Friday 28 December 2018

Coffee In Heaven

Father Ignatius had received a request from Bishop’s House to accommodate Father Ferdinand at St Vincent Parish House for a few days.

The French priest was visiting from France to attend a Conference at Bishop’s House, but as there was no accommodation for him there it was decided to house him at St Vincent, where he was Parish priest many years ago before Father Ignatius, and for him to travel daily to the Conference from there.

On the appointed day Father Ferdinand arrived and was greeted by Father Ignatius whom he had never met.

The two men spent some time getting acquainted with each other before settling down to a sumptuous evening meal prepared by Mrs Davenport, the housekeeper.

At the end of the meal the French priest complimented Mrs Davenport on her culinary skills.

“That was marvelous Madame,” he said, “perhaps you should come with me to Tours in France where you can be my chef in our Parish!”

“What is that?” asked Mrs Davenport not understanding the man’s distinct French accent, “you want me to do the Tour de France? You expect me to cycle at my age?”

“Non … non … Madame,” continued the priest, “I said Tours in France. It is a City in Central France where my Parish is situated. I am known jokingly there as Le CurĂ© de Tours … as in the book by Balzac!”

“Balzac?” asked the housekeeper as she left the room with a tray full of empty plates and cutlery, “I’ve never heard of him. But then I don’t know much about French cyclists!”

Father Ignatius smiled and said nothing, knowing full well that to have a conversation with Mrs Davenport is sometimes like speaking to a being from outer space.

“Eh bien …” continued Father Ferdinand, “how is the state of affairs in your little corner of God’s Kingdom on earth?”

“Generally things are getting along fine …” replied Father Ignatius, “most people are struggling in a small northern town where the economic crisis has had most effect. Poverty and desolation are widespread but people are coping as well as they can, with the help of God!”

“At least God is still with you …” said the French visitor, “even in this cold and damp place which I remember all too well from my days here! It has always been poor as I remember. Poor in wealth but rich in Spirit! I really liked my time here Ignatius. I regret having to return to France and handing over this bit of Heaven to you!”

Father Ignatius smiled and said nothing. He’d never heard his town described as a bit of Heaven before.

“You see …” the French priest went on, “there is in France a trend, a modern movement if you like, where it is fashionable to reconsider one’s beliefs in an Almighty Deity.

“It is now trendy, enlightened even, to say that God does not exist. He is either a figment of one’s imagination … or an invention created by man to soothe and protect himself from adversity, or even to control lesser educated fellow humans.

“We often see famous figures writing in the press or speaking on radio and TV about the non-existence of God.

“It is bad enough in itself Ignatius. But these people encourage others to follow in their beliefs. It’s as if the devil himself has visited our affluent towns and cities and he is on a recruitment drive.”

The French priest stopped and sipped a little coffee.

“That is sad …” commented Father Ignatius quietly.

“It is a crisis in every respect …” the French man responded, “the Church, in France and elsewhere in Europe I suspect, seems helpless in this situation …

“Sermons on Sundays and Church teachings have been toned down … mustn’t frighten the horses you see … as you English say!

“Talk of the devil and hell from the pulpit is greeted with ridicule and derision.

“But he exists all right. Ignatius. I’ve seen him often in my town … He is certainly winning over many souls at the moment with his fine convincing arguments on the media and the temptations he puts in our way to lure people to his way of thinking!”

Father Ferdinand stopped again as he put his cup of coffee down.

“I pray daily Ignatius,” he went on, “that this trend does not spread throughout Europe and beyond. But I fear that as wealth increases throughout nations and their populations the devil advances in its wake!”

“In that case the devil may never come here …” joked Father Ignatius, “this town has always been very poor … so much so that even the church mice are on a starvation diet!”

Father Ferdinand smiled as Father Ignatius went on, “In Christ’s death and Resurrection we know that God has conquered evil.

“He knows full well those who believe in Him and love Him. Whether we do this with full intellectual knowledge; or just with humble, simple humility and understanding.

“And the Lord knows full well those who stand against Him in defiance, and worse still, encourage others to do the same!”

The two men were interrupted by Mrs Davenport entering the room with another pot of hot coffee.

Father Ferdinand looked up and said, “Madame … you are one of God’s treasures here on earth. One day the Good Lord will be most pleased to have you serve coffee in Heaven!”

“I don’t know what you mean …” she said as she gathered more empty plates on her tray, “Do they have coffee in Heaven? What do you think Father Ignatius?”

Wednesday 26 December 2018

Theodore's Mince

It was just after Christmas day when Theodore Luxton-Joyce called on Father Ignatius at the Parish House to return a book he had borrowed. The priest was not at home so Mrs Davenport, the housekeeper, invited Theodore for a cup of tea and a slice or two of her best Dundee cake in the kitchen whilst she was preparing the day’s meal.

“I say this is a decent piece of cake … what?” exclaimed Theodore, “better than any I have ever tasted … did you make it yourself Mrs D?”

“Of course …” she said with a smile big enough to brighten up a cold and grey winter day.

“Then you’ll have to give the recipe to our cook,” replied Theodore helping himself to another slice of cake, “then perhaps we’d have a decent slice of cake more often … what?

“I’ve often said to my dear wife Rose, if you were not the housekeeper here I’d have you in charge of the kitchen up at the mansion in no time … But I suppose the poor Padre deserves a decent meal every now and then, don't you know … and it’s a good thing you’re here to look after him!”

Mrs Davenport was now glowing with pride as she brought Theodore a plate full of her latest batch of mince pies which she had just made.

“I’ve made these too …” she said rather coyly.

“By Jove … you’re a marvel Mrs D … have you made the mince meat too?”

“But of course,” she replied very pleased with herself, “I use a secret recipe my grandmother gave our family. I mix together raisins, currants, sultanas, orange and lemon peel, honey, sugar and spices, a little salt, suet to hold it all together, and to give it a little crunchiness I add crushed walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts and pecans … and for extra taste I put a generous measure of whisky AND brandy! Not many people do that!”

