Friday, 22 January 2021

Readers - We have a problem


This post may not be suitable for readers with a nervous disposition. 
Please have someone else read this for you. 
Or read it with your eyes closed!
And please keep an open mind ...

Some people snore in their sleep. Others talk in their sleep. Whilst others indeed walk in their sleep. I knew someone who used to eat in his sleep. He'd wake up in the morning and find he'd eaten half a pillow. He also often dreamt he was at a marshmallow factory. But that's another story.

What I want to tell you is about myself ... rather embarrassing, but ... here goes ...

I ... it seems ... so I am told ... apparently ... sing and tell jokes in my sleep.

The other night, I understand, I was singing songs from the musical Oklahoma. A few days ago it was "Old McDonald had a farm"! I was practicing my vowels ... I said vowels ... "E ... I ... E ... I ... O"

I then tend to lean forwards as if receiving tumultuous applause and recognition from an appreciative audience - a standing ovation no less.

What is worse, it seems, is that I also tell jokes. Original ones.

Now years ago, I used to compare variety shows to raise money for charity and I often did stand-ups telling jokes and introducing the next act. So I can see how such distant memories can now trigger and  replay from my sub-conscious into my dreams. What I find interesting is that my brain seems to make up new jokes which I enjoy and then include in my Blog posts.

However, what I find somewhat disconcerting is that my dreams also seem to involve you ... yes you ... my loyal and very welcome readers.

It seems that when I sing or tell jokes I also name you in my repertoire. I say something like, "I hope you have enjoyed this song (name)." Or "Now I am sure that (name) will enjoy this joke ..." and I proceed to tell the joke.

As you can imagine, naming people in one's dreams is somewhat embarrassing and it has been difficult explaining who all these real people from my virtual Internet world are. Obviously, I've never met you, and do not really know you. So how come you are featuring in my private dreams?

And it's not just you. The other day I dedicated a song to Eleanor, who happens to be our neighbour's dog; and also to Christina his pet parrot.

So my real world and my virtual Internet world are combining with songs and jokes in my dream world with embarrassing results.

I went to see my doctor about this intriguing phenomenon. She asked me whether I ever mention her in my sleep. I said, "No."

She was very upset and asked, "Why? Am I not as attractive or as interesting as all those other people?"

She got very jealous that my dreams seem to prefer you and a dog and parrot but not her. After a bit of a heated discussion where I tried to re-assure her that she was just as important as all of my friends and animals, she calmed down a little and gave me some horse pills which a vet friend of hers gave her for nightmares.

The problem is that the pills are the size of golf balls. OK I suppose for a horse; but too large for me to swallow. So I grind the pills using a pestle and mortar and dilute them in plenty of water.

As you can imagine. Taking those horse pills with gallons of water has had side effect.

Being up in the bathroom all night has stopped my vivid dreams.

OK ... better stop here. Have you heard the one about ... ... ...

Thursday, 21 January 2021

Chat? I don't like to chat!


I do hate it when organisations I have to deal with, like electricity, gas, water, TV or cellphone providers, insurance people or whatever, insist on you having a "chat" with them. 

I go to their website and discover that the only two ways to communicate with them is by phoning them, and waiting for three lifetimes before some idiot deems to reply, or via on-line chat. There is not option of sending them an e-mail. I could write by snail mail but by the time my letter reaches them they would probably be out of business because of their poor customer care. Good job too!

I do not want to chat. On-line or otherwise. I want to express my problem and hopefully get you to solve it, you faceless corporation intent on just making profits and raising my blood pressure.

Here's a record of a recent chat:

- Hello, my name is Elenora. Please type your username.

- Irate Troll.

- Please type the first letter of you password.

- X

- Please type the last letter of your password. 

- X

- That's two Xs

- Yes my password is Xylophonemix.

- You should not have said that.

- What?

- Xylophonemix.

- Why not?

- Because now I know you password.

- Of course you do. It is on your computer for you to check I typed the correct first and last letter.

- You will have to change it.

- What?

- Your password.

- Now?

- No ... not now.

- If not now, when?

- After we have finished this chat. How may I help you?

- For a start by not having a chat. If I want a chat I can talk to my cat. His name is Julien Antoine. He is a French cat - or chat!

- How may I help you?

- The cellphone I bought from you is not working properly.

- Have you checked it is the cellphone which is faulty and not your telephone line service provider?

- How do I know? When I try to phone someone it is always engaged.

- Let me check for you. Please wait a moment.

(A million moments later, plus another two million moments more ...)

- Hello ... are you still there?

- Yes I am still here. I was checking with our technical department.

- Sorry. I thought it was dead.

- I am very much alive, Sir.

- I meant I thought the line was dead. Not you. I said "IT"

- There appears to be a problem with the line. We will e-mail you shortly. Is there anything else I can help you with?    

- Yes. Why can I not e-mail your company rather than this online chat?

- It is more convenient for our customers and more efficient for us this way.

- It is neither convenient nor efficient. I have wasted half-an-hour chatting with you about everything except the weather and you still have not solved my problem. It would have been quicker if I e-mailed you and then you can check with technical department to your heart's content and reply when you have solved the problem.

- Is there anything else I can help you with, Sir?

- No!

- Thank you for your call.

- Thanx.

- Would you please complete a customer satisfaction survey of your experience with us?

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Hotel Reservation


Can I book a room for me and my swan please?

I beg your pardon, Sir?

A room ... for me and my swan. She is waiting in the car.

A swan, Sir? That's very unusual.

Yes ... a swan. What's so unusual about that? It says on the notice at your door, "Pets Allowed".

You have a swan as a pet, Sir? By pet we mean a cat, or dog, we'll accept them ... not a swan.

Now look here ... it does not specify at the door what kind of pet you mean. Mine happens to be a swan. I am here in town for the falconry exhibition and contest. I am here to enter my swan at the contest.

You're entering a swan in a falconry contest? How does that work?

What do you mean how does it work? I hold my arm outstretched like so. I hold a small piece of meat in my hand ... fish actually ... swans don't eat meat ... they are vegetarian. The swan flies from on top of a tree and lands on my arm!

The swan is a big bird, Sir. It must be very heavy for it to land on your arm.

