Thursday, 29 December 2016

Grand Theft Harmonica

Och aye ... it's yon time again, ye ken, my friends. Cheerio the noo!

I have to report a very sad event in our town, or in the hood, as they say in some quarters.

We have the one and only factory in the world which makes one of the best harmonicas ever. They are all made by hand and their output is about one harmonica every two to three weeks. The harmonicas sell, mostly locally, for a fortune, or a pint of the best drink Scotland produces.

Unfortunately, a few days ago there was a break-in at the local factory and all harmonicas produced there were stolen. A whole year's production, at least.

This is very unfortunate for the Harmonica Philarmonic Orchestra, a local orchestra consisting of 100 musicians playing no other instruments than harmonicas.

It was planned that the Harmonica Philarmonic Orchestra would see the New Year in this year by playing Auld Lang Syne on the harmonica, instead of the traditional bagpipes. With this theft, there seems to be no prospect of this event happening.

There is a suspicion that the theft was carried out by another group of musicians consisting of bagpipes and drums who wanted to see the New Year in with traditional musical instruments.

The Harmonica Philarmonica Orchestra have practiced instead with the comb and paper; but to be honest it does not sound the same.

Fortunately, I have at home the one and only harmonica produced by this factory last year. So, I have been asked, and I am very proud, to step in and do what the Harmonica Philarmonic Orchestra cannot do.

Happy New Year to one and all.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

A Guinea Christmas

A couple of days ago I was invited at my boss's house out in the country for "a little bite to eat and a festive drink", as he called it.

He lives in one of those big mansions that posh people have, you know, just like the one where Theodore Luxton-Joyce lives.

He had invited a number of people from work as well as a few of his friends and golf-playing pals and a number of people from his gentleman's club. It was mainly a stand-up affair where everyone stands in this large room mingling and talking whilst a multitude of waitresses come round offering you hors d'oeuvres, canapes and small little bites you would not give your dog; and a number of waiters offer you various drinks, mainly alcoholic rather than a good pint of lemonade, or a cup of tea.

Anyway, I had been invited and it was not the kind of invitation you would turn down. More a three-line whip as they say in political circles. 

As it happens, just before I set off from my office I got a phone call: "Could you pick up Bertie the guinea pig from the vet please? ... Please ... Pretty please ... We'll be ever so grateful for the rest of the year ... All twenty or so days that are left ... Please!!!"

Why can't they pick up their own stupid pets? Anyway, at the vets the nurse said that Bertie was still a little sleepy from the anaesthetic and will be so for the rest of the day. Have I got his little carrying cage?

Have I heck? I said yes and took the little creature and put him in my brief case to keep him warm.

At the party, whilst everyone was mingling and being ever so polite and upper-class, don't you know, what? Jolly good old chap. And all that. Someone noticed my sleeping Bertie walk along the wall. He must have woken up and got out of my case when I went to fetch the Marketing Report for my boss and forgot to close the case again. 

Now normally, any sane person would have said there's a guinea pig about.

Just point at the creature and say: "By Jove, there's a most magnificent specimen of the guinea pig variety, don't you know ... what?" Now isn't that something you have often said at parties?

But NOOOO. On this occasion some idiot from the golf club said: "There's a rat here, a damn big rat!"

"A rat?"

"Yes ... a rat!"


"Over there!"

"Where over there?"

"It was there. He's now gone over there I think ..."

"A big fat ugly rat ..."

"It's now ran over there ... look out ... he might bite!"

"Rats carry the platonic plague, you know ..."

"Yes, it's in their teeth. One bite and you're a gonna!"

"I don't want it to tear my 15 Denier nylon stockings ..."

"Don't be silly, man. Why are you wearing nylon stockings anyway?"

"Because I couldn't buy nylon tights to fit me!"

"Over there ... I've seen the rat over there ... it's big and furry ..."

Pretty soon there was pandemonium in that room. My boss's wife was mortified as well as mummified at the thought of having rodents in her house. 

"We don't have rats in this house, have we Luis?" she asked her husband.

"No ... there's quite a few at work though ..." he replied referring to his employees.

Everyone was running here there and everywhere in no particular direction trying to avoid and escape a non-existent rat who happened to be my sleeping Bertie taking a walk. 

