Thursday 28 February 2019

A Impromptu Séance

Something really unusual happened to me the other day. It was totally involuntary and I did not know it was going to happen.

I was visiting friends at a party and as we were all enjoying a chat and a few drinks and something to eat, the hostess suggested that we all sit down because she had a special surprise for us all. Apparently she had invited a clairvoyant that evening, who incidentally arrived a little late due to unforeseen circumstances. But that aside, we were asked to sit down and the clairvoyant woman, who wore glasses by the way to see more clearly, took the stage and started talking.

There was no question of sitting in a circle, holding hands with all lights out or anything like that. No this séance was different. We all sat there in cinema style and she started talking.

The clairvoyant woman said she was a medium; although she looked to be extra large to me. She droned on a bit about her ability at being a clairvoyant. If I could yawn with my mouth shut she would not have noticed that I was bored. I stifled a yawn and my eardrums popped out to exclude her words trying to come in.

She explained that a séance is in fact contacting the dead; a gift she had ever since her pet goldfish died because he could not swim underwater. That and the fact that she had dropped her electric hair dryer whilst plugged in into the fish tank. There was this massive spark and she saw the light ... then everything went dark when the power in the house cut off. When the electrician fixed the power cut she saw her goldfish floating on the surface of the water; fried but not battered.

She then told us she was going into a trance. Because of her accent I thought she said she was going to dance; which is rather an unusual way to conduct a séance I suppose.The man sitting beside me misheard her too and asked me if she was going to France. I told him that if she jumped into the Paris river she'd be in Seine!

She closed her eyes, (what's the use of the glasses, I thought), and swayed from left to right a little as she stood there. She then said,

"I am getting a message from the other side ..."

There were a few murmurs around the room.

"I can see him clearly ..." she continued, "he died only two weeks ago but he wants someone here to know that he is very happy. I can see him waggling his extremity and sniffing someone's privates!"

At this the whole room spontaneously and in unison went "Aaahhh !" in disbelief at what she had just said. But she continued unperturbed, "Rest assured, whoever you are, that your little dog is very happy in dog's heaven!

"Does anyone here have a dog, or had a dog, which died recently?"

A woman raised her hand and started sniffing a tear or two in her handkerchief. Her dog had just died and she was relieved that he was now OK and happy with his new lady doggie friend.

The clairvoyant then went on to relate how the dead dog was grateful for the happy life he had enjoyed with his owner when alive. How he liked to go for walks and loved the food which she served him every day. Such a pity though that she had neutered him now that he has found a girl-friend dog.

It was all general type of commentary which you would attribute to any dog regardless of who owned it; but this lady whilst weeping silently was so relieved to hear of the well-being of her dear departed pooch.

As the evening wore on, it transpired that this lady excelled at contacting dead animals from the other side. I was quite impressed, especially considering I have great difficulty communicating with my dog and cat who are alive and well; and here we have someone who can communicate with those who are as stiff as a wooden board.

The thought passed my mind, when I say to my dog, "Go to bed!" he looks at me with a stupid face as if to ask, "Who is Ted?" How could he possibly communicate with this fraud of a woman if he were dead?

Her next message from the beyond was, believe it or not, from a cow. She said that although her body was dead and had been enjoyed by many a Sunday roast, her spirit roamed freely in a beautiful meadow sun-bathed by a warm and cloudless sky.

Unsurprisingly, no one in the room owned up to having had a cow; perhaps there were no farmers there. The clairvoyant explained that sometimes she got messages even if there was no one in the audience for whom it was meant. A crossed telephone line, maybe!

She then moved to more familiar territory and said she received a message from a parrot. She could not make out what the message was, but it was a little repetitive!

She then mentioned a dearly departed goldfish. The message was that it was not having an epileptic fit but that it was out of water at the moment and gasping for breath because a sea gull had just picked him up from the river where it was swimming. The clairvoyant then stopped as she noticed one of the guests getting distressed; presumably the owner of the dead fish. The clairvoyant continued,

"Aha ... good news. The sea gull realised that she is in animal heaven so she dropped the goldfish back in the river."

Everybody applauded in delight, whilst I downed yet another whisky. I prefer my spirits to come in bottles and not speak to me through a mentally deranged woman.

Wednesday 27 February 2019

Silly Questions Party Game

I don't like parties. I don't like having to be nice to people at parties. In fact I don't like people altogether. I'd rather be alone with a glass of Guinness and something good on TV.

We went to this party. Some friends of ours got a new house and it was their house-warming party.

The hostess insisted we play games. First she started us with communal singing whilst she played the piano. Then charades. Then a new game which she had invented.

She had a pack of cards which she had made. On each card was a question which we had to answer and then discuss.

Stupid questions like do you put on your left or your right sock first? Do you prefer to shower or bath?

Being a mischievous person her questions were a touch too personal for my liking. You know me, I'll answer any question you ask me in the comments box, but some of the questions in her game were too personal.

For instance, what is the last thing you do before going to sleep at night?

Some people said they brush their teeth. Some said they put on their face cream and moisturising cream. Some were more uninhibited and described how they said good night to their partners affectionately.

I mean ... there is a limit to what one should say in mixed company, surely?

For the record, last thing I do before going to sleep is to check the park is empty. I would hate it if there's someone in a nearby bench sleeping there and he could steal my shoes whilst I'm asleep.

I then close my eyes and reflect on why I got thrown out of my home again.

What is the last thing you do before going to sleep?

Tuesday 26 February 2019

A Labra Poodle

A friend of ours asked if we could look after their dog whilst they go away for the weekend.

Now if it was up to me, seeing I’m always kind and ready to oblige, I would instantly have said “No!”

The reason being that if anything is likely to go wrong it surely will; and more often than not it will affect me.

But I was not asked and the dog duly arrived last weekend. It’s a white Labradoodle. They tell me it’s a cross between a Labrador and a poodle but I’m not sure which parent was more cross when this creature entered the world. It looks more like a big sheep with fluffy white fur everywhere including its legs. A low lying cloud more like!

And it’s called … wait for it … “Koocheekoo”.

Note the spelling. The owners insist on it. Apparently it’s registered in some kennel or other by that name and they can trace its lineage further than I can trace my family tree.

It’s pronounced “Koo … chee … koo …” You must leave a little space in-between the three syllables and change the intonation in your voice as you call his name.

Anyway … I was made to volunteer to take this ball of fluff out for a walk. As soon as we got out in the street he started bouncing and galloping as if he was fitted with springs on its legs. I tugged gently at its lead and got him close to me so he couldn’t bounce all over the place as a helium balloon.

We walked up our street and then we stopped on the edge of the sidewalk to cross the road. He stood on his back legs and tried to lick my face. I gently got him down again and waited for a gap in the traffic so we could cross.

As I looked left and right for enough space in the traffic to cross the road the stupid creature lifted his back leg and did his business on my leg.

Now why did he do that? I mean … I know I was wearing my brown corduroy trousers and a green jacket at the time. But that is no reason to mistake me for a tree.

I also had my large cowboy-type hat with the big feather on at the time. Surely that should have alerted the dim-witted dog that I was not a tree inviting him to leave his territory marking deposit.

I lifted my right leg, almost as a reflex action to see the damage done to my corduroy when, at that very instant, the dog noticed a cat some distance away and made a run for it. He caught me off-guard and off-balance … I dropped flat sideways like a felled tree. I’m sure I heard someone shout “Timber!”