"Jolly decent spot of mince this ... I must say ... by Jove," he mumbled under his breath. 

At this very point Father Ignatius came into the kitchen.

“Ah … Mrs Davenport’s famous mince pies …” he exclaimed as he picked one from the plate. “Better than any you can buy at the finest establishments in London or anywhere else. Royalty doesn’t know what it’s missing, Theodore!

“Mrs Davenport makes her own mince meat, you know. A secret recipe she’ll reveal to no one … Even the Bishop remarked the other day on the excellence of these pies!

“Which reminds me … I have to visit the Bishop today. I’ll be going in about an hour or so … I have some paper work to deal with first. Could I take two jars of your mince meat for the Bishop Mrs Davenport?”

And with that, the priest picked another pie and went up to his office.
Mrs Davenport’s warm prideful glow turned into an ashen gray as if she was at death’s door, as she sat down on a nearby chair.

“What is the matter?” asked Theodore, “you suddenly look as if you’ve seen a ghost … what!”

“If only I had, Mr Joyce,” she lamented, “it’s worse than that. I’ve no jars of mince meat left. I made twenty five two days ago and some went in the pies whilst others were given away …”

“Calamity indeed …” exclaimed Theodore … “but all may not be lost … what? Is this the jar you use?” he asked picking up an open jar of mince meat.

“Yes … it’s an ordinary jar. Then I make my own labels with the words ‘Mrs Davenport’s Mince Meat’ and I stick them on the jars.”

“All is not lost indeed …” cried Theodore as he stood up suddenly knocking the chair over as he did so, “you make two more labels Mrs D … I’ll be back presently.”

Before she had time to ask him he’d rushed out of the kitchen as fast as he could and promptly ran as quickly as his old legs could manage, avoiding slipping in the thick snow, and went to the grocery shop across the road.

Moments later he returned to the kitchen with two of the best quality mince meat jars that money can buy.

“Not up to the standard of your recipe …” he declared, “I’ll soon have these labels off by soaking the jars in some water … then we can put your labels on!”

“But … but, that’s cheating …” she hesitated.

“Cheating … what? Of course not! Would you have the poor old Padre heartbroken as he drove gift-less to the Bishop? The wise men brought with them great gifts all those years ago … and our Padre will take to the Bishop something no less valuable. Not as good as your original, mind you! But he’ll never know!

“And the Bishop … well, he lives from day to day pining for a spoonful of your mince meat to spread on his hot tea cakes and muffins.

“So you’d be doing two men of the cloth a great favor … think of all the days off Purgatory that would buy you!”

Before Mrs Davenport could protest some more, Theodore’s enthusiasm had the old labels off the two bought jars of mince and Mrs D’s labels stuck on.

He was drying out the jars carefully of any smudges of glue when Father Ignatius came in the kitchen with briefcase in hand. 

“Ah … you’ve got me your mince meat” he said placing the jars in his case carefully, “thank you Mrs Davenport … the Bishop will be delighted I’m sure … you’re a Saint!”

Theodore waited until he heard the priest drive off and then he beamed “Did you hear that Mrs D … the Bishop will be delighted … you’re a Saint!”

He chuckled to himself as he drove off to his mansion on the hill.

A few days later Father Ignatius took Theodore aside after Mass on Sunday.

“Have you anything to confess?” he asked him gently.

“Ehm … no Padre! I’m far too busy to sin … what!”

“Something about two jars of mince meat, perhaps?”

“Oh … she told you!”

“The poor lady was beside herself with guilt,” explained the priest, “she told me as soon as I returned from the Bishop’s.

“You implicated me in your deceit knowing full well she did not make those two jars!”

“Not the jars … what! I doubt Mrs D is any good at glass-making …” said Theodore feebly.

“You know full well what I mean,” continued Father Ignatius, “you leave me no choice but to absolve you of your well-meaning sin and for your penance I suggest you apologize to Mrs Davenport.”

“I’ll do better than that …” declared Theodore, “I’ll buy her a huge box of chocolates … women forgive you easier with chocolates … what!”

He jumped in his car as he left a smiling Father Ignatius waving him goodbye.
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Sunday 23 December 2018

Millenium Prayer



(Please join in the prayer below)

Saturday 22 December 2018

Special Prayers

My blogging friend Mevely has asked me to share with you some videos which I have made because I feel the lyrics to the songs are in effect a prayer. I am pleased and honoured to post these videos here as my Christmas present to you.

Wishing a Blessed Christmas to you all. Enjoy ... and please pray for me.






Friday 21 December 2018

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.

Thursday 20 December 2018

Silent Night

I hope to go out Carol singing this year to raise money for charity.

Here's a short recording of me practising at home singing 
Silent Night 
and other hymns.

Wednesday 19 December 2018

Agony Uncle Column

Congratulations to me. I have just got a new job as an Agony Advisor for a newspaper. People write to me for various advice and I give them the benefit of my wide and varied experience and knowledge. Here are a few issues I dealt with recently:

Dear Agony Uncle Vic,

As a newly married man, I get embarrassed when I go to the rest room and break wind noisily. My wife could hear me. What do you suggest I do?

Dear Thunderblast,

Such foods like beans, sprouts and cabbage, nice as they are, tend to create gaseous substances therein which need to come there-out, sometimes accompanied with heightened decibels. Short of avoiding such foods, I suggest you do like me and take a radio with you to the rest room and play it loudly to cover up other unwanted sounds. I suggest playing "Blowing in the wind" by Bob Dylan is very effective in this respect.

Dear Agony Uncle Vic,

Whenever I drink something hot like tea or coffee I get a sharp pain in my eye. Should I visit an optician for this?

Dear Ivor Pain,

I suggest you take the spoon out of the cup before drinking.

Dear Agony Uncle Vic,

I am a politician and I've noticed lately that newspapers and news media tend to ignore all speeches I make and do not report anything about me at all. There seems to be a conspiracy of silence against me. What should I do?

Dear Politician,

Join it!

