Thursday, 30 June 2022

Tactileity?

Settle down and pay attention everyone. Today we shall consider the meaning of the word "tactile" and how it appertains to our body.

Tactile means "of or connected with the sense of touch." We have different senses like sight, smell, hearing, taste, spatial orientation (parking a car), and of course touch. What we don't seem to have much of these days is common sense. It is not as common as one would imagine.

But let's concentrate on touch; hence the word tactile.

Our bodies have different parts with different nerve endings to enable us to feel sensitivity to a greater or lesser degree. This means some parts of our bodies feel more than others. The tips of our fingers for instance. Did you know that the tips of our fingers can feel or identify a feeling smaller than one grain of sand. If you close your eyes and run your finger gently on a smooth surface you could feel and notice when you have touched something as small or even smaller than a grain of sand.

The tips of the finger can also identify whether something is wet or dry, sticky like glue or honey, smooth or sharp, and even temperature. However, that being said, it has always been traditional in some people to test the baby's bath water temperature by dipping the elbow in the water. 

It is believed, (scientifically debatable), that the elbow is much more sensitive to temperature than running your hand or fingers in the bath water. Some people prefer to test the bath water with their ears but this is also not scientifically proven either. What has been proven though is that testing the water with your nose is liable to make you choke if you accidentally breathe in some of the water. 

The tongue is also very tactile and sensitive. This has been proven by giving blind-folded people a piece of plastic sheet with different holes in them. Some holes were square, others round, triangular or rectangular. People were asked to identify the shapes with the tip of their fingers or with the tip of their tongue. More often than not the feeling from the tongue was more accurate. 

The skin, which is an organ in itself covering the whole body, is sensitive to a greater or lesser degree in different parts of the body. For example, try sitting on a hedgehog or cactus and see how that feels.

Different stimuli can affect our sense of feeling. I like that song:

Feelings, nothing more than feelings,
Trying to forget my feelings of love.
Feelings, wo-o-o feelings,

Wo-o-o, feel you again in my arms.

Sorry ... got distracted there for a while. Where was I? Yes, different stimuli, like alcohol, could make you lose all feelings and even make you say something to your wife which results in the silent treatment and sleeping on the couch. Also, some stimuli can make you liable to outbursts of swearing and profanities as I found out this morning when I missed the nail and hit my hand hard with a hammer.
 
Finally, on the subject of tactile body parts we turn our attention to feet, or more precisely to toes. We all know how it feels if the shoe is too tight, or when we stub our toes against something hard or walk on a Lego brick. However, did you know that your toes can also tell you when you have walked on a hot piece of coal from the barbecue which has been accidentally dropped on the ground?
 
So there you have it ... different parts of the body can identify different levels of feelings, some pleasurable, and some not so.
 

 

Are you a flipper?

Are you a flipper? I don't mean Flipper the dolphin from that TV series. I mean do you flip your mind from one thing to another? Do you change your mind frequently.

Let me give you some examples. When Jesus entered Jerusalem in triumph the people sang and shouted "Hosanna!" A few days later the same people shouted "Crucify Him!"

Peter promised to be by Christ's side at all times. A few days later he denied knowing Him three times. And to some extent so did all the disciples who ran away in fear.

Here's another example from the Acts of the Apostles Chapter 28:1-6

"Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta.  The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand.  When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.” But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god."

After Paul's shipwreck, the islanders first thought Paul was a criminal. then moments later they thought he was a god.

So how about us? Are we flippers who change our minds at a moment's notice? One minute we pray that we trust God and then the next we doubt that He is listening to our prayers or whether He will actually respond.

There is no point praying, "I trust you. I trust you". We should stop praying and trust Him instead. 

When you were a child you did not run to your parents every few minutes shouting I trust you. You trusted them that they have your best interests at heart. As any good parents they sacrificed a lot for you; without a reminder that you trusted them.

How much more does your Father in Heaven care for you? Without the constant reminder, (to yourself perhaps), that you trust Him!

Wednesday, 29 June 2022

Go away and leave me in peace

It happened again. I was looking forwards to some peace and quiet and guess what ... I got disturbed once more by unexpected events.

The family had gone to London for a few days. I was home alone. Hooray ... two days to myself to watch sports on TV.

No sooner the match started that the door bell rang. Who is it visiting me on a Saturday afternoon? I don't like visitors at the best of times, never mind Saturday afternoons.