I held on tight to the lead whilst the dog was pulling hard, standing on its hind legs, and barking its head off to attract the attention of every passer-by.

It was at that point, whilst lying flat on the ground, that I noticed that my nose was only inches away from another solid deposit left there by another dog.

I got up hurriedly and put my hat on. I calmed the dog down, cleaned myself a little … I’ll never wear those brown corduroys and green jacket again … and we made our way to the park.

At the park the dog bounced like a balloon at the end of the lead and barked at everything in sight. It was friendly barking … more to say “Hi … look at me … am I not beautiful?” and it had the effect of attracting several sideways glances and smiles as if to say “What is an idiot like him doing with a dog like that?”

And then disaster happened.

Somehow the tiny collar round the dog’s neck broke and the animal ran away at speed.

I stood there for a second or two totally frozen as he fled at the speed of light.

Then, more as a moral duty, or because it is the stupid thing to do, I ran feebly after him with no hope on earth of ever catching him and shouting at the top of my voice “Koo … chee … koo … … Koo … chee … koo …”

It must have been quite a sight.

A man in brown trousers and green jacket, with a feathered large hat, prancing about in the park shouting “Koocheekoo!”

I don’t know what people must have thought, but I noticed parents hurriedly packing up their picnics, gathering their children, calling their dogs and rushing to their cars. An old lady walking her small dog waved her umbrella at me menacingly to defend herself. A group of young men playing football all stopped to watch whilst their coach blew his whistle loudly and shouted “Play on! Play on!”

I eventually reached the large pond in the middle of the park totally out of breath and mentally calling the dog every expletive and unrepeatable name I could think of except Koocheekoo.

To my horror the crazy animal was swimming in the middle of the pond and upsetting the ducks, swans and other wildlife.

His immaculate white fluffy coat had turned into a soggy dirty black mess as he yapped happily at the water fowl around him

Two young men in their early twenties saw my dilemma and offered to get him. They stood by the edge of the pond and whistled at the dog throwing bread on the water they had brought with them to feed the ducks.

The dog swam towards them then seeing me he got out of the pond and ran at me standing on its hind legs to lick my face.

My lovely green jacket was covered in mud, and then, as if this was not enough, the dog stood there and shook himself violently to spray me from head to toe with dirty water off its coat.

The two men managed to use the lead I was holding to tie the dog again and then, slowly and fumingly, I walked him back home.

Should we ever meet, dear readers, please do me the great favor of never uttering the word “Koocheekoo” as it stirs in me several memories of suppressed anger and dread.

Monday 25 February 2019

When dark clouds gather ...

Let's face it folks, we all have bad hairdo days every now and then. Days when everything seems to go wrong. Days when we are feeling down yet we do not know what it is that makes us feel miserable. On the face of it, everything appears to be OK; yet we feel unhappy, depressed, and all we can see is the negatives in life.

When this happens to me I just leave home and book into a hotel.

I go to my room, and sit there, all alone, quietly, and consider the reason for my unhappiness. I try to analyse why I feel so low and depressed. Then ... as it gets dark outside as well as within my soul ...

... I phone room service.

The people at room service are different from my family and friends. They have to listen to my whining and moaning. They don't neglect me with a smile and a good word of pretend sympathy. They don't put the phone down pretending there's someone at the door ... in the middle of the night.

The people at room service have to listen to me. It is their job to listen to me. They listen to my complaints about life in general. My boring job. My demanding family. The fact that the country's GDP, that's Gross Domestic Product, if you don't know ... The fact that the GDP has gone down and that inflation is on the rise as is unemployment.

Those room service people at the hotel are kind. They listen. They never hang up or pretend they are busy. And if I happen to cry and sob on the phone they come up to my room with tea and biscuits.

I like their chocolate cookies. They are different from the ones we have at home. And they say it is free ... part of the service, they say.

They listen to my problems and eventually they tuck me into bed as I fall asleep.

Over the years, I have been to the same hotel for their room service several times.

Better than going to Confession. Our priest is not always available, and when I speak to him I get the impression his mind is on the next Bingo session in the church hall.

How do you chase away the blues when you're feeling down?

Sunday 24 February 2019

Understanding God with human logic

Let us consider logically how man came to believe in God.

From the earliest of times, it seems, when man first started to think about life and the world around him, he has found a need to look up to something, (or Someone), more powerful than himself. A supreme almighty power that he could turn to at times of need and to worship. It is as if there's an inherent need in mankind to submit oneself, or one's destiny, to someone else far superior.

Early man worshipped fire. Some worshipped the sun, or the moon, or volcanoes or whatever else was seen as superior and more powerful than them. Something they believed controlled their destiny. Offerings were made to such gods to appease their anger or in return for favours sought.

Many ancient civilisations worshipped statues which they had made for themselves from valuable metals and jewels. The ancient Romans, the Greeks and the Egyptians had many gods which they believed provided for them and protected them throughout life and beyond.

So it is logical to assume that humanity has always searched for a superior power to believe in and to worship as being in control of their lives and their eventual future.

In the Old Testament we read that there was a departure from worshipping idols or similar gods. Some writers of the time wrote about a different God to believe in and to worship. They wrote about a living God. An all powerful and almighty Being who created us all, and created the whole universe and what is in it .

It is logical to ask what inspired such beliefs and writings? Was this living God the product of fertile imaginations, (for more than one writer wrote such things), or was it inspired perhaps by this living God they believed in?

As the early Old Testament writers wrote about this true living almighty all powerful God; this belief grew amongst the Jews who mostly accepted it as part of their religion. This living God became known as the God of Abraham, the God of Moses, the God of their Kings. He was the God who spoke to the  prophets, the God who guided their nation throughout its long history. The God who got them out of Egypt and who gave them the law on how they should live and conduct themselves; the laws that became known as the Commandments of God.

This belief in one living God gained credence amongst the Jewish people for generations, and existed, side-by-side, with other beliefs such as those of the Romans, Greeks and the Egyptians. This was the norm for a long time.

Years later, a young baby appeared on the scene. He was no ordinary baby. Many stories about His birth and His very existence had been written about all those years ago by those prophets and writers of the Old Testament as we know it.

Gradually, people began to notice striking similarities between what had been predicted about this child and what was actually happening in His life. Things that He had no personal control over. Like His birth of a virgin, the place of His birth, the fact that a star would appear in the sky at the time of His birth, His lineage, the fact that He would flee to Egypt and so on.

There are in fact more than 300 prophecies about Jesus in the Old Testament specific enough that the mathematical probability of Jesus fulfilling even a handful of them, let alone all of them, is staggeringly improbable—if not impossible.

How did the many writers of these prophesies know what to write and what to predict so accurately? Was it just circumstantial guess-work or was it Divinely inspired? I leave the answer to your logical thinking.

As this baby grew up, it became apparent that He was no ordinary person like the rest of society. Somehow, He seemed more learned, although there is no evidence that He was a great scholar or attended places of learning and education. He spoke and taught with authority. Even at the age of twelve he discussed with confidence with religious elders with a degree of intelligence far superior than His age would suggest.

As He grew up He spoke with conviction. He lived a life different from that of others, on a higher moral level than the rest of society. He preached about universal love and forgiveness - concepts that were most probably alien to such people living under a foreign power occupying their land.

He performed miracles that astounded all those who witnessed them. He had supernatural powers of healing; even raising people from the dead.

