Glory to Stalin!

Stalin’s reign.

An old lady gets on a bus in Moscow. She has waited a long time, and sits down with a sigh of relief. “Oh, glory to God!” she exclaims.

The bus driver turns around with a grave look. “Comrade, there is no God. You must say, ‘Glory to Comrade Stalin.'”

The old lady apologizes and pledges to remember this. After a minute, she pipes up, “Comrade, what shall I say, if, heaven forbid, Comrade Stalin should die?”

The bus driver pauses, and answers, “Oh! Then you shall say, ‘Glory to God!'”

Have a glorious day, won’t you!

Glory-to-Stalin

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“No School Tomorrow” 2

Nick Clegg, former Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, coined the expression, “Alarm clock Britain,” the people who have to get up in the morning and go to work.  I’m part of Alarm Clock Germany.

It’s 20:00 on Monday evening.  It’s monthly church council meeting.  Budget time.  Our treasurer is taking us through the list of repairs planned for this financial year.  I sit back and listen.  I day dream.  I munch a biscuit.  I munch another biscuit…. and another.  In fact, nearly a pack gone.  I sip my tea.

The repairs list should really be nodded through.  It all has to be done.  The sooner, the better.

Billy butts in and asks about repairs to the vestry window.  Can we get a lower quote?

Billy butts in and asks about repairs to the church boiler.  Can that be delayed?

Billy butts in and asks about replacements to the chairs in church.  How old are the chairs?

I lose interest.  I check my mobile to see if there are any Whatsapp messages from Grasshopper.  I pick up my Lamy fountain pen and start to jot down my shopping list for my next visit to Aldi.  Others round the table seem to be doing similar.  The vicar sitting next to me takes the tea pot and pours himself another cup of tea.  He needs caffeine to keep him awake while Billy drones on about each individual item.

Finally we take a vote on repairs.  A nearly unanimous vote for the programme of repairs.  Billy is opposed.

The next agenda items are discussed at length, and rightly so.

Finally, at 22:05 we reach AOB: Any Other Business.  (Please, please, Mr Chairman, hopefully none, so we can all go home.)

Billy:

Yes, I want to ask why we are installing poles in the church car park?  Are they necessary?

Ginge in Germany:

With the greatest respect, do we really need to discuss this topic here and now, at 22:07 on a Monday evening.

Billy (hackles starting to rise):

Yes, we do.  This is an important health and safety issue.

All around the meeting room, eyes roll.  We have run out of biscuits.  The tea has all been drunk.  We all want to go home.

[Tedious dull technical discussion about trip hazards.  Billy utters his must-say expression: “At my last church in England, we…”]

I doodle a stick man, a pine tree and a cat face in my notebook.  I day dream of the last meal I had down my local curry house.

Billy stops speaking.  It’s now 22:20.

I interject:

Is that the end?  Some of us have school tomorrow.

Vicar:

Yes, I think so.  Shall we say The Grace?

We say The Grace and the meeting concludes.

Billy looks like he wants to carry on having a windbag, probably about the colour of the tea towels in the church hall kitchen.  Not at 22:23, thanks, mate…

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23:00 I climb into bed, tune in to BBC Radio 4 and set my alarm clock for 07:00 tomorrow.  Billy sends me a Whatsapp message about the trip hazards of small holes in the ground.  Zzzzzzzzzzzz…

Have a stimulating day, won’t you!

“No school tomorrow”

“No school tomorrow” is a plea used by young British schoolkids when begging their parents to let them stay up later than usual on a Friday or Saturday night, usually when the parents just want a bit of peace and quiet without their offspring being around.

Because there was no school tomorrow, my parents used to let me stay up on Fridays to watch NTNOCN, Not the Nine O’Clock News.  That was forty years ago.  Time flies.  Even as a young pads brat, I used to love my current affairs, news, history and politics and was very occasionally (school holidays) allowed to watch Question Time.

NTNOCN did a brilliant spoof of QT.  Rowan Atkinson (Mr Bean) does a very accurate impression of Lord… Lord er… Lord er… Lord Peter Carrington.

Here it is.  Enjoy!

Have a questioning day, won’t you!

Your Semi-Regular Soviet Joke

Brezhnev goes to a milk production factory and asks: “Do you think that you can double the production?”.

The farm manager responds: “yes comrade, we can do that”.

Brezhnev is pleased with the response and decides to push it a little and asks: “How about trebling the production?”

The farm manager responds but this time a little less confident: “Well, yes we can but I fear public may found it a bit watery!”

white cow in cattle house

Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

Have a productive day, won’t you!

The Importance of Punctuality

Sunray was ex-Army.  22 years long.  He was never a civilian.  He was always ex-Army.  Soldiers always arrive on time.  Always.

One Sunday Sunray came to visit us.  To save money he decided to hitch-hike from Brompton in North Yorkshire to Redcar.  He was due to arrive at 11am.  We looked out of our living room window. 10:58.  He still wasn’t there.

10:59 Sunray appeared.  He was walking out of the front door of the house opposite ours.

Ginge in Germany:

Ummm, do you know the people opposite?

Sunray:

No.

G in G:

So, er, what were you doing in their house?

Sunray:

Oh, them.  I was running late, so I took a short cut through their house.

G in G:

Sorry, you did what?

Sunray:

Oh aye, I saved myself a couple of minutes by walking through their house to yours. 

G in G:

Did anybody see you?

Sunray:

Oh aye.  I walked into their back garden, straight through their kitchen, past their dining room, when this couple were having their Sunday dinner, with sprouts, joint of beef and and Yorkshire puds…

sundayroast

G in G:

Well, what did they do when they saw you?

Sunray:

This bloke spat his dinner out and told me to get the f*** out of his house.  So I told him cheers, mate, and headed out of the front door.  Like I say, I was running late.

I just shook my head.

Have a punctual day, won’t you!

One Year On

My Dad, Sunray, passed away died exactly one year ago today, suddenly at 14:00 GMT, while walking back from his local shop.

How time flies.

How was my grieving process?  Actually, IMHO, there wasn’t really one.  I was very matter-of-fact the moment I found out via a Facebook Messenger message from my younger brother.  I was in the office, collating an Excel spreadsheet.  I told my colleague, “My Dad has just died,” in the same way and tone that we would tell a colleague, “Our boss popped in, looking for you.”  I then carried on with my spreadsheet to meet a deadline for our rather unfriendly product owner.

I did pause to send out a Whatsapp round-robin message to Schatz and to church friends to ask for their prayers for Sunray’s soul.  Replies came in from single “prayer” emojis to long, warm messages from members of my house group.  I wasn’t in shock, but I think I was stunned.

I did not cry until I got home.  By then the posts and kinds words and funny stories about him flooded in on his regimental old comrades Facebook page.  Tears of grief ran out of my left eye, and of laughter from the right eye.  It’s what Sunray would have wanted.

That was then.  This is now.

I still feel relieved.  I still do not regret deciding to stay away from his funeral.  In any case I was still not well enough to travel at that time.  Even walking to my local shops and back was a major physical exertion.  I am glad that I visited his grave two months later, said a prayer or two over his grave and placed three daffodils on the broken earth, marking his relatively fresh grave.

I have prayed daily that his is indeed resting in peace and that God will let his infinite mercy shine on Sunray’s face.  Since he died one year ago, several more of his regimental brothers have died.  I pray that they will join him in the Senior Squadron bar to exchange “Do you remember when…?” stories.

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Sunray in November 1998

Have a poignant day, won’t you!