It was some friends we knew from long ago. A married couple. We hadn't seen them for some three years or so. They were visiting town to see a friend just for the day and they thought they'd pop in to say hello. 

I wish I could have said hello and shut the door again. I hesitated. (Wrong thing to do - never hesitate). 

"Ehm ... I was going out ..." I mumbled.

"Oh sorry," she said, "is it a bad time?"

"Actually ..." I hesitated again, "it is a tragic time ... tragic ... that's the word!"

"Oh dear ..." she said her lip trembling, "whatever happened?"

"Are you OK old boy?" he said holding me, "you've gone all white!"

"Well ..." I mumbled again trying to think up a good lie to get rid of them, "the family is away in London, (which was true), and our pet chicken has just died. One moment it was alive and running happily, and the next ... dead!" I lied so convincingly I almost believed it, even though we don't have a pet chicken.

Then confidently I lied some more. Amazing how easy it is. "I was just going out to the pet shops to see if I could find another similar chicken before the family get home on Monday!"

"Oh ... you had me worried, old boy!" he said emptying the pipe he was smoking by tapping it against my wall, "I thought it was really serious. Tell you what? The friend we are visiting not far from here owns a small farm. A few cattle, sheep, ducks and chickens. I'm sure we can persuade him to let you have a chicken. Can we see the one which died so we get one similar? If he hasn't got one, I'm sure he'll know where to get hold of a similar breed!"

"Yes ... that's right," she said, "he has contacts in the farming community. Can we see the dead chicken?"

I hesitated again ... after a second or two, I let them in. They sat in front of the TV and I left to go to the kitchen.

Where the hell am I to find a dead chicken? I thought. Why is all this happening to me? In desperation ... amazing the stupid things you do when you're desperate ... I opened the freezer and found a frozen chicken from the supermarket. We usually have some frozen foods for emergencies ... and this was an emergency.

I quickly unwrapped the chicken and put it on a plate and went to the sitting room and presented it to them.

"It's ... it's frozen old boy!" he said pointing to the bleeding obvious.

My immediate thoughts were "Cryogenics". I could say that I froze the chicken in the hope ... in the hope ... that ...  that ... that when the family get back perhaps we could have the creature stuffed by a taxidermist as a permanent memory of the happiness it brought us.

But then ... how could I explain that it was totally devoid of feathers and had lost its head and legs? 

What possessed me to bring a frozen chicken as evidence of a live one which had just died moments earlier? How do I get out of this tight spot of my own making?

A light bulb switched on suddenly in my brain. I pride myself in my quick thinking sometimes.

"Of course it's frozen!" I said convincingly pointing out to him that I too recognise the bleeding obvious, "I froze it in the hope of cooking it tomorrow. As I said, I was just going out to the pet shops to buy a live one ... not a frozen one ... ha ... ha ... ha ..." I laughed stupidly.

Unbelievably ... they bought it ... they bought my story which even I did not believe. Purely because it was all a pack of lies. And they bought it.

They drove in their car and I followed them in mine to their friend's farm. Luckily, he had normal looking chickens. I chose one which they put in a small cage for me to drive back home with.

The family will be surprised ... and delighted ... that I got them a new pet whilst they were away as a welcome home present. I think I'm a great parent. Don't you?

Tuesday, 28 June 2022

Stand well back ...

 

Stand well back from your computer because I am about to get very angry.

Why is it that sometimes the whole world conspires to go against me? All I want is a quiet life minding my own business and largely ignoring everyone else. I am in no way prejudiced. I keep my distance from everyone equally. Including my mother-in-law.

This morning I had planned to take it easy, perhaps do a little gardening, sit in the sun a bit with a nice cool drink, talk to the birds and bees or even the dog. But did it happen this way? No ... I said NO !!!

No sooner I dozed off in the sunshine that I heard a noise up in the sky like a  burning furnace or something ... Wooosh ... it went  ... Woosh .... WOOOSH ...

I nearly fell off my chaise-longue. Oh yes ... I can be as sophisticated as the next man. Or if there's a woman sitting nearby ... as the next woman.

Up in the sky there was one of those hot air balloons with a big furnace type contraption blowing hot air and a wicker basket underneath with a man inside it. 

A voice from above shouted, "WHERE AM I?"

I replied, "You can't fool me, mate. You're in that basket attached to the balloon."

The contraption responded with, "Wooosh ... Wooosh ..." as he floated away.

