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Saturday, 28 November 2009

The Sunday Roast

What's So Funny About Margaret's Nanny Goats in Panties?
. . . . or . . . .
In The Boxers vs. Briefs Debate, Margaret's Nanny Goats Prefer Panties.
This week's interview is with Margaret Andrews
who writes the blog Nanny Goats In Panties .

Thank you Margaret
A warm welcome to you and to your followers

After wrestling with a 13ft Alligator last week it is a welcome change to meet some harmless animals.

I just love this blog name - possible headings to this roast are endless and questions keep forming in my mind about the goats. For instance, how long does it take you to dress them all each morning, Margaret? Or have you trained them to dress themselves. And do they wear diapers, I wonder? And do the Billy goats wear blue panties?

Here's the first of the standard questions. Why do you blog?

I blog for a number of reasons, the first of which is to make people laugh. If something funny happened to me on the way to the the chocolate follicle factory, my blog is the perfect place to share it. It's also a way for me to practice my writing. I also crave attention and need to feed my starving ego. I'm also extremely humble, not to mention modest, and feel compelled to tell the whole world about it.

What's the story behind your blog name?

I was taking this creative writing class many years ago at UCLA, and one of the exercises was to throw out unrelated phrases and words together on the chalk board. One of the phrases that came out of it was "A thousand nanny goats in panties". When I started my blog in 2005, I was trying think of a name that was random and funny and I remembered that phrase.

What is the best thing about being a blogger?

The instant feedback. People might say, "Ha Ha you're so funny, LOL, ROTFLMAO" but I'll bet at least one out of ten people who say that, really mean it. Also, some of the comments I get are just as funny and creative if not more so than what I wrote, and I love that. It's a beautiful way to interact with like minds. But the absolute best thing is probably the millions of dollars I'm making off of it.

What key advice would you give to a newbie blogger?

Normally, I would say not to worry about traffic and comments and number of followers, but it depends on why you're blogging. Why ARE you blogging, anyway? Are you blogging to get a million followers or a hundred comments a day? Or do you just want to express yourself and join a community of like-minded people? The former is called "blog whoring", whereas the latter is more of an organic process that requires patience, but is much more real and fulfilling. Find your community, read other blogs that you like, and give them thoughtful comments. After that, I say "build it and they will come".

What is the most significant blog post you've ever read?

Can I give you two? I don't know if they're the most significant, but they are the first two that come to mind because they moved me in some way or another and they were fairly recent. Kathy from Magick Sandwich wrote a satirical piece called I Want My Money Back that just nails the truth with such beauty, I wanted to reach across the country (of the United States, that is) and grab her and kiss her for her brilliance.
Joe from Crotchety Old Man Yells At Cars went into renal failure, dialed 911, and while waiting for the ambulance to arrive, wrote a potential last blog post entitled, coincidentally, Waiting For The Ambulance to Arrive. I just couldn't believe he did that. That happened in June and he's been blogging from various hospital beds (or dictating to his wife) ever since. I apologize to those of you who wrote something more significant, but I either forgot, or it touched me politically or religiously and I try to avoid controversy. Mostly.

What is the most significant blog post you've ever written?

That would probably be my post about when I joined the Ku Klux Klan, the National Rifle Association, and Church of Scientology all in one week. Gotcha!

OK, seriously, I'm not sure which one would be the most significant. A recent one that people seemed to respond to was one called Of Grandmas and Chocolate. But my most popular one, hands down, was called 10 Alternative Uses for Shelf Liner.

If you were to suggest two blogs for roasting who would you pick, and why?

OK, I'm figuratively throwing fifty of my favorite bloggers into a drum and drawing from them randomly.
And the winners are:
1. Kathy of the aforementioned Magick Sandwich because she is an awesome writer with a rapier wit. And by rapier, I mean long and slender with a cuplike hilt. Also? She has a keen eye for calling out the stupid.
2. JD of I Do Things So You Don't Have To, because she is one of the absolute most creative and funniest bloggers that I follow. If I were younger than JD, I'd want to be just like her when I grew up.

Today's Sunday Roast with Margaret is the 92nd in a weekly
seriesof interviews with bloggers from around the world. __________________________________________________
This interview will feature in The Roll of Honour
for all published Roasts. To view press HERE __________________________________________________

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

767 Weddings, 2 Irate Vicars And Almost A Funeral - Part 4

This is the continuation of a re-post I wrote last Easter. I have added a few characters and friends of mine to bring it up to date. Yes, Suldog, perhaps I am insane!