Of course it is. I once broke my arm in three places.

What did you do?

I stopped going to these three places.

Why not practice falconry with a small bird ... like a falcon? Or a hawk? Or owl?

When I started I used a chicken.

A chicken, Sir? But a chicken does not fly.

Oh, we sorted that minor problem. A friend of mine used to throw the chicken at me from a distance and get it to land on my arm.

Did it work?

Not really ... one of the falcons ate the chicken.

Have you tried frozen chickens from the supermarket, Sir?

Good thought ... good thought ... Now have you got a room for me and my swan?

We have a double room. Would you mind sharing with a man and his crocodile?

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

A serious encounter with ...


This is a serious post. I know a number of my readers say they enjoy my humourous posts and have a good chuckle or a smile at what I write here. Well, this is not such an occasion. What I am going to tell you here is very serious. In fact, if it had been told to me I would not have believed it. But this actually happened to me a few years back. What is more, I had a witness with me to confirm that what I am saying is true.

It happened an evening about three or four years ago. It was either a Friday or a Saturday evening. Not sure which. I'm certain it was one of these two days because that's when we usually go to the pub; my friends and I.

It was about a quarter to midnight. Ken, my friend, and I were on our way home from the pub. The King's Arms it was. That's the name of the pub. I remember it well.

We took the short cut through the woods as we always did. It was a moonless night. Rather darker than usual and cloudy.

As we were in the woods by some trees, Ken remarked that we had not heard the usual sound of owls as we normally hear as we cross the wood at night. This was near a nature reserve, so nocturnal sounds like owls, or even foxes, were usual at this time of night.

As Ken was talking I noticed a light in the sky. Not a very bright light or anything like that. It was a slow moving dim sort of light. It was like there was someone cycling in the sky. The light looked like the front light of a bicycle. I know it sounds absurd. It does seem incredible to me as I say it now. But that's what happened.

I pointed the light to Ken. He nodded and said nothing. I thought it was either someone cycling in the sky, which is improbable, or an owl had stolen the front light of a bicycle and was flying with it in its talons; just as improbable. 

The light moved ever so slowly from left to right in an arc shape, like a rainbow trajectory, and as it got lower to the ground it went out.

Ken and I kept our sights focussed on the area where it landed, or where it went out, and walked slowly towards it. When we got there, there was nothing at all. We looked round, and searched, but there was nothing. Thinking back, it was a stupid thing to do. We should have just run home. But we didn't.

We continued walking down the path in the woods towards the edge of the woods and the road to home.

Ten minutes further on we met a man standing by a bus stop on the road. I said, "Good evening", but he didn't answer. Ken stopped to tie his shoe laces which had come undone.

I had a bag of licorice sweets in my pocket. I took it out, put a sweet in my mouth, and offered one to the man at the bus stop. He was short. Tall he certainly wasn't. He was bout five feet tall, no more. Not that his size mattered to the story.

Ken got up suddenly from his crouching position tying his shoe laces and tugged at my shirt moving me away a little. 

He whispered, "Do not give licorice to extra terrestrial aliens. It gives them diarrhoea!"

I had not heard of that. Have you? Apparently, licorice affects their digestive system and can give them the runs. Ken said he had read it in a book somewhere. He said he could not remember the details. It was either not giving licorice to aliens from outer space, or not giving chocolates to dogs. He was not sure which it was. As we did not have a dog or chocolates with us at the time, we decided it must be the licorice thing that is a possibility of being true. 

So very quickly Ken and I ate all the licorice sweets and threw the bag away in a nearby trash bin just in case the short man asked us for a sweet.

I then casually commented, swallowing the remnants of the last sweet, "a bit cold tonight, don't you think?"

The short man looked at us both and said nothing.

I said, "good night," and we hurriedly made our way home down the road leading to town.

When I got home, I could not find my cell phone. I looked everywhere for it. I was convinced that the short man from outer space had stolen it. I told Ken about it, and he believed the same. He said they might be interested in our technology.

Three days later, I found my cell phone in my car under the driver's seat. The alien must have found out where I live and returned it, having got all technical information that they need.

I'll never forget that experience. I reminded Ken the other day when I phoned him. He's now moved to Wales. He is convinced we had met an extra terrestrial that night. Because of his short height and the fact that he did not talk. Also, how he stole my phone and knew where to return it. 

Sunday, 17 January 2021

Happenings in my life

Every now and then I think back at things that happened in my life and ask: Why me?

No one ever answers. Perhaps you will.

Years ago, when I lived in London, a neighbour phoned in the middle of the night, about 3:00am, and said, "Your dog barking is disturbing my sleep."

I said, "Sorry", meaning what are you talking about? Rather than being apologetic. I was half-asleep at the time.

The next morning, I remembered what happened and was upset, especially since I don't even have a dog. So at 3:00am the next night I phoned my neighbour and said, "I don't have a dog!"

When I moved to another house in London, the same thing, only different, happened again. A woman neighbour phoned me at night and said, "Your horse is in my garden!"

Rather stupidly, I replied, "Sorry!", like I did before.

The next morning I went to see her and I told her I have no horse. She said, "that's OK, it was only a  nightmare!" 

Horse ... nightmare ... get it? It comes to something when I have to explain my jokes.

When I moved up North I had a neighbour who imitated birds. I did not mind that she ate worms; but I got really annoyed when she pooped on my car!

Oh come on ... that was a good joke! You're a tough audience.

I was in my early twenties and lived in London. I got involved in politics and could have run for office locally. I used to spend a lot of time during elections knocking on doors and asking people if we could rely on their support; or answering any questions or problems they had in mind. 

I remember once I was with another colleague. We knocked on a door and a young 15 year old opened. I asked, "Are your dad or mom in?"

He shouted upstairs and said, "Daaad ... there's a man to see you!"

A voice from upstairs replied, "Bring him up!"

My colleague decided to stay at the door. I followed the lad upstairs and he took me to a bedroom where a man and a woman were in bed.

He said, "Yeh ... what do you want?"

You can imagine a 22 year old talking politics with a couple who had other things on their minds. 

