Sunday 30 July 2023


"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


Friday 28 July 2023

Who? Me?


Years ago I worked in London, close to Saint Paul's Cathedral. I used to spend many a lunch hour visiting all the churches around the city.

No one at work knew I was a Christian. Talking about religion and politics was not encouraged at work. People confined their discussions to the weather, what's on TV, football or cricket. Subjects of little interest to me.

One day I visited St Paul's Cathedral with a  colleague. As we entered the vast building he waved his hand in the air in grandiose fashion and said, "Tell me Vic, do you believe in all that?" Meaning God and Christianity.

I could have smiled and said nothing. I replied, "Yes, as a matter of fact, I do!"

He said nothing.

I noticed that from that day he acted differently towards me. More polite and respectful. So did other colleagues. In time, other senior managers also acted differently towards me a junior. I discovered some of them were Christian too but had said nothing beforehand.

Many years later, I joined a small radio station in my spare time and presented a Christian program entitled "Time for Reflections". You can hear some of the old tapes by clicking on the tab "Reflections Soundtracks" at the top of this page.

In 2007 I published my first book "VISIONS". Other books followed over the years.

I did not set out to write Christian books and a Christian Blog and Websites. It happened gradually.

What I'm trying to say is that we can all serve the Lord, in our different ways, if we are prepared to listen to His prompting.

Wednesday 26 July 2023

Pickled Onions


I don't know about you ... (why do people start sentences like that?)

I don't know about you, but over here the supermarkets sell pickled onions. I am not sure why. It's a peculiar combination of two things. Onions can be acidic and they don't half burn your tongue and make you cry. Vinegar is super acidic and bad tasting and would not win a competition against chocolate ice cream or anything chocolate. So who thought it was a good idea to combine both? Onions and vinegar.

I don't like pickled onions and wondered how many people do. So for your benefit, dear readers, I conducted a survey to find out.

I put a couple of jars in my coat pocket and boarded the bus. As it moved along I sidled by and sat next to a woman in a nice coat ... she was in her late forties I would say ... and opening the jar I offered her an onion.

She looked down her nose at me and said, "No," in a posh upper class accent. What a cheek, I thought. Looking down at me. If she is so upper class and well-to-do why is she in a bus with the likes of me? Is her Rolls Royce re-possessed because she cannot keep up the repayments? You know what they say around here,  "all fur coat and no knickers". I bet she's cold when the South wind blows! 

To entice her down to my level I said the onions were pickled in balsamic vinegar, whatever that is. She got up and moved to another seat.

I tried the experiment on other passengers. None wanted pickled onions from me. Not even the driver who threatened to throw me off the bus.

I took another bus. Same reactions. And the same in two other buses.

So I ask you: who likes pickled onions? Why are they made? Who buys them? The supermarkets would not stock them otherwise.

One of the mysteries of modern life. Like for instance, why do people follow celebrities on social media and not follow this Blog at all.

Monday 24 July 2023

Is your body a temple?


If your body is a temple, is it an ancient monument like the Colosseum, the Acropolis and such other structures, or is it a modern building with the latest features like air-conditioning, central-heating, elevators, escalators and other up-to-date appliances?

In what shape is your body?

There are some electronic gadgets you wear on your wrist which tell you about the state of your body. Whether you are dead or alive, whether you are conscious or not, whether you spent a lot of money on something you don't need, and whether you're about to be run over by a vehicle because you are looking at your watch rather than where you're going in the street.

These gadgets can also tell you how many steps and miles or kilometres you have walked, how many calories you have burnt, your heart beat, pulse, oxygen consumption, menstrual cycle, sleep patterns, weather,temperature, humidity, gas consumption and retention, and whether you're about to break wind thus polluting the atmosphere and harming the environment and by how much.

What is the use of such a gadget to someone who has just had a large pizza and many pints of beer followed by half-a-dozen doughnuts whilst watching TV? You might as well teach your dog to use the treadmill instead of you, the benefit you'll get from such a wrist watch!

When I was young, walking was the "in" thing. My parents often made me walk the plank. We did not have a dog!

But I digress. Which will make my walk even longer.

Why do people use such devices about health monitoring? Surely if the gadget tells you you have high blood pressure all that will do is raise your blood pressure even more by worrying about it. At least that's what my nurse told me when she checked my blood pressure and it was higher than the building we were in. Mind you ... she is young and beautiful.

WARNING: This last comment is sexist!

Keep young and beautifulIt's your duty to be beautifulKeep young, beautifulIf you want to be loved

Anyway ... lets get to the point. 