I went indoors to tell my wife what happened. She was not too interested but had a long shopping list of items for me to get from the supermarket. I pretended to have hurt myself when I fell off the chaise-longue. She said don't be a snob it is only a plastic chair. 

She decided to drive to the supermarket and pick me up later when she had finished her many chores.

I did the shopping as quickly as I could. Our supermarket has automatic self-service check-out machines whereby you scan your own goods and pay by credit card yourself. I like them because I don't have to be pleasant to the check-out assistants on the other machines.

I scanned all my shopping. The machine would not accept my credit card. I tried another card. Same thing. I called an assistant and tried hard to be pleasant. She could not get the machine to work. She suggested I move to another self-service machine and try again. I re-scanned all my shopping. This machine too would not accept my credit card. My stock of pleasantness was running low.

Another assistant suggested I move to one of those check-outs with an assistant in it. I put all my items in my trolley for the third time and moved to another check-out. There was a queue. I was third in the queue or line.

The shopper at the front, a very old lady of a 130 years of age, wanted to pay everything in pennies. She counted all her coins on the counter. Why can't people have their money ready? Or pay by credit card, or do their shopping on-line? There is a limit to my patience and good-will you know!  

The shop assistant was like a dummy with a University Degree in stupidity. She sat there doing nothing. The old lady did not have enough money for her shopping. I decided to take matters in hand.

I left all my shopping on the conveyor belt and moved forward to the front by-passing the young man dressed in lycra pants who was second in the queue.

Don't you hate those close-hugging lycra pants that cling to your body revealing every contour and curve? I don't mind women wearing them ... but men look as if they have hidden some vegetables in the front of their pants!

Anyway, I moved to the front and offered to help the old lady. I felt sorry for her. I suggested I help her put all the shopping she could not afford back on the shelf. The check-out assistant said this won't be necessary. Turned out the old lady had enough money for her shopping and she left.

Then she scanned the second person in the queue. Turned out that lycra man is super modern and wanted to pay using his cell-phone. I did not know you can do that. You type a code on your cell-phone and put the phone next to the credit card paying machine and hey presto you have paid for your shopping. But it was not hey presto ... the cell-phone ran out of electricity or battery or whatever makes it work. He did not have any cash on him. No wonder ... nowhere to put the cash in those tight lycra pants. Not even amongst his vegetables.

He had a credit card. I wonder where he swiped it to pay. He took his shopping and left.

It was now my turn and I was running out of patience, goodwill and kindness towards everyone.

As soon as the check-out assistant picked up my first item her cell-phone rang. Now I think she should have ignored it. She didn't. She spoke in the cell-phone and then burst out crying.

Turned out that her grand-mother had just died. 

Now I don't know how to deal with situations like this. Do I move to another check-out?

I said to her, as kindly as I could, "look miss ... your grand-mother will still be dead in a few minutes from now. Could you perhaps scan my shopping and cry later?"

She cried some more. I mean ... no consideration for the customers these days ... she was crying on my time ... If she did not have a cell-phone she would have been crying later anyway.

Another assistant turned up. They discussed the matter and the second assistant took over and the first one went away. The machine did accept my credit card.

I rushed out as my wife was arriving in the car park. She said she'd been driving round the block for the last half-hour. How long does it take for me to do a little shopping? I am inept and useless.

Monday, 27 June 2022

More Humour

 

MORE OF MY HUMOUR TO KEEP ME AMUSED … HA … HA… HA …

If Dracula can’t see his reflection in the mirror, how come his hair is always so neatly combed?

I have crossed a homing pigeon with a woodpecker. It not only delivers the message; it also knocks on the door.

A naked woman robbed a bank - Nobody could remember her face.

Nuns wear the same outfit every day. Must be a habit, I guess.

Due to inflation, a picture now only paints 200 words.

Studies say most stabbings are committed by someone close to the victim. Within arm’s length, to be specific.

I asked my dog what’s two minus two. He said nothing.

Did you know Bruce Lee has a faster older brother? Sudden Lee.

The shortest sentence is “I am.” The longest sentence is “I do.”

A cop pulled me over and asked me, “Where were you between 5 and 6?” I replied, “Kindergarten.”

I visited a postcard factory yesterday. It was good, but nothing to write home about.

Whoever said nothing is impossible is a liar. I've been doing nothing for years.

I used to be in a band, we were called 'lost dog'. You probably saw our posters.

