Friday 31 August 2018

Gilbert ... Gone

This is Gilbert. He lives a few houses down the road from us. Next to that house with the red door. You know, the house with the roses in the front garden, and a red door. With a blue car parked outside. Well, Gilbert lives near there. Or should I say lived near there. Because I have just been told by a neighbour that Gilbert moved last week. He went down South. A place called Bognor Regis in the South of England.

Now this makes me sad. Apparently Gilbert lived down our street for three years and now he's moved South and I'll never see him again. Admittedly, I never saw him, or knew him when he lived down the street. Well, I may have seen him but not recognised him as Gilbert. We were never introduced and I didn't even know he was living down the street, let alone he was Gilbert. He could have been any Tom, Dick or Peter living down the street or any where else for that matter. But he wasn't. He was Gilbert. And he lived down the street. And I never met him. Talked to him. Or possibly have been a friend with him. That's sad.

They say a stranger is a friend you are yet to meet. Well, there's no chance of that with Gilbert is there? He came. He lived. He went. And I didn't even know he existed. Probably, he didn't even know I existed. That's sad.

And that's what makes me sad. How many other Gilberts are there down our street that I know nothing about? They would not be called Gilbert, of course. That would be a coincidence. But whatever they are called I don't know they exist and they don't know I exist. That's sad.

I go to church frequently. I often sit in the same place, behind the pillar out of sight of the priest. I see many people in church. They often sit in the same place. I don't know all their names, and have not spoken to all of them. I just know them by sight. The old lady with a walking stick. The old man with a moustache. The couple with their children and so on. They are all people coming to church on Sunday and no doubt giving God a headache with their problems and their different wants and requests. I just go to church and for the most part I ignore them, and they ignore me. That's sad.

The other Sunday, the man who gives out the hymn books as you enter the church, what is his name? You know? Tall man, with a limp. In his sixties. Anyway, he told me that Mrs Haricot had died. I did not know who Mrs Haricot was. I did not know she was alive let alone that she is now dead. The man with the hymn books told me she sat on the left, just by the Statue of St Anthony, over there ... Come to think of it. I remember an elderly lady always dressed in black who always sat over there. Well, she is now dead. That's sad.

I never knew her. But I could have. She was there every Sunday and I never spoke to her. And she never spoke to me. We could have been friends. But we were not, because we never spoke to each other. We both went to church every Sunday and bothered God with our problems rather than bothering about each other. That's sad.

Gilbert makes me sad. Mrs Haricot makes me sad. The man with the hymn books makes me sad. And the old lady with the walking stick. And the man with the moustache. And the couple with their children. These are all people who are here today and probably gone tomorrow. To Bognor Regis I shouldn't wonder. Have you ever been? Don't bother ... nothing to write home about. That's sad.

And all the Bloggers who visit me and I visit them ... they make me sad. Because I don't know them either. They are like Gilberts. People known by name only. But to me, they are more than just names on my monitor. They are real people. I believe they are mostly good people with their families, their friends, their lives and their hopes. We visit each others' blogs and leave a short message, saying "Hi" and that's it ... We really don't know each other and chances are we will never meet in real life because of distance, I suppose. That's sad.

And what happens when someone suddenly stops blogging and visiting? Their blog posts have stopped suddenly with no explanation. What is the blogging etiquette then? Do you write to them checking they are OK? Or is that not the done thing? I don't know ... and that's sad too.

Personally, I just pray for them. And give God a headache as I add to my list of prayers.

Thursday 30 August 2018

Exotic Restaurant

Terrible ... terrible I tell you ... terrible is the word for it. There's no other word to describe it.

The other day I went with friends to an exotic restaurant where they serve what they call "exotic meats". Crocodile, kangaroo, wild buffalo and hog, ostrich, that sort of thing. Not my sort of cuisine personally. I decided to have a stew made with beef meat.

After I finished eating it I discovered when we received the bill that, due to a mistake in the kitchen, I had been served the more expensive stew made with parrots.

Parrots I said. Parrots !!!

I was livid. I was livid, I tell you. Livid is the word for it.

Can you imagine? An extra £37 because the stew contained parrot instead of beef? £37 !!! £37 is no mean amount. Livid I tell you. £37 indeed!

Since then, I have also noticed a tendency to repeat myself. It's like the French deja vu but verbally. Verbally. I seem to say the same thing again and again and again ... ... ... again ... once more ... again!

Sometimes when I burp I spit out multi-coloured feathers.

I've even started preening myself, would you believe? I raise my arms and try to clean myself like a bird.

Also, whenever I see myself in a mirror I say, "Who's a pretty boy then?"

This is all very terrible. Terrible I say. Livid. Livid, that's what I am. Terribly livid. Lividly terrible. 

Wednesday 29 August 2018

At The Doctor's

I went to see the doctor today. He was checking whether my sense of humour was still intact.

Ours is a big medical practice with several doctors and nurses. It has a large waiting room with a speaker system which plays soft music and every so often it calls patients to their appointed doctor.

“Would Mr Herbert Pixon please go to Dr Smythe’s room please?” said the speaker as a weedy tall middle-aged man got up and left the waiting room.