You surely know that your body is a temple where the Holy Spirit lives. The Spirit is in you and is a gift from God. You are no longer your own.
1 Corinthians 6:19

Sunday 23 July 2023

Love your enemies ... really?


"But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. Treat others the same way you want them to treat you." Luke 6:27 onwards.

Oh come on Jesus ... surely you don't mean that literally? If God wants us to love everyone, then why has He made some people so unlovable? I've known some really rotten tomatoes in my life. Am I supposed to love them regardless and let them walk all over me? 

Like a boss I had once. He was a real autocratic dictator who managed by fear. What is more, he was ignorant and stupid. He got there at the top because of who he knew not what he knew. He was often wrong in his decisions which wasted time and money. I remember, using all my reserves of patience, explaining why his plan for something would not work and he used stubborn superiority in rank to do it his way.

Am I supposed to love him? And turn the other cheek?  

Let's be clear about what Jesus is teaching here. He is not saying that we should allow other people to control us or abuse us in any way. If someone is in an abusive violent marriage, or in a difficult situation at work or in life in general, God is not telling us to accept it willingly and suffer it gladly. As Christians we often misunderstand the concept of suffering.

“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” John 10:10

There are many people in this world suffering in one way or other by tyrannical bosses, spouses, offspring, siblings, leaders, governments and so on. It is our right and duty, responsibility even, to stand up as best we can towards such evil done to us or to our loved ones.

We should not, as best we can within our power and ability, allow others to control our lives. Like a boss, a spouse or family relative. 

By doing nothing, we allow evil to flourish.

As best we can, with love, we should at least try to make evil stop. Often, but not always, it is a matter of just walking away. As in my case; I tried to leave the job to the detriment of my financial situation at the time.

At other times, perhaps with the help of others, we should stand our ground against evil.

But always, whatever we do, it should be done with love ... and prayers.

As the saying goes: "Love the sinner, hate the sin."

NOTE: This is from St. Augustine. His Letter 211 (c. 424) contains the phrase Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum, which translates roughly to “With love for mankind and hatred of sins.”

Saturday 22 July 2023

Blessed by the Devil


This is likely to be controversial. I'd appreciate your views.

Can you be blessed by the Devil?

When I say "God bless" to anyone of you I am asking God to look after you, to take care of you, and to gift you and your family good things. I am praying to God on your behalf. And I believe God listens and responds in His time and in His way. The same applies when you pray for me your much needed and appreciated prayers.

But if God blesses people; does the Devil also blesses people?

We often see people who do not believe in God, who perhaps deny Him publicly, and encourage others to do the same by what they say and do. They are role models to a secular society. They may be successful in business, or are famous politicians, celebrities, singers, comedians, sportsmen or whatever; some may well be dishonest in their dealings with others and in their behaviour; yet these people are doing well in life. Certainly better than you and me.

We ask ourselves, perhaps enviously, (beware the sin of envy), "why are such bad people so successful and I am not?" We say, "I'm a good Christian", (beware the sin of pride), I go to church regularly, I give to charity ... blah ... blah ... blah ... yet I am not as successful as them." (Beware the sin of coveting your neighbour).

So the question applies: Does the Devil bless people? Give them good things in life to keep them on-side. In his camp. Amongst his followers. His job is to recruit as many as possible, so can he do so by giving them goodies in this life in preparation of the next?

The answer is, in my view, probably yes.

The Devil blessed Jesus. Or attempted to.

"Then the Devil took Jesus to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in all their greatness. 'All this I will give you,' the Devil said, 'if you kneel down and worship me.'

Then Jesus answered, 'Go away, Satan! The scripture says, ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve only him!’ " Matthew 4:8-10

So you see. The Devil tempted Jesus with goodies. Do this and I'll give you all that. 

And if he tempted Jesus, we should not be much of a challenge to him.

Thursday 20 July 2023



There seems to be a lot of incompetence around here these days. People must decide whether they are in business to make money or not.

There are a few jobs at home which need to be done.

For example, I have some indoors work required. I went on the Internet and searched for good recommended traders to come round and give me an estimate of how much the work would cost. I contacted six companies and invited them to come round and quote. Three did not bother to reply. Two replied saying that they'll contact me soon for further information; and they did not. One promised to come round and fixed a time and date. Then did not turn up at all.

