Monday 29 June 2020

I believe

I wonder ... if you were to go out in the streets and ask people at random to finish this phrase, what would they say:

I believe ... ... ...

I guess some would say I believe the world is in a bad state right now.

Others might hope for better times and believe that all will be well soon.

Some might believe that there's too much fake news in the world and we don't know what to believe as true or lies.

Maybe people believe that they should keep their heads down, work hard and look after their families.

The pessimists may believe that the economy will get worse and people may lose their jobs and homes. This may lead to further problems ahead.

The optimists may believe that all will be well, they'll do well in life and get what they hope for - be it a good job, home, car or whatever.

The conspiracy theorists will believe whatever conspiracy theorists always believe at any moment in time regarding whatever subject we're discussing.

I wonder ... ... ...

How many people would say - I believe in one living God. The Creator of all things. Who is in control of all things no matter what mess we make of this world.

It seems to me, (correct me if I'm wrong), that people these days are distancing themselves from God. You know ... just like when a politician, or a celebrity, a well known personality, does or says something we don't approve of, and his friends and colleagues distance themselves from the statement or the person.

People are distancing themselves from God.

It is not fashionable these days to say we believe in God. It's not the done thing. We keep our beliefs and religion to ourselves. We don't discuss them openly, in public, at work, or in the pub, the gym or elsewhere. Some of us don't even discuss religion at home.

There was a time when people prayed as a family at home. There was a time when people prayed in schools before lessons began. There was a time when people made the Sign of the Cross before meals, or said Grace.

What? Say Grace before meals in a restaurant? You must be joking. People will think I am weird.

People will think I am weird.

That is why we distance ourselves from God. That is why we don't openly talk about Him. That is why we don't pray so often. Or teach our children about God. It's the school's job to teach about God - but - the school does not, because it sees this as the parents' job. And the children grow up not knowing God.

You cannot distance yourself from Someone you do not know.

And generations grow up not knowing God breeding more generations not knowing God even more.

And a world without God is chaos.
That's what I believe.

Sunday 28 June 2020

Time for Reflections

Another short recording (9 minutes) from my time on the radio.

Saturday 27 June 2020

I am not worthy

We know we are loved by Jesus. We are told so many times in the Bible. By Jesus Himself.

But do we trust these words? Do we believe them? And are we truly worthy of that love? Do we trust Him enough to be by our side at all times of our lives; especially when things are difficult ... very difficult?

Thank you Lord. I am a sinner. I am not worthy ... thank you ...

This "must-see" short video (3 minutes) shows us an example of someone who thought he was not worthy. Do we have as much faith as him? Do we pray and believe Jesus will respond?

Friday 26 June 2020

Perception is truth

I used to have a notice on the wall in my office which read: Perception is Truth.

It helped my team focus on the fact that how they are perceived by our customers, (efficient, knowledgeable, professional and so on), will implant in the customers' mind a positive image of the whole team and organisation.

It also signified that there was a notice on my wall and if you have perceived it then it is in fact there.

And that's the problem with perception.

What you see, or imagine you have seen, is implanted in your mind as something that exists or has happened.

The same applies with sounds. You may have heard something, a conversation in a pub or on the bus, or half-heard it, and then it plays on your mind as to whether you heard and understood it correctly or not. Especially if what you have seen or heard is so astounding and "out-of-this-world" that it challenges your own beliefs and realities.

Let's take this Blog as an example. I've been writing it for some years now and I've had many readers come and go over the years. I'm grateful to the loyal ones who continue to visit me and support my writings. But then I ask you. Do you believe everything you read here?

At the end of the day, who are you going to believe? Your common sense or me?

The other day I checked something or other on Google and it said "This is a falsehood invented by Victor S E Moubarak on his Blog". Talk about my own words coming back to bite me in the backside!

And that's the problem with perceptions. People see something and it is implanted in their minds.

The advertising industry and the fashion and beauty industry have been capitalising on perception for years. They tell you what is glamourous, fashionable, beautiful and something to aspire to.