(Continued from Episode 3)

First, I wish you all a very Happy Easter - also, at the start of this post I am digressing a little for there is a serious matter I wish to get off my chest concerning my great grandfather and his father before him. I have built this into the story along with my true belief that Jesus will always help us (and them) in our hour of need. I hope you will all bear with me but this matter is 'heavy' on my heart.

* * * * * * * * *

Eddie walked over to James, his great grandfather, shook him by the hand and then threw his arms round him. With tears in his eyes he said, "I would be grateful if you would give me a couple of minutes vicars, just a few."
They nodded.
"You see, James, I am Walter's grandson and therefore your great grandson and I have travelled a long way from the future to see you. I am very grateful to have the opportunity of speaking with you at long last. I wish to warn you because I have discovered some very disturbing news about your father, John Pendleton, and also about you concerning your future, just 14 years away.

As you may know, your father took his own life by poisoning three months before you were born. You were adopted by your step father when he married your mother about a year later. I have John's death certificate, but I have yours as well, and it disturbs me for alas on your death certificate I discovered to my horror you also took your own life by hanging whilst at work on 2 January 1905. I have written an earlier post about this tragedy (see HERE).

I cannot do anything about John, except to pray for him, but I implore you when the time comes please reconsider your actions and please do not do it - I dearly hope I can alter the course of history on this matter - there must be another way out of whatever caused you to take your own life, James! We all love you! I certainly have grown to love you through my researches - I feel I know you very well, and surely no matter what may occur in your life and however depressed or upset you may become, there is another way other than what you did.

I have found your house in my home town, I found your unmarked grave and I found the factory where you died. I first discovered the factory where you worked as manager on my way to work whilst driving my ambulance. Forgive me entering the realm of humour right now but my time travelling is not nearly as precise as Geraldine's because I arrived at the scene 102 years 3 months late - there was nothing left of you to save. I had hoped to prevent the incident altogether, but here I am 14 years too early this time. At least I can do something for you now to give you some hope to help you overcome what is to come.

In the distant future, in my time, we have already had a little service at your graveside to pray for you and your father, plus the priest at the local Catholic church has already offered a mass for you both. I made a little cross for your grave as well and had a brass plaque made for you because the grave was unmarked, sadly.

Today is Easter Sunday and this is highly appropriate because I pray that God will comfort you and guide you throughout your life with Elizabeth. Please put your trust in Him, open your heart to Him and ask Him into your life. He will come in only if you invite Him into your heart, but when He does, and if things get tough in your life ask Him to help you! It may not seem as though He is actually doing anything, with little apparent difference in your life, but I promise you He WILL move things around for you, He really will - if, and only if you really ask Him to from the deepest recess of your heart. It is Easter and remember, Jesus died for us all because He loves us. He loves you too, and wants to help you, and if there is anyone else out there feeling low and depressed He loves you too! But He didn't just die for you, He rose again so we can rise again too into eternal glory later and for now to help us rise from all that troubles us in this world. Please vicars, please pray for him and for all who are depressed and upset, especially for James in 1905 and John in 1847."

James strode forward and shook Eddie's hand saying. "I am naturally very shocked by what you said but I was very touched by that, Eddie, how very kind. I will always remember that!"

Walter, Cyril and Sarah also came over and gave him a hug.

Sarah, his future grandmother later taught him a lovely little poem about prayer which he thought was highly relevant - he will never forget it:

I often say my prayers, but do I ever pray?
Do the words upon my lips mean everything they say?
I might as well bow down and worship gods of stone
Than pray before my living God just prayers of words alone!

Everyone started crying. They all came up to Eddie and gave him a cuddle, one by one. All 767 Elizabeths came and gave him a hug and he will not mind me telling you that he held on to one or two of them for a little longer than he should have. It all took ages but this time the vicars were not too upset because they too were crying.

Eddie noticed five ladies in the front row smiling at him. They stood up and walked slowly towards him with a few tears in their eyes - he recognised them at once. They were all very attractive - one was undecided as to whether she wanted to Sniffle or Smile, for Janine was so overcome with emotion by the proceedings and by seeing her Best British Blogging Buddy she was quite incapable of making up her mind whether to laugh or cry. Instead she gave him a big long hug and . . . . eventually . . . . . she decided to sniffle!!!!!! But then she changed her mind yet again and smiled (just as she will be when she reads this load of rhubarb I expect! Maybe a little laugh I suspect at my attempts into the realm of ESP!)

