Sunday 31 December 2023

Happy Gnu Year



Welcome 2024 and may you be better than last year and may all our readers be blessed.

Traditionally this is the time to make new resolutions for the year ahead. Ideally, these should be targeted, achievable, and measurable. 
Targeted - because they address a particular cause or issue you wish to address.
Achievable - because there's no point in having a resolution you cannot keep. Like, by the end of the year I'll be an astronaut. Forget it ... it won't happen!
Measurable - because you can tell how you're progressing and to ensure you don't give up.
For this year, my New Year's resolution is to carry a potato or two in my pockets at all time.  

Targeted - Because potatoes have eyes but they cannot see. Those little white buds from a potato are the beginning of new growth. They are called eyes where I'm from. But they don't look at you and judge you and reprimand you when you do wrong. They are a reminder that we too should not judge others. We may be able to see but it does not mean we should comment on everything we see and don't approve of.

Achievable - Easy, potatoes are cheap and fit well in one's trouser pockets.

Measurable - The potatoes are either there or not!
Another advantage in potatoes is that they are so versatile. You can boil them, mash them, fry them as in French fries, make them into chips, bake them, you can make Dauphinoise potatoes and so many other recipes too. Which you cannot do with an armadillo. And also you can't carry an armadillo in your pocket as easily as a potato.
Alternative Resolution:

How about being kind to someone every week. It could be anyone; spouse, children, family, friends or even strangers you don't know. Ideally, be kind without them knowing. By the end of the year you would have helped 52 people without them knowing it.

Targeted and Achievable if you put your mind to it. Measurable if you keep a secret diary of your weekly kindnesses. By Christmas you'll be able to read them back and discover that you are a good person who made God proud of you.

And here is me
playing the harmonica
just for YOU.


Friday 29 December 2023

I bought a Bible on-line


I bought a Bible on-line. There are many kinds of Bibles. I like the Good News Bible because it is easier to read. But this is not the Bible I received. They sent another version.

I rang the seller because it was quicker to do so. It's a general book-store, not just a Bibles one. They have a lot of good books there but not mine. Mine are available for discerning readers HERE.

Anyway, I rang this bookseller and told the guy who answered the phone my problem. He was ignorant. A quality much prized in today's modern society. He said, "All Bibles are the same!"

I told him in no uncertain terms, and as politely as I could, which I am not accustomed of doing, that there are different types, or kinds, of Bibles. There's the Good News Bible, which I asked for. Then there is the King James Bible which is what I was sent, the New King James Bible, the English Standard Version, the Berean Study Bible, the New American Standard Bible, and the Amplified Bible to name just a few. I was proud of my knowledge of Bibles even though I was reading the list from my computer. 

I like it when I sound clever and the person at the other end knows no different. When I worked in London I was considered an "expert" at a certain subject. Whenever people rang me for advice I used to tap a few keys on my computer and quote the law, Act of Parliament, Chapter, Paragraph, Section and Sub-Section on any subject the caller asked about. They were all impressed at my knowledge and wisdom.

Anyway, I used the same trick with this hapless bookseller's assistant. He asked me to wait whilst he checked. Then he came back and said, "You're mistaken Sir, there's only one Bible, the King James Bible," which is all he had on the shelf. Well I tell you people, I am not as appreciative of the gift of ignorance as the rest of modern society is. I told this individual what's what and said I'd be e-mailing his employer and I expect an answer from the highest manager "tout de suite" if he values his job. He said there was no one of this name at the shop. I slammed the phone down and turned to my computer.

Half-an-hour later I received an e-mail which started, "This is Jesus. I can solve your problem."

I nearly fell off my chair. They really did go to the very top. Now I'm in real trouble for being so uncharitable, unchristian, unloving and every other un you can think of.

Then I realised that some people do actually call their children, "Jesus".

This fellow was polite and promised to send me a Good News Bible straight away. I asked him the price and he said it was free because of the inconvenience I'd been put through.

You see people. The Word of God is free. Jesus has paid for it.

It's good to have a Bible in the home as long as you read it. A brand new Bible is of no use if it is not read. Especially when you consider the price paid for it.