Many a photo has been touched and re-touched to smooth away any wrinkles or body fat which should not be there in real life.

And society copies what they perceive as the norm. Whenever people describe themselves in Dating or Match-Making websites they often gloss over the unflattering truth and describe themselves better than they really are.

As a young man I sent a dating agency one of my real life photos (untouched and not changed in any way). They returned it with a note saying: "We're not that desperate!"

Eventually I managed to get a date with a young lady through another agency. When I met the lady in question she said I did not look like the photo on the dating website. She said the photo looked as if it had been  drawn by Picasso, and added, "I thought you had a cricked neck. And why in the photo do you have an ear on your forehead?"

I told her that as a fan of Star Trek this was the Final Front Ear!

She then commented that I was much shorter than I had claimed on the website. I replied that I was not that short really, but I was still far away.

It was a question of perception.

She left without even offering to pay for half of the meal we had shared together. A hamburger and a bun can be quite expensive you know!

So you see, "Perception is Truth". She had read something about me on the dating website and I was not as described in real life. Perhaps it was my fault for dating her at a badly lit restaurant ... in a back alley somewhere ... in the poor side of town.

Mind you, she was no picture of beauty herself. In fact she was so ugly that I guess Peeping Toms would ring her door bell and tell her to draw the curtains shut.

And that's perception, be it in a badly lit fast food outlet or in the bright light of day.

How about you? How do your family and friends perceive you?

More important. How does God perceive you? You can't fool Him you know.

Wednesday 24 June 2020

Not so close encounter of the priestly kind

I was home alone, working in the front garden. One of the priests I know drove by and stopped to say "hello". He did not get out of the car but chatted for a while from his driving seat.

I did not invite him in. Not with a houseful of pole dancers in the front room!

No ... seriously ... I did not invite him in because he said he was in a hurry about an appointment he had to go to.

He said, "I have not seen you at Confession lately!"
I replied, "Just as well, I thought the purpose of those wooden confessionals is that you don't see us!"

I could see his brain thinking for a while and then he said, "You should go to Confession regularly, either in our church or another one. But you should go regularly!"

"But I don't sin, Father," I said, "my wife sees to that!"

Again, the cogs and wheels in his brain turned slowly and he said nothing. So I had to continue with, "living with her is like being in Purgatory!"

His eyebrows rose suddenly. Obviously, he knew a thing or two about Purgatory. "Is everything all right ... with your marriage?" he asked.

"Oh yes ... yes ..." I said, "all's well, Father ... in fact it was my wife who introduced me to religion ..." I added to re-assure him.

He smiled.

So I continued, "I did not know what hell was until I met her!"

The smile was wiped off his face quicker than you can say anything you care to say at a moment like this. My sense of humour had gone too far this time. I could see he was worried.

I tried to re-assure him but made things even worse by saying, "Oh, it's not her, Father. It's the mother-in-law ... she keeps leaving her broomstick in the lounge whenever she lands unannounced!"

He stepped back in his car and said, "just as well I am in a hurry for my next appointment. Otherwise you would have got a special sermon for one!"

He waved good-bye and left. I did not know whether to feel sorry for him, or for myself.

Monday 22 June 2020

Things That Wind Us Up

Right folks, this is your chance and mine to vent on all the things that wind you up, make you angry, disappointed and upset, or, in my case, makes me want to bite hard on the leg of our dinner table.

Feel free to tell us in the comments box below all the annoying, stupid, frustrating, irritating things in life that make you wonder what this world is coming too. It could be big things, small things, whatever. It could be world events or even things that happen locally, in your town, your street, or even your home.

For example the ever lasting argument about whether the toilet seat should be up or down. I don't understand that. In our house, I have sawn the seat in half at the front bit; so now we have half the seat up and the other half down. Simple.

