Monday 31 August 2020



A man goes to the hairdresser and asks to have a haircut like Tony Curtis. The hairdresser shaves his head totally bald. The man is livid. "This is not like Tony Curtis," he said, "do you even know who Tony Curtis is?"

"Sure," replied the hairdresser, "I have seen him in the King and I three times!"

A few weeks later, when his hair has grown, the same man goes to another hairdresser. He says he wants his hair cut like Gary Cooper; showing him a photo of the actor to make sure.

The hairdresser shaves his head totally bald. The man is livid. "This is not what Garry Cooper looks like!" he cries.

The hairdresser replies, "He would do if he came here for a haircut!"

After a few more weeks, when his hair grew again, the man went to yet another hairdresser. This time he said, "I want you to cut my hair just like yours!"

The hairdresser shaved his head totally bald. The man is livid. "You shaved me bald. This does not look like your hair style!" he cries.

"Yes it is," replies the hairdresser, "but mine has grown since I shaved it!"


In olden days people were influenced by actors or singers they liked and saw in the cinema; or by sports personalities perhaps or other famous people.

These days, it seems, there are influencers everywhere. You don't have to be anything special or have any particular talent to be an influencer. There are influencers all over social media - FB, Twitter, Blogger and so on. Everyone it seems is an influencer. People who have appeared on a TV reality show with no particular talent apart from being a moron are suddenly propelled to public attention and become major influencers to a multitude of similarly brainless followers on social media. If they appear on TV with their backside showing, immediately their mass following would copy them and walk the streets mooning everyone including the moon!

I often watch adverts on TV as a distraction from the boring programs they put on. I am told all these adverts are wasted on me.

"Do you know who that woman in the advert is?" I'm asked.

"No idea ... she looked stupid prancing about like that," I reply. And then I'm told she is a famous personality ... singer ... dancer ... athlete ... or whatever ... and that a lot of people will buy the product because of her in the advert.

I wish I was a great influencer. But sadly I cannot even influence my dogs. We have two dogs called Sit and Stay. Whenever I call them they get really confused and don't know what to do. When I point and say, "Go to bed!" they ask, "Who's Fred?"

You know ... years ago, Jesus was a great influencer. He was a power for good. He did good and preached goodness, peace and love. He still is a great influencer even now. Sadly, not many people care to listen or follow His advice or teachings. Perhaps He should be on social media.

When you think about it ... He could be ... and is ... on social media. Through us. Through whatever we write and say on our FB page, or Twitter or whatever else we have joined. We could be influencers on His behalf. Let our tweets and blogs be what He would want to read.

But not only on social media ... we could be influencers for Christ throughout our lives. Whatever we say or do is often seen by others. Whether we are parents, teachers, lawyers, doctors, car mechanics or whatever ... what we do and how we live is seen by others. They may like how we behave and wish to copy us. When we suffer some misfortune, the way we behave and act may well influence and encourage others in their bad times. When we have good times, our cheerfulness and gratitude may well rub off on others who may emulate our behaviour.

Yes ... I guess we can all be influencers for Jesus. We don't need to be famous to do it.

Now then ... where are those dogs? I need to teach them how to fetch a ball when I throw it. I'm fed up going all the way up the park to get the ball whilst they laugh at me!

Sunday 30 August 2020

I am prejudiced

A few years ago I spent the morning at an old lady’s house waiting for the doctor to make a house-call.

Eventually the door bell rang and standing there was a young man in his late twenties wearing yellow jeans, a tartan style red shirt with no tie, and a sports jacket.

“I’m doctor Grange,” said he.

I let him in without a word and the old lady said: “You’re not Doctor Stuart; he’s my doctor you know!”

“Doctor Stuart is away, I’m new with the medical practice,” replied the young man as I left the room to give them some privacy.

As I waited in the hall I thought about this young man and, I must confess, I took an instant dislike to him. A doctor in jeans, indeed! And so young, what can he possibly know about medicine; he’s probably hardly ever practiced, still in diapers and just out of school.

Then it occurred to me. A light bulb switched on within my head and a message flashed in huge letters.

What a terrible thing prejudice is.

Just because he is young doesn’t make him a bad doctor. He’s probably the best qualified from his University and since he must have recently entered into practice his knowledge must be really up to date. Unlike an older doctor perhaps. (More prejudice.)

And so what if he’s wearing jeans? He’s probably off-duty and was advised by his practice to visit this old lady in the absence of her regular doctor. He obviously doesn’t attend work dressed like that.

You know, it’s human nature to be prejudiced. We all have our likes and dislikes and we react differently to peoples’ appearances, attire, age, accents, and the multitude of other feelings we have towards each other.

We’d do well to be aware of this part of our human nature and learn to keep it under control.

When Jesus walked this earth, He must have met many poor people whose clothes were dirty and torn. Lepers too, as well as prostitutes and evil-doers of all kinds. He didn’t use our prejudices in order to avoid them and judge them.

Instead, He used pity, compassion and love to help them to a better life. Yet we, especially the Christian ones amongst us, still hold some prejudices if we are honest with ourselves and with our God to even admit it. I did not know I was prejudiced until I met Doctor Grange. Although I'll admit to something else ...

Also a while back, years ago, I had to visit a computer shop about something or other to do with my laptop. The assistant had  a tattoo on his neck. Somehow this raised all sorts of prejudices in me. For all I know this man was probably the most talented computer expert in the world, he was probably a Christian like me, (what a poor example I was), he probably donated money to charity or visited the poor in soup kitchens, or the old or the sick in hospital. But that tattoo on his neck became an obstacle in my mind between me and him. Actually ... he fixed the laptop for me in a few minutes ... and did not charge me for it because he said it was a small job! 