Another example. There's some heavy work to be done in the garden. I contacted several firms and asked them to come round. Some did not reply, others said they'll turn up and then did not. One came round. He looked at the site, took measurements, and stayed for an hour discussing what needs to be done. He took notes and said he'll e-mail me a quote within two days. He still has not.

What is the point of turning up and taking so many measurements and notes and then not even bother to quote? He was wasting his time and mine, not to mention his money spent in transport and perhaps doing something else more profitable.

All that these guys are doing is ensuring that people like me do NOT recommend them to someone else. 

No wonder businesses over here fail within two or three years of starting.

And it's the same with big corporations too. I have been e-mailing to-and-fro with a large organisation for some time now. I have asked the same specific questions over and over again. They still have not sent a coherent reply. It's as if they're not reading the e-mail. 

All this reminds me of MG.

MG worked for me in London when I managed a business team. He was older than me, a gentle giant of a man; softly spoken and always calm. Reliable and conscientious.

I used to ask him "please contact so and so" and ask for some information on a particular project we worked on. He always came through with the goods.

Once I overheard him say on the phone, "could you spell your name please so I get it right when I complain about your poor service!"

What a brilliant tactic. No wonder he got results.

God bless you MG wherever you are. 

Wednesday 19 July 2023

Dear Diary ...


Dear Diary,

It's been a while since I wrote here to tell you what's been happening lately. So let's get started.

It's summer already. I like summer. A perfect summer's day for me is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing and the lawnmower is broken. 

Our neighbour Sheila didn't come home one night. When Bruce her husband asked her where she'd been she said she spent the night at a girl friend's house.

Bruce was a bit suspicious so he rang her ten closest friends, but none of them had seen her.


The following week Bruce himself didn't come home one night. Sheila asks him where he'd been. So Bruce said he got a bit drunk at a mate's place and thought it was safer not to drive but crash out there.


Sheila did not believe him and rang his ten best mates. Eight of them said he spent the night there and two claimed he's still there.


I heard a good joke about the optician who fell into the lens grinder? He made a spectacle of himself.


Oh ... another story about our other neighbours. Brenda and Terry were going out for the evening. The last thing they do before leaving is put their cat out.

The taxi arrived to pick them up, and as they walked out of the house, the cat scoots back into the house.

Terry returned inside to chase it out. Brenda, not wanting it known that the house would be empty, explained to the taxi driver, 'My husband is just going upstairs to say goodbye to my mother.'

Several minutes later, an exhausted Terry arrived and climbed back into the taxi saying, 'Sorry I took so long, the stupid idiot was hiding under the bed and I had to poke her with a coat hanger several times before I could get her to come out!'

Our friend Perkins was in church again on Sunday. He'd been missing for a while. The priest said to him, "I didn't see you in church last Sunday, Perkins. I hear you were out playing football instead."

Perkins replied, "That's not true, Father.  And I've got the fish to prove it."

Anyway, nothing more for now. Bye Diary.

Tuesday 18 July 2023



I have two friends ... What I mean to say is that I want to mention two friends. Of course I have more than two friends in real life; but at this point in time I want to mention just those two friends. Real friends; not friends like you get on social networks websites.

Come to think of it, it's amazing how the Internet has changed the meaning of certain words. Like friends for instance.

These days you can go on a website and pretty soon you have gathered a multitude of friends. Dozens of peoples, hundreds even, whom you have never met before, nor are likely to meet, nor would you wish to meet if you knew them in real life, are suddenly your friends through a click of a mouse.

Mouse ...that's another word that has a totally new meaning because of the Internet and computers. That little device you hold in your hand and squeeze is no more furry and mouse-like than a real mouse is. Which reminds me. At a party once, after a few drinks, I asked the hostess if lemons had feathers. She said "Of course not!"

"Oh dear ..." I replied, "in that case I've squeezed your canary in my drink!"

Now where was I? Oh yes ... friends. A friend of mine, a real one that is, has more friends on his social network website than real people I've met in my entire life. Hundreds of them, he has.

I mean, how does he know they're all real? They could be anybody, and not who they say they are. They could have made up their names and photos. Some even have pictures of animals as their identity. How do I know whether Margaret Fontainepiece is not really a giraffe? I may well have befriended a giraffe all this time and I didn't even know it.

Followers ... that's another term misused on the Internet. Instead of friends, some people have hundreds of followers. I'd hate to have that many followers in real life, especially since half the time I don't even know where I'm going. Let's face it, would you want hundreds of followers squeezing in with you in the toilet next time you're at the restaurant, supermarket or any other place with a public toilet? Or in your own home even? Why can't followers follow someone else?