But I tell you what winds me up. All those TV cooking programs with half-wits showing you how easy it is for you to cook the most elaborate dishes instead of sitting there in front of the TV with a pizza in one hand and a pint of Guinness (or other drink) in the other.

The ingredients for a start: I was sitting there the other day watching this pretend chef cooking a Lobster Thermidor and I thought, "Damn ... where have I put my thermidor? I have a whole lake out there full of lobsters but no thermidors!"

Why is it these well-paid Z rated big-headed personalities assume that we all have a full cupboard of saffron, or caviar, or dried seaweeds in our larder ready for their half-witted culinary creations which would make a dog vomit?

And another thing ... they make it look all so easy and you're somehow inadequate if you can't do as they do. What you don't see on TV is the army of helpers they have behind the cameras who clean and peel and prepare the vegetables; who cut and dice it ready for them to pour in the pan; who clean and wash the pots and pans and cutlery, and who do all the things you have to do at home before you even start to spell the word thermidor.

The other day the so-called chef was showing us how to make a cake with an ice-cream filling. Not just cream; but ice cream. Having made the cake he said it needs to "rest" for 10 minutes in the freezer. He opened the freezer to show us how ... just in case we're stupid and we might put the cake in the trash bin where it belongs. Guess what? The freezer was empty with plenty of space for him to put his cake. Yeah ... right, try putting the cake in my freezer next to the packets of peas and other vegetables, meat joint, fish sticks, shoes, reading spectacles and that car-tire iron I've been looking for for a month!

It is also particularly annoying when these cooks have celebrities on their programs Oohing and Aaaahing at everything they do, like breaking an egg into a bowl as if they're gold medal athletes who have just broken another world record.

Then the idiot-faced has-been celebrities are given a sample to taste and comment on. Well, what do you expect? At the end of a half-hour, or hour program, when the chef has worked hard to come up with one of his famous creation, the guest celebrity is hardly going to spit the food out and say it tastes like a crocodile's testicles, is he?

OK ... let me now calm down and sip a few drops of Guinness. I'm sure there are other things that wind me up and annoy me to extremes.

Experts for instance. No matter what happens in this world; be it political, environmental, medical, agricultural, or relating to the nether regions of one's body, there is always an expert on TV to tell you all about it. Where do these experts all come from, and why don't they go back to hell where they belong? No wonder the world is in such a mess with all these experts contradicting each other and raising my blood pressure.

Oh ... and politicians ... don't get me started about politicians. So I'll end here.

How about you? What does wind you up and makes you really angry? Is it something that happens at home, like your partner snoring, or vacuum cleaning whilst the sports is on TV, or any other habits or mannerisms? Or it could be something else outside the home, like family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues at work or even the priest in church.

My priest makes me go to sleep with his long boring sermons; and then I get a sharp elbow in the side to wake me up. I can hardly tell him that at Confession can I?

Tell us your pet-hates and anger makers in your life!

Sunday 21 June 2020

Time For Reflections

Another short recording (13 minutes) from my days on the radio.
This one contains three songs with a message so relevant to society these days

Saturday 20 June 2020

Don't critique my underpants

I want to be a critic. You know the kind? Like those professional people who work for a newspaper, or magazine, or even TV and they write critiques on cars; which make and model is the best and why.

Or they write critiques about books, films, plays in the theatre, or restaurants.

And what they say matters because they tend to influence many people. The buying public does take account of what they say, it seems.

So if any critic says something nice about my books, hopefully more people would buy and enjoy a copy.

Well, that's what I want to be when I grow up. A critic.

Not of cars for I know very little about cars. Or books, or films or plays or restaurants either. I have no time for any of these.

Far too busy writing my own books, you know.

I'd rather be a food and drinks critic.

For example, I like Guinness.
It's nice whether you buy it in a bottle, a can, or get it in draught from a pub.

There, that's one critical review to my name.

I could also say I like whisky, and my favourite liqueur is Drambuie; and I like a certain tomato ketchup but I get my finger stuck in the top trying to get the last drop out. Why is it there's always a little ketchup that will not come out of the bottle?