Anyway ... back to the doctor ... A few days later I had reason to take the same elderly lady to the doctor's; and I met Doctor Grange again.

Although it was a fairly warm day, Doctor Grange wore a suit and tie.

However, he had not aged much since the previous Wednesday.

I kept an eye on him to ensure he remedies the situation.

That incident made me think about myself. What are my other prejudices regarding people? Their accents, the way they dress, the fact they have beards? No ... can't be that. I have a beard myself. Having a beard makes a person look distinguished. Maybe my prejudice is that I don't like people with no beards? Maybe everyone should have a beard? Including women.

What do you think?

Saturday 29 August 2020

Don't Call Me ... I'm In The Shower!


I don't know if you have cold-callers where you live. These are people who ring your doorbell at the most inopportune time and try to sell you something or other which you don't need and don't want. Door-to-door salesmen mainly.

Now, I have mixed feelings about these salesmen. I don't like them because they always call when I am alone in the house doing something important. Like painting the ceiling or cooking an omelette, of painting an omelette and cooking the ceiling. Something which I find equally fascinating. Have you ever been fascinated? I was fascinated once. A nurse did it with a needle.

Those door-to-door salesmen can be very persistent, you know. As I was saying before I was fascinated by the pretty nurse. They ring the bell over and over again making our dog mad barking and running all around the house warning me of an intruder. He is good this way, which means I have to stop what I'm doing and answer the door.

But my dislike for salesmen is tempered by the fact that years ago I too used to be such a salesman. I was a door-to-door salesman selling doors to people. I had three sample doors strapped on my back and a small bag with other models and samples of locks, hinges, keys and other paraphernalia. 

I once knocked on a door, a real one, not the one on my back. Are you paying attention you lot, or just fascinated? 

I knocked on a door and a man wearing nothing but a towel round his waist opened it. He had obviously been in the shower as I knocked on his door.

I asked him if he wanted to buy a door, and he told me he already had more than one. I put the case I was carrying down on the ground and as I bent forwards to do this the doors strapped to my back hit the man hard on the forehead. He fell backwards like a boxer who'd been knocked down for the count; and in falling he dropped (or threw in) the towel - not a pretty sight!!!

What was I to do in this situation? Help stem the bleeding on his forehead with the towel; or cover his modesty bits with it?

As I was thinking what to do a huge Alsatian dog came running and barking out of the house.

I picked up my case, turned round and ran as fast as I could  with the heavy doors strapped to my back. The dog caught up with me and started jumping at the doors on my back as if he wanted to open and enter an imaginary room. He was too stupid to go for my legs. I kept running but could not look behind me because the doors obscured my view. I could hear and feel him jumping at my back as I ran as fast as my feet could carry me. Pretty soon, he got tired of running and returned back to his master, whom I could see standing up in his doorway, minus the towel, and waving his fist at me in the air. I think he was saying "Goodbye!"

Anyway, all this is leading to a door-to-door salesman who visited us the other day. That is despite our area being a "No Cold Caller" area. Some well to do areas are so designated by the Authorities prohibiting salesmen from calling on you unannounced.

So this salesman was ignoring the law to start with. What is more odd was his opening line.

"Good morning sir," he said, "do you ever think about death?"

I nearly replied that right now I'm thinking of his sudden death, seeing that he interrupted me. But I said nothing.

He continued: "I am Gilbert D Funct and I represent Pets In Peace, a new service provider just established in your town, and our aim is to share and ease your pain when your beloved pet departs this vale of tears.”
“Hein?” said I.

“PIP … that’s our initials. Pets In Peace will be there to provide you with a casket in which to place the remains of your dearly departed pet. We have caskets in all sizes for goldfish, budgies, hamsters, rabbits, cats, dogs and any other animal or insect which may share your home as a member of your family. All caskets are made to the highest standard of professional workmanship in mahogany, oak, elm, cedar wood and pine. And they are lined in satin or silk in a variety of colours such as white, black, and velvet being the most popular.”
I said nothing. So he asked me, "have you got a pet, Sir?"
"Yes ..." I mumbled, "down the farm we have some sheep and a pet goat; but we were planning on having a barbecue when it died! That is if it died in summer. Otherwise we would make a soup and freeze the rest!"
He looked perplexed for a while and then he continued, “Furthermore, sir, as part of our service we would conduct a solemn ceremony of whatever religious belief you desire, and then we would bury the casket containing the remains of your family pet on your property so you can visit him whenever you wish.”
"What if we have eaten the goat?" I asked, "would you bury the bones?"
He hesitated, and no doubt thought that he was on a commission if he got a sale, so he said, "yes ... yes ... that could be arranged!"

“What if I lived in an apartment!” I interrupted. “Would you bury the pet under the carpet?”

That certainly stopped him.

“Oh …” he said, “fortunately you live in a lovely house with surrounding gardens; but if you do not wish your pet buried here we have access to a pet cemetery.”

I took the initiative and asked him: “We had planned to flush the goldfish down the toilet … you know … naval burial and all that. Are your caskets water soluble?”

“Er … no … I don’t believe so …” mumbled Gilbert, obviously unaware of my sarcasm.

