Friday, 27 November 2020

Man And God

 

MAN AND GOD

ISBN-13 : 979-8566100388

An easy to read no-nonsense book exploring the many questions we may have asked about God and our role as His creations. Questions like: Who is God? Jesus? The Holy Spirit? Does He really care for us and love us? If so, why do we suffer? Why are so many bad things happening in the world? Is God really in control? Does He answer prayers and perform miracles? Who are Angels and devils? What is sin? These and other topics are discussed in a relaxed simple style.

“Man And God” will make you think about life, about yourself, why God has created you, and your role in this life … and the next.

Suitable for anyone wishing to learn more about Christianity, or for those who may have perhaps wandered from the faith and wish to discover more about themselves in relation to God.

WE ALL KNOW SOMEONE 

WHO WOULD BENEFIT 

FROM THIS BOOK

Same price as a cup of coffee - this book could change your life.

AMAZON LINK HERE

Thursday, 26 November 2020

Happy Thanksgiving

 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING
TO ALL
MY FRIENDS

 

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

The Flute


The other day in church, for no apparent reason, unless it was just to annoy me, there was a lady in the choir playing the flute. You know the one I mean? A wooden tube about 12 inches long with a lot of holes in it and you blow at one end to produce the most horrendous of sounds. Silent was the usual musical organ, and the occasional guitars we have every few Sundays. Today it was just that woman with a flute accompanied by a choir singing like a load of amorous cats on heat at night. I am sure God did not deserve such a cacophony.

When I got home I searched the Internet for the origin of the flute. Apparently, it dates thousands of years and in very ancient times it was a favourite amongst shepherds who used to play it at night to pass away the time whilst guarding their socks ... flox ... sheep! Unfortunately, as the shepherds played their flutes rather badly, a bit like the woman in the choir today, the sheep thought that he had a lung obstruction which made him wheeze as he breathed, so they all bleated in sympathy. Consequently, their bleating attracted the wolves from far and wide who thought there was a self-service restaurant serving nice lamb for free.

It took quite some time for the slow-witted shepherds to make the connection that their flute playing made the sheep bleat which in turn invited the wolves for dinner. So the practice of shepherds playing the flute eventually died away.

However, this was not the case in church the other day. That woman was determined to ruin everyone of my favourite hymns as she screeched out of tune making God reach out for the headache tablets.

Perhaps next week I should bring a few sheep to church to supplement the out-of-tune choir.

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Je suis an Artiste

 

I have always wished I'd been on the stage ... some would think the first one out of town. But seriously, I think I would have made a great theatre actor, or in films even, if I had not been busy working hard for a multi-national in London and climbing the management ladder.

Oh well, famous actors like Ian McKellen, Laurence Olivier, Ralph Fiennes and Patrick Stewart could well have been joined by me if only I'd been discovered, you know.

I did, however, in my young days, spend quite some spare time on the stage. Presenting variety shows, acting in comedy sketches, and writing them of course. And even performing great roles in some Shakespearean plays no less.

I was a member of an amateur dramatic troupe which put on performances attended by at least fifty to a hundred people.

I remember a performance of the Scottish play. (You're not meant to say the word Macbeth unless you're on stage). Lady Macbeth was played by a young Spanish girl-friend of mine.  

I can hear her dulcet tones right now. 

"Ole zee par fumes of Arrabeeya vill notte sweetened zees littell hand. Oh, Oh, Oh! I steel 'ave zee smella offa beelod on my hand."

We were an international troupe of well-meaning amateurs set on making inroads into the world of theatre and confuse the audience at every venue we performed at.

I recall a short Italian Hamlet reading the famous lines which he could not remember by heart.

"Too bee, or notte too bee, zat eez ze questiona
Whezer eez ze nobla in ze mind to suffer
Ze slingess and ze arrowes of outta rageous fortuna,
Or too taker arms against a sea of trouble
And by opposinger enda zem. Todaay  — too sleepa ..."

And so it went on.

I had some leading roles too. In the play The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe I played the left door of the wardrobe. I swivelled to the right to simulate the door opening and to the left to close the wardrobe. Our theatre director said at the time I was made for the role. It was a wooden performance and he could not imagine anyone famous like Olivier or McKenna doing the role justice.

In Cinderella I played one of the mice which changes into a horse to pull the carriage. In Goldilocks and the Three Bears I was the table upon which the bowls of porridge were put. And in To Kill A Mocking Bird I was told I could not play the role of the bird because none featured in the play. That is a pity because for days I'd been practicing bird impressions by eating worms! Although I understand in the film they gave the role to someone called Peck who plays the role of a finch.

We did musicals too. In South Pacific, when they sang, "There is nothing like a dame", I was one of the palm trees swinging left and right to the music. 

So you see my friends. I could have been famous. I could have been the auto-mobile in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, or the hills alive in the Sound of Music, or Pinocchio's nose. 

But then ... I would not have met such great friends like you!

Monday, 23 November 2020

POTATOES

 

One of my teachers had each one of us bring a clear plastic bag and a sack of potatoes.

For every person, we'd refuse to forgive in our life, we were told to choose a potato, write on it the name and date, and put it in the plastic bag.  Some of our bags, as you can imagine, were quite heavy.

We were then told to carry this bag with us everywhere for one week, putting it beside our bed at night, on the car seat, next to our desk at work.

The hassle of lugging this around with us made it clear what a weight we were carrying spiritually, and how we had to pay attention to it all the time to not forget, and keep leaving it in embarrassing places.

