This and That

A time for celebration

I glanced at the letters lying on my doormat. I hadn’t had so many in quite a while. Picking them up I put them on the table to read whilst drinking my morning tea. Just looking at the envelopes told me they were not from friends or relations.

The only way to find out, naturally, was to open them, which I did. All without exception were bills that were overdue – gas, electric, water, phone, council tax, rent – and would you believe, one from the Burial Society asking for my monthly payment, ensuring a decent burial when I die.

I looked into my tea, which by now was stone cold. What a start to the day. There was no way I could meet all these demands. I stared at the kitchen wall (which reminded me of a silly joke – “why do you keep staring at the kitchen wall? are you in love with it?” “Of course not, I just admire and respect it”). Well I did tell you it was silly.

They do say when one thinks of suicide the mind does go haywire, with reason flying out the window. I walked across the room, opened the window and gazed down to the street five floors below. It looked so easy, it would all be over in seconds. I put one foot on the ledge; suddenly I was distracted by someone dressed in the attire of a Town Crier (see photo) ringing a bell and shouting something I couldn’t quite catch. As he got nearer, it became loud and clear “Oyez, oyez, oyez, it is time for celebration. Let it be known on this day a future King of England has been born. God bless the Royal Family”.

Well, well, I said to myself, there’s me being negative about life and this wonderful event happens. It’ll certainly cheer up those facing cuts in housing benefits, people standing in line at food banks, and the thousands losing their jobs as a result of the recession.

Then it hit me…..the last time a Town Crier wandered the streets he was shouting “Oyez, oyez, oyez, Sweeney Todd the barber has been knicked for selling human meat pies”.

The grey sausage roll

GreyCapsIts obviously a joke, advertising a film, probably. And yet I was intrigued. I turned the radio on and tuned into Radio 4; but no, it wasn’t a joke. A future king had been born. The announcer was saying “people of England, go out into the streets, link hands with strangers, swear your allegiance to this seat of majesty, this sceptered isle. Home owners, say good morning to your next door neighbour, for the first time since living there for the past 30 years. Dancing round maypoles (see picture) should add to the general frivolity”.

Despite being a dyed-in-the-wool Republican I got caught up in the excitement and decided to join the crowds in the Mall, waiting to catch a glimpse of the Royal Family on the balcony of the Palace.

Before going I rummaged through a bottom drawer for an old flat cap, the ideal headwear to doff in the presence of Royalty (see photo).

I had read that the Queen was holding a banquet that very evening for the great and the good. My socialist instincts told me the list would not include nurses, firemen, grave diggers, care-workers, dustmen, midwives et al.

Mingling with the crowds outside the Palace gates, I observed a young woman eating a grey looking sausage roll, bought from an unshaven trolley vendor with black fingernails, and two-inch ash on a cigarette hanging from his lips. “Excuse me”, I said to her, “are you not concerned you may get food poisoning from what you’re eating?”. She replied “if I get it after seeing the Royal family on the balcony, then I don’t mind too much”. I said to myself how admirable the stoical outlook of the English; it’s people like this that should be around that banqueting table tonight. My thoughts were interrupted by a blast of music from an assembled brass band behind the Palace gates, the doors of the balcony swung open, and out stepped the Royal family.

The baby is on the table

MaypoleThe roar of the crowd ensured it would be a long time before this sceptered isle becoming a Republic. I was about to scoff my cap when I noticed many other flat caps being thrown in the air. I followed suit, but it fell and landed I know not where. Someone nearby started to sing “for he’s a jolly good fellow” with more voices joining in, followed by “roll out the barrel” and “There’ll always be an England”. A voice called out “where’s the future king?” another replied “he’s probably crawling along the banquet table tasting a prawn cocktail”. Laughter all round. After another blast of music, the Royals disappeared behind the balcony doors, no doubt to enter the banqueting hall to find prawn cocktails scattered all over a Louis XIV embroidered carpet. What a naughty baby the future king is, already behaving like his uncle, Prince Harry.

The show being over, people began drifting away down the Mall. I picked up some of the flat caps strewn around, tried them on, till one fitted me. Entering Buckingham Palace Road, I spotted the unshaven, black fingernails, cigarette ash spotted apron of the grey sausage vendor. Feeling a bit peckish, and throwing caution to the wind, I bought two. One to munch there and then, the other to put in my oven for a late night snack.

