Please call the church warden on…

The vicar is away for several weeks’ holidays.  That means anyone phoning the vicarage with queries is asked to phone me as church warden.  I don’t mind.  Happy to help.  Variety is the spice of life, and I get a wide variety of calls.

First call of the hols – yesterday

Unknown mobile, a lady’s voice:

Hallo.  Do you spik Englisch or Cherman?

G in G:

Würden Sie lieber auf Deutsch reden?

WE speak in German.  The caller is one of the local undertakers.  An English lady has recently died.  As she’s not Catholic, the local Catholic priest won’t bury her.  Can the Anglican priest come to … Cemetery this Friday and bury her ashes in an urn?

G in G:

No.  He’s on holiday abroad this month.  How urgent is it?

Untertaker:

It’s not urgent.  Her ashes are in an urn.

A very practical, German answer.

I email the vicar and cc: the undertaker to assess next steps.

Today the untertaker writes back to advise the local Catholic priest will, after all, bury the English lady’s ashes.  Very kind of him.

floral design steel container

Photo by Othmar Vigl on Pexels.com

This afternoon I decide to sit in the library in the city centre in order to:

  1. Read the Torygraph
  2. Write my diary
  3. Think of some blog writing to plan for my avid readers thereof

Another phone call from an unknown mobile number.  It’s a semi-regular member of congregation.

Can the vicar countersign some passport and birth certificate documentation, please?

G in G:

No.  He’s on holiday this month.  What’s the situation?  Maybe I can help?

It turns out:

  • The fiance is a national of country X
  • but was born in country Y
  • and also has a passport of country Z

Fiancee is a German national, but has decided that she and fiance will get married in Caribbean country XX, which requires about 300 copies of doxs (countersigned by a doctor, teacher, priest or person of similar standing) in order for a marriage to take place there.  But if all else fails, they will marry in a German registry office to make it all legal.

G in G:

Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrright, I think I understand.  Where are you right now?

Semi-regular member of congregation (SMOC):

We’re at the airport.

G in G:

If you’d like to come to the library in the city centre, I can take a look and countersign.

SMOC’s fiance turns up thirty minutes later.  We sit in the library.  I have a brainwave.

Let’s jump in your car and head to the church.  We have a selection of rubber stamps there.  That’ll make everything look more official .

Twenty minutes later we reach the church office.  I grab the official rubber stamps and the ink pad.  I take a sheet of A4 paper from the photocopier.

Thump, thump!   Thump, thump!

For a moment, I felt like I was an immigration official at passport control.

I show the sample rubber stamps to SMOC and fiance.  They are happy.

I take the copies of passport and driving licence.  Fountain pen out, I write:

I certify…

I open the ink pad again.

Thump, thump!

Church rubber stamp next to my signature and at the bottom of the page.  Off you go!

person holding brown stamp

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Have a rubbery day, won’t you!

Advertisements

A better class of vandal…

I don’t normally like grafitti.  I will admit that.  However, when I was a student at Nottingham University in the early 1990’s, the gents toilets in the science library had some highly entertaining writings on the cubicle walls.

Sociology degrees: please take one.

Written on one cubicle wall:

To play toilet tennis, please look at the other wall.

Written on the other cubicle wall:

To play toilet tennis, please look at the other wall.

(Note the use of correct punctuation, upper and lower cases and spelling.)

The same joker used to put some joke comments in the science library suggestions book.  Here was one classic.

Name: J R Hartley.

Department: Marine Biology.

Question: Have you any books on fly-fishing?

Fortunately, the library staff had a sense of humour.  Their reply:

No.  Try Yellow Pages!

male and female signage on wall

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Pexels.com

Have an entertaining day, won’t you!

We got it licked…

We got it licked… but only partially.  Some of my stamps are self-adhesive.

In Germany, Deutsche Post postage rates increased on 1 July.  Were the new stamps for sale on that day?  After all, they had been telling everyone for months in advance about the new rates.  Teutonic efficiency, and all that…

No.  Nope.  Nein. Нет.

Not to worry.

British.  And less of your Johnny Foreigner nonsense!

I just took the Stückelung approach.  July 1st was also the day when new commemorative stamps came out.  Astronomy seems to be the current theme. My budget did not stretch to the 3.70€ Moon landing, however.

astro2

I decided to kill two birds with one stone.

