Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Inventions that changed the world

It never ceases to amaze me how inventive and creative is the human mind, and how many inventions we have developed over the years, over the centuries, which not only have helped human kind and advanced its knowledge and well-being, but have actually been vital to our very existence.

They say that the world's greatest ever invention was the wheel; but I do not agree. Perhaps the greatest invention was the second wheel, because then you had a bicycle.

But there have been many other great inventions since then; perhaps even better than the wheel. The door bell for instance. Before the door bell people had to knock on doors to be let in. Most doors in ancient days had ornate door knockers made of metal, sometimes brass or iron, and you lifted the knocker which was attached to the door by a hinge and you made a knocking sound which reverberated throughout the house and people inside would let you in.

This gave rise to knock knock jokes. I'm sure you've heard most of them so I won't bother you with any right now. But when the door bell was invented people stopped telling each other knock knock jokes. They all seemed to have died down somehow.

Knock knock
Who's there
Quick, open the coffin!

Anyway ... as I was saying, did you know my grand-father was a great inventor. He invented the colour mauve. Before then there was red, and there was blue, and violet, and purple, but no mauve. He went to the shops with my grandma and she tried a dress on. She asked him, "Do you like the colour? What is it called?"

He was eager to go home and replied, "Come on ... move!"

She said, "Mauve ... that's my favourite colour from now on!"

The other day at a fancy restaurant I discovered another new invention. An electric fork. You press a button and the fork end goes round and round to help you pick up spaghetti from your plate. It's rather dangerous if you happen to get it caught in your beard, though. I got an electric shock from it too.

Personally, I think the greatest invention ever is the left shoe. If they hadn't invented the left shoe you'd be walking round the street limping with every step because one leg would be shorter than the other. You'd have to walk on the edge of the side-walk with the right foot with a shoe on the road, and the left bare foot on the side-walk in order to walk straight. The problem with this is that you'd be going round and round the same block turning left all the time and never getting to where you want to go. Unless it was somewhere on the block where you live, like the shop down the road. Once you bought what you wanted you'd go all the way round your block until you reached your house once again.

The left shoe invention solved all that problem.

Another great invention, just as good as the left shoe I reckon, is the whoopee cushion. Before the whoopee cushion people had to rely on baked beans to make embarrassing sounds at parties. Or cabbage or Brussels sprouts. The whoopee cushion spared us from eating such stuff and now we can have a great laugh at any occasion without worrying what we eat. They are great fun at all gatherings, especially funerals. Just place a few whoopee cushions on the pews in church and watch what happens as the mourners sit down with their long sad faces. It's guaranteed to cheer everyone up in the most solemn of occasions.

I remember once I attended the funeral of a friend who was a clown at a travelling circus. Someone had placed a number of whoopee cushions on the pews. It was great fun when we all sat down together after the first hymn!

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Speaking From My Sock

So … why call my new book, “Speaking from my sock”? 

It’s simple really. You see, I am a very shy kind of person and find it difficult starting conversations, or keeping up with conversations, for that matter. It’s not just the starting bit, but the continuation too which is a problem with me. Ending a conversation is much easier though. I just stop talking.

Years ago, when I was a child, my parents made me a sock puppet from an old sock. And the rest is history. I have not stopped talking since. At least the sock puppet hasn’t.

The other day for instance, I had reason to phone for a plumber. Easily done on the phone. But when he turned up I became very shy again. So I put on the sock puppet and all went well …

“Hello Mr Plumber,” said the sock, “how good of you to come over so quickly within a fortnight. Please excuse my silent friend with his hand up my rear. He doesn’t speak much. But he told me to tell you that our sink is blocked. We think another sock somehow got down the plug hole!”

And there you have it. A new book written by me with the help of my sock puppet. Thank you for buying it and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as the sock enjoyed writing it.

This book is a collection of short humourous stories and anecdotes, some heard here and there over the years, others originating from the deep recesses of my mind. 


Thursday, 19 April 2018


Many years ago I was fortunate to visit Houston, in Texas, on business. Whilst there my hosts took me to the Houston Astrodome to see the Astros play baseball. I cannot say that I understood what was going on, but I enjoyed that evening and the whole atmosphere at the game.

When I got back to England, I wondered why, at the time, we did not play so much baseball in the UK. We play football, (soccer), rugby and cricket but not baseball. A few business friends and I decided to set up a baseball team and perhaps help promote the game round our town.

We advertised our intentions in the newspapers and for a week or so waited for people to come forwards wishing to play the game. We did not receive one reply to our advert.

It was then that we realised that we had not put an address or phone number for people to contact us. So we ran the advert again and got a few volunteers wanting to learn to play baseball.

Sadly, most of them were totally useless. One of them got hit in the head by the ball and ended up in hospital. Another got hit much lower down his body and he too went to hospital. His wife was none too pleased about where he got hurt. All in all our efforts to build up a team of players seemed to be a difficult task ahead. But we persevered. We hired a coach who knew a thing or two about baseball and we trained these youngsters as best we could.

