Sunday, 16 June 2019
“Father, I really have difficulty in understanding the Holy Trinity,” said a parishioner to Father Ignatius.
“I really can’t understand why we sometimes have difficulties in just accepting the mysteries of our Faith,” replied the priest, “after all, God is not really that complicated is He?”
“It’s the three in one that I don’t understand. When we get to Heaven will we meet all three of them God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit? Or will we see just one?”
“When I get to Heaven and find out, I’ll phone you to let you know,” replied the priest with a chuckle.
There was silence for a moment or two as James continued to fix the priest’s car. Fr Ignatius stood there as an assistant handing different tools when asked.
“You obviously know how St Patrick used a shamrock to explain the Trinity,” asked Father Ignatius eventually.
“Yes … but it doesn’t really answer my question does it?”
“Everywhere around us we see in nature things made of many parts,” said the priest, “look at that tree over there. It is made up of a trunk, roots which you cannot see, branches and leaves, and sometimes it has fruits too. You don’t have difficulty accepting that all these parts make up one tree do you?”
“No Father,” said James, “I understand that they can be together as one tree, or separate … the tree, the leaves and the fruit. Is that how the Trinity works?”
“I don’t know. I just accept it and believe it,” said Father Ignatius.
“But let’s continue along this path for a moment.
“We believe in God. Whoever we perceive Him to be. Some imagine Him as a bearded old man living in Heaven somewhere; others see Him as a Spirit or a Supernatural Being perhaps … we each have a mental description of God.
“I prefer to see Him as Jesus told us about Him; a loving caring Father, Creator of everything.
“Are you OK this far?”
James nodded and put down the wrench he was using to fix the car. He wiped his forehead with the back of his hand and listened.
“In times of old God spoke to His people on earth through the prophets," continued Father Ignatius, “He guided them and gave them Commandments on how to live … I’m sure you read all about it in the Old Testament … But people did not always listen to the prophets as you well know James. They killed some of them and ignored quite a few.
“God could of course have sent punishments from above … floods, famines, pestilence and so on. And indeed He did for a while.
“He could of course have come down as a Superman type character … now that may have worked don’t you think?
“He could have frightened everyone of them into total and perfect submission. But that is hardly the behavior we’d expect from a loving caring Father is it? What is the point of enforcing His will on all of us and make us love Him under duress?”
“So God decided to come to earth as a human being. As one of us. A human we could see, talk to, listen to and witness His power of love through His miracles,” said Father Ignatius gently.
“He came as a vulnerable little baby. And for a while He was vulnerable indeed when Herod tried to destroy Him. He grew up amongst us and throughout His life it was love and only love which motivated His every action.
“Jesus was, and is, God made incarnate.
“Whatever image we may have in our mind about God being a Spirit or whatever … in Jesus we see God Himself made human just like us.
“Are you OK with my explanation so far?”
James agreed as he kept working on the car engine.
“And this is where some people get a little confused …” continued the priest.
“When Jesus was set to return to Heaven after the Resurrection, you can imagine the disciples were totally distraught.
“They'd lost all confidence, even though they witnessed the Resurrection and saw the victory.
“Their leader, their God was leaving now. What are they to do without Him? How can they carry on without His guidance? How can they build His church and preach about Him? What a responsibility without His loving, guiding hand!
“So God, Jesus, promised to return.
“And He did return, as the Holy Spirit. He returned in Spirit form, not in physical form. You remember the story of the Pentecost don’t you?
“He lived within them and they were enlightened. They spoke in different languages and taught throughout all lands.
“He lived there, just within their soul, not in human form, but as a Spirit. A Holy Ghost if you prefer.
“And the Good News is that God, Jesus, this very Holy Spirit never left. He is still here right now. He lives within some people as He did within the disciples. It doesn't mean that every Christian has the Holy Spirit within him. But some do. I have seen it.”
The priest paused for a while.
“What saddens me,” he continued, “is that these days it is so much easier for people to believe that the devil can possess people and live within them, as you see in the movies, but they cannot believe or even understand that God can, and does, live within us.”
“That’s true,” said James, “many people believe in ghosts and evil spirits.”
“Unlike the devil, God does not possess people. He dwells within us but only if we ask Him and invite Him,” Father Ignatius continued.
“That’s because God is love. He would not do anything against our will. He invites us to love Him back without any coercion whatsoever. We choose freely whether to love Him back or not. Whether to invite Him in our hearts or not.
“So when we say people have the Holy Spirit within them, we mean they have God, and Jesus Christ, guiding their very soul in every aspect of their lives; in what they do, in what they say, and when to do or say it. They serve as an example to the rest of us; and they help and lead us towards our Heavenly home.”
At this point, James, who was listening intently whilst working, dropped something accidentally on the floor.
Father Ignatius got down on his hands and knees to search under the car and picked up a bolt and nut with a washer ring on it.
The priest looked at his hand for a few seconds and then said:
“Hey … look at this James. A bolt and nut with a disc attached in the middle.”
James stopped working and looked at what the priest was holding.
“The three together are one item,” said Father Ignatius, “they work together to serve their purpose … a Trinity you might say.
“Let’s separate them.
“This bolt here represents God, Our Almighty Father.
“The nut represents Jesus, made human and come to visit us on earth.
“And this disc or washer is the Holy Spirit. You can see when we put them together again that the disc is held securely on the bolt by the nut.
“It’s the same with the Holy Trinity I suppose.
“We cannot get to see or be with the Holy Spirit, until we have accepted Jesus first. Take this nut off the bolt, and now you have the disc. Accept Jesus in your life, and the Holy Spirit will descend upon you.”
James smiled broadly.
“I’ll keep this as a souvenir to remind me of this valuable lesson,” he said.
“I suggest you use it to fix the car, and get yourself another set …” replied the priest jokingly.
Saturday, 15 June 2019
One day God was looking down at Earth and saw all of the rascally behaviour that was going on. So He called one of His angels and sent him to Earth for a time.
When he returned, he told God, 'Yes, it is bad on Earth; 95% are misbehaving and only 5% are not.'