He taught about a living almighty Creator God in Heaven. He even claimed often to be His Son.

This not only confused His listeners but antagonised and angered the established religion of the land who saw Him as a threat to their authority and power.

It is logical, therefore, that He was on a collision course with the established Jewish religion and He made enemies of its leaders wherever He went and by whatever He said and taught. Specifically, by His persistent claim that He was in fact the Son of this living God He speaks of.

No doubt, many of His listeners were confused by what this man, known as Jesus, said and did. As happens in such situations they took sides. Some felt comfortable following their established Jewish beliefs and be led by their elders; whilst others ventured, in blind faith perhaps, to follow this Man who claimed He was the Son of God.

As time went by, this small band of people got to associate this Jesus as being the Son of God. They had seen His many works and listen to His teachings and came to accept that He was Whom He said He was. In their minds, it was logical that the one living God had a Son and this Man was Him. To them, they could not think of God and not think of His Son Jesus, whom they had met and lived with for a number of years.

Eventually, the enmity against Jesus came to fruition and He was cruelly put to death. An act seen and witnessed by many.

Throughout His trial and cruel Crucifixion He maintained that He was the Son of God.

It is logical to assume therefore that He was either mad, insane; or that He was a liar, or that He was actually Who He said He was.

There is no evidence from His life and His behaviour throughout that He was not of right mind. In fact the opposite is true as witnessed by His teachings and His many miracles.

To say He was a liar is also a difficult proposition to consider. Would a liar submit to the torture He endured, and His cruel death, knowing full well it is not true? Would you?

This leaves the logical conclusion that He was Whom He claimed to be - the Son of God.

However, this was not the end of it. Three days after His death this same Jesus was seen alive again. There had been no doubt as to His death; and now, yet again, there is no doubt whatsoever about His coming back to life again. He was seen and spoken to by many people over a period of time.

Furthermore, His followers even witnessed Him being lifted up into Heaven and away from their eyes.

Unsurprisingly, and as expected, they were confused, worried, frightened even at what they had witnessed. This Jesus whom they had known and saw risen from the dead had now been taken away from them. Raised to Heaven.

As His followers hid in houses for their safety, suddenly, one day they were visited by a powerful unexplained supernatural force Whom they recognised as the Holy Spirit. The very Holy Spirit of the living God, had descended on them, as promised by Jesus.

They experienced this event in all its reality. It was not something they had read about in a scroll, or something prophesied by their elders. This to them was for real. It actually happened. And the result of this event was all too apparent. It gave them the courage, confidence and power to go out and tell everyone what had just happened. To tell it in every language possible even though they could not speak those languages previously.

And they went on telling their truth, their actual experience to everyone in many lands. It was the logical thing to do. Just as it would be logical for any of us to go out and tell everyone if something so great, so awesome, and so on the face of it unbelievable, had happened to us.

They went out and told the world. Even risking their very safety and their lives. Many died for that belief; and yet they held on to it to the last proving its truthfulness.

Again, the logical thing to do. Would you be willing to suffer persecution and death for something you knew was a lie?

And that is how the original belief in a living God, the belief in His Son Jesus Who was seen here on earth, and the belief in the Holy Spirit of God Who descended on His followers flourished over the years under the watchful protection of this living Deity.

It is logical, therefore, that each one of us, individually, have to make a choice.

To believe ... or not.

Saturday 23 February 2019

The times they are a-changin'.

The times they are a-changin'

But are we changing with them? Or are we same old same old?

Imagine ... let your imagination run wild ... money is no object ... everything is possible ... no restrictions whatsoever ... imagine ...

What is the one change that you would make to your life that would make it different?

Just one change ... and things would be different. No restrictions whatsoever.

For me ... that one change would be having crunchy peanut butter rather than smooth.

Every time it is the same. I decide today is the day I will buy crunchy peanut butter. I go to the supermarket ... Reach the shelf ... and in the last minute ... last second ... I buy smooth peanut butter.

And I regret it when I get home.

For some reason I never get to buy the crunchy type; or even buy both jars and decide later at home which to have.

Lack of imagination I guess.

How is your imagination?

Thursday 21 February 2019

Doggone Intelligent

I have often wondered whether animals are actually intelligent, or whether they just do things through instinct, or learned behaviour.

For example, a wild animal would eat, drink etc ... through instinct. He would hunt, or hide from predators, through learned behaviour from his parents.

Do animals actually think things through for themselves without being taught by other animals, or humans?

Let me give you an example. Our dog has his own doggie bed where he often stays for some sleep. In his bed he has a blanket to keep him warm.

Lately, when it has been very cold, he has pulled the blanket with his teeth, and dragged it all the way near the open fire, then sat on it and gone to sleep.

No one taught him to do this. We have had him as a young puppy from a rescue centre; so he could not have learnt this behaviour from anyone else.

So is this a sign of intelligence or what? Where did he learn to pull the blanket nearer the fire, rather than just lie there near the fire?

Personally, I think he is very stupid. I have taught him a million times the combination number on the pad to open and shut the back door so he can go out to the garden when he wants. All he has to do is press with his nose 477823 and the door opens. But he still asks us by whining and barking to open the door for him.

Damn ... ... ... I have just given you the PIN number to open our door. Drat and double drat ... what do I do now? I'll ask our dog!

Wednesday 20 February 2019

At the work's canteen

They don't like it when we call it the Work's Canteen. They prefer to call it Restaurant.

But restaurant it isn't. In a restaurant you sit at the table and they serve you. Not in our work's canteen.

Here we all queue up holding a wooden tray in our hands. Every one is equal, from Mr Topman the Director, to Scrivener the company clerk, or Monk E Rench the engineer, or Herr Kutt the visiting German beautician who comes once a month to make the women think they are prettier with a new hairstyle resembling tumble weed. He is always accompanied by his two assistants, Manny Cure and Paddy Cure; two brothers.

We all queue up and walk toward the serving counter. It is a counter about four metres long behind which are various large pots, or casseroles on hot plates.

There normally are two choices - meat and fish. Three choices actually - you can always walk away and go hungry.

It is not exactly haute cuisine; especially since the canteen is at the sub-ground of our building.

If you want meat you present your tray to Mrs Lamb upon which she places your plate; or you can ask Miss Sammi Salmonella for a fish dish. You then slide your tray along to Miss Lisa Listeria for some over-boiled-to-death vegetables, and then slide further on to Miss Mash for your potatoes (I don't know her first name). Finally you go to Mademoiselle Jolie Gateaux, (she's Italian), for your dessert and you pay Mrs Banks and go and sit down at an empty table.

Today's offering was described as escalope de veau which they had obtained from the local horse abattoir.

I like veal - my favourite. I approached Mrs Lamb and she gave me a plate with two pieces of veal. They looked delicious. I asked her, "Could I have two more pieces please?"

She looked at me in total disgust as if I had asked for something totally inappropriate.

"No!" she said emphatically.

"Oh don't worry," I said, "I'll pay for two portions instead of one!"

"No," she repeated, "that would be against the system!"

"What system?" I asked, "I do not understand!"

"If you have four pieces instead of two then someone at the end of the queue will want veal and we would not have any to give him."

"But that would surely apply even if I have two pieces only," I said, "eventually you will run out of veal and someone will have to have something else!"

"I am calling the head chef!" she said and shouted, "Mr Andy Gestion ... Mr Andy Gestion ... we have an awkward customer here!"