Positive critiques or reviews may influence people and encourage them to buy the product. I am grateful to many of you for your kind and generous reviews of my books.

But a negative review can be much more harmful.

It costs a lot of money to make a film, or to put on a production on stage, or to open a restaurant, or make a computer game. All it takes is one bad review to negate all the costs involved and possibly ruin the people or organisations behind the business venture. 

Sometimes, reviewers compete to outdo each other in their negative reviews. They don't want to be out of step with other reviewers, it seems.

I sometimes wonder whether such reviewers think seriously about the harm they are doing with their bad reviews. So they really care? Can they really do any better themselves? Have they ever produced a film or a play, or made a computer game or opened a restaurant? Have they ever risked their money in doing something only to find it is criticised by others?

And how about religion?

I could review different religions and Christian denominations and tell you what I think of each of them and perhaps recommend them to you.

As a Christian, I could also write reams of papers about Christianity, what it is, what it means, and why it is good for you.

You too, you can also do the same and write books and blogs and magazine articles about Christianity.

On the other hand, we could show Christianity by the way we live.

"Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words." St Francis of Assisi.

Thursday 18 June 2020


It seems to me everyone is in pursuit of happiness to the detriment of everyone else. "As long as I'm happy then that's OK" seems to be the unspoken motto imprinted on some peoples' minds.

But what is happiness? And how long does it last? Once you have happiness does it stay with you for ever? Or does it run out like the last drop of coffee in your cup?

Remembering my managerial days at work, I recall that happiness is a transient state of being. If an employee is, (or believes), he is not well paid he would be unhappy. He may demand more money; or even strike with other employees and bring the work to a stand-still.

If he is then given more money commensurate with what he feels he is entitled he is no longer unhappy. But that does not necessarily, or always, mean that he is happy. He may remain in this state of being no longer unhappy until such a time when he desires more remuneration; at which point he would revert to being unhappy and start the process all over again.

So it could be said that happiness is a state of not being unhappy, and it comes and goes for varying periods of time depending on the circumstances and the individual involved.

In other words, happiness is different things to different people.

For me, happiness is waking up in the morning and finding there is no one else sleeping in the park bench beside me. I often lose my way home when I've been out with friends to the pub late at night. So we walk to each other's homes and drop each one to his home in turn. I'm often the last one to get home, and I lose my way, and end up in the park.

Happiness to a Catholic like me is a resisted temptation. But then, also when yielded to, it gives greater happiness.

Happiness to me is getting home and finding a piece of cheese in the mousetrap. This is double happiness because it means we have no mice. And also I can have some cheese and biscuits for supper.

The other day I experienced a lack of happiness when I caught my tongue in the mousetrap as I was licking the remainder of some Brie or Camembert. We use expensive cheese in our traps to attract a higher class of mice. None of those common riff-raff mice around here.

Happiness to some is being recognised, loved and appreciated. The other day a man in the street recognised me. This did not make me happy because I did not recognise him. He said, "Don't you remember me?"

I looked at his face for a while, then looked at the pretty lady he was with for a longer while, but still did not recognise her. There was something vaguely familiar about her curves, but I could not put my finger on it in case he hit me.

He interrupted my admiration and said, "Do you still not recognise me?"

I replied, "I make a point of never forgetting a name or a face. But in your case I'll make an exception. Who are you?"

He said, "I'm the plumber who fixed the leek in your house three years ago! Don't you recognise my face?"

I replied, "When you look at the mirror every morning, you see your face and you recognise it. But when I look at the mirror every morning, I don't see your face. How do you expect me to recognise you? I remember the bill you sent me though!"

I doubt he was happy after that. And neither was I, remembering how much I paid him to fix the leek.

People say money can't buy happiness; but I guess it can rent it for a while. Does love bring one happiness? I tell you, happiness is when you marry a beautiful woman and then discover she has money too.

Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family, that lives in another town far away.