God thought for a moment and said, 'Maybe I had better send down a second angel to get another opinion.'
So God called another angel and sent him to Earth for a time. When the angel returned he went to God and said, 'Yes, it's true. The Earth is in decline; 95% are misbehaving, but 5% are being good.'
God was not pleased. So He decided to e-mail the 5% that were good, because He wanted to encourage them, and give them a little something to help them keep going.
Do you know what the e-mail said?
Okay, I was just wondering, because I didn't get one either!!!
Friday, 14 June 2019
I jumped into bed and, as a last dutiful act of loyalty to my employer, I decided to read a Census Report showing population trends over the years in different French locations and how this would affect our business in this country.
A few minutes afterwards, as I was reading, I noticed a ghost standing by the foot of my bed. He was staring at me. I was frightened out of my Census.
He was wearing an old style type costume, a bit like the three musketeers or something from that era. And he had a patch on one eye.
When I gathered whatever courage there was left lying around all over the place, I asked him, pointing at the patch on his eye, "Are you a ghost of a pirate?"
"Oh non, Monsieur," he replied in a typical French accent, "I am not a peerate! I got zis one day when I entered a room through ze keyhole in ze door, and somebody put ze key in ze door at ze same time!"
"Oh!" I said, as he continued.
"I also used to enter ze rooms by sliding under ze doors, you know. But I stopped doing zat too. One day, I slid under ze door and zere was a woman cleaning ze room on ze other side. She sucked me into her vacuum cleaner!
"But not anymore, Monsieur. Now I travel ze conventional ghostly way by walking through ze solid walls!"
"Oh ..." I said in an English accent; not knowing how to say it in French.
"Ze problem about ze walking through ze walls," he continued, "eez zat sometimes zere is a cupboard in ze ozer room and I end up locked in a cupboard. Or if zere is a table or ozer furniture zat is low I get ze corner of ze furniture hitting me in ze private bits!"
I winced as I felt his pain.
At this point a clock somewhere struck 10:35pm.
"Oh ... I must go to my wife Suzette" he said. "Madame Penoir, my wife, she gets veree upset when I am late! I usually tell her ze stories zat I am haunting tourists in old auberges; but she is not believing me. She says she can see right through me!"
And with zese words, sorry ... these words, he jumped out of the window and landed in the river below. I think he was in Seine!
Thursday, 13 June 2019
Let's get straight to the point, un-pallatable as it may be, the world is heading for the Apocalypse according to various scientific research.
The sun, the source of all energy to this planet, will run out of fuel in approximately a billion years' time. As it runs out of the very essence that makes it burn so brightly, the sun itself will implode on itself very much like a shrinking balloon or ball and enter a self-created black hole sucking in the whole universe, including the earth, within it.
Coinciding with such an event, and perhaps related to it, a whole galaxy of stars will be drawn towards the earth and crash it with such force resulting in extreme thunder and lightning and fires consuming the planet and all upon and within it.
However, horrible as this scenario may be, yet another un-related event, is likely to happen many centuries earlier which will result in the extinction of the human race.
This is due to the fact of an inherent faulty Y chromosome in men. Since it is the male chromosome which determines the sex of a baby being born, this faulty Y chromosome will drastically reduce the number of males being born to humankind to the point where eventually only females will be produced. As the number of men is reduced to zero the whole reproduction system will be in jeopardy and humanity will cease to exist; unless science can find a solution before then. Which seems highly unlikely.
Consequently, the human race will be faced with yet another disaster as there will be no men to catch the spiders when they fall in the bath.
The population of spiders will increase drastically as they breed in every bath in the world and climb upon each other to escape out of the bathroom and spread throughout the world.
There will be spiders' webs everywhere getting thicker and thicker and stronger and able to trap bigger preys other than flies and insects.
Instead, the webs will be full of all kinds of animals and birds, and even humans, who happened to get caught and served as a meal to such giant spiders.
With cows getting trapped in spiders' webs and being eaten to extinction there will be a world shortage of burgers which will in itself precipitate the Apocalypse.
As already scientifically proven, the cow's digestive system produces large amounts of methane gas contributing to global warming. With such a drastic reduction in the world's cows population this will greatly precipitate a new ice age - known as a Popsicle.
One glimmer of light in the horizon is that scientists and others have often wrongly predicted the end of the world.
Meanwhile, it is recommended that menfolk should teach their wives and girl-friends how to catch spiders out of bath tubs.
Wednesday, 12 June 2019
Lately I visited a castle where purportedly my ancestor, the medieval King and Knight, Baron Sir Richard the Lion Liver, once lived. Click the crest on the right to learn more about him.
As soon as I entered the castle I was greeted by this armour which I understand he once wore when in battle, and also at the many jousting tournaments which he always won.
Sir Richard the Lion Liver.
In another room we saw where the Knights of Sir Richard's triangular table used to hang their coat of arms.
Sir Richard written below it.
Sir Richard fell down the stairs after a night's drinking with his knights and hurt his back. For ages he was bent with pain and walked with a stick as in the painting above. Eventually, he was persuaded to go to Gherkin the Wizard for a cure. After about five minutes with Gherkin, he came out walking straight and proud as if nothing had ever gone wrong.
Sir Richard explained it was no miracle at all. Gherkin the Wizard had given him a longer stick.
The following photo best explains a famous story about my ancestor Sir Richard the Lion Liver.
One night Sir Richard came back after a night's drinking with his knights at the local pub. He found the front door, (on the right of the picture where the visitors are), locked shut and his wife had gone to bed in a huff ... or was it a minute and a huff? I can't remember.
Anyway, Sir Richard did not want to ring the door bell and wake up the dragon inside ... or his wife for that matter. So he asked one of his servants to enter the castle from the back door. Now Sir Richard was a very accurate shot with the crossbow, even after a lot of drinking. So he said to his servant that he would shoot an arrow from outside through the second narrow window you see on the left. The servant inside the room would pull the arrow to which was attached a string, which was in turn attached to a rope. He would pull the rope inside the window and tie it to the furniture securely so that Sir Richard could climb into the castle.