Thursday 28 December 2023

Christmas Dance


Last night some friends invited us to a Christmas Party. It was held in a large hall and they had over fifty guests and a wonderful Italian band. Here's a short video of me dancing with my wife. Grab your partner and join in.



Wednesday 27 December 2023

What did Santa bring you?


As I mentioned in my previous post, I dressed as Santa on Christmas day and delivered presents to a number of children having a party organised by some friends of ours. My friend Harry dressed as an elf and was Santa's helper carrying the parcels and delivering presents to the kids.

After the meal, and as the children were enjoying their toys he said, "I've got a special present for you!"

I explained that we don't really need presents and that just our friendship is enough. It was more an excuse than reality since in truth I had not got him anything. I don't like this idea of giving presents as it always puts me under an obligation to give a present of equal or greater value to the giver. But anyway, Harry would not hear of it.

"It's a really special present," he said, "more of an adventure you'll never forget!"

Now I know there are organisations that provide adventure presents; like a day racing a car round the track, or parachute jumps, or water skiing and so on. And to be honest I was not keen on such pursuits. The best adventure I enjoy is sitting in my armchair with a drink in hand. But to be nice and sociable, which is in my nature anyway, I feigned interest and pretended to be excited.

Harry reminded me that he is a fully qualified crane driver and that he'd take me for a ride on the building site in town where he's working at the moment.

"What?" I said in disbelief. But he's not one to be stopped easily in his enthusiasm. He explained that it was safe, and that I'd see the whole town from up there, and I could take photos with my cell phone, and ... and ... and ...

And to cut a long story short we drove there, still in our costumes. I hated the journey up in that little elevator going up slowly. It certainly was not my idea of fun. But he was in his element showing me how the controls work. How he could turn the crane round and do this and that and so on. Eventually, after what seemed hours, it was time to get down again. 

You guessed it. The elevator would not work. He pressed this and that button, opened and shut the door several times, he swore and cursed, (have you ever seen a rude elf?), but the elevator would not work. He rang his boss on the cell-phone and there was no one there. So he left a "Merry Christmas" message.

Then he rang the Fire Brigade. He told them this was an emergency but not the usual kind. There was no fire as such but we were stuck up a crane and the emergency is that I'd had two cups of coffee and needed to go to the toilet and could not do it from up there for fear of being seen. Could they come quickly but without the sirens blaring and flashing lights.

What seemed like ages afterwards, the Fire Brigade did turn up. They fiddled with the mechanism at the bottom of the crane and within seconds we were heading down to safety again.

When they saw us in our costumes, one of them said, "In future stick to reindeer and sleigh, Santa. It's safer!"

So, what presents did Santa bring you?

Tuesday 26 December 2023

How was you Christmas?


So, how was your Christmas? Quiet? Peaceful? Blessed? With family and friends? Or like mine?

We were due to go to friends for lunch. They live quite some miles away. I was due to make an entrance as Father Christmas and bring some toys for their children and a number of other under-privileged children in the area. They hold these events every year.

An hour or so before the event they ring in a panic. Their microwave oven has broken down. They need at least four microwaves to prepare various dishes for about thirty kids and parents. Mostly to warm dishes. They use the main oven to cook.

I was already dressed as Santa. I take our microwave from the kitchen .... Damn ... Who's the idiot who left half a bowl of soup in there? Soup everywhere. I clean the microwave. Place it in the car and drive to my friend Paul; meanwhile my family ring him asking him to have his microwave ready for collection.

I get to Paul, take the microwave from his wife and explain what's happened and leave. Meanwhile the family has phoned Jackie. I go to her and collect her microwave. And drive on to Susan, who also has kindly loaned us her microwave. They're going out for Christmas meal and don't need their oven; besides, she can't cook anyway.

I drive off at speed to our hosts with four microwave ovens in the boot. Blue lights flashing behind me. I stop. The policeman asked me, "In a hurry, Santa? What's happened to your reindeer and sleigh?" 

I tried to explain the emergency. He does not believe me and thinks I'm a burglar with a penchant for microwaves. Also with a car load of toys on the back seats. He asks me to follow him to the police station.    