Naturally, the condition of the potatoes deteriorated to a nasty slime.  This was a great metaphor for the price we pay for keeping our pain and heavy negativity!

Too often we think of forgiveness as a gift to the other person, and while that's true, it clearly is also a gift for ourselves!

So, the next time you decide you can't forgive someone, ask yourself...

Isn't MY bag heavy enough?

Sometimes you don't realize the weight of a burden you are carrying until you set it aside and feel the strength returning to your arms.


Sunday, 22 November 2020

Father Ignatius Visits The Cellar

 

The basement under the church had been emptied of the junk which had accumulated over the years. Some young volunteers had painted the walls and ceiling of the three reclaimed rooms and corridor, and an electrician had connected the whole downstairs to the mains electricity.

The intention was to turn two rooms into meeting rooms and the third into a small kitchenette allowing people to make a cup of tea and prepare refreshments.

Father Ignatius ventured downstairs to check on progress.

Tom was alone busily tiling the floor. He had chosen pink and white tiles to match the colour of the rest of the room.

"Things are improving down here …” commented Father Ignatius as he stood by the doorway.

“They sure are …” replied Tom turning down the volume of his radio a little.

“Are these tiles already fixed?” asked the priest.

“Yes … some are already cemented in and they’re drying out nicely … these others over there I’ve yet to cement … why do you ask?”

“Well … pardon me for saying so Tom,” hesitated Father Ignatius, “those tiles over in that area by the wall are not very even … some are a few millimeters higher than the others … enough that you would notice them from here where I’m standing … and they seem to have been placed haphazardly, rather than full square side by side … eh … forgive me Tom, perhaps I shouldn’t have mentioned it …”

“Oh don’t worry Father … no one will see them … I’ll be putting the kitchen cabinet here over them … so no one will know about my careless work …” chuckled Tom.

“Jesus will …” replied Father Ignatius quietly.

“Why … is He a works inspector now is He?” chuckled Tom again.

“Tom I’m very grateful to you for volunteering to do this work … this basement would not have been transformed so beautifully if it wasn’t for all you volunteers working together, clearing the old stuff that was here, painting the rooms and corridor and doing all this work … maybe I shouldn’t have said anything … please forgive me …”

“Oh don’t go away Father …” replied Tom as he got up from the floor to stretch his aching back, “if they’re that important to you I’ll fix those tiles again …”

“It’s not that Tom … I was just thinking … many people go through life enduring their job from day to day and treating it as a means to earn a living – and no more. I know you’re doing this for free … and I’m grateful to you and the other workers … but you know what I mean …

“And as time goes by, so does the pride people have in their work. They just do it as a job, and inevitably their standard of performance deteriorates.

“I feel that somehow this is an insult to God …”

“Hein?” mumbled Tom.

“Hear me out Tom … Whatever job we have to do in life, whether it is an influential position of power, a lawyer, doctor or a skilled worker using our hands to do something, like a factory worker for instance … surely our duty is to do the work properly … to the best of our ability. To give the task in hand all the attention and skill that we possess.

“As Jesus was growing up He worked with His father Joseph as a carpenter. Can you imagine Jesus making a table with a wobbly leg?”

Tom shook his head.

“Then why should we?” asked Father Ignatius, “Whatever task we have been given to do – let’s make sure it is not wobbly.”

Tom smiled silently.

“I’ll tell you what I’ll do” continued Father Ignatius, “I’ll leave now and I will not return until you have permanently fixed the kitchen cabinet over that area there. 

 

 Only you will know whether those tiles have been fixed properly or not … only you will know whether the hidden tiles under the cabinet are uneven and haphazardly laid down … or not!”

“Jesus too will know …” said Tom jokingly as the priest walked up the stairs out of the basement.

“That’s true … but I promise not to ask Him!” chortled Father Ignatius!

Saturday, 21 November 2020

VICTOR - Motivational Speaker

 

Hello folks and welcome to "Make Me A New Person" the most popular session in our motivational talks for enlightened and visionary people who want to start afresh in life and rise to bigger and better things.

The most important thing in life is to focus. Focus on who you are. What you are. And whatever else you want to be or do in life. Like the eagle who soars in the skies and can focus on his prey down below; you too should and could do the same. If only you could fly, and you liked eating pigeons, rabbits, snakes, rats and other vermin. 

So before you focus on being an eagle, think like an eagle. Ask yourself, do you like ratatouille? Or pigeon pie? And would you eat a dead rabbit covered in maggots? If not, then you need to change.

Yes my friends, we all need to change if we are to go ahead. We can start with our vests and underpants. When is the last time you changed yours? Be honest now. Remember, honesty is the best policy; but not when confiding in your spouse or girl-friend. Remember our motto:  

Say it with flowers
And chocolates too

Say it with jewellery

Or a good meal for two
Say it from the heart

Say what you think

But never be careless

And say it with ink

Right, we covered focussing, and changing who we are, and honesty. This is good stuff folks. It's what made me who I am today.

The next thing to consider is looking back. Never ever look back when you're moving forwards in life. I learnt this lesson the hard way when I walked into a lamp post, fell down the stairs, and on one occasion met the mother-in-law down a dark alley at night. 

Another thing to remember in life is perseverance. This means a persistent attitude to doing something despite setbacks and apparent failures. Well, my advice is, if at first you don't succeed suck something else instead. Sorry ... that was from another lecture I gave on throat lozenges.