Women, including the waitresses in their mini skirts, suddenly jumped on top of chairs, sofas, armchairs or whatever furniture of height, like the table at the end of the room, and held their skirts and dresses up high showing off their un-mentionables.

What is it with you ladies? What is the point of standing on a chair with your skirt held up high? Do you think the rat, or any other creature, would climb up your legs? The very sight of you screaming would most probably send him to apoplexy. 

I noticed there was even a wimp of a man standing on a chair and holding tight to a young waitress. On second thoughts, maybe he was taking advantage of the situation.

The butler came in with an assistant and tried to find the rat and kill it with a heavy shovel in his hand.

Luckily, I noticed Bertie cowering in the corner just by the grand-father clock. I quickly bent down, picked him up and put him in my trouser pocket. The stupid animal thanked me for saving him from certain death by biting my finger. He then proceeded to tumble and somersault in my pocket in a most embarrassing display which I wouldn't want you to imagine right now!!!

Luckily, no one saw him or his acrobatics in my trouser pocket. And the rat was not found or seen ever again.

The party continued in a most subdued manner, and I noticed no one was eating the hors d'oeuvres.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Small Talk

You know what it's like. You get invited to a party, especially at this time of year with Christmas and the New Year celebrations, and you meet a lot of people, some you know already, and some you've never met before, and you wish you'd never met them anyway, and you all stand there with something to eat in your plate, and a glass of wine in the other hand, and you don't know whether to eat or drink because you do not have a third hand with which to do either, and you pretend to be interested in the other person as you make small talk with people who approach you and encroach your private space and ... I hate it.

I just do not like small talk. Whether it is to break the ice when I meet someone for the first time, or just to be pleasant and pretend to have something to say when in fact I have nothing to say at all, or when you approach me and what you have to say may be of interest to you but only succeeds in sending me to sleep which would be unfortunate since I am now holding a plate of food in one hand and a drink in the other which I would like to enjoy and if I fell asleep suddenly I would drop both to the floor and attract even more unwanted attention than the one I am having with you right now.

The other day at a party I was happily minding my own business and being totally unsociable as is my nature when I was approached by a man I had not met for some time and to be honest I could not remember his name, nor where I first met him, nor the circumstances through which we knew each other. Immediately my brain started working fast to remember his name or where I knew him from. Was he a business connection, I wonder? An old client perhaps? Or did I know him from church? Did I meet him at the golf club maybe, or does he work at the library perhaps? Where did I ever get to know him and what is his name?

He, however, seemed to know me well and started with "Hello ... long time no see ..."

"Lucky me!" I thought, "just go away!"

Fortunately, he could not hear my unwelcoming thoughts, so he went on: "How are you keeping these days?" he continued and then proceeded in discussing various members of my family, "how is ... these days? and is ... still at school? ... and how is your mom-in-law doing? ... and do you still work in London?"

"Who is this tediously boring man?" I thought, who seems to know so much about me, and I can't mention or remember anything about him or his family, if he has got one. Where have I ever had the misfortune of meeting him before?

Then came the small talk.

"Where do you work in London? Regent Park? ... oh yes ... I have a friend there called Marjorie Smith ... do you know her? Or is it Regent Street? Can't remember. Either of the two! She has three children; a boy and two girls. Although I'd imagine they're grown up now. She used to work near London Zoo. Do you know it? Of course you do ... everyone knows London Zoo. I went there last when they had the baby gorilla ... do you remember the baby gorilla?"

Now London happens to have more people living there than the whole of Scotland; and Smith happens to be one of the most common names in the UK; and Regent Street and Regent Park are two completely different places, how am I supposed to know this Marjorie Smith when I don't even know who you are? And I do wish I was in the company of a baby gorilla right now. He would certainly be more entertaining than you prattling on. And I can't be bothered listening to this man and his boring small-talk conversation any longer, and isn't life better when you are miserable and totally without prejudice since you dislike everyone equally?

At another party I was approached by a wonderfully beautiful woman I know well, wearing the most tight fitting dress a hundred sizes too small. The pretty black dress was as short as I can still remember, and it had a décolleté so low she might as well not have been wearing one!!! For some reason, she immediately caught my attention, and kept it caught for as long as she stood there beside me. She was the kind of woman whom every man would want to be talking to; and yet, there she was talking just to me.