“And then there’s the cat,” I continued, having gained the upper-hand in this sales pitch, “he’d be too big to flush down the toilet. I’ve often wondered how we’d dispose of him after he’s used up his nine lives …”

“Are you familiar with cremation?” asked Gilbert gaining an advantage point.

“My wife is expert at that … judging from her many Sunday roasts! Perhaps she could do the same to the cat!” I said.

At this point, as luck would have it, she came in the house from one of her shopping trips.

“This is for you,” I said standing aside, “this gentleman has an idea on how to deal with our cat when we're away on holiday!" and I quickly rushed to the pub.

Friday 28 August 2020

In Cognito


Thankfully, I am not a celebrity. I am not well known. Apart from my close family and a few friends, not many people know me. When I walk the streets no one knows me, I hope. Sometimes not even my dog knows me. When I get home at night he growls at me and tries to attack me. Not being well-known suits me, I suppose. Because I am a shy kind of person. I am never the centre of attention. People would not notice me in a crowd. In fact they would not notice me if I was the only one there. I'd brighten up any party by just leaving it.

But enough of me. Let's get on with the story. 

A few months back, before all this staying at home trend ... oh ... by the way ... if I may digress ... as I often do when my mind wonders ... does anyone know how long is this social distancing thing supposed to last? Only my wife keeps trying to come into the house and I won't let her!
Being alone in the house is weird, I tell you. The trash bin gets out more often than me. The other day I started talking to a spider. He said he was a web designer. I needed something from the supermarket. I checked the internet. It said that a mask and gloves were enough to go shopping in. They lied, everyone else had clothes on. 

Anyway, as I was saying, I am not well known. A few months back I was in another town up North visiting relatives and I went to the shop to buy a new pair of trousers. I picked up a pair and went into one of those booth type places with curtains to try the trousers on. As soon as I got my own trousers off a shop assistant pulled back the curtains and said, "can I have your autograph please?"

Well I never ... I thought ... I mean ... I never gave my autograph to anyone without my pants. Or even with my pants, I hasten to add.

But he smiled and held out a piece of paper and a pen. I hesitated as I got dressed.

"I really like your songs," he said, "I have your records at home!"

"I'm afraid you're mistaken," I said putting the trousers back on the coat hanger, or is it trouser hanger? What do they call those hangers in shops for trousers? Anyway ... "I'm afraid you're mistaken," I said.

"You are Don Williams, aren't you?" he asked.

"No ... I am not," I replied, "I'm sorry to say that he is dead. He died a while back!"

"So, you're dead?" he asked.
I hesitated a while. Not something I do often. "No ..." I replied, "thankfully I am alive, but Don Williams is dead!"
He was either not listening, or he was unable to think; or probably both. Because he said, "I like your song Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa!"
He obviously got my brains all in a scramble because I stupidly said, "This is not one of my songs; Gene Pitney sang it, not me!"
"She is good," he said, "I liked her when she sang These Boots Are Made For Walking!"
I "signed" his piece of paper in a scribble and left the shop hurriedly before anyone else recognises me.

Thursday 27 August 2020

Signs Of The Times


Wherever you go these days you see signs everywhere. Traffic signs, road signs, adverts, signs in shop windows, outside churches, on the side of buses, vans and cars. Almost everywhere. Here are some I saw recently. On the motorway:
Here are a few other signs I noticed in my travels:
On a plumber's truck: "We repair what your husband fixed."

At an Optometrist's Office: "If you don't see what you're looking for, you've come to the right place."

On a fence: "Salesmen welcome. Dog food is expensive!"

At a Walmart store: “Win a free ride in a Police car just by shoplifting from this store.”

At the Vet's waiting room: "Be back in 5 minutes.  Sit!  Stay!"

At a Car Exhaust store:  "No appointment necessary.  We hear you coming."   

On a Church bill board: "Seven days without God makes one weak."

Outside a Church: “Honk if you like Jesus. Text whilst driving if you like to meet Him.”

Outside a tattoo shop:

Outside a pub:

On the side of a bus:

Whilst on holiday in Paris last year I entered a small restaurant and hit my head against a low doorway. I was taken to hospital. The doctor asked me, "Did you not see the warning sign in the restaurant?"

I said, "Yes I did, But I cannot read French!"

Boo boom ... Tskshhh (Sound of drum and cymbals!).

Wednesday 26 August 2020

On A Laughing Cruise

Mom ... mom ... I think I'm pregnant.
Are you sure the baby is yours?
What shall we call the baby?
We'll call her Nana ... she'll grow into it.

Knock Knock. Who's there?
Grand-dad. Quick ... Stop the funeral!

Man reading the obituaries. “Do you realise, every time I breathe in and out someone dies”.
“Try a better mouthwash”.

A woman was admitted to hospital with two burnt ears. Apparently she answered the phone whilst she was ironing. The doctor asked her how she burnt the second ear. She replied that it happened when she phoned for an ambulance.

The party was very successful and everyone was rather drunk. One of the guests approaches the hostess and slurs: “Do lemons have feathers?” She says no. “In that case I must have squeezed the canary in my drink”. 

Postman: Is this letter for you sir? The name's obliterated.
Man: No, my name's Peterson.

Mother: "The man named Lot was warned to take his wife and flee out of the city, but his wife looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt". 
Daughter: "What happened to the flea?" 

A man takes his dog to the vet and asks "Have you got something to cure fleas?"
"That depends" says the vet, "what's wrong with the fleas?"

Hey don't bring the dog in the house; it's full of fleas.
Thanks for telling me. I wouldn't want to bring the dog in a house full of fleas! 