Another younger lady was a little shy but she was such a beauty she caught everyone's breath, including Eddie's. She had long dark hair and she wore red leather boots and a beautiful white dress. "Hello Mr Eddie", she said. She strode over and kissed him on the cheek. His whole world slowed down as if time had stopped dead while he went weak at the knees and time seemed to cease for almost an eternity and his senses were dulled completely - he was aware of nothing else but that glorious occasion. "Mr Eddie, you have Cherry lipstick on your cheek!", she said with a gentle voice and an affectionate smile, "shall I wipe it off?"
"No", he replied, "I never want to wash it off, I want it to be there for ever!"

Another lady, holding a camera, smiled at Eddie, throwing her arms round him saying, "I am Jackie of Teacher's Pet. I just had to come with the others to see you and find out what the outcome of all this chaos will be - we have been waiting for you in Oz for ages. Where have you been? Doing those roasts I expect!"

Another lady winked at Eddie and began humming Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No 2. She smiled at him, remarking. "I am Meredith Teagarden and I'm singing our song, remember? In the summer we had fine company together in our Grand National horse race when you spoke to me in beautiful Shakespearean and you rescued me when I fell, you gallant man. We all came here in Marguerite's car - she was waving to you earlier but you missed her as you entered the church."

The final lady, Marguerite, smiled and Eddie noticed she wore a pair of leather leopard skinned dancing shoes and carried a matching handbag. She flashed two gorgeous green eyes at him and said, "Well hello cher! so we meet at last! - I've brought my MP3 player and we can have a little dance to some delightful Cajun music!"

These friends had all had come from blogland, far far away and had got fed up with waiting to meet Eddie on the yellow brick road in the land of Oz.

Marguerite interjected, "Eddie! my sweet, I will see you later, cher and we can do a little dancing - I'll reach you the Cajun Two-Step, the Jitterbug and if you are a good boy at not too canille we will do the Cajun Waltz as well."

"Great", said Eddie, "The Cajun Two-Step eh! I think I could manage a couple of steps - is that all there is to it - a bit short isn't it? Hardly time to get to know you! I'm not sure whether I could manage the Zydeco because I have a bad hip and I have my clog-hopper boots on! - and look, but the vicars look as though they want to carry on with the wedding."

The vicars said a powerful prayer for John and James and everyone said, "Amen".

A little voice repeated, "Amen!" and something small and blue flew out of Eddie's pocket and materialised on top of his head. It was Mickey, the budgie, who said, "Hello Eddie Boy! Hello everyone! Whose a pretty boy?"

He flew round and round the church, making loud ambulance siren noises as he went, and started introducing himself to all the Elizabeths one by one.

"Well, well, well", said the vicar, "I have changed my opinion of you. Eddie Bluelights, my man. Perhaps you are not a hideous bumble bee after all. But please take off that awful yellow jacket - the green uniform I can just about stand.

Another gent appeared near the front row wearing a smart suit and shirt and striped tie, looking immaculate. "Good on yer sports -good day, poms, I'm 'ere from Melbourne, Australia and I've chosen this event for my next lesson in photography."

It was David of Authorblog - he continued . . . "I've brought all 687 followers (sorry 688) and they are outside! Can they come in? That window looks very interesting! I could take the shot from this angle but if I do the light would be wrong! If I switch to a telephoto lens and take it form over there, then that would be much better and . . . . . . . . . . "

The vicar interrupted, "It's only a church, not a Cathedral? Where are you going to put all 688 (sorry 689)? As for the photographs, do it silently - I have a wedding ceremony which has barely started as yet - can I get on with it please?

James from Liverpool was a bit overcome by Eddie's news and all the emotion but soon regained his composure and looked at his new Elizabeth, anxious to learn why he had not seen her living at 21 Danby Street, the same house where he lived at flat no 2. He remarked he could hardly miss such a beauty living under the same roof. He must have seen her somewhere else he thought, or maybe in his dreams.

“Just moved in this week with my flat mate Alice Scott who is here today as my witness to the wedding, there she is over there, see, 'Coooie!' I live at flat no 4 across the hall to you! Saw your photograph on the mantelpiece in the lounge and said to myself 'that's the man for me'. I expect the vicar thinks we’ve been living in sin!”

“No such luck”, remarked James giving her a wink, but give me a few minutes!”

"Oh you are a naughty boy James!”

Said Geraldine, "Elizabeth Evans. I have observed your behaviour and your chemistry towards this man but have I your confirmation that you like this James Pendleton with whom I have introduced you? Is he your Mr Right, the right James Pendleton for you?"

"Not arrf!” said Elizabeth Thomas, waving her birth certificate. "He looks just like George Clooney!"

