Sunday 31 January 2021

The long line to Heaven


You're standing there in this long line of people stretching for miles and miles ahead of you, and similar longer distance behind you. All waiting to get into Heaven. You see the Pearly Gate in the horizon. It looks so tiny from this distance.

Ahead of you an Englishman murmurs to a Texan standing near him, "it's a long queue, don't you know? And it's moving slowly ... what?"

The Texan replies, "in America we call it a line, not a queue!"

"But we're not in America now, old boy," says the Englishman, "we're waiting to enter Heaven. Why is it taking so long?"

"Probably computer problems," informs his friend, "you know what it's like! New version of an old program. It was easier in the old days when St Peter had all our records in big tomes and a quill pen. The only way they can make this queue shorter is by asking people to stand closer to each other!"

You look again ahead and behind you. There are people of every race, every country and every religion it seems. People are speaking in different languages. You wonder whether St Peter at the Gate will understand them. He learned to speak every language at Pentecost. But now it's different. There are so many new languages and dialects and accents. Will he be able to understand that group from Glasgow over there? Not even the British can understand them.

Your mind wanders to your family. Your spouse, your children, siblings, parents, uncles and aunts and cousins. Where are they? you wonder. Ahead of you in the queue? Or behind you? Or are they in Heaven already? Or, God forbid, have they gone down without a parachute?

It would be awful if you are in Heaven and they are not.

Or, what if they are in Heaven and you are sent down to hotter climes?

You start thinking about your life. You were not exactly an angel were you? Remember that great argument you had with that family member? It wasn't your finest moment was it? If you think about it, you could have behaved better.

And your behaviour at work was not exemplary either, was it? Or your behaviour in life generally. With your spouse, your children, neighbours or colleagues. You may well have reasons, or excuses, to explain it all. But will St Peter see it this way? Or, more important, will God agree with your view of things?

You remember Christ's words, "‘Not everyone who calls me 'Lord, Lord' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only those who do what my Father in Heaven wants them to do."

But what exactly did God want me to do? You ask yourself as you feel a cold seat on your brow.

Your mind starts to wander again about those homeless people you saw in the park regularly on your way home from work.

You remember that once some colleagues in the pub were joking about Christianity and mocking the very existence of God. And you stood there, saying nothing, sipping your beer quietly.

How about the way you dealt with your staff at work? Yes, there were targets to be met, and budgets and profits to be achieved. But did you need to behave that way towards your team? Was that leadership or what some would call tyranny? 

Were you always gentle and kind towards those lesser able that you? Did you care and love your neighbour as your Lord commanded? Did you live as an example to be emulated or avoided?

In other words - were you Christ to other people?

Saturday 30 January 2021

Do not be afraid


Friday 29 January 2021

Coincidental Thoughts


I sometimes wonder whether my thoughts, idle and unpredictable as they sometimes are, more often than not anyway; do they, these thoughts, ever coincide with yours my many, or few, readers?

What I'm saying here, and getting no answer, is: are you thinking what I'm thinking?

I'm not talking about common thoughts like who came first, the chicken or the egg? Or why did the chicken cross the road? Or if a tree falls in the forest, and there is no one there to see it; does it remain standing?

No ... my thoughts go deeper than that. For example: the Nobel Prize. There's a Nobel Prize for Peace, Literature, Physics, Chemistry and so on. Why is there not a Nobel Prize for colouring-in with crayons? Surely this would encourage aspiring artists to do better in life?

Then there's the Oscars. Awarded to actors, directors, films and so on. And the Emmy Awards and other awards given to so many people in the entertainment world. Why is there not an award for the ugliest actor? Or the worst singer? Or the most boring celebrity on TV? I bet you could think quite a few candidates for these awards.

Then sometimes my thoughts turn to mundane things like life and how we live it from day to day. We can't all be flash, (British word meaning ostentatiously stylish or expensive), with new clothes, fast cars, yachts and private planes. Some of us lead more pedestrian lives and have to go upstairs several times a day and once there forget why they got up for. Well, I now started to right down on a piece of paper why I need to go upstairs. And I make a point of not going upstairs until I have at least three reasons to do so. Sometimes I walk around downstairs with plaited legs, (another British saying meaning legs held tightly together - intertwined), until I can think of another two reasons to go upstairs to the bathroom or wherever.

The problem often is, when I finally get upstairs, I find out I left the piece of paper with the reasons written on it downstairs. That's when I discover a new reason to be upstairs and I get changed.

And that's the thing with mundane daily thoughts that are neither here not there. In which case, where are they if they are neither here nor there? That's another conundrum for you to solve for me.

Then there's the adverts on TV. I understand that the whole purpose of advertising is to get people to buy the product or service on offer. What gets me is when adverts, often in the same segment within a break in the TV program, tend to be contradictory. For example, only today there were two adverts following each other for famous alcoholic drinks. One was for a well known brand of spirits, and the other for beer. They were then followed by a public information advert advising you to drink responsibly or preferably not at all. Who has juxtaposed these ads together? Besides, if there were no alcoholic drinks whatsoever how could people get drunk? 

Oh ... and how about cheese? Those of you who are connoisseurs of various cheeses will know that some cheeses like Gruyère, Jarlsberg, Emmental and others have holes in them. They are hard, or semi-hard, cheeses with holes in them. So when you buy a wedge of these cheeses you are in effect buying the holes which are part of the weight you are paying for. Think about it for a minute. You buy a block of cheese. Inside it there are many holes capturing air within the cheese itself. Air has a weight. So when you buy the block of cheese you are in fact paying for the weight of air captured within the block of cheese.

I have resolved this problem, after hours of thinking about it, by only buying these delicious cheeses in pre-packed sliced versions. Because the cheese has been sliced before packing, any pockets of air have been emptied of such previously captured air, and consequently has not been weighed when the packet was sealed and priced.

Spontaneous combustion. That's another thing that's been on my mind lately. You know, people suddenly catching fire for no apparent reason. I was wondering. Can people have spontaneous combustion when in the shower? How does that work? Do they suddenly become alight and the water from the shower turns them off? What if they get out of the shower? Do they set alight again? Must be terrible to have all one's hair singed and wet at the same time.

And walking in one's sleep. We've all heard of that. But do people ever run in their sleep? Or do they bang their face straight into the door or wall and wake up with a nose-bleed?

What if you open a window in winter? Does the cold air from outside come in, or does the warm air in the house go out? I've often wondered about that. 

Anyway, these are my idle thoughts that cross my mind time and again. How about you? What does tax your mind these days?