She was holding a plate of chocolate cake which she teasingly played with with her fork and every so often she placed the tiniest morsel on her lips whilst making small-talk which certainly concentrated my attention at the time; although I can't now remember one word she said. My mind and eyes were elsewhere as I recall.

Anyway, as she was placing a piece of cake on her lips, she accidentally dropped a crumb on her breast and did not notice it. As she continued talking that tiny crumb seemed to come to life and slowly made its way one little step at a time down her breast.
Now what is the party etiquette in such circumstances of small-talk? Does one point at her breast and say there's a piece of cake there? Or does one pick it up with one's fingers? Or with a spoon perhaps, to avoid touching her? Or does one ignore it altogether and watch it make its way down and hide inside her dress?

I tried to make small talk and look her in the eye, but somehow this proved too difficult as my gaze kept going South. She eventually noticed my distraction and looking down her breast she picked up the tiny crumb before it disappeared out of sight. She laughed heartily and asked me what I would have done if it had gone down her dress. "I would have warmed the spoon first," was my quick reply.

So as you can gather, I hate small-talk and mingling at parties. I think when we meet someone we should go immediately to straight talking like "What do you think of this country's Gross Domestic Product compared to that of other European countries?" or "What would you do if reincarnation actually exists and you came back as yourself? Or a mosquito perhaps?" or "Do you ever re-cycle old jokes to entertain people or do you re-cycle yourself and send everyone to sleep?"

Those kind of straight questions, totally devoid of small-talk, would soon get any party going.

Personally, when I meet a woman at a party I often say, "That's a lovely pair of shoes you are wearing!" Especially if I am lying flat on the floor drunk at the time.

What sort of small talk do you use at parties?

Friday, 2 December 2016

More Reflections for the soul

Victor S E Moubarak 
ISBN 978 1540 661630
Paperback and Kindle formats
A selection of readings to help you reflect and meditate when praying or when in need of inspiration.

This book asks pertinent questions such as:
What does God look like?
Why was Christ tempted in the desert?
What is the connection between Peter, Thomas and Paul?
Are you going to Heaven?
Why do Catholics pray for the dead?
Does God listen to such prayers anyway? 
Is your fate not sealed once you die?
Will God be influenced by pleas and Masses for the dead?

These and many other questions are explored and explained in easy to read short chapters. You can read the reflections in chronological order or just open the book at any page and read what is there. Hopefully, it will help you in your prayers.

The previous book in the series
Victor S E Moubarak 
ISBN-13: 978-1514851210
Paperback and Kindle formats

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

A Fishes Tale

Once upon a time, in a land far away, there was a farmer called Rupert who lived in a cottage by the edge of his farm. One day, as he was clearing his cupboard in the kitchen he found a small bottle containing dry yeast; the sort of little dry pellets which you dissolve in water to make yeast for bread. He thought it was a bottle of fish food which had been placed in the cupboard by his wife by mistake. He went out to the pond in his garden and emptied the bottle in the pond.

As he was standing there by the edge of the pond he noticed something moving fast in the water through the reeds and general vegetation. It was a small fish swimming frantically to and fro, having eaten some of the yeast. A moment later, there it was again. A quick flicker of the tail, but this time much bigger. Was it the same fish, thought Rupert. And yet again, but this time even bigger still. So much so that he could see a fish the size of his arm. And yet again ... but this time the fish seemed to be standing upright and trying to get out of the pond. It was now half the size of Rupert himself. Rupert pushed it back in the pond. It flickered its tail once or twice and stood up again, now it was as tall as Rupert. He held its slithery smooth wet skin and tried to push the fish back again in the pond. But to no avail. The fish was now twice as tall and as big and strong as the hapless man; and, standing upright, with a flick of its tail it sent Rupert flying through the air to land in a heap of manure nearby.

The fish, still standing upright, started moving forwards out of the pond. With each flicker of its tail it dug a furrow in the ground as it moved forwards. It walked upright, taller than a man, past Rupert lying dazed in manure, and it went through the wooden fence, sending splinters of wood flying through the air, as it made its way into the fields beyond.