Dear Agony Uncle,

I keep getting lots of bills and invoices from the electricity company, the telephone company and many others, and I can't pay them. Some have threatened to take me to Court for non-payment. What shall I do?

Dear Profligate,
Do like me. Put all the invoices in a hat and once a week draw one out and pay it. If someone threatens to take you to Court don't put their invoice in the hat as a punishment.

Dear Agony,

I have joined a new Dating Site on-line and gave them all my details. Unfortunately, instead of posting my picture I accidentally sent a photo of my dog instead. What do you suggest I do?

Dear dog lover,

Yours is a relatively minor problem easily solved by writing to the Dating Agency. I once sent in my real photo to such an agency and they returned it back with a note saying: "We're not that desperate!"

Dear Agony Vic,

I live in an apartment block and the walls here are too thin. To get straight to the point - I cannot sleep at night because I hear the young couple living next door making very personal noises from their bedroom. I have tried sleeping with my head under the pillow to no effect. What do you suggest?

Dear Sleepless Nights,

What you are doing is very dangerous. I knew a man who slept with his head under the pillow and the Tooth Fairy took out all his teeth.

Dear Agony Uncle,

I am writing to you from hospital. The instructions on the Quick Cook Rice packet said: "Take one sachet from the packet and stand in boiling water for 5 minutes." I did just that and burnt my feet.

Dear Master Cook,

I sympathise with you. I think instructions on food packets should be clear for any idiot to understand.

Dear Uncle Vic,

Our dog keeps biting the postman.  He also chewed the postman's hat. What shall I do?

Dear Careless Dog Owner,

First of all you should keep your dog under control and take responsibility for your dog's and your actions - or inactions. Secondly, buy him Woof Woof Dog Food. It is the only dog food that tastes of a postman's leg. That should deter him from doing it again.

Dear Know-it-all Agony Column Idiot,

I did not like the way you responded to my last letter about my dog's behaviour. In fact I do not like your attitude!

Dear Dog Owner,

It is not my 'at he chewed; it's the postman's at he chewed!

Dear Agony Uncle,

I am caught in a heart-breaking situation. Do you remember the song, "Torn between two lovers", by Mary MacGregor in 1976? Well, I am in this very situation. I have fallen in love with two men. One of them is young, my age really, he is a multi-millionaire, drives a Lamborghini, lives in a palace and adores me very much. The other one is a little older, he is not that wealthy, poor even, he is an archaeologist, and says he loves me very much. I love them both, but do not know who I should marry. What do you think?

Dear Lover,

I think you should marry the archaeologist because the older you get the more interested he will be in you.

Dear Vic,

We have ants in our house and cannot get rid of them. We have tried everything. Can you help?

Dear Ant Invasion,

Indeed I can help. Get a flat stone. Place on it a mixture of sugar and pepper. The ants will be attracted by the sugar, breathe in the pepper, sneeze, and knock themselves dead against the stone. Simples!!!

Any problems that weigh heavily on your mind can be discussed in all confidence, (apart from one or two readers who venture here), in the Comments box below.    

Tuesday 18 December 2018

Christmas Gifts

If we are honest, we would all admit that at one time or another we have re-cycled Christmas and other gifts given to us which we do not want. We take away the wrapping paper, put on a new one and give the gift to a relative or friend who would appreciate them more than us.

I know that I have done so in the past. The odd video DVD, or book which I do not want or like, or indeed the bottle of drink which I will not use. They have all found their way to someone else and saved me having to buy them presents.

I doubt though that anyone has ever had reason to sell unwanted presents. I never did ... until now.

I say until now because I have received two Christmas presents which quite honestly I cannot bring myself to re-cycle by giving them to anyone else. I know no one will appreciate them.

So the next best thing is to sell them.

And this is where you come in. Do you perchance wish to buy either of these items and how much would you be willing to pay?

The first item is ...
... an anchor.

It arrived a few days ago, delivered by two postmen who had great difficulty getting it out of the van and to our front door. It was already wrapped in Christmas paper and at first I thought it was a crossbow. But it seemed too big and very heavy to be such. So heavy that the postmen had to drag it along the road rather than lift it.

When we took the wrapping off we discovered, to our dismay, what it actually was. It's a Christmas gift from an eccentric uncle. The note read that he changed the anchor in his yacht and he wondered whether we would like this one as an ornament in our front garden. 

We live some million miles from any sea ... so an anchor as an ornament outside the house would be appropriate, don't you think?  

Do you want to buy it? Offers in the comments box please.

The second item I have for sale is also an un-wanted gift which arrived the day after the anchor was delivered.

It is ...
... a crane.

Yes ... a crane. I got out of the house Saturday morning and there it was. Fully erected and standing proud in our front garden.

Who ever put it there must have worked fast during the night to put it up together like a Mecano set. The neighbours said they saw three big lorries parked outside with a lot of iron bits and pieces and in about a couple of hours the people put up the crane in our garden. The neighbours thought we were perhaps building an apartment above our house; or maybe putting up a statue of myself.

With the crane was a note in an envelope from a lunatic aunt of ours, (not on my side of the family). The note said, "I saw this on the Internet and thought of you!"

What sort of demented person would see a picture of a crane on the Internet and think of buying it for me? What is the connection between a huge yellow crane and me? I don't even like the colour yellow.

I phoned her and ever so politely asked her if she lost her marbles. Whether perhaps she was a few sandwiches short of a picnic. Whether her little grey cells had perhaps committed suicide.

She said she saw the small photo on the Internet, (like the one above), and thought it was a toy. So she bought it for me. She had received the invoice for a ludicrous sum of money which she thought was too much for a toy and she took the matter up with her solicitor.

So, in case the suppliers don't take the crane back, do you want to buy it? You'll have to collect it yourself.

Monday 17 December 2018

Christmas at Theodore's

It had been a busy year for Theodore Luxton-Joyce, the lovable eccentric millionaire businessman, and he hadn’t been in touch with Father Ignatius for some time. So it was a surprise for  the priest when the phone rang early on Boxing Day, the day just after Christmas, and he heard the familiar voice.