Now Dr Smythe may well be the best doctor in the world, but he is certainly not that good at technical matters; because he inadvertently left the microphone open in his room, and this is what we all heard.

“Do sit down Mr Pixon. What seems to be the problem?”

A lady in the waiting room suddenly got up to advise the receptionist that the mike was switched on.

“It is rather very embarrassing!” interrupted Mr Pixon.

The lady sat down again to the relief of everyone in the waiting room.

“There’s no need for embarrassment,” soothed the doctor, “we’re here to help and I’m sure whatever is the matter, we’ve dealt with it before.”

 “Well … I’ve met this young lady …” Pixon hesitated.

An elderly lady in the waiting room reading her book suddenly took off her spectacles and started listening with the rest of us.

“I met her on an Internet website …” continued the hapless man, “she came to my apartment yesterday evening … for a romantic encounter …”

A man in the waiting-room started tapping his hearing-aid violently to make sure it works all right.

“I understand,” said the doctor, “you want to discuss precautions …”

“Well … not just that,” muttered Pixon, “it’s that something actually happened … I feel awful about it!”

At this point the receptionist entered the waiting room. Everyone pretended they were reading a book or newspaper and not paying attention to the loudspeaker on the wall. She looked at us suspiciously for a moment or two, and then she stood on a chair and increased the volume on the speaker, and sat down with us to listen.

“The young lady arrived at 7:35 …” said Pixon, “this put me off a little because she was five minutes late.

“I took off her coat and she was wearing a nice pink blouse and a short blue skirt.

“I offered her a cup of nettles tea. She took one sip and said she didn’t like it. I offered her dandelion tea and she turned it down too. She wanted a gin and tonic but I didn’t have any tonic. And I didn’t have any gin either …”

“I understand,” interrupted the doctor gently, “what exactly happened which made you come to see me?”

“I’m getting to that …” answered Pixon, “we sat down for something to eat. We had tofu and nettles salad for starters, and quinoa with broad beans for our main. She didn’t like either and asked for some meat; but I didn’t have any. She just nibbled at a multi-grain bread roll.

“I got up to put some romantic music on. Insect sounds of the forest. Have you got that record?”

“Mr Pixon, please get to the point,” suggested the doctor, “I have other patients to see …”

“Don’t rush me!” said an upset Pixon, “you’re like my mother. She always says Herbert get to the point.

“Well the point is that when I put the music on, the young lady started running her finger through my quinoa. She had her own plate full, but she ran her finger provocatively in an enticing and beguiling manner through my quinoa moving it around in circles all over the plate. I had difficulty eating from around her fingers because I did not wish to stab her accidentally with my fork.

“Wherever I ate, she followed my fork with her finger.

“I didn’t know what to say … I asked her ‘Would you like some of my quinoa?’ and she said rather abruptly ‘No … I’ve dropped my contact lens in your plate!”

The whole waiting room chuckled and then realized that this was not appropriate in case they missed part of the conversation.

The doctor encouraged Pixon once again, rather sternly but politely, to get to the point.

“After the meal I showed her my organ pedal collection,” continued Herbert whilst the waiting room filled up with more patients and nurses.

“I don’t actually play the organ, but I collect the pedals from old ones which have been decommissioned. I have some that date back to Napoleonic times. And some from the reign of Queen Victoria, King George, and even as far back as Henry the Eighth. And of course there are pedals from modern electronic organs too …

“I brought all the pedals which I keep in separate boxes, all properly labeled. Both the boxes as well as the pedals so that each pedal goes back in its proper box. I write carefully in my best hand-writing which organ the pedal appertained to, the date of manufacture of the organ, as well as the date of decommissioning, the price I paid for the pedal when I acquired it, although mostly I got them for free, and the date and place of such acquirement.

“I have six hundred and seventy two pedals. Some are wooden and some are brass or other metallic substance such as cast iron or steel.

“I took each pedal out of the box carefully and explained their history to the young lady.

“I had reached number two hundred and ten when it happened … the embarrassing thing I came to see you about doctor … I noticed the young lady had fallen asleep. She had her face in her plate full of quinoa and she was snoring loudly.

“Doctor … are you OK? Doctor … why is your head down on the desk? Are you feeling a little tired? Have you not been listening to me?”

Tuesday 28 August 2018

I Don't Look Good Naked Anymore

Monday 27 August 2018

Naked Attractions

I don't know what has happened to my TV.

For the third year now they are showing a program called Naked Attractions. It first aired on British TV in 2016 and the third series started in August 2018.

Maybe soon it will be made in other countries too. Who knows!

Basically, it is a dating show. One contestant (male) has to choose a date from six females. All standing in front of him totally naked (full frontal). With the show presenter they discuss each person's body parts with the camera homing in so that you get a detailed view on your wide screen TV.

Other variations of the program: One female contestant chooses from six males. Although I have not seen it, there may also be other variations e.g. male choosing from six males, or female choosing from six females.

Once the choosing contestant has made his/her choice out of six then he/she too has to appear fully naked in front of the chosen one and they discuss each others body parts.

They then go on a date, and return to discuss how the date went.

And that's entertainment.

