. Heartbreaks. Love. Marriage. Starting a family. Worry about children. Marital difficulties. Divorce. Start again all alone.

Perhaps our lives have been marred with health issues. Frightening diagnosis. Fear. Pain. Confusion. Why me? Medical procedures and operations perhaps. Success or otherwise of these.

You know ... when we thing back over our lives, there are many instances and periods when we needed help. We may or may not have prayed. But God was there for us. Somehow we got through those dark periods in our lives. God got us through them. Otherwise we would not be here right now.

And when we look at our situation today. Right now. As we consider our current situation. We may be despondent. Concerned. Fearful perhaps. But then, is not our situation right now similar to what happened to us before? Many times in our lives? It may be more severe and serious perhaps. But it is still a situation we have to face and live through ... not alone.

We are never alone. He is with us always. To the end of time.

Ready to help. Only a prayer away.

Let us be thankful for that.

Sunday, 27 September 2020

"Love One Another As I Have Loved You" IMPOSSIBLE

 

When Christ hung dying on the Cross, despite His earlier betrayal, arrest, humiliation, beatings and torture; despite suffering the most painful of death and being taunted and tormented by His enemies, He still had love in His heart and asked for forgiveness on behalf of these people.

We are asked to do the same. We are asked to forgive others just as He forgave us. When we recite the Prayer He taught us we seek His forgiveness and promise to forgive others.

He also taught us to "Love one another as I have loved you". A Commandment no less.

Yet, when we consider both of these teachings from our Lord, to love one another and to forgive whatever hurt is done to us, we cannot help but wander whether it is at all possible.

When Christ forgave on the Cross, and loved as He has loved, it was a Divine God who forgave and loved. Not a mere human like us. Can we, humans, possibly love and forgive as He?

Christ knows full well that what He asks us is impossible for us to achieve. Yet He asks all the same.

Being human we are subject to all human failings. When we are hurt we often feel resentment, ill-will and perhaps vengeance; and forgiveness might be very difficult an emotion for us when the pain is still fresh and raw. And in time, as the memories of the hurt and pains come back we may still find it hard to forgive. Or, if we find it in our hearts to forgive, as many indeed do, the memories bring back that pain once again and, at the very least, we feel hard done by.

To forgive totally, as Christ did, is not within our grasp because we are not as Divine as He.

And to love unequivocally, all those within our circle of acquaintance, never mind our enemies, and to turn the other cheek is certainly not within our powers. No matter how much we try, there will always be one person whom we do not like, who rubs us the wrong way, whom we'd rather avoid. Yet we're asked to love one another as He has loved us.

Impossible.

So ... what are we to do? Are we doomed to failure? Unable to forgive totally and to love without reservation?

Our response to Christ's Commandment is to try as best as we can to obey it. Through gritted teeth perhaps, we should try again and again to forgive and to love. The memories of the hurts done to us will return, but these should not stop us from forgiving again and again.

We will probably fail ... often. But this should not stop us from trying. We will never achieve the same level of forgiveness and love as Christ, but His example should urge us on to try harder.

Saints did not become Saints because they were necessarily good at all times. They were often sinners who kept on trying.

God knows our human nature. He knows our failings and weaknesses. He knows we cannot achieve the impossible.

But in His Divine love and mercy He will welcome us with open arms for eternity with Him ... just because we kept trying and never gave up.

Saturday, 26 September 2020

Quentin Ravioli

 

SPECIAL NOTICE: My heart gladdens when you, my kind and loyal readers, comment below that you have enjoyed and laughed at my posts. It is your support and encouragement that keeps me writing every day; (except on days when I do not write on account of that I have nothing in my head to write about).

Anyway ... if you enjoy what you read here, why not tell others too so that they might visit here and laugh or giggle too. Do you realise that if each one of you encouraged just one person to visit here regularly we would have ... more persons visiting here regularly. 

Thank you. God bless. 
 
Years ago, Quentin generously paid for my dog to be put down, and then he helped me bury him.

He was an Alsatian. The dog, not Quentin. I believe that Quentin was from Scotland. 

He was seventeen at the time. The dog, not Quentin. Quentin was about twenty five, I believe.

He used to follow me everywhere. The dog that is, not Quentin. He used to follow me to the fishmongers were I used to buy crabs and lobsters.

He was very intelligent and quick witted. Quentin, not the dog. The dog has been long dead. One day I asked Quentin "Why do Scuba divers always fall backwards off their boats?" To which he promptly replied, "They have to go backwards. If they fell forwards, they'd still be in the boat."

Quentin was good at languages. One year he went to France on holiday and saw an old lady in  Montmartre in Paris sitting on the sidewalk knitting. He asked her, “Voulez vous crochet avec moi?”

On another occasion he impressed his friends at a restaurant by ordering the whole meal in Italian. The waiter did not understand a word though. It was a Greek restaurant.

He once bought a book on-line entitled  “How to get your own back on your neighbour”. Unfortunately he was out when it was delivered and the postman left the book next door.