Arriving home the first thing I noticed were the unpaid bills, which I promptly tore into tiny pieces, I knew what I had to do the following morning, only a miracle will stop me. Dismissing it from my mind, I reheated the sausage roll, settled in my easy chair and promptly fell asleep, leaving an uneaten grey sausage languishing on a plate

In the money

Awaking the following morning, I decided not to waste any more time; went to the window, opened it, put one foot on the ledge, gazed around the room, to say goodbye, when unbelievingly I heard the voice of the Town Crier again. I looked down, and sure enough there he was, ringing his bell and bellowing something I couldn’t catch. For a moment I thought he mentioned my name. It can’t be, but yes it was, LOUD and clear ““Oyez, oyez, oyez, this is a message for Mike Myers. You have won the Euro Millions lottery. The jackpot is 500 Million Euros”. I shut my eyes tight, then opened them, looking down, the Town Crier had gone.

I decided now was not a good time for jumping out of windows, it was also a good time for believing in miracles. So there is a god, after all. How can I repay him for this luck bestowed upon me? I got down on my knees, clasped my hands together, looked up, and said “dear God, wherever you are, I now see the error of my Republican beliefs, which I hereby renounce as of this moment. To show my sincerity, I’m prepared to go into seclusion atop a mountain in the Himalayas, with just a bible for company, but if I did that, lots of greedy people will steal all the lovely lolly I’ve won and live the life of Riley. I’m sure you agree with me that we can’t allow this to happen, so maybe my trip to the Himalayas be postponed till such time when the money runs out”.

Well that’s all I have to say at present, but I’ll get back to you quite soon, if not from my miserable flat, then probably from a chateau in Switzerland or a castle in sunny Spain. I shall go out shortly to visiting a few places of worship, to put a few coins in their collection boxes, just to show my heart’s in the right place. I rose from the floor to go out and do my good deed, when it hit me – HOW DID THE TOWN CRIER KNOW I HAD THE WINNING TICKET? I never buy tickets for that lottery. On that puzzling question, I woke up in bed in a cold sweat. IT WAS ALL A DREAM. I know that for a fact as there was no trace of an uneaten grey sausage anywhere in sight.

Long live the Republic.

Sleep Inducing Meal

DJCatTurn on the radio, tune into Jazz FM, listen to Dinner Jazz, which is aired in the evening.. You leisurely start eating your dinner; first course over, second course coming up. It is set before you, mmmm, very tasty. Then halfway through what you first attacked with relish suddenly becomes a chore. You slow down, very strange, you felt full of beans twenty minutes earlier. You begin to feel a lack of energy, you can’t finish what’s before you. Putting down your knife and fork, you say to yourself (ah, my favourite dessert is coming up – Crème Brulee – I’ll definitely get through that).

And here it comes, oh boy, what a masterpiece, a work of culinary art. You raise your spoon, suddenly the Crème Brulee is not in your mouth, but in your bloody face, which has fallen into it.


No need to call in Sherlock Holmes to deduce why, I’ll tell you why. Throughout the meal you were listening to Dinner Jazz on Jazz FM under the misapprehension you were listening to jazz. But, poor fool , you were conned, it wasn’t jazz, but an endless dirge of music at funereal tempo (even the presenters sounded like they were dropping off) of what Jazz FM think is jazz – funk and soul.

Jazz has been described as ‘one of the lively arts.’ That being the case, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, et al. please come back and wake up Jazz FM.

Sir Lancelot Rides Again

LancelotIts the Queen’s Birthday Honours list once again, folks.

1,000 were dished out, and as usual it was the celebs who collared the publicity. The daily papers saw to that, with lots of photos and trivial comments… ‘thrilled and flattered’…’a genuine surprise’…’deeply honoured’ and other such gush, was uttered by those who can’t stop acting.

I’m bemused by some – calling themselves progressives or socialists – accepting knighthoods, an award that was solely dished out by royalty for military merit. Today, fortunately, it carries no military obligations to the sovereign.

Tony (Baldrick) Robinson made a witty comment after receiving his knighthood: “from this day on I’ll slaughter all unruly dragons, and rescue any damsels in distress who request my help”.