Maybe it's me ... what I don't understand about this program is that these people will sooner or later go back to work and meet their colleagues, friends, acquaintances and family. How do they react in such situations knowing that they have been seen naked on TV and their naughty bits discussed in details? No doubt the show will be repeated and made available on the Internet for all friends and families to record and keep for ... posteriority!!!

I don't know what the world is coming to. Perhaps I am not "with it", not modern enough for this sophisticated world. Maybe I should go on this show myself. That will prove that I can be as sophisticated as the next man ... or woman.
Although I am told I don't look good naked any more. As you'll discover on this Blog tomorrow.

Sunday 26 August 2018


I was working at my computer the other day and there, beside me, was our dog fast asleep and snoring; oblivious of anyone around him. He often sleeps in this position.

I looked at him and thought, "I wonder whether he realises how lucky he is?"

We got him from a rescue centre some years ago. The rescue centre was full of dogs of all breeds and sizes, Alsatians, Huskies, Labradors, Dalmatians and various small dogs too. Each in his cage, side by side, barking and jumping at the cage door as you pass by. We felt sorry for all these abandoned dogs, some were young puppies. If we could, we would have adopted them all.

As we were moving from one cage to another trying to make up our minds, the attendant suggested we look at another dog. He took us to a secluded part of the rescue centre, and there, all alone in a solitary cage was the dog we were to adopt. I thought it funny at the time that he was in a cage away from the other dogs, especially since there were empty cages over there. Why was he left in a different area all alone?

The attendant took him out of the cage and the dog immediately jumped on us, waggling his tail and licking faces. It was as if he was pleading to be taken away.

The attendant read us his history. For confidential reasons he would not tell us who owned him and how he ended up in the rescue centre. But he told us that this dog had been re-homed several times, and each time he was returned to the rescue centre within a week or so. Obviously a problem dog; but the attendant would not tell us what was the problem.

The rescue centre had a policy not to put a healthy dog down. So, if not re-homed, this dog would spend his life in that cage away from all other dogs.

We decided to take a chance ... just for a week. That was ten years ago and the dog is still with us.

He was a problem dog. He attacked the furniture and  ruined the sofa. He was very fearful and followed us everywhere. Up the stairs, down the stairs, he was inches away from us. He still has the habit of coming down the stairs in front of us and then suddenly stop and look back to see if we're following. Rather a dangerous manoeuvre if we trip on him and come tumbling down the stairs. When we sit watching TV he comes close and literally falls asleep on our feet to make sure we do not move. He can be heavy, especially when your feet get numb with his weight.

But he is still with us. Does he realise how lucky he is?

A bit like us really. Do we know how lucky we are?

Let us look at our situation. Do we realise how lucky we are to live where we happen to live? In a town, city or in the countryside? Enjoying the amenities they offer?

Do we realise how lucky we are to be with the family we are with? To have been born and raised by the parents we have? Do we realise how lucky we are of the friendships we have made? The partners we have in life? The jobs we have? And all the other things we have in life?

Let's think about it for a moment. We could have been born anywhere else, in another time frame, in another set of circumstances, raised by other parents with totally different opportunities or lack thereof.

But we didn't. We were born and raised the way we are. For good or bad we are here.

How lucky we are.

Maybe ... there's Someone up there in control of it all!

Saturday 25 August 2018

Favourite Chat Up Line

In a previous post (CLICK HERE) I said that an opening chat up line I used when I was young and dating pretty ladies was, "Have you got a criminal record?"

I was joking, of course, but unfortunately some of my readers took me seriously and thought that I deserved the slap in the face I received from at least one young lady.

The thing is, being serious now, it is very difficult for young men, especially shy ones like me, to say something nice that will not be taken as either too soppy, too cheesy and gooey or just plain stupid.

In my time I have heard many an opening chat up line used at parties and in pubs or at work even. Lines like:

"Heaven must be missing an Angel ... and it's you."

"Do you come here often ... 'cos the place seems brighter today."

"Are you a magician? Because whenever I look at you, everyone else disappears!"

"If I were a cat I'd spend all 9 lives with you."

"Please call 9-1-1, because you just made my heart stop!"

"Will you marry me? Do you have any money? Answer the second question first." (Groucho Marx)

"Marry me and I’ll never look at another horse!" (Groucho Marx)

"Did you pick your nose, or were you born like that?" (used by me - unsuccessfully)

"Did you just fall from Heaven, on your face?" (also used by me, also unsuccessfully)

So ... tell us friends. What is your favourite chat up line and did it work for you?

Friday 24 August 2018

Charlie Farthing

This is Charlie Farthing. He is 85 years old. A few days ago I took him and two of his friends, Elsa Hairloom (79), and Flora Spread (81), to an Antiques Fair.

The idea is that you take with you an antique which you no longer want. The experts value it, and if you are happy it is put into auction and sold at best price.

Charlie took with him an old set of false teeth. The valuer said it was worth £5 or thereabouts. Charlie agreed to sell.

As the auction started, I left the three of them in the sales room and went to get a cup of tea. Charlie held tight to his teeth and moved up front. Elsa and Flora sat amongst the audience.

When I came back, Charlie had vanished. He was missing. No one knew where he was.

