Thursday, 31 December 2020

2021

 

WISHING YOU
A
HEALTHIER NEW YEAR
FILLED WITH
JOY HOPE
AND
TRUST IN THE LORD
 
GOD BLESS


Wednesday, 30 December 2020

Memories of work

 

I was thinking the other day ... a light came up on my head and switched on. You know ... like in cartoons when a light comes on above your head when you get an idea. 

By the way ... you might know the answer to this ... when Thomas Edison first thought of inventing a light bulb; what came up and lit above his head? Was it a lit candle? Or what? Because no light bulb had been invented until then.

And when Marconi invented the telephone; who did he phone? No one else had a phone at the time except him!

Anyway ... stop interrupting my thoughts!!!

I was thinking the other day to the time I worked for a big multi-national. There were four of us sharing an office. It was the days before open-plan with lots of people working in a large open space like chickens laying eggs.

One of the people in our room was X. A very nice guy, but rather eccentric. Like the sort of eccentrics you sometimes find in England. Very well-educated, from a good background and good "breeding". Well spoken in an authentic English upper-class accent. Dry sense of humour well hidden because he was always serious as if conducting a funeral. 

He dressed soberly too. Always a jet black three piece suit made of top quality material. He had a gold chain hanging out of a button hole in his jacket and led to a small pocket in which he had a gold watch. He would pull out the watch and open the cover to tell the time. 

All in all, he lived in the wrong century. He would have fitted well in Dickensian times or somewhere like it in the past.

A very kind person but very peculiar at times.

He used to always feel cold. He always kept the windows shut in our room and had the radiators full on. If any of us came in and left the door open accidentally, or perhaps we were carrying files or boxes, he would stare at us and say nothing. You could feel his gaze burning into you. He would snort like a horse to draw your attention but say nothing.

"Prffftttt ..." you would hear behind you. 

Once one of our colleagues did not realise what it meant and he said to her, "Madam would you please do me the honour of shutting the door behind you so that the warmth may not escape!"

She silently obliged and gave us a smile.

On another occasion the boss came in and asked him a question about some financial matter. He looked at him and said, "I shall not respond until you kindly shut the door!" 

We sat there astounded and wandered what would happen next.

The boss was very polite and tactful. He left the room and shut the door behind him.

No doubt the matter had been dealt with privately off camera later.

He had the habit of taking his shoes off when in our shared room. His socks were very clean, so no problem there. But he walked everywhere in the room with no shoes.

One day, towards 6:00pm there was only me and him in the room. He was at the other end searching for some files. I hid his shoes in his desk drawer and went home.

He said nothing the next day; but generally did not take his shoes off.

I used to play tricks on him. You'd remember old style telephones had a separate hearing piece and microphone on a large handle.

I unscrewed the hearing piece and stuck some Sellotape on the little holes of the speaker and screwed the thing back on. Then I went to the other end of the room and phone him disguising my voice.

He'd pick up the phone and shout, "I can't hear you!!!"

On another occasion I used double sided sticky tape and stuck his ruler to the desk. It was fun seeing him pick it up. He'd never say anything but stare at us and snort. We did not dare to laugh and looked down on our desks pretending to be busy.

I wonder where he is now. Bless him ... coming back to memory without notice.

Tuesday, 29 December 2020

Knowing me ... Knowing you ...

 






NOW IT'S YOUR TURN
TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOU!!!

Monday, 28 December 2020

It Is No Secret

SIR CLIFF RICHARD OBE
 
.

Saturday, 26 December 2020

Be Of Good Cheer


.

Thursday, 24 December 2020

Silent Night

 


 

Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Merry Christmas

 

WISHING ALL OUR READERS
A BLESSED CHRISTMAS
AND A
HEALTHIER AND HAPPIER
NEW YEAR
FILLED WITH JOY HOPE
AND TRUST
IN THE LORD
 
GOD BLESS.


 

Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Be Kind To One Another

 










Monday, 21 December 2020

What are you here for?

 

What are we here for? Why did God put us on earth?

“I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another." (John 13:34)

I believe God has put us on earth to love one another, to care for one another, to help one another. And to proclaim His Good News.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to love and help other people, and to proclaim your God to all people.

Not many people accept this mission. Some accept and do the first part; but ignore the second part for various reasons. Perhaps they don't feel up to it, (remember Moses?), or perhaps because they themselves don't believe in God so they can hardly proclaim His Good News to others.

Whatever we do in life, we have the opportunity to help others. You're a doctor - you're helping others. A lawyer, a teacher, a shop assistant, whatever you are in life - you are there to help others. Even a smile to a stranger, or a "hello" or "good morning", is helping others. We never know, but we may be the only ray of sunshine in that person's life that day.

We are always an example to others. People see us and we are either a good example for others to follow; or a bad example for others to avoid copying.

Even writing a blog, or being on social media is helping others; and proclaiming God's news to others.

Our blog may be about gardening, cooking, or whatever; it is an opportunity, (if we want it to be), to proclaim God's news to others.

It may be vanity on my part, but I do check the statistics regularly.

"You're so vain ... You probably think this blog is about you!"
 
Yes, it may be written by me; but is it about me?
 
This blog receives about 10 comments per daily post. But checking the statistics I receive a three figure number of visitors daily. These are people who visit, (90% new visitors), who read and go away without leaving a comment.
 
If only one of those people thinks about discovering more about God, then my work is done.

And that applies to all our Christian blogs. We may think we are talking to an already converted audience. Other Christians who visit and applaud or encourage our efforts. And that is good.
 
But if only one visitor reads what you have said, and searches for God; then you've done a great job.
 
To many people in this secular world, your writings may well be the starting point to a changed life.
 
Your blog, or social media presence, is a beacon in this dark and sad world. Never stop.
 