“Is that yourself Padre? What?” asked Theodore in his well pronounced posh English accent.

“Yes … it is. Merry Christmas Theodore to you and your lovely wife Rose …”

“Yes quite … jolly good … don't you know?” interrupted Theodore, “I was somewhat concerned at getting that other French priest on the phone. You know the one … you’ve had him visiting lately …”

“Yes … Father Gaston. He has gone back to Paris”.

"And a good thing too, I should say … what? Never liked the French … Father Gaston being an exception of course … he was rather quiet and said very little … just as I like the French to be … what?”

Father Ignatius smiled and said nothing whilst Theodore continued totally unaware of what he was saying.

“Right … now that I’ve got you on the phone rather than that French fellow, I need you urgently to help me out! Terrible spot of bother … old boy … terrible I say!”

The priest frowned fearing the worst. “What’s happened?” he asked.

“Well … Rose and I had arranged a quiet after Christmas get-together for this evening and we’d invited the Mortimers … you know them? He’s a businessman working in the US most of the time. Very nice fellow and his wife too. Jolly pleasant both! No of course not, you don’t know the Mortimers. I've never introduced you to them.

"Have you ever been to America Padre? I’m sure the Vatican has opened a few Branches over there. Nice place America; I've visited often. America that is. Not the Catholic outlets over there.

“Anyway … as I was saying ... back to the Mortimers. They’re over here right now for a few days … visiting family … that sort of thing. Rose and I thought we’d invite them for a spot of dinner this evening. Disaster old boy! Disaster I tell you!”

Father Ignatius smiled again.

“Well, as it happens …” continued Theodore never stopping to pause for breath, “the Mortimers can’t make it tonight. Jolly bad show don’t you think? We’ve got most of the food prepared and all … well, Mrs Frosdick, the cook, and her staff have everything prepared anyway. And the Mortimers can’t make it for dinner. They’re stuck up North because of the terrible snow storms we’ve been having over Christmas. Totally snowed in and cut off from civilization and a decent drop of whisky I shouldn’t wonder! Terrible being without whisky at Christmas; or at any other time, I'd say!

“So I thought of inviting the Hendersons … now I’m sure you know them Padre. They live about a mile or so from us, just up the hill. I thought I’d introduced them to you some time ago. Not Catholics you know … but decent people all the same. Better than many Catholics I know, I should say! Anyway … dash it all … they’ve decided to spend Boxing Day with the in-laws. Now what kind of nonsense is that? I tell you. Who’d wish to spend Boxing Day with the in-laws? It’s just like being in Purgatory I imagine … what?”

Father Ignatius smiled once more at Theodore’s continuous rant and wondered what all this was leading to … and then it came.

 “Well Padre … as neither of them can make it tonight, I thought of you. Would you care to join us for a quiet spot of dinner this evening? We’re having a goose and Brussels sprouts you know … traditional fare for this time of year sprouts … and I’ll be playing the latest musical instrument I’ve mastered … the harmonica … much less stressful than the bagpipes. I can now play Chopin’s piano concerto on the harmonica as well as the pipes! Do you like sprouts Padre? They give me wind you know ... quite useful for playing the harmonica I suppose ... we'll have roast parsnips too!”

The priest was amused at being the third choice as guest at the millionaire’s luxurious mansion in the country, but he knew that Theodore meant no malice by it.

“It’s so nice of you to think of me …” he said quietly, “but I’m afraid I’ll have to decline too. The problem is that this evening St Vincent’s Church hosts the annual Christmas Dinner and get-together for the old folks of the Parish. We bring them to the Church Center and Father Donald and I and a few of the nuns from the Convent prepare a Christmas meal …”

“Bring them along too …” interrupted Theodore with no hesitation, “we’ll make a party of it … we’ve plenty of room over here …”

Father Ignatius knew that there was little point resisting Theodore’s generosity and enthusiasm; so plans were hurriedly changed to reschedule the venue of the Parish Christmas Dinner to the mansion on the hill.

And so it was that about fifty people including the nuns from the Convent went to the millionaire’s house to enjoy Theodore’s and his wife’s genuine kindness. They all gathered in the grand dining room, which had been festively decorated at short notice, where they enjoyed the best food and drinks sumptuously prepared by the catering staff.

Theodore dressed up like Father Christmas to give each guest a gift and then he entertained them with a sing-along which featured him playing his repertoire of the classics re-arranged for the harmonica!

The following morning, Theodore Luxton-Joyce as eccentric as ever jumped into his car, despite the heavy Christmas snow making most roads impassable, and sped towards St Vincent Church.

Half an hour later he was in Father Ignatius’ office, having barged through Mrs Davenport, the housekeeper who opened the front door, mumbling about some emergency or other.

“Padre … we have a problem …” he exclaimed to the astounded priest sitting behind the desk, “I tried to phone you this morning but you were permanently engaged … I thought you were probably hearing some late Confessions on the phone from sinners who couldn’t make it to church because of the snow! Anyway … here I am. Got in the car and came over as quick as I could!”

“Sit down … take a deep breath. What is the problem?” asked Father Ignatius fearing the worst.

“I was in the library this morning … You know, the room annexed to the dining room where we had the old folk’s Christmas Dinner last night?”

The priest nodded.

“Well … just by the section where we have the books of Sir Walter Scott. You must have read him Padre! Scottish novelist, playwright and poet … you know … Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, The Heart of Midlothian and so on …

“Anyway … just by those books I found this beautiful gold necklace on the floor … what? Looks pretty expensive to me … must belong to one of the old ladies you invited to our Christmas party! Must have dropped it when they all went to the library for a spot of Darjeeling. The poor lady, whoever she is, must be beside herself having lost such a valuable piece … I’d say!”

Father Ignatius took the necklace from Theodore and said, “I’ll keep it in case someone phones and asks for it!”