Some websites use the word "like" to denote some sort of affirmation of what you have written. I must admit that at first I misread it for the word "licks" and my mind boggled at someone having that many licks by people he or she had never met.

Now then ... where was I before you led me astray with your lack of interruptions. Oh yes, I remember ... I have these particular two friends in real life.

One of them is so short that his passport photo is life size. When he stands up his feet do not reach the ground. The other one is so tall that he has to stand on a chair in the morning to shave himself.

Are you my friend?

Are you short or tall?

Sunday 16 July 2023

Not Good Enough


Hello !!! Is God calling? Is the Holy Spirit asking something of you?

We read in the Bible that God called Moses for a special task. In the case of Paul, God used more drastic measures to attract his attention. Jesus called Peter to follow Him. And Matthew, and the other disciples. Over the years God has called many people to do His work. Mother Theresa comes to mind. Father Damien De Veuster left his native country and went to work amongst the lepers in Molokai. I am sure you can name other people who have heard the Word of God and obeyed it.

But is God calling you right now? We all have a duty and responsibility to evangelise and spread the Word of God; especially at this time when secularism is on the rise. Could the person He is calling is you, or me, or someone else we know?

A simple excuse or deterrent in our mind is that "we are not good enough!" 

Moses was hesitant at first, when approached by God, citing his stammer as an impediment to the task ahead. But look what he achieved. Paul was a declared enemy of God, in fact he fought God by killing the early Christians. And look what he accomplished. Peter denied Jesus three times. Yet see what he did after that in preaching the Word.

Many years ago, a priest suggested to me that I had a vocation. At the time, (and still now), I did not think it is my calling.

We don't have to be members of the clergy, or preachers, or church leaders to serve God. We can't all be Joyce Meyer, R T Kendall, Dr David Jeremiah or Pastor Steven Furtick. 

We can be just who we are. Slowly, calmly, with conviction tell others what God has done for us.

Tell it on a one-to-one basis, or in a short paragraph or two on social media. 

Think of all the people Jesus helped. Lazarus was raised from the dead, Jarius had his daughter healed, the woman who touched Christ's cloak was healed, the Roman Centurion had his servant healed, the ten lepers, the deaf, the dumb, the blind, the lame, the possessed and many others were healed. I'd like to think that they all spent the rest of their lives telling others what Jesus did to them.  

And that is evangelising.

I never dreamt years ago that I'd have a Blog, a website, and a number of Christian books to my name. I hesitated when I took the first steps in writing my first book VISIONS back 2007. But one book seemed to follow another. I write them and God makes sure they go in the right hands.

I'm not suggesting everyone should write a book, or preach at street corners, or knock on doors. But every so often, one post or comment on social media may well encourage someone who has never heard of Jesus to start searching for God.     

Is God calling you right now? Does He have a task for you? Are you listening?

Saturday 15 July 2023

Cave Canem


In St Vincent Parish House there’s a very small room right at the top of the building, on the fourth floor attic which Father Ignatius calls “my meditation corner”. There’s a small table and a chair and a few books in a bookshelf. Father Ignatius often goes there for private prayers or for some “time alone with Jesus”.

One wintry day in February Father Ignatius was in his meditation corner at about 1 o’clock in the morning with his dog Canis. He was alone in the house. Father Donald was away traveling and Mrs Davenport, the housekeeper, had long retired to her small cottage at the back of St Vincent House.

Father Ignatius could not get to sleep so he decided to go up to the attic for some reading of the Bible and cross-referencing it with several other books he had collected over the years.

Suddenly, the dog woke up from his sleep and started growling quietly. His ears were standing to attention as he looked at the priest as if to say: “Come on … open the door. I’ve heard something downstairs!”

The priest did nothing for a moment or two but the dog was insistent, growling all the time and jumping at the door handle.

Father Ignatius got up from his chair and opened the door as Canis shot out at full speed down the stairs. There was a sudden sound of running, then an almighty crash followed by the dog barking menacingly as if ready to attack.

Father Ignatius rushed from the fourth floor attic and by the time he reached the second floor, switching on lights as he moved hurriedly, he saw a young man lying on the floor waving his hands in the air to keep the dog from attacking him. Canis was a few feet away barking loudly and was about to pounce when Father Ignatius called him to stop. Luckily the dog stopped and sat down at the priest’s feet growling all the time.

It took a moment or two for the priest to assess the situation. An intruder had broken into the house thinking it was empty, and in his escape had tripped down the stairs and lay there injured.

