Monday, 31 July 2017

Meanwhile here in the hood


We have in the area where we live a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme whereby all neighbours watch out for each other and report anything suspicious to the police. We also send each other weekly e-mails advising us of anything we should be aware of in our area.

Once a month we meet at the main organiser's house, Mr Thornhead, and discuss matters that concern us all. Like for instance the fact that his dog is always barking, or that his two cats visit our gardens and use it as a toilet, or that his children are too noisy when playing football in the garden, or that whenever we have meetings in his house the biscuits are often stale and there are not enough of the chocolate variety.

Anyway ... we have this Neighbourhood Watch Scheme and it seems to be working mostly OK; except for the fact of Thornhead's wandering cats which, if we pressed the point too harshly, he would resign from the position of main organiser and there's no one else willing to take on the task.

By the way, this reminds me of another Neighbourhood Watch Scheme I was a member of years ago when I lived in another town. I was the leader of that scheme. It worked very much like our present one except for the weekly e-mails because computers had not then been invented. Instead, we sent each other letters which, because the Post Office was so slow at delivering them, we got the news about something suspicious a month after it had happened. For example, we got the letters about old Miss Hungerford being unwell and to look out for her two weeks after her funeral.

I recall one night at that town I lived in, I was coming back from the pub with a friend of mine at about 10 o'clock at night, and as we walked home we kept an eye on every house we passed to see that all was well and there was nothing suspicious to report. As we came by the Murgatroid's house, which was a bungalow, we noticed that the front room, which was their bedroom, had its lights on and the curtain had been left open. We looked through the window and saw that Mr and Mrs Murgatroid were busily doing their exercises on the bed. They were probably celebrating a birthday or an anniversary and in their excitement had forgotten to draw the curtains. My friend wanted to ring the doorbell and warn them but I dissuaded him because I thought it was unfair to spoil the moment. That night they gave Neighbourhood Watch a completely new meaning.

Anyway ... back to where we live now. We've received an email lately saying there has been a number of burglaries in a neighbouring area and that we should be on the look-out, and to take extra precautions.

As a result we have had installed a wall safe in our home with a combination lock in which I keep my stockpile of chocolates and jars of ginger marmalade of which I am very fond. In order to confuse any would-be intruder we have hidden the safe behind a large oil painting of a safe. Any thief would look at the painting and say, "Ha ... Ha ... They would not be that stupid to have a safe behind this painting!"

Also, from now on, whenever we leave the house we throw all the chairs haphazardly on the floor; also throw all cushions on the floor as well as pictures off the wall, and we empty all contents of drawers all over the place making it as untidy as possible. This way if any burglar comes in, he will see all the mess and think we've already been burgled and leave without disturbing anything.

If ever I am the only one at home, of course, we don't bother to untidy the house. Instead every so often I go to the front door and bark like a dog to frighten any passer-by. I bark two types of dogs. A big ferocious one and a tiny yappy one to give the impression we have two dogs. This often excites our own real dog who also joins in the barking. Last night he got so much into the act that he bit me in the backside.

We've also been advised that when we go out we should leave a light on and perhaps a radio or TV on so that anyone would think there's someone at home. To save electricity I don't have the radio or TV on but instead I stand behind the curtain and sing opera arias at the top of my voice. The dog sometimes joins in by howling at the top of his voice. So far, the ruse has worked well. 

Also, it seems to have frightened Thornhead's cats from our garden!

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Old Henry's Sin


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The priest smiled.

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

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

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

“I thought God had abandoned me.

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

“Now why would He do that?

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

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

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

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

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

“It’s human nature. God knows that.

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

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

The old man smiled feebly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

MORE FATHER IGNATIUS STORIES HERE

Friday, 14 July 2017

Beware of your sins

BEWARE OF YOUR SINS

Saturday, 8 July 2017

HAPPINESS

HERE'S A HAPPY SONG FOR YOU
SING ALONG AND ENJOY

SONG SUNG BY
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