“I’ll hear none of it …” interrupted Theodore, “the poor lady who lost it must be looking everywhere for it … under her bed … or behind the piano … or wherever old ladies hide their jewellery! We must get in touch with them all and ask them if they’ve lost this necklace!”

Father Ignatius looked up in disbelief. “There were about fifty old people there … most of them women … you’re not suggesting …”

Theodore was suggesting just that! And for the next hour or so they phoned most of the old ladies to find the owner of the necklace; with no success.

“Well that’s all of them … except these six who are not on the phone,” remarked the priest, “I’ll ask them when I next see them at Mass on Sunday!”

But Theodore’s concern would have none of it.

"I have the car out there …” he said, “why don’t we visit them right now? I also have a bottle of brandy in the car to keep us warm … always prepared what?”

Father Ignatius said a silent prayer in his mind seeking forgiveness for what he thought about Theodore right now. Then as a self-imposed penance he decided to accompany the eccentric millionaire on what would no doubt turn out to be a wild goose chase.

And a waste of time it certainly was. At every house Theodore insisted on accepting the invitation for tea and biscuits, or mince pies, or home made cake or whatever other delicacy the old ladies had prepared for Christmas. And at every house he regaled them all with stories about Sir Walter Scott and other Scottish writers and famous people, not forgetting to mention time and again his Highlands lineage and the fact that he could play Chopin’s piano concerto on the bagpipes!

“Where does he put all this tea?” thought the weary priest to himself, “and he hasn’t been to the toilet once!”

Eventually they returned to Father Ignatius’ office at the Parish House both very cold, dejected and exhausted.

“You don’t think we can have a drop of tea to keep us warm?” asked Theodore to Mrs Davenport as she came in to collect the empty cups from this morning.

Father Ignatius held the gold necklace in his hand and admired it pensively.

“You don’t think it belongs to one of the nuns who came to the party?” asked Theodore rather stupidly, “do nuns wear necklaces under their habits Padre?”

The priest smiled and shook his head. “It’s a beautiful necklace with a lovely little rose here in the middle …” he said, “You don’t suppose it belongs to your wife … Rose?”

“Dash it all …” cried out Theodore standing up from his seat, “I forgot all about Rose! That little flower on the necklace should have reminded me …

“I bought that necklace six months ago for Rose’s birthday in January. I hid it in Sir Walter Scott’s book Rob Roy, which I was reading at the time. I thought no one would find it there … no one ever reads the books in that library … what? The necklace must have fallen out yesterday when someone picked up the books.

“I’d forgotten all about it … and for the past three weeks I’ve been wondering what to buy Rose for her birthday next month. I got her a bracelet … I know that for sure … the thing is I don’t know where I’ve hidden it …old boy!”

Father Ignatius sought forgiveness from the Lord once again for what was going through his mind.

He gave the necklace back to Theodore and followed his enthusiastic rush to the car and waived him goodbye as he sped back to his mansion on the hill.
More stories about Theodore HERE

Saturday 15 December 2018

Vive La Difference

I can't even remember how the conversation started; but at a party the other day we were talking about the difference between men and women. Specifically, their attitudes towards sharing information, and talking with each other.

The discussion got to the notion that women would be more at ease sharing personal information with other women; especially relating to health and personal issues. If a woman had a health problem she'd be quite confident discussing it with a female friend. Probably more so than discussing it with a doctor; especially a male one.

I don't know how true that is. Would you be happy talking to a female friend rather than a doctor?

On the other hand, a man would not discuss health issues with another male friend. He would probably even be hesitant about going to a doctor; hoping the trouble would just go away by itself.

Again, I am not sure how true that is.

Personally, I would not discuss a personal health problem with another man. But I wouldn't mind discussing it with a complete stranger.

In fact I did so the other day.

I told this woman sitting next to me on the bus my personal problem and she slapped my face.

Totally un-sympathetic, she was!

Friday 14 December 2018

Cheers ... I think

If I do have one regret it is that I don't drink. Not much, anyway. I know I often joke that I have cheese and whisky before going to bed; but truth be known I don't drink very much. I may have the odd drop of whisky on special occasions, say once every six to eight weeks, probably rarer. And indeed, I do like Guinness. It is my favourite brew. But I drink very occasionally a bottle or a can. In fact, I probably would be classified as a non-drinker. It just does not appeal to me.

Sometimes people give me drinks as presents for Christmas or other occasions. Spirits or wines; and to be honest I just re-cycle them and give them to other people.

The reason I said I regret not drinking is because I just love the bottles.

I had a few moments to spare the other day at a supermarket. I was waiting for someone; so I picked up a trolley and wondered around aimlessly.

I stopped by the drinks aisle and I was astounded at the number of different brands of drinks there on display. There were no fewer than thirty different brands of gin alone. Gin from London, Edinburgh, other parts of Scotland and elsewhere. And rum, and vodka, and tequila, and brandy, and whisky. From every corner of the world.

There were more than half-a-dozen brands of American whiskey, (I like the way they spell it with an E). Some were called bourbon, and proudly mentioned their place of origin - Kentucky, Tennessee, Colorado and so on. There were whiskys from every corner of Scotland it seems. And the bottles ... oh the bottles ... and the labels! Aren't they just beautiful?

There were every shape of bottle you can imagine. Traditional, square ones, rounded ones like a globe, bell shaped ones. And the labels. So beautiful. So well designed. So evocative.

I moved on to other drinks. The rum section had so many wonderful labels with pictures of pirates, old style sailing ships and so on. Vodka ... gin ... ouzo ... liqueurs. All had wonderful names and labels that made the bottle jump off the shelf and shout "Buy me".

I moved on to the wine section; and then the beers and ciders. The same wonders applied there too. So many brands. So many names. So many wonderful wonderful labels.

If I could, I would have bought them all. Not for drinking, of course. All those bottles and cans would last me for an eternity. No, not for drinking ... just to look at them. To pick up every bottle and read the labels; every word thereon. And admire the elaborate multi-coloured drawings and masterpieces on each label.

So ... what does that make me? I like drink bottles and cans of every kind and of every type of drink. But I personally don't drink. In fact, I have never tasted vodka, or gin, or tequila, or ...