Archaeologists make the best marriage partners. The older you get the more interested they are in you!

In a survey conducted in London 95% of respondents said "I don't know". They were asked "What is the meaning of  Je ne sais pas."

The doctor told me to avoid all dampness because of my arthritis. I now sit in the bath and vacuum cleans myself.

When I die, I hope to do so quietly in a bed surrounded by my loved ones. Not like my uncle. He died with a lot of people shouting and screaming all around him as he drove the bus over the cliff.

My neighbour is such a hypochondriac when he dies they'll bury him next to a doctor. 

I went to see my doctor the other day. The poor man was ill, and it's nice to visit the sick, isn't it?

Whilst I was in hospital they took a full head to toe X ray of me. They showed me the photo. It was strange. I don't remember eating all those bones!

Binoculars is in the plural. The singular of binoculars is telescope.

I told the doctor I have water on the knee. He told me I am not aiming straight.

I took my first girl-friend to a French restaurant. She had frogs' legs. But the rest of her body was pretty.

The doctor asked me, "Do you have trouble passing water?" I told him I get dizzy crossing a river.

He has teeth like the Ten Commandments - all broken.

Two flies walking up a mirror? One says to the other, "That's another way of looking at it!"

A skunk running down the forest. Suddenly the wind changes direction. He stops and says, "Ah ... it's all coming back to me now!"

My grand-father used to say, "Always fight fire with fire!" That's why he lost his job in the fire brigade.

My other grand-father told me, "Always take everything with a pinch of salt!" Mind you, he made a terrible cup of tea.

My other grand-father said to me, "Remember son, if you walk a mile or two in someone else's shoes you'll be arrested for stealing them!"
If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to see it. Does it remain standing?

"Dad, where do I come from?"
I gulped and explained in details where babies come from. He said, "Funny that ... because my friend Peter comes from London."

The new pregnancy test clinic in town is very popular ... there's a nine months’ waiting list.

What a grand sunny day it is today. If I was working I’d take the day off.

I always plant my herbs in alphabetical order. People ask me where I find the time. It’s there next to the sage.

I haven’t heard from my friend since he became a mime artist.

I got this new deodorant stick. The instructions said, "Remove cap and push up bottom." I can barely walk with it, but when I "toot" I smell real nice.

I used to be a Bingo caller at our Catholic Church Club. I called the numbers in Latin to make sure only the Catholics win.

What do you call a sleep-walking Pope? A roaming Catholic.

A man goes to the hairdresser and asks to have his hair cut like the Pope's. The hairdresser tries his best to remember what the Pope looks like and ends up doing a bad haircut. The customer is livid and says, "the Pope does not look like this!"

The hairdresser replies, "He would do if he had his hair cut here!"

Isn't medical science wonderful? They can do so many marvellous things these days. Imagine they could transplant a new arm on your back. You'd be able to scratch the parts your current arms can't reach. Also, you'd be able to scrub your own back in the bath.

Imagine they transplanted an eye on your big toe. You would not stub your toe when walking in the dark. Or step on that Lego brick someone left on the floor. 

You could shove your foot from under the blanket in bed and look out for any intruders whilst your asleep.

Medical science can make you look younger these days. They've invented this powerful vacuum suction machine which they put on your head and it sucks up all your loose skin, making it tighter and young looking.

A man I know tried it. They put the machine on his head and it sucked up all his skin upwards. He now has his navel pulled up to his forehead. He also has a very unusual tie.

And now for something completely Heavenly ... ... ...

Three women die together in an accident and go to heaven.

When they get there, St. Peter says, "We only have one rule here in heaven: don't step on the ducks!"

So they enter heaven, and sure enough, there are ducks all over the place.

It is almost impossible not to step on a duck, and although they try their best to avoid them, the first woman accidentally steps on one.

Along comes St. Peter with the ugliest man she ever saw.

St. Peter chains them together and says, "Your punishment for stepping on a duck is to spend eternity chained to this ugly man!"

The next day, the second woman accidentally steps on a duck and along comes St. Peter, who doesn't miss a thing. With him is another extremely ugly man. He chains them together with the same admonishment as for the first woman.

The third woman has observed all this and, not wanting to be chained for all eternity to an ugly man, is very, VERY careful where she steps.

She manages to go months without stepping on any ducks, but one day St. Peter comes up to her with the most handsome man she has ever laid eyes on ... very tall, long eyelashes, muscular, and thin.

St. Peter chains them together without saying a word.

The happy woman says, "I wonder what I did to deserve being chained to you for all of eternity?"

The guy says, "I don't know about you, but I stepped on a duck!"

Tuesday 25 August 2020

Bubbles ... Bubbles ...


There I was dressed in my best suit and heading for an important business meeting in the City.

I got out of the taxi and walked on the sidewalk towards the building I was heading for when suddenly I was showered from above by what appeared to be a green “gunge” smelling of disinfectant. I really don’t know where the unpleasantly sticky, semi-liquid substance came from. I looked up at the tall building and there were a few windows open. Anyway … no time to go in and try to complain.

My head, hair, raincoat and suit were totally covered by the substance.

I rushed into the building where I was to have my meeting and headed for the Gents Toilet.

Have you ever tried to wash your hair in those tiny wash basins? Water bounces off everywhere and strategically lands on the front of your trousers with embarrassing results! I can’t go to the meeting like that! What will they think of me?