On another occasion I was knocking at doors in an apartment block. As I was talking to a man at his door, I noticed a woman in her early thirties I would guess, walk up the stairs and say, "Hello Mr Farthing!" to the old gentleman I was talking to. He greeted her back, and she walked up the stairs to the level above. 

After ten minutes or so talking to him; I walked up the stairs to the higher level. We had been taught always to be honest with the voters and give a true answer to questions asked; even though it would not be what the voter wants to hear. They respect an honest politician even if their views differ from our Party.

When I rang the door bell at the apartment above, the woman I saw before opened the door totally naked. She was wearing nothing but a smile. She had obviously seen me knocking at doors and had been waiting for me.

She said, "Yes ... what do you want?"

I was honest. I said, "I forgot ..." and ran away.

Politics taught me a lot!!!!!!

God is getting old


Father Ignatius’s car had broken down just on the day he had to drive to the City miles away. Somehow he was glad this had happened because in all honesty he hated to drive long distances, especially when it involved negotiating busy traffic in the City.

He phoned his local garage for help and just as luck would have it, or was it a God-incidence, one of the managers was due to travel to the City that very day and he was happy to take Father Ignatius to his Conference and drive him back the same evening.

Oh what a God send Gerald was as he and the priest set off on the long journey. For once Father Ignatius could relax and not worry about the driving.

A few minutes into the journey Gerald started the conversation.

“I was thinking Father,” he said, “do you reckon that God has mellowed with age?”

“What do you mean?” enquired the priest.

“Well …” continued Gerald, “in the Old Testament we see Him full of wrath and anger sending floods everywhere and pestilence on the Egyptians and all sorts of bad things to those who did not tow the line. He behaved like a right monster at times, thumping people on the head if they did not obey Him.

“And now we’re told He’s a loving, caring, forgiving Father who has our best interests at heart. Why do you think He changed strategy? Did His first plans not work?”

Father Ignatius laughed.

“I’m amused that you think I know all about God’s plans,” he said, “the Almighty does not confide in me you know …”

“Maybe not Father! But you must admit it is a total change of tactics from anger and wrath … and you must admit the Bible says in the Old Testament things like vengeance is mine … and I am a jealous God … and all that. And now it’s all gentleness and sweet love … at least that’s what you priests lead us to believe.

“Why doesn’t God thump people on the head and into line these days? The world is going to ruin and His sweet love will get us nowhere …”

The priest laughed again at Gerald’s direct and forthright way of putting things.

“OK … let’s analyze what you’ve been saying …” said Father Ignatius, “on the face of it … it does appear that there’s a great contrast between the description of God in the Old Testament and the description in the New Testament.

“Now what I’m saying here is purely my opinion, you understand. I don’t have a hotline to God and I’m not privy to His strategies and plans …”

Gerald smiled and nodded.

“We tend to see God from our human perspective,” continued the priest, “we see Him with human understanding and we attribute to Him human qualities, plans, strategies, emotions and so on.

“But God is God. And man is man. We cannot possibly understand Him from our viewpoint, nor should we attempt to do so.

“Now it could well be … and this is me guessing here you understand Gerald … it could well be that the people at the time of the Old Testament were accustomed to being led … being guided … and told what to do.

“Can you imagine for instance one man … Moses … guiding a multitude of people out of Egypt, promising them a better life elsewhere, and going round in circles in the desert for forty years?

"This wouldn't happen today.

“In modern times people would have set up committees to discuss the project, appointed several managers to chair sub-committees and devised multiple budgetary plans and operational strategies … all before their poor overworked wives had time to pack the luggage and prepare the kids to leave Cairo.

“Yet in the Old Testament one man said let’s go … and they all went.

“True … they argued and rebelled along the way … and Moses dealt with it in a forthright manner as you advocate …”

Gerald laughed.

“So it could well be that God treated people in the Old Testament days the way they expected to be lead and the way they understood,” said Father Ignatius, “With firmness where necessary … yet at all times with fairness and compassion.

“This is only my opinion … as I said.

“And it could be that in His own time, according to His will, God decided to send Jesus to us in human form to teach us … to show us God’s infinite love, and to forgive and redeem us through His death and Resurrection.

“Jesus in human form had to be kind, and gentle and compassionate to portray God’s infinite love. And He taught us in the Lord’s Prayer about a loving Father caring for His children and always ready to provide for them.

"It would have been pointless to have a ruthless commanding Jesus forcing people to obey Him. This does not depict God's love for us, which is so infinite, that He gave up His own Son to die for us.

“Hence the contrast between the Old and New Testaments …”

At this point a huge truck overtook their car and moved back into lane so close that Gerald had to swerve sharply in order to avoid a collision.

“Stupid idiot …” shouted Gerald, and then muttered something else unrepeatable under his breath.

After a moment or two as the two men calmed down a little Gerald continued, “There are times Father, when I wish God would deal with people the old fashioned Old Testament way!”

Father Ignatius said nothing but prayed silently that God may forgive Gerald for his immediate reaction under pressure.


Saturday, 16 January 2021

Honour your Father and Mother


It is a fact that some of us, if we're fortunate, will grow old. And as we grow old, some of us may well become ill, some will live alone, some will struggle with day to day tasks, and many will have their families living far away.

Our children will grow up and move to other places to find jobs and to start a family. Other children will probably fall out with their parents, perhaps as a result of a family argument, and cease to contact their parents. Whilst some other children will just be too busy with the day-to-day stresses of life to maintain contact with their parents.

It is also a fact that some of us, as we grow older, will become cantankerous, argumentative pains in the neck working our way down South. Not everyone can be as pleasant and nice to be with as I am. And so it follows, that such old people will make it difficult for their families to visit them as often as they should. In some cases, perhaps for safety's sake, it will be necessary for children and parents to meet no longer.

Then there is another fact. Many years ago, God commanded on a tablet of stone, "Honour your father and mother."

Now I ask myself, how much of a duty is that on every son and daughter, and how serious a sin is it if we ignore it?

Many amongst us can claim that our lives are too busy with the responsibilities of work, raising a family, looking after our own children, and so on and so forth, to be able to visit our parents frequently. Especially if they live too far away.

Others can claim that they fell out with their parents because of a serious family dispute, and indeed it is for their own safety, and that of their children, that they don't visit their parents any more.