Let your blog be what Jesus would love to read.

Sunday, 20 December 2020

Do not be afraid

 

As we approach Christmas
let us do so
with joy and hope
in our hearts
not fear at what is happening in the world.

Saturday, 19 December 2020

On the Radio

 

A short recording of my radio programme
(9 minutes)

 

Friday, 18 December 2020

Confessional Secrets

 

Friday afternoon was Catechism class with the youngsters from the local Catholic school. Father Ignatius duly attended every week to face the eager pupils who expected straight answers.

He knew that at that age he had to satisfy their curiosity as well as answer as honestly as possible their questions on church dogma and the mysteries of Christianity. He was blessed with a great sense of humour and certainly made liberal use of it to press his point home, or to alleviate any tense situation which might arise.

Today’s Catechism discussion was about the act of Confession.

“Did you ever have to hear a really naughty confession Father?” asked an inquisitive youngster.

“You know very well, a priest never tells what he hears in Confession.” replied Father Ignatius.

“Oh … come on Father … tell us … you don’t have to give names …” pleaded another pupil.

“What’s the worst sin you’ve ever heard?” added a third.

“Did anyone ever tell you they murdered somebody?” asked an inventive boy.

Their imaginations were running wild and the priest knew when he was beaten. He had to humour them in order to gain their attention. He gestured with his hands to beckon their silence. He then smiled and said:

“When I first came here to St Vincent Church I did not know anybody. I arrived on a Friday evening and the next morning at ten I had to hear Confessions.

“I entered the confessional and said a few prayers whilst waiting for the first people to come in. And sure enough they did, one by one as you know full well.

“One of the many people coming to confession that morning said to me: ‘I am not from this town Father; just passing through.’

’Really?’ I replied. ‘It doesn’t matter who you are. I don’t have to know your identity.’

‘Yeh … I’m with the traveling circus … we’re only here for a few days.’ said the voice on the other side of the confessional.

‘The circus,’ I said to the man kneeling there, ‘I’ve never been to the circus. Always wanted to as a child … What do you do in the circus?’

‘I’m an acrobat!’

“I was really excited to have an acrobat in my confessional. I’d always wanted to be an acrobat as a child, before becoming a priest, and I’d never seen a real one performing in the circus.

“So I decided to ask him something unusual.

‘Tell you what.’ I said to him, ‘Would you mind performing some of your act for me? I don’t have time to come and see you at the circus. The church is empty now, and as you’re the last one here, no one would know anyway. Would you mind doing some acrobatics in the side aisle and I’ll hide here behind the curtain and watch you.

“To my surprise and relief the circus performer said ‘Sure Father, it’ll be a pleasure. A bit unusual, but a pleasure all the same!’

“He then got out of the confessional and started his little show by standing upside down in the middle of the aisle. Then he balanced on one hand and hopped about a bit; and then he hopped on the other hand. He followed this with a few somersaults backward and a few forwards in mid-air. Then he balanced a chair on his nose whilst juggling with a few candles he picked up from a statue nearby. He finished with a few more somersaults and hand-stands on the back of the pews!”

“Gosh …” said a few youngsters in amazement. “That’s fantastic. What happened next?”

“What I didn’t realize,” continued the priest “is that watching from the back pews were two elderly ladies.

“I heard one say to the other ‘Let’s go home; this new priest is out of his mind. I’m not doing any acrobatics as a penance for my sins!’ ”

FATHER IGNATIUS BOOKS HERE

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Have you heard the one about ...

 

The comedian stood on the stage and shouted "12".

And the audience laughed in unison.

He then said "15" and they laughed even louder.

He cried out "23" and they stamped their feet with delight as they laughed and applauded.

He continued with his repertoire "24 ... 33 ... 39 ..." and the audience were in tears with laughter as he kept calling out various numbers.

After about fifteen minutes or so on stage I asked him afterwards in his room what all that was about.

He explained, "This is a very loyal audience who follow me everywhere wherever I do a show. Over the years they got to know all my jokes and they enjoy hearing them over and again. In order to make the show go faster, and so that I can pack in more jokes, I have printed them all out and numbered them. The audience have memorised all the jokes. Now all I have to do is call out the number, they remember the joke, and laugh at it!"

I was amazed at what he had just said. "Why ..." I asked hesitantly, "why did they not laugh when you said 42?"

"They had not heard that joke before!" he answered.

Over the past few days we have heard the story of Christmas read out in church several times.

A pregnant Virgin and her husband go to Bethlehem on a donkey. There is no room in the inn. They go to the stable where a baby is born and placed in a manger. An Angel appears to shepherds and announces the Birth; and a star guides three Kings from the East to the stable.

We've all heard the story many times before and no doubt we will hear it again next Christmas and beyond.

Is it yet another old story from folklore which tradition repeats every twelve months and, like that comedian's audience, we remember once again and smile silently as we celebrate with family and friends?

Or is it perhaps something more important than that? In fact, the most important event that has ever happened in the history of the world.

God, the Creator of the whole Universe and what is in it and beyond it, loved us so much that He decided to make Himself flesh and visit us on earth as a human being.

I wonder how many people, as they celebrate the "12" days of Christmas from the 25th December to the 6th January, stop for a moment and really and seriously think about the awesomeness that this event really means?  

1? ... 3? ... 7? ... 100? ... More?

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

You're feeling sleepy


Sometimes in life one gets drawn into a situation out of which it becomes very difficult to extricate oneself.

Now there’s a sentence in perfect grammatical English which took me half-an-hour to compose. I’m so proud of it I feel like re-writing it again; but I’ll let you re-read it instead and applaud.

Anyway … let’s get on with this story before I forget it.

