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!

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Pet Hate 97: The Copper Chopper Question

What are your pet hates?

  • Squeezing the toothpaste tube in the middle?
  • Men not putting the toilet seat down for the ladies to use?
  • Being called a “translator” when you are, in fact, an interpreter?
  • Back-seat drivers telling you how to do your job because their third cousin twice removed showed them how to do it?

Here’s my latest pet hate.  To give you some context, I’m a member of several local affairs pages on Facebook thanks to my nomadic life.  Most of the posts are along the lines of:

  • Can anyone recommend a plumber/cleaning lady/oven cleaning firm round Jonesville?
  • What time does … shop close on Sundays?

But you can guarantee that at least once a week some nosey parker/rubbernecker will ask this classic, curtain-twitcher question:

What was the police helicopter doing over Bracknell/Redcar/Crowthorne/Scumbagsville yesterday evening?

Unless it directly affects you, why bother asking on FB?  Why not phone up the police public relations office if you are desperate to know?

This morning I saw this excellent tweet by Thames Valley Police in Bracknell in response to the latest “What is the police helicopter doing over Bracknell?” query on Facebook.

helipTVP.jpg

Good skills, Thames Valley Police, good skills!

Have an inquisitive day, won’t you!

The Back-Seat Driver: Part 94

The back-seat driver.  In German: der Co-Trainer. The armchair expert, Kneipenprofessor, who knows your job better than you do (because they saw this done in a movie or on YouTube).  The bane of my life, and quite possibly of yours, my dear reader.

Are you sitting comfortably?  Then we’ll begin.  Time to write through gritted teeth.  I shall wear a smile.  Here it is for you.

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Let me outline the background of this article for you.  Our church treasurer is of Welsh origin, but quite Germanic in his view that:

Ordnung muss sein.

The treasurer noticed a week ago that we had two large boxes at the back of church.

  • One for used stamps to donate to charity.  In the UK, pretty much every small business had an A4 envelope full of such stamps, which the secretary or office junior would then take once in a while to the local charity shop.  (You get the idea.)
  • The other contained a whole load of spectacles, also to give to a Third World charity.

Both boxes have never been emptied in the near seven years that I have been attending this church.

Never, never, never, never.  In seven (7) years.  Never, never, never, never. 

Let’s cut to the chase.  Last week after seeing the two un-loved boxes one time too many, I undertook to take both boxes with me to the local charity shop.  After I had taken the box of spectacles to the shop this morning, I sent out a round-robin to church members via Whatsapp.

We have taken our collection of spectacles for the Third World to charity shop.  They are very happy.

Within minutes, messages of unbridled adulation flood into my inbox.

You are the finest human being I have ever met.

Truly you are a blessing in my life.

I am filled with endless gratitude to you for your sterling efforts and endless, selfless devotion to the work of the church, and indeed, to the human race.

And much, much more.

I tell a lie.  I get one message from the treasurer:

Cheers, mate.

Other than that one, I then receive a bombardment of Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells messages from Billy, our “in-house” back-seat driver and giver of unsolicited advice.  He was challenging my decision to discontinue the collecting of stamps and spectacles.  I explain that, members of the congregation are grown-up enough to take their donations directly to the charity.  (Well, actually, Billy probably isn’t.)  He then combines his Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells comments with passive aggressive comments concluding in, “But of course, you’re in charge, and you you know best, and you probably have your reasons for your decision.”  (Think of when a woman answers you with “Fine.”)

(Yes, Billy, I do have good reasons, and I’ve just spent ten minutes of my life explaining the rationale, context, whys and wherefores thereof.)

Message after message, after message… after message… after message… after message… after message… after message… after message… after message… after message… after message…

“Billy must be bored today,” I sigh to myself.

In the end, Billy has the last word and informs me he is “far too busy to discuss this matter until tomorrow.”  A reprieve. I anticipate the next chapter at about 02:20 when he gets up for a night-time loo break.  I say the words that every ex-HM Forces person, every pads brat utters at least once a month.

Bl00dy civvies.

I then get on with my jobs at church:

  • Shiftin’ and liftin’ fifty stacking chairs back into the church hall
  • Writing a thank you card to Grasshopper for some highly amusing videos about protein powder
  • Nibbling a couple of small mince pies left for me by our catering team
  • Advising the catering team how to bake mince pies because that’s how my last church used to make them  (Er no thanx, I’ll leave that to Billy to butt in)

Have an advisory day, won’t you!