Others will claim that their parents have become the proverbial in-laws; and whenever they visit them, their parents are always criticising and creating a dividing wedge between husband and wife; especially if they never approved of their choice of partners in the first place.

These, and many other supposedly valid reasons have resulted in parents and children no longer seeing each other.

I have known several lonely elderly people in my time. One old lady was so lonely seeing no one from day to day that every week she took the bus to town and back just to be with other people on the journey.

Another left the TV or radio on all day and night just to hear the voice of someone speaking; and she left the lights on all night for fear of being alone in the dark.

Another old lady living alone just talked to her dog just to exercise her vocal chords. She said her throat dries up if she does not speak to anyone all day.

And yet another old man died alone at home and was not discovered until days later when the postman wondered why his mail was piling up behind his door.

Loneliness, especially in old age, is the scourge of a modern society awash with electronic communications devices.

What is the point of having hundreds of "friends and followers" on social media if none visit you when you're old?

So, my message to every son and daughter is: "What will you say to God when you meet Him about the way you honoured your parents"?

And for every parent, old and not so old, "What will you say to God about the way you helped your children obey that commandment?"

I wonder what God would respond.

Friday, 15 January 2021

Mistaken Identity


Have you ever been mistaken for someone else? A celebrity perhaps? An actor or singer? Tell us about it.

Some years ago I was at a coffee bar in London. I remember the man serving behind the counter. He'd had a charisma transplant. I mean he had all charisma taken away from him. Hardly the sort of person you'd put at front of shop meeting customers.

Anyway, I was sitting there with my latte coffee when I was approached by two young ladies. They were French, judging by their accents. They could have been Belgian or any other nationality for all I knew. But they had a French accent.

"Excuse moi ... me ..." said the first one, "you are being zee actor from zee America TV show Friends? N'est ce pas?"

I awoke from my daydream and mumbled, "Hein?"

"You are Jennifer Aniston!" she declared. 

Now I can assure you that I do not look one bit like a woman. Whether it is Jennifer Aniston or anyone else. For a start I have a beard.

I was about to say something when the young lady interrupted me by adding, "my friend 'ere ... she says you not Jennifer Aniston ... you is Gregory Peck. Zee man from zee film Magnum who is friends wiz Monica Geller!"

Well, to cut a long story short, I spoke to them in perfect French and put them right. I told them I was the man who plays the gorilla in the film King Kong, and that I was on my way to an audition for the part of a dinosaur in the latest version of Jurassic Park. 

They believed me and got my autograph!

The other day, the same thing happened again.

I went to see the doctor to check up on my sense of humour. As I entered the Insulting Room I said, "Morning doctor ... you must be new here. Not the usual doctor I always see".

"I am not the doctor," he said, "I am the painter, as you can tell from my paint stained clothes, the pots of paint, and the brushes".

"Why are you in the doctor's office?" I asked.

He was rather irritated. Probably related to the coffee bar worker in London from all those years ago.

"Because the butcher, the baker and the candle-stick maker do not want their premises painted," he said with total lack of charisma and a personality as welcome as a fart in a space suit.

"But ... but ... I have come to see the doctor!" I mumbled.

"You won't see him today," he growled, "he is sick!"

"Oh dear ..." I sympathised, "I hope it's not serious!"

"That's a blue herring," he replied picking up a pot of blue paint.

"Actually, it is a red herring!" I corrected him, "not blue."

He looked at the pot of paint in his hand, which confirmed it was blue. He shook his head and said nothing.

I ventured a question, "Do you have a relative who works in a coffee bar in London?" I asked.

He replied, "Coffee is not everyone's cup of tea!"

Thursday, 14 January 2021

How much is that piggy in the window?


Man enters pet shop and looks around. Shop assistant approaches him.

Man: I would like to buy this Guinea pig please?

Shop Assistant: Certainly sir, let me get him for you.

Assistant picks up Guinea pig and puts him in a small box with holes on cover for it to breathe. Buyer looks at animal which instantly rolls over with feet pointing upwards.

Man: Hey ... this Guinea pig is dead. He is as stiff as a board. Look how he rolled over.

Shop Assistant: He is not dead, sir. He is hibernating.

Man: Hibernating? It is the middle of June!

Shop Assistant: Yes sir, he is from South America. They hibernate in summer in South America. If he was from Northern Europe he would hibernate in winter.

Man: So he will remain stiff until winter?

Shop Assistant: Not necessarily. A quick ten seconds in the microwave oven will soon revive him.

Man: I don't believe you. He seems dead to me. Look, his eyes are wide open, and his fur is beginning to fall off.

Shop Assistant: All right. I'll let you have it for half-price.

Man: Half-price? I'd expect a bigger discount for a dead hamster.

Shop Assistant: Guinea pig ...

Man: All right. A dead Guinea pig ...

Shop Assistant: I tell you what ... I'll let you have it for free if you buy another Guinea pig as well.

Man: OK ... I'll have that one too.

Shop Assistant places another Guinea pig in the box.

Man: He seems rather slow moving to me ...

Shop Assistant: That's because he has a bit of a migraine. He was at a party last night. You know ... all that dancing and singing ... and the drinks and the girls ... He must have a bit of a hangover this morning.

Man: A party? He was at a party?

Shop Assistant: A funeral actually. And a get-together afterwards to celebrate the deceased's life.

Man: Who died?

Shop Assistant: This other Guinea pig. But he did not turn up to his own funeral.

Man: Why not?

Shop Assistant: He was up for sale at a reduced price!


Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Interesting Facts

Scientists have counted the number of heartbeats a mouse has in a lifetime and found a direct relationship with its size and weight. They then did the same with an elephant and found the relationship/ratio between the number of heartbeats and the size of the elephant to be the same as that of a mouse.

This means that all creatures have a number of given heartbeats in a lifetime commensurate with their weight and size.

A mouse being small and fast-running has a very fast heart beat. He therefore uses his allotted number of heartbeats quickly and dies in a matter of a few months.

The elephant on the other hand has a slower heartbeat per minute and lives much longer.

From this we deduce that humans too have a given number of heartbeats allocated to them at birth; give or take a few heartbeats either way.

