Archive | April, 2012

H Is For ‘Harry’

30 Apr

Harry was my Dad.  His name wasn’t Harry; it was George.  His middle name was Harry; everyone called him Harry.  I never knew why, if his name was George, everyone called him Harry.  His father’s name was Harry, but no one called his father George.

The Bailey Brothers in It’s A Wonderful Life were George and Harry Bailey.  My Dad wasn’t like either of them: no Buildings & Loan to dip into (too working class); no war hero (too young; and he was excused National Service because of a perforated ear drum).  He was more like Uncle Billy Bailey – sweet and well-meaning, but a bit dopey. 

Actually, he wasn’t even sweet: he was too acerbic for that.  When he felt guests had stayed too long, he told them so.  Always in a joke, so he’d laugh them out the door, with my mother saying in an hysterical aside to us kids, ‘They think he’s joking but he means it’, frantic that no one should be offended.  As far as I know, they never were.

My Dad liked to laugh and eat chocolates.  He used to steal from the sweet drawer Mum kept for the grandchildren and more than once she would say, ‘Let’s see what Grandma’s got for you here’ and find herself with an empty drawer and a skriking toddler.  In the end, she had to give him his own drawer.

My Dad loved the Wild West: movies, books, history, country and western music.  Because of my Dad’s love of C&W, I was probably the first child in the UK to know what a lady mule skinner is.

He had a double album of The Grand Ole Opry with a piece of the original curtain attached.  I expected to inherit it and I was furious when he came back to the UK and left his C&W albums in South Africa. 

It’s because of my Dad and his love for all things western that I know, if I am ever caught in a desert in a thunderstorm, to lie down flat on the ground.  Otherwise I will be the tallest point and the lightning will be gunning for me.  I read that in a Louis L’Amour novel, loaned to me by my Dad.

When we emigrated to South Africa in 1982, we had no money (one of the reasons for emigrating in the first place).  Dad was working for Sasol, a huge corporation that turned coal into petrol.  To help our miniscule grocery budget, my father the usually honest would come off shift with a toilet roll taken from the men’s loos.  One day, he heard from a colleague that the company was cracking down on staff pilfering – stationery, equipment, and so on – and he went home in a panic and he and Mum spent an entire night ripping up a hundred half-used toilet rolls and flushing them down the toilet.  What really made me laugh was that it was unmarked paper; and I doubt the company could have come in to the house asking to see it, anyway.  The price of a guilty conscience, I guess: a huge water bill.

He used to keep us kids up on school nights, playing cards.  Avoiding Mum, usually.  They were unhappily married for over thirty years.  One Christmas Eve, before letting them in the house I had to warn them to behave i.e. not have an almighty ding-dong and ruin Christmas for everyone as usual.  For the first twenty years of my life with the Hub, the minute we had a row I was leaving him, because I’m not ending up like my Mum and Dad!

I have told this story before but it’s worth repeating:  I remember one particular row that went on for months.  Every Sunday we had a traditional roast dinner and my Dad  – who loved his food and particularly his roast dinners, so he might have just been spoiling for a fight – complained that he was sick of roasts every Sunday and why couldn’t we have something else?  Mum never said a word but took his plate away and scraped it into the bin, and cooked him bacon and egg there and then.  Next Sunday we had a roast dinner, as usual…except for Dad, who was served bacon and egg without a word from Mum.  And the next; and the next; and the next Sunday after that…for six solid months, until Dad finally caved first and asked in his best little boy voice if he could please have a roast like the rest of us this Sunday?  Without a word from Mum, he got one.

Dad never complained about his meals again.

My Dad was narky and didn’t suffer fools gladly; intelligent and daft by turns; childish often; adored his three children, always.  He wasn’t perfect but it doesn’t matter: I loved him; he was my Dad.

Joke 403

30 Apr
Wedding of Prince William of Wales and Kate Mi...

Wedding of Prince William of Wales and Kate Middleton (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A woman in her eighties made the local news when she married for the fourth time.  She was interviewed by a local TV station and the reporter asked how it felt to be married again, particularly as her new husband was an undertaker.