“I think I’ve broken my foot” said the young man, “it hurts very much. I tripped on that worn out carpet”.

“Let me see,” replied the priest gently. He approached the intruder cautiously in case the man attacked him, and all the time keeping an eager Canis at bay. “Stretch your foot towards me …”

The man did as he was asked and the priest gently held the foot in his hand. “Can you move it freely?” he asked. And the man moved the foot once or twice backwards and forwards.

“It hurts …” he said, and then, to the priest’s surprise he added, “I shall sue you …”

Father Ignatius raised his eyebrows in surprise as the man continued, “That carpet there is worn and I tripped on a torn bit … it’s dangerous and I’ll sue you for negligence …”

“The carpet is in a private property” said the priest, “and you had no reason to be in the house at all at this time of night. How did you get in?”

“I broke the kitchen window … I thought the place was empty …”

“Perhaps I’d better call an ambulance and the police …” replied Father Ignatius as he got up from the man’s feet. “I’d advise you not to go anywhere with this injury, I doubt you can outrun the dog!”

The priest phoned the emergency services and walked down to the front door to let them in. The police were first to arrive ten minutes later followed by an ambulance. They walked up to the second floor to find the man still motionless on the floor with the dog staring at him a few feet away.

They put the man on a stretcher and as he was carried away he complained to the police that he wanted to sue for compensation for the accident caused by the worn carpet.

“Yes Harry … I understand. We’ll sort it out later” said one of the policemen as he followed him into the ambulance.

The other policeman stayed behind to take a statement from the priest as to what had happened. He inspected the damaged window in the kitchen and then went up to inspect the worn carpet.

“Technically, Harry is correct Father” he said, “this carpet is dangerous and you are liable for causing an injury to a visitor.”

“But … but … he is not a visitor. He is an intruder in the middle of the night having broken a window to get in. He could have attacked me …”

“Be that as it may Father … you caused the injury which landed him in hospital. You are fortunate that the dog didn’t attack him as we would have had other claims to deal with …”

Father Ignatius was at a loss for words. His mind was so confused by what he’d just heard that momentarily he forgot to pray about it. He was too concerned about facing substantial claims for injuries which the church could not afford to pay.

“We know the lad,” said the policeman, “he’s wanted for other break-ins. We’ll interview him in hospital in the morning and keep in touch Father.”

As the policeman left Father Ignatius shut the door and looked up at the Crucifix on the wall in the entrance hall and said, “What now? How do you intend to solve this Lord?”

He then went to the kitchen to pick up the broken glass and somehow secure the window for the night. He glanced at Mrs Davenport’s cottage which had not been disturbed whatsoever. “No doubt she’s tucked in bed” he thought to himself.

The next day, at about ten in the morning, the two policemen returned.

“We’ve interviewed the young man,” said one of the policemen, “he’s wanted for a number of robberies from houses in this area and we found several stolen items on his premises.

“We’ve come to an agreement regarding the injuries sustained whilst on your property. He has badly bruised his ankle but, fortunately for him and you Father, there are no broken bones.

“As he has not stolen anything from your property, we have agreed not to take into consideration the break-in here if he doesn’t pursue a claim for injury from you.

“Is this arrangement agreeable to you Father?”

“Er … yes … yes, of course.” replied a confused Father Ignatius.

“As it is,” continued the police officer, “he’ll be facing a number of other charges relating to all the stolen property we’ve recovered … and he’s likely to be put away for a long time. So there’s no need to mention the break-in here.”

“I understand,” mumbled the priest.

“And it’ll save us a lot of paper-work writing a report about your break-in,” continued the policeman, “although, you should have that carpet fixed Father. You may not be so lucky next time if an intruder were to get injured in a fall!”

As the two men left, Father Ignatius looked up to the Crucifix and said, “You have a novel way of sorting things out. I’d better get the carpet and kitchen window fixed I suppose!” 


Friday 14 July 2023

Who are you?


I don't know if this happens on your TV. You have an item of news and then they introduce an individual to expound and talk about it ad infinitum until I fall asleep.

I normally check to see who this individual is and what qualifies him or her to talk about the subject in question. They usually show the name at the bottom of the screen and then the occupation as: writer, commentator, author, reporter, ex advisor to ..., blogger, podcaster, and so on.

Wait a minute. I am all of these. I am a writer. I learnt to write at the age of five. It was the alphabets at first then I put letters together to make words like: DOG, CAT, IDIOTS ...