A few friends and I went to the theatre the other day. It was one of those variety shows where you have dancing girls in skimpy costumes, a comedian or two, a juggler perhaps, a magician or hypnotist, and of course a big name singer to round off the evening.

The singer was the world famous tenor Ivor Loudvoice singing Nessun Dorma from Turandot. At one point he sang a duet with a lesser known female opera singer called Lucy Biglungs. My friends thought she had a great voice, but I did not notice because I was watching her lungs at the time.

But I digress once again as is my want.

So let me tell you straight away that I don’t agree with hypnotism. It’s something I’ve always been suspicious of, and although I accept it has been used medically to some effect; I don’t consider it a matter for entertainment.

I have never been hypnotized myself because I doubt there’s a microscope powerful enough to detect any brain waves of mine; and in any case, if the hypnotist were to dangle a watch on a chain in front of my eyes, the chances are I’d put on my reading glasses and tell him the time every ten seconds. Now that would irritate him no end!

OK … back to the story once again and this time with no interruptions. Concentrate and don’t fall asleep on me.

The hypnotist got on the stage and called for three volunteers. Unsurprisingly there was no shortage of hands that went up. He chose three people supposedly at random. Why do they always choose more women than men? He picked two women and a man; all in their late twenties or early thirties.

He sat them down on three chairs side by side and asked a few questions to introduce them to the audience and to make them feel comfortable and at ease.

Then he started his hypnotic instructions. Without swinging a watch on a chain or anything like that, he just said;

“When I clap my hands you will all turn into a block of cheese! You’ll be an English piece of Stilton,” he said to the man, “and you’ll be a French Camembert, and you an Italian Gorgonzola,” he informed the two women.

“You will wake up when I say ‘Smile please and say cheese!’ and you’ll remember nothing!” he ended his instructions

He tapped his hands and the three of them went to sleep sitting on the chairs. For some reason the audience applauded. I couldn’t see why since they looked like three sleeping people side by side and not like lumps of cheese I buy from the supermarket.

He then moved off stage and came back holding a small mouse in his hands. The audience laughed. He moved close to the three sleeping beauties and told them that he had a mouse loose on the stage.

All three suddenly jumped on the chairs. The man started shouting in a posh English accent “Begone you bounder! This is an indomitable disgrace … what?”
    
The two women held their skirts up to their unmentionables and one shouted in unintelligible Italian whilst the other one kept repeating “Oh zut alors … sapristi!” Possibly the only words she’d ever memorized in French.

The audience thought it was all very funny and laughed themselves silly. I felt rather sorry for the three poor people and to be honest, I wondered whether this was all for real or whether they were accomplices and were acting with the so-called hypnotist.

But the next thing that happened tickled my sense of humor, and perhaps convinced me of the reality of what I was seeing.

Somehow, as the hypnotist was walking backwards and forwards in front of the three chairs the mouse fell from his hand and ran towards the edge of the stage and down where the audience is sitting.

The hypnotist ran after it and slipped falling on his back and banging his head so hard that he was out like a light.

The audience up front got up from their seats and started screaming. Most stood on their chairs and started imitating the three sleeping beauties; but they did it in English. Then those in the second row also started screaming on top of their seats; followed by others in the third row. It was as if people suddenly noticed or imagined seeing the mouse, and as one person stood on her seat others followed suit.

The sight of all those women standing on seats and lifting their long flowing evening dresses was quite amusing as they instructed their men partners not to be wimps and to do something about it.

The comedian host of the show came on stage and tried to calm everyone down; which he eventually did by announcing that the mouse had been captured.

He then tried to wake up the three hypnotized people by saying “It’s OK … it’s over now … stop talking and get off your chairs … wake up!” But it was to no avail as the three of them had been brain-washed to only follow the hypnotist’s instructions.

He of course was still lying flat on the ground being revived with cold water, smelling salts and what have you!

The whole audience remained silent as they watched this whole scenario unfold, although, for some reason, I was the only one laughing silently under my breath at the sudden turn of events.

Eventually the ventriloquist and voice impersonator who had just performed about half-an-hour previously came on stage and in his best accent imitated the hypnotist’s voice by saying “Smile please and say cheese!”

This was enough to fool the three volunteers into believing this was the hypnotist talking. They woke up from their trance, stepped down from their chairs and re-joined the audience, having no recollection of what had just happened.

The hypnotist was carried away on a stretcher. He showed signs of waking up as he left the stage. I bet he too will not remember a thing of what happened! 

Tuesday, 15 December 2020

Pigeon Brains




TV Quiz Presenter: What is known in Paris as La Tour Eiffel?

Contestant: The leaning Tower of Pisa.

 

Presenter: Who had a worldwide hit with What A Wonderful World?

Contestant: I don't know.

Presenter: Here's a clue. What do you call the part between your hand and your elbow?

Contestant: Arm.

Presenter: Good ... now, if you are not weak you are?

Contestant: Strong!

Presenter: Well done. What was Lord Mountbatten's first name?

Contestant: Louis?

Presenter: You are doing so well, you got it. Who had a hit with A Wonderful World?

Contestant: Frank Sinatra!

 

Presenter: Where is Cambridge University situated?

Contestant: I'm not good at geography.

Presenter: A big city in Britain. The clue is in the question.

Contestant: Birmingham?


Presenter: On which street did Sherlock Holmes live?

Contestant: I'm not good at classical music.

Presenter: He wasn't a composer. The detective character, Sherlock Holmes, which street did he live on?

Contestant: Buckingham Palace?

Presenter: I'll give you a clue. Makes bread and cakes ...

Contestant: Kellogg's Street?


Presenter: What is the largest Spanish speaking country in the world?

Contestant: Madrid!

Presenter: I want the name of the country actually.

Contestant: I'm sorry, I don't know any other countries in Spain.


Presenter: What was signed to bring to an end the First World War in 1918?