I changed my password to "incorrect", so anytime I forget and enter the wrong thing, the computer tells me what it is.

Sunday, 26 June 2022

Friends

 

"I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you." John 15:15

I believe Jesus here is saying this to all of us, because all of us have heard and hopefully accepted His teachings that came from God, His Father.

But what does He mean by "friends".

My dictionary describes "friend" as: a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically one exclusive of sexual or family relations.

This description is important - a bond of mutual affection; mutual trust, mutual understanding and caring. A friend is someone who would do anything for you if he possibly can.

Often one hears married people describing their spouse as a friend. This is more than just a sexual partner, a parent to one's children, or a companion in life. To describe your spouse as a friend means that that person really cares for you, and your well-being. That that person will confide in you and you in them. That you trust each other above all else.

This is what Jesus is offering here. 

Perhaps we don't understand the full meaning of what He is saying. Jesus is offering His friendship; meaning that we can fully trust Him to take care of us whatever the circumstances. We can confide in Him and be certain of the outcome of His love for us and His caring.

Can we honestly say that we accept this friendship in its full meaning and implications? Or is our friendship reciprocated with conditions and provisos? Do we truly trust Him without a shadow of a doubt that He will see us through whatever life throws at us? Or do we trust Him with a safety net ... just in case? Do we trust Him, but yet wonder or harbour a doubt that He will respond to our needs?

There are no two ways about it. Jesus is offering His friendship because we have heard and accepted the Word of God, His Father.

The ball is in our court now. We need to decide. Because sooner or later He will ask: Why have you doubted Me?

Saturday, 25 June 2022

Maturity is an excuse

Every morning is a different morning yet they are all the same. There's me and then there is the whole world intent and united to making my life more miserable than it already is.

I don't know about you ... in fact I hardly know you and we've never met ... but as for me, sometimes I wake up grumpy. At other times I get out of bed silently and let her sleep. No point starting the day with more reminders of how inadequate I am. 

If I am that way inclined and I feel kind-hearted I go downstairs and bring her a nice cup of tea in my pyjamas. Is she grateful? No ... she says she prefers it in a cup.

Another morning irritant, at least once a week, are the trash or refuse collectors people. They come very early in the morning with their large heavy and noisy vehicles and make enough clatter and clamour to raise the dead. 

In our city we each have three trash containers on wheels. They are different colours. The black one is for all kind of trash except gifts from my mother-in-law because I'd never hear the end of it. 

The green container is for garden refuse like grass cuttings, hedge clippings and twigs and small branches and the like. Don't you dare put potato or carrot peelings or even cabbage and lettuce leaves in there. I know they are compostable like grass and leaves but they should go in the black bin. 

And then we have an orange bin for re-cycled material. You need a University Degree in stupidity to know what is and what is not recyclable. Metal cans and tins, yes; metal foil you use to wrap meat when roasting or sandwiches, no. Plastic bags used to purchase pasta, rice, cereals, and other dry foods - read the label on each packet because some is recyclable and some not. The list goes on and on as to what is and what is not allowed in the recycled bin. 

I usually don't bother and throw the list in the green bin - it is a "leaflet" after all! 

As I was saying before I got distracted, the trash people have this heavy lifting gear at the back of their lorry and they make a racket as they lift each container and tip it upside down to empty it. Then they leave the empty container wherever they feel like it, not return it to its proper owner. I usually have to take a bus ride to go and retrieve mine which is left miles away.

The containers are emptied in rotation every week: one week trash, another week garden refuse and then recyclable. Neighbours usually copy each other and bring out the container similar to their neighbours. I get my own back by bringing out very early in the afternoon the wrong coloured container. All the neighbours copy me and bring out the same colour container. Late at night I bring my container back in and bring out the right coloured container.

The following morning only my container is emptied. And all the neighbours phone the authorities to say their trash has not been collected.

It's me versus the world, as I said earlier.

And another thing that irritates me no end. There are signs everywhere in our street saying pick up your dog's poo when he poos in the street. It seems that dog owners are just as illiterate as their pets.

The other day I stepped in some dog poo. I stood by the tree trying to clean my shoe when a big man passed by and stepped in the same poo. I said, "I've just done that!" He punched me in the face.

People are getting so violent these days. So much pent up anger. And so much stupidity around too; it's so wide spread it seems to be catching.