Bu this time I was holding up the whole queue, regardless whether they wanted meat or fish, because the counter position is tight and no one could squeeze through behind me.

Eventually Andy Gestion arrived. "What is the matter?" he asked, balancing a cigarette from the corner of his mouth. Mrs Lamb explained the situation.

"The lady is correct," he said coughing and spluttering in his serviette, "we cannot give each individual more than one prescribed portion as calculated by the computer!"

I pride myself in being a quick thinker under pressure.

"OK," I said, "a colleague of mine is joining me soon, can I have another plate of veal for him please?"

They looked at each other. Shrugged their shoulders in unison, and gave me another plate of veal.

Proud with victory I took both plates and slid my tray on to Miss Listeria for some vegetables. I asked her to put vegetables on one plate only.

"Why?" she asked, "you have two meat plates I must put vegetables in both!"

"Because this is for my colleague, whose plate this is, and he will join me soon. He does not like vegetables. He is a vegetarian and believes vegetables have feelings when you over boil them! So he does not eat vegetables!"

"But it is against the system," she said, "I'll ask Andy Gestion!"

"Oh ... Andy has agreed it!" I lied.

She looked at me suspiciously, and agreed to serve only one portion of vegetables.

I slid along to Miss Mash who insisted on serving two portions of boiled potatoes, one in each plate.

"No need to ..." I lied again, "it's been agreed by Andy Gestion and Miss Listeria over there!"

 She fell for it and let me through with one portion.

Next was Mademoiselle Gateaux. She smiled at me and said, "You weel require anozer ze tray for you to put ze two bowls of happle pie ... zis tray you 'ave is full!"

"No need for another tray," I said, "this one is OK. I only want one bowl of apple pie. Not two!"

"Pourquoi?" she asked, "you 'ave two plates of ze meat so you want two balls of ze happle pie!"

"No ... no ..." I explained, "my friend, mon ami ... he will join me soon, because I feel I am falling apart ... he does not like apple pie. So ... only one ... un ... happle pie ... please!"

She shrugged her shoulders and gave me one portion of apple pie and then proceeded to cover it with liquidy yellow custard.

"No ... No ..." I cried, "do not put the custard all over the pie drowning it within inches of its life! Just pour it gently around the pie like an island surrounded by a yellow sea ..."

"But eet eez 'ow zey told me to do it!" she said, "wat eet eez an eye land?"

"An island ... like Britain ... surrounded by sea ... Good Lord ... what has British cuisine come to?"

I walked away to pay for a meal that was more trouble than it is worth.   

Tuesday 19 February 2019

Gone With The Wind

SPECIAL NOTICE: My heart gladdens when you, my kind and loyal readers, comment below that you have enjoyed and laughed at my posts. It is your support and encouragement that keeps me writing every day; (except on days when I do not write on account of that I have nothing in my head to write about).

Anyway ... if you enjoy what you read here, why not tell others too so that they might visit here and laugh or giggle too. Do you realise that if each one of you encouraged just one person to visit here regularly we would have ... more persons visiting here regularly. 

Thank you. God bless. 

Why is it that embarrassing things keep happening to me? Let me explain.

At our supermarket car park you usually pick up a ticket at the barrier which you place inside your windscreen so that the car park attendant can easily see it when he does his rounds. When you leave, you hand the ticket at the exit barrier and you pay as you exit. So it is imperative you do not lose your parking ticket.

I’d finished shopping and I placed all my goods in the car. As I opened the driver’s door a gust of wind blew the ticket out of the car. I chased after it. It went under another parked car some yards away. I looked around for the car park attendant – there was no one to be seen. The place was deserted.

I knelt down and there winking at me teasingly was the ticket under a parked van. It was just out of reach as it smiled at me saying: “Come and get me!”

I went totally flat on my tummy and stretched my arm right out under the car, inching forwards a bit at a time until I touched the ticket with my fingertips. Another stretch and … “Got it!”

At this point I heard a woman say: “Are you all right, Sir?”

I eased myself from under the car as she said, “You seem to have fainted, Sir; and rolled under this van!”

Before I could explain myself she had called the car park attendant who now appeared out of nowhere. Where was he when I needed him?

The attendant called for help on his walkie-talkie radio. Another shop assistant turned up with a chair followed by someone else with a glass of water.

“Sit down Sir …” they all seemed to say in unison, “have a sip of drink!”

I tried to explain what had really happened …

“He’s delirious poor soul …” said the woman who first found me on the ground, “he doesn’t know what he’s saying … maybe he hit his head hard as he fell!”

“I did not fall …” I said biting my lip to suppress any insults on my mind, “I went down on my knees voluntarily!”

“Did you want to pray, dear?” she asked patronisingly, "don't be concerned, the Good Lord loves you and will forgive all your sins if you ask Him. You do not have to kneel here in the middle of the car park! He is everywhere, you know?" then turning to the others she mumbled, “he doesn’t know where he is … thinks he’s in church poor soul! It happens to some people with age!”

What a damn cheek ... what did she mean by people with age? I am younger than her and could race her any day at drinking a chocolate milkshake faster than her. Besides, she looked ugly with her condescending religious voice that would turn any man to sin.

At this point the first aider turned up with his bag with a red cross on it. He opened it and asked, “Is he bleeding? Where did he hit his head? Does he want mouth to mouth resuscitation; only I don't like doing that. You don't know what germs you can pick up from a dying man, do you? Have you got any communicable diseases that I should know of, Sir? Or any of a sexual nature?”

Before I could answer something that he would remember for the rest of his life, the assistant manager turned up and asked me, “Are you making a complaint and seeking compensation, Sir? We'll deny all responsibilities, whatever they are. You'd be surprised how many people pretend to have been run over by stationary cars just to claim compensation!”

I remained calm under the circumstances and shouted, "Would you all get the hell out of here ... except this idiot pretending to be the ass manager!"

This gave me the opportunity to explain matters to someone who might be able to listen. They all looked at me in surprise and walked away mumbling to each other.

The assistant manager looked a bit of an idiot; but in dire times a bit of an idiot is better than none.

I told him what happened and assured him I had not intention of making any complaint or seek compensation. I just wanted to leave this stupid car park manned by escaped lunatics.

He went away much relieved. He told me the gate-keeper will let me out if I showed him my parking ticket.

As I reached the exit barrier the attendant there wanted to charge me a fee for overstaying my welcome.

I had to explain all over again why I had stayed longer than the allotted parking time. He called the assistant manager who asked the attendant to let me out. The attendant refused. An argument ensued between the two of them and neither wanted to give way.

At this point a cashier turned up with a bag of onions in his hands, "are you the gentleman who forgot these at the cash desk?" he asked.

As the assistant manager and the car park attendant were arguing, I got out the car. Put my head through the kiosk opening and pushed a button on the panel marked OPEN. To my surprise, both men ignored me as they continued arguing about company policy.
I got in the car and left.

The moral of this story is:

You don’t need to go down on your knees to pray.

No … that’s not it. Oh ... I got it ...

Don't forget your onions at the cash desk.

No ... that's not it either ...

Watch out for gusts of wind before you open the car door.

Monday 18 February 2019

Church Council Meeting

Hello everyone and thank you for attending this church council meeting ... Alleluia and all that!

Now then ... the first item on the agenda I would like to bring to your attention is the parking situation on Sundays.