Thursday 28 January 2021

A holiday to remember

I was on holiday in Greece many years back. One of the Greek islands. Can't remember which. Greece is so beautiful. You should visit some time.

I went touring here and there and ended up in an old taverna-type building near the sea housing a barber who also shared with a part-time plumber. He had three tables set out on the side-walk and was also serving coffee to passers-by. 

I must say straight away I was not impressed by his wine list. That's because he didn't have any. 

All he had to offer was a glass or two of retsina. It's a white wine infused with the resin of pine trees and tastes like turpentine. It can also be used as an after-shave lotion. A gulp or two quickly reaches the parts of your body that you were not aware existed and dulls them to oblivion. It is second in potency to ouzo. Another local drink whose potency certainly challenges that of any man.

I sat there in the hot sun drinking retsina and ouzo and wondering what I had made of my life, and why my girl-friend back in England had left me having stolen my shoes as she went. I had come here to forget her, which partly I did. It was the memory of those shoes that brought her back to mind.

I must admit I got to like the ouzo. And the retsina too. Hot sun, sea and drink. What else could anyone want? Apart from shoes?

I looked at the semi-deserted beach not far away. There were only four young women there. Probably on holiday just like me. They did not look local. They were having fun and one of them was taking photos of her friends. I wondered whether any of them had ever stolen her boy-friend's shoes. I thought of asking them; but thought better of it.

A few minutes later I was joined at my table by a man wearing a heavy fur coat. He could have sat at any of the other two tables available on the side-walk, but he sat at mine. Doesn't that annoy you? It's like when there is a totally empty car park at the supermarket and someone comes and parks near you.

I was intrigued that he was wearing such a heavy fur coat in this sweltering hot day. He was not a local. Probably another tourist who had not been acquainted of the local custom of wearing light, thin clothes in such heat.

It was so hot that the birds were using a jackhammer to dig worms from the ground. The fish in the sea were already parboiled. The chickens in the yard behind the taverna were laying fried eggs; so hot it was. I noticed the few trees around were fighting over a dog. 

I was about to ask this man at my table why he was wearing such hot clothing when he spoke first.

"Vood you laike to poorchase a fur coater!" he asked in an accent I did not recognise. He was certainly not a local, as I explained, judging from his attire. 

"A fur coat?" I exclaimed, "in this weather? A fur coat?"

"Eet Eeez faux-fur!" he replied looking left and right to ensure no one else heard him. He wanted to be inconspicuous. Which I'll admit he was, considering what he was wearing. Right in the middle of Greece, with people wearing bikinis, or almost nothing, and this man in a heavy fur coat would go totally unnoticed. Not one person would claim to have seen him.

"Faux fur?" I muttered, repeating what he had just said.

"Yeas ..." he whispered, looking behind him, "like in French faux fur ... faux pas! Understand?"

"Faux pas?" I said, "you mean you have the wrong father? Are you adopted?"

"No ... No ..." he continued, "not zee faux pas laike zee daddy. Faux pas ... laike in pas de deux!"

"Aha ... I understand," I said, "your father is the father of two children! You have a brother, or sister, no doubt!"

He seemed annoyed and impatient at the same time. I'm not sure which came first. He asked again, hissing through his teeth which reminded me of the Ten Commandments. All broken.

"You want poorchase fur coater?" he spluttered.

"No!" I said emphatically.

"How about one kilo of zee cabbages?" he asked.

I must admit the leap from a faux fur coat to a kilo of cabbages mystified my overheat semi-conscious mind. I took another sip of ouzo and said, "No thanks!"

"I have zee goat for sale," he insisted, "going cheap ... also a canary ... he going cheap cheap too ... also carpet ... you laike zee carpet? Anee sizes anee colour but not green. No have anee green carpet. Laike to poorchase one?"

"Yes ..." I said, trying to get rid of him, "I'd like to buy a carpet. But it must be a green one. No other colour will do. I'd like a green carpet. It will go well with my yellow settee and armchairs back home in England!"

I thought for a moment I had foxed him. 

He said, "wait here ... I go get it ..." and ran away at the back of the taverna pretending to be a barber's shop and a plumber's place of business.

I continued drinking my ouzo, satisfied and triumphant that I got rid of him.

When I woke up, my shoes had gone. I still had my passport, wallet, money and everything else. Only my shoes had gone.

Do you think my ex girl-friend hired him? Was he my ex girl-friend dressed incognito? 

I am totally confused and shoe less. She was called Ruth. So now I am also ruthless.

Tuesday 26 January 2021

21st Century Parables




Monday 25 January 2021

I wish we'd all been ready

Sir Cliff Richard OBE


Life was filled with guns and war
And every one got trampled on the floor
I wish we'd all been ready
Children died the days grew cold
A piece of bread could buy a bag of gold
I wish we'd all been ready

There's no time to change your mind
The Son has come and you've been left behind

A man and wife asleep in bed
She hears a noise she turns her head he's gone
I wish we'd all been ready
Two men walking up a hill
One disappears and one's left standing still
I wish we'd all been ready

There's no time to change your mind
The Son has come and you've been left behind

Life was filled with guns and war
And every one got trampled on the floor
I wish we'd all been ready
Children died the days grew cold
A piece of bread could buy a bag of gold
I wish we'd all been ready

There's no time to change your mind
How could you have been so blind?

The Father spoke the demons died
The Son has come and you've been left behind

Don’t get left behind
Don’t get left behind
Don’t get left behind

Sunday 24 January 2021

Sleep-walking into hell


Father Ignatius’ sermon started with a warning.

“You will not like my sermon today!” he declared.

“In fact I don’t like it myself and I would rather be giving you a different sermon. A gentle one which tickles your ears and makes you feel warm and comfortable.

“The reason I don’t particularly like this sermon is because perhaps it speaks to me too as well as all of you.

“When Jesus was raised to Heaven He gave His disciples and all of us a Mission. He asked us to go and preach the Good News about God and about Him.

“But are we doing as He asked? I mean each one of us in our daily lives, within our families, at work or wherever we may be? I don’t mean of course that you need to stand on a soap box in the middle of the street and shout at the top of your voice. Or knock from door to door and try to convince people on their doorsteps. Some people do just that and I admire their courage and determination.

“What I mean is” he paused for a moment to concentrate his listeners’ attention, “what I mean is, do people who know you recognize you as a disciple of Christ?

“Is there anything in your behavior or your character that is different? Something which makes people say ‘he or she is a Christian you know!’ Even in a derogative sense; at least it shows they’ve recognized something in you which is different.