And the faster we use our heartbeats the shorter our life would be.

This is a good reason why we should all be fat and sit in front of a TV with a large pizza rather than waste our heartbeats jogging, playing football or other sporting pursuits.
Scientists also tested another relationship between the elephant and the mouse. They put both in a chamber and then simulated lack of gravity, like you find in space, to see whether both creatures would float at the same time despite their size and weight. When they switched the gravity machine off both creatures fell to the ground. Unfortunately, the elephant fell on the mouse and killed it. Thus proving that no matter how many heartbeats you have allocated to you, don't let an elephant fall on you.

Another interesting fact about animals, or insects, involves crickets. You know, those little creatures who chirp incessantly throughout the night in summer.

Well, apparently the number of chirps they make per minute varies depending on the weather. The hotter it is the more chirps per minute; as many as forty or so chirps a minute in really hot steamy nights. But as the weather gets a little cooler the number of chirps a minute is less.

At a temperature of zero degrees centigrade the insect does not chirp at all because he is totally frozen  out his head.

In England every year people gather for a worm catching contest. They go out in a field and tap the ground with sticks imitating the sound of rain. This excites the worms which come out of the ground to the surface and are quickly caught and put in a bucket. The winner is the person who catches most worms in a given period of time.

Last year no one caught any worms in the contest.

It rained all day and they held the contest in the local church hall and the worms could not dig through the concrete floor.

Women who wear perfume are more likely to be bitten by mosquitoes than those who do not. That’s because mosquitoes are attracted to the gentile scent of perfume.

The same does not apply however for men who wear after-shave. This is because men tend to use too much after-shave lotion and they smell like mature manure thus attracting flies instead.

Men who drink a lot, especially liquor such as whisky, rum, vodka and so on, tend to turn mosquitoes into alcoholics when they suck their blood.

An old friend of mine used to drink at least a half-bottle of whisky or rum a day. He lived to age 92 and when he died he was cremated. It took the fire brigade a week to put the flames out.

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Talking Phones


I do hate it when I phone a big organisation and an answering voice rather than a human replies. The world population is 7.8 billion. Why can't these companies find just one person to speak to me on the phone?

Here's a recent conversation.

-  Your call is important to us. You are number 1,000,000 in the queue. Please hold.

Dirge funereal music to put me in the mood. Ten weeks later ...

-  Please press 1 if you are an existing customer. Press 2 if you wish to join us as a new customer. Press 3 if you wish to leave us. Press 4 if you have lost the will to live. Press 5 to hear these options again.

-  As an existing customer please type your account number followed by the # key.

-  17746358#

-  We do not recognise this account. Please type again followed by the # key.

-  17746385#

-  Welcome Victor S E Moubarak. Please speak clearly the nature of your enquiry.

-  YOU ... HAVE ... SENT ... THE ... WRONG ... SHOES ...

-  You wish to purchase a pair of shoes.

-  NO ... YOU ... SENT ... WRONG SHOES ...

-  You require red shoes.

-  NOOOOO ... YOU DEAF ***** !!!!

-  You wish to purchase Def Leppard music CD.

-  NO ... I ... WISH ... TO ... SPEAK ... TO ... A ... HUMAN ...

-  You wish to purchase hummus. This is mashed chickpeas blended with tahini, lemon juice, and garlic.


-  You have pressed 1 - your call is important to us. You are number 233,416 in the queue. Please hold.

NOTE: Does anyone wish to buy a pair of shoes? Female. One red. One green. One with high heel. One not high heel. One size 9. One size 11. Cost price £19.99 - I'll pay the postage!!!

Monday, 11 January 2021

Quote Unquote


When writing a letter, or a text or e-mail; read it carefully in case you can be misunderstood.
Here are some quotes from letters to Housing Associations and Insurance Companies.

Letters to Housing Associations.

"I wish to complain that my father hurt his ankle very badly when he put his foot in the hole in his back passage."

"I am writing on behalf of my sink which is coming away from the wall."

"Will you please send someone to mend the garden path. My wife tripped and fell on it yesterday and now she is pregnant."

"Will you please send a man to look at my water, it is a funny colour and not fit to drink."

"I am a single woman living in a downstairs apartment and would be pleased if you could do something about the noise made by the man I have on top of me every night."

"This is to let you know that our lavatory seat is broken and we can't get the News Channel."

The following are allegedly real quotes from insurance claims

Question: Could either driver have done anything to avoid the accident?

Answer: Travelled by bus?

"I didn't think the speed limit applied after midnight"

"The other car collided with mine without giving warning of its intention."

"I collided with a stationary truck coming the other way"

"A truck backed through my windshield into my wife's face"

"A pedestrian hit me and went under my car"

"An invisible car came out of nowhere, struck my car and vanished."

"I was thrown from the car as it left the road. I was later found in a ditch by some stray cows."

"Coming home I drove into the wrong house and collided with a tree I don't have."

"The guy was all over the road. I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him."

"I had been driving for forty years when I fell asleep at the wheel and had an accident."

"My car was legally parked as it backed into another vehicle."

"I told the police that I was not injured, but on removing my hat found that I had a fractured skull."

"I was sure the old fellow would never make it to the other side of the road when I struck him."

"The pedestrian had no idea which way to run as I ran over him."

"I saw a slow moving, sad faced old gentleman as he bounced off the roof of my car."

"The gentleman behind me struck me on the backside. He then went to rest in a bush with just his rear end showing. "

"No one was to blame for the accident but it would never have happened if the other driver had been alert."

Sunday, 10 January 2021



Saturday, 9 January 2021

Marge R.I.P.


Our hamster died. Her name was Marge. This is short for Margaret; or short for margarine. I don't know if you've got it where you live?

Marge to mean Margaret; not margarine. I'm sure you have margarine where you live. But do you have the name Marge as well?

Anyway, our Marge died. We had to bury her in the garden.

So I put her in a tub of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! and laid her in the ground. Whilst the rest of the family was still mourning her departure, I felt hungry and went in the kitchen for some toast.

On opening the fridge I discovered we had no butter, or I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! either. In fact we had nothing resembling or tasting of, or like, butter for me to spread on my toast.