All worked relatively well. Sir Richard shot the arrow through the window and it hit the servant waiting inside the room in the leg. The servant stifled a painful cry so as not to wake up the dragon. He didn't much care for his master's wife anyway.
He then tied the rope to the furniture so that Sir Richard could climb up. Once up Sir Richard discovered that the window was too narrow for anyone to get in.
So he got down again and asked his servant to let him in through the back door.
If you've enjoyed this tale about my visit to the castle half as much as I have enjoyed telling it; then I have enjoyed it twice as much as you.
Tuesday, 11 June 2019
I really did not want to attend his session when I got my invite. I reasoned that if they were mad enough to give me such a senior position then I was mad enough to make a good or a bad job of it. I promised them to resign the day after the whole business went bankrupt anyway.
I got another invite, then another, until when I could delay the face-to-face interview no longer.
When I went to see the psychologist, he was very polite and sat me down in his office and began to explain, calmly and politely, what his job was and what these interviews with senior managers were meant to achieve. I remained unconvinced and pretended that I was unconvinced anyway.
In conversation, knowing full well he was analysing me, I asked him whether a psychologist was a failed psychiatrist. He hesitated a little and probably thought I was insulting his intelligence.
I honestly was not insulting his intelligence. I was insulting him.
He went on to explain the differences between the two professions and he said that a psychiatrist can prescribe medicine whereas he could not.
I asked him, "Not even a whisky? Can you not prescribe a whisky? Because I need one right now!"
He tried to hide his annoyance ... badly. Because I could still see him sitting at his desk and the fact that he was annoyed.
He suggested I see some cards with ink blots on them and tell him what they meant to me.
I refused. I said, "All those cards look like two rabbits having sex to me. Either that, or they look like my mother-in-law riding a broomstick and eating jelly. What does that mean?"
He put the blot cards away. Took a deep breath and calmly said, "You are a religious man, I understand ..." He had obviously been studying my personnel profile and was trying to find something there he could use as a weapon, or a pretext to get me talking. I resented the fact that this man I had never met before, was somehow put in a position of authority, a position of power, whereby he could form an opinion on the company's managers and whatever he said about them would go in a file and be used to "manage" their careers, their advancement or not, and in fact their very being in this organisation.
I remained calm as best I could.
"You are a religious man, I understand," he said, "imagine you meet God face to face. The God you believe in and you worship. You have the opportunity to ask Him one question. Any one question that is on your mind. What would you ask Him?"
I hesitated for a second or two. Maybe three seconds, then I replied, "Why are midgets always small? Why can't we have big midgets? Or giant ones?"
To his credit, he grimaced a little rather than smile, and then said, "That's three questions ..."
He changed the subject and asked me, "If a member of your team was behaving somewhat erratically ... not as normal shall we say ... and he asked you to arrange a meeting with the company psychologist, with me; would you arrange such a meeting?"
I replied, "No ... anyone who thinks he needs a psychologist needs to have his head examined!"
He tried to go on the offensive to catch me off-guard. He said calmly, "I notice you wear different coloured socks. Is that by accident or is there a reason behind it?"
"How else can I tell my left foot from my right foot?" I asked.
To his credit once again, he maintained his composure. He said he had been asked by the company we work for to arrange team-building events such as outdoor pursuits. He had contacts with an outfit that arranges such events in Snowdonia in Wales. He had planned to take a group of us there hill walking, mountain climbing or even pot-holing in caves there, or elsewhere.
Now there had been rumours in the firm of such events. My team working for me had intimated they would not wish to go for a variety of reasons, including family commitments. One in particular was a little claustrophobic and would not wish to go in caves, never mind pot-holing.
He said, "Let us imagine we are all on a hiking trip in Wales and visiting caves or potholing. A colleague of yours from another department, John Leicester, has got stuck in a tight pothole in a cave. It is getting dark and water is rising in the cave. Do you send the other two members of the team to get help; bearing in mind they are reluctant and scared of getting lost in the cave. Do you go with them and leave John alone? Do you leave them all there and go and fetch help yourself? Or do you all stay with John and possibly all perish?"
I replied, "John is a pain in the neck working his way South. If he is stuck in the pothole the chances are I stuck him there!"
He ended the interview.
I remained in my job, and got promoted further about a year later.
Not sure what it all means. My brain hurts.
Monday, 10 June 2019
But ... something peculiar struck me the other day.
I was watching a political program on TV where they interviewed different candidates from varying parties and opinions and something struck me which I had never seen so clearly before. Must be the whisky. It makes me see things in a totally different light.
I suddenly realised that, honest and well-intentioned as they may well be, all politicians genuinely want to help their fellow man. One wanted to cut taxes for hard working families so that people can keep more of the money they had earned. Another wanted to create opportunities for hard working people looking for jobs. A third wanted to help hard working students achieve their potential and go on to successful careers. And yet another politician wanted to help those hard working savers get a better return on their investments.
As I said ... something suddenly struck me. I had read various political journals and leaflets we get through the post. I had seen TV and heard the radio. But it never became so clear as in that TV program and a third glass of whisky.
Not one politician wants to do anything to help the lazy so and so, like me, who likes to sit at home watching TV and eating pizza.
They all want to help the hard working men and women of this country.
No one cares for lazy ******** like me.
That is discriminatory, I think.
In these days of equality for everyone, surely lazy people should be afforded the same help, care and attention as everyone else.
Being lazy is part of my nature. It is what makes me ... me. My hobby is sitting down. Why should I be discriminated against?
I shall start a new political party. It will be known as The Lazy Party.
Will you join me ... some day? Right now I can't be bothered.
Sunday, 9 June 2019
PLEASE SPARE 5 MINUTES LISTENING TO THIS OLD RECORDING
There are a number of issues on this recording
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As a matter of information;
Frs Ignatius and Donald,
and Mrs Davenport,
are characters from my books.
Saturday, 8 June 2019
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Friday, 7 June 2019
I don't include you in that comment by the way. I like you and your Blogs and I think you lot and I are the only sane ones on this planet. The people I have in mind are the sycophants we have at work.