As you know, we have a small car park at the front of the church, and a much larger one at the back. Could I ask you please when you arrive to church on Sunday to first try to find a parking place at the front car park, unless your parking there would block the entrance and thus impeding the entrance or egress to the car park for other vehicles intending to enter or leave therein or thereout.

If you find this is the case ... i.e. your parking at the front would block other vehicles ... then we ask you to park at the much larger car park at the back of the church which has more than one entrance and exit being just a large field rather than a car park per se ... that is, unless the farmer to whom we sublet the field has let his sheep graze therein or thereabout; in which case we would ask you to park in the streets surrounding the church.

If you attend the 8:00 am Mass on Sunday morning we would ask you to hurry up and go home quickly after Mass rather than dilly-dally and chat in the car park; or go to the church hall for a cup of tea and a biscuit. This is because your being still here after the 8:00 am Mass has finished interferes with the commencement of the 9:15 am Mass with cars from both the front and back car parks leaving at the same time as other cars are arriving for the 9:15 am Mass, thus causing congestion in both car parks as well as the surrounding streets wherein cars are parked which have not been parked in either car parks.

This problem of cars from both car parks causing a congestion in both car parks as well as the streets is further exacerbated when Father Onto Long keeps going on and on with one of his interminable sermons. The other week, when he started his sermon there was a young newly married couple sitting in the front pew. By the time he finished his sermon they were playing with their grand-children.

I have to report that there have been complaints as to the number of church collections we have at Mass every Sunday. Personally, I don't think three collections are too many ... it is one thing we Catholics do well.

May I remind you please, especially if you have visited the many casinos in town, not to put your casino chips in the collection plate when it comes round. This causes confusion to our church treasurer, Mr Banks, who has to separate all the casino chips and send them to the nearby monastery where they are sorted and taken to the respective casinos to be cashed in. This job is done at the monastery by chip monks.

Now let me turn to the forthcoming Garden Fete to raise money for the Bishop's Maintenance Fund. I did not know he was falling apart; but then when you consider his age some things must be getting a little loose by now!

Anyway ... the first item to mention is the Bingo Stand ... or Lotto ... another Catholic speciality. May I remind you Mr Tom Bola not to call out the numbers in Latin to ensure that only Catholics win. This is hardly fair to our friends from the Churches Ecumenical Fraternity. After all, this is our only yearly chance to get some money out of them so let's give them a fighting chance.

On a similar vein, Miss Dollie Parson, may I remind you that last year's naming of the doll contest was also a little unfair. Who could have possibly guessed that the doll was named Agape after a Saint of that name? Admittedly, the previous year naming the doll Mary resulted in 237 winners of naming the doll; but choosing Agape is far way on the other side of the scale of possibilities.

And whose idea was it to hide a brick inside the cake for the guess the weight of the cake contest? Was it you Mrs Mortar?

And another thing, let us not repeat last year's experience with the Lucky Dip barrel. The idea is for people to put their hand into the barrel full of saw dust and retrieve a small prize which will make them happy. Hiding in the barrel condoms filled with chocolate pudding was totally in bad taste ... and we still have not discovered who the culprit was.

We believe it is the same person who filled whoopee cushions with the same chocolate cream and left them lying around in the tea room for guests to sit on.

Regarding the bric-à-brac stall, the idea is to sell uwanted items which you believe people would love and cherish in their homes ... things like objets d'art, curios, elaborately decorated teacups and small vases, compositions of feathers or flowers under glass domes, decorated eggshells, porcelain figurines, painted miniatures or photographs in stand-up frames, and so on. It does NOT include selling your mother-in-law ... or your second-hand car ... or your half-eaten pizza which you no longer want. Let's take this seriously folks and bring to the stall things that people with no taste would wish to buy.

There being no other matter on the agenda, I declare this meeting closed.

Sunday 17 February 2019

Go to Heaven ... Go directly to Heaven ... Do not pass Go ... Do not collect ...

One day a priest approached the lectern on Sunday and asked: "Raise your hands if you are going to Heaven!"

The whole congregation raised their hands enthusiastically. The priest looked around the church for a while and eventually noticed, in the third row on the left, a man sitting there with his hands on his lap. He was impressed at the humility of the man. "How humble," he thought, "not to presume that he will go to Heaven, but no doubt striving to be there some day".

He asked the congregation to lower their hands and then he asked the man: "Why did you not raise your hand?"

The man replied: "I'm not sure I want to go to Heaven if they'll all be there!"

And that's the point I suppose. We all believe that we are going to Heaven some day. We all feel that we are worthy enough to be there. After all, we go to church on Sundays, we say our prayers, sometimes, we are generally good people; so why shouldn't we be there? Even people who do not believe in God, when asked whether they'd prefer to go to Heaven or hell they choose to go to Heaven.

We treat Heaven, however we might visualise it to be, as a luxury hotel where we will be welcomed with open arms, and indeed the current residents will be honoured to have us there. We look forwards to spending an eternity with God, without even considering whether He wants to spend an eternity with us. We judge ourselves according to our standards and forget that God has His own standards as to whom He will welcome with open arms.

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

In other words - There are no parrots in Heaven.

Despite what some people might think, that there are animals in Heaven; and that they'll be re-united with their pets one day. Personally, I hope there are no animals up there; because I'd hate to come face to face with the Sunday roast admonishing me for having eaten it. But I digress.

I am not one of those people who believes we have to work hard and strive to enter Heaven; and that it is all to do with good works and sacrifices and we enter Heaven on our own merit.

Of course, our actions and behaviours do have a bearing as to whether we are worthy to spend an eternity with our loving Creator; but there's more to it than that.

If throughout our lives we choose not to believe in the existence of God. If we choose not to believe that Jesus Christ is His Son, who died for us. And if we maintain that belief all through life, in the arrogant stance that we are correct. We cannot expect to find ourselves welcomed in Heaven. How could we go to a place we do not believe exists and be with an Almighty Creator whose existence we have denied to the last?

What is the point of going to church regularly and forever praying when we do not even notice Lazarus starving at our gate?

What is the point in proclaiming we are Christians and we believe in God when our behaviour bears no resemblance to God's love as personified by Christ? Even the devil believes in God, but his actions are hardly to be emulated.

What is the point of lighting candles and placing flowers in church, serving on church committees and doing all sorts of other voluntary work if our life-style is hardly Christ-like?

So if our prayers, our devotions, our belief  in God and good works by themselves are not enough; what should we do to enter Heaven?

Let us remember that we cannot buy our way into Heaven. All our good deeds, prayers, lit candles, flowers and even giving money to charity will not by themselves open Heaven's gate for us. What is missing from our actions is love.

God loves us so much that His invitation to Heaven is open to anyone who loves Him back and trusts Him in all things.

Our relationship with God should be a one-to-one relationship, built on love, trust and respect. Not on fear that we might not meet His demanding standards to enter His Kingdom. If fear there is, it should be the fear of hurting Him and disappointing Him by our behaviour. Very much as a good son would fear hurting his parents by his actions.
Father Francis Maple O.F.M Cap. in one of his sermons makes a good point about our relationship with God by referring to a leaning tree. Here's what he says:
I think of a life as a tree. If a tree leans in one direction when it dies it will fall in that direction. It is not going to fall in the opposite direction. So, too, with our lives. If all the time we are leaning towards God, very likely, with God's grace we shall fall into His arms when we die. But if our lives never point to God, it is very likely that when we die we shall die in enmity with God.