His next door neighbours never got out of the house. They were agoraphobic anorexics. Bet they had some skeletons in the cupboard.

Quentin was a keen gardener. Always in his garden planting something or other. He was a bit OCD and he told me once that he always plants his herbs in alphabetical order. I asked him "where do you find the time?" He replied, "It’s there next to the sage."

A kind hearted person, Quentin was. Once at a pub he noticed a guy had passed out at a table nearby. The bartender told him the man is Mr. Peters, and asked Quentin if he could drive him home. Quentin agreed and the bartender wrote down the address and gave it to him.

Quentin tried to wake Peters, but Peters was groggy and quite drunk. Quentin helped him to his feet, but Peters fell to the floor in a crashing heap.

He took him by the arm and practically dragged him out to the car. Once there, he leant him against the side of his car while he looked for his keys. The man slid down to the ground again.

Eventually Quentin drove the man to the address the bartender gave him. He opened the passenger door and helped Peters out and he fell to the ground again!

He got him to his door and said to Peters' wife, "Hi, your husband had a little too much to drink tonight so I gave him a ride home."

"That was nice of you," she replied looking around ... "But where's his wheelchair?"

And that's Quentin Ravioli for you. A man of many parts ... none of which worked properly. We shall miss him sorely. Because he keeps moving!
PLEASE CLICK HERE


Friday, 25 September 2020

Star Trick

 

As I woke up I discovered I was in bed in what appeared to be a hospital room or theatre. Standing next to me was a tall man with a thick moustache smoking a cigarette. 

I was about to rise when he said, "Don't get up ... the human skin adhesive needs a few seconds to set ..."

"Where am I?" I asked, noting other people around me dressed in some sort of uniform.

"You are on the inter-galactic space ship Aurora from the planet Zorzo!" replied the man with the moustache, dropping his cigarette on the floor and standing on it. He then immediately lit another one!

My mind was all a blur. "What?" I asked, "what am I doing here?"

"Do not be concerned," he said with a grin pretending to be a smile. He took a long drag on his cigarette and continued, "you are on our spaceship, as I said. We borrowed you for a short while from earth to study you. We have dissected every bit of you under the microscope and have stuck you together again!"

I looked under the bed covers to check all was still there. 

"What do you want from me?" I asked.

"Nothing else now ..." he replied, "care for a cigarette?" he motioned offering me his packet.

"No ... I don't smoke ..." I heard myself say.

"Pity you don't smoke. I must say, you earthlings make very nice cigarettes," he continued, "I prefer the American ones. Gorgo over there likes the French Gauloises and Gitanes!"

"Is this a joke?" I asked getting a little irritable.

"What? The fact that he likes French cigarettes?" he asked putting the packet in his pocket.

"No ..." I cut in, " the fact that I'm on a spaceship ..."

"Get up," he said, "the adhesive has set by now. Your innards will not fall all over the floor. Here ... come to the window ... can you see all the planets out there? Far away ... on the left ... that's earth. We'll return you there soon!"

I looked out of the window. It was very dark out there with many spherical objects floating in mid air.

"This could be a trick," I said, "this could be a film out there being run on a screen or monitor ..."

"This is one thing we have noticed," he said, "you earthlings are very sceptical about everything. You think you know everything yet you know nothing. You have the intelligence of the average fish on our planet Zorzo. Although I'll admit you make great cigarettes. 

"If you don't believe me you're in space, poke your head out of the window. See how long you'll last. No atmosphere out there. A bit like Mars. Not like Zorzo ... plenty of atmosphere there with nightclubs, bars, pubs, dancing halls and restaurants. Just like your decadence on Earth but we do it much better. Pleasure yes ... violence and evil no. That's our only rule and those who break it regret it instantly! On your planet earth, however, you still resolve your differences with violence. And it gets you nowhere except heartbreak."

"What do you intend to do with me?" I asked.

"The original intention was to populate a planet near us we've called Earth.2 with people from your world. We know you lot will soon ruin your world to oblivion and nothingness with your violence, pollution, and your selfishness. So we thought if we select a number of the best brains from your world we could populate a new planet when yours has gone, and so save the human race.

"But on reflection, we've discovered that most of your people have no intellect or brain power worth talking about. Yours is equivalent to our fish, as I said."

"You said most of us," I interrupted, "that means some of us are worth saving, don't you think? What if you were to find one hundred or so people worth saving. Or fifty maybe. Is that not worth saving the human race in another planet?

"Even if we found as few as twenty, or even ten, good people on earth with the right intelligence and outlook, then maybe ... maybe ... we would consider saving your race. But your people are so full of evil and negativity that ... anyway ...

"Look, we'll put you back where you came from and you won't remember a thing about all this! Maybe one day you earthlings will learn to live in peace."  

*******

Hi everyone. I can't remember a thing right now. Sorry I did not publish a post here today.

*******

Thursday, 24 September 2020

Am I Sexist?