The other day at work I was caught in a meeting to discuss how we can improve our company image. (Personally, I think the best way to improve our image is by closing down altogether; but I said nothing).
Somehow, the discussion turned into our company being seen as being environmentally friendly, planet loving, caring for our children's future ... and such similar platitudes to make one's heart melt and to see me rushing out the door. But it was a business meeting and I was trapped.
Colleagues talked about global warming, climate change, burning fossil fuels, green sustainable energy, harnessing wave, solar and wind power, wind turbines, and similar other things they had read about or seen on TV and they were repeating them like demented parrots.
I kept quiet ... but my mind was thinking in all different tangents at the same time. This is how it went:
If these guys are serious about saving the planet they will have to make big changes to their lives.
They will have to give up their company cars for a start and use bicycles to go to work, and to go to meetings in other towns and cities millions of miles away.
They will have to stop flying everywhere and going on holidays abroad at least twice a year.
They will have to save energy at home and turn down the heating or air-conditioning altogether. They will need to burn trees or coal to keep warm in winter ... oops fossil fuels!
They will have to stop eating ready meals wrapped in plastic which is only used once and then thrown away. And drinking from one-use cups and bottles.
They will have to cut down altogether on all non-essentials which waste energy to produce, to market, and to sell, and serve no purpose whatsoever. For example, the cosmetics industry making all sorts of facial paints, nail varnish, perfumes and so on ... for men as well as women. The fashion industry which encourages us to change clothings earlier than we need to and waste materials for no reason at all apart from vanity. The entertainments industry with all their productions of music, films, videos, computer games and so on. All these will have to stop if we are serious about waste and saving the planet.
All sports like car and motorbike racing, and indeed all sports altogether should be stopped. They encourage use of energy, they encourage travel, they encourage purchases of souvenirs and such like useless products which serve no purpose apart from making people happy. People should not be happy. Life is meant to be miserable so that, having saved the planet, the next generation can be equally miserable as us.
At this point my manager woke me up from my reverie by asking me for my views about encouraging industries such as ours to sponsor more wind farms and building more wind turbines both in open spaces, in farms, and also out at sea.
I hesitated ... gulped ... and then said, "I am concerned about building too many wind turbines everywhere in case as they all turn round together the earth might take off and fly to outer space!"
Maybe it was a stupid thing to say. He suggested, politely, we discuss it privately afterwards.
What do you think about this?
Thursday, 6 June 2019
A friend of mine, who shall remain nameless to protect his innocence and identity, had a terrible misfortune the other day. His name is Dr Quentin Ford, and he works as a medic in one of the hospitals nearby. I won't mention the hospital to protect Quentin's identity. He lives in an apartment block in a well-to-do part of town. High Vista Towers. Oh ... and he has a parrot too, named Coco, I believe. Not after Coco Chanel; but after his favourite drink. Coconut juice. That bit is important to the story. The fact that he has a parrot; not the fact that he loves coconut juice. Are you following so far? Because I am totally confused, I tell you.
Let's start from the beginning. Dr Quentin is a friend of mine and he lives in High Vista apartment block. Apartment number 728. Apart from that, I will not mention anything more about him.
He trained to be a heart specialist, but because he is so short he ended up specialising in knee surgery instead. That bit is not as important to the story as his possession of a parrot; in fact it is not relevant at all.
Anyway, one morning last week Quentin Ford noticed that the tap, (faucet), in his bath was dripping. He called a plumber who agreed to attend within the hour. That in itself is a miracle because usually plumbers do not come out in an emergency within a period of ten years. Anyway, the plumber said that the dripping tap, (faucet), will cause no great problem or flooding as the water will go down the plug hole, and that he'll attend straight-away.
Moments later my friend, the doctor, was called for an emergency at the hospital. Apparently a man had water on the knee - he was not aiming straight.
In his rush, Quentin forgot about the plumber.
About an hour later the plumber arrived at the apartment and rang the door bell. Quentin's parrot shouted from inside the apartment, "Who is it?"
The plumber said, "I am the plumber. I have come to fix the dripping tap!"
The parrot said again, "Who is it?"
The plumber replied, "I am the plumber. I have come to fix the dripping tap!"
The parrot asked, "Who is it?"
The plumber repeated loudly, "I am the plumber. I have come to fix the dripping tap!"
The parrot went on, "Who is it?"
The plumber shouted, "I am the plumber. I have come to fix the dripping tap!"
This went on for a good few minutes. Eventually, the plumber who had a weak heart and weaker knees, suddenly collapsed and died.
A neighbour found him and phoned the police.
When the Detective Chief Inspector arrived on the scene he asked, "Does anyone know who he is?"
The parrot replied, "He is the plumber and he has come to fix the dripping tap!"
PODCAST VERSION - 5 MINUTES LONG
Sunday, 2 June 2019
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8 June 2019 midnight
Saturday, 1 June 2019
I was watching out of the window into our garden. It had just stopped raining. Two blackbirds were there on the grass. They were pecking the ground with their beaks. Suddenly one of them found a worm. It was a big worm. He picked it up and moved a few feet away.
The other blackbird noticed him and followed him.
The first bird hopped away a few more feet, worm still in beak. The other followed again.
This went on a few more times for about ten feet or so.
Eventually, the first bird flew away with the worm still in its beak.
The second bird remained behind pecking the ground. Eventually, he too found a worm and flew away with it.
And the lesson I learnt from all this:
DON'T WASTE TIME LOOKING AT BIRDS
Friday, 31 May 2019
Now sardines are not as clever as dolphins. Why else would they get into a tin and leave the key on the outside?
Every other canned fish you buy, tuna, salmon, pilchard and so on, you have to open with a can opener. But sardines ... they have a key on the outside. Why?
Unless of course you buy those tins with a ring pull. Again, on the outside ... so the sardines can't pull the ring and get out.
Anchovies thought they'd be clever by being so salty that no one would eat them. They were wrong. They've now become a delicacy much sought after and more fished than before.
And now about the original question ...
The symbol of a fish was found on ancient Christian monuments and buildings. It represents Christ.
The Greek word for "fish" is ICHTHUS.