The woman smiled as she explained, ‘In my twenties, I married a banker.  In my forties, I married a circus ring master.  In my sixties, I married a pastor.  Now, in my eighties, I’ve married a funeral director.  I married one for the money; two for the show; three to get ready; and four to go.’

Weekly Photo Challenge: Together

29 Apr

Thought I’d get my act together and post a response to a photo challenge in the same week that it is offered.

Spud was eleven when he put this little ensemble together:

Boys don’t mind dressing up and being silly when they’re together:

Here he is playing his part in the relay team (the perfect example of working together for the best result – in this case, last place):

Don’t worry: I haven’t forgotten I have two sons.  Here they are together:

Joke 402

29 Apr

Thanks to Janie Jones for this one.


Did Cleopatra believe in ghosts?

No, she was in denial.


28 Apr

Aarrgghh!  Computer problems – squeezing this in.

Joke 401

28 Apr

Thanks to Siggi for this one.

Artone bluetooth loopset is a small wireless h...

Artone bluetooth loopset is a small wireless hearing aid accessory utilizing 2.4 GHz wireless technology to connect to accessories like TV sound streamers and mobile phones. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Two elderly women were eating at a restaurant one morning.  Ethel noticed something funny about Mabel’s ear and she said, “Mabel, did you know you’ve got a suppository in your left ear?”

Mabel answered, “I have? A suppository?”  She pulled it out and stared at it.

Then she said, “Ethel, I’m glad you saw this thing.  Now I think I know where my hearing aid is.”

Job Done! Sort of.

27 Apr
Poetry is an...

Poetry is an... (Photo credit: liber(the poet);)

Thanks for your patience this past two weeks.  I finished my project and have now caught up with your comments and visited your blogs.

It wasn’t an exciting project; and I say it is finished, but it isn’t properly finished, not like a varnished table, a girl at a posh Swiss school, or a gross of Maltesers.  It will never be properly finished because I will keep adding to it.

It was one of my 101/1001 tasks:

Type up and print out for folder and notebook over 150 poems I’ve written.

It started life as Type up and print out for folder and notebook over 100 poems I’ve written.  Then I wrote some more poems.  Then NaPoWriMo 2012 started…  I lost count around the 204 mark.  I had poems going back to NaPoWriMo 2011 and before, beginning in March of last year.  I didn’t dare leave it any longer.

My reason for doing it is that I want to start properly submitting to poetry competitions, anthologies, magazines and publishers.  I have been rather half-hearted up to now.  It is difficult to enter a poem in a competition when this is what the publisher will receive:

Hi Handsome/Beautiful Publisher! 

Please accept my submission for your competition on the theme, Dragonflies: Myth or Fruit? 

As you can see, there’s nothing attached.  That’s because I know I wrote something on that very subject last August, but I can’t find it scribbled in one of my 47 notebooks so it may not be typed up yet; and if it is, it’s got a title that has nothing to do with the subject matter – possibly along the lines of Kill Me Before I Die – and is hidden amongst the 800 or so poems I have typed up but haven’t put into collections yet and I can’t find it, despite wasting a whole morning on it when I could have been cleaning.* 

Would you mind including me in your comp even though I’ve nothing to show for it except this polite letter and twenty quid with your name on it?


I. Wannabbee-Faymos

*At this point, dear reader, you will know it’s fantasy but the publisher will not.

Sorting over a thousand poems was harder work than I anticipated – even harder than typing them up – because many of them fit into more than one category.  I managed to get it down to thirty-one themed collections.   My hope is that, when I want to submit, if I haven’t written something especially for the theme, it will be easier to find a suitable poem if I can narrow it down to a broad category.