Happiness is getting home and not finding a broomstick in the lounge; and mother-in-law is not here.

Happiness is the interval between disappointments.

Happiness is when your dentist says it won't hurt, then he cuts his hand on the drill.

I never really knew what happiness is until I got married; by then it was too late! (I hope she's not reading this).

I'd better stop here ... but why don't you join me in a song about happiness.

Tuesday 16 June 2020

More fake news

I have thought long and hard about posting this article. I do not intend to offend anyone; but this is an example of what I was writing about yesterday.

Yesterday's post entitled Facts, Truth and Lies was making the point that in these days of social media one can post anything and it seems to be reposted time and again regardless of whether it is true or not.

Here's a story that's been doing the rounds which I have received. It is alleged that apparently the story is true.

It seems this young lady got out of the building in the nude and entered a taxi. The driver was amazed and flabbergasted as well as astonished.

She said to him, "What's the matter with you? Have you never seen a naked woman before?"

He replied, "Sorry Miss ... I was wondering where you keep your money to pay me!"

Personally, I doubt that the story is true. But this is immaterial.

Whether the story is true or not does not matter. What is true is the photograph.

I ask myself, what made this woman take off her clothes in public and get in a taxi for all to see ... and photograph?

Was it a bet at a party? Was it a dare? Was she drunk perhaps? Did she get paid for this stunt?

Whatever her reasons, the photo has been taken and is doing the rounds on the Internet.

No doubt, one day she will regret taking part in this exercise.

Sunday 14 June 2020

Stabbed Angel

Being a priest is not really a sedentary job where you work just one day a week and you have plenty of time for leisure and watching TV. Far from it. Sometimes you come face to face with real danger as Father Ignatius can testify.

It was a wet autumn evening with leaves covering the ground, and when they start rotting away and become slimy and slippery; a cold autumn evening with a freezing wind that blows right through you; the kind of evening when you’d much rather be at home by the fireside with a hot cup of chocolate in your hands. Yes ... not the sort of evening to be out and about.

You guessed it ... the phone rang and Father Ignatius was called out as a matter of urgency.

One of his elderly parishioners was very ill and not expected to see the night through. Father Ignatius jumped in his car and drove to one of the less salubrious parts of town where Mrs Bartholomew lived alone with a cat as a pet. As he arrived at her house in a darkly lit street the doctor was just leaving; and a kind neighbour had agreed to stay with her until Mrs Bartholomew’s son and daughter-in-law arrived from another town not so far away.

Father Ignatius stayed with the elderly lady to comfort her and to pray with her until her family arrived at about half-past eleven at night.

As he left the house he said yet another silent prayer for her and made his way, in the drizzling rain, towards his car. He was just a few feet away from the vehicle when suddenly, out of the dark, a young man jumped out from an alleyway brandishing a big knife.

The priest was startled and was fortunate enough to recover his balance on the slippery ground by leaning back on his car.

The young man, hardly visible in the semi-darkness, pointed the knife at Father Ignatius and said, “your wallet mister … and be quick about it …”

The priest could see the long blade shining in the little light that was available from a nearby shop window. Before he could say or do anything the young man lunged forward with the knife aimed at the priest’s chest. Father Ignatius moved sideways as a reflex and felt the knife slide down his side. Somehow, it got caught in his coat pocket pulling forward the youth who slipped badly hitting his head against the car door as he fell to the ground.

The youngster screamed in agony as the blade cut into him.

Father Ignatius stooped down to help him. He had the presence of mind to throw the knife a distance away and told the lad to stay still whilst he fetched some help from the “24/7” shop.

Moments later both an ambulance and the police were on the scene and the youth was taken away.

The following day Father Ignatius called at the police station as advised by the officers. He learnt that the youngster, only 15 years old, was un-employed, and living rough. This was hardly unusual in this desolate town where commerce and industry had long given up hope and departed.