“St Francis of Assisi advised his followers to preach the Gospel by the way they live.

“When people look at us do they see Christ in us?

“More important, when you look at the mirror in the morning do you see Christ there?”

He stopped again to ensure his point struck home. He then repeated slowly.

“When you look in the mirror do you see Christ?

“Our Lord said ‘Not everyone who calls me 'Lord, Lord' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only those who do what my Father in Heaven wants them to do.’

“In other words we can assume that there are no parrots in Heaven!”

The congregation laughed silently. Father Ignatius went on.

“God requires from each one of us action throughout our lives. Each one of us is tasked, to the best of their abilities, to do something in their lives, just a little, day in and day out, to put Christ in someone else’s life.

“We can’t all be Mother Theresa and leave our native land and go help others elsewhere. And indeed God does not ask us so to do … not all of us anyway.

“To most people He asks that we live Christ everyday … in our families, at work, at play or wherever we go and whatever we do.

“It is not enough to go to church on Sunday, and then get on with our own lifestyles the rest of the time.

“Nor am I saying that we should spend our lives on our knees collecting scars and calluses. That is not the first thing that St Peter will check for when you get to meet him!”

They laughed quietly again.

“God does not want us to endure this life. He wants us to enjoy it. And at the same time He wants us to tell others that there’s better to come when we meet Him in Heaven.

“We can each do as God asks in our own way … and best of all by living the Gospels day after day.

“Instead … I fear; there are too many so called Christians who are sleepwalking their way into hell!” 



Saturday 23 January 2021

The delivery


Something very strange happened recently. I can hardly believe it. But I remember it as if it was yesterday. That's because it was yesterday when it happened.

I was about to sit in front of the TV and record a football game over and old recording of Downton Abbey. Why do people bother to record Downton Abbey I do not know. There's no car chases in it and people wear funny costumes. But it was the only DVD disc we had left and I thought I'd record over it. No one would notice, and anyway they repeat Downton Abbey so often that we can record it again in a few days time.

As I was saying, as I prepared to record the football game, there was a knock at the door. I opened the door and there was this delivery man there from one of the Internet shopping websites trying to deliver a horse. He tried pushing it through the letter box but the horse was too large to fit through the small aperture normally designed to accept letters and small packets.

So I asked him, "First of all, why has this horse got black and white stripes all over it? Is it the bar code that someone forgot to remove? And secondly, why did you not ring the bell as any normal person would have done?"

He was totally nonplussed. So much so that I did not understand what the word meant and had to look it up in the dictionary afterwards. Something you might care to do as well.

He replied, "It is not a horse Sir. It is a zebra. Secondly, I did ring the bell but it does not seem to be working. That's why I knocked at the door!"

"Of course the bell works," I replied totally unfazed by his impertinence, "here let me show you."

I let him in the house and shut the door. Then I pressed the bell button once or twice. 

No response.

I pressed the button again and kept my finger pressed for a long time.

Still no response.

I pressed once more and kicked the door hard.

Totally no response.

I then realised two things.

I had been locked out of my own house. And I had not ordered a horse, or a zebra, on the Internet.

In total panic I muttered to myself, "what do I do now?"

The horse did not care. It just snorted "Pfffftttt ..." like horses often do. 

I left the horse, or zebra, there and ran through to the back garden where fortunately the back kitchen door was unlocked.

I entered the house. The delivery man was sitting in my armchair, watching the football on TV and, to add insult to the non-delivery of a horse, he had eaten all my doughnuts I had ready on a plate.

"What do you think you are doing?" I asked rather disappointed by his behaviour.

"Oh sorry," he said, "the football was on and I did not hear you ring the doorbell. Thanks for the doughnuts by the way. I just got a text message on my cell-phone. The zebra is not meant for you anyway. Must go now."

He did not even bother to record the game. 

Downton Abbey wins again!

Friday 22 January 2021

Readers - We have a problem


This post may not be suitable for readers with a nervous disposition. 
Please have someone else read this for you. 
Or read it with your eyes closed!
And please keep an open mind ...

Some people snore in their sleep. Others talk in their sleep. Whilst others indeed walk in their sleep. I knew someone who used to eat in his sleep. He'd wake up in the morning and find he'd eaten half a pillow. He also often dreamt he was at a marshmallow factory. But that's another story.

What I want to tell you is about myself ... rather embarrassing, but ... here goes ...

I ... it seems ... so I am told ... apparently ... sing and tell jokes in my sleep.

The other night, I understand, I was singing songs from the musical Oklahoma. A few days ago it was "Old McDonald had a farm"! I was practicing my vowels ... I said vowels ... "E ... I ... E ... I ... O"

I then tend to lean forwards as if receiving tumultuous applause and recognition from an appreciative audience - a standing ovation no less.

What is worse, it seems, is that I also tell jokes. Original ones.

Now years ago, I used to compare variety shows to raise money for charity and I often did stand-ups telling jokes and introducing the next act. So I can see how such distant memories can now trigger and  replay from my sub-conscious into my dreams. What I find interesting is that my brain seems to make up new jokes which I enjoy and then include in my Blog posts.

However, what I find somewhat disconcerting is that my dreams also seem to involve you ... yes you ... my loyal and very welcome readers.

It seems that when I sing or tell jokes I also name you in my repertoire. I say something like, "I hope you have enjoyed this song (name)." Or "Now I am sure that (name) will enjoy this joke ..." and I proceed to tell the joke.

As you can imagine, naming people in one's dreams is somewhat embarrassing and it has been difficult explaining who all these real people from my virtual Internet world are. Obviously, I've never met you, and do not really know you. So how come you are featuring in my private dreams?

And it's not just you. The other day I dedicated a song to Eleanor, who happens to be our neighbour's dog; and also to Christina his pet parrot.

So my real world and my virtual Internet world are combining with songs and jokes in my dream world with embarrassing results.

I went to see my doctor about this intriguing phenomenon. She asked me whether I ever mention her in my sleep. I said, "No."

She was very upset and asked, "Why? Am I not as attractive or as interesting as all those other people?"

She got very jealous that my dreams seem to prefer you and a dog and parrot but not her. After a bit of a heated discussion where I tried to re-assure her that she was just as important as all of my friends and animals, she calmed down a little and gave me some horse pills which a vet friend of hers gave her for nightmares.

The problem is that the pills are the size of golf balls. OK I suppose for a horse; but too large for me to swallow. So I grind the pills using a pestle and mortar and dilute them in plenty of water.