If we take the letters of that word they provide the first letters of other Greek words.
Iesous Christos Theou Uios Soter
Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour
So the symbol of the fish suggests all this to a Christian. It may well have been a secret sign used by early Christians to identify each other.
Thursday, 30 May 2019
Wednesday, 29 May 2019
Tom sitting up front said "It was not me, Miss!"
The teacher was so appalled at the level of ignorance of her new class, that she reported the incident to the Head Teacher.
The Head Teacher took the matter seriously and asked Tom's parents to attend the school for an explanation. He told them what Tom had said and asked them if they had anything to add. Tom's mother burst out crying and said "My Tom is a good boy. He never lies. If he said he never did it then I believe him!"
The Head Teacher was furious and turned to Tom's father.
Tom's father was more pragmatic about it all. He said "Let's treat this whole thing like grown-ups shall we? You get the wall fixed and I shall pay the costs involved."
When the parents had left, the Head Teacher called the Religious Instructions teacher, to explain what had happened.
She said "Really? Is that what Tom's father suggested?"
"Yes," replied the Head Teacher, "let's get a builder in to fix the wall quickly before he changes his mind!"
Personally ... I think the father was too hasty to offer to pay the costs without knowing how much it would be.
What do you think?
Tuesday, 28 May 2019
I got out a few days ago and found a whale in our back garden. Yes, a whale. There it was swimming amongst the goldfish in the pond at the back of the garden.
I don't know how it got there but there it was. I could not believe my eyes. Let me explain that it was the size of a very large dog, so it was not a fully grown up blue whale as you may have thought. But all the same, a whale the size of two Alsatian sheep dogs suddenly appearing in one's pond is quite something; I tell you. Maybe it had been dropped by a passing sea gull which picked it up from the sea. Although, judging from its size it must have been a very strong sea gull; unless it was a whole flock of them.
Anyway, there it was in my garden and I had to get rid of it. I did not have enough plankton in the fridge with which to feed it. And I was afraid that if it died of hunger I would not be able to flush it down the toilet because of its size.
So I called the authorities to come and help. The Pest Control Department would not believe that I had a whale in my garden. They told me a whale is not a pest so they could not come out to help. I asked them if they could bring someone with a net to take it back to sea. They transferred my phone call to Annette in the Wales Department.
Annette was very kind and explained that she was from the Wales Department. Wales, the country; not Whales the fish department. She said there was no such thing as a fish department at our Local Authority. Whether it is whales or any other fish. She did not believe my story and said it was all a red herring to confuse the Local Authority. Which is a different kettle of fish altogether.
Eventually, I got someone from the Local Authority to come out and investigate. He confirmed it was a whale and suggested we entice it out by playing whale songs. He brought a CD player from his van and played a whales' songs CD. You know the kind; relaxing whales singing songs with sounds of waves and all that.
"Oooohh Ooooohh" went the CD. You know how whale songs sound, don't you? "Oooooh Ooooooh". Long and soft sounds like someone exhaling with laryngitis.
And the whale in our pond responded "Oooooh Oooooh" back but did not budge from the pond.
For at least an hour we had this duet playing "Ooooh Ooooh" to each other.
All the neighbours came round to look at what was going on.
The guy from the Local Authority called in a helicopter with a view to lifting the whale up in a net and then taking it out to sea. That's a net made of ropes tied together and not Annette from the Wales Department - Wales the country not whales the fish. Are you paying attention?
The noise of the helicopter stopped the whale singing and it tried to hide behind the pond flowers and plants.
The man from the Local Authority then changed the CD and played "Nessun Dorma" very loud sung by an overfed tenor.
And that's when I woke up with a start because the radio/clock alarm had gone off.
Monday, 27 May 2019
This is a true story.
Years ago we had two fishes in a tank in the living room. They were of the goldfish variety. They swam to and fro happily in their tank and all was well.
Well ... not that well really. Because every week I had to empty the tank, clean it, re-fill it with fresh clean water and put in all the necessary tablets that fish require in a tank to live happily and swim to and fro.
After a long period of this weekly tank cleaning I'd had enough. So I put the two fishes in our newly dug pond at the end of our back garden and left them to it. They had to swim or sink as it were!
It's a lovely pond. Much larger than the tank they were in previously, with freshly planted pond weeds and floating flowers of various varieties which I could not name. I guess the pond is no bigger in volume than a couple of bath tubs; (depending on the size of bath tub you have in your bathroom of course; but then you wouldn't admit it here would you?)
Anyway, I left the fish there and every so often we threw in a few fish-feeding pellets which you can get from the pet shop in case the fish survived and were waiting there at their dinner table to be fed. This went on for about a year.
One day I was sitting there by the pond and noticed little one-inch sized silver-coloured fishes floating around in the pond. I looked carefully and yes ... they were small fishes all right. The original two gold-fishes which were about five inches or so big, were also there. I'd recognised them by their large almost transparent tails. The small fishes were swimming around very fast. There were between 6 and 6000 fishes, depending on how quickly you can count moving fishes.
The whole family was over-excited that the two goldfish had survived and now had a family of babies. Over time, the babies grew up to become lovely goldfishes which we can now count easily. There are now exactly eleven fishes in the pond, including the original two; depending of course on how good you are at counting moving fishes.
All this happened some ten or so years ago; and the eleven fishes are still there.
One thing I've often wondered though. Are the original two fishes still there, or have they died and been replaced by new fishes?
I really don't know. But I can tell you this. And this is the honest truth, my friends; believe me!
When I sit by the pond and call the fishes, as I used to when they were in the tank in our living room. I call them saying: "Hey fishy fishy ... hey fishy fishy fishy ..."
Believe me it's true. The fishes totally ignore me just like the original two did when in the fish tank!
Sunday, 26 May 2019
Let me invite you to come with me to Heaven. Let's go right now and see what we'll find there.
I often wonder; most people perhaps want to go to Heaven for fear of the other place where the devil pokes your backside with a big fork and the heat is unbearable.