I'm also a commentator. I have an opinion on any subject you care to mention whether I know anything about it or not; and my views are just as relevant as the next man's or woman's. Why don't they have me on TV to comment on just about anything?

I am not a podcaster because I don't know what it means. But I'm sure I can comment about it if asked.

I've even been an ex advisor to my dog until he learnt to ignore me. So I can advise anyone if they need it.

I don't mind when the subject they are discussing is of a medical, or technical nature and they have a doctor or scientist there, or an economist to explain rising prices and the GDP of a country, or some other expert on the subject under discussion.

But when they have an "author" or "commentator" or "reporter" then I would say that their views are just as valid as yours, or mine, or my dog's even.

So if there are any TV producers out there reading this I am: 

Victor S E Moubarak - Nonsense Advisor

Thursday 13 July 2023

There's always someone ...


It's a mad world ... and there's always someone more mad than you.

Whenever I open a tin of Spam, beans, or whatever, I always wipe the top clean before opening it. It's a peculiar habit of mine. The other day I was visiting someone and she actually washed a tin of peas with soap and water, then wiped it before opening it. And I thought I was odd.

Another oddity. I've known people who hide the remote control before they go out in case a burglar breaks in. Apparently, burglars don't steal TVs without the remote control.

Also, probably these same people, press hard on the buttons of the remote control when the battery runs out. Then they wonder why it still does not work.

There are so many peculiar oddities we do without thinking. Like checking the door is locked two or three times before leaving the house.

When we go on holiday we take special precautions too. Before leaving the house we empty all the drawers on the floor, we push over all the furniture and pictures off the wall and make the house generally untidy. That way, if a burglar breaks in he'll think we've already been burgled and he'll leave us alone.

Also when leaving the car; I usually press the button on the car key and hear the "beep" and flashing light to indicate the car is locked. Then I physically check all doors are locked. This is because once I locked the car the usual way with the button and despite the "beep" and light the car was still unlocked. I tried it two or three times, and every time the sound and light would happen but the car would not lock. Since then, despite changing several cars, I've never trusted those buttons on the car keys.

I've also been told that if your car is locked on your drive, and your key is in your house, some burglars have electronic equipment that can "read" your car key's signal and open your car without the key. One way to counteract this is to put your car key in a metal box. This stops the signal being picked up by burglars. I used to keep my car keys in the fridge. Some days ago burglars stole our fridge and left the car key on the table.

Another peculiar habit of some people is to rotate the plates, cups and saucers so that they all get used and none are left out feeling unwanted. So if you have six plates, you use the first two, wash them then place them at the bottom of the pile so that next time you use another two from the top, and so on.

Or some people put all their herbs and spices jars on the shelf in alphabetical order. I asked my friend, "how peculiar ... where do you find the time?" She said, "it's next to the rosemary and sage!"

And finally, which way do you put the toilet paper roll on the holder? Rolling towards you or away from you? What other peculiar habits have you got?

Tuesday 11 July 2023

Closed Caption Competition



We all know what closed captions (subtitles) are. They are those words you see at the bottom of your screen telling you what the characters are saying.

Well, now is your turn. Enter the competition by telling us what the characters in the photos below, (or above), are saying:











All entries can win a copy of my VICartoons e-book which can be downloaded FREE from HERE 

Monday 10 July 2023

To sleep, perchance to Blog about it


I could not get to sleep last night. So I eased myself slowly to the very edge of the bed and soon dropped off.

Research shows that where you sleep is in itself conducive to a good night's sleep. I don't like sleeping on a bicycle as I keep falling off. Much better to sleep in a car. Although the difficulty with this is that I wake up suddenly and discover I have missed my exit on the highway, and have to drive to the next one and turn back. Also, the person I'm sleeping with has rolled our of bed when I took that corner too sharp.

The position one sleeps also has an effect on one's nightly performance or lack of it. Some people like to sleep in a North/South position, whereas others prefer an East/West position to be in alignment with the Earth's rotational movement. I find that hanging upside down from a hammock can be perilous as one can fall off and hit one's head on the floor. Similarly, sleeping on a trampoline would make you or your partner hit the roof.

Who you sleep with can also be very important. Some people like to sleep with their pets for companionship and contentment. I did that once. The next morning the bed was soaking wet and my goldfish had died.

When you sleep is also important. Traditionally people tend to sleep at night. But this is not always possible for everyone, especially people who work at night and it is their means of earning a living. Some people like to nap for an hour or so in the afternoon especially when watching programs like Downton Abbey on TV. Others manage to sleep at any time of day and night. I once fell asleep and dreamt I was making a speech at a business meeting at work. When I woke up I discovered that I was!