Come to think of it; the only two drinks I have ever had are beer and whisky, and rarely a drop of wine.

What's your favourite drink?

Don't say nettles or dandelion tea, please !!!!

Thursday 13 December 2018

It's Christmas

It's Christmas time once again. My favourite time of the year. And although we always say that this year we will be minimalist and not overspend there's always a reason why we should buy this and that.

This year, bringing forth my Ebenezer Scrooge nature, I wrote to all relatives and friends making a pact of some sort. I suggested we don't buy presents for each other but instead we say a little prayer for each other. It's a much more valuable gift and costs nothing in monetary funds to my ailing wallet. Also, we could give some of the money not spent on expensive gifts to a charity of our choice.

Most agreed to this suggestion. At least, by not responding to my e-mail I took it they agreed.


Some have already broken the truce by sending us early presents to put under the tree. This means they have put us, (me), under an obligation to purchase something of equal or greater value; that is if we knew what's in the wrapped parcels. How inconvenient. Also, because I had already donated money to charity, I now have to spend even more money in buying presents to those who disregarded
our agreement.

I prepared a list of items to purchase from town during lunch break from work. I ran from shop to shop buying the items on the list and soon discovered that I was running out of cash.

I went to the bank for more cash because I needed some money to put in the Church collection that evening.

They have a system in our church whereby they give you 52 envelopes with your number on it. Every week you put some money in the envelope, seal it, and drop it in the collection tray. No one knows what you have given except the church treasurer. He opens the envelopes and records what you have given using the number printed on the outside to identify you. At year end, he tells the Government how much you have donated and the Government, (Inland Revenue Service), gives the church a donation based on a percentage of your donation. So the church gets more from what you've donated.

I suggested to the priest we use credit card transactions during collection time; and he frowned at me without responding. So I needed some cash.

At the bank all the machines giving out cash were out of order. I had to queue to get cash from the counter.

At the counter, whilst the young lady was cashing my cheque the phone on her desk rang. It was a personal call. She just learnt that her favourite aunt had died. She was totally distraught and sat there staring into space doing nothing. I was in a hurry to get my cash and get on with my purchases. I did not want to be late back at work.

As tactically as I could, and as gentle too, (as you know I am, dear readers), I suggested to her that her aunt would still be dead in ten minutes. Could she cash my cheque and grieve later?

She burst into tears and ran away. Honestly ... some people can be over-sensitive, don't you think? I had to wait until another cashier came to complete the transaction.

When I got to work I discovered that my secretary was upset and crying her heart out because her cat had died that morning.

In order to prove my kind heartedness, and in the spirit of Christmas, I went out again and bought her an identical cat.

When she saw it she was even more upset because she now has two dead cats!

I never win!!!

Wednesday 12 December 2018

Robin Redbreast

The robin is such a beautiful bird often associated with Christmas. Since the 19th Century images of robins in a background of snow have adorned many a Christmas card.

I love robins, especially their wonderful songs. They are cheeky little birds, and courageous too. They visit our garden all year's through, not just at Christmas, and in summer, when I have worked in the garden and perhaps disturbed some insects or worms, a robin often visits and waits in the bushes; then he plucks up courage and jumps from branch to branch until he is on the ground literally just three feet away picking up something to eat. He is totally fearless and I stand there still like a statue, not daring to move an inch, so that I don't frighten him away.

Did you know that legend has it that when Jesus was dying on the Cross, a robin, then just brown in colour, flew to His side and sang in His ear. Christ's blood stained the robin's breast and since then they all have the red markings.

I saw a robin in our garden only yesterday. Fearless and cheerful as ever.

This reminded me of a story long time ago when, a few days before Christmas, I visited a factory full of machineries, conveyor belts, and a huge furnace burning so fiercely you could feel the heat a long way off. I was doing an audit of their financial accounts.

As I arrived, someone had found a wounded robin amongst the heavy snow in a hedge somewhere. He picked him up and put him in a small cardboard box, and wrapped him in some pieces of cloth to keep him warm. He had a damaged wing and could not fly, as he was lying there in his box with his eyes half closed.

I was going to my office so I took the box there. I had just visited my favourite burger restaurant, so I put a large chunk of burger and a few French fries in the box for the bird to eat. He did not seem interested. So I covered the box with a pile of papers to make sure he doesn't fly away, not that he could; and also to make sure that the office cat does not help himself to a feathered meal whilst I was out of the office.

An hour or so later I checked the box and to my dismay the piece of burger and fries were still there uneaten. To think that I could have had them instead. There I was generously giving part of my meal to a bird in distress and he couldn't even bother to even taste it. He just stayed there, lying on his side, eyes half closed and breathing ever so lightly.

In total disgust at this bird's ungratefulness at my generosity, I ate the piece of burger and fries and threw the box into the fiery furnace.

It took only seconds for that blazing inferno to turn the box and its contents into ashes.

I stood there and watched with a smirk on my face as the ferocious famished flames devoured hungrily the little morsel they'd just been offered.

I then carried the bird carefully in my hands and took him back to my office. It was imperative I kept him warm in this wintry December weather.

I placed him in my empty coffee cup, upside down, so he doesn't fly away. Took off my shoe, the left one it was, as I remember. Took off my sock and put the bird in it to keep him warm.

I then filled the cup with hot coffee to keep me warm too.

After work, I took the sock and its content to the local Bird Rescue Centre where they took care of him. They never returned the sock though.

I had to drive back home sock-less in my left foot; which nearly gave me frostbite by the time I got to my apartment.

A few days after Christmas the Rescue Centre invited me back to see the bird now totally healed. I was there when they released it in the wild once again to fly happily and to sing to its heart's content.

But they never gave me my sock back!!!

Tuesday 11 December 2018

How Rude

I've just bought a massive Christmas tree going cheap from a farmer friend of mine who grows them locally. I put it on top of the car and drove it home.

When I arrived and as I was getting the tree off the car, the postman happened to pass by.