Elsa and Flora said that one moment he was on stage with his teeth in his hand. Then he went behind the curtain and no one saw him again.

I went up front to check with the auctioneer and, you will not believe this ... and ... he told me that Charlie had been sold at auction for £90.

"What?" I said, "how can you sell a man for £90?"

"No one bid any higher," replied the auctioneer.

"What do you mean you sold an old man?" I shouted, "who did you sell him to?"

"We don't have a name ... yet," said the auctioneer, "I didn't do the sale, someone else did. I believe he was sold to an anonymous purchaser who wanted an authentic elderly butler for his stately home. We believe the purchaser is from abroad ... Internet purchase!"

I tell you folks, I really lost my temper. I threatened to call the police. They called the young assistant, a trainee, who managed the auction sale. He said that Charlie was sold to an elderly lady from the audience, not the Internet. They still don't have a name for the purchaser. Charlie was at the back enjoying a cup of tea and biscuits.

After further investigations it transpired that Charlie did not want to let go of his teeth in case they broke. So he got on the stage when they were due to be sold. The bidding started and apparently he waved at Elsa in the audience. Elsa waved back and the auctioneer thought it was a bid. Charlie waved at Flora. She waved back and this was seen as another bid. One wave after another and both Elsa and Flora were bidding against each other to purchase Charlie. Eventually Elsa bought him for £90 but as she did not have a purchaser's number to show the auctioneer, it was recorded as an anonymous purchase to be sorted out after the auction is over.

I took Charlie, Elsa and Flora and their unsold teeth back home.

Thursday 23 August 2018

Much Ado About Pants

Why is it when things go wrong they continue to go wrong like a chain of events one triggering the other?

I was at a posh hotel preparing to give an important speech to a group of managers about our budget plans and future forecasts.

It was a two-days Conference and mine was the keynote speech before everyone packed their bags and went back to their homes.

I was in my hotel room packing my suitcase and getting dressed in my best suit ready to face my audience. As I put my trousers on, for some reason, the zipper at the front got stuck. It would not go up, or down. I forced it down and it broke. There was no way I could zip my trouser front shut.

What a disaster. I could hardly stand on stage and give a talk with my trouser zip wide open. This is the only suit I've got. I can hardly stand there wearing a jacket and tie and jeans.

What can I do?

How can I fix the zip shut in such a short time to go before I’m supposed to stand on stage facing all these people?

Needle and thread … that’s what I need. What’s the use? Men are no good with needles and thread … I wouldn’t know what to do if I had any anyway. And I don't carry needles and thread anyway.

What else can I use to keep the zip shut and cover what should be covered?

Pins … must find some pins … no … there aren’t any in this hotel either.

How about paper clips? I have some in my briefcase … no … they don’t hold so well. They would probably pop and fly away at the most inopportune time. They would draw attention to my dilemma. (Never heard it called that before!)

Aha ... I have some bulldog clips in my briefcase. You know, those large metal clips for holding papers together. Still wearing the trousers I stand in front of the mirror and try them.

Easy does it ... careful what you catch with those mighty clip jaws. There ... all done.

I stand in front of the mirror and watch three brightly coloured bulldog clips hanging from the front of my trousers. Yes ... no one will notice ... do you think?

I get rid of the bulldog clips and think of something else.

What if I use the sticky-tape to tape the zip in place? It doesn’t hold very well. It falls down again. There must be something else in my briefcase I can use.

Aha again … necessity is the mother of invention … my stapler!!!

I can staple the zip shut whilst still wearing the trousers.

I lean forward to check what I am about to do. Delicate operation this. I do not want to perform a vasectomy at the same time as fixing my zipper.

Click … click … click … click … a few staples later and the zip is stapled shut and ... thankfully ... I feel no pain. I am proud of my ingenuity.

I go to the basin to wash my hands.

Why is it that hotel basins are so designed that when you open the faucet the water rushes into the basin, swivels round at speed, and splashes all over the front of your trousers with embarrassing results?

And why does it happen when you’re in a hurry?

I can hardly stand in front of all these people giving the impression that I have been caught short? I have no other suit to change into.

I try desperately to dry the trousers with a towel but the large stain on my front is still clearly visible.

Even if I button up my jacket the wet stain is still there for all to notice.

Aha … I remember seeing a hair-dryer in one of the drawers.

Plug it in … stand in front of the mirror and blow hot air on the stain. Hopefully it will dry quickly and in time for me to get down and give my speech.

Wow … this hair-dryer is hot!!!

And noisy too!!!

So noisy that I did not hear the hotel maid knocking at the door and entering the room.

She is standing there behind me watching as I get forever hotter. One can only imagine what she’s thinking.

“Eh … my trousers …” I mumble, “they’re wet … I’m trying to dry them … I got them wet with water … from the basin …” I try to explain incoherently as my mind becomes more and more confused with the situation.

“I understand Sir,” she replies with a smile, “have you tried the trouser-press? If you fold the trousers in here the heat will soon dry the … water.”

I did not like the pause before she said “water”. She’s got the situation all wrong.

She pulls out the trouser-press from its compartment and switches it on. “It is ready now Sir!” she says with a smile.

“Eh … I think it is better if you now leave,” I mumble again, “I’ll take it from here!”