I am put in a cell until they find a lawyer to represent me whilst I am to be interviewed. Meantime our hosts are waiting for the microwaves and my family is waiting for me to get back home and pick them up and go to our hosts. They get tired of waiting and go there by taxi.

I'm allowed one phone call. I phone home. No one there to answer the phone. The police get more suspicious. A man dressed as Santa, no proof of identity, with four microwave ovens and possibly a stolen car too. 

I wait until the lawyer arrives. He phones my hosts and clears the matter up. The police let me go.  

So, how was your Christmas? Quiet? Peaceful? Blessed? With family and friends? Or like mine?

Saturday 23 December 2023

Something for me to eat

It was five days before Christmas, Father Ignatius drove into the car park and was about to enter the Parish house when he noticed a man standing by the Church door. He walked up to him and the man asked: “Have you got something for me to eat?”

He was in his fifties perhaps, although he looked much older. Unshaven, wearing dirty clothes with tears down the pockets, an open shirt revealing skin that had not been washed since who knows when, and shoes with no socks.

“I’m not from around here …” said the man, “just got off the train … I hid amongst the cattle and no one saw me …” he continued with a grin revealing missing teeth.

The smell of his clothes certainly testified to the fact that he slept amongst cattle, thought the priest.

“I think you’re in need of a good warm bath …” he said without thinking, “follow me …”

He took the man into the Parish house, led him to the bathroom and filled the bath with hot water. He then brought a large plastic bag and asked him to put all his clothes inside it. “I’ll try and find you something new to wear. We’ll have to throw your old clothes away …” said the priest as he left him to it.

He then looked through his own wardrobe and found a few bits and pieces which he no longer needed; and complemented these with other items of clothing donated by parishioners for the monthly jumble/rummage sale.

Half an hour later the man was clean and dressed, minus his shoes. The priest noticed that his toe-nails had not been cut for ages. So he sat him down, went down on his hands and knees and cut his nails for him; for it was obvious the man could not even bend down and do this for himself.

He then took him to the kitchen and prepared a lovely meal of fried eggs, bacon, sausages, black pudding and fried bread. Followed with coffee and toast and marmalade.

It was getting rather dark by mid-afternoon when the man finished eating; so Father Ignatius got him in his car and drove him to the St Bernard Shelter for the Homeless at the other side of town.

On his way back Father Ignatius could not get the man out of his mind. “What a miserable place this town is …” he thought to himself, “high levels of unemployment … businesses shutting down … people losing their jobs and their homes even … I wonder how many are sleeping rough this Christmas."

His thoughts then turned to his parishioners. “This is definitely the poorest Parish I’ve been assigned to,” he thought as he drove home, “I wonder how many of our old folk will have a miserable Christmas … sitting at home with little if anything to eat … Miss Fletcher for instance … seventy years old and all alone … and the Palmers … both in their eighties … and Mr Sanders …” and the names kept coming to mind as he drove mile after mile.

When he reached the Parish house he was determined to do something about the old folk in his congregation. He decided to invite those whom he knew to be alone and with little money to a Christmas dinner at the Church hall.

He rushed to his office and started by writing a list of people he’d invite. A few minutes later and the list ran to twenty-seven people, all elderly, all poor, all of them he knew very well would spend Christmas day alone in their homes with little to celebrate.

He then started another list of what would be needed to prepare a lovely Christmas meal and to his dismay it totalled over £100.

And his dream was shattered in an instant. Where was he to find such a large sum of money? The Sunday collections hardly amounted to twenty pounds or so a week and every penny was needed for the up-keep of the church, the Parish house, the car and sundry other expenses.

He decided to stop thinking about this project. Doomed before it even started. Thankfully he had not shared his thoughts with anybody. Not his fellow priest, nor the housekeeper.

He looked at the clock and went to church to celebrate evening Mass.

The next morning there was a large brown envelope in the letter box with Father Ignatius’ name written on it in large letters. It had been hand-delivered as it did not have a stamp or postmark. Just his name in bold capitals.

He took it to his office and on opening it he found it contained £150 in bank notes.

There was nothing to signify who had sent it; but it was obviously for him as the envelope had his name clearly written on it.