Rupert could not believe what he had just witnessed. As he dug himself out of the pile of manure out of the pond came another fish as big as the first one, if not bigger. Standing very upright and following his leader's tail steps as they flickered to and fro. Then yet another fish came out of its natural home. And then another. And yet another. All standing tall like soldiers and following each other in a single file into the fields beyond. An army of fish all leaving the pond and marching through the fields into the distance.

Seeing all these fishes filing by gave Rupert quite a haddock. He realised this was no plaice for him to be. Not only cod he not believe his eyes, but he was the sole witness to what he thought was a bream. Suddenly, he remembered an old English tuna sang by Vera Lynn in WWII - "Whale meat again ... Don't know where, don't know when ... But I know whale meat again some sunny day!" He salmoned enough courage to get up from the pile of manure and run into the house. He was certainly not coi to tell others what had just happened. Something eel never forget!

Rupert phoned the police to warn them of what he had just seen. They would not believe him. "Is this an April Fool's joke?" they asked. "A fishy story indeed," they said. "Do you know it is an offence to waste police time?" "Do you expect us to swallow your tale, hook, line and sinker?"

Rupert could not convince the police that he was telling the truth. Even when he told them that Halibut, his pet cat, had witnessed the whole event and was now sitting up the curtains trembling with fear, thinking it was the revenge of all the fish he had eaten in the past. And Kipper, the dog, was hiding in the oven behind the remains of an old fish pie.

Rupert then rang a friend of his who was a manager at a fish cannery in the next town. The manager said he would order larger cans of fish so that he could can these fishes once he caught them. But first he needed a bigger fishing rod and hook, line and sinker.

In total despair, and not believing what he had just told his friend, and the police, Rupert went out again to check he wasn't dreaming ... or is it breaming? The fishes had stopped leaving the pond. But the tell-tale path of destruction witnessed to their existence all right!

The furrow in the ground, getting deeper as more and more fish followed where it led. The broken wooden fence at the edge of his garden. The washing line torn and lying on the ground together with his wife's washing all muddy and dirty on the wet grass. The stalks of wheat trampled and broken right through the field as far as he could see. Trees broken and tossed aside like match sticks.

Rupert followed the trail of destruction as he walked on the furrow as it got deeper and deeper until at one point it became higher than him. That's when he decided to get out of the furrow and walk beside it instead. He followed the fishy smell as far as it would go.

Where is it leading to? He asked himself. Are these fishes going to town? To protest to the Authorities perhaps about the price of fish and chips? No perhaps not. That's a different kettle of fish.

He continued beside the furrow until eventually it led him to the fishes' final destination. They had reached the sea where they jumped in and swam away happily.

They had now outgrown their little pond and went out searching for adventure in the big wide world!

How about you? Are you still a small fish in a small pond? Or do you need a boost of yeast to get you going to reach your full potential?

Remember, sardines never get bigger if they remain in their tin with the key on the outside.

Monday, 28 November 2016

A Dog's Tail

We have a lovely dog and we all love him. However, I think he is stupid. Either that, or he is in fact too clever. I can't work out which.

Let me explain.

During the course of a day he wants to get out in the back garden at least a million times. He likes the back garden. He sniffs the flowers, looks up at the trees, runs around or lazes in the sun, does his business, that sort of thing. Nothing wrong with that. The problem is that he wants out and in and out again over and over again every time he feels like it. It's as if he is the master and we his servants opening the door for him whenever he feels like it.

We gave him his set of keys to the door but, despite several attempts to teach him he still does not open the door for himself. As I said, maybe he is stupid.

Or very clever ...

Because at great expense we have installed a new sliding door with a sensor device which opens the door automatically as soon as you approach it. Like you see in shops sometimes. After several lessons we taught him to go out and in as he pleases. And this has worked perfectly in the day time; but at night, of course, the door is locked.

So we have taught the dog the combination secret number which he has to push with his nose on the panel on the wall next to the door. If he pushes the right number, the door magically opens.

What could be easier than that? All he needs to do is push 098802 and the door opens.

He just cannot learn a simple six diggits number. He still wants us to get up and open the door for him at night.