Here's the right quote. If at first you don't succeed just give up. It is no point spending precious time and money doing something that will most probably not work anyway. Have the foresight of realising your failings and get on with doing something else instead. 

Look at me ... when I was at school I had failure written all over me. The other kids did it with their ball point pens. My teachers however said that I'd go down in history ... and geography, maths, science and practically everything else.

Did it worry me? No ... I forged on ahead and fulfilled their vision of me and became who I am. And in doing so I saved a lot of time and money trying something I'd fail at anyway. 

So, the lesson from this is - know your failures. It is no point cooking a lobster thermidor if you don't have any thermidors in the house. Just open a tin of sardines instead.

On which point, be like a sardine. Get yourself into your tin and leave the key outside. Sooner or later someone will open up and let you out.

Metaphorically speaking that is. What I mean is, do as little as possible in life. Make it obvious that you are not doing so well. Pretty soon some kind soul will have pity on you and help you anyway.

Either that, or marry Rich!

Friday, 20 November 2020

It's all science

Every now and then I think about science. I don't know why. I just do. So many scientific questions cross my mind so I go on the Internet and in the library to find the answers. And having found the answers, I share them here with you. It is part of the service I offer my readers on this Blog. 

Service - that is something that is not as it used to be. In the olden days people got good service generally and were welcomed by staff in supermarkets, hotels, restaurants and so on. "Have a nice day!" was a lovely phrase to be told as you leave such an establishment. Today, if someone said that to you, and you had a rotten day, you'd probably sue them for it.

I was at a very posh hotel recently. Now before any of my readers think, or write in, asking why I go to such hotels when others are available and less expensive. Or why not just put up a tent in the local park and spend the night there. (Oh yes - I get such e-mails). Let me explain that I was there on business and the firm I work for booked it.

On the day I was leaving such posh hotel I had breakfast there, and at about lunchtime I rang room service and asked for a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich in a bun. My intention was to have it on the train instead of lunch together with a can of lemonade. I'd had such a repast before and I can vouch that this hotel makes a fantastic BLT. (See ... I know all the latest lingo! Street-wise or what?)

They delivered said BLT sandwich and a can of lemonade to my room. It wasn't until I was on the train speeding at the rate of whatever speed trains speed, and as we passed a field full of pigs grazing, (do pigs graze?) I remembered the BLT sandwich. I opened my briefcase and the BLT was not there. Neither was the lemonade. I had forgotten both in my hotel room. And I had paid for them when I settled my bill as I left the hotel.

I rang the hotel on my cell-phone and asked them to send me the sandwich at my home address. They refused. They said the room was cleaned after my departure and no doubt the sandwich was thrown away. I think that's a fib. No doubt the cleaner ate my BLT, and drank my lemonade. Either that, or re-sold it to someone else. The person on the phone asked whether this was a hoax phone-call and then hung up on me.

Now I can see you all thinking! What has that to do with science - the subject of this conversation? Monologue actually - not to be pedantic about it. It is not a conversation until some of you comment here below and I answer back.

So, as I was saying. What has this to do with science? Well, the train was speeding at a certain speed. And we know that light is faster than the speed of sound. But which one is heavier? Light or sound? If you had some light in one hand, and an equal amount of sound on another; which one would be heavier?

Speaking of which, did you know that if you weigh yourself in an elevator using a bathroom scales, you would weigh heavier as the elevator is going up, and lighter as it is going down? But you'll way the right weight if the elevator is going sideways. In which case you are probably in a train or a bus.

And did you know that most people in Europe weigh themselves in kilos. It is called kilograms. We also have kilometres to measure distance and kilolitres to measure volume.

Do you know how many bytes in a kilobyte? 

It depends on the size of your BLT sandwich. That is if you've not forgotten it in your hotel room.

Thursday, 19 November 2020

Doreen's Pussycats

 

I may have mentioned before that when I was young I used to present a variety show on stage with other artists. We were a small group of about twelve people; mainly singers, dancers, amateur actors and so on. We had a husband and wife musician couple, he played classical music on the piano and she sang various arias. We had a guitarist and a drummer and so on. 

As I said, I presented the shows, introducing the various acts and telling jokes in-between the performances. We played in small venues like church halls, community halls, Seniors Care Homes and so on. Mainly to entertain the elderly, or to raise money for various charities; like a new roof for the church hall, or to buy food for the homeless and so on.

Anyway, one time we decided to put on a show based on cats singing and dancing the night away. The performers were six young ladies, led and choreographed by my then friend Doreen. Dressed in various coloured leotards they danced and sang on stage to pre-recorded music, whilst every now and then a male actor did a voice-over to tell the audience the story as it developed. 

On my way to the theatre, a small church hall in a remote village, I was due to pick up Doreen from her home. I was late from work so I hurried by car, picked her up, and drove to the theatre. As soon as I stopped the car, Doreen hurried out and in doing so she accidentally twisted her ankle. She let out a cry and held on to the car to stop her from falling. 

Once inside, it was obvious that she could not go on stage and do the cats song and dance performance. It was not a long number; about ten or fifteen minutes at the most. But even so, she could not perform it because of the pain. Another young lady stepped in to take her part; but the performance needed six cats. It could not be re-worked with just five people.

Doreen looked at me and said I should take part in the performance. We were similar size, it would be a minor part, just moving around the stage, I could mime the singing, copy the others in the dancing bit, no one would notice, and it was my fault that she hurt her ankle because I was late picking her up anyway.