He was asked to make a statement and to help press charges against his would-be assailant, but Father Ignatius had other things in mind. He knew the chief-of-police and somehow managed to get the youngster put in his care without pressing charges for the attempted mugging. It was after all a first-time offence and the police had no previous records of the lad. Three weeks later the priest found him a job with a local farmer.

But the story does not end there.

On the night of the attack Father Ignatius returned home very late into the night. Father Donald and Mrs Davenport the housekeeper were up and worried out of their minds. They did not know where the priest had been.

After getting cleaned up and nursing a nice cup of chocolate in his hands he re-told them that night’s events. Father Donald insisted that in future he’d be the one to go out late at night if necessary. In his early thirties, and half of Ignatius’ age, he thought he should be the one out there, leaving “the old man” at home.

Father Ignatius smiled and said nothing. Then after a pause he confided:

“Tonight, I’ve learnt two things I never realised before. When the situation first started and I thought I was about to die, I discovered that, in reality, I was not afraid of death. We all claim as Christians not to be afraid of death; and when it nearly happened to me, I found out I really wasn't scared at all. I seemed ready for it, but I was more concerned as to whether it would be painful.

“Secondly, I think my Guardian Angel helped me tonight. When the knife came at me at speed, I saw a white shape come between me and the young boy. It was all over in a flash. One second I saw the shape and the next the boy was on the ground in agonizing pain. I'm certain that knife was stopped into going in my chest.”

Unfortunately, in a town where nothing much of interest happens, the story of the attack found its way in the newspapers.

For days afterwards, every time Father Ignatius went to St Andrew’s Catholic School the young boys made karate movements with their hands when they saw him, and called him Father Kung-Fu.

Friday 12 June 2020

Ancient History and Statues

I was reading a book on ancient history the other day. It's amazing what one can learn from the past. The Romans, Greeks, Egyptians and other people from times gone by like the Aztecs, the Assyrians and so on.

Have you wondered for instance why there are so many statues and busts of people from ancient times? They have been found over the years in various archaeological digs and expeditions and are now kept in museums. But why so many statues were made, do you think?

I've discovered that, in Roman times there were a number of check-points by the Roman guards along the Appian Way. That’s the strategic main road connecting Rome to Brindisi and Apulia. The road was named after the Roman censor Appius Claudius Caecus.

He it was who held the very first large scale census in Rome to discover how people lived; their habits, likes and dislikes and so on. He discovered that most Romans did not like broccoli and was frightened out of his census.

Anyway, the guards at the check-points stopped the chariots and asked the driver for their identity. Unfortunately, that was before cameras and photos were invented; so people carried statues of themselves as a form of identity. Some poor people carried just a model of their heads, or busts; and the rich ones had a full body statue of themselves which they carried at all times in case they were stopped and had to prove who they were. The guards would compare the individual's face with the statue to make sure they were the same.

Unfortunately, carrying such heavy stone, or marble, statues all the time meant that many Romans got injured. As you know, Romans, as well as Greeks and Egyptians had many gods in those days. Gods of war, agriculture, hunting, love and so on.

The injured Romans who got hurt carrying heavy statues went to pray at the temple of the goddess Hernia, or the god Haemorrhoid.

Unfortunately, there are no statues of these two deities which have ever been found or survived the ravages of time. I wonder what Haemorrhoid looked like.

One famous statue that survived and is well known is Venus de Milo.

Strictly speaking Venus de Milo is a Greek statue. It is disputed as to whether it was sculpted by Praxiteles or Alexandros of Antioch. As there are no surviving Court manuscripts of legal actions between these two individuals relating to Copyright issues we'll never know the creator of this statue. 

The statue is believed to depict Aphrodite the Greek Goddess of love and beauty who was quite harmless in her time, (armless - keep up with my subtle jokes).

However, some scholars claim it was the sea-goddess Amphridite but who cares?

There once was a goddess called Aphrodite
Who wore a pink see-through nightie
And the closer you looked
It was clear you were hooked
By her curves which were certainly alrighty.