  1. Stock up on stamps at the new rate, eg international postage starting at 1.10€ instead of 0.90€.
  2. Use the old stamps, and add some smaller-value stamps to plug the gap.
astro1

L-R: National postcard rate, international letter rate, national letter rate

If I’m going to have to pay more for postage, I may as well stick more stamps on my letters and postcards, especially as my Uncle A in Yorkshire is a born-again stamp collector.

stk1

Stamps with Stückelung: 9 stamps on an international letter – result!

stk2

A large letter: birthday card, albeit with “only” four stamps on – must try harder!

stk

Two large letters, with a nice array of postage stamps – es lebe die Stückelung!

Have a philatelic day, won’t you!

GDR Ha Ha Ha…

The Grenztruppen der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik, the East German border guards, took their job seriously.  So did the British soldiers when they used to come to do border patrol.

Except… the Brits being Brits used to like being professional, but also having a laugh.  At the expense of the Genossen on the other side of the fence.

Many a female members of the Royal Air Force, when traversing the DDR checkpoint in Berlin, was known to lift off her bra and blouse and show off her ample chest to the Grenztruppen, chanting the following one-liner:

If you’re British, get your t1tties out!

The DDR authorities would then raise a formal protest about another Grenzprovokation via the Soviets, concerning:

…severe indiscipline and courtesy to the military personnel of the German Democratic Republic, especially from female troops, who lacked any form of ladylike behaviour…

And this from a country famous for FKK.  How strange.

Troops stationed on the main border used to have their own fun.  Here’s one Grenzprovoktation incident.

One bright, sunny Thursday morning, Sunray arrives at the border village of Mattierzoll on his Landrover.  Fun time begins.

He places a piece of equipment onto the roof of his Landrover.  It has an aerial.  He starts pointing the aerial in the direction of the guard tower on the other side.   He stands by the vehicle for a several minutes, slowling pointing the aerial in various directions.

A pair of border guards come closer.  They scratch their heads.  They take photos.

Sunray turns the “scanner” again.  He sits in his Landrover, smiling, eating a cheese sandwich.

More border guards come, this time with technical officers, flicking through their British Army reference guidebooks.  What is this device on the roof of this Landrover?

Five minutes later, Sunray puts them out of their misery.

He takes the Ministry of Defence issue office bin off the roof.  He removes the green-painted coat-hanger and the masking tape holding it to the base of the bin.  He holds the bin up to the Genossen to show what it is. He pulls off the old phone cable that had been glued to the bin.

The Genossen, realising that been pranked, shake their heads and march off, muttering under the breath.

Sunray chuckles and jumps back in his vehicle.  He has a great story to tell back at the barracks this afternoon.

Have a provocative day, won’t you!

mattier.jpg

“I never get any post” Part 2

Evening, all.  My old schoolmate, Cloudy, told me this one from his days in the Royal Air Force.  I felt obliged to share it.  DPM humour at its best.

When I was stationed at North Luffenham, in the MT (Mechanised Transport) Section crew room the were the pigeon slots for mail.  If anyone moaned about not getting any mail, that was a green light for the GMB (‘Gash Mail Brigade’) to spring into action.  Sunday afternoons were spent trawling through the ‘freepost’ ads in the Sunday supplements.  In a short while, they were getting 5 free CD’s from Britannia Music, Reader Digest, Encyclopaedia Britannica.  I even got a call from Portland Conservatories, I told them I couldn’t have one on the side of a barrack block!  I even got caravanning holidays info sent to me in the Falklands.

Utterly purile, juvenile, immature – and hilarious!

batch business close up envelopes

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Have a gash day, won’t you!

Amnesty International Letters

Shortly after the Tiananmen Square massacre in the summer of 1989, I decided to join Amnesty International.  Once a month I’d receive their magazine.  I’d always open up at the centrefold.

The centrefold consisted of six cases (prisoners of conscience) that Amnesty International had adopted.  I used to write to the governments and embassies of every single one of  the cases without exception, month in, month out.

I never received a reply.

Actually that’s not quite true.

The Israeli Embassy in London did reply.  It was a very courteous letter, in an A4 envelope with several pages of detail.  (I wish I had kept a copy for me scrapbook, I really do.)

I wrote back to the author of the letter, a Boaz Modai.  I invited him up to Redcar, where I was living at the time, recommended he visit the Redcar Rock Shop, treat himself to a lemon top ice cream and informed him that there was a synagogue in Middlesbrough, just up the road.

Boaz Modai did not reply.

Last week I google Boaz Modai.  (t’s a name that you don’t forget.)  Blimey, he has a pedigree, and he’s had a good career.  He ended up as Israeli Ambassador to Ireland later in his career.

I still wonder if he ever planned to visit Redcar on his days off, though.

amnesty.png

Have a diplomatic day, won’t you!