Contestant: Magna Carta!


Presenter: How many Kings of England were called Henry?

Contestant: I know of Henry the Eight ... ehm ... let me think ... three?


Presenter: Imagine someone comes to you with personal problems like gambling, drinking, or marital issues; who would you advise him to consult: a counsellor, a colander, or a collation? 

Contestant: Jerry Springer.

 

Presenter: Who is the Old Testament character who had long hair?

Contestant: Rapunzel.

Monday, 14 December 2020

It's a wonderful life

 

I've just seen It's A Wonderful Life on TV. Well, the end bit of it. I have never seen this film all the way through. Always the end bit. Why is it that TV companies start this film at a time I do not know about?

Can you imagine what your life would have been like if it was not this life?

You are all probably married, or not. With children and grand-children. Or not. Doing this job, or that. Or not. You are living your lives now. But how would it have been if it was a different life?

In a different life I would probably have been working in a zoo rather than in management in a multi-national.

I've always loved animals, although they have not always loved me. 

Even at work in management we have animals. Plenty of rats around here I tell you. And snakes who slide under a door without opening it. Or try to climb the greasy pole of success.

But I like real animals. I remember kissing a hedgehog once. One of the spiny needles broke off and stuck on my lips. I ran to the vet. He took the needle off my lip and told me it is a frog I am supposed to kiss. I did not get a princess. Only an infection on my lip!

I like all sorts of animals. I like horses. I spent a fortune donating money for sick horses. Mind you, I did not know they were sick when I bet on them to win the race.

I like fish too. I remember having a goldfish called Thumper because he thumped his tail against the glass tank whenever I fed him. When he died I had him on toast for breakfast. Now that's real love that is.

I remember helping a bee once. I found her lying on the ground almost dying. I sprinkled a few grains of sugar next to it and she ate a bit. Apparently she'd gone on strike and the Queen Bee fired her from the hive. She had complained that it is pointless working hard gathering honey from all the flowers and then a man with a net on his head and a smoke machine comes and takes all the honey away. The argument gained momentum with the other bees so the Queen Bee fired their leader out of the colony. She ate some of the sprinkled sugar and died. Apparently, you should never give tired bees sugar. It is bad for them. I read it afterwards that I had unknowingly killed a bee. 

I would have liked to be a lion whisperer like my uncle. He finally fulfilled his ambition minutes before he died!

Yes, in a different life I would have been in a zoo. Probably shuffling elephants' droppings rather than shuffling papers in the office.

But I like my present life. Mundane as it is. 

Why is it that practicing playing the flute involves the same three or four notes over and over again until I am out of my mind? Who invented the stupid instrument anyway? What is the point of the flute?

Why is it that cats do their business in a litter tray that needs to be cleaned and not in a neighbour's garden where I don't have to deal with it?

Why is it that the dog poops in the garden and I have to clear it up, and not him?

Why is it that I leave the trash bin neatly outside my house, yet when the trash people empty it they leave it just anywhere yards away from my house?

Why is it in TV adverts every family is young and happy just because they bought something inane like toothpaste, or potato chips, or something equally stupid? Real life isn't like that.

Why is it that TV companies always broadcast It's A Wonderful Life from the middle of the film?

Would my life have been better in a zoo? Probably not.

How would your life have been different if it was not as it is today?

Sunday, 13 December 2020

Mary's Boy Child - Gaudete

 

FATHER FRANCIS MAPLE
 
STEELEYE SPAN

 

Saturday, 12 December 2020

Now look here folks ...

 

For all of us, this year has been a very difficult and challenging one. We have suffered many pains and problems. We have had to change our way of life. Stay indoors, work from home, keep our distance, and behave in a totally different way from what we had accepted as normal.

We have missed not being with our loved ones. Not holding and hug them and show them we care very much for them. We have lost loved relatives and friends without even saying goodbye. We did not even attend their funerals for various reasons.

No wonder some are losing faith, hope and trust ... in anything.

Let me tell you a story.

Years ago, a man called Moses led the Jews to the Promised Land. On the way there, many of his followers suffered various hardships. They complained, and whined and moaned. They lost all hope and trust in his leadership. They even lost faith in their God and rebelled against Him. They relied on their own man-made gods created out of precious metals. 

Like we are doing now.

No wonder spending is on the increase in many sectors of the economy. Food, drinks, jewellery, perfumes, entertainment and so on. People are searching for a distraction from their present situation which seems never to end.

With hindsight and 2020 vision it is fair to say that this year has been a disastrous one for many and best forgotten.

However, it is important to keep alive faith, hope and trust in our Lord. 

It is our duty, our responsibility, to do so.

To be a Christian is to have faith and trust in God. To have hope in His love and mercy.

Christianity is not a badge to wear on one's lapel. It is a way of life.

It is right that at this time we celebrate Christmas and decorate our homes, both outside and indoors. Even if no one will visit to see it. 

It is our sign to the world that we trust and believe that God will listen to our prayers and will respond generously in His time and in His way.

Celebrating Christmas is the best birthday present we can give Jesus at this time.

Of course, we are not immune from our own rants and moans about our own situations right now. As Christians we should help and support each other as well as those God places in our lives who need help.

Feel free to rant and rave and moan in the comments box below, or write to me at enquiries@holyvisions.co.uk if you prefer.

We may not have any solutions but at least we will be able to pray together in the sure knowledge that He is amongst us and listening as He has promised to do.

Let us keep faith and hope alive in our hearts and trust in God always.

God bless.

Friday, 11 December 2020

And here's to you, Mrs Robinson

 

And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson
Jesus loves you more than you will know

Old Mrs Robinson felt a little faint in church today and passed out for a minute or so. She was helped to the sacristy where she sat down surrounded by concerned parishioners.