Dam-it how persuasive women can be. I hate that. There was no way I would go on stage and pretend to be a cat. Even for fifteen seconds, never mind fifteen minutes.

And so I did ... 

Dam-it again how tight those leotards can be. They are made of stretchy elasticated material which hugs your body revealing your every contour. Like ballet dancers' outfits. And it show up one's bits under the material?

Doreen could not stop laughing seeing me in that pink new skin revealing male shapes it should not reveal. I certainly was not going on stage looking like that. Eventually, when she stopped laughing at me, she loaned me her bra which was strategically placed to protect my modesty.

Here's a short sound recording of another performance. Imagine a group of men dressed as nuns singing this on stage. Me singing ... ... ...


Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Margherita Piazza

 

The other day I went to visit Margherita Piazza. Not to be confused with Margherita Pizza who is an altogether different dish.

By the way, please do not interrupt me as I relate this story since it is already complicated enough for me to remember all the details.

Anyway, I visited Margherita Pizza ... sorry ... Piazza ... who, with her friend Antonia Broccoli, live in a Seniors Care Home run by Mrs Deana Careless; which is an unfortunate name for someone running a Care Home. To be fair, this is her married name. She is married to Woodee Careless. Her maiden name was Deana Fishface; which was also unfortunate when she worked at the butchers. They were called Ivor Bull & Chuck Beef. Their shop was next to the dentist, I Pullem; some fifty yards from the Undertakers and Funeral Directors Doug M Deep. 

I remember some time ago visiting the doctor's not far from the butchers in town to discuss a personal problem. Her name was Penny Celin. Whilst discussing my case one evening a depressed moth flew in through the window. "Help me help me," it said, "I'm so unhappy!"

"Sorry I can't help you," said the medic, "I am a doctor. Not a psychiatrist, or psychologist, or hypnotist or any similar medic that can help you with depression".

"Yes, I know," said the depressed moth.

"Why did you come in and see me then?" asked the medic.

"Because the light was on ..." replied the moth.

By the way, did you hear about the chiropodist who cures sore feet by placing them into pumpkins? I asked him, why pumpkins? He said he couldn't find melons big enough. He eventually married a dentist and now together they cure foot and mouth disease.

Anyway, let's go back to Margherita Piazza. Metaphorically speaking that is. Because right now I am at my office typing this article.

She asked me to visit her friend Yvette Le-Pet to return a book she had borrowed from her. She lives in a cottage not far from us. Yvette Le-Pet that is. Not Margherita Piazza who lives in a Care Home run by Deana Careless. Are you paying attention? 

I did not find Ivette at home. I rang the doorbell several times and eventually heard a noise from the back garden. "Help ... Help ..." it said. But with a French accent. It sounded more like "Elp ... Elp ..."

I went to the back garden and there up an oak tree, some twenty feet up, was Yvette holding a parrot in her lap. She was sitting on a branch. Holding on to the tree with one hand and the parrot with another. The ladder she had used was lying flat on the ground.

When I brought her down she said that she often takes the parrot up the tree to make him feel more at home. Better than being on his perch all day, apparently.

I told her it was dangerous for an eighty year old to go up a tree like that. She said the parrot was not that old!

I felt sorry for her; so together with some friends we raised funds and we have built her an elevator. It is a metal structure containing a glass box with a seat inside. By pressing a button the box rises up slowly up the oak tree to about thirty feet and she can sit there with her parrot admiring the view. By pressing another button the elevator comes down slowly and safely.

She is the only person in the world with a tree with an elevator.

I'll raise a glass to that.

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Manuella Bourdignon

  

I went to visit Manuella Bourdignon the other day. Not to be confused with bœuf bourguignon. That is a beef stew braised in red wine, often red Burgundy, and beef stock, typically flavoured with carrots, onions, garlic, and a bouquet garni, and garnished with pearl onions, mushrooms, and bacon.

Now that I've cleared this possible cause of misunderstanding let me start again. 

I went to visit Manuella Bourdignon the other day.

She lives about a mile or so away from us. A bit more depending on which way you go to her house. You can go via town, or you can take the more scenic route through the countryside which is a bit longer. The latter is often better because you get to see cattle grazing in the fields, sheep and lambs gambolling in the pastures green, and hares hiding in the hedgerows.

I don't know why I am telling you all this. You are hardly likely to visit Manuella Bourdignon are you? For all you know, I might have invented her and she does not even exist. Which she does by the way.

Let's continue. 

I took the scenic route and on the way there I saw a one armed squirrel. Which means he only had one arm, not that he was carrying some sort of weapon. 

I should have told you at the beginning that Manuella is an elderly lady we have known for a number of years. I don't know how old she is exactly but I think she was there when Adam needed his diapers changing. 

Did Adam ever need diapers? Or was he created a grown up man? How old exactly? In his teens? Twenties? Older? The Bible is a bit unclear about that. And what did he say when he saw naked Eve? More to the point, what did she say?

Anyway, back to Manuella. She is elderly and takes many medications prescribed by her doctor. She takes so many pills and tablets that when she moves about she rattles like a baby's toy. 

I took with me one of those pill organiser boxes. You must have seen them. Not the one I got Manuella, but something similar. It is a small box with different compartments for different tablets which you have to take on separate days or times.

She looked at it, smiled, and said, "I'll put it in my dead cupboard!"

"Dead cupboard?" I enquired, "what is that?" wondering if there is such a thing, as opposed to a living cupboard which is in the living room no doubt.