There was a story on TV about some flood somewhere or other; it was raining so hard with high wind. They told us not to go out unless absolutely necessary; like throwing away your mother-in-law's unwanted presents.

And there on TV was a stupid reporter getting soaked in the rain next to the river telling you how dangerous it is out there. Why do they do that? Why send someone out to prove the obvious? They say "and now here's our reporter from London" then for the sake of balanced reporting they show you a reporter from Aberdeen in Scotland, Cardiff in Wales and another one in Northern Ireland. Four reporters and their film crew soaking wet in case you don't know what rain looks like.

And to ram the point home they then interview a household that has been flooded and they ask the home owner "how do you feel about this flood?"

What an idiotic question from a moron in training. What do you expect as a response? "Oh ... I have always wanted a downstairs bathroom and swimming pool; now we got one for free including the floating excrement from the overflowing sewers!"

It's the way the newsreaders and TV interviewers patronise you as if you're an idiot that irritates me. They mention someone important in the news, like; "The Pope has lost his cat!" and then they show you a picture of the Pope as if you don't know who he is, and for good measure a cat as well. They mention a well known politician or leader of a country and show you his photo.

And it's not just on TV; in real life too you're patronised. I remember distinctly when we were pregnant; not me of course ... my wife. We went to these "pre-natal classes" where we were shown pictures of babies being born and treated like ignorant fatheads. We were told how the husband should be with his wife at the delivery room and offer comfort and support and encouragement and ... hold on ... let me check my notes ... I had them here a moment ago. 

At the end we were asked if we had any questions. I asked, "Is it OK to take a few cans of Guinness in the delivery room?" The person giving the lecturer, a senior midwife from the hospital, told me sternly that alcohol is not allowed anywhere on the premises and it is forbidden under some hospital rule or another. It's in my notes somewhere ...

As I said before; it seems I am the only sane one in this world. Everything is going wrong nowadays and people are behaving as if they've lost any common sense that has never been common in the first place and is now more extinct than ever. 

No wonder I wake up grumpy sometimes. It makes a change to hear it from her too!

Oh ... before I forget ... have you noticed how prices are going up everywhere? Everything costs more these days. Although I'll admit I have used this to good effect. 

I have now taken to wearing very old, dirty and torn clothes when I go out. It stops beggars asking me for money. The other day a woman was going to give her half-eaten sandwich to her dog, but she offered it to me instead. 

Isn't that kind? There's hope for this world after all!

Friday, 24 June 2022

Natural History Lesson

OK, let's pay attention. Today's Natural History Lesson is about animals and insects and the like. We start with the meerkat or as some people call them, the prairie dog.

You can tell straight away from the photo above which one is the female. She is telling him off already and we haven't even started. He's apologising not knowing what he's apologising for.

The meerkat (Suricata suricatta) is a small mongoose type creature which lives in colonies. It is characterised by a broad head, large eyes, a pointed snout or nose, long legs, a thin tapering tail, and a brindled coat pattern. If you don't know what brindled mean look it up. I did after I wrote it here.

Like in many colony animals, (e.g. the lion), the male is in charge of the whole colony. In case you don't know what a lion looks like here is a photo of two females hunting to bring food for the male.


On second look, these don't look much like lions do they? What do you think? The zebra looks authentic enough but the other two creatures are pretending to be lions.

Anyway, as I was saying before you interrupted me; the meerkat lives in a colony and the male is the leader. He fights off other males and the loser leaves the colony. However, at night the females feel sorry for the losing male and they leave the colony and go to sleep with him to keep him company. That is how they refresh the gene pool and keep it healthy. The winning male knows nothing about this because he does not read this Blog.

Meerkats are good teachers. They teach their young for hours on end and increase the difficulty of the lesson to ensure the young have learnt. First they offer their young a dead scorpion and teach him how to fight. When he has mastered that, they give him a live scorpion without the sting and get him to fight it. Eventually they give the young live scorpions and supervise him to ensure he comes to no harm in the fight.

Having said that, meerkats make poor driving instructors. This is because their feet do not reach the pedals of the car. They work in teams with one or two meerkats controlling the pedals whereas another looks from the windscreen where the car is going, and yet one more steers the driving wheel. However, despite their teamwork they still have not managed to drive safely because the females do not know right from left!

(Oh Ho ... there'll be some comments about this).