It was then that I remembered that the tub we buried Marge in was not completely empty. It had a little I Can't Believe still in it. I Can't Believe I didn't bother to wash the tub before placing Marge in it. But then, I reasoned, what's the point? Soon enough Marge and the I Can't Believe will be as one anyway. Only the plastic tub will survive for a million years because those save the planet people tell us that plastic takes that long to decompose.

So I wondered. What if I dug up Marge again and use some of the left-over I Can't Believe on my toast? Would that do any harm? 

I could scrape off any hamster hairs that happen to intermingle with the I Can't Believe; and there'd be just enough for two slices of toast. 

Seems reasonable enough. You would have probably done the same? Wouldn't you?

Then for some reason I decided against it. What if Marge blinked at me as I was taking the marge out of her fur?

I Can't Believe I even thought of doing it.

About an hour later the other hamster looked a bit unwell. Everyone thought he would also die. Probably of heartache missing his Marge.

His name is Peanut.

I quickly emptied the jar of peanut butter onto my two pieces of toast.

Just in case.

Friday, 8 January 2021

Oscar Award


The whole idea was stupid, and I should have known to say "No!"

But I suppose I tend to get myself into situations out of which I subsequently find it near impossible to extricate myself. 

Try saying that with a mouth full of popcorn!

It happened like this. School play. I volunteered to help. Dealing with the curtains. Lights. Moving props. That sort of thing back stage.

The hall is full of excited parents and guests. Minutes to go before we start. The teacher, producer, organiser of everything is in a panic. She had asked the caretaker to help in the play by putting on a gorilla costume and acting/behaving like a gorilla on stage. I'd seen him do it at the many rehearsals. He was a natural at it. Almost born into the role. He had perfected all the gorilla's mannerisms, behaviours, way of walking and so on. As an aside, he told me once he was interested in his ancestry. He had traced his family tree all the way back to when his relatives lived in it. I could quite believe that.

Anyway, the teacher producing the play was in a panic. The caretaker phoned to say he could not make it. He was feeling unwell with a stomach ache. Eating too many peanuts, I presume! (Monkey ... peanuts ... catch up will you? I haven't got time to explain all my jokes!)

"Would you please take the part?"

"Me ... of course not! I have work to do back stage."

"Helena can do that. You fit the role perfectly. And the costume fits you. You're the same size as Geoff. You've seen him at rehearsals. Please!"

"Definitely not! You won't make a monkey out of me!" (That's another joke, by the way. Did you get it?)

"The gorilla is central to the whole play. We can't go on without it. Please! I'll be ever so grateful!"

Dammit ... why is it you women always get your own way? I can see it clearly now, in the garden of Eden. "Please ... taste the apple. It is delicious. If you taste it with me I'll be so grateful!"

The gorilla appears in the play on and off at various intervals. A few minutes at the beginning. Then about twenty minutes later, then again once or twice towards the end. 

I guess I played the role well. Hunched forwards and walking mostly by leaning on my arms like gorillas do. Grunting every now and then. The audience were taken by it. Some thought it was a real gorilla. It was a performance worthy of an Oscar if there was such a thing for school plays.

I heard a child at the front saying "Mom ... I'm scared. Is that a real gorilla?"

"Of course not," said the mother, "it is your dad monkeying around!" (Monkeying around ... another joke ... oh , you're hopeless. I am too good for this blog. My jokes are falling on deaf eyes!)

Anyway, in between stage appearances I stood in the bar, behind the scenes, enjoying a beer or two. To steady my nerves, you see. The adrenalin was really doing its work. I guess it was quite a sight having a gorilla enjoying a drink.

The barman gave me a pint of beer and said, "would you like some peanuts with this?" (Joke alert!)

At one point I went in the gents bathroom. There was a man there doing the cleaning. As soon as he saw me he screamed and nearly fainted. He had not seen the play and ... anyway, he wet himself when the gorilla spoke to him and asked him to calm down.

After my final on stage appearance, as I went back stage my wife was there. It was one thing following each other that evening. You know how sometimes things happen that way.

She said she was having the baby. She was sure of it. The contractions or contraptions were more frequent. I don't know which. I did not have a dictionary on me to check. 

I had to rush her to the hospital. As we were running to the car park I heard her shout, "stop walking on your front arms like a demented ape!" I was still in costume and mentally still in the part. That's what wins you Oscars, you know!

As I drove as fast as the traffic regulations allow I noticed a police car behind me. He overtook and flagged me down to stop.

I thought he'd arrest me for being drunk in charge of a gorilla. You should have seen his face when he approached our car and I wound down the window. You should have seen his face again when I spoke to him!

I told him my wife was having a baby. He looked at the seat behind me as she let out a cry. He then looked at me and must have thought something. I could see it on his face. I guess you're thinking the same thing.

Anyway, he drove ahead clearing the way to the hospital. I was still in costume. I could not take it off because I was wearing nothing underneath. A bit like a real gorilla, I suppose. Do you realise that underneath all that fur a gorilla is naked?

The same applies to us, I guess. Underneath all our clothes we are naked too.

Anyway ... about an hour or so later, (I did not have a watch on me), the baby was born.

The nurse looked at the baby, then looked at me, then punched me in the face!

Thursday, 7 January 2021

The Owl Of Turbulence


Some friends were going on holiday and asked us to look after their owl. My immediate instincts said "No!" This is not because I am uncharitable; but more because I could foresee things going wrong with this proposition.

We have a cat, a dog, a wolf, a shark, a crocodile, a panda bear, a dragon, and umpteen other potential predators that would make that bird into a Kentucky Fried Owl with French fried potatoes on the side!

I know I exaggerate in order to make a point. But quite seriously I was reluctant to accept responsibility for someone else's pet. It reminds me of the day someone left a stick insect for me to look after. It was in a glass tank. One day it did not move at all. I thought it was natural for it not to move. It fell off its branch inside the glass tank. I glued it back on. It still did not move. When its owner came back he told me it was dead. 

By the way, do you know what to call a collection of stick insects? A branch!

Another by the way. Did you know the panda bear is actually a bear? As a bear it was carnivorous. It ate meat. Then one day it decided to eat bamboo. Bamboo is difficult to digest. It has little nutritional value. Hence the pandas have to eat a lot of it. Pandas are extinct or endangered or whatever you call a stubborn animal who will not eat what he was created to eat. Tell that to someone who decides to become vegetarian.