She said it's a cupboard where she leaves a lot of things which she does not use and they are left there for someone else to deal with after she is dead. A sort of postponement resting place for things left in limbo until their time of destiny has arrived.

She explained that she has in that cupboard precious items like a porcelain tea set for special occasions when she has special guests. You know, in case the queen or the pope should visit.

I asked her under what special circumstances would the pope visit her and find himself in need of a pill box.

She said, "he is old you know; maybe he takes a lot of tablets and he forgot his pill box in the Vatican!"

I said that if he had forgotten his pill box in the Vatican the chances are that his tablets are within it, in which case and circumstance he would not require her pill box since he would have nothing to place therein.

She told me not to be a smart Alec. No one likes a smart Alec apparently.

That is a pity. Because I was planning that next time I visit her I would take her a stuffed parrot as a present. Do you think she would like that? Or should I take her an old style mangle?

Which present do you think she would appreciate more? She lives alone, she likes pizza and she keeps fit by lifting weights and throwing javelins and boomerangs at passers-by. Tied to a rope of course so she can retrieve them back.

Advice please. 

Monday, 16 November 2020

No Sex In The City

 

I had to go to the big city. I don't like the big city. I hate going there. It is too crowded with too many people and it is always very busy. But I was meeting an old friend from work years ago when we were colleagues. He worked for me. He moved away down South, and me up North. So we agreed to meet in the big city for lunch.

I should have known from the morning it would be a bad day. It was Friday the 14th, but it might as well have been Friday the 13th or any other day of the week or any day of the month. I knew it ... I knew it ... it was going to be a bad day.

I left home early and walked to the railway station. I hate driving to the big city. On my way to the station I met an old neighbour, she's about 60 or so; not really old in age but old because she has lived near us for a long while. Ever since the houses were built in the Middle Ages.

She was walking a pair of dogs. I said, "I didn't know you had any dogs!"

She replied, "They're not my dogs, they're my sister's."

I said, "My ... your sisters are ugly!"

She stared at me and walked away without saying a word. Honestly ... some people have no sense of humour. When I phoned my wife from the train and told her what happened she did not have a sense of humour either. She said I should apologise.

When I arrived in the big city I noticed that much had changed. There were new buildings everywhere that I did not remember from years past. They must have pulled down the old ones and built new ones. I had plenty of time to spare so I walked around a bit.

Guess what? No ... don't bother ... you'll never guess. I ran into an old girl-friend of mine. She was really a delight to see. As pretty as she always was. She was wearing a bright white dress and carried a small red handbag. We stopped and talked and she suggested we go for a cup of tea somewhere.

We went to a coffee shop nearby. She said she was in the city for a job interview. She had really got on in life and with this job she would be getting on really higher. She'd be in the super-league of life!

I was enchanted by every word she said. Then the devil came by to spoil the moment. I told you I knew it from the morning it was going to be a bad day. He nudged my hand and I spilt some tea all over her white dress. Enough to leave a really bad stain up front.

She was as gracious and kind as ever she was. She did not panic and tried to calm me down. She asked me to accompany her to a nearby shop. I waited outside, and after a few minutes she came out wearing another pretty dress in red, to match her handbag.

She asked me if it was OK for me to take her white dress with a stain and post it to her as she could not put it in her handbag, and she had no time to go to the Post Office to post it herself.

I agreed and put her dress in my briefcase.

I walked on to go and meet my friend from work. We'd agreed to meet at his business address where he is now a senior manager.

I stood outside the building for a while. I was still a bit early so I walked backwards and forwards in front of the building. I noticed a security type guy in a uniform come out of the building and with a tiny camera he took a photo of me. Before I could say anything he'd got in again.

I stood there totally flabbergasted. All my flabber was well and truly gasted, I tell you.

Before I came to my senses two security guards came out. The first one and another one. They approached me discreetly and said, "would you please come with us Sir?"

I said, "where? what for?"

The first one said, "Let us not make a scene in public Sir. You have been watching this building for a while; please follow us in!"

I said, "I've come to meet Mr Murgatroid-George The Third, he works here doesn't he?" 

"Indeed he does, Sir," replied the security man, "and he'd be glad to meet you!"

So I followed them into the building. They took me to a small room at the reception entrance and said, "sorry about that, Sir, but we have to search your briefcase. Security reasons, you know!"

"No problem," I said, forgetting what was inside.

They pulled out the white dress with a large brown patch at the front. Looked at each other and one of them said, "not a cross-dresser are you?"

"How dare you?" I said, "of course not ... it doesn't even fit me. And before you ask, this stain is not what you think it is. Not that I know what you think it is. It is tea if you wish to know!"

Why is it that I talk too much when in a panic? I mean ... do you really think I am a cross-dresser? You've been visiting my blog for a while. Have you ever seen me in a dress?

"I was only joking," said the security guard, "we've checked your photo against our file of suspects and your are totally unknown. We have to check all visitors because of potential business and commercial espionage."

"How dare you!" I repeated, "don't you know who I am?"

"No we don't!" was the curt reply.

Oh the ignominy and shame of it all. Not being recognised as a writer and author. I'll have you know that my blog has at least twelve followers; and that includes family and friends

I mean ... can you imagine ... they did not know who I am. You know me don't you? You've been visiting my blog for a while and you know I write books. My family knows me. My neighbours certainly know me ... although many wish they didn't. But these two oafs did not know me. I was totally affronted. All my front was totally fronted. Not to mention the white dress.

By this time, my friend Murgatroid-George The Third came down to meet me and we went to lunch. He paid. Which is the only good thing that happened that day.