As you can imagine. Taking those horse pills with gallons of water has had side effect.

Being up in the bathroom all night has stopped my vivid dreams.

OK ... better stop here. Have you heard the one about ... ... ...

Thursday 21 January 2021

Chat? I don't like to chat!


I do hate it when organisations I have to deal with, like electricity, gas, water, TV or cellphone providers, insurance people or whatever, insist on you having a "chat" with them. 

I go to their website and discover that the only two ways to communicate with them is by phoning them, and waiting for three lifetimes before some idiot deems to reply, or via on-line chat. There is not option of sending them an e-mail. I could write by snail mail but by the time my letter reaches them they would probably be out of business because of their poor customer care. Good job too!

I do not want to chat. On-line or otherwise. I want to express my problem and hopefully get you to solve it, you faceless corporation intent on just making profits and raising my blood pressure.

Here's a record of a recent chat:

- Hello, my name is Elenora. Please type your username.

- Irate Troll.

- Please type the first letter of you password.

- X

- Please type the last letter of your password. 

- X

- That's two Xs

- Yes my password is Xylophonemix.

- You should not have said that.

- What?

- Xylophonemix.

- Why not?

- Because now I know you password.

- Of course you do. It is on your computer for you to check I typed the correct first and last letter.

- You will have to change it.

- What?

- Your password.

- Now?

- No ... not now.

- If not now, when?

- After we have finished this chat. How may I help you?

- For a start by not having a chat. If I want a chat I can talk to my cat. His name is Julien Antoine. He is a French cat - or chat!

- How may I help you?

- The cellphone I bought from you is not working properly.

- Have you checked it is the cellphone which is faulty and not your telephone line service provider?

- How do I know? When I try to phone someone it is always engaged.

- Let me check for you. Please wait a moment.

(A million moments later, plus another two million moments more ...)

- Hello ... are you still there?

- Yes I am still here. I was checking with our technical department.

- Sorry. I thought it was dead.

- I am very much alive, Sir.

- I meant I thought the line was dead. Not you. I said "IT"

- There appears to be a problem with the line. We will e-mail you shortly. Is there anything else I can help you with?    

- Yes. Why can I not e-mail your company rather than this online chat?

- It is more convenient for our customers and more efficient for us this way.

- It is neither convenient nor efficient. I have wasted half-an-hour chatting with you about everything except the weather and you still have not solved my problem. It would have been quicker if I e-mailed you and then you can check with technical department to your heart's content and reply when you have solved the problem.

- Is there anything else I can help you with, Sir?

- No!

- Thank you for your call.

- Thanx.

- Would you please complete a customer satisfaction survey of your experience with us?

Wednesday 20 January 2021

Hotel Reservation


Can I book a room for me and my swan please?

I beg your pardon, Sir?

A room ... for me and my swan. She is waiting in the car.

A swan, Sir? That's very unusual.

Yes ... a swan. What's so unusual about that? It says on the notice at your door, "Pets Allowed".

You have a swan as a pet, Sir? By pet we mean a cat, or dog, we'll accept them ... not a swan.

Now look here ... it does not specify at the door what kind of pet you mean. Mine happens to be a swan. I am here in town for the falconry exhibition and contest. I am here to enter my swan at the contest.

You're entering a swan in a falconry contest? How does that work?

What do you mean how does it work? I hold my arm outstretched like so. I hold a small piece of meat in my hand ... fish actually ... swans don't eat meat ... they are vegetarian. The swan flies from on top of a tree and lands on my arm!

The swan is a big bird, Sir. It must be very heavy for it to land on your arm.

Of course it is. I once broke my arm in three places.

What did you do?

I stopped going to these three places.

Why not practice falconry with a small bird ... like a falcon? Or a hawk? Or owl?

When I started I used a chicken.

A chicken, Sir? But a chicken does not fly.

Oh, we sorted that minor problem. A friend of mine used to throw the chicken at me from a distance and get it to land on my arm.

Did it work?

Not really ... one of the falcons ate the chicken.

Have you tried frozen chickens from the supermarket, Sir?

Good thought ... good thought ... Now have you got a room for me and my swan?

We have a double room. Would you mind sharing with a man and his crocodile?

Sunday 17 January 2021

Happenings in my life

Every now and then I think back at things that happened in my life and ask: Why me?

No one ever answers. Perhaps you will.

Years ago, when I lived in London, a neighbour phoned in the middle of the night, about 3:00am, and said, "Your dog barking is disturbing my sleep."

I said, "Sorry", meaning what are you talking about? Rather than being apologetic. I was half-asleep at the time.

The next morning, I remembered what happened and was upset, especially since I don't even have a dog. So at 3:00am the next night I phoned my neighbour and said, "I don't have a dog!"

When I moved to another house in London, the same thing, only different, happened again. A woman neighbour phoned me at night and said, "Your horse is in my garden!"

Rather stupidly, I replied, "Sorry!", like I did before.

The next morning I went to see her and I told her I have no horse. She said, "that's OK, it was only a  nightmare!" 

Horse ... nightmare ... get it? It comes to something when I have to explain my jokes.

When I moved up North I had a neighbour who imitated birds. I did not mind that she ate worms; but I got really annoyed when she pooped on my car!

Oh come on ... that was a good joke! You're a tough audience.

I was in my early twenties and lived in London. I got involved in politics and could have run for office locally. I used to spend a lot of time during elections knocking on doors and asking people if we could rely on their support; or answering any questions or problems they had in mind. 

I remember once I was with another colleague. We knocked on a door and a young 15 year old opened. I asked, "Are your dad or mom in?"

He shouted upstairs and said, "Daaad ... there's a man to see you!"

A voice from upstairs replied, "Bring him up!"

My colleague decided to stay at the door. I followed the lad upstairs and he took me to a bedroom where a man and a woman were in bed.

He said, "Yeh ... what do you want?"

You can imagine a 22 year old talking politics with a couple who had other things on their minds. 

On another occasion I was knocking at doors in an apartment block. As I was talking to a man at his door, I noticed a woman in her early thirties I would guess, walk up the stairs and say, "Hello Mr Farthing!" to the old gentleman I was talking to. He greeted her back, and she walked up the stairs to the level above. 

After ten minutes or so talking to him; I walked up the stairs to the higher level. We had been taught always to be honest with the voters and give a true answer to questions asked; even though it would not be what the voter wants to hear. They respect an honest politician even if their views differ from our Party.