“Of course Sir!” she smiles broadly as she leaves the room, "call me if you need any help with the trousers!"

I try to take the trousers off in a hurry … drat … why is this stupid trouser stuck?

I pull at the zipper … drat and double drat … the front of the trousers have been stapled to my underpants … how did that happen? How did I staple the trousers to the underpants whilst I’m still wearing it? Would you believe it? Now of all times I have a pair of trousers stuck to my underwear with only moments to go before I am due to make my speech.

Too late to untangle it! Take off the the trousers as well as my underpants and put the whole lot in the press. Close the press. Turn on the heat to maximum so the stain dries quicker.

I'm standing there wearing my shirt and tie and jacket and naked from the waist down when the door opens. It is my secretary checking why I am late.

"Can't you knock?" I shout.

"I did Sir," she says her eyes wandering where they shouldn't, "you did not answer and I thought you were perhaps unwell!"

"I'm OK ..." I mumble, "please wait ... outside!"

As she leaves I open the trouser press and put the trousers back on in a hurry … GEEEEEEE … that is HOT !!!!!

I hop from foot to foot wandering whether I have done myself a mischief.

Later that afternoon, whilst I was checking out at the hotel reception with my boss, the chambermaid passes by and asks me, “Did your trousers dry OK Sir?”

My boss looks at me with raised eyebrows and says nothing. I wonder what she's thinking. I hope she doesn't discuss her suspicions with my secretary. I know the two ladies often have lunch together.

But the chain of disasters does not end there.

As I get to my car and pull out my car key from my pocket I find that the plastic top where the automatic car-opening system is, has been totally melted by the hot trouser-press.

Luckily, I had a spare car key which I always carry in my briefcase.

Wednesday 22 August 2018

Ancient Moral Dilemma

Some six or nine months ago I went to a car boot sale in a town far away from where I live now. This is like a garage sale. People fill the boots of their cars with their un-wanted items and they gather in a car park, or in a field somewhere and sell their goods to visitors. The event is often well advertised beforehand and is often held regularly. Sometimes it is to raise money for charity.

I always look for antiques when I visit car boot sales. Something a little older than my mother-in-law and perhaps more valuable. On this occasion I bought an urn, or jar, for about £5. It is a foot high with a lid. It is made of either porcelain or some glazed terracotta. The lid was stuck tightly to it. When I got home I left it in the garage and forgot all about it.

A few weeks ago I took it to an antique dealer friend of mine for a valuation. He said it was ancient, older than my mother-in-law, and indeed very valuable. Far more than the £5 I paid for it.

Following his advice, when I got home I managed to ease the lid off without damaging it or the vase, or urn.

To my surprise, the urn was filled with a dark grey powdery substance. It was not sand; much finer than sand. Some people have suggested that it might be ashes.

You are way ahead of me, friends. It is most probably the ashes of a deceased person or persons. Or indeed it could be the ashes of something else, a favourite animal perhaps. A pet dog, or a horse or ... I don't know.

The question is: What do I do with it?

I can hardly send it to a lab for examination and analysis. How much would that cost?

I could empty the jar in the bottom of my garden, or in the woods, or the trash bin before it is emptied once a week. Is this dignified do you think?

I could bury the ashes somewhere, or spread them in the cemetery, or somewhere else, on the beach perhaps, and say a prayer whilst doing so. But I don't even know who it is. A man? A woman? A horse?

The urn is very old, what if the ashes belong to some ancient famous person and DNA tests could identify him or her? What if the ashes are more valuable than the urn? 

What would you do in this situation?

Tuesday 21 August 2018

One Day I Was A Boy

I was reminiscing the other day when I was a boy at school and my English teacher said to me "Your grammar stinks!"

I remember being quite upset at this sudden outburst, especially since my grandma always smelled of lavender.

When I got home I told my father what the teacher had said and he asked "Which grand-mother? ... I know my own mother always smells of the sweetest delicate best quality Norfolk lavender. Although I'll admit your mother's mom does smell of potpourri!"

I explained that the teacher had not specified which grandma stank. So my father wrote a letter of complaint which I had to take to school with me.

My teacher replied that she had never commented on, nor would she ever presume to comment on, my family's body odour; although she suggested that I eat less beans!

On reading her letter my father gave me a clip round the ears. He then wrote again to the teacher apologising for the misunderstanding and explaining that beans were less expensive than other foods.

On reading my father's letter the teacher gave me detention after school.

On the Saturday I went to Confession. Our church had an old fashioned confessional which was a wooden booth where the priest sat and the penitents would kneel on either side and confess through a small window.

I told the priest all that had happened and how it was really a non-sin on my part thus deserving a lighter penance this week. He said "Don't speak so loud I can smell your grandmother kneeling on my other side!" Although he did not specify which grandma he could smell.

Then he gave me an extra penance for speaking loudly and for drawing attention to old peoples' body odour. Which technically I had not done because it was not me who started all this; it was my English teacher who said "Your grammar stinks!"

I think the church got this whole question of confession and absolution wrong somehow. I got a penance for my teacher's sin!

Moral: So did Jesus.