My wife laughed at the whole story and cleaned the white dress before posting it to my ex girlfriend.

Sunday, 15 November 2020

Talents? What talents?

 

"... ... ... a man, going on a journey, summoned his slaves and entrusted his property to them; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 

... ... ... After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them ... ... ... Then the one who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five more talents, ... ... ... And the one with the two talents also came forward, saying, ' see, I have made two more talents.' ... ... ... Then the one who had received the one talent also came forward, saying, 'I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.' " (Matthew 25:14-30).

I am sure you know the story well. A rich man gives three sums of money to his slaves, and when he returns from his travels he discovers that two have increased the sum given to them, whereas the other has just buried his coin (talent) and returned it intact with no interest.

So what is Jesus saying here? It is OK to make money, as much as you possibly can according to your capabilities? Don't just sit on what you have and not make your money work?

God is not against people being rich. There is nothing wrong with being rich as long as we achieve it honestly and without cheating or stealing. 

In another parable, (the rich man and poor Lazarus at his gate - Luke 16:19–31), Jesus does not condemn being rich, as many people have misunderstood. Jesus condemns the rich man for not even noticing the poor man at his doorstep.

So what is Jesus teaching in the parable of the slaves and the talents given them?

Could He perhaps be talking about something more than just material riches?

Is He maybe reminding us that there will always be someone worse off than us? Someone who is poor in material things, someone poor in spirit, poor in health, poor in education or even poor in Faith. This may be miss-interpreting Him perhaps but still worth considering.

We all have a responsibility towards those in poverty in one way or another. No matter how their poverty manifests itself.

We should always readily recognize our blessings and share them with those less well off than us.

If we are fortunate to be financially rich, we should give to those who have not.

If we are in good health, we should help those who are sick. Visit them at home or in hospital, and give a hand when needed.

If we are clever or intelligent we should be more tolerant towards those not as bright as us and help educate them where we can.

And if our Faith is strong, we should help and pray for those who falter and fail in their walk with the Lord.

We’ve all been given some talent or other and we should use them for the benefit of others.

Perhaps one way of doing so is by proclaiming our Faith in God. Be God's ambassadors and representatives on earth. We may not all be good at standing at street corners, or knocking at doors, or writing books or blogs. But by just living the Christian life we are using our God given talents for His glory. 

Another way of using our talents is to be active in our church or community. The church always needs volunteers for many jobs. Playing music or singing in the choir perhaps. Doing some sort of administration or secretarial work. Editing and printing the newsletter. Cleaning the church. Ordering supplies. Visiting the sick and the elderly, or helping run a soup kitchen for the down and out. And so on.

We have a responsibility to use our talents to the best of our abilities. And with this responsibility comes a greater and more onerous one. That is to answer to Him when He asks us, “And what have you done with the riches I gave you?”

Saturday, 14 November 2020

Just Posters

 

JUST SOME POSTERS YOU MIGHT LIKE TO SHARE





Friday, 13 November 2020

It's all happening now ...


Lots of happenings and events happening, or occurring, in my life. What's the difference between happening and occurring? Does anyone know?

Anyway, I never mentioned this before, but I have a soft spot for sick animals. I take pity on them. Over the years I must have spent a fortune on sick horses in particular. Mind you, I did not know at the time they were sick when I placed a bet on them at the races.

The other day I did something different. I sponsored a donkey at a local Farm Animals Sanctuary. This is a place near us where they collect old farm animals, mainly horses, donkeys, mules and sometimes old dogs, and they give them shelter and food. They are there to live a happy life after working on the farms all their lives.

I sponsored the donkey on-line. The donkey is called Asimov. There was also a horse called Einstein. Before retiring they both worked in some scientific establishment up North.

The idea is that you pay a certain amount a month and you get texts from the sponsored animals and gifts even. 

I got a text from Asimov which said "Hee Haw ... Hee Haw ... Hee Haw ..."

I texted back, "Is that you Einstein?" (I got the names mixed up).

I got a reply, "Neigh ... Neigh ...!" from the horse.

The donkey sent me a little gift. A half-eaten carrot. The horse sent me something more. A sack full of manure for the roses.

On another matter, I was discussing sports with some friends and I happened to mention that I am good at table tennis - ping pong, as they call it over here. One of them said that he played semi-professionally in a local league. It is a group of local teams, (six in a team), and they meet for tournaments. He suggested I join his team. 

Because they want to keep their tactics secret from the competition they practice late at night at weekends in this man's garage. They play in total darkness. They can hear where the ball is coming from and they hit it backwards and forwards across the table.

I did not see the ball. I got hit in the face and got a nose bleed. 

I also discovered that they also play poker. So that their wives don't find out they play at night underwater in this guy's swimming pool. 

The other day I went to the fishmongers. As I entered the shop a big black and white cat standing in the corner said, "Nice fresh mackerels just in this morning!"

I jumped out of my skin. If I were a cat I would have lost one of my nine lives.

This cat was at least six feet tall, standing there greeting customers by frightening them to death. What possessed the fishmonger to dress his son in that stupid costume?

He said it's because the parrot costume was at the cleaners.

"Great," I thought, "if there's something worse than a big talking cat is a big talking parrot!"  

It all seems to be happening where I live right now. I looked out the window yesterday and there was this man taking some ducks for a walk. I kid you not. He had a long dog's lead and at the end it divided into four little leads. At the end of each lead he had a duck held by some sort of harness. Not round the neck like a dog collar. But on the chest and under the wings somehow.