When I rang the door bell at the apartment above, the woman I saw before opened the door totally naked. She was wearing nothing but a smile. She had obviously seen me knocking at doors and had been waiting for me.

She said, "Yes ... what do you want?"

I was honest. I said, "I forgot ..." and ran away.

Politics taught me a lot!!!!!!

God is getting old


Father Ignatius’s car had broken down just on the day he had to drive to the City miles away. Somehow he was glad this had happened because in all honesty he hated to drive long distances, especially when it involved negotiating busy traffic in the City.

He phoned his local garage for help and just as luck would have it, or was it a God-incidence, one of the managers was due to travel to the City that very day and he was happy to take Father Ignatius to his Conference and drive him back the same evening.

Oh what a God send Gerald was as he and the priest set off on the long journey. For once Father Ignatius could relax and not worry about the driving.

A few minutes into the journey Gerald started the conversation.

“I was thinking Father,” he said, “do you reckon that God has mellowed with age?”

“What do you mean?” enquired the priest.

“Well …” continued Gerald, “in the Old Testament we see Him full of wrath and anger sending floods everywhere and pestilence on the Egyptians and all sorts of bad things to those who did not tow the line. He behaved like a right monster at times, thumping people on the head if they did not obey Him.

“And now we’re told He’s a loving, caring, forgiving Father who has our best interests at heart. Why do you think He changed strategy? Did His first plans not work?”

Father Ignatius laughed.

“I’m amused that you think I know all about God’s plans,” he said, “the Almighty does not confide in me you know …”

“Maybe not Father! But you must admit it is a total change of tactics from anger and wrath … and you must admit the Bible says in the Old Testament things like vengeance is mine … and I am a jealous God … and all that. And now it’s all gentleness and sweet love … at least that’s what you priests lead us to believe.

“Why doesn’t God thump people on the head and into line these days? The world is going to ruin and His sweet love will get us nowhere …”

The priest laughed again at Gerald’s direct and forthright way of putting things.

“OK … let’s analyze what you’ve been saying …” said Father Ignatius, “on the face of it … it does appear that there’s a great contrast between the description of God in the Old Testament and the description in the New Testament.

“Now what I’m saying here is purely my opinion, you understand. I don’t have a hotline to God and I’m not privy to His strategies and plans …”

Gerald smiled and nodded.

“We tend to see God from our human perspective,” continued the priest, “we see Him with human understanding and we attribute to Him human qualities, plans, strategies, emotions and so on.

“But God is God. And man is man. We cannot possibly understand Him from our viewpoint, nor should we attempt to do so.

“Now it could well be … and this is me guessing here you understand Gerald … it could well be that the people at the time of the Old Testament were accustomed to being led … being guided … and told what to do.

“Can you imagine for instance one man … Moses … guiding a multitude of people out of Egypt, promising them a better life elsewhere, and going round in circles in the desert for forty years?

"This wouldn't happen today.

“In modern times people would have set up committees to discuss the project, appointed several managers to chair sub-committees and devised multiple budgetary plans and operational strategies … all before their poor overworked wives had time to pack the luggage and prepare the kids to leave Cairo.

“Yet in the Old Testament one man said let’s go … and they all went.

“True … they argued and rebelled along the way … and Moses dealt with it in a forthright manner as you advocate …”

Gerald laughed.

“So it could well be that God treated people in the Old Testament days the way they expected to be lead and the way they understood,” said Father Ignatius, “With firmness where necessary … yet at all times with fairness and compassion.

“This is only my opinion … as I said.

“And it could be that in His own time, according to His will, God decided to send Jesus to us in human form to teach us … to show us God’s infinite love, and to forgive and redeem us through His death and Resurrection.

“Jesus in human form had to be kind, and gentle and compassionate to portray God’s infinite love. And He taught us in the Lord’s Prayer about a loving Father caring for His children and always ready to provide for them.

"It would have been pointless to have a ruthless commanding Jesus forcing people to obey Him. This does not depict God's love for us, which is so infinite, that He gave up His own Son to die for us.

“Hence the contrast between the Old and New Testaments …”

At this point a huge truck overtook their car and moved back into lane so close that Gerald had to swerve sharply in order to avoid a collision.

“Stupid idiot …” shouted Gerald, and then muttered something else unrepeatable under his breath.

After a moment or two as the two men calmed down a little Gerald continued, “There are times Father, when I wish God would deal with people the old fashioned Old Testament way!”

Father Ignatius said nothing but prayed silently that God may forgive Gerald for his immediate reaction under pressure.


Saturday 16 January 2021

Honour your Father and Mother


It is a fact that some of us, if we're fortunate, will grow old. And as we grow old, some of us may well become ill, some will live alone, some will struggle with day to day tasks, and many will have their families living far away.

Our children will grow up and move to other places to find jobs and to start a family. Other children will probably fall out with their parents, perhaps as a result of a family argument, and cease to contact their parents. Whilst some other children will just be too busy with the day-to-day stresses of life to maintain contact with their parents.

It is also a fact that some of us, as we grow older, will become cantankerous, argumentative pains in the neck working our way down South. Not everyone can be as pleasant and nice to be with as I am. And so it follows, that such old people will make it difficult for their families to visit them as often as they should. In some cases, perhaps for safety's sake, it will be necessary for children and parents to meet no longer.

Then there is another fact. Many years ago, God commanded on a tablet of stone, "Honour your father and mother."

Now I ask myself, how much of a duty is that on every son and daughter, and how serious a sin is it if we ignore it?

Many amongst us can claim that our lives are too busy with the responsibilities of work, raising a family, looking after our own children, and so on and so forth, to be able to visit our parents frequently. Especially if they live too far away.

Others can claim that they fell out with their parents because of a serious family dispute, and indeed it is for their own safety, and that of their children, that they don't visit their parents any more.

Others will claim that their parents have become the proverbial in-laws; and whenever they visit them, their parents are always criticising and creating a dividing wedge between husband and wife; especially if they never approved of their choice of partners in the first place.

These, and many other supposedly valid reasons have resulted in parents and children no longer seeing each other.

I have known several lonely elderly people in my time. One old lady was so lonely seeing no one from day to day that every week she took the bus to town and back just to be with other people on the journey.

Another left the TV or radio on all day and night just to hear the voice of someone speaking; and she left the lights on all night for fear of being alone in the dark.

Another old lady living alone just talked to her dog just to exercise her vocal chords. She said her throat dries up if she does not speak to anyone all day.

And yet another old man died alone at home and was not discovered until days later when the postman wondered why his mail was piling up behind his door.