Jesus described Heaven as a place with many rooms. This is because it was the only imagery that the people of the time could understand. They had seen many mansions and palaces so to describe Heaven in such terms would engender an image and a place that they would all long for. Certainly better than the place with acrid smell and burning flesh and gnashing of teeth.
But what do you expect to find in Heaven? Yes you. What is your idea of Heaven?
Some people see Heaven as a place where they will come face to face with God. They will know God, and experience His love more than they have experienced it here on earth.
OK ... let's grant you that. But what else is there in Heaven? What will we do for eternity? Sit there singing hymns of praise or playing the harp? What if we do not like the harp and prefer rock and roll, or jazz or other music?
Some people imagine Heaven as a pleasant place with beautiful green meadows and sunshine everywhere. Personally, I fear hearing my wife telling me it is time to mow the lawn ... again. How about those people who don't like permanent sunshine? Who enjoy the rain, or to hear and see thunder and lightning?
Some people imagine Heaven as a nice place where we all love and care for each other and help each other. But then, I wonder, why can't we do that right now right here? Why can't we care for each other, the old, the poor, the sick and the destitute right here? Why wait for another day in Paradise to do what can be Heaven right now?
Maybe I am missing the point. Maybe Heaven will be the place where I finally find the missing jigsaw piece of life.
Saturday, 25 May 2019
She’s Australian and no, she does not waltz. In fact she’s as bad a dancer as I am.
The fact that I mention she’s Australian will become apparent a little later on.
Matilda is about sixty-four years old and is an old friend of the family. She lives alone in a secluded farm deep in the countryside in Northern England. She’s self-sufficient with a few chickens, ducks, pigs, a cow, a goat and an old horse which takes her and her cart to a nearby town whenever she needs to buy anything; and let's not forget her many cats and dogs. She lives on her pension and is happy in her own world.
Much happier than the rest of us I suppose working all hours to make ends meet.
We don’t visit Matilda often, but we correspond from time to time.
A few months ago I had reason to make a business trip to a city not far from where Matilda lives. It was on a Friday so I decided to call on Matilda and spend the weekend with the old lady.
I arrived at about five in the evening and after a nice cup of tea she asked me to help her feed her animals.
We started with the chickens, and then the ducks and whilst reminiscing happily whilst feeding the cow Matilda realized that time was getting on and she had to go to town for her weekly game of poker with other old folks in the Church club she attended.
She gave me her cell-phone number, just in case, and asked me to make myself at home until her return.
“Don’t forget to feed the pigs!” she yelled, as she galloped away on her cart out of the farm drive.
The pigs were a recent addition to her menagerie; all six of them. I got some feed and gingerly entered their enclosure and started spreading the food for them to eat. One of the pigs came eagerly at me to feed and managed to trip me head over heels into the mud. My immaculate work suit was totally ruined and I was soaking wet with dripping black liquid all over me. I suppose it was my fault being with animals in my best work suit, but Matilda had asked me to help and I didn’t have time to get changed. Luckily, my feathered cowboy hat survived the muddy onslaught and was not damaged in any way. That at least cheered me up no end.
I left the pigs to their devices and entered the house, leaving my dirty shoes at the door, and headed for the bathroom.
I ran a hot bath and settled in for a long soak whilst contemplating what to do with the ruined suit. Best to throw it away, I thought.
I was there for a few minutes thinking what color suit I would buy when it happened …
Oh … the memory keeps coming back like a recurring nightmare …
I’ve had sleepless nights about this, I tell you.
There I was in the bath soaking away my relatively minor worries about a ruined suit when …
You’ll never believe this … I assure you.
You too would have nightmares all your life if it happened to you.
The door slowly opened.
I could see the door handle move ever so slowly and then the door was pushed open with an ominous creaking sound as you get in horror movies.
My blood ran cold down my spine in a hot bath!
And then … a kangaroo got in and walked casually towards me and jumped in the bath with me splashing water all over the place.
I was terrified.
Can you imagine?
There I was sharing a bath with an animal native of Australia. Matilda had never mentioned a kangaroo as part of her farm cum zoo.
What else has she got in this house? A koala bear, or a platypus?
What was I to do? I did not dare make any sudden movement in case … I don’t know … in case the kangaroo did something which I’d regret.
I became somewhat protective all of a sudden.
He looked at me suspiciously and made un-approving tutting noises like kangaroos make.
I slowly reached for my cell-phone and managed to find Matilda’s number and phoned her.
“Matilda …” I said in a semi-whisper so as not to alarm my bathing companion, “there’s a kangaroo in the bath with me!”
Now there’s a sentence I never dreamed I would ever say.
She laughed raucously down the phone.
“That’s not a kangaroo sport!” she said in her distinct Australian accent which she has not lost despite her years in the UK, “it’s a wallaby. He’s Joey, my recently acquired pet! Do you like him?”
Well, it was not a question of liking him or not; and the difference between a kangaroo and a wallaby did not particularly concern me that much at the time.
It was more a matter of sharing a private moment with a wild animal which showed signs of becoming suddenly agitated; much to my detriment, may I add!
“Oh, he’s being playful,” Matilda re-assured me, “he probably thinks it’s me in the bath. He often has a bath with me!”
I must admit I didn’t know what to make of that.
Am I in such a physical state in my prime of life to be mistaken for a woman in her sixties?
Can this Joey creature really not tell the difference between Matilda and I?
I mean … the difference between me and her is so obvious and plain to see.
How could he miss that?
I’m wearing my cowboy hat with the feather on. When’s the last time this stupid animal saw Matilda wearing such a hat?
“Are you all-right?” said the jovial voice down the phone interrupting my concentration, “are you playing with Joey?”
“I certainly am not!” I replied as masculinely as I could. I put the phone down and slowly, very slowly, got out of the bath and out of the room as quickly … but slowly … as I could, so as not to disturb Joey who followed my every movement with his eyes and smiled as he tutt tutted his disapproval of me!
Friday, 24 May 2019
I want to tell you a story. The fact that you will not believe it is a matter for your conscience and your ability to weigh up facts and discern what is true or not.
You know how sometimes we can be influenced by other people without realising it. Advertising works on that principle. They tell you something subtly and leave it to you to decide. And more often than not we may change our behaviour according to what others tells us.