Image result for unsolicited advice

Troll of the Year Award

I have two pet hates.

  1. People who write passive aggressive posts on Facebook along the lines of: “How can anyone do that to someone who I thought as a friend????  I don’t want to talk about it.”
  2. People who post pictures of themselves holding up tubs of whey powder/fitness food and commenting along the lines of: “Day 87 of the New Me, New Body diet.  Disappointed that I only managed 529 of my target of 700 press-ups this morning.  Note to self: MUST TRY HARDER!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

I confided the latter pet hate to Grasshopper yesterday.  Today Grasshopper sent me the following picture…

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Grasshopper is now officially a cad and a bounder.

Have a caddish day, won’t you!

Pun, Pun, Pun!

I like listening to BBC Radio Tees’ breakfast show.  They run a headline competition every weekday.  I won once.  Now, in a similar vein, here’s an article I saw last week.

Girl pours grandfather’s ashes into cookies which she had baked.

Here are all the puns that the Brits wrote with true dark humour about this case.

  • Instead of biscuits, she could have got some potatoes and made ash browns.
  • Her classmates said the cookies were not soft enough: they were, in fact, bone-dry.
  • I’m not sure the cookies had a full-bodied flavour.
  • She said she only wanted to urn some money by selling these cookies.
  • She took full responsibility for her action. It was hearse, and hearse alone.
  • She’s been told not to do it again. But I suspect she cadaver ‘nother try.
  • Grandma had asked her, “What do you make of Grandad then?” She knew exactly what…
  • That just takes the biscuit.Seems these cookies are going to be marketed by Huntley Embalmer.
  • When the people eating these cookies found out, they were “coffin” all over the place.
  • I hear she made chocolate bour-bone biscuits.
  • She needs to have a wreath-think about her life choices.
  • She could also have made a pyre (pie) or two.
  • Her classmates should have washed the cookies down with a bier or two.
  • But really she should not have taken the cookies “inter” school.
  • She’s in trouble with the law. Someone has called the corpse.
  • Next time she can make chocolate crem cakes.
  • It’s lovely when children bake with their grandparents.
  • What happened next…. Remains to be seen

One lady commented:

I find nothing funny in it. In fact – disgusting.
Girl needs some psychiatric help – and of course some legal action too.

To which a wag replied:

Definitely not funny at all.  I mean, she didn’t even mix any ginger or nutmeg into the cookie mix.  Shameful!

Putting the “fun” into “funeral.”

Have a punny day, won’t you!

 

 

Wait a Minute, it’s the Telephone Man

Those of you who are over 45 may just about remember this cheery little number from Meri Wilson.

In the previous year, Sunray was nicknamed Telephone Man for his part in ensuring that the overall phone bill for the British Army in Northern Ireland was £1 million.  (Regimental legend has it that Sunray was responsible for £900 000 of it.)  Most of the calls were part of the Night Shift Numbers Game, a version of “pin the tail on the donkey”, when bored squaddies on night shift at HMP Maze would get out the phone book, look up random numbers abroad and phone them to ask such innocent questions as:

Is it snowing in Alabama?

It’s a nice clear line, isn’t it?

etc.  (Men are just boys in long trousers. )

Fast-forward to 2018.  It was my birthday three days ago.  That took me back to October 1976, when, as a wee schoolboy at Wolfenbüttel Primary School, I was told to go to the headmaster’s office.

“Oh dear, what have I done wrong?” I thought.  “Was it for shouting at my teacher last week?”

No.  It was Sunray phoning me up from HMP Maze, wishing my happy birthday.  He was obviously taking time out from:

  • Calling his mate, Bryan B, in Australia, to ask how hot it was in Cairns
  • Phoning his sister-in-law in Canada to talk to her about boxing bouts
  • Prank-calling several taxi firms in Birmingham to order two dozen taxis to one pub on the outskirts of the city
  • And much, much more…

Bless his cotton socks, bless his soul.  Quite poignant to think this was the first year when I did not receive a birthday card from him.  This weekend I did think of him as Schatz and I raised our glasses of Sekt to celebrate my birthday.

Have an a-Maze-ing day, won’t you!