The above is an excerpt from my memoires entitled 
available from 

Sunday 19 August 2018

Vic on the Radio

Years ago I used to present Radio programs; one of which was on a Sunday afternoon entitled Time for Reflections. 

Here's a short clip from one of those programs which brings back fond memories to mind.

Saturday 18 August 2018


GENESIS Chapter 2 Verse 18-19

God took some soil from the ground and made the birds and animals and brought them to Adam so he can name them.

At first, Adam was very hesitant, and as each animal passed in front of him he mumbled monosyllables: "Ant, bee, cat, dog, cow, pig ..." and so on.

In time, he became more adventurous and used longer words, "giraffe, horse, llama, tiger, panther, zebra ..." and so on.

But there were many animals and birds, not to mention all the fishes in the sea, still to be named. So Adam grew tired and he could hardly keep his eyes open. When the next animal walked by him he said "Hippopotamus amphibius or Choeropsis liberiensis or Hexaprotodon liberiensis depending on the size of the animal."

At which point God hit Adam on the head with a dead bat and said "Don't be too clever, lad!"

And that's how we got the word Hippopotamus.

Make sure you spell it correctly.

And don't abbreviate it to Hippo. For Adam's sake!

Friday 17 August 2018

Thou Shall Not Judge

Jesus said: "Do not judge, and you will not be judged". Luke 6:37

But is this really possible? We all judge one another and we are judged. By judging other people we form an opinion of who is good and who is bad. Who we can befriend, and who we should avoid. We all meet many people throughout life, in the street, in shops, at work, in church, in the pub or wherever. Whenever we meet people we sub-consciously judge them and form an opinion as to whether we like them or not.

That's how the world turns. That's what dating is all about. That's life. Meeting, forming an opinion, getting closer or further away from an individual, being friendly or not.

There are many criterias to judging people. (Criteria is already the plural of criterion - get your grammar right!).

As I was saying before I interrupted myself. There are many criteria to judging people. Some judge by the way you speak grammatically and don't split the infinitive like, "To boldly go where no one has gone before!"

Others judge people by their accents. By their looks or by their clothes. Some judge others by their backgrounds, education, race, colour, professions, religion, whether they smoke or drink or not, by their marital status, and many other criteria which feed our sense of discrimination and prejudices.

I think one way we should judge people is by their criminal record. When I was young and dating pretty ladies I always asked them straight-away, "Have you got a criminal record?" Everyone of them avoided me from then on. One even slapped my face. I don't know why.

Eventually, I dated a lady in prison. It didn't last long. She was a prison warden and did not like my character. She was obviously judgemental about something or other.

These days I have grown up and matured. I am now much wiser and only judge people by their distance. The further away they are from me the more I like them.

Take the mother-in-law for instance! (Please take her in your homes and away from me).

As I was saying, my mother-in-law lives 150 miles away. I like her very much from that distance. I would like her even more if she moved home further away. I would definitely love her even more if she moved to another country or continent. It's like loving the sun from afar. No one wants the warmth of the sun only inches away from them!

So you see ... judging others is good. We all judge and we are all judged.

I wonder how God would judge me?

What do you think?

Thursday 16 August 2018

Bore Bore Bore ...

Do you know any boring people? I do ... Many of them.

I reckon God loves boring people seeing He created so many.

I tell you the type I have in mind. People who over analyse everything. People who do not see a cup as half full, or half empty even, as long as it is on a coaster and does not leave a water mark on the table.

People who want to know the difference between a pan and a pot. Or when is a pamphlet different from a booklet. Or where does the universe expand into if the whole of space is the universe. Or if there are so many stars in the universe then why is space so dark.

Maybe it's me, but I seem to have little time or patience for people who go into details on matters of no consequence whatsoever to life as we know it, or as we don't know it.

For example, do you say scone or scon? Pronounced much shorter. And do you put the cream first on the scone and then the jam or the other way round. And do you use raspberry or strawberry jam? And do you pour the milk first in the cup or the tea first? And do you hold the cup with your little finger sticking out or not?

What do I care unless you give me all the scones to eat.

And why do you stick your little finger out? Is it to scratch your ear whilst drinking?

And why do I care if the cucumber sandwiches are cut into little triangles or squares. I can eat the whole plateful in one go regardless of shape and whether the crust is cut off or not.

Soup ... ... ... that's another thing to be boring about. Do you put the spoon to your mouth sideways, or front-wise? Now there's a dilemma. Personally, I drink soup straight from the bowl, or dish, and lick it clean afterwards.

I was at the library the other day with a boring friend of mine. We were sitting at a table reading. Because we're not supposed to talk in the library I wrote her a note and passed it to her. She said I should not have written the note in capital letters because that is shouting silently!

She is the sort of person who knows the difference between a raven and a crow. And can tell you in details the mating habits of the silverfish.

Did you know that before silverfish reproduce, they carry out a complicated ritual which may last over half an hour without the need of a relaxing drink beforehand or soft music and lights in the background as we humans do?

First the male and female stand face to face, then repeatedly back off and return to this position. Imagine us doing this for a moment. Personally, I'd soon get tired and call the whole thing off.

In the second phase, the male runs away and the female chases him. Well that makes a change, I suppose; although if she expects me to run for more than thirty seconds she's wasting her time!