National Poetry Month Display @ Forest Hills

National Poetry Month Display @ Forest Hills (Photo credit: mySAPL)

Here are a few of my collections with their possible titles:

THEME:            TITLE:

Death                  Grief Is An Itchy Scab
Celebrity            The Cult Of Self-Absorption
Forms                 Forms
Religion              Bad Christian
Britain                This Grim, Unpleasant Land
M.E.                    What About M.E.?
Pairs                    Strange Couplings
Poo                      No. 2 Cycle
Haiku                  Seventeen Syllables
South Africa      Get Out Of Africa: An Ex-expat Perspective on South Africa,
……………………..During and After Apartheid

I know what you’re thinking: with titles like that, how can a publisher say no to me, right?

Joke 400

27 Apr

Moon eclipse in Belgium (Hamois). Français : é...

Two drunks were walking home from the pub.  John said to Mike, “What a night!  Look at that moon.”

Mike stopped to look then said, “That’s the sun, not the moon.”

They argued for a while, until another drunk weaved past.

“Hey mate,” said John; “can you settle an argument?  That thing shining in the sky – is it the moon or the sun?”

The drunk looked up and then back at them, and said, “Sorry, pal, I dunno.  I’m not from round these parts.”

Slow Day For Funny

26 Apr
Dull church, Dull, Perth and Kinross

Dull church, Dull, Perth and Kinross (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I read this on Imagine FM’s Facebook page:

No word of a lie, there’s moves to officially twin the Scottish hamlet of Dull with the US town of Boring.




This came to my inbox.  What does the Arts council have against tall people?

From the Arts Council: Calling all short film makers…


Spud told us that as he was coming out of school yesterday, he overheard two sixth form girls giggling about a man’s shoe size being the same size as his youknowwhat (he used the correct term; the girls used an explicit term; I’m middle-aged and reporting a rude conversation my teenaged son told me about; ‘youknowwhat’ is all I can manage without fainting).

He couldn’t resist: as he passed them he smiled, winked and said, ‘I’m a size twelve…’


A picture of a dictionary viewed with a lens o...

A picture of a dictionary viewed with a lens on top of it, at the word "Internet" (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Clearing out my draft box the other day, I came across a WordPress prompt and my reply from postaday2011.  Can you believe I missed one?  I know why it was still a draft: it’s not funny.  But I have to flesh out this post somehow, so here you go:

Would you rather have the first word, or the last?

This is a tricky one, because I don’t own an up-to-date dictionary, and it would depend on the dictionary, because they must all be different, or else why would there be so many?  Online dictionaries are useless in this instance because you can’t page through them.

Let me see…thumbsuck…thoughts coming up…in a minute…let me think…thinks…thinks…

‘A’ must be the first word.  ‘Zzz’ must be the last.

A is the start, zzz is sleep.

Start something or sleep?

I would have to say, I’d rather have the last word.

But I’m scouse and we say ‘a’ for ‘hay’ and, despite my Heidi-loving childhood, I’ve never fancied sleeping in ‘ay.

So it’s still the last word.


Hey – we started with dull and boring; we might as well finish that way.


Joke 399

26 Apr
Newborn son Magyar: Újszölött fiú

Newborn son Magyar: Újszölött fiú (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thanks to Sidey for this one.  It might lose a little something in the translation if English is not your first language, so apologies for that.

I went to visit my friend today.  His wife was sat there with their newborn baby.  She asked if I’d like to wind it.

I thought that was a bit harsh so I gave it a dead leg instead.



They say a joke’s not funny if you have to explain it, but here goes:

  • Winding the baby: rubbing its back/tummy to make it vomit all over your best top.
  • Winding a person: hitting them in the stomach so they can’t breathe and are in a lot of pain…kind of like when I give the Hub an affectionate pat on the belly.
  • Dead leg: get a friend to hit your thigh, hard, with the side of a fist.  Try to walk.  Pick yourself up off the floor and groan in pain.

If I Break Wind, I’ll Write About It

25 Apr

The ‘it’ being not a heart attack.

Too Much Information Warning:
There may be more information in this post than you feel comfortable with.  Just so you know.

I woke up in the middle of the night with a stomach ache.  Forced flatulation helped ease it.  (I may as well start as I mean to go on).

This morning, I was a little constipated.