He did hold his Christmas party for the old folk that year; but he never found out who sent him the money.
This happened many years ago when Father Ignatius first arrived at St Vincent Church. Since then he has held a Christmas party for the old people every year; with money donated by various rich and not so rich parishioners.
NOTE: This story is based on true facts. I have known a priest to go down on his knees to cut the toe nails of a poor person who called on his house for something to eat. And I've known another priest who got a donation of money anonimously just as he needed it to feed some poor folks in his parish.


And now ...
Silent Night
Visit his website HERE 
 Silent night, holy night!
All is calm, all is bright.
Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child.
Holy infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight.
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia,
Christ the Saviour is born!
Christ the Saviour is born
 Silent night, holy night!
All is calm, all is bright.
Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child.
Holy infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace

Friday 22 December 2023

Mary's Boy Child


BONEY M - 1978

Wednesday 20 December 2023

Christmas 2023

It is Christmas

The time most of us spend with family and friends
The time to give each other presents
And enjoy each other’s company

Making happy memories to sustain us in difficult times

At this Blessed Season
Let us not forget to give Jesus Christ a present too
For it is His Birthday we are celebrating after all

The gift He would like the most
Is that we love one another a little more
That we care for one another a little more
And forgive each other too as we would wish done to us

Let us pray for Peace throughout the world
And let Peace start in our hearts towards one and all

God bless you

Victor S E Moubarak

Tuesday 19 December 2023



Gaudete "rejoice" is a sacred Christmas carol thought to have been composed in the 16th century.

British folk rock group Steeleye Span had a hit in 1973 with an a cappella recording of the song.

Monday 18 December 2023

Christmas Humour


It was Christmas eve and at the end of their first date , a young man takes his favourite girl home. Emboldened by the night, he decides to try for that important first kiss. 

With an air of confidence, he leans with his hand against the wall and, smiling, he says to her, "Darling, how 'bout a goodnight kiss?"
Horrified, she replies, "Are you mad? My parents will see us!"
"Oh come on! Who's gonna see us at this hour?"
"No, please. Can you imagine if we get caught?"
"Oh come on, there's nobody around, they're all sleeping!"
"No way. It's just too risky!"
"Oh please, please, I like you so much!!"
"No, no, and no. I like you too, but I just can't!"
 "Oh yes you can. Please?"
 "NO, no. I just can't."

 Out of the blue, the porch light goes on, and the girl's sister shows up in her pyjamas, hair dishevelled. In a sleepy voice the sister says: "Dad says to go ahead and give him a kiss. Or I can do it. Or if need be, he'll come down himself and do it. But for crying out loud tell him to take his hand off the intercom button!"

I have just begun my food shopping for Christmas. The store was heaving with people pushing and shoving to complete their shopping. Eventually, having got a few items, I did my good deed for the day.

At the checkout, I duly waited behind a sweet old lady at the till. Her bill came to £58.83 but when she counted out all of her change she only had just under £10.

 I thought she was probably someone's Nan and I'd like to think someone would have helped my Nan out just before Christmas if she's in a similar situation.

She didn't want my help but I insisted, and in no time at all we had all of her shopping back on the shelves again.

What did Santa get in the North Pole whilst sitting on the ice too long? - Polaroids!


I asked my wife if she would like a necklace for Christmas, she said nothing will please her more. So I got her nothing instead

For Christmas, I bought my wife a world map and gave her a dart. I told her to throw it and wherever it lands, we will go on vacation in the New Year.

Turns out we are spending two weeks behind the fridge.

I asked my boss, “Can I have a few days off seeing as it's so close to Christmas?”

He said, “It's May.”

“Sorry,” I replied, “May I have a few days off seeing as it's so close to Christmas?”

I think Christmas should be moved to January. The stores are less crowded and everything is on sale.

This Christmas, I got a new car for my wife

I thought it was a great trade.

What is the librarians favourite Christmas song?
Silent Night

Just been up in the loft getting the Christmas tree down, and I found a present from last year which we must have forgotten to give to the kids...

...shame really, they would have loved a kitten.

Doesn't it get on your goat
when this happens?
I'm off to have a drink ...
...or two !!!