How stupid is that?
Yes ... he might as well hold his head down in shame. Actually, we have taught him to pray !!!

(Thinks) I can't believe I have just given you the number for you to open our door. Now I have to put up with all of you visiting me whenever you wish totally un-announced. Something which I do not relish at all.

You're welcome to visit, of course, but give me some notice to buy some coffee and biscuits first. Or scones and crumpets if you wish. Don't come un-announced expecting a hot drink at the ready. I may be out walking the dog. In fact, if you were to come and visit me I'd definetly be out walking the dog. Cheaper than having to buy coffee and biscuits, don't you know!

In the meantime, has anyone solved the problem of dogs wanting to go out in the garden as they wish? Don't suggest a cat flap in the door. I do not want to encourage the mother-in-law to come in when she wants. It's bad enough her crashing her broom against the window as she lands. I don't want to have her wedged tightly in the cat flap apperture as well.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

John 6

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty."

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Cat Advice Required

I think the cartoon above explains it all. We have a lot of cats visiting our garden as if they own it; and I am getting fed up with it.

The cats belong to neighbours from all around who let their cats wander wherever they wish, but mostly in our garden it seems. I've tried talking to them gently, the neighbours that is, not the cats, but I might as well be talking to the cats for all the good it did. The neighbours replied politely that cats are free creatures who like to roam wherever they wish and it is their right (the neighbours) to let them go wherever they wish. I argued that the rhinoceros is also a free creature who likes to roam freely and if I had one as a pet and it went through the garden fence, or rushed and head-butted their Jeep (or other off-road vehicle) as you see on TV, they'd soon have something to say about it. Somehow, this argument did not seem to gain traction with any of them.

What I find particularly irritating is when I open the window in the morning and there in the garden is a cat sitting comfortably, smoking a cigarette and drinking coffee, as if he owned the place. I try to shoo him away and he doesn't move, and looks at me as if thinking "Why is this idiot waving his hands in the air for?"

What is worse is when they leave their deposits all over the lawn. They say that cats always bury their deposits; well I tell you this is not true. Even if I leave a spade nearby in the garden to give them a hint, they take no notice. They leave their poos on the lawn and walk away happily expecting me to clean it up. It is worse when I miss a poo and it gets caught in the lawn-mower and flies in the air in a million pieces. What would happen, I wonder, if I went in the neighbour's garden and left my poo on their lawn? They'd soon have something to say about it, I tell you.

We've tried all sort of things to get rid of the cats. We bought little silhouettes of cats which you place in the garden to frighten any visitors. This did not work. We tried pellets which are meant to smell bad and get rid of cats. That did not work either. We tried electronic devices that sense a cat nearby and either let off a sound or a spay of water and that did not work either. Nothing seems to work.

Eventually I invented a cat trap on a spring. It's a platform on which I place some food. When the cat goes for it; it triggers the trap and the cat flies through the air into the neighbour's garden.
That did not work either on two counts - no, three counts.

1 When it has been triggered, I have to go out again and set it all over once more.

2 The cats enjoy flying through the air and they have invited all their friends to come and try it. Now we have even more cats visiting us.

3 The mother-in-law stepped on it and she flew in the air and got wedged between two branches of a nearby tree. It was embarrassing with her dress flying in the air revealing her enormous underwear. It took the fire brigade people over an hour to dislodge her and bring her down again.

So there you have it. We have cats visiting our garden leaving their deposits all over the place and we can't get rid of them. (The cats, not the deposits).

Any ideas anyone?

DISCLAIMER - No animals or humans have been harmed in the writing of this Blog. It all happened in the writer's imagination.

The mother-in-law was brought down to terra firma safely although one fireman had a slightly bruised shoulder in the process.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

More Questions Than Answers

In life, there are often more questions than answers. And that's what keeps me awake at night. I lie there pondering and wondering the answers to so many questions on my mind. Perhaps you can help me solve some of them.
Why is it when you pour yourself a cup of coffee and stir it sometimes the bubbles of air gather in the middle of the cup, and sometimes they go on the edge of the cup?
When you open the window in your house in winter, does the cold air come in the house, or does the warmth escape outside?
Do fish ever get thirsty and need to drink?
Does the earth rotating round slows down the bigger the world population? Over the years many people have been born, died, and buried. Surely this must add weight to the earth.