"George who?”, enquired the whole company, except one man with failing ears who misheard and said,

"Ah yes George Pendleton the Miller, father of John and grandfather of James here, I knew him well - I am Joseph Pendleton from Runcorn and am related to him along with Mary Ann Pendleton and a lot of other Pendletons. George lived at . . . . . . . . . . . . . and, his wife was Ann Prince I think, or was she Ann Wallace, perhaps not? . . . . . . . and his children were John Pendleton and Joseph Pendleton and. . . . . . . several others . . and his parents were . . . . . and his cousins were . . . . .. I can go back 23 generations !" I can recite it all from memory like they did in Roots."

"Oh shut that idiot up! No-one will ever want to hear all that nonsense!"

"No! No! No! Do not shut up!”, screamed Geraldine, "that is all vital information for the Pendleton Family Tree. I must give it to Eddie Bluelights. My mission is to please him and I must have this information. Old man please say that again and write it all down quickly - quiet you lot - let the man speak, say it again! Please, please say something before one of us dies!", implored Geraldine.

“What did you say! I can’t hear you, speak up”, said the old man.

"Ahhhhhhh! say it quickly all about George Pendleton and his family and mother and father, I can't stay any longer, my husband is pulling me back, he wants a second helping and a fried egg for his tea! I must be away! Eddie will look after things now!" Flash!

As soon as she had vanished, for the last time, the recovering vicar of Congleton, and the vicar of St Benedicts both felt much better and enquired of Elizabeth, “Can you prove your genealogy beyond doubt? Because I have a note that your father could be Joseph Pendleton and not Joseph Evans. Please explain! What is your genealogy, precisely? Is there any chance you could be a Pendleton after all?”

"What!", exclaimed the whole chorus, "A Pendleton marrying a Pendleton!"

"Incest! Incest!” exclaimed the self righteous woman again, wearing a smile in the middle row.” Goody, goody, I have a vivacious appetite for a scandal".

“I say again!” said the vicar, “explain your genealogy.”

“I can’t see why you would have a note with my father as Joseph Pendleton”, said Elizabeth. ”His name was Joseph Evans and he was a cattle dealer but he also worked on the railways when my sister, Mary, and I were little and when he married my mum. I am Elizabeth Evans b 1857 in W Derby. My dad was Joseph Evans b 1831 and my mum was Ann Price b 1833 and they married in Hesketh Parish Church, near Manchester on 1 June 1856. I have a younger sister called Mary b 1859 who was a stewardess on passenger steamships from Liverpool, and my grandfather was John Evans, a farmer, and his dad was Thomas Evans b 1777. I have all the certificates to prove it.”

“Impeccable! That is good enough for me – obviously yet another error this Pendleton name on my note – disregard it!! I've had enough today!" exclaimed the vicar.

Mickey was cruising round the church now and remarked it was really great for aerobatics. He looped the loop and did victory rolls in fine stile and liked everyone so much he was not inclined to dive bomb anyone, as he had done in previous stories.

"Look, Mickey, there's grandma as a young lady. Fly over and have a chat with her and ask her the time, and look there's my grandfather, Walter. Tell him I'll see him later with Cyril for a chat! I was not alive for long before he died so I didn't get to know him at all but I knew grandma really well, she lived until she was 92.

The vicar of Congleton remarked, Well, we have two correct James Pendletons and two correct Elizabeths, one for my Congleton church and one for your St Benedicts in Liverpool. Problem is how to get them there, with the ushers and you of course Rev Harding. As for the others I say go the lot of you for you are nothing to do with either service, you all are superfluous! Registrar, be sure this time to enter the correct details on the wedding certificate for Elizabeth's father - make no mistakes or that awful woman, Geraldine, will buzz us again - I never wish to see her again!"

All the other Elizabeths were sobbing and weeping by now at their disappointment in love. “We shall have to find ourselves a new James to court from elsewhere”, they cried, blowing their noses in unison.

The records officer, who had remained quiet at the ceremony to ensure that no further mistakes were made, although he had a minuscule frame he had a stout and warm heart for he took pity and comforted the Elizabeths by saying, “Now, we all realise there are a lot of very disappointed Elizabeths here and as a consolation prize to you all I have used my influence and brought with me, and they await outside, the entire remaining stock of Lancashire and Cheshire James Pendletons, aged 30 – 45 from whom you may choose a partner for your life if you wish, and we invite them to enter to meet you all. By a remarkable coincidence there are also 767 of them, one for each lady!

"Organist, please play them in and will the ushers please introduce every James to every Elizabeth, every Elizabeth to every James.