“I’ll get her a glass of water” said one.

“No … give her brandy!” said Tom.

“Perhaps a warm cup of tea with plenty of sugar” suggested someone else.

“I think she should have a brandy” repeated Tom.

“Maybe we should call for an ambulance” interrupted another parishioner.

“A brandy will sort her out” insisted Tom.

“Perhaps she should be lying down for a bit of a rest.” someone suggested.

“I have some smelling salts” said another.

“Brandy is better” said Tom.

“Will you all shut up and listen to Tom” said Mrs Robinson in exasperation.

The world is full of people crying out in need of something or other. And there’s always plenty of philosophers, scientists, economists, and experts on all sort of things expounding their theories and advising everyone on what should be done.

What they don’t realize is that what the world really needs is a bit more love.

“Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34)
 


Thursday, 10 December 2020

Theodore Luxton-Joyce speaks his mind



Father Ignatius and Father Donald welcomed a visiting Franciscan priest, Father Randolph, to the Parish for the weekend to lead the Marriage Renewal Seminar.

The Seminar was held on the grounds of the Parish Gardens providing plenty of time for the participants to spend time together re-assessing their married life, in preparation for a Renewal of Vows Ceremony to be held after Mass on Saturday evening.

The two Parish priests were pleased that they managed to get twenty married couples to attend the weekend event and looked forward to a successful Seminar for all involved.

The same cannot be said however for Theodore Luxton-Joyce, the eccentric friend of Father Ignatius and very generous benefactor of St Vincent Church.

Theodore preferred to be well away from “organized love-ins”, as he called the Seminar and would not have attended for one moment had he the choice. But his lovely wife, Rose, convinced him otherwise and he, being an old romantic, albeit he hid it well, acquiesced to her request.

After lunch on Saturday the group met at the Church Hall and was addressed by Father Randolph.

He spoke about the necessity of working at a marriage to make it successful, and explained how very often couples tend to drift apart because of the pressures of modern living and having to work hard just to keep body and soul together. He went on to stress the importance of “being aware of the other person in your life”, the importance of “listening” to their feelings, and “showing love” by saying something nice every now and then, by holding hands, giving a hug every so often and not taking one’s spouse for granted.

“Love doesn’t end after the honeymoon” declared Father Randolph, “it’s a precious flower which needs nurturing and feeding every day if it is to flourish for a lifetime!”

At this point Father Randolph noted Theodore Luxton-Joyce raising his eyebrows and looking in the distance out of the window, no doubt wishing he was anywhere else but here.

“What do you think Theodore?” asked the visiting priest, “Do you think it’s important to tell your wife, Rose, that you love her?”

“Every day?” asked Theodore.

The Group laughed and Fathers Ignatius and Donald, sitting at the top table, looked at each other silently.

“Yes … every day … why not?” continued the Franciscan priest after the laughter died down.

“I don’t see the point …” replied Theodore, “Rose knows that I love her very much … (then looking at his wife) … you do know that don’t you?

“What’s the point of all this adolescent childish talk … it goes without saying that I love her … what?

“I wouldn’t have given up a weekend of good fishing and come here, if I didn’t love her … don’t you think old boy?”

The Group laughed again.

“Fifteen – love …” Father Donald whispered quietly to Father Ignatius.

But Father Randolph was not to be beaten so easily.

“No … it does not go without saying …” he responded quietly, “it is important to tell your wife, or husband, that you love them. That they are not taken for granted. It is important to say it … and say it often. It’s important to be nice and to compliment one’s spouse every now and then.

“Very often I’ve seen couples drift apart yet deep down they do really love each other. They just don’t bother, or don’t have time, to say it. With time, they forget what first attracted them to each other. And every time we forget … love dies a little!

“Let me challenge you Theodore if I may …”

“Fifteen all …” Father Donald whispered softly under his breath. “A good return from the visiting priest!” Father Ignatius sat quietly and said nothing.

“I want you to answer quickly without thinking,” Father Randolph challenged Theodore. “Are you ready? Without thinking … what first attracted you to your wife Rose?”

“She makes a decent steak and kidney pie … what?” declared Theodore.

The Group broke down into hysterics.

“Thirty – fifteen to your eccentric friend!” Father Donald said to his colleague Father Ignatius.

Father Randolph was astute enough to continue with his talk rather than get into a pointless debate with Theodore. Minutes later he asked the Group whether anyone had personal knowledge or experience of marriages breaking down after a long period together. He called them “mature divorces”.

Theodore raised his hand.

“I bet you regret inviting him …” Father Donald whispered to Father Ignatius.

“Years ago … when I was in the military, one of my people got divorced after twenty years of marriage …” said Theodore.

“I asked him why … and he said his wife was violent what? Apparently she threw things at him in an argument … Anything … Cups … saucers … cutlery … crockery … anything that came to hand.

“Turns out she threw things at him throughout the marriage … twenty years of it.

“I asked him why he took so long to decide to leave her.

“He said her aim was getting better … what?”

The Group burst into laughter to the embarrassment of Rose, whilst Father Randolph tactfully decided to call a short tea break.

“Game … set … and match!” declared Father Donald as he got up from his seat.

The rest of the weekend proceeded without further difficulties for Father Randolph, albeit Theodore was the most popular member of the Group.

As they drove back home he asked his wife, “You don’t think it necessary to say ‘I love you’ every day … do you?”

“It’s nice to hear it every now and then…” she said, “It’s reassuring you know. Women like reassurance!”

“Tell you what old girl …” he replied, “I’ll write it down big on a piece of paper. You can read it as often as you want when you need reassurance … what?” he chortled heartily.

She smiled; knowing full well that he was the world’s biggest romantic, yet his up-bringing did not allow him to show it.


 

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Aunt Gertrude Strikes Again!