Loneliness, especially in old age, is the scourge of a modern society awash with electronic communications devices.

What is the point of having hundreds of "friends and followers" on social media if none visit you when you're old?

So, my message to every son and daughter is: "What will you say to God when you meet Him about the way you honoured your parents"?

And for every parent, old and not so old, "What will you say to God about the way you helped your children obey that commandment?"

I wonder what God would respond.

Friday 15 January 2021

Mistaken Identity


Have you ever been mistaken for someone else? A celebrity perhaps? An actor or singer? Tell us about it.

Some years ago I was at a coffee bar in London. I remember the man serving behind the counter. He'd had a charisma transplant. I mean he had all charisma taken away from him. Hardly the sort of person you'd put at front of shop meeting customers.

Anyway, I was sitting there with my latte coffee when I was approached by two young ladies. They were French, judging by their accents. They could have been Belgian or any other nationality for all I knew. But they had a French accent.

"Excuse moi ... me ..." said the first one, "you are being zee actor from zee America TV show Friends? N'est ce pas?"

I awoke from my daydream and mumbled, "Hein?"

"You are Jennifer Aniston!" she declared. 

Now I can assure you that I do not look one bit like a woman. Whether it is Jennifer Aniston or anyone else. For a start I have a beard.

I was about to say something when the young lady interrupted me by adding, "my friend 'ere ... she says you not Jennifer Aniston ... you is Gregory Peck. Zee man from zee film Magnum who is friends wiz Monica Geller!"

Well, to cut a long story short, I spoke to them in perfect French and put them right. I told them I was the man who plays the gorilla in the film King Kong, and that I was on my way to an audition for the part of a dinosaur in the latest version of Jurassic Park. 

They believed me and got my autograph!

The other day, the same thing happened again.

I went to see the doctor to check up on my sense of humour. As I entered the Insulting Room I said, "Morning doctor ... you must be new here. Not the usual doctor I always see".

"I am not the doctor," he said, "I am the painter, as you can tell from my paint stained clothes, the pots of paint, and the brushes".

"Why are you in the doctor's office?" I asked.

He was rather irritated. Probably related to the coffee bar worker in London from all those years ago.

"Because the butcher, the baker and the candle-stick maker do not want their premises painted," he said with total lack of charisma and a personality as welcome as a fart in a space suit.

"But ... but ... I have come to see the doctor!" I mumbled.

"You won't see him today," he growled, "he is sick!"

"Oh dear ..." I sympathised, "I hope it's not serious!"

"That's a blue herring," he replied picking up a pot of blue paint.

"Actually, it is a red herring!" I corrected him, "not blue."

He looked at the pot of paint in his hand, which confirmed it was blue. He shook his head and said nothing.

I ventured a question, "Do you have a relative who works in a coffee bar in London?" I asked.

He replied, "Coffee is not everyone's cup of tea!"

Thursday 14 January 2021

How much is that piggy in the window?


Man enters pet shop and looks around. Shop assistant approaches him.

Man: I would like to buy this Guinea pig please?

Shop Assistant: Certainly sir, let me get him for you.

Assistant picks up Guinea pig and puts him in a small box with holes on cover for it to breathe. Buyer looks at animal which instantly rolls over with feet pointing upwards.

Man: Hey ... this Guinea pig is dead. He is as stiff as a board. Look how he rolled over.

Shop Assistant: He is not dead, sir. He is hibernating.

Man: Hibernating? It is the middle of June!

Shop Assistant: Yes sir, he is from South America. They hibernate in summer in South America. If he was from Northern Europe he would hibernate in winter.

Man: So he will remain stiff until winter?

Shop Assistant: Not necessarily. A quick ten seconds in the microwave oven will soon revive him.

Man: I don't believe you. He seems dead to me. Look, his eyes are wide open, and his fur is beginning to fall off.

Shop Assistant: All right. I'll let you have it for half-price.

Man: Half-price? I'd expect a bigger discount for a dead hamster.

Shop Assistant: Guinea pig ...

Man: All right. A dead Guinea pig ...

Shop Assistant: I tell you what ... I'll let you have it for free if you buy another Guinea pig as well.

Man: OK ... I'll have that one too.

Shop Assistant places another Guinea pig in the box.

Man: He seems rather slow moving to me ...

Shop Assistant: That's because he has a bit of a migraine. He was at a party last night. You know ... all that dancing and singing ... and the drinks and the girls ... He must have a bit of a hangover this morning.

Man: A party? He was at a party?

Shop Assistant: A funeral actually. And a get-together afterwards to celebrate the deceased's life.

Man: Who died?

Shop Assistant: This other Guinea pig. But he did not turn up to his own funeral.

Man: Why not?

Shop Assistant: He was up for sale at a reduced price!


Wednesday 13 January 2021

Interesting Facts

Scientists have counted the number of heartbeats a mouse has in a lifetime and found a direct relationship with its size and weight. They then did the same with an elephant and found the relationship/ratio between the number of heartbeats and the size of the elephant to be the same as that of a mouse.

This means that all creatures have a number of given heartbeats in a lifetime commensurate with their weight and size.

A mouse being small and fast-running has a very fast heart beat. He therefore uses his allotted number of heartbeats quickly and dies in a matter of a few months.

The elephant on the other hand has a slower heartbeat per minute and lives much longer.

From this we deduce that humans too have a given number of heartbeats allocated to them at birth; give or take a few heartbeats either way.

And the faster we use our heartbeats the shorter our life would be.

This is a good reason why we should all be fat and sit in front of a TV with a large pizza rather than waste our heartbeats jogging, playing football or other sporting pursuits.
Scientists also tested another relationship between the elephant and the mouse. They put both in a chamber and then simulated lack of gravity, like you find in space, to see whether both creatures would float at the same time despite their size and weight. When they switched the gravity machine off both creatures fell to the ground. Unfortunately, the elephant fell on the mouse and killed it. Thus proving that no matter how many heartbeats you have allocated to you, don't let an elephant fall on you.

Another interesting fact about animals, or insects, involves crickets. You know, those little creatures who chirp incessantly throughout the night in summer.

Well, apparently the number of chirps they make per minute varies depending on the weather. The hotter it is the more chirps per minute; as many as forty or so chirps a minute in really hot steamy nights. But as the weather gets a little cooler the number of chirps a minute is less.

At a temperature of zero degrees centigrade the insect does not chirp at all because he is totally frozen  out his head.