"Mingle and be seated – it should take only 3 or 4 hours for the entire exercise."

The vicars both glared at this new delay.

(To be continued - concluding Episode 5)

Saturday, 21 November 2009

The Sunday Roast

"Eddie, No Need To Roast Her. I'll Eat Her Alive!"

(I admire your bravery, Alix)

This is me and Goose at the Saint Augustine Alligator Farm and Zoological Park - September 2009
This week's interview is with Alixandra Hice
who writes the blog
Casa Hice .

Alix says, "Welcome to Casa Hice where the door is always open
and the welcome mat is always out!"

Thank you for your warm welcome and your interview, Alix.

Here's the first of the standard questions. Why do you blog?
I began blogging back in May 2008 to document the trip a friend made to visit me in Florida. I thought it would be a fun way to journal and preserve the events, experiences and milestones that decorate my life. What I didn't know then is how blogging would evolve to become such a vital part of my everyday existence or how much I would look forward to interacting with other bloggers. It has introduced me to wonderful new friends, new and exotic places, and many interesting and unique expressions of talent, humor, beauty, and every day life. I have laughed, cried and been made to think deeply. And the acceptance and encouragement that I have experienced from the blogging community is beyond compare. How could anyone not get addicted that that?

What's the story behind your blog name?
I wish I had a clever answer, but the truth is I wanted to keep my blog name simple. Casa in Spanish means "house" and Hice is my last name - so my blog name basically means my house. Or more accurately, House of Hice. I hope my blog feels like the door to my life is always wide open and everyone is welcome inside. It's a no-holds -barred place where the only rule is to be truthful. I lay it all out there - warts and all. From my experiences with weight-loss to hair-loss; my joys and sorrows; my personal triumphs and failings; and my issues with self-esteem. Some times I whine and throw my opinions around, but usually I keep the energy positive. My blog is a thumbnail sketch of me and my house. Take it or leave it.

What is the best thing about being a blogger?
Community! I am continually stunned and amazed by the visitors who drop by and leave comments or subscribe to follow my humble little blog. I don't live an extravagant or unusual life and my posts generally point to ordinary stuff, so you can imagine what a thrill it is to be validated in that way. I'm not going to lie... I thrive on the support of my blogging family. It means the world to me when someone identifies with a morsel of truth or feels a personal connection to a shared thought, experience or topic. I love the feeling that my blog friends have my back. But the absolute BEST thing is meeting fellow bloggers in person. This past summer I spent two days with Garret and Jim in Saint Augustine as they headed home after a year of RVing across the country. I had been following their adventures for a long time and suddenly they were here in my own back yard! We had such fun and it never occurred to us that by definition we were actually strangers. Blogging breaks down those barriers.

What key advice would you give to a newbie blogger?
Be yourself, always. No matter what. Good, bad, ugly or indifferent - just give it to us straight. I'd much rather listen to someone spout off about their dysfunctional family or their personal demons or their fears or their imperfect life than be schmoozed by false appearances or pretense. Give me something I can sink my teeth into, relate to. Give me the blood and guts of your life, not the gilded cage. My favorite blogs are those that are fearless and make no apologies.

What is the most significant blog post you've ever read?
Oh gosh! That's about as easy to answer as which of my children I love most! On any given day, the answer could change, but the post that came immediately to mind is "In An Empty Field" by Alyson of New England Living.

What is the most significant blog post you've ever written?
That's a question best answered by someone who follows my blog - but since you asked... The post that put me on the map, so to speak, was recognized on August 25th by David McMahon at authorblog as a Post Of The Day nominee: Spoiled? Probably. Brat? Not so much... It speaks of my losing a blog friend because of jealousy. As for my personal favorite... it's a tie between my hilarious wedding-gone-wrong post Get Me To The Church On Time and a series of eight short posts in honor of my duck, LuLu. I would be honored for any of those to be read by your audience.

If you were to suggest two blogs for roasting who would you pick, and why?
fever by Lora M. in Philadelphia. This chica is like a smorgasbord of bloggy goodness. She's whip-smart, expressive, irreverent, kind, raw, brutally honest, naughty, and captivating. I wish I could write like she writes. I wish I could call her up on the phone for a chat, or drain a bottle of wine with her, or better yet - have her over for dinner. I feel like I know her and that's a very good thing.

The Things We Carried by Meredith Teagarden. Her blog is so haunting and visceral I can't help but hang on every word. She weaves her bittersweet tales with magnificent language and emotion, blending the personal sorrow of her childhood into a big kettle of hope.

casa hice2 cropped
Now, where's that alligator?
"Oh there you are! Did you like that?"