I tried bending backwards like a limbo dancer and standing under that contraption which blows hot-air to dry your hands in the hope that I could at least dry my trousers a little. But … dash it all … I was interrupted several times by people coming into the Gents so I stood up quickly and pretended to dry my hands. At one stage a lady cleaner came in to clean the toilets and eyed me suspiciously and walked out saying nothing.

I gave up drying my trousers and tried to wash the gunge from my hair instead. It must have been an industrial strength liquid because it started to foam profusely like shampoo on my head. The more I put water on it the more it foamed but eventually I got most of it off. Now to dry my hair under that hot air dryer! Dash it all once again … someone came in suddenly and as I got up with a start I banged my head hard against the infernal contraption knocking my glasses off to the ground.

I now turned my attention to my raincoat and suit. Pointless adding water to them I thought. I have no time and must rush to my meeting. I used a million paper towels and wiped off any excess substance that had not yet permeated into the material and headed for my meeting.

As luck would have it … Oh thank you God, thank you … the meeting had been cancelled due to some other business emergency.

Great … I headed back home.

My return journey on the train was somewhat hot and a strong smell of disinfectant filled the air in my vicinity. A few passengers sniffed at me suspiciously and moved away to other seats, or stood by the open windows. I pretended not to notice.

As I walked back home from the railway station it started to rain and I was forced to put my raincoat on. The water reactivated the green gunge which started to foam. The more it rained the more it foamed as I ran home followed by millions of brightly colored soap bubbles filling the air behind me. People stopped and looked at me thinking I was a walking advert for soap powder. It brought the traffic to a standstill as drivers switched on their windshield wipers to wash away the soapy substance from their cars.

When I got home I threw the raincoat into the washing machine with a good dose of washing powder.

Big mistake!

The green gunge combined with the washing powder to create even more bubbles. I rinsed the garment several times and every time the machine discharged its load through the drains the bubbles insisted in floating away in the garden rather than disappearing with the rest of the water. On and on the bubbles floated away decorating trees, bushes and everything in their way.

I opened the washing machine and more bubbles came out invading my whole house and threatening to evict me from my home.

I grabbed my vacuum cleaner and headed for the garden intent on capturing as many bubbles as possible in mid-air before they covered the entire world.

I put on my Wellington boots which are usually kept just outside the back door for emergencies. No sooner had I walked a couple of paces than I felt a slimy feeling in my left boot. I hurriedly pulled the boot off to discover that a family of snails had set up home in my boot and were now in the final throes of agony around my toes before meeting their Maker.

It started to rain again popping the bubbles in mid-flight; so I gave up and left bubbles and snails to their own fate as I retrieved the raincoat from the washing machine to find it had shrunk sufficiently to fit a Barbie doll … or should that be a Ken doll? 



Sunday 23 August 2020

On the Radio



Saturday 22 August 2020

Me and my friend Jesus



Friday 21 August 2020

Where's My Willie?


This morning we had a dilemma on our hands.

My Willie Nelson, went missing. We looked everywhere and could not find it. First, I looked in the obvious place. Not there!

Not in the garden, not in the cupboard, behind the sofa, under the bed, or anywhere in the house; inside or out. Not in the garage, not in the car, or indeed not anywhere. Willie Nelson went missing.

I knew my Willie was not hiding in some orifice or corner somewhere because he is totally claustrophobic. He does not like the dark!

He is the only tortoise I know who gets really stressed about going back into his own shell. He hibernates in winter with his head and legs hanging out of his natural home. He prefers the outdoors. We have to wrap his head in a small scarf we've knitted for him and put his legs in home-made socks to keep him warm.

We've had Willie Nelson for two years and he shares the garden with Don Williams the rabbit and Johnny Cash the hamster.

They often lunch together and have picnics as they wander about always under the watchful eye of someone in case they get through the hedge to the neighbour's garden. 

At night they are put in their cage for safety. 

Willie is always out in the garden early in the morning jumping and running around with his friends Don Williams and Johnny Cash, whilst Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette watch them from their perch by the window.

I suspect that last night we forgot to put them in their cage. This morning Don Williams and Johnny Cash were there in the garden ready for breakfast; but no Willie Nelson.

We asked Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette if they'd seen him and they kept repeating, "Pretty Dolly ... Happy Tammy ... Pretty Dolly ... Happy Tammy ..."

Being a tortoise, we did not think Willie Nelson had gone very far. We searched everywhere as already mentioned and we could not find him. 

We printed leaflets with his photo, (the tortoise, not the singer), and we pinned the leaflets to trees and lamp posts in our area. We posted leaflets in neighbours' houses asking them if they'd seen Willie; but to no avail. No one had seen him.

Then this evening he was found. 

He was up a tree in our garden. There he was. Sitting on a branch some twenty feet up from the ground. Totally unperturbed and happy with his surroundings.

How did he get up there? I thought. Tortoises don't usually climb trees do they?

More to the point, how do we get him down? It's certainly not something I'd want to do, climbing all the way up there.

Perhaps if we called him down and we all held a large sheet into which he would fall safely? No use. He is as deaf as a deaf bat ... sorry, only simile I could think of on the spur of the moment.

I phoned the pet shop. The man there told me that perhaps he took fright at something he saw and ran up the tree. Now I'll admit that last evening I did venture in the garden with my skin softening and conditioning cream on, and a curler or two in my hair; but that would not have frightened Willie, would it? 

Eventually, a friend who is not afraid of heights came round and brought Willie safely down to terra firma. You should have seen him waggling his little tail and jumping at our legs in delight. I mean Willie Nelson was jumping at our legs, not our friend! Don Williams and Johnny Cash were so happy to see Willie that they chased each other round the garden as they often do when playing whilst Dolly and Tammy sang in unison.