Let's now move on to insects. The centipede. Did you know that the centipede when it is chased by a predator it detaches one of its legs and throws it at the predator? The predator stops to eat the leg whilst the centipede runs away to safety. Unfortunately, many centipedes die shortly afterwards when they return to retrieve their shoe.

The cricket chirps at night depending on the temperature. If it is very hot it could chirp 30 or 40 times a minute. If it is a little cooler it would chirp perhaps 15 to 20 times a minute. In very cold conditions it does not chirp at all because it is frozen out of its tiny mind.

Also, did you know that silverfish can live for two to eight years unless you hit them hard with your shoe.

And now we turn to birds. The flamingo for instance. Do you know why it stands on one leg? Because if he lifts his leg he would fall.

Storks look like flamingoes only a different colour. In some cultures it is believed that storks deliver babies when they are born. 

When I was born the nurse looked at me and slapped my father in the face. For a month afterwards my dad kept throwing stones at storks. They said I was so ugly the doctors tried to get the hospital exorcised. My parents tried to get me exchanged for a washing machine because theirs had just broken down.

As I grew up, like the meerkats, my father tried to teach me to swim. He used to take me out at sea in his boat and lower me in the water. I always got to the shore before the sharks.

That's all for now folks! Keep smiling and the world smiles with you. Oh ... one final thing before I forget ... did you know that when a whale breaks wind it shoots forwards at speed at least ten miles ahead! (Don't try this at home everyone).

Thursday, 23 June 2022

Father Ignatius Novels


 ADVERT: Six stand-alone novels featuring Father Ignatius. Each novel a story in its own right, but best read in chronological order.

VISIONS:  Three children see an apparition of Jesus in the park. News spreads throughout the town and people react differently, some violently towards the children and their families. Father Ignatius is caught in the storm not of his making as well as obedience to his Church's instructions. Meanwhile, Jesus appears again and again ... ... ...

THE PRIEST AND PROSTITUTE: A prostitute is found murdered in the grounds of St Vincent Church and the police investigate. Father Ignatius is a suspect. What is his relationship with this woman? Was he her client perhaps? His parishioners jump to various conclusions without any proof or evidence. Now is the time for the priest to find out who his friends really are.

TO LOVE A PRIEST: When his past catches up with him Father Ignatius' life is turned upside down. He needs to consider his position as a priest as well as his promise and vocation to God when he took his vows. This book tackles delicate questions as yet unresolved within the Church. 

DON'T LET THE DEVIL WIN!: In this book Father Ignatius is tempted and tormented by the devil, even resorting to physical, mental as well as emotional pain. The battle between the priest and the devil is one we might have experienced ourselves in our lives. The book takes us through a journey often reaching breaking point of wondering whether we have been abandoned by God; yet affirming that He is always by our side - only a prayer away.  

MURDER IN THE MONASTERY: A priest is found dead in a secluded monastery in suspicious circumstances. Anyone of the monks there could have been the killer since few of them have a good alibi and some may have a good motive to wish the elderly priest dead. What is the secret which caused the death of an old priest in his eighties? What was he hiding from his past? Who is the mystery man seen lurking in the priory gardens? Father Ignatius investigates albeit he is also a suspect.

A story of suspense and intrigue which will keep you guessing till the end.

A SHOT IN THE PARK: A gunshot is heard in the park opposite St Vincent Church. Is Father Ignatius the victim or is he the perpetrator of this heinous crime? What was he doing in the park at the time he was due to be hearing confessions? Was he meeting someone from the criminal fraternity? Is this the end of our much-loved priest?

The last in the series of Father Ignatius books. A fast-paced and intriguing story with a credible plot-line and fascinating ending.

DETAILS HERE

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Flights of fancy


Sometimes I take an idle flight of fancy into the realms of philosophy, psychology, or even horology, and imagine myself as more learned and educated than I really am. Whilst this may well fool some readers, it does not fool me into knowing that in reality I know less than I really know. 

Whilst I may well quote Marcel Proust, he who wrote "À la recherche du temps perdu", or René Descartes, he who said, "Cogito ergo sum", or indeed any other learned person from history it grieves me that not one of them ever saw fit to quote me, thus elevating my writings to the realms of the famous and erudite.

But be that as it may, I rest assured that my place in history was long predicted by my first year teacher who wrote in my annual progress report, "Victor will go down in history!" To which the Headmaster added, "also in Science, Geography, Mathematics and every other subject except day-dreaming."

But what is day-dreaming if not dreaming with eyes open? 