Anyway, throughout history archaeologists and learned people have not been able to work out where and how her arms were positioned when the statue was first made.
Was she pointing at something perhaps? Or holding a sword up above her head, or a three-pronged spear known as a trident? It is after all the weapon of the sea god Neptune. Historians have also wondered how the cloth around her waist manages to stay put and not fall off. After all, Velcro had not been invented in those days.

In order to unravel this mystery I have done some research and can now reveal how her arms were positioned when the statue was first made.
She was saying to one and all ... "TA DAA" and the audience clapped and cheered in delight.

Apparently, when her husband saw the statue he was very upset that his wife would pose in the nude for the sculptor; so he angrily went to see him. In order to defuse the situation the sculptor claimed that Venus had not posed nude for him. He said, "I sculpted her from memory!"

The husband punched him even harder than he first intended.

Other statues that survived history for us to enjoy are Michelangelo's David.
Unfortunately, over the years with our style of living he has put on a little weight.
Also surviving is Rodin's The Kiss
The sculpture was originally titled Francesca da Rimini because it was in fact meant to be the 13th-century Italian noblewoman from Dante's "Inferno" (Circle 2, Canto 5).

Apparently, Francesca fell in love with her husband's younger brother, Paolo and ... as I mentioned before ... because cameras had not yet been invented, the private detective gathering evidence for the husband had to quickly sculpt the statue which was then carried to the Divorce Court as proof that she was having an affair. Thereafter the PI visited the goddess Hernia to pray for healing.

Another famous surviving statue is also by Rodin's and entitled Constipation ...

Thursday 11 June 2020

The Voice From Above

A strange experience the other day. I was out in the garden, sitting, relaxing, and admiring time go by.

Then I heard a booming voice from above, "Where am I? Where am I?"

My first instinct was to drop on my knees and pray; just in case God was checking on me as He probably does all of us from time to time.

I held my hands together and closed my eyes in prayer. The voice continued, "Where am I? Where am I?"

I half-opened one eye and looked left and right to see if anyone was there. An angel with a tenor voice perhaps, like Pavarotti used to have. There was no one there.

I looked up at the trees, in case there was an escaped pet parrot, also with a tenor voice. Apart from some birds like sparrows, tits, robins, pigeons and a squirrel, there was no parrots there. I realise that the squirrel is not a bird, but he just happened to be there.

As I got up from my knees the voice shouted again, "Where am I? Where am I?"

I looked up at the sky and up there was a hot-air balloon. It was losing height and about to land. The pilot shouted, "Where am I? Where am I?"

I replied, "You can't fool me mate. You're hiding in that basket up in the air!"

What a weird stupid way to play hide and seek. I tell you.

Wednesday 10 June 2020


Imagine you were there at the time of the Crucifixion. One of the crowd. Watching. What would you do?

Shout "Crucify Him!" and jeer? Remain silent? Argue with the soldiers and the Pharisees? Plead with Pilate and Herod perhaps about this injustice? Or run away?

Now imagine the injustice of babies killed day after day. Torn apart limb from limb. Condemned to death without even a trial or the opportunity to defend their innocence. Killed before they are born.

Imagine also the injustice of people being persecuted because of their faith. Attacked, injured and even killed for their beliefs.

Imagine the injustice of people suffering poverty. With little or nothing to eat, perhaps through no fault of their own. Whilst elsewhere people enjoy many luxuries and spend as if there is no tomorrow.

Imagine the injustice against many innocent people languishing in prisons everywhere through false or no evidence against them at all.

Imagine the injustice of the sick and the elderly with no one to care and to love and cherish them. Imagine the injustice of their loneliness with no hope on the horizon. Waiting for death as their only way out.

Imagine the injustice of all the prejudices in the world that alienate and separate people from each other, leading to fear, suspicion, and even violence.

Imagine God saying, "I gave you this beautiful world for you to enjoy and to live in peace with each other. Look what you have done to it!"