In the third phase, the silverfish do what they do in privacy together.

Now to be honest, I did not need to know that and neither has it enhanced my life or sexual prowess. Yet my boring friend insisted on telling it to me in details as I drove her home from the library.

And that's the kind of boring person I speak of. Why can't she be fun like other people? Why can't she hang upside down from a tree branch or bounce on a trampoline just for fun?

Why has God created boring people? Is it because He likes them or is it so that we can appreciate other people when we meet them?

Does God put all boring people in a room together in Heaven? Or do they roam everywhere freely boring everyone else about the history of the harp through the ages?

I need to know that before I get to Heaven. Will God give me a room by myself or am I to share with a boring person for eternity?

What do you think?

Wednesday 15 August 2018

Singing in the snow

On my post yesterday, Mevely asked me to post a video with me singing.

Visit Mevely here.

To be honest, I only sing in the bathroom. It is a habit I picked up as a young boy because back then we were so poor that we did not have a lock on the bathroom door. So we sang to stop anyone coming in. I used to sit on the throne with my foot sticking out against the door to stop it from opening. Pity it opened outwards! Yes ... we were very poor back then. So poor we could not even afford a toilet brush. We tied a dead hedgehog to a stick and used that.

Anyway ... about my singing. A couple of years ago the priest asked me to join the choir in church and sing a carol at Christmas.  He said I sang like an angel. Here is the recording of me rehearsing. Enjoy !!!

Tuesday 14 August 2018


In a previous post, Jan left a comment on my blog saying, "there is so little happiness in our world at times."

By the way, visit her blog HERE. You will enjoy it.

So, as I was saying, there seems to be little happiness in the world these days. Whenever you switch on the TV or radio, or buy the newspapers all you hear is bad news. I don't know about you, but after a while all this bad news tends to wear me down. I have bad news overload. The hard-drive in my memory banks can't take any more bad news. My brain tends to switch off to the point where I become immune to bad news and sad events that are happening all over the world. And that in itself is bad. When we become immune to someone else's suffering we become less human. I dare say, we become less Christian. How can we obey Christ's message of loving one another if we no longer care about some sad event the other side of the world because we've heard too much bad news.

I suppose that's why over the years I've developed a sense of humour. It is not to shut out bad news and become immune to it, but to restore some balance in my brain and to seek a tiny bit of happiness, albeit at times short lived.

My sense of humour has not always helped me at work. When others wrestled with a serious managerial problem I often said something I thought funny to defuse the tension; and gain me the displeasure of my boss.

I remember once the boss gathered a team of "experts" to resolve an impending crisis. He started the meeting by asking what skills we had and wrote them on the board. Some said they were expert at economics, marketing, sales, financial management and all that. When it came to my turn, and my boss asked for my skill, (he knew it anyway, for Pete's sake ... I worked for him), I don't know why, but the devil in me said, "I wrestle crocodiles!"

To his credit, without batting an eye lid, he wrote "wrestles crocodiles" on the board.

Anyway, this is a long winded way to ask what is happiness? What is it to you? How would you define it in your case?

For me, happiness is getting home and finding there is still a piece of cheese in the mouse trap. I could then have cheese and biscuits and a glass of port. Well ... not actual port ... vinegar diluted with water. Now I'm sure some of you would be disgusted at what I've said. But I challenge anyone to tell me the difference between port, or a fine wine, and water and vinegar. For extra sweetness I dissolve some sugar in the water before adding it to the vinegar. It makes a fine rose wine from Ch√Ęteau Victor!

Just had a thought ... it's been a while since I posted any videos. So here are two: about Happiness. Please humour me and spend a few minutes listening to the lyrics, and perhaps joining in the songs.

Let me know what you think. I made both videos.

The first song is sung by Father Francis Maple. A priest I have known for years.


 The second song is sung by the Monks of Weston Priory in Vermont USA.

Monday 13 August 2018


Did you know one of my first jobs when I was young was as a door-to-door salesman? I fancied myself as a good talker and took up the challenge to be a salesman able to sell just anything.

The marketing agency for which I worked linked me with a door manufacturer and my first job was a door-to-door salesman selling doors.

I had three doors strapped on my back to show potential clients the different qualities available; and I also carried two suitcases. One was full of locks and handles for clients to choose, and the other case was full of hinges of different sizes and materials.

I remember once I knocked at a door and a very tall man opened it and said: “Yes? What do you want?”

“Good morning Sir,” I said as I was trained by our chief salesman to say, “I am here to open doors to great opportunities!”

I know, it’s a corny opening line, but it was part of our slogan and it had to be said every time we met a new customer.

Anyway, I said my line to the astonished man standing there then as I stooped down to place the two suitcases I was carrying on the ground, I bent forward a little, and the doors on my back hit him hard on the forehead.

He had a small cut on his head and it started bleeding a little.

"Do you have any Band-Aid and bandage dressing?" I asked him.

"Do you need some too?" he replied holding a handkerchief to his head, "where did you hurt yourself?"

"Not for me ... for you ..." I said. "I’m a trained first-aider you know, as well as being a door salesman. Anyway ... it looks like your injury has stopped bleeding now, and I'm glad you didn't damage my doors."