"Burp! Thanks Eddie, she was delicious and nutritious! Who's next, Eddie?" __________________________________________________

Today's Sunday Roast with Alix is the 91st in a weekly series
of interviews with bloggers from around the world. __________________________________________________

This interview will feature in The Roll of Honour
for all published Roasts. To view press HERE

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

767 Weddings, 2 Irate Vicars And Almost A Funeral - Part 3

Here's the Railway Station and it tells you how to pronounce it!!
Did you get it right?
Thought not (unless you are Welsh!)
Now back to the story.

In Episode 2 two highly confused vicars requested confirmation of James Pendleton's identity because of the surprising similarity with another gentleman of the same name.

"I’m James Pendleton from Liverpool b 21 July 1847 in Runcorn – trainee book keeper, chemist assistant, soap boiler, mineral water entrepreneur and foreman. I live at 21 Danby Street, W Derby, Liverpool – and I too will have my death registered, in 1905 not 1902, in a small Welsh town with a famous railway station:

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch . . . .

. . . . enough of all that! Lizzie, what on earth is going on? Are you and this chap an item? Who is this fellow who looks like me, using my name?"

Elizabeth replied, "I thought he was you and I thought you were him! I did notice sometimes you were a bit different at times. For instance sometimes my James had blue eyes (like yours) and sometimes my James had brown eyes (like his) and not knowing two gentlemen were involved, I could find no explanation as to how you managed to switch eye colours like that so regularly! I thought you might be related to a chameleon, except in every other physical respect I thought he was you and you were he - yet your temperaments seemed quite different, which I put down to the possibility of some mental abnormality since your mood swings were quite marked - quite confusing really. I thought you might be bi-polar and did wonder whether I was in some sort of Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde situation.

Also, I could not understand quite why sometimes you had a mustache, which you know tickles me, and at other times you were clean-shaven - I thought it was somewhat miraculous to grow one, lose one the grow one again so quickly - and of course your clothes seemed to change with uncanny frequency. I am so confused now I do not know who is the right James for me to marry, ye or he!"

James from Liverpool remarked, "I thought I knew you for years, Elizabeth, but somehow lately you do seem a bit different and a lot more plump than usual, and a bit more plain if I may say so, and you seemed not to remember people whom you should know! I don't mean to sound hurtful but to be perfectly candid you are not my ideal lady who I would chose for a bride except you were very friendly and affectionate and being a widower I thought I'd better see how the relationship developed. I'm beginning to wonder whether you are the correct Elizabeth for me after all - perhaps not! Could I have mistaken you with a prettier young lady of my former acquaintance?

Elizabeth's face reddened with rage as he continued, "But if you are not her, then where can she be?"

An angry Elizabeth retorted, "Well there are 767 of them to choose from! Go on pick one! Oh how could you, you cad! I know what this is all about! It's daddy with his money and bonuses that you find of interest isn't it? I am merely the vehicle for your greed!"

"Well, er . . . . " Before he could answer the other James interrupted, "This man is an impostor! I am your correct James. I've know you for years - we got engaged 5 years ago!"

Elizabeth bust into tears! Turning to the would-be tearful bride the vicar consoled her by saying, "Don't cry, young lady!"

She continued, "I am not sure which James is the correct one, although the one with blue eyes is decidedly rude today! But it's all these other Elizabeths that upset me your reverence. I cannot understand why they are all here. It makes my James look like a bull in a large field of cows. Who shall I marry? James from Liverpool, born in Runcorn – he is the one who has won my heart! or James from Congleton - he also has won my heart! Who shall it be? How can I chose?"

"I think I can answer that question!" said Eddie Bluelights. James Pendleton from Liverpool is my great grandfather, I descend through my grandfather Walter, his son, and I have a photograph of James wearing a moustache and with him is Elizabeth and their two sons. Her countenance is different to yours - she is much more pretty I am afraid - ouch!! This photograph was given to me by his grand daughter a year ago, at present just a twinkle in someone's eyes!"

James from Liverpool looked very surprised as to how Eddie could possibly know this information at this moment in time, as was Walter and Cyril.

"I need to speak with you, great grandfather James, there is something I must explain to you. My mission is to warn you and plead with you not do anything rash in January 1905. You see I have found out recently . . . . . "

Before Eddie could elaborate further a tremendous flash with deafening thunder filled the church and the image of the lady appeared again, this time with much more gravity. . . . again from no-where! Geraldine had returned.

"Are you an angel?" asked several people falling flat on their faces.