Tony – or is it now Sir Anthony? – whatever you do, don’t wear the Baldrick garb when rescuing a distressed damsel. Do it in style and dress like Sir Lancelot (see picture). But if you insist on being Baldrick – forget about the damsels and rescue the dragons instead.

Coffee anyone?

Pret A Manger sell a beaker of filter coffee for 90p. I tried it the other week. My verdict? Drink polluted drain water instead.

When is a fish not a fish?

sardinesI recently bought several tins of sardines at Lidl supermarket. Yesterday, feeling a bit peckish I opened one. Digging a fork in I took a mouthful. Mmmm… they don’t taste like those I get from Sainsbury’s – shouldn’t all sardines taste the same?

A thought immediately crossed my mind – are they contaminated with toxic waste? Maybe I’m jumping to conclusions.. I eat a lot of fish who swim in the same sea, and none that I’ve eaten over the years contained toxic waste – otherwise I might have been dead by now.

I was so pleased no one was present to witness my overreaction. How silly I would have felt, having composed myself over this storm-in-a-teacup. I dug the fork in again – oh my god, the taste was the same as the first. Then it hit me – how do I know the sardines In this tin swam in the same sea as all the fish I’ve ever eaten? There’s Seven Seas in the world, which one was this tin swimming in? Did the other fish know which sea to swim in that didn’t contain any toxic? Then I did something I never do – read the small print on the product. The first thing that caught my eye confirming my early suspicion was, quote: Allergy advice – contains fish. I immediately thought, that being the case it must contain something else. Which on closer scrutiny it didn’t mention. What is this something else? Could it be toxic waste? As luck would have it, I have a Sherlock Holmes Deerstalker (a present from someone or other) which I donned, and made a closer inspection of the tin’s contents.

The digging in of my fork had made a horrible mess of the sardines, reflecting for a moment that Sainsbury’s sardines were proper looking gentlemen In comparison (see photo). Still wearing the deerstalker, I continued my investigation by consulting the dictionary to clarify exactly the definition of where sardines stand in relation to creatures of the deep. Quote: “sardines, a small fish of the herring family”. So, my investigation has uncovered the fact that sardines are in fact a fish, part of a happy family, cruelly taken from their bosom, crammed into tins, and stuck on a supermarket shelf at 45p a tin. What a cruel world this is.

Next time I’m in a supermarket and pass the stacked sardines I’ll murmur “I’m on your side, guys”, then promptly pick up a tin of cod roe, and hurry to the check-out. Yum yum.

Another Way to Order Sausages and Mash

bangers-and-mashWhen the waiter takes your order – ask for zeppelins in the clouds.


I occasionally send off to the States for books on the cinema which are unobtainable here. There’s always a good second-hand selection at competitive prices.

As usual when selling on the net, sellers have to state the condition of the product they’re selling. Some time ago I noticed this one; quote ’may include notes, markings, underlining, bent corners, highlighting, scuffed’ (see photo). All for the princely price of 1p, plus postage.

Being a film buff I couldn’t resist buying it. My shelves are stacked with bargains of that sort. Unfortunately I’m scared of handling them, in case the pages start to drop out.

Where is she now?


About to fly off the top of Ben Nevis


Ever wondered what happened to the Widow in the Scottish Widows advert?

My source of information informs me, she got fed up prancing round the Scottish moors in her cape, so the widow gave the cape to a charity shop and married Henry Widmark, a widower from Widdicombe.

Mr Widmark invented the Widget, described in one dictionary as a ‘thingamajig’ or more precisely a ‘whatsit’, and bears no relation to a widgeon, described in a second dictionary as ‘unknown or irrelevant’ then again in another dictionary as ‘wigeon’ (no D as you will notice).

Ah!!!!! now it’s beginning to make sense. This time round the wigeon just happens to be… wait for it… a freshwater dabbling duck. Of course you will not be surprised to learn, the male duck has, would you believe…..a chestnut head!

Understandably for a young lady who once frolicked as the Scottish Widow, over the glens, listening every evening to Henry babbling on and on about wigeons. Or was it pigeons? made her think “I should have married the film star Richard Widmark” Too late I’m afraid, Richard’s already spoken for. Your best bet is to poison Henry, become a widow again, run through the heather and pray you’ll bump into Heathcliff, from Wuthering Heights.


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