Saturday 16 February 2019

It happened like this ...

Well Judge ... your honour. It happened like this.

It was Saturday and I was helping out at my friend's Pete's Garage. He runs a small garage in Acacia Avenue, do you know it? Where he fixes cars and does maintenance and so on. The garage has a sign in bright red. It says "Pete's Garage" on it.

I am not a mechanic, your honour. I was helping him in the office. Answering the phone, filing papers, counting paper clips, doing some reception work and so on. Meeting customers as well. The people who come in to have their cars fixed.

Unbeknown to me ... that is ... I did not know anything about it your honour. One of Pete's employees, Tobias is his name. Well he came to work late and he was totally and utterly drunk. No way could you say he was as sober as a judge, your honour. Certainly not as sober as you are right now.

As it happens, Tobias had been out at a party the night before. That is Friday night; this being Saturday. I know it is not Saturday right now, but it was Saturday when all this happened.

As I was saying, Tobias was totally drunk. Drunk as a skunk ... he was. Really drunk as hell, if you pardon the expression, your honour. May the Good Lord forgive me.

He did not know the time of day ... that's the drunk Tobias, not the Good Lord. The Good Lord always knows the time of day.

Tobias did not know the time of day even though he was wearing a watch at the time. He did not even know what planet he was on, even though his colleagues asked him what on earth he was doing getting drunk. I tell you, your honour, he did not even know his elbow from another part of his anatomy, even though each bit of his body is labelled by a tattoo.

Anyway, his colleagues and friends, Matthias and Gareth, being loyal to Tobias, did not want Pete, their boss, to find out because he would fire Tobias. They suggested he hides and sleeps it off before Pete gets back to the garage from delivering a car. But there was nowhere to hide him to get some sleep.

Then they realised that there was a hearse in the garage which had come in for a simple job to be done. Engine needed a change of oil. So they laid Tobias down on the flat bit at the back of the hearse, you know ... where they put the coffin, and they covered him up with a piece of cloth. There was no coffin in the hearse at the time, your honour.

As I said, all this happened unbeknown to me, and to Pete, because he was out on delivery.

Later that afternoon, Pete asked me if I wouldn't mind delivering the hearse to Doug M Deep and Reego Mortice, the Funeral Directors. This is because Pete was short-handed especially since everyone was busy and Tobias had not turned up for work. He had really, but he was asleep at the back of the hearse, unbeknown to Pete and me on account that we did not know about it.

Well ... as I was driving the hearse, Tobias at the back woke up ... I got such a fright and turned sharply left and ran over your cat, you honour, and landed the hearse in your duck pond disturbing a mother duck which was nesting at the time.

It was not me who was driving under the influence of drink. It was Tobias waking up from under the influence of drink.

When the police came they obviously mixed me up with Tobias by mistake and said I was driving under the influence of drink. But I assure you not a drop passed my lips that day, although several drops ran down my legs when it all happened.

I am sorry about the loss of your cat Pancake who was flattened with him being run over by the hearse. I did offer at the time to drive him to Doug M Deep and Reego Mortice, the Funeral Directors, but your wife who came out of the house on hearing the commotion said a few words which I would rather not repeat here in Court you honour.

I am also sorry for all the broken duck eggs which were in the nest at the time. I did offer to buy some more eggs from the supermarket but your wife said a few more words which I would rather not repeat to you.

I think she was upset.

So you see ... your honour, it was not me who caused the accident, but it was Tobias who caused it by waking up from what I thought he was dead, even though I did not know that he was at the back of the hearse at the time, whether dead or alive, but in fact asleep because of him having been drinking excessively the night before. Which was Friday.

And this is how I plead, your honour.

I wish to add that I did offer at the time to replace the dead cat; and your wife did say that she did not want me around the **** house purring all day and filling the litter tray with my unmentionables.

This is an excerpt from my book 


I laughed so much writing it that I wrote it sitting down.

Friday 15 February 2019

The train of thoughts

Trains these days where I live are very modern indeed. The compartments are open-plan, very large and well lit; warm, clean and bright; they have overhead monitors everywhere displaying all sorts of information like the next destination, location of restaurants and toilets on the train, safety information and so on. The windows are very large and clean and every seat has an electric connection for you to plug in your laptop or cell phone to charge the battery; and there's free wifi throughout your journey.

Yet, there are some touristy places which still run the old fashioned steam trains with their old fashioned compartments well preserved as they were in real life some 60 or more years ago.

These are full sized trains which were in service another lifetime away. They are kept in operation and well maintained by teams of volunteers running various organisations for the preservation of railway history on a charitable basis. The trains normally run a short route of some 10 or 20 miles through the countryside and tourists ride on them just to go there and back again.

I settled comfortably into one of these old style compartments.

Let me describe it to you. Unlike the modern open-plan compartments; these old style trains have a number of separate small compartments inside each carriage, with a narrow corridor running along-side the whole length of the carriage. Each small compartment is about 4 metres in lengths and about 2 metres wide. The compartments contain two large settee type seats accommodating four people sitting side-by-side facing another four people sitting opposite them. Depending on where you are sitting you would either travel in the direction the train is going; or would be travelling backwards, as it were. Only two people sit on the far side of the compartment, facing each other, near the small windows. The others are either squashed in the middle of the "settee" or are at the other end of the compartment, near the sliding door; leading to the corridor running alongside the length of the carriage. So basically, each compartment can contain four people sitting facing another four people - eight in all.

Anyway, as I was saying before I engaged into this elaborate description of the compartment, I sat comfortably by the window facing the direction the train was going to travel - that is facing forwards.

Pretty soon four people entered the compartment and sat opposite me; that is travelling backwards as it were. They were an elderly man with a Tom Selleck moustache who sat next to the window, opposite me. Let me explain ... the man with the moustache sat opposite me, not the moustache by itself! Then next to him sat a priest wearing a hat. Then a rotund lady in her fifties who sat next to the priest. And an elderly lady who sat next to her.

Minutes later a woman and her daughter came in. The woman asked me politely if it is OK for her daughter to sit next to the window. The obvious answer, me being polite and a gentleman, would be, "No ... go and sit elsewhere in another compartment!" But there was a priest there, so I smiled and got up.

The girl sat by the window with her mother beside her. I sat next to the mother and soon enough a large man came in and sat beside me. He sat with his legs wide open. Why do some men do that?

This meant that I was squashed in the middle of the seat with the fat man on my right and the mother on my left. I tried desperately not to get too close to the woman in case she got the wrong idea that I was being somewhat too friendly. But the fat man on my right kept pushing me against her making himself more comfortable in more than his allotted space on the seat.

I realise that the settee style seat did not have demarcation lines, like a frontier between nations, outlining the space allotted to each passenger. But if there were such lines it was obvious that the fat man's backside well and truly invaded my space across the frontier between us. In nation states this would amount to a declaration of war. But in a train compartment, and with my naturally cowardly characteristics, I was left there retreating slowly sideways towards the woman on my left frontier; yet exerting enough pressure with my backside on the seat to ensure that I did not retreat sideways so much that I would invade her territory and risk declaration of war from her side.

Every now and then the train would rock so much to my left that my backside would loose all friction with the seat and I would fall sideways towards the woman. I'd then immediately apologise and move back to my right trying in vain to regain my lost territory from the fat man sitting there with his legs wide open.