One day, a horse came into my office. He was quite confident as he pulled up a chair and sat there lighting a cigarette. He said that he wanted to join our baseball team and that he could play very well.

I could not believe my eyes. Or ears for that matter. I had a horse in my office wanting to play baseball.

I told him there and then that it was against the rules.

He smiled and said, "No it isn't. Check it out!"

Believe me ... this is true ... honest ... We did check out the rules and there is nothing to say that a horse cannot play baseball. If you don't believe me then check it out yourselves. You'll see I am telling the truth.

As a matter of interest, we also checked the cricket rules too, and there's nothing there about horses either.

Well, as it happened, we had a game scheduled for that very Saturday. So we decided that our horse would be the first one to start the game. He held the bat tightly in his hand, (or hoof), and faced the pitcher. (You see, I know the right term to use for the guy who throws the ball).

Our horse hit the ball so hard that it flew high in the sky at a million miles an hour and I think it landed three or four streets away from where we were playing.

Everyone was totally astounded and flabbergasted at the same time.

The horse just stood still, totally frozen, and did not move a muscle.

"RUN ... RUN ..." I shouted at him, "RUN !!!!"

"Run?" he said, "Run? If I could run I'd be at the Kentucky Derby not in your poxy English town!"

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Fluffy Bunny

The family was out in London for the day. I looked in the freezer compartment of our fridge. We normally put various pieces of meat in plastic bags and write on them what they are and the number of portions per bag. This makes it easier when wanting to find something quick to cook. Amongst the bags of beef and lamb I found a bag entitled "rabbit - 1 portion".

That's new, I thought. I'll make a rabbit stew. It's a dish based on tomato sauce, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, swedes all boiling together with a piece of meat - this time it was rabbit.

As I supervised my meal cooking the front doorbell rang. I turned the heat low down and went to open the door. It was our neighbour with his wife.

"Have you seen our Fluffy Bunny rabbit?" they asked, "he is white and we think he dug under the fence and got in your garden!"

"Ehm ... no ... I haven't seen him," I said unconvincingly.

"You hesitated just there," said my neighbour, "are you sure you did not see him and think he was a white cat or something?"

"Yes ... yes ... I am sure," I lied truthfully. I hadn't after all seen a white rabbit, or any other colour rabbit for that matter.

"Can we have a look in your garden?" asked my neighbour persistently.

"OK ..." I hesitated again, "I'll let you in by the side gate ..."

I could hardly let them in the house and through the kitchen to the back garden in case they recognised their Fluffy Bunny cooking in my casserole.

They looked in the garden and found nothing.

When they were gone, to be honest, I had totally lost my appetite for Fluffy Bunny and gave the whole meal to our dog Brutus. He'd betray anyone for a good meal, our dog.

When the family returned home I asked about that packet marked rabbit in our freezer.

"Oh ... we got that from the butcher in the High Street a couple of days ago," I was told, "it was a new product he was selling and it was good value. Did you like it?"

"Yes ... certainly ... it was very delicious," I lied unconvincingly again.

As long as they don't ask Brutus for his opinion.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Giving Up

It happens to all of us I suppose at one time or another.

We try to achieve something, but the more we try the more we fail. We try again and again and we fail one more time. We’re so tired of trying to achieve our goal that we feel like giving up.

It is said that on His way to Calvary Jesus fell to the ground three times. It is not Biblical of course, but we can assume that He must have stumbled or fallen at least once.

He was exhausted. He had been beaten, mocked, spat upon and tortured. His disciples had run away in fear, one of whom even denied Him three times, He must have been totally exhausted carrying His Cross up that hill.

That's enough to make anybody give up.

Jesus could have stayed there on the ground and died on the spot. But He got up. Three times, He got up and continued His journey to a cruel and very painful death.

He did it for us. He did it because His Father asked Him to.

Let that be our inspiration to try once again when we feel like giving up.

Friday, 13 April 2018

The Painter,

Once upon a time there was an unscrupulous painter who was very interested in making extra money if he could. He often thinned down his paint with turpentine to make it go a bit further. Sadly, he got away with this for some time.

One day Father Ignatius decided to paint the outside of the Parish Hall white. He asked for several quotations and this painter’s was the lowest price quoted. As the priest was short of funds the painter in question got the job.

So he set about erecting the scaffolding and setting up the planks, and buying the paint and, yes, I am sorry to say, thinning it down with turpentine.

As the painter was up on the scaffolding, painting away, the job nearly completed, there was suddenly a horrendous clap of thunder, the sky opened, and the rain poured down washing the thinned paint from all over the Parish Hall walls, and knocking the painter clear off the scaffold to land on the lawn among the gravestones, surrounded by tell-tale puddles of the thinned and useless paint.

The painter realised that this was a judgement from above …

He got on his knees and cried:

“Oh God … oh God … help me … what should I do?”

And just then a thunderous voice replied:

“Repaint !!! Repaint !!! And thin no more !!!”

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Wednesday, 11 April 2018

The Haunted House

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