He said, "WOW ... that is one huge tree. Are you going to put it up yourself?"

"NO ..." I replied, "I am going to put it up in the living room!"

Monday 10 December 2018

Strange Happenings

Last night I was out for a few drinks with some friends. In reality, I am not much of a drinker. The rumours in the pub were that the police were checking for drunk drivers that evening.

I decided to leave my car where it was and took a bus home.

Sure enough, I passed a Police control where they were pulling over drivers and performing breathalyser tests to see if they were drinking.

Because I was in a bus they just waved it past. I arrived home safely and without incident, which was a real surprise as I've never driven a bus before and I am not even sure where I got it from.

Sunday 9 December 2018

The Faithful One

Sir Cliff Richard OBE

Saturday 8 December 2018

The Return

Because we have freedom we are able to wander where we want. We are able to move away from God, to the point where we no longer believe in Him; if this is what we want.

But this does not stop Him of searching for us. Encouraging us to return to His love and home.

As Jesus said, He will leave the ninety-nine sheep to go searching for the lost one.

Of course, not every one returns to God. Some decide to go and wander their own way.

But God never stops calling. Sometimes, something someone says, a chance meeting with someone, or an event in one's life, may be enough to trigger our attention. To make us think again. Perhaps hear His voice ... and return to Him.

Christmas is the time when people sometimes visit the church. Often, they probably just go to church just once a year - at Christmas.

Our church is always full to capacity at Christmas. Especially for midnight Mass, when the pubs are shut and people call in on their way home.

Of course they are welcome. Who knows, the few minutes that they are there in church something inside them may light up like a small flame that makes them want to return for ever.

This Christmas, if you know someone who does not go to church, why not invite them for just one occasion.

Who knows ... that might be enough to make them hear the call their soul yearns for.

What a privilege if, through you, someone returns to God.

Friday 7 December 2018

Modern Day Scrooge

Do you know Kenneth Grange? Have you heard of him?

He is an acquaintance of mine. I would not call him a friend. And he is so mean and miserable that he wins the title of a modern day Scrooge.

Last Christmas eve, whilst his children were in bed, he went outside and for a few minutes rang a set of sleigh bells. The children were excited believing Santa Claus was visiting them. He then tooted his car horn a few times and banged hard with a stick against the garage door.

He then told his children that Santa had been killed in a road accident.

This year, he is claiming the hard economic situation in the UK is due to Santa's death, and plans to serve his family beans on toast for Christmas.

Not like me ... I believe we should open our doors at Christmas and invite a drunken, lay-about person to come in and share our Christmas meal.

My neighbours did that last year. They invited me.

Wednesday 5 December 2018

The Lazy Blog

I am too tired to post here every day. So today, I will not post at all. 

It is time you posted here instead. So today, for one day only, it is up to you to post in the comment box below on anything you want to talk about.

I will try to respond with a witty or interesting comment.

If you do not like my response, then please tell me so; and I will donate £1 to the Salvation Army.

(Maximum limit applies in case you lot bankrupt me!)

So ... over to you ...

Tuesday 4 December 2018

People Pebbles

Look at this photo of pebbles which I took recently on a beach not a million miles from where I live.

It was a beautiful sunny day as I walked by the shore to the sound of waves splashing at my feet every few seconds. I stopped for a while and timed the waves. The small ones arrived every 6 seconds or so, whilst the stronger ones which came to my feet and made me step back a little arrived every twenty second making a louder swishing sound as they died on the pebbles.

As I stood there timing the waves I decided to point the camera downwards and take the photo you see above.

To be honest, just before I took the photo there was an expensive watch there amongst the pebbles; just by those two stones in the middle of the photo. It must have been a Rolex or something just as expensive and it was still working. I decided that it ruined the whole scene and my intention for taking the photo; perhaps a passing fish had lost it as it slipped though its smooth slimy neck. So I picked the watch and threw it back in the sea for its fish owner to find it.

Then I took the photo.

Look carefully at the pebbles. They are all of different size. Different colour and shape. And they are made of different substances. Some are flint, others are stone or some other rock material. They've all been here for years and years being washed every few seconds by the sea and having their hard edges smoothed and rounded as they rub gently against each other.

Then as I was looking down at the pebbles, I imagined a crowd of people. All also different and with different sizes, shapes and colours and ... and then a big wave came too close and soaked my shoes, trousers and socks.

And the moral of this story is ...

Oh I can't be bothered ... make up your own moral and write it down below in the comments box.

Monday 3 December 2018

Saving Money

I was walking towards the bus stop when suddenly the bus came past from behind me, overtook me, reached the bus stop first, found no one there, and drove off. I was really annoyed at having missed it.

Then I noticed that a few yards further on the bus had stopped because of heavy traffic. Perhaps it's road works ahead, or traffic lights.

If I ran fast, past the bus stop, and ran further on I'd get to the next bus stop before the bus.

So I ran as fast as my short legs could carry me. Past the bus and then ... the traffic moved again, the bus passed me again, reached the next stop and went on ahead.

I stopped, huffing and puffing out of breath. All that running for nothing. My heart was beating fast in my chest. Just as well. If it was beating fast somewhere else I'd be worried.

I kept walking ahead. But hey ... what's going on. I can see the bus up ahead stopped again. It's been stopped for over five minutes. Perhaps there is a hold-up ahead in the traffic. I'm sure I could catch that bus if I tried once more.

I ran and ran and ran and reached the bus. I waved at the bus driver to indicate I wanted to get on. Of course, he is not allowed to let people on the bus in mid-traffic, so I had to reach the next stop fast. I ran there. The traffic moved. The bus overtook me again. Got to the stop first, saw no one there and moved on.

By the time I reached the bus stop, I was totally out of breath. I was sweating like ... I don't know ... like someone sweating after a long run. I was red in the face. My knees were weak and my legs crying for help. I stayed there for a few minutes to recover.

The bus had gone; and I realised that only a few yards further and I'd be home. The next bus stop is way past my house, so no need to run there.