Anyway, the ducks did not seem to mind. They were walking in unison and quacking happily. 

I asked him why he was taking the ducks for a walk. He said it's because the geese did not want to go.

It seems he is an animal walker. You know, just like a dog walker who is paid to take your dog for a walk, (we have such people in the UK), he takes any animals for a walk. He said the most difficult to take for a walk are goldfish. 

It's not what you think. Don't let your imagination run away.

He places the fish tank on a platform on wheels, some sort of cart, and then he wheels it round town giving the fish a new scenery to view and enjoy. He said he got the idea from when he used to take his grand-mother out in a wheelchair. So he expanded his dog walking business to other animals. His worst experience involved a baby gorilla. It would not sit in the wheelchair and fought with him injuring him badly. The gorilla then wheeled him to the Accident and Emergency Room in hospital.

Oh ... I meant to tell you. You might want to try this in your own homes. We are re-decorating the spare bedroom. I have chosen a dark grey colour throughout with photos of The Scream by Edvard Munch. This will ensure that any guests we have do not stay too long.

And another thing ... a friend of mine has invented a new type of cloth. You know when you buy some clothing and after a wash it tends to shrink. Well, he has invented a new cloth that in fact increases in size after washing. Both in length and width, it gets twice its original size. 

He made a pair of trousers with this cloth. When he was out shopping it rained and the trousers expanded and he fell into them and nearly suffocated.

It's an interesting life, don't you think?

Thursday, 12 November 2020

BEWARE - EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM

 



Down the road from us, say three or four houses away, (not to be precise), there is a man in his seventies living alone. His closest relatives live in the same town some five miles away. 

He is visited by a nurse every now and then to check he is OK. 

He also has an Emergency Alert System. You know the kind; he wears a panic button type gadget on a chain round his neck. Should there ever be an emergency he presses a button and we are warned in our house and we rush over to check on him. We have a key to his house. His relatives are happy that we call on him in an emergency because they live too far away to rush should there be any need; and anyway they also work and are not always at home.

This emergency gadget he wears is very clever. Should he ever fall and become unconscious and not press the button, the gadget recognises he is in a horizontal position and it warns us.

So far we have never been called out to his house on an emergency. Until a few days ago.

I was alone at home. The electronic contraption on the side board started flashing and bleeping.

I put on my shoes and rushed outside. I then realised I was wearing my pyjamas. I got back home. Took off my shoes and put on my trousers.

As I was rushing I fell down the stairs and got a nose bleed. 

I tried my best to stop the nose bleed with my handkerchief whilst putting my shoes on. 

I rushed outside again holding the handkerchief to my nose. Half way there I remembered I did not have the old man's house keys. I returned home. Got the keys and rushed back out.

I arrived at the man's house totally out of breath. My heart was beating 1000 beats a minute. I opened the door. I looked in the living room to see if he was lying on the floor there. He was not. I looked in the kitchen and the other room. He was not there either.

I rushed upstairs.

He was lying horizontal on his bed ... making love to the nurse on top of him.

He was wearing nothing but the chain with panic button round his neck. She was wearing nothing but a smile.

I froze. I slowly and quickly reversed. Then I moved forward and looked again to make sure I was not seeing things. I had not imagined it. He was there in bed receiving medical attention ... of sorts!

I got down the stairs and out of the house.

I don't think either of them noticed me.

Now I don't know whether to tell his family or not. I am concerned that all this exertion might be bad for the heart. I mean ... rushing all the way there in a hurry is quite a task you know! Especially with a nose bleed.

What do you think?

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

How to educate!

 

HOW TO EDUCATE - NOT TEACH

 A certain private school recently faced a unique problem. A number of 12-year-old girls were beginning to use lipstick, and put it on in the bathroom.

That was fine, but after they put on their lipstick, they would press their lips to the mirror leaving dozens of little lip prints. Every night, the maintenance man would remove them and the next day, the girls would put them back.

Finally, the headmistress decided to do something. She called all the girls to the bathroom and met them there with the maintenance man.

She explained that all these lip prints were causing a major problem for the custodian who had to clean the mirrors every night.

To demonstrate how difficult it had been to clean the mirrors, she asked the maintenance man to show the girls how much effort was required.

He took out a long-handled mop, dipped it in the toilet, and cleaned the mirror with it.

Since then, there have been no lip prints on the mirror.

Sometimes there are teachers. And then sometimes there are Educators.

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Knock Knock ...

 

What a week it's been. Why can't I have some peace for a change? We had people at the door everyday; disturbing me when I have more important things to do than find out who's at the door. I don't like people, you see. Well ... I like them from a distance. I think they should knock on their own doors not mine.

There was a knock at the door on Monday. I did not open the door. That's because I was out at the time. I was at the library returning a book detailing the fines to be paid for overdue books. My book was overdue and I was fined £3; which is more than the cost of the book. So I kept the book. 

I can hear you thinking, you know. You're wondering how I knew there was a knock at the door if I was out. The dog told me. I have trained him to put his toy bone just by the door when someone knocks at the door. When I came back home, the bone was behind the door.

On Tuesday there was another knock at the door. This time I opened the door because I was home. It was the postman. Her had a letter and he said, "Is this letter for you. The name is obliterated!" 

I told him my name is Victor Moubarak. He gave me the letter anyway. It was from a lawyer. I had been left two valuable items in Aunt Matilda’s last will and testament when she died last year.