Many years ago there was an anthropologist who studied all things relating to humanity, society, how people think and what influences them. He was particularly interested in suggestive thoughts whereby someone would behave in a way that has been subconsciously implanted in his mind. For example, a subject he had researched intensively, was putting a curse on someone. If someone puts a curse on somebody, does the effect of this curse come true or not? Is it possible to curse somebody? Or is the victim's behaviour changed to such an extent that he makes whatever fear he has come true?
His studies took this anthropologist to far away countries all over the world and he met various peoples and cultures and beliefs. He researched how some susceptible people can be influenced by others' threats like putting a curse on them.
One day, whilst he was in the jungle, he had heard stories about a river deep in the forest which had golden shrimps breeding on its shores. These shrimps were believed to be made of gold, albeit they were alive and living creatures like other fishes which inhabited that river. Legend has it that one day King Midas himself went by that river and bent down to drink. As he did so his hand touched a shrimp for a split second and turned the shrimp into gold; but the shrimp did not die. It swam away and started breeding a whole generation of golden shrimps only to be found in that river deep in the forest.
Also legend has it that King Midas put a curse on the shrimp and since that day anyone who catches or eats these golden shrimps will also be cursed and will die.
The anthropologist was intrigued that people of the forest believed such a story, and despite there being little food in the village, and people ate mostly plants, no one dared go fishing in the plentiful river in case they caught a shrimp accidentally and died.
In order to convince the villagers that this was only a fable, passed on to people from one generation to the next, with little truth in it, the anthropologist suggested that they accompany him to the river where he will fish for these shrimps. But none dared to go with him. They were all afraid of the curse of the golden shrimp.
Early one morning he left the village accompanied only by his guide and went in search for that river deep in the forest.
When they eventually got there he asked the guide to sit away from the river to appease his fears. The anthropologist then went to the shore and to his surprise found that the river was plentiful with millions of the golden shrimps. There were enough there to feed the villagers for many years and more.
It was such a shame that the villagers' belief in the curse prevented them from eating such a plentiful supply of shrimps and fish.
In order to convince them that all is safe the anthropologist put his hand in the river and picked up a shrimp. He showed it to the guide, and then slowly peeled the shrimp, and ate it.
The guide was petrified with fear. He stood up and shouted, "There is a curse on you! You have eaten a golden shrimp and now you will die!"
He then ran away back to the village to tell everyone what had happened and left the anthropologist all alone. The villagers kept well away from the river from that day onwards regardless of how hungry they were.
And now for the bit which I suspect you will find very hard to believe.
What did happen to the anthropologist? Was he affected by the curse of the golden shrimp?
Well sadly - YES he was. He died last year aged about 89. Apparently he was allergic to shell-fish and the shrimp he ate 60 years previously eventually finished him. The curse had finally killed him.
Thursday, 23 May 2019
In Australia people have their DNA go round in the opposite direction to people in the Northern hemisphere. Also, over there it is spelled AND.
Laughter is part of our DNA or AND. Laughter is a build up of pressure deep within us somewhere near the stomach. Then it goes up the asparagus and comes out as a loud noise from a hole in our head. From anywhere else and you're in deep trouble.
This is a little well un-known fact which you did not know. This is why it is an un-known fact. Here are other un-known facts which you should know so that they may become known facts.
For example; did you know that the majority of men with beards (about 68%) sleep with their beards tucked under the bed covers rather than over the bed covers?
And that beards grow faster and longer than hair on men's heads?
Did you know that you should not sleep with your head under the pillow otherwise the tooth fairy will take all your teeth away?
Human ears grow bigger in proportion to the rest of our bodies as we grow older? I knew an old man once with very large ears sticking out quite a bit. He looked like a car with its doors open. When he was outdoors, at the slightest gust of wind he would pirouette round like a hotel revolving door.
Did you know that if you had a meal in a restaurant that is totally dark you would not be able to tell the difference between steak and a beefburger?
Did you also know that if you're in a vacuum and you shout loud no one would hear you? And it would make no difference whether the vacuum cleaner is switched on or off, or whether the bag is full of dirt and dust or whether it is empty?
Do you realise that if you had a small bird in a cage, and as you happen to weigh the cage, if the bird jumped up from its perch then its weight would not register on the scale? Also, if you were to weigh the cage under water the small bird would drown?
Did you know that crickets chirp less at night as it gets colder? In a warm night they would chirp about twenty times a minute. In a slightly colder night they would probably chirp ten or less times a minute. Whereas in cold temperatures they do not chirp at all because they are frozen out of their tiny minds.
Do you realise that there are viruses everywhere and they spread diseases; for example when we sneeze or even when we shake hands. Scientists recommend that we wash our hands before we shake hands with someone and also after we shake hands with them. This way we do not pass on our viruses or even get viruses from them. It is suggested you carry small disinfectant sprays or paper handkerchiefs for this purpose.
Did you know that most viruses are spread from people who go to the bathroom and do not wash their hands afterwards. You go to the bathroom and wash your hands, then you touch the door handle to get out and ... hey presto ... you have the viruses from the previous person who did not bother to wash his hands.
In fact, there are more viruses on door handles ... any door handles ... than there are on peoples' hands.
It is recommended that people no longer shake hands but shake door handles. Ideally, everyone should carry a door handle in their pocket and when they meet someone new they take out their door handle and gently shake it with the other person's door handle. That way no viruses would get on your or their hands.
This advice is sponsored by a well known local door handle manufacturer.
So there you have it. Tuck your beard under the bed covers, carry a door handle in your vacuum cleaner and mind your own DNA.
Wednesday, 22 May 2019
Did you know that Absolute Zero is the lowest possible temperature you can ever get to? You just cannot get any lower than Absolute Zero.
It is in fact -273.15° on the Celsius scale and −459.67° on the Fahrenheit scale. It is over 100 kilos on the bathroom scale if you have been over-eating lately.
At Absolute Zero nothing really happens. The buses will not run so it is pointless waiting for them at the bus stop. And don’t even be tempted to lick the bus stop sign whilst you're there because there may be all sort of germs on it.