I tell you … as much as one has to like one’s relatives, Aunt Gertrude makes it very difficult indeed. For years I have loved her as I love the sun … from afar! Us living in Britain and she in Australia has been the ideal relationship and for a very long time the love between us has really blossomed.

She sent us one of her re-cycled Christmas cards once a year and that was enough love to last us a whole 12 months, until the next card.

By re-cycled, I mean that for years she sent us cards other people sent to her with the original message crossed off and her love and best wishes scribbled in. But it’s the thought that counts. They weren’t always Christmas cards. Sometimes it was birthday cards her friends sent her and she scribbled “Merry Christmas” and sent them to us to “save destroying trees” in the rainforest somewhere or other. On one occasion years ago she sent us a sympathy card she received after her husband passed away six months previously. She scribbled over the card “Best Wishes for Christmas” and that made it cheerful in an instant.

Her eagerness to save money whenever she can has been a source of family amusement for years.

Personally, I can live with that as long as it does not affect me directly. It’s her life and she can live it as she wants. But since she came to stay with us for a holiday her antics have directly affected me … especially this morning.

The family was out and for my sins I had to stay at home to finish a report I was writing and listen to the interminable nattering of my Aunt’s Australian accent. Perhaps this is a penance for “time-off” Purgatory; I don’t know.

I tried to ignore her as I typed away furiously trying to beat the time-deadline when I have to up-load the report to my boss.

I hadn’t had any breakfast and had been working since 7:30am. She got out of her room at about nine and suggested she makes me something to eat. How kind of her. I smiled and thanked her.

A bit later she came in with a nice cup of coffee and toast with grilled cheese and a meaty paste on top. The cheese was hot and melting, just as I like it, and the extra layer of meaty paste on top, bubbling because of the heat, made it divine. I devoured it thankfully and suggested that she makes some more.

“We have no more meat, cobber!” she screeched as she does normally, “it was a small tin and it’s finished!”

“It was lovely,” I said appreciatively, “what’s it called so we can buy it again?”

“It had no label, mate!” she screeched back showing me a small tin she had bought cheaply from the supermarket. It was cheap because it specifically had lost its label and had a small dent in it – that’s why!

I looked at the tin suspiciously and went to the pantry. It looked like tins we’d bought before. In fact it had the same serial number ink-jetted at the top like tins we’d bought before. Identical in fact to our cat’s tinned food.

She had just fed me cat food on toast !!!!!!!!

What mental type of relative have I got?

What possessed her to buy a tin with no label just because it was a few pence cheaper?

What was she expecting to find inside? Peas? Caviar? Grilled kangaroo liver marinated in Australian lager?

She is definitely totally mad.

And I note that she did not have any of the appetizing grilled breakfast toast.

Perhaps not that mad after all !

When I told her what she had just done she laughed and said “It’ll grow hair on your chest, cobber. Or should I say fur?”

I really wish I could love her from afar once again.
 
 

 

Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Mary's Legacy


When Mary was visited by the Angel Gabriel all those years ago, times were very different.

It would have been a great scandal for an un-married woman to become pregnant. It was even more outrageous to claim He is the Son of God. That would have been blasphemy surely!

Yet despite her fears of shame, rejection and ridicule, not to mention fear for her own safety, Mary trusted God and said "Yes".

She agreed to be the Mother of Jesus.

So, what is her legacy to us?

Obedience and trust.

Obedience and trust in God despite what must have been a very dangerous situation for her, and her family.

Are we that obedient and trusting when God speaks to us?

Monday, 7 December 2020

Not For The Ladies ...

 

THIS POST IS NOT FOR LADIES
OR PEOPLE WHO ARE EASILY OFFENDED
 

I was at a business conference held in a hotel up North. At the same time as our conference there was a clowns gathering. There were clowns from all over the country there. All dressed in their circus costume in bright colours and most of them with red noses, painted faces, and orange, or blue or green hair.

In short, the place was full of clowns. Including those from our organisation who were soberly dressed in business suits but were clowns all the same.

I went to the Gents Restroom. There was a clown there holding a small dog and wearing those very long oversized shoes for comedic effect. You know the ones ... those shoes long at the front which allow you to lean forwards well out of the centre of gravity yet you do not fall on your face.

When I got in he asked me if I could hold his small dog so he could "point Percy at the porcelain" as they say in my circles.

I held the dog; but just as he approached the urinal he discovered that he was quite a distance away from it in order to do his business. He tried to lean forwards but that only brought his head near the receptacle, not his ...

He tried to twist his feet sideways, looking like a pregnant duck, so that he could approach nearer, but that did not help either.

He looked at me in despair as if to say "I REALLY must go ... can't hold it any longer."

I suggested he takes his shoes off. He said he could not do that because somehow they were attached to a contraption up his trouser legs which allowed him to lean forwards out of the centre of gravity. They were not ordinary shoes but a whole contraption fitting round his legs and feet.

I suggested he "goes like a lady" by sitting down in one of the cubicles. 

That did not work either because with his big feet the cubicle door would not shut. If he sat on the throne with the door open he'd be in full view of everyone ... and the dog. Also, the cubicle was not wide enough for him to turn round if he went in face forwards. So he backed into the cubicle. That did not work either because he discovered that his one piece costume would mean he has to get totally undressed. He'd only just met me ... remember. We were not friends or anything like that for him to disrobe in my presence!

Just at this moment another clown came in. One working for me in our organisation. Not a real clown.

He looked at me, then the clown, (the real one), then the dog, then at me and said nothing. He did his business.

I stopped him from leaving and explained the problem. 

He thought for a moment and then came up with the most ludicrous idea you could think of. He always did that at work. Totally unworkable ideas. I don't know why I did not fire him ... or get him promoted. It's always easier to promote useless people to a higher position.