I sat down at the computer, hunched over like Quasimodo doing toe touches, as usual – I have dreadful posture – and I felt a horrible pain in my chest, from sternum to those funny things that point up like body chevrons – collar bone?  I’m not great at anatomy; about as good as I am at geography – don’t ask me for holiday directions or you might end up where the sun don’t shine.

The pain was all over, not just in the heart area.  I say ‘heart area’ because my family insist that it hasn’t yet been established that I have a heart. 

I had a hot sweat – quite possibly because I’m wearing a winter dressing gown in almost-May – and felt nauseous.  Nothing else…until I heard my pulse in my left ear.  That freaked me out a little, and had me scurrying to Google ‘hat atark symtoms’ (I was a little anxious).

What’s weird about this is that I’m not afraid of dying.  I think I was upset because I didn’t know what was happening.  That was also a weird reaction, because I tend to live in a permanent state of not knowing what’s happening.  I must buy a diary.

The chest pain was on the symptom list; and the nausea; but my sweat was hot, not cold; and there was no mention of the pulse in my ear.  Could it be a panic attack?  That would be unusual: the only time I panic is when the crisp cupboard gets low and the bank account is even lower, meaning a day’s delay in re-stocking.

Pain in acute myocardial infarction (front)

Pain in acute myocardial infarction (front) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I decided to consult the Hub.  He’s not a doctor but he’s the next best thing: a know-it-all.  Throwing myself into his arms while he was fast asleep and ear-plugged almost gave him a heart attack.  Once he had de-plugged and got his breath back, he cuddled me and talked me through it: I have a fairly healthy diet – not much processed food, lots of vegetables and water; I have never smoked; barely drink; walk every day; never had a problem with blood pressure; seldom add salt to my cooking (he was a little bitter about that one).  He had been asleep, so we hadn’t even had our morning argument.  I’m not particularly worried about anything at the moment…he decided it was wind. 

If you don’t hear from me ever again, please don’t blame the Hub – he’s not a doctor; but he does know my bodily functions after thirty years together; if my body blips, that’s not his fault.

Once I had calmed down, I had breakfast.  There’s nothing wrong with me while I can eat.  Definitely wind.  The smell proves it. 

Oops!  And another!

Less heart attack; more fart attack.


Joke 398

25 Apr
Television set for Wikipedia userbox icons, or...

Television set for Wikipedia userbox icons, or other things. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From Basic Jokes.

A reporter was writing a feature story about prison life and was interviewing one of the prisoners. “Do you watch much television here?”

“Only the daytime shows,” the inmate said. “At night we’re locked in our cells and don’t see any television.”

“That’s too bad,” the reporter said, “but I do think it is nice that the warden lets you watch it in the daytime.”

“What do you mean, nice?” the inmate said. “That’s part of the punishment.”

I’ve Been Here Beefore

24 Apr

I am still working on my project but not today, because I’ve been out all morning and I’m going out again tonight.  I can’t leave you with nothing so I offer you a re-hashed something which I hope is better than nothing.  This is an edited repost of two previous posts from a couple of years ago.  I wrote a poem about bees which is on my other blog, and people seemed to like it, leading me to conclude that bees are maybe not bad, after all, possibly. 

And it took me so long to write that introduction, I could have written something original.  Ah well.

"What does the letter "A" have ...

"What does the letter "A" have in common with a flower?" ~ They both have Bees coming after them~ (Photo credit: turtlemom4bacon)

I have had some bee issues this weekend, as in, what be you doing here in my house, bee?  The same bee tried four times to park in our bathroom.  The Hub put it out each time and closed the window after the fourth time – just what you want on a warm spring day: a closed toilet window….  Even as I had my bath I could hear it buzzing for entry.  The Hub said it also tried the bedroom window but was defeated by the net curtain.

I think bees and ants send out scouts, looking for a place to set up home and terrify the residents, like gangs moving into the hood.  I was lying in the bath thinking about this and wondering if other unmentionable insects – unmentionable because it gives me the heebie-jeebies just thinking about them – do the same thing, when I felt one touch me and I shot straight up out of the water, finding myself balancing on the shower curtain and gazing down on a giggling sponge.