Absolute Zero is also what most men get from their wives when they've said something that upsets them.
Moving up from Absolute Zero, the highest temperature that has ever been recorded is on a ladder 35 feet tall. It was when an amorous young knight in Olde England attempted to deliver a plate of spaghetti to his paramour who was trapped in a tower because the door was frozen solid and he couldn't turn the key in the lock.
Which reminds me … I once saw a ghost with an eye-patch! He said he was going through the keyhole when someone put the key in.
Hot temperatures can be very hazardous to health, especially in the kitchen whilst cooking. Most accidents in the home happen in the kitchen. Scientists believe this would not be the case if people cooked their meals in the bedroom instead. But unfortunately people rarely follow scientific instructions.
The instructions on the packet of quick cook rice said “Take sachet out of packet and stand in boiling water for 10 minutes”. I did that and burnt my feet.
I also read in my Cooking Instruction Manual that to avoid tears whilst peeling and cutting onions you should do it under water. It works, but you have to come up for air every few seconds.
An elaborate meal is a bird within a bird within a bird. Basically you stuff and cook a small bird in a bigger one, say a baby partridge inside a chicken, and the chicken inside a large goose. Do not use a grouse for this because people with a grouse are not very cheerful.
To prepare a bird within a bird is very easy. Basically you have the chicken swallow the baby partridge and then the goose swallows the chicken. Whenever the goose opens its mouth the chicken’s head comes out and says “Cockledeedledoo !!!” and as it does so the partridge looks out of the chicken’s mouth and smiles. And swallows fly all over your kitchen.
If you want a cheap meal why not try road-kill. These are animals that have been killed on the road by passing cars. You're allowed to pick them up and take them home to eat. You can pick up dead pigeons, partridges, grouse, rabbits and many other creatures good to eat. A friend of mine had a restaurant specialising in road-kill. It was called "From our grill to your plate!"
The other day I found and ate a road-kill. It was a half-eaten pizza someone dropped on the road.
Care for another glass of whisky?
Tuesday, 21 May 2019
Anyway, his reasons aside, I decided to take his request seriously and give him the benefit of my experience. We went out to a quiet pub where we will not be disturbed and told him all I know. In case any of you readers may benefit from what I had to say, I record my thoughts here:
First of all you must remember that you only get one chance to make a first impression. The way you appear when another person first sees you is what will stick in their mind as a first impression. Any subsequent meetings will be a second, third or more impressions. That is if you are fortunate enough to go on another date with that person.
So bearing this in mind, make sure that the first impression is what the other person will remember. A flamboyant tie, a handkerchief in the top pocket of your jacket, or a cravat round your neck are all examples of a first impression. Personally, I have found that wearing underpants on my head really hit the mark when I used to date.
Making conversation is also important to get to know the person you are dating. Ask the lady you are with questions and show interest in her answers. Women generally like to talk about themselves. No woman has ever said, "What a bad date that was. All I did is talk about myself!"
Ask deep meaningful questions, this will make you know your date better and, should you be fortunate enough to have another date you can use that information to good effect.
Questions which in the past I have found effective are:
What is your favourite colour?
Do you like ants?
What is your opinion about investing in the automotive industry as opposed to banking or insurance?
If the person you are with happens to be Catholic; ask her what she thinks of Vatican II. Otherwise, ask her if she believes there are animals in Heaven; and if so, what would she say when she came face to face with the Sunday roast admonishing her for having eaten it.
I once asked a lady whether she liked ants, and used that information when we subsequently went on a picnic in the park by taking with me a can of ant spray. Unfortunately some spray went in her face and I had to rush her to hospital. I never saw her again after that.
Another lady told me her favourite colour was red. On a later date I met her wearing a red nose like a clown. This is because our local gas station shop did not have any red roses; so I thought a red nose would do. I never saw this lady either after that.
Always be careful about what you order during the meal. Some foods are a real no no on a first date. Spaghetti is a good example because as you slurp the long snake like pasta you risk showering her with splatters of tomato sauce. Also, be careful not to order a whole poussin (small chicken), or half a chicken. They are notoriously difficult to cut, especially if you have a blunt knife, and they are likely to slide all over the plate or even fly off the table. This happened to me once when the chicken flew right onto the floor and a passing waiter got his foot caught in the large aperture at the bottom of the bird. He walked away with my meal in his foot, and the lady I was with thought I had already eaten the whole bird bones and all.
Also, be very careful not to order foods that have a special connotation in peoples' mind. Venison for instance reminds people of Bambi; or at Christmas of Rudolph and his companions. Rabbit remind them of a pet rabbit they may have had as a child, or some cartoon character or other like Bugs Bunny; or in the case of duck, of Daffy Duck or Donald Duck.
Ordering of food is such a delicate subject full of elephant traps and you can so easily get it wrong and upset the young lady you are dating. That is why I always take my dates to a fast food outlet where they can have a hamburger and French fries, or if she is a vegetarian she can have a fish cake in a bun or a salad sandwich. It is cheaper too than a proper restaurant and you can flamboyantly pick up the whole cost of the meal.
Ordering drinks on a first date can also be tricky. These days there are so many different cocktails with confusing names that you can easily order the wrong thing without meaning to. And then there's the wine list with just as confusing names like Chateau Expensive or Chateau Exorbitant; which to be honest all taste exactly the same and the only difference is the label on the bottle and the price thereof. That's why I always go to a fast food outlet where the milk shake, or the fizzy drinks prices are reasonable. Be careful, however, not to drink too many fizzy drinks as you'll need to go to the bathroom during the meal giving your date an opportunity to escape.
Finally, be a gentleman and after the date never let the young lady go home alone. That's why I always go on first dates with a bicycle meant for two.
Hence the song:
Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do
I’m half crazy over the love of you
It won’t be a stylish marriage
I can’t afford a carriage
But you’ll look sweet
Upon the seat
Of a bicycle built for two.
I’m half crazy over the love of you
It won’t be a stylish marriage
I can’t afford a carriage
But you’ll look sweet
Upon the seat
Of a bicycle built for two.