Tuesday 9 June 2020

These boots are made for walking

What's all this about going out for a walk? What is the point, I tell you. Why not act civilised and stay at home and do something sensible. Like watching football on TV.

Ideally, I like to sit at the piano, with a glass of wine on the side, and perhaps a cigar or a pipe, and play some long forgotten tune from the past. Now that's romantic. And better than going out for another walk with the dog.

The problem with that scenario is that I don't smoke, and I don't drink wine, and I can't play the piano either. We don't even have a piano. We have a toy xylophone. It's out of tune since I accidentally stepped on it. We only bought it because it is in the book of alphabets under X. It was either buying a xylophone, or an X Ray machine.

By the way, it reminds me when I went to hospital for a check-up. They asked me to take all my clothes off and stand in front of this X Ray machine which took a photo from head to toe. Funny, I don't remember eating all those bones!

Anyway, I hate it when they say let's go for a walk.

Where to?

Oh ... just there and back?


No reason.

Well, I've just been there and back and beat you to it. Now leave me alone to watch the football.

But you'll get some fresh air.

I can always turn the fan on for that.

And you'll get some exercise. You need exercise.

I get all the exercise I need my pressing the buttons on the remote control.

At last, they went for a walk and left me in peace to watch the football. I got interrupted by a text message from a lady friend of mine.

I hate this new text speak, don't you? Shortened words like OMG, BTW and LOL. I thought LOL meant lots of love!

I texted her back, "Sorry to hear your mom has died. LOL"

She thinks I'm a heartless **** My family think I'm an idiot. And Heaven knows what you think.

Right now, I'll sit back and watch this video again and again ... that will be my exercise for the day.

Monday 8 June 2020

Are you blessed?

Matthew 5:1-12

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

What does Jesus mean by poor in spirit? Does He mean simple-minded people? People who are not so learned about theology, religion, doctrines and teachings of the Church? People who do their best to get along in life; and pray and love God within the limitations of their capabilities? Do I know someone like that? Do I pray for them?

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

We have all had reason to mourn in our lives. We miss loved ones. When we miss someone it means that their absence has had a positive input in our lives; in our presence. Let us make sure we miss the people and not the good times and experiences we have had in our lives.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Only if the greedy grabbing lot will let them inherit anything! These days, it seems, everyone is intent on looking after Number One first. It's all "Me ... Me ... Me ..." Am I one of those selfish people who cannot see poor Lazarus on my doorstep? Or that shy colleague at work? Or anyone else needing help but is too embarrassed to ask?

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Righteousness? What is that? Surely what is right in my eyes would be wrong in someone else's point of view. And I'm always right after all! There are so many people doing bad things in the world today. Wrong things. Thankfully, I am not one of them!

Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

Are we always merciful? Do we really forgive the wrongs done to us? Or do we bear a grudge and look forwards to revenge, retribution and just punishment when the time is right? Does the wrong done to us gnaw within our hearts to the point that it is like drinking poison and hoping the other person will be harmed?

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Pure of heart? What is that? Surely we all have some dark, or evil, or naughty thoughts and perhaps actions in our hearts! Lusting for someone or something. Envy. Greed. Jealousy. These are all natural emotions. Surely Jesus does not mean me specifically about this!

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

"I said peacemakers ... not cheese makers. Pay attention!" When there is a family argument, or some disagreement amongst friends or colleagues at work; do I immediately take sides? Do I think and weigh matters carefully before deciding on my position? Do I try to bring both sides closer together? Or do I act like a wedge between them separating both sides further apart?

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

There are many people in the world today persecuted and killed for just being Christian. Are they in my prayers and in my mind? Or are they too far away from my comfortable home for me to care?

There are many people standing up for righteousness. Speaking up for unfairness, injustice, poverty, evils and other wrongs in society. Where am I in this debate? I may not be able to stand up and join them physically but how do my daily actions compare with my beliefs? Is my behaviour one that God would be proud of?