"No, I most certainly am not - get up, there is no need to do that, GET UP, I'm Geraldine from the future and I am working with Eddie Bluelights, although we have different missions which overlap slightly. Ah! I see he is here with the other vicar from West Derby. I have been assisting Mr Bluelights on his family tree – I met him on email."

"On What mail!?"

"On email! you silly man! Never mind, I have confirmation that a major error has occurred. Elizabeth Dutton, listen to me! Your groom is the James without the mustache and with brown eyes. Do not listen to or marry the other James with blue eyes for he is 'reserved' for another Elizabeth. I have all the necessary documentation at hand. Elizabeth Dutton, your wedding is confirmed from the records as here - a Congleton wedding, reference Volume 8A Page 449. James Pendleton from Liverpool, your wedding is in West Derby at Reverend Harding's parish of St Benedicts, Walton, Nr Liverpool, as per official records Volume 8B Page 603.

Before that marriage can take place we must find the correct Elizabeth - a Pendleton or an Evans - from the ladies present in this church. Someone has made another very serious error. Eddie Bluelights and his incompetent relations made a huge blunder thinking West Derby was in Derbyshire - not a sub district of Liverpool. Some blethering idiot ordered the wrong wedding certificate and helped to cause all this mayhem and confusion. I am always having to make sure they get their facts right - all of them are a load of nincompoops!"

"Ahhhh!" exclaimed the vicar, keeling over again, "what are you? Keep away from me - I think Armageddon's come! You remind me of the Queen of the fairies from Gilbert and Sullivan's 'Iolanthe' and I feel like singing, 'Go away Madam! Stay away Madam! you display, Madam shocking taste. It is rude Madam, to intrude, Madam . . . etc. ' . . . .
. . . . and to just think, earlier I took you for the proprietor of a ladies seminary - I never knew I was talking to an influential fairy from Andersion's library even though you are most contrary!"

"I am not a fairy you silly little man . . . ."

"Don't shout at me! . . . . . I feel dizzie and light headed. I want to lie down . . . ahh!."

A lady screamed, "Quick, the vicar's fainted! Call a doctor!"

Geraldine enquired, "Is there a First Aider around, or better still a First Responder? Oh of course, Eddie Bluelights is here. COME HERE! and save this man. Now, everybody watch this man in action - the vicar needs rescusitating - he requires CPR"

"What PR! what the 'ell's that!"

"CPR I said. Don't you know anything, you ignoramouses? CPR is an abrebiation for Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation. It means breathing into a non-breathing patient and compressing their chest just above the heart at regular intervals in order to pump blood round the body, vital blood containing residual oxygen. There he's doing it - two breaths and 30 compressions, then two breaths and 30 compressions – keep going like this until Emergency Services arrive. Dial 999, somebody, quick! If he comes round put him in the recovery position".

"999? What the hell is she on about, she's completely loopy?" shouted the entire company.

Said Eddie, "It's OK he's breathing and I've put him in the recovery position. My word I never thought I would have to resuscitate two vicars in one day!"

"He's not moving Eddie, KEEP GOING", demanded Geraldine, "DOCTOR' ABC' - remember!". . . . DANGER, AIRWAYS, BREATHING and CIRCULATION in THAT ORDER then two breaths and 30 compressions, two breaths and 30 compressions!"

"Gosh! which fix is she on?"

"Which planet did she come from?"

"THIS PLANET YOU NINCOMPOOP! It used to be called the kiss of life!", said Geraldine, showing annoyance and impatience at the audience's seemingly total inability to grasp 20th century Patient Care.

"The kiss of life you say? Nobody is going to kiss him – the only person who would do that was Mary Warburton, she'd kiss any man within a 50 yard radius but she died in 1864 of suffocation".

A lady from the back shouted, "Scarlet woman! Scarlet woman! Don't mention that man-eater in my presence, and . . . she interfered with my husband!”

"And mine!". . . . . . and mine!" . . . . . "and mine!"

An old gent smiled to himself, remembering his distant past with an acquaintance called Mary and remarked, "Yes, I do remember her well!"
He was nudged in the ribs by his stern faced wife, "What are you smiling about?"

"Nothing dear, just remembering what it was like to be happy!"

"Then don't!"

Geraldine, noting the vicar recovering, shouted,

"Silence! Silence!