Sunday 17 December 2023

Who do you think I am?


In Matthew Chapter 16 verse 13 onwards we read that Jesus asked His disciples "Who do you say I am?"

Peter answered quite rightly, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God".

I now ask you "Who do you think you are?"

I am not asking you for your name, the name of your parents, or your family lineage. I am not asking you whether you are male or female, single, married, divorced, separated or in partnership with anyone. Whether you are a parent or uncle, aunt or whatever. I am not even asking you whether you are a doctor, nurse, lawyer, carpenter or whatever your job may be; if you have one.

I am asking you "Who do you think you are?"

Do you really know yourself? To know oneself deeply and fully we should consider "what makes us tick". What is it that makes us who we are, or what we have become as we grew up, or are still growing up.

We are all the product of our background, environment, parentage, up-bringing and a variety of other factors that make us what we are now. But have we ever taken the time to consider how these factors have affected us and made us what we are today?

Take for instance our opinions on any subject. Our views. Our prejudices (for we all have them no matter what we lead others to believe). Our fears real or imagined. Are these all of our own making or are they pre-set opinions or views we have heard or learnt from others and adapted them to suit our own beliefs and requirements?

How many of our views and opinions are indeed logically assessed and formulated by us as opposed to following someone else's views?

Let's go back to the Scripture quoted above. If Jesus challenged us and asked "Who do you say I am?" What would our honest, no hesitation, response be?

And if He asked "Who do you think you are?" What would our answer be?

Whatever our opinion of ourselves may be, or whatever or whoever we think we are. One think is for sure. We are all the Creations of God. Indeed we are the sons and daughters of God.

Why else would we call Him Father when we recite the Lord's prayer?

Saturday 16 December 2023

In My Life


Friday 15 December 2023

What's in your shoe?


There was a touring theatrical production in town and Father Ignatius had been given complimentary tickets by a parishioner who could not go himself. The priest loved the theatre but had little opportunity to attend because of the costs involved travelling to the big cities where all the big shows took place.

It was a pleasant couple of hours watching an amateur dramatic production putting on a play which one of them had written. It was part comedy part drama which would certainly not make the West End of London or be taken up by any Hollywood producer; but at least it passed the time on a nice summer’s evening.

The following morning, during Sunday Mass, Father Ignatius was surprised to see one of the actors in church. The priest immediately recognised him and was impressed how the man played the role of an injured tennis player and walked with a limp throughout the whole production.

After Mass, he made a point of speaking to the young actor.

“It’s nice to see you here,” he said, “I must say I really enjoyed the play last night. Very funny with a moral lesson too.”

“Thank you so much, Father,” said the actor, “we’re off to Edinburgh for the festival. Wish us luck that we’re successful!”

“I’m sure you will be,” encouraged the priest, “I was particularly impressed at how you maintained that limp throughout the play. Every time you walked you kept limping and never forgot or got out of character. Now that’s real acting!”

“Oh, it’s quite simple, Father,” explained the man, “let me tell you a secret. Before I got on stage I put a little pebble in my shoe. A tiny pebble but it did the trick. Every time I took a step it hurt like hell … and it reminded me to limp and remain in character!”

“Ingenious,” said Father Ignatius.

“Actually, it was a priest I met in Swansea years ago who gave me the idea,” said the actor, “he preached about Paul having a thorn in the flesh. You know … in 2 Corinthians Chapter 12?”

The priest nodded.

The actor continued, “Well, the priest said that we all have a thorn in the flesh. Something always there niggling at us. Some problem or other, some difficulty. Like an illness, or a job we’re not happy in and are stuck there, money problems, marital difficulties … that sort of thing. He said that these problems are like having a little pebble or stone lodged in your shoe. It hurts and you must stop and take it off.

“However … rather than take the pebble out of your shoe, you should treat it as an opportunity to pray to God. Every time your thorn in the flesh comes to mind, hand over the matter to God and trust in Him!”

The priest was impressed at the young man’s attitude to life and his faith in God.

Father Ignatius never saw the man again after that Sunday’s Mass. But he was pleased to note that in time the young actor got discovered and after some minor roles on TV adverts, he eventually landed a part in a successful TV soap.