I had done that once before. I had another useless worker and instead of firing him I engineered a promotion in another department. He was so grateful. Only, his new boss had the same idea as me and within a year the man was promoted again and returned to our department as my boss.

Anyway, back to the Restroom with the "two clowns and a dog". (Title for a song!)

My colleague suggested that the two of us pick up the clown, turn him upside down, and slowly bring him closer to the urinal so he can do his business.

At this point, my imagination was working just as yours is doing right now.

Picture the scene. Two men in business suits, pick up a clown with big feet upside down, they slowly and in unison approach the bowl, whilst he opens his zipper and gets relief.

I put the dog on the ground. Pushed a chair behind the door so that the small dog does not escape if anyone comes in.

We picked up the clown. As we got him in position upside down he said he was ticklish and started wriggling and laughing like a live eel chasing its partner. 

He slipped through our fingers and fell with a bump on his head. His laughter turned to cries just as the loudspeaker on the wall called me and my colleague back to the Conference Hall.

We ran out of the Gents Restroom and left him there with his dog.

Later on I saw him in the car park with his dog. He was still holding it ... the dog!

Sunday, 6 December 2020

Saviour's Day

SIR CLIFF RICHARD O.B.E.
 

Saturday, 5 December 2020

Angry at Ignorance

 


Look folks! This may be an advert, or it may not. Forgive me if you feel it is a re-cycled advert in this Christmas Season.

What I am angry about is the level of ignorance about Christianity. A person I know well, an adult with children, whom I thought knew better, suggested that Jesus was a Disciple. A disciple of whom, I wonder?

On TV the other day, someone did not know any basic facts about Moses and the Ten Commandments.

Often, on TV or radio, people do not know, or understand, the meaning of Christmas or Easter.

It seems to me that not only is there a great deal of ignorance about Christianity; but also an increasing resistance to even learn about it. It's as if people are saying in their head, "No ... leave me alone ... I don't want to know!"

It took me sometime to write the book, Man And God.

I did not know whether to bother. Whether there is a need for it. Or anyone cared. But the feeling kept coming back that I should write something simple about the basics of what we believe. Nothing with complicated theories and dogmas. Just simply explaining why some people believe in God.

Who is He anyway? And who is Jesus?

I chose some basic questions that anyone new to the subject might ask about. A starter pack to get people to search and investigate more.

I wish I had the courage to give this book to that person without them being insulted or offended.

ISBN-13 : 979-8566100388

An easy to read no-nonsense book exploring the many questions we may have asked about God and our role as His creations. Questions like: Who is God? Jesus? The Holy Spirit? Does He really care for us and love us? If so, why do we suffer? Why are so many bad things happening in the world? Is God really in control? Does He answer prayers and perform miracles? Who are Angels and devils? What is sin? These and other topics are discussed in a relaxed simple style.

“Man And God” will make you think about life, about yourself, why God has created you, and your role in this life … and the next.

Suitable for anyone wishing to learn more about Christianity, or for those who may have perhaps wandered from the faith and wish to discover more about themselves in relation to God.

WE ALL KNOW SOMEONE 

WHO WOULD BENEFIT 

FROM THIS BOOK

Same price as a cup of coffee - this book could change your life. 

AMAZON LINK

Friday, 4 December 2020

The Last Straw

 

I was driving ahead heading for a tunnel when at the last minute the tunnel moved to the left. Luckily I managed to stop on time. 

Earlier in my journey a tree suddenly jumped in front of me and crossed the road. Followed by a road sign indicating end of the road and a cliff suddenly appearing ahead with a hundred foot drop.

It was the last straw that broke the camel's back. Only I did not have a camel with me because the car was a red sports car with just two seats neither of which could fit a camel.

I did not have a straw either. Not a last one or any other one. Regardless whether it is made of paper like in the old days or of plastic.

Plastic straws are bad because they end up in the sea and are bad for fish. Apparently fish use them like lances and fight each other like in medieval jousting tournaments. They swim at each other straws aloft and then when they meet they hurt each other with plastic straws. It is less dangerous with paper straws like the old days. But paper straws don't end up in the sea; and if they did they would disintegrate quickly anyway.

Talking of straws held aloft I could mention what there is in our loft at home. But I will not because we don't have one.

I will return to plastic, however. How is it that I live inland, a million miles from the sea in any direction, including downwards, yet my plastic bags from the supermarket which I carefully place in the re-cycling trash bin end up in the sea? How does that happen? Why am I being blamed for the plastic in the sea?

Our supermarket gave me a "plastic bag for life". I asked them what does it mean? They said it is a plastic bag guaranteed for use for life. I asked them, whose life? Mine or the plastic bag's? They said they did not know.

They called the manager. He did not know. He phoned the supermarket Headquarters. They did not know. They phoned the supplier of the plastic bags. He did not know. They phoned the manufacturer of the bags. He did not know either. No one knew what it means to say a plastic bag for life.

Eventually they said that I should throw the bag in the re-cycling trash bin and it will end up in the sea anyway and stay there for life.

They gave me a cup of tea whilst I was waiting for all their phone calls. As soon as I drank it I had a sharp pain in my eye. They told me to take the spoon out of the cup first.

I went to see the doctor about my eye. He said, "describe the symptoms."

I replied, "They are yellow cartoon characters on TV. One’s called Homer, and Bart and Marge and …"

He then asked me, "Do you have trouble passing water?"

I said, "I feel dizzy when crossing over a river."

I explained that I had water on the knee. He said I was not aiming straight.

He then asked me a very personal question. "How's your libido?" he said.

I replied, "I've sold that Italian car. Now I have a Toyota!"
 
Eventually, he suggested I stop eating a lot of cheese before going to bed.
 
What a nightmare that was! Neigh ... I tell you. A right nightmare.