He grunted and said nothing.

I then unstrapped the three doors off my back and proceeded to explain how well made they were. One was made of oak, another of mahogany, and the third was cheap plastic in case the clients couldn't afford the other two.

"It's the de-lux economy version ..." I said trying to encourage a sale.

He explained that he already had a front door which suited him quite nicely, thank you.

On another occasion I was selling in a very posh area of town. To be honest, I had no chance of selling a door there. The houses were so big and luxurious that I wouldn’t mind guessing that their front doors cost more than the house where I was living at the time. But I was assigned that area by the chief salesman and as an extra incentive he doubled the commission I would make if I sold any doors there.

I rang the bell at one of these luxurious houses and it was opened by a young woman totally naked.

“Yes?” she whispered softly standing there with a smile on her face.

For a moment or so I forgot our opening line, “I am here to open doors to great opportunities!”

I just mumbled, “Do you want a door?”

She smiled and said, “Not today, thank you!”

Before I could say anything more, the strap holding the doors to my back broke and the three doors I was carrying crashed to the ground with a big bang. A large dog inside the house began to bark ferociously. I left the doors there and ran away.

I phoned my chief salesman and he instructed me to retrieve the doors or else he would deduct the money from my pay.

I plucked up courage and returned to the house. My doors were no longer there. I summoned every ounce of courage and rang the bell again.

This time it was opened by a big man, also totally naked.

I explained the situation about the doors and my chief salesman and I must admit I was surprised at how understanding he was.

I guess I am the only salesman to buy back his products from a client who never paid for them in the first place.


Sunday 12 August 2018

Conversation with the devil

Devil: Ah … I see you’re going to church … again! Why do you do this?

Man: It’s Sunday. I am going to Mass.

Devil: A Catholic hein? One of them I see.

Man: What do you mean?

Devil: Well … Catholics are a bit odd. Do you know that some people do not consider Catholics as being Christians at all?

Man: Why?

Devil: Where do I start? The Pope for instance. What is all that about? Having one man at the top supposedly in charge of the whole outfit. Surely, the only one you should follow and listen to is God; if your logic is correct?

Man: Yes … God is the Supreme Being at the top, as you put it. The Pope is only a representative of God, like all priests, like all Christians really. He is “at the top” to lead and guide all in the Church. Just like St Peter did all those years ago.

Devil: OK … how about your habit of confessing your sins to a priest? That’s odd don’t you think? Surely, if you need to confess anything it should be to God. Not a man who for the most part has little experience of real life, being single, with no real understanding of raising a family, providing for his family and all the other problems of life?

Man: The Catholic Church, I understand, bases its teaching on the words of Jesus, when He said to Peter, “And so I tell you, Peter: you are a rock, and on this rock foundation I will build my church, and not even death will ever be able to overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will have been loosed in heaven." (Matthew 16:18). I can understand that some people, Catholics even, find it difficult in these days to go and confess their sins to a priest. It is a personal choice, and I guess the Church has a lot of teaching to do on this.

Devil: Diplomatic answer … I see. I wonder if it convinces anyone. How about all the statues and images you have in your church. And people lighting candles and placing flowers by them and worshipping them. Surely this is wrong.

Man: I agree … worshipping the statues and images is wrong. We should only worship God. Over the years many Catholics have been confused by this, and again, perhaps we should teach them that it is not the statue they should be worshipping. Let me explain it another way. I have in my wallet a photo of my wife and children. Also on my desk at work. I do not worship the photos, nor do I worship my family. I love them of course. The photos are a reminder of my family. As for placing flowers and lighting candles to statues. We should do this as a sign of reverence and respect. Not as a sign of worship. Very much like many people place flowers and light candles on the graves of their loved ones. They do not worship the grave or who is in it.

Devil: You seem to have a clever answer to everything. But you must admit that your church does some eccentric irrational things at times. Like the exhumation of the body and bones of St Therese of Lisieux and taking them round from country to country for people to visit them and pray? Or mortifications and flagellations. How about the Spanish Inquisitions? And all the other evils that your Catholic Church has brought to the world? How about all the riches you have accumulated in the Vatican and other churches whilst poor people, Catholics amongst them, starve all over the world?

Man: I agree … there is a lot that the Church has done, and is doing wrong. But you must remember that the Church is made out of human beings. And human beings often make mistakes, and get things wrong, and indeed do evil too, often in the name of their religion. There are many things that the Church has done which cannot be defended. But that should not stop me going to Church, should it?

Devil: Why do you go to church?

Man: As a Catholic, I go to Church because I believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. I base my beliefs on John Chapter 6 where Jesus tells His followers and disciples that unless they eat His flesh and drink His blood they will not have eternal life. I admit that I do not understand this. I doubt anyone does. But I believe it because Jesus said so.

Devil: Wishy washy meaningless answer. Would it not be better for you, and others, if you just gave up on the church and followed me? I have no rules. Anything goes. Whatever you want to do or believe, just do it!

Man: I guess the difference between you and Jesus is that Jesus did what He did, for us, because He loves us and cares for us. You do what you do for yourself. To increase the number of your followers. So thanks for the offer; but no thanks!