You can sit there, or anywhere, and imagine whatever you will and it is there. You can travel to far away places, or nearer ones to the local supermarket, and within an instant you are there. You don't need to pack up your cases, or get your passport and other documents, or prepare a shopping list if you're visiting your local shop. You imagine it, you day-dream it, and it's there. 

To dream the impossible dream ... To fight the unbeatable foe ... To bear with unbearable sorrow ... To run where the brave dare not go ...

But then I wake up from my day-dream and think; why? Why bother fighting the unbeatable foe? If he is unbeatable he will smash me into a pulp in no time. What's so clever about that? Why bear unbearable sorrow? Isn't there enough pain and misery in the world? Who wrote such lyrics which will no doubt end up badly? Is it not enough that life is a series of failures punctuated with disappointments?
 
No ... I have a different dream and vision. It's called realism. 
 
I think that sometimes life may seem like a dream; until you look down and realise you forgot to put on your pants. 
 
They say a good marriage is a dream ... until you wake up and apologise for what you have done in her dream! 
 
Let's be realistic here. As they say: as one door closes another one will open outwards and hit you in the face.
 
Time moves on and waits for no man. Have you ever sat in the car to go somewhere important and she's still deciding what dress to wear and whether it matches her shoes? 

What is it with women and shoes? Why so many? And what about their love for chocolates? I did not know what to buy my wife for her birthday so I bought her a pair of shoes made of chocolate.
 
It certainly saved time, and bought me some peace with the silent treatment. 
 
Time is of the essence. If I could save time in a bottle I'd probably drink it in one go. 

That's what horology is. The science or study of time; or making clocks and watches.

My grand-father was a horologist. When he died it took ages to wind up his estate.

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

Choose crunchy ... or smooth

I have mentioned before that I like peanut butter. I spread it on toast and then put some raisins on top and another slice of toast. Tasty with a strong cup of sugarless black coffee.

My problem is that I cannot choose between crunchy peanut butter, or smooth peanut butter. Many a time I stood there in the supermarket crying trying to make a choice. Often, an attendant comes to console me, (I like the female attendants best), and I let them choose for me.

I could, of course, buy one jar of each type; but I think this is extravagant and so greedy. So I buy one jar a week.

Life these days are full of choices which add to our confusion. Have you noticed how many kinds and brands of toothpastes there are? Or fresh bread - our supermarket has at least 100 kinds of fresh loaves; and that's not counting the pre-sliced bread, and buns and other types. It's the same with pizzas, wines, soaps and so on.

Too many choices just to confuse us.

Some choices, however, are more important than others. Vital even for our well-being and our lives.

Like believing in God; or not.

Trusting God; or not.

Believing in Jesus as God's only Son; or not.

Believing there is an eternal life after we all die; or believing it is the end. Nothing else. Finito. La Fin.

I think some people need to make some very serious choices before it is too late.

Monday, 20 June 2022

Share a smile

 


I was rubbing an old lamp earlier when a genie popped out and granted me a wish.

I asked him to make me irresistible to all women. He turned me into a pair of shoes.


We used to play spin the bottle when I was a kid. A girl would spin the bottle, and if the bottle pointed to you when it stopped, the girl could either kiss you or give you a pound. By the time I was 14, I owned my own house.



After finishing our Chinese food, my wife and I cracked open our fortune cookies.

Hers read, “Be quiet for a little while.”

Mine read, “Talk while you have a chance.”

 

Peter worked at the Natural History Museum in London when one day a lady asked him how old the dinosaur skeleton was.

“It’s 65 million years and six months old,” he told her.

“How can you be so precise?” the lady replied.

“Because it was 65 million years old when I started here, and I’ve worked here for six months,” he replied.

 


A woman stormed up to the front desk of the library and said, "I have a complaint!"

"Yes, ma'am?"

"I borrowed a book last week and it was horrible!"

"What was wrong with it?"

"It had way too many characters and there was no plot whatsoever!"

The librarian nodded and said, "Ah. So, you must be the person who took our phone book." 

 

Our elderly neighbour has been married and divorced multiple times?

We call him, ‘Lord of the Rings.’


I was really struggling to get my wife’s attention. So, I sat down on the sofa and looked comfortable. That did the trick.

 

Sunday, 19 June 2022

Memories ... Memories.

Father Ignatius was certainly the product of his up-bringing.