Thursday, 3 December 2020

God's Blueprint

 


I asked a Christian doctor friend of mine about his religion and his profession. He explained that being a doctor is very much like being a car mechanic. He learnt about different parts of the body and how to fix them when they go wrong.

However, unlike a car mechanic, he does not have the complete blueprint plan of how the body was made and how it functions. He explained that, thankfully, the Creator decided to keep some parts of the blueprint secret in case we humans ruin the final product completely.

What do you think?

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

No Confessions Here


It was Saturday morning and Father Ignatius had just got out of the confessional when Benjamin hurried into the church and asked the priest “Father, would you hear my confession please?”

“Do I have to?” asked the priest.

“Hein?” muttered Benjamin, “I am sorry I am late Father …”

“It’s got nothing to do with your lateness,” answered the priest, then, looking around to see that the church was empty he sat down on one of the pews and invited Benjamin to do the same.

“The thing is,” continued Father Ignatius, “I know exactly what you are going to confess. Week in week out you come here and it is the same old sins.

“Let me guess. You’ve lost your temper with your wife … again. You’ve been impatient with your children and scolded them unnecessarily. And you gave the finger to drivers who cut you off on the road. Am I right?”

“Well …” Benjamin hesitated, “I gave the finger to only one driver. So it’s an improvement I think …”

“That is not the point,” continued the priest with a smile to show that he was not being over critical, “what I am trying to say Benjamin, is that when we come to confession we should be sorry for our sins and for hurting Our Lord, and we should resolve not to repeat our sins.

“If we come back every week with the same sins it means that we were not serious at the previous confession …”

“Or that we’re weak …” interrupted Benjamin.

“Yes …” agreed the priest, “and you’re not alone in this Benjamin. You’d be surprised how often people come confessing the same sins over and again … Sometimes I can guess the sins once I recognise the voice of the person kneeling at the confessional.

“Let me explain … do you remember when the people brought to Jesus a woman caught in adultery and they wanted to stone her? When Jesus said let those with no sin throw the first stone, and when every one of them had left, He said to the woman ‘go and sin no more.’

“He did not mean do not sin any more sins ever throughout your entire life. Jesus knew that she, being human, being weak as you’ve just pointed out, will inevitably sin. We are all susceptible to sin.

“What Jesus meant is do not sin this particular sin any more because it will get you in deep trouble with the authorities and with God Himself.

“And that’s what I am saying to you. And to everyone who comes to the confessional for that matter. At the very least we should all make a serious effort not to repeat the sins we have just confessed and resolved not to sin again.”

“I understand …” mumbled Benjamin.

“And in saying so” smiled the priest, “I am not encouraging you to go out there and sin some novel new sins just to entertain me and to bring variety to the confessional!”

Benjamin laughed.

“Seriously though …” continued Father Ignatius, “we’re all sinners … even me as a priest would you believe. And in seeking God’s forgiveness we should at least try our hardest not to offend Him again.

“Now go in peace, you are absolved. That is unless you have some new serious sins which you want to confess!”

Benjamin went away feeling much lighter than when he came in and having learnt a real lesson at this most unusual confession.

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Gary

 

BE KIND
TO THE GARY
IN YOUR LIFE

Monday, 30 November 2020

Odd Happenings All Round


Some very odd things have been happening around here which I cannot understand. The family has been away in London. I am alone ... well, with Aunt Elma from Glasgow who has come to visit for a while. I am assured that there is no connection between her coming and my family escaping to London. Just a coincidence.

For the past few days I have noticed things moving around the house. It's as if we have a poltergeist all of a sudden. For example, the other day I left Aunt Elma in the living room watching TV and I went out to work in the garden for an hour or two. When I got back she had moved. She was in the kitchen. How did that happen?

I also left my cup in my office after finishing my coffee and ten minutes later it was washed and in the cupboard. That's never happened before. And the newspapers and magazines seem to have been picked off the floor and placed neatly in the paper rack next to the TV. 

I have not mentioned this to Aunt Elma because I do not want to spook her and frighten her to death. 

I went out to the shops and when I came back I found the house had been vacuum cleaned, the washing all done in the kitchen and the washing machine working on another load of laundry. The flower pots had been watered. The dog fed, the cat fed, the litter tray cleaned, the fish tank refreshed with new water and the fish fed, and a hot pie cooking in the oven.

I was about to mention all this to Aunt Elma but she was snoozing on the armchair in front of the TV. She doesn't seem to be doing much since she's been here. Just watching TV and sleeping. I don't want to say a thing and upset her feelings. You would have thought that as a guest she would help around a bit. But no ... she has not lifted a finger.

If it was not for the ghost that has suddenly invaded our home I'd be in a right mess. I'd thought of ringing the priest to exorcise the house but thought better of it. The chances are he'd take the ghost to clean his place instead. So for now I am keeping quiet.

Friday, 27 November 2020

Man And God

 

MAN AND GOD

ISBN-13 : 979-8566100388

An easy to read no-nonsense book exploring the many questions we may have asked about God and our role as His creations. Questions like: Who is God? Jesus? The Holy Spirit? Does He really care for us and love us? If so, why do we suffer? Why are so many bad things happening in the world? Is God really in control? Does He answer prayers and perform miracles? Who are Angels and devils? What is sin? These and other topics are discussed in a relaxed simple style.

“Man And God” will make you think about life, about yourself, why God has created you, and your role in this life … and the next.

Suitable for anyone wishing to learn more about Christianity, or for those who may have perhaps wandered from the faith and wish to discover more about themselves in relation to God.

WE ALL KNOW SOMEONE 

WHO WOULD BENEFIT 

FROM THIS BOOK

Same price as a cup of coffee - this book could change your life.

AMAZON LINK HERE