Totally exhausted, we put them in their cage with extra food to celebrate.

We still don't know how Willie got up the tree. Any ideas?

Thursday 20 August 2020

Help me, doctor!

The doctor wrote saying it was time for my annual check-up. They wanted to check that my sense of humour was still intact. 
As part of the check-up I had to go to the hospital to give blood. I hate doing that, don't you? For a start, it is too far away requiring either a long drive or a couple of buses, (not at the same time - you ride a bus up to a point then change for another bus. I don't think you're paying attention).

Anyway, I decided to send a friend to give blood instead of me. Handed over my card and hey presto it was done. They don't check your identity in hospital. They just take your card and your blood.

A few days later I got a letter from the doctor about the blood test result. It said I was pregnant. I was in shock. How could it have happened? My friend did not tell me she was pregnant; it didn't show. Can you become pregnant by giving the wrong blood at the hospital?

I did not dare tell my wife I was pregnant. She wouldn't understand. Neither can I to be honest. She'd be upset. Angry even.
Should I confess to the priest that I am pregnant out of wedlock with my wife?

I rushed to my doctor for an explanation. As I waited outside her Insulting Room a nun came out crying her heart out.

I entered the doctor's room and asked, "Why is that nun so distraught and crying?"

"I told her she was pregnant!" replied the doctor still looking at her computer screen.

"Is she?" I asked, thinking the nun must have given the wrong blood too.

"No," replied the doctor, "but I sure cured her hiccups!"

She then explained that she often tells her patients they are pregnant to elicit information from them. She said she suspected something was wrong when the blood donation I gave at the hospital recently was a completely different type blood than the one they have on record about me. 

I did not say a word about the urine sample my friend took to hospital for me. It was not mine. It was the dog's.

I wonder if he is pregnant too!

Wednesday 19 August 2020

Facts you may know ... or not

There are so many facts, or so called facts, we read about or are told about in life. They stick in our minds and perhaps we believe them. But are they true? 

In the next few minutes you will learn some facts which I have researched thoroughly in a scientific book I am writing - so they are all true.

For example, you must never go swimming after you've had a meal. My grandfather once went swimming straight after eating a burger and fries and was attacked by a shark. Luckily he survived because the shark was vegetarian. 

Talking of swimming, or keeping fit to be more precise; a friend of mine has just started work as an Internet Fitness Coach. I asked him how this works. He said he teaches people to lift the keyboard up and down ten times, balance the mouse on their nose, and do press-ups on the monitor.

Anyway ... let's move on ...

Did you know that after mating the octopus does not smoke eight cigarettes? This is because it cannot light them under water.

When pursued, the centipede detaches one of his legs which he throws at his pursuer. The hunter stops to eat the leg and the centipede runs away to hide. Unfortunately, most of them get killed anyway when they return to retrieve their lost shoes.

In Scotland scientists have successfully bred chickens and turkeys with four legs so that people can have more legs at Christmas and Thanksgiving. Unfortunately the birds ran away so fast that no one could catch them. 

The cat can run up to 40 kilometres an hour. Faster if he is in a racing car.

A statistician in Cambridge UK has worked out that there are 98 different ways to tie a tie. Unfortunately at the 99th attempt he choked himself to death.

There's a museum of failed products. It exhibits products that have been invented and marketed but never caught on as commercially viable. One such product is toilet paper with no perforations. Originally, the idea was to buy a long roll of paper and a small packet of perforations which you put in the paper yourself.

Another failed product is a super glue that sticks everything to everything. It failed because people could not take the cap off the tube.

Psychologists have discovered that most burglars are lazy and will not break-in into their neighbours' houses. They burgle their own homes instead.

Zoologists have discovered that hyenas tend to laugh at their own jokes. That is why very few of them are stand-up comedians. 

Also, slugs are claustrophobic snails who are afraid to live in their shells.

Skunks have great memories. Whenever the wind changes suddenly a skunk would stop and say, "Ah ... it all comes back to me now!"

House flies have compound eyes made up of thousands of individual visual receptors, called ommatidia. When a fly lands on a mirror it says, "That's another way of looking at it!"

The octopus is a delicious delicacy enjoyed in many countries. Unfortunately the dish is very expensive because the octopus runs so fast with his eight legs that no human can catch him quickly enough. On the rare occasion an octopus is caught and taken to the kitchen he wrestles with the cook and throws all the knives and kitchen utensils all over the place. When he is sometimes over-powered and put into a large pot of water, the octopus uses his free tentacles to turn off  the cooker.

In Wales UK a farmer fed one of his cows cocoa beans in the hope that he would get chocolate milkshake. When he got down to milk her she kicked him in the head because she prefered strawberries.

Marriage Guidance Counsellors report that generally husbands do not remember their mistakes. There is no point in both couple remembering the same thing. Also, husbands are best at keeping secrets because they never listen anyway. And archaeologists make the best marriage partners; the older you get the more interested they are in you.

I am very good at keeping secrets. Years ago friends of mine got married in secret in a far away town. They only invited very few well trusted friends like me. On the morning of the wedding I called a taxi at my hotel. The taxi driver asked me where I wanted to go and I did not tell him. He asked several times and I kept the secret safe with me. 

In Victorian times a popular pastime was pressing dried flowers between the pages of books. The hobby has had a great comeback since I started publishing books. I visited a friend recently and he had one of my books on a shelf in his garage. It was covered with dust. I opened it and it was full of dead moths and silver fish.