In England every year people gather for a worm catching contest. They go out in a field and tap the ground with sticks imitating the sound of rain. This excites the worms which come out of the ground to the surface and are quickly caught and put in a bucket. The winner is the person who catches most worms in a given period of time.

Last year no one caught any worms in the contest.

It rained all day and they held the contest in the local church hall and the worms could not dig through the concrete floor.

Women who wear perfume are more likely to be bitten by mosquitoes than those who do not. That’s because mosquitoes are attracted to the gentile scent of perfume.

The same does not apply however for men who wear after-shave. This is because men tend to use too much after-shave lotion and they smell like mature manure thus attracting flies instead.

Men who drink a lot, especially liquor such as whisky, rum, vodka and so on, tend to turn mosquitoes into alcoholics when they suck their blood.

An old friend of mine used to drink at least a half-bottle of whisky or rum a day. He lived to age 92 and when he died he was cremated. It took the fire brigade a week to put the flames out.

Tuesday 12 January 2021

Talking Phones


I do hate it when I phone a big organisation and an answering voice rather than a human replies. The world population is 7.8 billion. Why can't these companies find just one person to speak to me on the phone?

Here's a recent conversation.

-  Your call is important to us. You are number 1,000,000 in the queue. Please hold.

Dirge funereal music to put me in the mood. Ten weeks later ...

-  Please press 1 if you are an existing customer. Press 2 if you wish to join us as a new customer. Press 3 if you wish to leave us. Press 4 if you have lost the will to live. Press 5 to hear these options again.

-  As an existing customer please type your account number followed by the # key.

-  17746358#

-  We do not recognise this account. Please type again followed by the # key.

-  17746385#

-  Welcome Victor S E Moubarak. Please speak clearly the nature of your enquiry.

-  YOU ... HAVE ... SENT ... THE ... WRONG ... SHOES ...

-  You wish to purchase a pair of shoes.

-  NO ... YOU ... SENT ... WRONG SHOES ...

-  You require red shoes.

-  NOOOOO ... YOU DEAF ***** !!!!

-  You wish to purchase Def Leppard music CD.

-  NO ... I ... WISH ... TO ... SPEAK ... TO ... A ... HUMAN ...

-  You wish to purchase hummus. This is mashed chickpeas blended with tahini, lemon juice, and garlic.


-  You have pressed 1 - your call is important to us. You are number 233,416 in the queue. Please hold.

NOTE: Does anyone wish to buy a pair of shoes? Female. One red. One green. One with high heel. One not high heel. One size 9. One size 11. Cost price £19.99 - I'll pay the postage!!!

Monday 11 January 2021

Quote Unquote


When writing a letter, or a text or e-mail; read it carefully in case you can be misunderstood.
Here are some quotes from letters to Housing Associations and Insurance Companies.

Letters to Housing Associations.

"I wish to complain that my father hurt his ankle very badly when he put his foot in the hole in his back passage."

"I am writing on behalf of my sink which is coming away from the wall."

"Will you please send someone to mend the garden path. My wife tripped and fell on it yesterday and now she is pregnant."

"Will you please send a man to look at my water, it is a funny colour and not fit to drink."

"I am a single woman living in a downstairs apartment and would be pleased if you could do something about the noise made by the man I have on top of me every night."

"This is to let you know that our lavatory seat is broken and we can't get the News Channel."

The following are allegedly real quotes from insurance claims

Question: Could either driver have done anything to avoid the accident?

Answer: Travelled by bus?

"I didn't think the speed limit applied after midnight"

"The other car collided with mine without giving warning of its intention."

"I collided with a stationary truck coming the other way"

"A truck backed through my windshield into my wife's face"

"A pedestrian hit me and went under my car"

"An invisible car came out of nowhere, struck my car and vanished."

"I was thrown from the car as it left the road. I was later found in a ditch by some stray cows."

"Coming home I drove into the wrong house and collided with a tree I don't have."

"The guy was all over the road. I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him."

"I had been driving for forty years when I fell asleep at the wheel and had an accident."

"My car was legally parked as it backed into another vehicle."

"I told the police that I was not injured, but on removing my hat found that I had a fractured skull."

"I was sure the old fellow would never make it to the other side of the road when I struck him."

"The pedestrian had no idea which way to run as I ran over him."

"I saw a slow moving, sad faced old gentleman as he bounced off the roof of my car."

"The gentleman behind me struck me on the backside. He then went to rest in a bush with just his rear end showing. "

"No one was to blame for the accident but it would never have happened if the other driver had been alert."

Sunday 10 January 2021



Saturday 9 January 2021

Marge R.I.P.


Our hamster died. Her name was Marge. This is short for Margaret; or short for margarine. I don't know if you've got it where you live?

Marge to mean Margaret; not margarine. I'm sure you have margarine where you live. But do you have the name Marge as well?

Anyway, our Marge died. We had to bury her in the garden.

So I put her in a tub of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! and laid her in the ground. Whilst the rest of the family was still mourning her departure, I felt hungry and went in the kitchen for some toast.

On opening the fridge I discovered we had no butter, or I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! either. In fact we had nothing resembling or tasting of, or like, butter for me to spread on my toast.

It was then that I remembered that the tub we buried Marge in was not completely empty. It had a little I Can't Believe still in it. I Can't Believe I didn't bother to wash the tub before placing Marge in it. But then, I reasoned, what's the point? Soon enough Marge and the I Can't Believe will be as one anyway. Only the plastic tub will survive for a million years because those save the planet people tell us that plastic takes that long to decompose.

So I wondered. What if I dug up Marge again and use some of the left-over I Can't Believe on my toast? Would that do any harm? 

I could scrape off any hamster hairs that happen to intermingle with the I Can't Believe; and there'd be just enough for two slices of toast. 

Seems reasonable enough. You would have probably done the same? Wouldn't you?

Then for some reason I decided against it. What if Marge blinked at me as I was taking the marge out of her fur?

I Can't Believe I even thought of doing it.

About an hour later the other hamster looked a bit unwell. Everyone thought he would also die. Probably of heartache missing his Marge.

His name is Peanut.

I quickly emptied the jar of peanut butter onto my two pieces of toast.

Just in case.

Friday 8 January 2021

Oscar Award


The whole idea was stupid, and I should have known to say "No!"

But I suppose I tend to get myself into situations out of which I subsequently find it near impossible to extricate myself. 

Try saying that with a mouth full of popcorn!

It happened like this. School play. I volunteered to help. Dealing with the curtains. Lights. Moving props. That sort of thing back stage.