As I got home, I was totally deflated, disheartened, desolated, dehydrated, and disgusted at having ran all the way for nothing. I could not even think of any other words beginning with D. Apart from dictionary; but I had left that in the office.

I told the family what had happened and was consoled by the fact that I had saved £2.60 bus fare by running after a bus but not catching it.

They said next time I should run after a taxi and save more money.

Saturday 1 December 2018

Fragile Faith

Imagine you trust someone totally, without any hesitation or doubt . You trust that person with your life and you know for sure that they would never let you down, betray you, or in any way hurt you.

I suppose, that is having faith in an individual. To trust someone to the extreme. That's faith.

Christ often spoke about faith. He said if we had very little faith, as little as a mustard seed, we could move mountains. Often, when He healed people He said: Your faith has healed you. Has made you well.

What He meant is, "Your faith in Me, in my power to heal you, to want to heal you, has made me heal you. Your faith has made you well."

So in essence, our faith and our trust in God, in Jesus, is the basis by which, through which, we are healed. The basis through which our prayers are answered. Our faith, our trust, opens the door, the channel, the opportunity for God to answer our prayers, and give us healing, or whatever we ask for, both for ourselves and for others.

So, if faith is the key, the first step, to answered prayers. Then where does faith come from?

Is it something we have ourselves? Something we create and build within us? We decide to have faith, to have trust, in God?

Or is faith a gift from God. Through His grace we have faith. Perhaps in different amounts depending on who we are.

What if we are one of those people whose faith is frail. Weak. Hesitant.

We may have faith when things are going OK in our lives; but then when things go wrong, really wrong, we hesitate. We are not so sure that God is listening. Will listen. Whether He will respond positively to our prayers and our needs.

What if our faith is fragile in times of crisis?

Is that our fault? Is it because we are somehow found wanting in our beliefs? Or is it because this is the amount of faith we have been give by the grace of God?

Don't misunderstand me here ... I am not saying that it is God's fault if I do not have enough faith.

What I am asking is how culpable am I if in my moment of weakness, in my moment of fear, in my moment of confusion, I am not so sure whether God will listen and answer my prayers.

And that's when anxiety sets in. Anxiety opens the door to many other evils. Doubt steps in and plays havoc with our beliefs, with our teaching, and with the very essence of what makes us who we are. And this is the devil's playground to use our worries and fears to his own ends.

The disciples had their moments of doubts. Of fears and worries. And of lack of faith. Peter is an excellent example. Thomas too perhaps. No doubt you can think of other examples, like all of them who ran away when Jesus was arrested.

Did they behave in such a way because their faith was weak? Or because they had not been given enough faith by God's grace?

What kept them going? What kept them hold on to their faith and strengthen it even?

Was it the Holy Spirit when He descended on them at Pentecost?

In my frequent moments of weakness I pray: "I believe, Lord; help my unbelief." Mark 9:24

Friday 30 November 2018

Bonzo Bookshelf Junior

Bonzo: Hello Mr Moubarak. Come in. Sit down.

Me: How do you do?

Bonzo: Do what?

Me: No ... ehm ... I meant how do you do ... like a greeting ... hello! 

Bonzo: Whatever ... well, we haven't met. I have just taken over the agency from my father who has fallen in love with a gorilla and moved back to the zoo. So I am making a point of meeting all our clients to see how we can help. Now remind me ... how many books have you written?

Me : Erm ... twenty five.

Bonzo: Twenty five? You should go out more often. Get a life man!

Me: Some are humourous books, whilst other are somewhat more serious and Christian based ...

Bonzo: So I see ... Tell me do you advertise on TV, billboards, in magazines ... that sort of thing?

Me: No ... I don't have an advertising budget. I prefer my readers to get my books through recommendations, word of mouth and ...

Bonzo: Yeah ... Yeah ... do you at least have a website?

Me: Yes ... I have two. One for my Christian books which you can access HERE. And another which sets out all my books, Christian and humourous, which you can link to HERE.

Bonzo: Uh Hmm ... I see ... Your books are not expensively priced ... why is that?

Me: The intention is not to make money. The price of the books is based on production costs and postage. The royalties I get are very low ...

Bonzo: No wonder you pay us peanuts then? 10% of little is very little indeed. 

Me: Well ... I thought that ...

Bonzo: WAIT A MINUTE !!! Are you mad Mister? It says on this website of yours that you are giving some of your books for FREE. For FREEEE!!!! Well ... i'll be a monkey's uncle ... when my sister has her baby that is ... Why are you giving away books for FREE?

Me: Well ... my intention is that people would like what I write and then get to read my Christian books and ...

Bonzo: Giving away books for FREE!!! Well that's an excellent business model that is. I must have missed that lesson when I attended my Business Degree Course at University. How to run a successful business by giving away your products and services for FREE ... Are you trying to make a monkey out of me? No wonder my dad gave up the business and shacked up with a gorilla instead.

Me: well ... I thought ...

Bonzo: That's the problem with you ... you thought ... well, stop thinking and leave the planning to me ... People these days want to know the person behind the author. Who are you? What kind of person are you? They like to get to know you ... and a heart-rending story helps ... it makes them like you more ...

Me: Eh ... what ... what do you mean?

Bonzo: You know ... if we tell them a sad story about you they'll get to like you, feel sorry for you and buy your books. I can arrange to have you run over by an elephant for example.

Bonzo: There's this elephant I know ... Jumbo ... ever so gentle despite his name ... He could step on you gently ... works for peanuts ...

Me: No way ...

Bonzo: How about a bear then ... He could bite you in the backside. That would be both humourous and sad ... a bit like you really. And he'll do it for a jar of honey ...
Bonzo: What if I were to get Springy the snake to bite you? He is not poisonous ... but your readers won't know. They'll feel sorry for you and ...

Me: No ... definitely not ... no elephants ... bears ... snakes or anything else. I'll just let my readers find all my books, those they pay for and those that are FREE, from my website and that will be enough. All they have to do is click HERE.