I commented about this, and he said he was keeping it as a Christmas present for someone he doesn't like.

Tuesday 18 August 2020

I don't believe ...

I believe ... ... ... that the reason that the world is in the state it is in these days is because too many people have ceased to believe.

There was a time, yonks ago, when people believed in things. And that belief, however true, or however tenuous, kept people focussed, either individually or collectively, and the benefit or outcome of that focus was for the good of society in general.

Wait a minute till I read that last paragraph again. You might wish to do the same. I think it is important in what I am about to say next.

You see ... in far away times, people believed in things. They believed they should work hard and better themselves. They believed in the family. Looking after their own ... wives, children, siblings, parents or grand-parents. They believed in education. They believed in country. They believed in society ... we're all in this together and all that ... only then, they truly meant it.

They believed in responsibility. Theirs as well as that of others. They knew the difference between right and wrong. They encouraged the former and punished the latter. 

Some even believed in God ... many more than these days it seems. They believed in His omnipotence as Creator of everything. They obeyed His rules. Some believed in Jesus His only Son. 

In them days I speak of, they also believed in the devil; for he exists all right. You can't believe in God and not believe in the devil.

They also believed in Heaven and hell. In a final judgement. They even believed in eternal life after our physical bodily death.

And then things changed ... gradually but surely ... they changed. 

I don't think people believe in anything these days. 

I doubt many believe in personal responsibility. Whatever happens in life it is always someone else's fault. The Government, my parents, my teachers, the education system, my health, my bad luck, God even ... it is His fault that this is happening to me ... it is never my personal responsibility.

They certainly don't believe in the family considering the increasing number of divorces, children born out of wedlock, dysfunctional families, uncaring parents and children and so on. Not forgetting of course abortions, euthanasia and the increasing number of elderly people left to fend for themselves or packed into a care home to look after them. I guess a good slogan for such homes should be "We care so you don't have to!"

People don't believe in, or know, right from wrong any more. It is all right to do this as long as I am not found out. It isn't wrong really. 

They don't believe in society. There is no such thing as society, country or collective loyalty. It is all me ... me ... me ... As long as I am OK and I can do my thing my way.

Many certainly do not believe in God any more. 

The tenets of life have become easy and simple. We are born. We live. We die. Period. Full stop.

There is no such thing as Heaven or hell. A God with a beard sitting on a cloud somewhere judging people. Sending some to hell; where devils with horns and tails, wielding three pronged forks, prick people in the backside as they push them into fiery furnaces. The imagery of burning fires consuming tortured souls no longer holds much credence these days.

People generally no longer believe in all that. It is stuff of folklore. Legends. You might as well believe in tooth fairies or other such tales.

People no longer consider the devil as an evil spirit intent on wreaking havoc and chaos throughout the world. They don't believe it because they don't necessarily believe in spirits ... souls. They don't even believe they themselves have a soul (spirit); how can they be expected to believe in good and evil spirits like angels and demons?

The main focus in life these days seems simple enough. Materialism. Consumerism. Comfort. Possessions. Gratification ... I'll leave you to add some more words here ...

Of course, I am not saying that everyone is behaving in the way I have described; but it seems to me that the pendulum is fast swinging towards a significant number to make a difference throughout the world.

The devil ... I guess he is silently smiling.

God, I believe, is still in control of events, and will always be. He is allowing it to happen because in a way, we have asked Him to. We have told Him, in no uncertain terms, to keep out of our lives.

Let us not test His mercy and patience too much.

Monday 17 August 2020

Son of God?


It was Christmas day. Father Ignatius was celebrating morning Mass. He approached the lectern and asked, "Who is Jesus?"
A young girl up front raised her hand and said, "He is the baby in the crib behind you!"
The priest was taken aback for a split second but quickly recovered, "Yes ... yes ..." he said, "you are correct Yvonne. Let us have a round of applause for Yvonne!"
After the applause died down the priest continued, "We are taught in the Bible that Jesus is the Son of God. Indeed He claimed it many times. That is why He was put to death. But how can we be so sure that this is indeed the case?
"We know that from days of old God taught His people through the works and writings of the prophets. God inspired the prophets what to write. God talked to people directly. People like Abraham and Moses. It is through these writings in the Old Testament that we are told ... or foretold ... about Jesus.
"Did you know that there are more than 300 prophesies about Jesus in the Old Testament that He fulfilled in His life?"
He stopped for a while to let the message sink in. He continued.
"Some prophesies He had no personal control over. I have prepared a short list of prophesies from the Old Testament. You can get your copy from the narthex as you leave.
"Let us look at the prophesy of Christ's birth which we celebrate today. The prophet Micah a contemporary of Isaiah, wrote this some seven hundred years before Jesus was born. It's in Micah 5:2 ... Bethlehem you are one of the smallest towns of Judah, but out of you I will bring a ruler for Israel, whose family line goes back to ancient times.
"In Isaiah 7:14 he says, a young woman, meaning virgin in the Greek translation, who is pregnant will have a son and will name Him Emmanuel.
"In Isaiah 9:6 we read, For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
"In Psalm 41:9 we have the prediction that Judas will betray Jesus in the words, Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me.
"In the Psalms, written by King David some thousand years before the birth of Jesus, he says in Psalm 22:16-17, Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet. All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me.
"Later he says, They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.

"And in Psalm 22:8 King David says, He trusts in the Lord, they say, let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him."