Raised in a poor family who had known real hardship; yet at the same time a family held together, despite all the turmoil that life threw at them, by a common bond of mutual love and basic Christian principles.

It’s because of his up-bringing, and because he grew up with very little materially, that he developed a habit of frugality and saving whatever he could rather than wasting it away.

He had taken a private vow of poverty when he became a priest, and since then he spent as little as possible on himself. He was not mean in the sense of avarice since anything he had, or whatever else came his way in terms of money or goods, he eagerly shared with the poor in his parish.

The little he kept for himself was usually either books or certain items he had collected over the years and kept for their sentimental value.

One Friday afternoon he decided to clear up the spare room of personal items he had not used for ages. He decided to donate them to the rummage sale in aid of the elderly.

As he was searching through a box full of books he found an old vinyl record; the old 45 rpm type record, black in color in a torn paper sleeve. He looked at the title of the song and sat down on a nearby chair.

Suddenly, the memories came flooding fast. He held the record in his shaking hand, as tears welled up in his eyes. He hadn’t seen nor played it for years, yet here it was, like a ghost from years long past, awakening distant memories so long forgotten.

He remembered how, as a child, he had saved all his pocket money, and went to the music store after school to buy this particular record as a birthday present for his dear father. Now departed.

The song was quite popular then.

He remembered his father’s reaction when he opened the brown paper bag and pulled out the shiny black vinyl record.

His parental eyes welled up too all those years ago, the same as Father Ignatius’ eyes are welling up right now.

His father placed the record on the table and said nothing. He just held little Ignatius tightly in his strong arms and kissed his head gently. Ignatius was held so tight that he could hear his father’s heart beating in his chest.

He could hear it beating right now, as he sat there holding the record in his shaking hand. And strangely as it may seem, the experience also brought to mind the sweet smell of cooking as they all gathered there as a family in the kitchen that cold winter evening.

His mother moved towards the table, leaving for a moment the food on the stove, and picked up the record.

“How lovely …” she said as she read the title.

She too then hugged little Ignatius as tightly as she could.

The priest remembered that that particular day was the first and only time he had seen his father cry. Silently, he had wiped his eyes with the back of his hand and quietly said: “Thank you … son”.

He was a big strong man, not given to much emotions or small talk. He had probably invented the British stiff upper lip and kept his feelings well hidden within himself. Usually silent at the best of times; mumbling the odd “yes dear …” whenever his wife asked him something. A gentle giant in every respect.

His father had known extreme poverty and hardship throughout his life, having lived through the depression and economic crisis.

Father Ignatius recalled how his father told him that many a time, when he was a child during the depression, he had gone to bed at night with nothing to eat; because there was simply no food in the house. Those were terrible times indeed, as his father often recalled.

He remembered that his father had worked the land from the age of eleven, leaving school with little or no education. It was the done thing in those days, to work hard at an early age to help the family beat off starvation.

And in later years, as young Ignatius was growing up, his father still continued to work hard on the farm to bring enough food to feed his family. His mother too, took on washing to earn a few pennies to supplement the family budget.

Yet despite their impoverished state Ignatius never had to go hungry, as his father did before him; and he was always well dressed and cared for by his parents.

He wondered about all the sacrifices his parents must have made, and how much they had gone without, to ensure that Ignatius lacked nothing as he grew up.

Father Ignatius then brought to mind the day when, as a young man, he built up the courage to tell his parents after the evening meal that he had decided he wished to become a priest.

How he had feared their reaction on hearing the news.

Although they were a good Christian family, he often suspected that his father wanted him to take over the small farm he had built up over the years. How would he react to the news that his son would not follow in his footsteps as a farmer?

“Mom … dad … I’ve been thinking and praying about this for a while. I want to become a priest …” were the opening words to an announcement that he dreaded making.

His father just smiled gently and said: “Son … I am proud of you.”

Father Ignatius could hear those words ringing in his ears, as clear as if they’d just been spoken; and he sobbed gently as he remembered his parents now both in Paradise. No doubt looking down on him, and hopefully still proud of him.

He said a silent prayer as he wiped his eyes with his handkerchief.

He then went to his room and put the record on the turntable and one more time let the lyrics come to life.

 


Saturday, 18 June 2022

Willie's Loo

 

On yesterday's post, Willie, a loyal reader of this Blog, mentioned his toilet at home. He has now given me permission to share it with all of you. ENJOY!!!


 





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