The duration and quality of one's dreams depends on one's affluence and prosperity in life. Most people dream for a few seconds in monochrome, black and white, images. I dream in full colour, in stereo surround sound and for the duration of the whole film that's on TV at the time. When I wake up I find that I cannot even afford my dreams.

Sometimes I even dream with subtitles/closed captions inscriptions at the bottom of my eyelids. But then wake up suddenly by my wife complaining about how I've behaved in her dreams.

Sunday 9 July 2023

Forgive the fools


Today, in church, just after Communion, I found myself thinking about all those people who did me wrong in life. I don't know why I thought of them. Somehow, they all came to mind.

There have been several people who have hurt me over the years. All individual incidents who have come and gone, the people involved are no longer in my life, and I've survived most of the wrongdoings done to me. There are times when after the wrong has been done and has stopped, you still have to live with the after-effects of the wrong for the rest of your life. But I'm doing well.

In my thoughts I wondered, were all these people evil? Bad people who set out to do wrong? Or were they misguided? Influenced by some other evil, perhaps the devil? Or were they just plain stupid? Idiots following their beliefs and self-important opinions to the detriment of someone else - me.

I concluded that in most cases they were not really evil. But I had to forgive them all the same, even though I realise now they were fools.

When Christ hung there on the Cross, He said, "Forgive them because they don't know what they are doing." Not because they are evil.

The Jewish leaders and their followers thought they were defending the Law. The Law given to them by Abraham, Moses and the prophets. They were defending their positions as leaders. They feared a Roman response in their occupied land.

Yet here they had amongst them the very Son of God and they could not see it. They were blinded by their own beliefs and prejudices. Perhaps aided and abetted by the devil as he did to Judas.

They crucified the Son of God.

Was it pure evil? Misguided judgement? Or a bit of both?

"Forgive them, they don't know what they are doing."

Friday 7 July 2023

A rose by any other name ...


"A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" 
I think Shakespeare was an idiot. The reference is used to state that the names of things do not affect what they really are. The rose would technically still smell just as a rose smells, but it would have lost its appeal. So it would not be as desired as if it was called a rose. Which is exactly the opposite of what the Bard (or Beard) was implying.
How would he like it if he was called the Beard of Avon? I bet he would not be employed selling cosmetics and toiletries door-to-door.
If a rose were called a potato; how would you like it if your husband or boy-friend bought you a dozen potatoes for your birthday?
Names are important. Often one's name, given at birth, can affect an individual throughout life. They say that psychologically some people try to live up to their names in life.
Names are one of the most important things to us. That is why we should if possible address people by their names in conversations. 
I remember a head-master who was bad at remembering names. He often called his teachers for meetings and they sat in a semi-circle. He tried his best when addressing them to call them by their names but often failed to remember the names. So he decided that, at these meetings, he will address them by something they happened to sit near by. So the carpentry teacher became Mr Doors because he sat next to the doors. Then there was Miss Spelling because she sat next to the pile of dictionaries. And also Mr Notice Board, Mr Filing Cabinet, Mrs Window and Mr Curtains and so on. 
In order for the system to work, the teachers always had to sit in the same place at every meeting. However, even this system did not work for the head-master as he also had to remember what each teacher taught. 
For example, Mr Doors taught carpentry. Door ... wood ... carpentry.
Miss Spelling taught grammar. Spelling ... dictionaries ... grammar. And so on with all the teachers.
He sat them in places that would remind him of their pseudonym names and also the subject they taught in school. He sat next to a poster of Coco the clown.
One day at a meeting he forgot who was Mrs Window and Mr Curtains. They both sat by the window. But he could not remember if he had named the woman Mrs Window or Mrs Curtains ... and the man Mr Window or Mr Curtains? 
In order to hide his mistake, he asked the man to change places with Mr Filing Cabinet.

But this caused even more problems because now when he addressed Mr Filing Cabinet, the man who originally had this name but now sat where Mr Curtains used to sit answered instead. And when he addressed Mr Curtains, the man sitting by the Filing Cabinet answered.

So he told both men to forget their previous names and remember the new one he had given them. But this caused further problems when referring to previous meetings and remembering who had said what and what subject they taught at the time. For example did Mr Curtains, when sitting by the window, teach sewing and dress-making, or is he now the School Administrator in charge of all the files and filing cabinets and such documents because he is sitting next to the filing cabinet?
And that's why the Beard of Avon was wrong. Names are important and should not be changed to mean something else.
Does your name have a meaning? Have you wished to change it? What to? Why?