The hall is full of excited parents and guests. Minutes to go before we start. The teacher, producer, organiser of everything is in a panic. She had asked the caretaker to help in the play by putting on a gorilla costume and acting/behaving like a gorilla on stage. I'd seen him do it at the many rehearsals. He was a natural at it. Almost born into the role. He had perfected all the gorilla's mannerisms, behaviours, way of walking and so on. As an aside, he told me once he was interested in his ancestry. He had traced his family tree all the way back to when his relatives lived in it. I could quite believe that.

Anyway, the teacher producing the play was in a panic. The caretaker phoned to say he could not make it. He was feeling unwell with a stomach ache. Eating too many peanuts, I presume! (Monkey ... peanuts ... catch up will you? I haven't got time to explain all my jokes!)

"Would you please take the part?"

"Me ... of course not! I have work to do back stage."

"Helena can do that. You fit the role perfectly. And the costume fits you. You're the same size as Geoff. You've seen him at rehearsals. Please!"

"Definitely not! You won't make a monkey out of me!" (That's another joke, by the way. Did you get it?)

"The gorilla is central to the whole play. We can't go on without it. Please! I'll be ever so grateful!"

Dammit ... why is it you women always get your own way? I can see it clearly now, in the garden of Eden. "Please ... taste the apple. It is delicious. If you taste it with me I'll be so grateful!"

The gorilla appears in the play on and off at various intervals. A few minutes at the beginning. Then about twenty minutes later, then again once or twice towards the end. 

I guess I played the role well. Hunched forwards and walking mostly by leaning on my arms like gorillas do. Grunting every now and then. The audience were taken by it. Some thought it was a real gorilla. It was a performance worthy of an Oscar if there was such a thing for school plays.

I heard a child at the front saying "Mom ... I'm scared. Is that a real gorilla?"

"Of course not," said the mother, "it is your dad monkeying around!" (Monkeying around ... another joke ... oh , you're hopeless. I am too good for this blog. My jokes are falling on deaf eyes!)

Anyway, in between stage appearances I stood in the bar, behind the scenes, enjoying a beer or two. To steady my nerves, you see. The adrenalin was really doing its work. I guess it was quite a sight having a gorilla enjoying a drink.

The barman gave me a pint of beer and said, "would you like some peanuts with this?" (Joke alert!)

At one point I went in the gents bathroom. There was a man there doing the cleaning. As soon as he saw me he screamed and nearly fainted. He had not seen the play and ... anyway, he wet himself when the gorilla spoke to him and asked him to calm down.

After my final on stage appearance, as I went back stage my wife was there. It was one thing following each other that evening. You know how sometimes things happen that way.

She said she was having the baby. She was sure of it. The contractions or contraptions were more frequent. I don't know which. I did not have a dictionary on me to check. 

I had to rush her to the hospital. As we were running to the car park I heard her shout, "stop walking on your front arms like a demented ape!" I was still in costume and mentally still in the part. That's what wins you Oscars, you know!

As I drove as fast as the traffic regulations allow I noticed a police car behind me. He overtook and flagged me down to stop.

I thought he'd arrest me for being drunk in charge of a gorilla. You should have seen his face when he approached our car and I wound down the window. You should have seen his face again when I spoke to him!

I told him my wife was having a baby. He looked at the seat behind me as she let out a cry. He then looked at me and must have thought something. I could see it on his face. I guess you're thinking the same thing.

Anyway, he drove ahead clearing the way to the hospital. I was still in costume. I could not take it off because I was wearing nothing underneath. A bit like a real gorilla, I suppose. Do you realise that underneath all that fur a gorilla is naked?

The same applies to us, I guess. Underneath all our clothes we are naked too.

Anyway ... about an hour or so later, (I did not have a watch on me), the baby was born.

The nurse looked at the baby, then looked at me, then punched me in the face!

Thursday 7 January 2021

The Owl Of Turbulence


Some friends were going on holiday and asked us to look after their owl. My immediate instincts said "No!" This is not because I am uncharitable; but more because I could foresee things going wrong with this proposition.

We have a cat, a dog, a wolf, a shark, a crocodile, a panda bear, a dragon, and umpteen other potential predators that would make that bird into a Kentucky Fried Owl with French fried potatoes on the side!

I know I exaggerate in order to make a point. But quite seriously I was reluctant to accept responsibility for someone else's pet. It reminds me of the day someone left a stick insect for me to look after. It was in a glass tank. One day it did not move at all. I thought it was natural for it not to move. It fell off its branch inside the glass tank. I glued it back on. It still did not move. When its owner came back he told me it was dead. 

By the way, do you know what to call a collection of stick insects? A branch!

Another by the way. Did you know the panda bear is actually a bear? As a bear it was carnivorous. It ate meat. Then one day it decided to eat bamboo. Bamboo is difficult to digest. It has little nutritional value. Hence the pandas have to eat a lot of it. Pandas are extinct or endangered or whatever you call a stubborn animal who will not eat what he was created to eat. Tell that to someone who decides to become vegetarian.

Back to the owl. I thought they'd bring it in a cage. It came sitting, or half-standing on a luxurious velvet cushion. It had injured its leg and could not grip a branch which is the natural thing to do. So they put it on a cushion. It had little crutches under its wings to keep it upright. 

It just sat there not moving much. Every so often it turned its head round. They can turn their heads almost 340 degrees you know. It did not do much. It sat there and did not even fly.

Obviously, we could not leave it alone in an open non-cage. I saw the cat and the dog drawing lots as to who would eat it first.

We took it with us wherever we went from room to room, never leaving it alone. I did not like the way it looked at me when I undressed. Owls are predators you know! They attack and eat small things!

They have binocular visions and binaural hearing. This means they have eyes up front and can focus on a three-dimensional image and attack it. The same with their hearing. They can focus exactly where the sound is coming from. They don't make trousers with silent zippers you know!

When we left the house we always took him with us. We took him to the cinema. We thought he would not like the theatre. They had a play on about owls and we thought it would not be appropriate.

I bet you cannot name any plays about, or involving, owls. There's the one where they sing, "Owl be seeing you, in all the familiar places!"

Anyway, we took the owl to the cinema instead. A film called Kestrel was on. 

I put the owl on my shoulder and pretended he was a pirate. He already had the crutches under his wings. So I gave him an eye-patch and he played the part admirably. The cinema people let us in.

My wife had a carrot on her shoulder. She pretended to be a vegetarian pirate.

I was glad when our friends came back from holiday and took their owl back. When I told them we took him to the cinema they laughed.

What a hoot! The owl laughed too. That was a hoot and a half!