On Wednesday I took the items to an antiques dealer and he confirmed them as a genuine Stradivarius and a Rembrandt.

Unfortunately, Rembrandt was bad at making violins and Stradivarius was a terrible painter!

As I got home there was another knock at the door. This time it was one of those couriers working for an Internet Shopping Website. He was delivering a package. He asked, "Is this Number 11?"

I said, "No. It is Number π ... pronounced pi. But the horizontal line at the top has fallen and it looks like 11. In fact our house Number is 3.14 because it is slightly larger than other houses ... 0.14% larger to be precise. So I called it pi."

He did not understand a word I said. He asked me if the packet was for me. So I sent him to Number 11 down the road.

On Thursday there was another knock at the door. It was one of those food delivery people. You order a meal on the phone and they deliver. He stood there with a flat box in his hand and said, "Pizza?"

"No ..." I replied, "Pi ... not pizza ..."

He stood there nonplussed. Obviously he was no good at mathematics. In order to help him I asked him, "Did you cut the pizza in six or eight slices?"

He looked in the box and said, "Eight ..."

I replied, "I'm not that hungry to eat eight slices," and sent him away to Number 11.

On Friday there was another knock at the door. It was a man. He said he was collecting for the Home For Fallen Women. I told him I did not have any fallen women. At that point there was a loud noise of something falling down the stairs. I turned round and it was the mother-in-law. I asked her, "did you miss a step?"

"No," she said, "I hit every one of them!"

On Saturday there was another knock at the door. I opened and found a snail on the doorstep. I remembered that on Monday I had seen that snail on the doorstep and to save him from being trodden on and killed I threw him in the bushes. I bent down to pick him up and he said, "what's the great idea of throwing me in the bushes?"

On Sunday there was another knock at the door. I opened and it was our priest. Trust him to call on Sunday. He said that he had not seen me for confession for a number of weeks, so he called to see if all was well. I told him I'd given up sinning. Too much effort. I could not see the point of going to all the trouble of sinning and then confessing it afterwards. I thought it would be easier to stop sinning altogether. Besides, my neighbour does not have an ass for me to covet and his wife is too ugly to covet anyway. 

The priest looked disappointed. He said no one seems to be sinning these days. Either that, or they don't know what sinning is.

He said he will run talks at the church hall on the Ten Commandments with various examples to  demonstrate each sin. There will be a talk on each Commandment every week.

I said I'll attend when he talks about adultery. I'd like to know how he'll demonstrate that!

Monday, 9 November 2020

Should priests ...


Is it OK for priests to be jovial and sing pop and rock songs? Or should they always be serious, pious and prayerful? Can they not be both?

 
 


Sunday, 8 November 2020

On the Radio

 

Another short recording of my radio programs
(11 minutes)
 

Saturday, 7 November 2020

My Mortal Sin

 


I left the hotel hurriedly in a taxi on my way to the airport. It was then that I realized that I had sinned deeply and severely the night before.

This was in no doubt a mortal sin. I had succumbed to temptation and been led astray by the devil. The horror of the situation filled me with dread and a cold sweat started trickling on my forehead. What if the worst were to happen and I was suddenly face to face with my Maker, my Creator, and my ultimate Judge?

The taxi drew past a church and I asked the driver to stop suddenly. I paid him off and rushed into the building. Suddenly, missing the plane didn’t seem to matter any more. It was Saturday and the chances are there would be Confessions in progress.

I was fortunate. A dozen or so people were waiting their turn to enter the old fashioned Confessional. 

I waited with them and could only think of one sin. My mortal sin of the night before! The dark blot on my soul leading me to eternal damnation unless it is wiped clean once again.
 
How could I succumb to such sin once more? The shame and humiliation of it all played over in my mind time and again. I could see myself sinning vividly at Satan’s feet. And now I had to tell the priest all about it.

Eventually my turn came and I knelt down by the thick curtain hiding my Confessor.

I confessed my hideous sin leaving no detail unsaid. I told him exactly what had happened and how I succumbed to temptation and how I needed absolution.

When I finished, somewhat relieved off the heavy weight on my soul, the voice behind the curtain said “Yo no hablo Ingles!”

In my hurry to confess my mortal sin I had forgotten that I was on a business trip to Spain.

This was a Spanish church with a Spanish priest, and he does not speak English, and he has not understood a word I said, how can he possibly forgive me my sin?

How could I mime my sin from behind the curtain? And would he understand me if he saw me re-enact it? Are some sins so international to be easily understood in any language?

I did what most English people do when abroad and not understood. I repeated every word again slowly and loudly.

Somehow, there’s the belief that by speaking loudly the English language is suddenly universally understood.

Eventually, the Spanish priest repeated in an equally loud voice “Yo te perdono! Yo te perdono!”

I said “Muchas Gracias” and left the church before waiting for absolution and penance.

When I arrived back home I thought I’d make doubly sure and I went straight to my English speaking priest, albeit he has a Scottish accent, by I forgive him that.

I told him about my Spanish mortal sin.

I explained that the night before I left Spain, whilst in my hotel room, I was so tempted that I succumbed to temptation itself. I took a cold beer can from the little ice box they have in some hotels. I really enjoyed that drink.

The following morning, when asked by the receptionist whether I had used the ice box, I had forgotten about the beer and I said “No!”

It wasn’t until I was in the taxi heading for the airport that I realized I had technically stolen from the hotel and committed a mortal sin.

The Scottish priest laughed at my face and did not give me absolution. Luckily, I had a Spanish absolution instead. I think!