Back to the owl. I thought they'd bring it in a cage. It came sitting, or half-standing on a luxurious velvet cushion. It had injured its leg and could not grip a branch which is the natural thing to do. So they put it on a cushion. It had little crutches under its wings to keep it upright. 

It just sat there not moving much. Every so often it turned its head round. They can turn their heads almost 340 degrees you know. It did not do much. It sat there and did not even fly.

Obviously, we could not leave it alone in an open non-cage. I saw the cat and the dog drawing lots as to who would eat it first.

We took it with us wherever we went from room to room, never leaving it alone. I did not like the way it looked at me when I undressed. Owls are predators you know! They attack and eat small things!

They have binocular visions and binaural hearing. This means they have eyes up front and can focus on a three-dimensional image and attack it. The same with their hearing. They can focus exactly where the sound is coming from. They don't make trousers with silent zippers you know!

When we left the house we always took him with us. We took him to the cinema. We thought he would not like the theatre. They had a play on about owls and we thought it would not be appropriate.

I bet you cannot name any plays about, or involving, owls. There's the one where they sing, "Owl be seeing you, in all the familiar places!"

Anyway, we took the owl to the cinema instead. A film called Kestrel was on. 

I put the owl on my shoulder and pretended he was a pirate. He already had the crutches under his wings. So I gave him an eye-patch and he played the part admirably. The cinema people let us in.

My wife had a carrot on her shoulder. She pretended to be a vegetarian pirate.

I was glad when our friends came back from holiday and took their owl back. When I told them we took him to the cinema they laughed.

What a hoot! The owl laughed too. That was a hoot and a half!

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

How to save money quick


There's a brilliant new thrift store near us with great products which are much cheaper than the ones you get even in the best supermarkets.

I visited them yesterday and saved a fortune on our shopping. Unfortunately I was on foot and alone. If my wife was with me we would have bought and carried home more products.

For example. The have these new very low priced toilet paper rolls with no perforations. Lower production costs cheaper shopping.

If you wish, you can buy separately a small packet of perforations and put your own perforations on the toilet paper when you get home.

Also they have all sizes of envelopes which do not seal because there is no glue on the flap. You can buy separately small bottles of glue or sticky tapes for you to seal the envelopes.

The sticky tape does not stick because it has no sticky material on it. You just cut the appropriate length you want, put some glue on it with a tiny brush, the use the tape to seal your envelope or anything else requiring sticky tape.

They have similar non-sticky fabric dressing plasters for when you get a cut or a graze if you happen to fall and injure yourself. Also re-cycled bandages made from old vests and clothing that people have donated. The material is cleaned, and then cut into lengths of bandages to wrap round a wound.

They have bottles of lemonade without the bubbles or fizz. Tastes just like water with a sugary after-taste. It says on the label "No lemons or other citrus fruit has been used in the making of this drink". That's in case you're allergic to real fruit. It says the same on the orange drink, and the apples, pineapples and other flavoured drinks. You can buy about 30 gallons of the stuff for under 50 cents. I only bought 2 bottles because we already have 23 bottles of their Cola version at home. 

I was impressed by their food counter. They had many tinned foods, well within the "best by" date yet the labels had fallen off. You could buy them cheaply and get a surprise when you open them at home. You could have either a plate full of peas, or marmalade, or tinned pineapples. Or anything else for that matter. 

The tin I opened this morning contained "pâté de foie gras". Do you know what that is? It tasted nice on toast. Although my wife was sure it was dog food.

They also had a lot of "substitute" foods. Foods that are like the original in shape and taste but are not the original. For example, they had, "I Can't Believe It's Not Broccoli!" It looked and tasted as bad as broccoli. Also, "I Can't Believe It's Not Celery"... "It's Not Spam ... It's Not Muesli!" ... The last one can also be used to fill your cat's litter tray. Just as absorbent as the real thing.

They also had a pet shop on the premises. I was amazed by the "I Can't Believe It's Not A Fox!" It looked much bigger than a fox and had a striped coat. It was a tiger which tried to attack me when I entered the cage to pat its head.

I Can't Believe That Anyone Would Change The Labels On The Cage Doors!

I bought quite a few items at that store and saved a fortune. Unfortunately they do not give you any bags, plastic or paper, in order to keep their costs down.

But I was not beaten. I nearly bought some string from them, but then realised shoe laces are cheaper.

I tied the shoe laces at the bottom of my trouser legs, just by the ankles, to make sure it is a tight fit and nothing falls off. Then I loosened my belt a little and put all my shopping down my trousers.

Pretty soon my trouser legs swelled up with all the shopping in there.

It was a little difficult walking home. I just shuffled one leg forward a little by sliding it on the ground; then I shuffled the other leg forwards beside it. This continuous shuffling one leg at a time moved me along nicely.

It was difficult going up or down the sidewalks because my legs would not bend on account of two lemonade bottles wedged at the knees. But I just hopped and shuffled along.

When I got hope I dropped my trousers to reveal my shopping. My wife was not impressed.

I saved the equivalent of $3.76

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Santa Brawl


What a Christmas it's been. Eventful, I should say. More eventful than any other Christmas I've had for a long while. A Christmas not easily forgotten I tell you.

I was in a large Department Store, just looking around wondering what to buy my wife as a Christmas present which looks expensive, but it isn't, and yet it is edible; so that if she doesn't like it I can always eat it. I think presents should be edible, don't you think? If it is not edible it is not worth having.

I remember I had a girl-friend who liked shoes, and she liked chocolates too. I could not decide what to get her for her birthday. So I got her a pair of shoes made of chocolates! That got her blonde brain confused! The chocolates tasted good too.

Anyway; back to my story. Stop interrupting me about past girl-friends.

I was in this Department Store and there was a grotto with Father Christmas handing out presents to young customers. I stood there for a while.

Suddenly, he looked at me and shouted, "I know you ... you're going out with my wife!"

Immediately he got up from his seat and rushed at me, almost jumping, as those wrestlers do on TV when they bounce off the rope on the ring, and he hit me hard in the chest as he grabbed my neck.