This slow journey to hell, which was meant to be a touristy pleasure trip, lasted for what must have seemed an eternity.

The train moved slowly on the rails singing its monotonous song ... clackety clack ... clackety clack ... clackety clack ... as it danced rocking left and right on the rails. Every now and then it would perform one of its faux-pas and swing violently left hurling me towards the woman like a floppy rag doll.

For some reason, the train never swung to the right towards the man. It was explained to me later that this had something to do with the swerve of the journey. A bit like when athletes run round the track and always seem to run left round the bends because they are always running anti-clockwise.

Anyway, as I sat on that train of Purgatory it entered a tunnel through a mountain. Suddenly from bright sunlight coming through the windows we were in total darkness. Although the train had electric lights, for some reason they did not come on. It was so pitch black in that compartment. So dark that you could not see anything. You could not even see the darkness that was there.

This lasted for about 30 seconds or so.

When the train eventually got out of the tunnel, and our eyes adjusted to the light and we could see each other again, I discovered I was no longer there.

The elderly man with the Tom Selleck moustache was there. So was the priest with the hat. The rotund lady and the elderly one too ... all sitting at their usual place. The woman and her daughter to my left were there also; and so was the wide-legged fat man on my right.

But I was no longer there.

And being absent ... I did not know how to finish this story.

Thursday 14 February 2019

Valentine's Day - Love is in the air.

What a beautiful day is Valentine's Day ... a day to honour our love for each other. To celebrate it. And to renew it even. Especially if the embers of our original love may not be glowing as once they were.

As time goes by our love for one another may well have been tested a few times and perhaps taken a knock or two. Let us take this opportunity on Valentine's Day to renew that love. To re-affirm it. And to re-kindle those embers once again so that they might shine brightly once more.

The secret of a long and happy marriage or partnership is to keep that love which once brought us together alive ... every day ... regardless of what difficulties and problems life throws at us.

Of course, for love to flourish it is important that it is built on sound foundations to start with. The first steps in choosing a partner for life are the most important ones. Marriage is not to be entered into too lightly and one must be careful with whom we pledge to spend the rest of our lives – come sunshine, rain or snow.

It is imperative at the outset to decide who will clear the path when the snow is six feet deep and blocking your way out.

Love, mutual respect, patience and understanding are obviously very important in a marriage. But just as essential is the fact that one of the spouses should be slightly deaf – preferably the husband.

Marriage and love will be tested over the years by many differences of opinions on various matters and subjects. To this end, it is important for the husband to remember that, whatever the situation, he is always wrong. This will save time and effort debating an issue which he is bound to lose anyway.

From the outset, the choice of spouse one takes is vital not only for reasons of compatibility, shared interests, hopes, values and aspirations but also for the very success of a long lasting union between the two brought together by love.

To this end, the occupation and profession of one’s partner plays a major role in the longevity and success of this union. In fact it is vital to its success.

Statistics prove beyond doubt that archaeologists make the best marriage partners. The older you get the more interested they are in you.

It is of course inevitable that in any marriage arguments will occur sometimes out of the blue and on the most absurd and un-important subjects. The trick is not so much on how to win an argument; if this was at all possible for the husband, but to avoid getting into one in the first place.

The trick, or should I say the skill, is not a matter of capitulating early and giving way in the first instance as soon as an argument commences; but it is more a question of choosing which argument is important enough to defend as a matter of principle and which is not worth losing privileges for.

The question of principles is worth dwelling on for a moment or two. Don’t just have one unbreakable principle which you will uphold at the cost of your marriage, your happiness, and future livelihood. Be generous. Have plenty of principles; and if one doesn’t work out for you choose another one. No one who is anyone has ever succeeded by having just one principle.

Try to develop mutual interests with your partner and doing things together as a couple which both of you can share and enjoy. Like fixing the car, unblocking the drains and such like tasks that you do not want to do on your own.

Remember that women like to be re-assured frequently that they are loved and cherished. Often the words “I love you” are not heard as regularly after the honeymoon as they were before; or are used as a pretext to wanting something, like watching the football on TV.

In order to reinforce our commitment to love it is suggested that the husband writes down the words “I love you” on a piece of paper so that the wife can refer to it as often as needed in future.

Laminating the piece of paper will ensure its durability, especially if it is the size of a credit card so it can be easily carried in one’s purse or handbag. Drawing a heart, or a flower, (before laminating), will also ensure a successful purpose.

As the couple grow older together they will discover that romance and intimacy is not as it once was. It is important not to let this obscure or hinder the affection and caring that the couple have for each other. Especially when the husband gently approaches his wife lying on her back in bed, and at the most personal moment she softly whispers to him, "the ceiling needs painting again!"

Wednesday 13 February 2019

Tuba or not Tuba

I am learning to play the tuba ... all by myself! I have bought a tuba ... and a book ... and it sounds like this ...
I have been practising at home all day yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that too ... the same five notes over and over again ...

Sadly ... I am not appreciated in my own home ... I also find I am not appreciated in my own time.

In future people will remember me and not appreciate me even then.

In order not to disturb the family, (I can only practise in the evenings after I get back late from work), I have taken to practising out in the back garden.

This has frightened the dog who ran at me and bit me in the most tender of places. I could not defend myself because my hands were caught in the note things of the tuba.

To avoid dog attacks I climbed up the tree away from any harm and practised there. For some reason this has upset the neighbours and disturbed their viewing of Downton Abbey ... whatever that is. (Is it a religious program?)

This gave me an  idea to go practise somewhere quiet where no people venture ... our church.

I went into the confessional and practised my notes there ...

Little did I know that the priest was hiding in his compartment with a bottle of drinks. The sound of my tuba made him jump out of his pants.

He added to his sins by punching me through that little aperture window between his compartment and mine.

His fist jammed hard into my tuba tube ...

It now sounds much better ...

Can I come practise ... quietly ... in your home please?

Tuesday 12 February 2019

Hospital Staff Meeting

May I have your attention please ... welcome to this month's hospital meeting.

I would like to start by welcoming two new members of staff who have joined our team recently.

First Dr Steven Tremblehand, a surgeon known far and wide as Shaking Stevens, or Zorro, because his incisions are usually Z shaped.

Also, we welcome a new anaesthetist, Dr Ivor Hammer, who perfected his profession as a blacksmith making horse shoes.

I would also like to take this opportunity, whilst discussing members of staff, to quash and deny any rumours that Doctor Walter Scar is an escaped convict. He has in fact served the whole of his sentence for impersonating a policeman, a priest, a lawyer, a pilot, a financial adviser and a qualified electrician.

The first item on the agenda which I have been asked to bring to your attention is the proper usage of gurneys and wheelchairs. These items are only to be used for transporting patients from one place to another. They are not suitable, nor is it professional, to use them for anything else. Like transporting a fish tank from one building to another involving pushing a gurney through six corridors, using three elevators, and wheeling the poor critters outdoors through the gardens in full view of a flock of seagulls. The fight that ensued between doctors and birds is not worthy of mention; so I shall not mention that three of our members of staff were hospitalised with what is believed to be bird flu!

Talking of unprofessional behaviour, I have to insist that wearing Halloween type costumes and standing by the bedside of patients whilst they recover from the anaesthetic after an operation should cease forthwith. The other day a patient had a second heart-attack when he woke up to find the devil standing by one side and an oversized pumpkin by the other.