We are not allowed to kill any insects in this house except flies, which is hard on my-flesh-crawls-easy me.  One day it might come down to a straight choice between the Hub and a tin of insect repellant.  If I haven’t had enough sleep, he’s in big trouble.

The bee came back. It came in through the bathroom window, had a look around, disdained the decor, and left. It did the same thing the next morning.

I’m not sure my nerves can take it. In the spirit of know your enemy, therefore, I looked up some bee facts:

  • Bees have five eyes.  As if they’re not weird enough.
  • Life expectancy is 28-35 days, so I may have another month of this.
  • Honey is nectar that bees have repeatedly regurgitated and dehydrated.  Bet that puts you off your breakfast.
  • In her whole lifetime (it is always a her) a worker bee will produce only 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey. Makes you wonder why she bothers.
  • A bee is not born knowing how to make honey.  She goes to bee school to learn.  She’s usually average – never obtaining more than a…you know what I’m going to say, don’t you?
  • It would take around 1100 bee stings to cause the average human being to die.  I find that strangely comforting.
  • Honey bees have hairy eyes.  Eww!  Just eww!
  • Honey never goes off.  A jar of 2000-year-old honey in an Egyptian tomb was said to taste delicious.  No one complained – no sell-by dates in those days.
  • Bees vote on when to swarm or which food source to concentrate on, and they vote by moving nearer the proposer they support.  Proportional Representation by any other name would smell as sweet.
  • It is against the law to kill a bumble bee in Britain.  Punishable by a fine in the UK; and by divorce in this house.
  • Ancient Rome’s tax system was paid in honey, not money.   I like it; we should do that here.  Call it a sweetener.
  • Bees don’t snore.  If ever there was a reason to love bees and not husbands, this is it.
  • Male drone bees do no work and spend their time copulating.  Some things never change.

Honey (Photo credit: quisnovus)


I was woken by the Hub’s noxious nasal activity at about four this morning.  Instead of tossing or turning or throttling him, I got into Tory Boy’s empty bed and went straight back to sleep…to sleep, perchance to dream; aye, there’s the Hub.

I am beginning to suspect there’s a connection between the bee and the snoring; think about it: bzzzzz/zzzzzz…I bet the bee is lost and thinks it can hear the hive in the distance….


Joke 397

24 Apr
The historic New Cliff House (built 1911), now...

The historic New Cliff House (built 1911), now the Sylvia Beach Hotel (since 1987), located at 267 Northwest Cliff Street in Newport, Oregon, United States, is listed on the US National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). It is today in use as a boutique hotel. NRHP reference number 86002962 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thanks to Grannymar for yet another great joke.

Sylvia: Hi Wanda!

Wanda: Hi Sylvia!  How’d you die?

Sylvia: I froze to death.

Wanda: How horrible!

Sylvia: It wasn’t so bad.  After I quit shaking from the cold, I began to get warm and sleepy, and finally died a peaceful death. What about you?

Wanda: I died of a massive heart attack. I suspected that my husband was cheating, so I came home early to catch him in the act.  But instead, I found him all by himself in the den watching TV.

Sylvia: So, what happened?

Wanda: I was so sure there was another woman there somewhere that I started running all over the house looking. I ran up into the attic and searched, and down into the basement. Then I went through every closet and checked under all the beds. I kept this up until I had looked everywhere, and finally I became so exhausted that I just keeled over with a heart attack and died.

Sylvia: Too bad you didn’t look in the freezer — we’d both still be alive.

Odd Jobs

23 Apr
Ashton Kutcher at Time 100 Gala

Ashton Kutcher at Time 100 Gala (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For Sidey’s Weekend Theme.

I read a rumour that Ashton Kutcher is to play Steve Jobs in a new biopic. 

Now that’s odd.

Français : Steve Jobs à la Worldwide Developer...

Français : Steve Jobs à la Worldwide Developers Conference en 2010. English: Steve Jobs at the 2010 Worldwide Developers Conference Español: Steve Jobs en la Worldwide Developers Conference del año 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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