I fell backwards, knocking down a Christmas tree and a lot of other suspended decorations. We tumbled and rolled round on the floor. The people were all shocked and started gathering their little ones in a panic. Santa held tight at my throat as we rolled backwards and forwards on the floor knocking down more ornaments and shelves with various items on display.

I raised my knee and must have hit him somewhere tender because he let out a shrieky type of cry. But he still help tight at my throat swearing and spitting like a drunken sailor rather than a gentle Santa which he purported to be. 

Eventually, two elves tried to pull us apart but were unsuccessful. They were joined by two burly Security Guards who managed to separate us.

I gasped for breath. I must have hit him hard because he was bleeding from his nose. 

He shouted, "This ***** is going out with my wife!"

"I don't even know who you are," I said as I recovered my composure a little, albeit my heart was beating a million beats a minute, "take off your beard so I know whose wife I've been going out with!"

I know ... this could have been phrased a little better. As it is, it does sound as if I've been going out with multiple wives. Which I haven't, I hasten to say. One wife is enough for me, I tell you. 

I do not believe in multiple relationships, or bigamy. Besides, the penalty for bigamy is two mothers-in-law. 

Santa took off his beard and I still did not recognise him. 

So I said, "I still don't know who you are! More to the point, tell me who is your wife so we can narrow down the possibility of me going out with her!"

I know ... I know ... that came out wrong as well. My mind was all confused and all I was doing is incriminate myself even more.

At this point Fate intervened. This very big and very large and very rotund woman came on the scene.

Had we been on stage in a theatre the stage would have given way a little. Turns out she was his wife. Despite her size I had never seen her before.

Santa tuned round and said to her, "I love you bijou!"

"Bijou?" I thought, "she looks more like a boulder to me!" But I said nothing.

Apparently, she had been meeting the store manager in secret in order to get her husband, (Santa), a particularly expensive present to be given to him at a presentation at the store on Christmas Eve to celebrate his long service as Santa Claus. 

His suspicious mind had thought differently, and having seen me standing there, he somehow mistook me for her boy-friend.

He apologised and I helped him and the elves put up the up-turned Christmas decorations again.

The store manager did the presentation as planned. I wonder why he had a glint in his eye!!!

Monday, 4 January 2021

The three wise women


You do know what would have happened if it had been three wise WOMEN instead of men, don't you?

They would have asked for directions, arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable, made a casserole, and brought disposable diapers as gifts!!!

Sunday, 3 January 2021

Ave Maria


Saturday, 2 January 2021

What did she know?


It’s amazing how sometimes a chance remark or a word spoken in jest can lead one to think something anew or with a fresh point of view.

Father Ignatius was helping with the dismantling of the Nativity scene in church and putting away the various statues safely for use the following Christmas. One of the helpers lifted the statue of the Virgin Mary and remarked: “Look at her face. She looks sad. It’s as if she knew what was to happen to Jesus when He grew up.”

“She’s probably tired after giving birth,” replied another helper.

“No … she looks sad, not tired. Do you think she knew that Jesus would be crucified Father?”

Father Ignatius sat down on a nearby chair.

“I think we need a rest, at least I know I do …” he said.

The other helpers stopped for a while.

“It’s a good question you ask …” continued the priest, “many people have argued about the Virgin Mary over the years, and no doubt will continue to do so. Not everyone holds her in such high regards as we do. Some see her as a woman who gave birth to the Son of God, and just that.

“Many doubt her various Apparitions throughout the world.

“As for how much she knew … well that’s another matter.”

“What do you mean Father?”

The priest finished cleaning his glasses and put them on again. It was a trick he had perfected when he wanted some thinking time.

“Let’s consider Mary when the Angel Gabriel announced what is to happen. Did the Angel just tell her about the Birth of Jesus, or did he, or the Holy Spirit perhaps, also tell her of what is to happen after that?

“Was she told that Jesus would grow up to perform many miracles? That His Mission on earth was to redeem us from our sins? That He would be arrested, beaten, tortured, have a crown of thorns put on His head, made to carry His own Cross and then nailed cruelly to it until He died in agony?”

“I’m not sure … the Bible doesn’t say much about this,” said one of his listeners.

“No, the Bible doesn’t …” continued the priest, “it does not record everything. For example, we have a gap in Christ’s life from the age of twelve when He was found in the temple by His parents to the age of thirty or so when He started His Mission on earth.

“The Gospels in particular focus mainly on Christ, as they should, and don’t mention Mary or Joseph very much.”

“Well what do you think Father?” he was asked again.

“What I think is only a personal point of view.

“I doubt that God would have asked her to become the Mother of Jesus without telling her what this entailed.

“I believe the Holy Spirit would have told her what is to happen. We don’t know in how much details … we can only guess at that. And throughout her life, from the moment the Angel Gabriel visited her, she had snippets of confirmation of what is to happen.

“When she visited Elizabeth … we learn that Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and confirmed ‘you are the most blessed amongst women, and blessed is the child you will bear!’

“When she presented the baby Jesus in the temple, Simeon warned her ‘and sorrow, like a sharp sword, will break your own heart.’

“And when at the age of twelve His parents found Jesus in the temple He said ‘Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?’ And Mary treasured all these things in her heart.

“Yes … I believe she knew quite a lot what was to happen to Jesus.”

“Wow … no wonder she looks so sad …” exclaimed one of the helpers.

“This leads us to consider something else,” added the priest.

“Imagine you knew every detail that is to happen in your life. Every illness, sad moment and unhappiness that is to happen. And you could not change it. You had to go through it. How would you feel? Would you be able to cope with the fear and agony of knowing what is to happen to you?

“We don’t know how much Mary knew of her future and that of Jesus.

“But Jesus certainly knew what would happen to Him. Every detail from the moment of His arrest to His death. Peter’s denial, Judas’ betrayal, His disciples fleeing in fear. The agony of His torture and Crucifixion.

“Can you imagine how He must have felt as He grew up, as a teenager and young man, knowing that this day was still to come? The horror of it must have been unbearable.

“Yet He went through with it … just for us!”

They were all silent for a few moments as they considered the seriousness of what they’d just heard.