Whilst we're on to patients' care, may I remind you for the millionth time that you do not give patients laxative and sleeping pills at the same time. Come on people, you are supposed to be doctors and you should know the effects of this.

Furthermore, it is just not acceptable to ask a patient to "put your finger here" so that you can knot the surgical thread on their stitches.

And yes ... I have to confirm that our pharmacist Dr Pillbox has been fired for "improving", as he explained it, and inventing a new formula of instant laxative. There are times when instancy is not of such importance in patient care and a good bedside manner. And it was unforgivable to test his new concoction on some nurses on a break in the canteen.

By bedside manner, Dr Lothario, I mean looking after the patients by their bedside and not in bed with them!

And could you all please not refer to your offices as the "Insulting Room"? Who changed all the door notices to "Insulting Room"? Can you please change them back to the original without delay.

And to make one thing absolutely clear, the difference between private patients and patients on the Free Government Health Scheme is a matter for Finance Department and not for you as medical practitioners. The treatment the patients get and the standard of care is the same. You are not allowed to be rude to those patients on the Government Scheme or to laugh at them.

The other day, Dr Gastro, who will remain nameless called a patient "fatty!"

I'll read from the notes sent by our legal department after interviewing the patient, Mrs Patty Lard.

"The Dr told me I was overweight. He said 'Don’t eat anything fatty.' ”

I asked him, “You mean sausages, bacon, cream … that sort of thing?”

He said, “No … don’t eat anything … fatty!”

Now I know that Dr Gastro meant well in giving his advice; but that pause after the words 'don't eat anything' was unfortunate and misconstrued.

And please ... please ... doctors; be honest with your patients. Whatever is wrong with them, be honest with your diagnosis. Last week I saw a nun crying her heart out in the waiting room. I approached her trying to console her and to find out what was the matter. She said that Dr Fibber had told her that she was pregnant. That was an awful thing for a nun to hear. I asked Dr Fibber whether he was sure she is actually pregnant. He said that she is not, but he has certainly cured her hiccups!

Also a male patient told Dr Fibber that he believed he had water on the knee. Dr Fibber told him he is not aiming straight!

Another patient told the psychiatrist that he was a kleptomaniac. The psychiatrist recommended he takes something for it. 

Finally, we all know that patients tend to be embarrassed wearing nothing else but those gowns open at the back revealing their assets to one and all. Suggesting that they wear the gowns back to front is not an acceptable solution!

Now ... who has stolen my pants? I am sure I was wearing them when I came into this meeting.

Monday 11 February 2019

A Nice Day Out

It was a lovely sunny day and we went for a drive to a small town some miles away for a nice day out. It will be great, I was told. They have a fun fair there, with a small gauge miniature train, and there'll be ice creams, and candy floss, and a garden center where you can buy plants and flowers and ... and ... and ...

Now I don't know about you ... why should I ... I hardly know you. Anyway, as I was saying ... I don't know about you, but my idea of a nice day out is staying in the back garden with a crate of cool cans or bottles of Guinness.
 But I was out-numbered. I was told I was a spoil-sport, an old fuddy-duddy who does not know how to enjoy himself, and anyway, there's bound to be a pub there which serves Guinness.

And indeed there was such a pub, but there also was a lot of walking. As soon as we parked the car everyone wanted to go there, and then there, and over there, not missing out also over there. What is the point of going for a nice day out if we're going to walk miles and miles seeing all sorts of boring things which we could have seen in a book at home in the comfort of one's garden with a bottle or two of Guinness?

We saw an arts exhibition, we saw a craft fare where people did all sorts of "interesting" things like glass engraving, metal jewellery, wooden sculptures and tapestries. Then it was decided, not by me, to have a nice walk by the canal to see the boats.
To be honest, they all looked the same. Granted, they were painted differently but all the long boats looked the same to me. But we walked ... and walked ... and walked by that never ending canal full of boats.

What is the point of walking by the canal watching parked boats with their owners on it, and their smug faces as if to tell you, "I have a boat and you haven't!"

Some of them were even having a picnic on their boats. Is this the idea of British entertainment and hi-life? Sitting on a parked boat having tea and cup cakes whilst the rest of us are walking by on the embankment without even a bottle of Guinness in hand? It was like watching the chimpanzees tea party at the zoo; only this one was on the boats.
Did you know that back in the day canals were built in Britain linking towns to each other and they were used to transport goods like coal, and wheat, and cotton or wool. Now they are used as an instrument of torture for people like me to walk aimlessly for miles admiring boats sailing up and down for no purpose whatsoever.

Then there was a sign post saying: "Ancient forge only 5 minutes walk. Just by entrance of the caves"

Why is it that people who advertise their wares or their trades are such a bunch of liars? After walking at least a million miles, and having worn out at least three pairs of shoes, we arrived at this long awaited forge of disappointment. All it was is a small warehouse where a man made things out of metal. Things like metal gates ... can you imagine me buying a metal gate from him and carry it all the way back to the car? Things like metal ornaments for the garden, or statuettes for the home, or anything else you could think of made of metal except a bottle of cold Guinness. Now that would be a nice ornament would it not?

Anyway, having finished with the forge, (does that word derive from forgery, I wonder), they wanted to visit the cave. And NO ... I could not sit there and wait for them. I had to go too.
Well, for a start it was rather dark in that cave; and I do not like darkness. So much so that I was once fired from a job at a photographers' because I wanted the lights on in the dark room.

I also don't like the darkness of the old style confessionals made of wood. And I don't mean the darkness of sin, (because I don't sin much, really - not like the other people in church), I mean the real darkness of the confessional booth you have to enter and confess to the priest. It's all right for him, I suppose. No doubt he has a bright light on and perhaps a TV watching the Sports Channel and a bottle or two of Guinness. But I'm in total darkness in my side of the confessional. Anyway; suffice it to say, I don't like the dark.

The cave was also damp and slippery. And I also don't like dampness. So much so that I now sit in the bath and vacuum clean myself.

We were guided by this tour guide fellow explaining all about this cave. He had a dull monotonous slow talking voice. My heart was all a flutter with boredom. He gave us brochures describing all there is to know about this particular cave but it was too dark to read them. I couldn’t help but wonder why not give us the brochures earlier and we could read all about the cave instead of entering this dark and damp adventure to nowhere.

The guide started talking as soon as I lost interest in what he was saying. All I could think of is being in the comfort of back home.

Not so for the other visitors to the cave. They just had to ask inane questions to make themselves sound interesting and knowledgeable.

"What stone is the cave made of?" asked one.

"Who cares?" I thought.

"It is made of granite," said the guide, "this is all granite!"

"How long have these stones been here?" asked another visiting idiot prolonging this never-ending tour.

"He's probably brought these stones here last week," I whispered and was rewarded with a sharp elbow in my ribs.

The guide explained that the granite stones had been here for two million years. So I asked him whether he adds extra days and weeks if he is asked the same question tomorrow, the day after, or in a week's or a month's time. Surely their age increases every day. It's not always two million years. One or two visitors giggled at my comment.

I now had to appear serious and I asked a serious question. I asked him why are all the stones different sizes.

Aha ... I got him. He had no answer to that. He said stones are always different shapes and sizes. Not a clever response, do you think? He continued sheepishly, and boringly touring us round this cave for at least another half-hour.

Eventually we were out ... fresh air ... and a long million miles walk back to the car and a long drive home.

Good fun was had by everyone ... except me!