 

I've been wondering ... Am I sexist, do you think?
 
I said sexist, not sexy. I already know I am sexy. An Adonis no less. Women are always looking at me with wistful eyes and giggling with each other. I heard one of them say I am a sex idol for women who do not care.
 
Why only yesterday a blonde woman stopped me in the street and said, "Hello handsome ... could you direct me to an optician please? I've lost my contact lens!"
 
And last week, whilst in London, another woman stopped me and said, "Hi hunk ... would you like a good time?"
 
Looking at my watch I said, "It's half-past three ..."
 
I probably misunderstood her because she walked away rather disappointed and did not say a word. I wonder what all that was about! But she did call me hunk ... which proves I'm attractive.
 
Anyway ... back to my original question. Do you think I am sexist?
 
There I was on the bus the other day, sitting there minding my own business, I took out of my pocket a glass jar of pickled onions and started eating them quietly. I stabbed the onions with a pencil which I sharpened the point very thin like a pin. Better than carrying a fork. Sometimes I have with me pickled gherkins, or cucumber slices; this time it was pickled onions. Have you tried Piccalilli? I usually need a spoon when I'm eating that on the bus. Can't eat Piccalilli with a pencil. Doesn't taste right!
 
I noticed that some people moved a few seats away from me and said nothing. Others were eyeing me suspiciously. I could feel their gaze digging into me.
 
But it is not me they should have been looking at. It's the man sitting opposite me. He had a long beard coming down to his navel. He had a bag on his lap out of which came two threads of cotton wool, red and blue, and he was there knitting. In plain sight of everyone, he sat there quietly knitting with knitting needles.
 
And no one was looking at him or being bothered by him. They were looking at me eating quietly pickled onions.
 
Then it occurred to me. Maybe there is something wrong with me. Perhaps I was sexist.
 
Maybe I had judged the man sitting opposite because he was knitting. Something which I usually associate with women to do. Like smoking a pipe ... I mean ... women don't do it but men sometimes do ... although fewer and fewer men smoke a pipe these days. Perhaps they are taking up knitting instead. 
 
There must be something wrong with my brain because I could not understand this man knitting. He noticed me looking at him. So I offered him a pickled onion at the tip of my pencil. He smiled and shook his head without saying a word.
 
It was an uncomfortable journey until I reached my destination and finished the jar of  pickled onions. Great coincidence.
 
I wonder ... if it had been a woman sitting opposite me eating from a jar of pickled onions, would I have been that bothered?
 
Have you ever eaten pickled onions on a bus? Especially you ladies reading this? Has it ever bothered anyone when you did?

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Return To Sender ...

 

We have received a letter from aunt Elma. She writes from time to time, as well as phone. Maybe I should send the letter back with the inscription: Return to sender.  

Anyway ... here is the letter:

Dear Nephew and Niece and little ones.

I tried to phone you the other day but then I thought twice about it. In fact I thought more than twice. I just could not face that woman’s voice on your answer thing you have on your phone. She sounds so pompous and full of herself. I know it is only a voice, as Vic explained, but I imagine her with big bosoms full of herself in her posh accent.

I spoke to Jim about it, and he said I should write instead. I keep thinking she will open the letter and read it first before you do. It reminds me when our Quentin was young and still living at home. He often said he hates it when I invade his privacy. I’d read it in his diary.

Our Jim had quite a week lately. This week like. On Wednesday he was stopped by the police at 10 at night as he was coming home from the pub. A bit early for him I must say. The Police Officer asked him, "Where were you between 4 and 6?" Jim replied, "Kindergarten."

He was nearly arrested for being drunk in charge of stupidity. But they let him go.

It was sunny yesterday and they said on the TV it would be a lovely day for this time of year in Glasgow. When I went out I took my umbrella. I am an optimist. But I'm an optimist who takes her raincoat as well. But when I got to the shop I discovered I forgot my purse. Funny, I don't remember being absent minded.

I remember when I was young. I started out with nothing ... I still have most of it. That’s life, isn’t it? It was all so different before everything changed. Nostalgia isn't what it used to be. It's hard to make a comeback in life when you haven't been anywhere.

Our Jim took up a new hobby at his old age. He and Fred from down the road have taken up bird watching. I mean the feathered ones; not women. After pub the other night they went through the park on the way home and heard an owl cry. They decided to find where it was so they separated. Fred went by the cemetery whilst my Jim went by the water fountain and hid behind the bushes. He hooted once or twice to see what would happen. The owl hooted back. Jim hooted again. This went on for some twenty minutes until both of them realised they were hooting at each other.

When Jim told me about it and he came home all his clothes dirty from him lying behind the bushes I could have hit him with the frying pan, but I did not want to damage it. It cost £4 ten years ago when I bought it. 

Instead I went to my room and prayed to God. I said:  Lead me not into temptation - I can find the way myself.

Good bye for now. I was going to send you a photo of me and Jim but I have already sealed the envelope.

Love XXXX

Elma and Jim