Wednesday 5 July 2023

Beware of what you say


Look folks ... we really must be careful of the things we say. There are so many meaningless sayings which we've become accustomed to repeat like parrots and we don't even mean them.

When I was young my teacher told me I could be what I wanted to be in life. I wanted to be a bicycle. It never happened. After completing my education I became a junior manager, then a senior one, but never a bicycle. Shattered dreams? Or should I have been told the truth?

The other day, in a conversation in the pub, someone said "take it one day at a time". What did he mean? Is there any other way than one day at a time?

Or another silly saying. Cross that bridge when you come to it. My grandfather was always keen on this saying. Well, it never happened to me. I was walking by the river. My intention was to walk all along the river bank until I reached the bridge over a mile away and then cross to the other side. I walked and walked and when I got there that bridge was closed because of repairs. So I had to walk all the way where I started.

I hate these stupid sayings. My other grandfather used to say "fight fire with fire". Then he lost his job as a fireman.

My other grandfather loved to say "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me". Then a whole bookshelf fell over him. 

My other other grandfather was a farmer. He always complained that his neighbour gets his goat; even though he only kept cows and sheep.

Finally, I remember one of my many grandfathers telling me, "never ever take any advice from anyone!" So I ignored him.

I'm sure you can think of other meaningless sayings. Share them with us below.

Sunday 2 July 2023

Selfish God?


Matthew 10:37-42

"Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet's reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple, truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward."

On first reading, this looks as if God, or Jesus, is selfish and demands that we love Him more than anyone or anything else. 

But I don't think this is what Jesus meant here. Remember, He was talking to His contemporaries who understood what He was saying, and the nuances and figures of speech of the time.

I think what Jesus is teaching here is that love of parents, offspring, or even life itself is a sacred mission as created by God. It is our duty, obligation even, to love our parents, spouses, children and "neighbours". 

Remember, "Honour your father and mother" and "Thou shalt not commit adultery" as well as "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another."

Jesus is saying here that our whole purpose in life is to do as God commands us, and this includes loving other people on the same level of importance as loving God, because He commanded so. Even to the point of loving our own life as a dedicated service to God's will, not as a selfish possession of our own

If you welcome, (love), someone as you welcome Jesus then you are welcoming God in your life. But if you welcome, (love), a prophet just because he is a prophet, then you're welcoming just another man.

We should love other people with the same power and intensity as Jesus has loved us. Difficult as this might be; we should at least try our best.

The same applies for our lives. Our lives are a gift from God and we should love, (dedicate), our lives to the service of God, our parents, spouses, children and neighbours. And those who perhaps do not have spouses or offspring or family should dedicate their lives to those less fortunate, less able, less blessed than them. This is done through voluntary service, charity work, and so many other causes.

" ... whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple, truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward."

When Jesus was on earth, He lived His life in service for others. He even died for others. What He is asking us here is not to love our lives for ourselves - that is for our own good, our own pleasure, our selfish needs. But to love our lives lived in service for others. And also, to love others in the same way as He has loved us.

 I watch the sunrise
Lighting the sky
Casting its shadows near
And on this morning
Bright though it be
I feel those shadows
Near me
But you are always close to me
Following all my ways
May I be always close to you
Following all your ways, Lord
I watch the sunlight
Shine through the clouds
Warming the earth below
And at the mid-day
Life seems to say
I feel your brightness
Near me
For you are always close to me
Following all my ways
May I be always close to you
Following all your ways, Lord
I watch the sunset fading away
Lighting the clouds with sleep
And as the evening closes its eyes
I feel your brightness near me
For you are always close to me
Following all my ways
May I be always close to you
Following all your ways, Lord
I watch the moonlight
Guarding the night
Waiting 'til morning comes
The air is silent
Earth is at rest
Only your peace is near me
Yes, you are always close to me
Following all my ways
May I be always close to you
Following all your ways, Lord
Yes, you are always close to me
Following all my ways
May I be always close to you
Following all your ways, Lord

Saturday 1 July 2023

Antique Guitar


Medieval antique guitar found in abandoned fridge on top of an oak tree in a meadow somewhere very far from here some years ago. Granted, not an excellent provenance, but it was dark and raining at the time. However, a medieval minstrel was noticed leaving the scene riding a motorbike moments earlier singing a lyric dating back to Chaucer's era.