(Men only)
Is it better to sleep with your beard above or below the bed covers?
Every time we have the Olympic Games athletes get better and better and break new world records at running. Does this also apply in the animal world? Do animals get faster year on year compared to animals in years gone by?
Do animals and birds have different accents depending on where they are from?
Is the zebra white with black stripes, or black with white stripes?
Do zebras need/have horse shoes?
Domesticated horses are fitted with horse shoes for protection.
How about wild horses? Don't they need protection too?

Why is abbreviation such a long word?

If a tree falls in the forest
and there is no one there
to see it.
Does it still remain upright?
At what time do you have to leave home
to get to the forest
before the trees get there?

Who first thought of,
in video cartoons,
having a character run at speed off a cliff,
hanging there in mid-air for a few seconds,
moving his legs fast, and then,
fall when gravity does its thing?

I've tried this several times
ended up with great pain and bruises.

What is the point
of burying a time-capsule
so that future generations might learn about us; 
if it contains a video on Betamax tape?


You are on a luxury cruise in the 

A passenger falls overboard and
is drowning.

Do you:

A: Make a video with your cell-phone?


B: Take better quality photos with your camera?

Can you please help answer some of these questions?

Monday, 21 November 2016

Under Sedation

Today we took the dog to the vet. He was put under sedation so that the vet could check him out properly and take any necessary X rays.

We picked him up after he was awakened from sedation. He was a little unsteady on his feet and a bit groggy. The vet said he'd be like that all day.

Anyway, as long as he doesn't drive any vehicles like fork lift trucks, or work near machinery he'll be OK I suppose.

We gave him the best food available and the best of attention. He ate the steak earmarked for me and I enjoyed a tin of dog food on toast.

This whole episode led me to think, as I often do ...

I wonder how many Christians there are under sedation.

You know ... going to church on Sunday, say the odd prayer every now and then, and all is OK ... they see themselves destined for Heaven one day.

Is it really as easy as that? I asked myself, but did not answer.

What about "Not everyone who calls me 'Lord, Lord' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only those who do what my Father in Heaven wants them to do." Matthew 7:21

How many people are there just hoping that by doing the least possible, and by ignoring poor Lazarus at their gate, they will still end up in Paradise.

Sleep-walking into hell more like!

Tuesday, 15 November 2016


ISBN 9 781539 885795

By Victor S E Moubarak

Theodore Luxton-Joyce is a lovable English eccentric from Scottish descent who lives in a world of his own. His every thought and action are motivated by genuine kindness and generosity, yet although he gives the impression that he doesn’t think things through properly, the reality is that he thinks them through all right but he does so somewhat late, with humorous consequences for those around him. This book contains a selection of short stories about Theodore Luxton-Joyce, a man born at a time when the world was a different place altogether.

A gentle humourous book with a Christian message. An ideal Christmas gift for a relative or a friend, or just for you. 

You can obtain your copy in paperback or in Kindle (different front cover) from HERE (paperback) and HERE (Kindle).

All other books by Victor S E Moubarak available HERE.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Love Thy Neighbour - Not Likely

The other night I was fast asleep and dreaming a pleasant dream which I shall not relate to you right now.

Then, in the middle of the night, at about 3:00 in the morning, I was awakened with a start by the phone ringing.

It was my neighbour.

He said: "Get your **** horse out of my garden. He is eating all my carrots!"

Well, I do not have a horse. But I was still half asleep and in my confusion I said: "Ehm ... sorry ..." more to mean "I don't understand" rather than apologising for my non-existent horse.

He replied: "That's OK" and put the phone down.

The next day I came to my senses, and to be honest, I was quite angry at being disturbed in the middle of the night. It was a nice dream, you know. And you can't always get back to your dream from where you left off.

So in true Christian fashion, the following night I got my own back.

I waited until 3:00 in the morning and I phoned my neighbour. When he answered I told him: "I do not have a horse!"

"That's OK," he said, "it was only a nightmare!" and he put the phone down again.

Now I bet Jesus did not have that scenario in mind when He said "Love Thy neighbour!"