Father Ignatius stopped again for a few seconds. A trick he had learnt to ensure his congregation were listening. After a while he went on.

"As I said earlier, there are about 300 prophesies in the Old Testament about Jesus which He fulfilled in His lifetime. Prophesies about where He would be born. The manner of His death and suffering, where He would be buried. The fact that on His death the Romans would not break His legs as they did to the other two crucified with Him. The fact that the Roman soldiers would divide His clothes amongst themselves and gamble for His robe whilst He hung from the Cross. And so on.

"Now to me, considering all these prophesies by different people and written at different periods of time, some spanning hundreds of years between them and all written hundreds of years before Jesus was born ... I believe that they must have been inspired by God, Who told these people what to write.

"Also, considering the mathematical odds or probabilities that Someone, born many years after the predictions have been made, that person fulfilling so many of them ... well ... the odds or probabilities must be millions to one. Would you not say?

"This Man Jesus, Whose holy birth we celebrate today, must be the one and only Son of God. 

"And those who deny it have not studied the evidence carefully and seriously enough. May God forgive them."

Sunday 16 August 2020

Vic On the Radio


Here is another short recording of my time on the radio.
This one features Father Francis Maple 
as a guest of the program.
(12 minutes long).
Father Francis' website HERE

Saturday 15 August 2020

We Trust In God


It was Friday afternoon. Father Ignatius was at the local Catholic school taking on the Religion class as usual. He always allowed a few minutes at the end for the students to ask any questions which he promised to answer honestly. There was no hiding from them. They were astute enough to know when he was not being straight.

The first question was aimed directly and with force, "how do you trust God?"

"Do you mean me, personally," he asked, cleaning his spectacles to gain thinking time, "or do you mean anyone in general?"

"Both," said the teenager, "you always appear calm and full of faith, Father ... how do you do it? How can you be so sure that things will be OK? How can we or anyone else be so sure? To have faith like Jesus said!"

"Yeh ..." joined in another young man, "it was easy for Him. He was Jesus. We are not. We can't have His faith can we?"

A young girl raised her hand and asked, "are you never afraid Father? Have you never wondered that things may turn out not as you want? It's one thing to say you trust in God; but trust Him to do what? What if things don't turn out as you wished?"

He put on his spectacles and motioned gently for some quiet.

"So many good questions," he said quietly, "I don't even know where to start. But I'm sure you'll remind me if I miss out your question!"

They laughed.

"The first question asked by Helen was how do I personally trust God," he said, "there is no magic way to trust God. In my case, I base my trust through personal experience. I have lived much longer than all of you and when I look back, there have been many difficult and sad situations in my life. At the time, I was worried, concerned, afraid even. But when I look back I realise that over all they turned out all right. They may not have turned out exactly as I wanted but generally they worked out well in the end. 

"Looking back, I now realise that God was with me at the time. So, over the years, I have learnt to trust Him. Trust is something you build up gradually. When you first meet someone new you are unsure of them. You chat, you get to know them, they get to know you, and gradually you build up a friendship and you build up trust!"

"Is that how it is with you and God?" asked Peter.

"In a manner of speaking, yes it is," answered the priest, "I have experienced many difficult situations in life. I guess at the time I panicked. Why me? I asked myself. I am a good person. I love God. I am a priest for Heavens sake; why is this happening to me?"

They laughed again. He had the knack of using humour to teach a lesson they'd remember.  

"But in general, all worked out well in the end," he continued, "God was there to protect me. And that has built more trust in Him. So now, when things do go wrong, I try to remember again events in the past and I try to trust Him again. It is not always easy, especially if the situation is really dire, but you have to trust God as best you can! But based on past experiences when God helped me I have learnt to trust Him more and more every day. Now, what was the other question?"

"Have you ever been afraid?" asked June, "that things would not go well ..."

"Yes, often ..." said Father Ignatius gently, "fear is a natural emotion. It just happens. Fear is good, because it teaches us to be careful, not to do dangerous things, not to be reckless. As we grow, we learn to control our fears. We learn to identify which are genuine fears and which are unwarranted fears based on our imagination perhaps, our tiredness, wrong information or understandings and so on. 

"But sometimes in life fear just happens especially in a dangerous situation. Let me explain. Once, years ago, I was visiting an elderly parishioner who was very unwell and not expected to live beyond the night. She lived in the Northern part of town which, as you know, is not that nice a place. It was late at night, it was raining and very dark. On my way to the car as I left her home a mugger pointed a knife at me."

He paused to judge their reaction.

"Yes ... I was afraid ..." he said, "I was not so much afraid of dying ... but I was more afraid as to how much it would hurt if he stabbed me!"

"Gosh ..." said one of the young teenagers, whilst the others remained silent.

"What other questions were there?" he asked to ease the tension. They remained silent. 

 "Look ..." he said, "life is not always easy. For some of us it is sometimes difficult. I hope you will not have many difficulties as you grow up. But you need to learn, now that you're young, to trust God every day. See Him as a friend, a caring Father, Someone who loves you. Jesus said to His disciples ... and to us ... 'I call you friend!' ... look it up in John Chapter 15 Verse 15 ...

"As a friend ... Jesus ... and God our Father, care for us. They will not see us perish and be lost to Him. Yes ... we will have difficult times; but God will always be there by our side. Protecting us. Jesus is but a prayer away. All we need do is call His name. 

"Trust God now ... when life is good and perhaps you're generally doing well in life. And that trust will grow when things get harder!"