"Now I can see beyond any shadow of doubt the vicar is recovering, I have have to inform this entire congregation that I come from the future to inform James Pemberton from Liverpool that your descendants, who are at present just a twinkle in Walter Douglas's eye, Eddie here included, are making significant discoveries about your goings on and they are far from impressed – they are deeply shocked at all your antics and skeletons in cupboards I keep discovering for them and look how they repay me, by not listening to me and making fundamental errors. I am a messenger from the future and a trained 'dendrologist'. I get my information from the internet from waves in the air on my laptop computer and this comes from the census returns that you all make every 10 years. It all comes out of the air on my computer screen, a bit like a TV."

"What' the 'ell is she ranting' about?", said someone.

Another uttered, "What the 'ell's a computer and a television?"

Several remarked, "She's completely off her trolley!"

"I AM NOT OFF MY TROLLEY! This is all highly difficult to explain," commented Geraldine, "but if you had a television your families would certainly not be as big as they are now! You'd have other things to do besides . . . . "

"What a fruitcake!" "How many kid's have you got, then?"

"Maybe two and maybe three! That's for me to know and you to wonder! . . . . . Well I never! You are all extremely rude!"

"We have red meat for our dinners!"

"Does your hubby play football?

"No, but he supports Liverpool F.C.?" "

"Liverpool! ha ha! they're rubbish", said another man waving his Everton shirt, "Everton are Magic! Liverpool are Tragic!"

"Oh no, they’re not! It’s Everton who are tragic and Liverpool are Magic!!"

"Here, here." "

Shut up you lt! We'll thrash you next time we . . . . ouch! ouch! Let go or I’ll . . . . . “

"QUIET! QUIET! ORDER! ORDER!" shouted Geraldine, "This is all upsetting the vicars again!
I must leave you now and go back to my own time, back to the future! I have to get home and make my husband's tea! He would be extremely cross if I didn't and would stop me talking to Eddie Bluelights on the email. I have a lot of people I am assisting and I have to get back and answer their emails. Also I am considering embarking on blogging! it seems the in thing to do at the moment"

"What the 'ell's blogging?"

"Oh never mind!"


Geraldine disappeared just as the vicar recovered fully from his faint.

"Where did she go?" asked the vicar, who had just staggered to his feet? Are we in the next life?"
"No! were all stick stuck on planet Earth in Congleton! but I'm beginning to wonder if this is all a dream!", said Reverend Harding.

James from Congleton stepped forward and shouted, "Haven't a clue where she went but you, my pal", addressing his rival, "you are going to a funeral and it's going to be yours". He then addressed the entire congregation and said, looking at our James Pendleton from Liverpool, "If this chap doesn't sling his hook and leave me gall and me alone we'll need this vicar for 'is funeral."

Just then there was another blinding FLASH.

"What the 'ell was that?"

"Ahhh!" said the vicar, "The End Has Come!"

"No it's the Queen of the Night again from Mozart's Magic Flute", said a soprano voice.

"No it's most certainly not! It's me again!", said Geraldine. I've solved it all and brought two people with me. I have the correct Elizabeth (nee Evans) with me – she has a sister called Mary – all the other Elizabeths here, all 767 of them are therefore redundant. Secondly, this miserable little specimen of masculinity is the registrar from the records office, responsible totally for the mess in which we all find ourselves in today. He's here to clear it all up, aren't you, little man?"

"The Elizabeth I have brought lives at 21 Danby Street, Liverpool. I've looked through all the records for marriages in 1891 with Elizabeths born 1857-1862 and they are all accounted for and the Elizabeth I have brought is the only one that fits the bill."

James from Liverpool enquired, “Did you say this new Elizabeth resides at 21 Danby Street, Liverpool? That’s where I live! I wonder if I have seen you before" he said, eyeing her!
"You look like a much prettier version of Elizabeth Dutton”.

“Improper!” Improper!” Fancy living together before marriage! "Disgraceful!” said the self righteous woman at the back of the church, obviously enjoying herself.

Up to the altar walked Elizabeth to the unanimous approval of the men folk!

"Do you like your new Elizabeth I have brought for you, James?" asked Geraldine, against a background of continuing approval.

"Cor yes! what a cracker! I'm sure I've seen you before! How could I forget such a pretty face?" exclaimed James, as Elizabeth Evans gave him an amorous glance.

Elizabeth Dutton, whom until recently he was about to marry, gave him a right hook and yelled, "He doesn't love me any more! He has found an Elizabeth much fairer than I". Turning to James Pendleton from Congleton, her original suitor, she pleaded, "Now I know you are the James for me, James with no mustache and with brown eyes, it is you whom I will marry. I do not love James from Liverpool anymore!"

"Then marry us today without delay, vicar", they said in unison.

Eddie Bluelights became restless, "Great grandfather James, I must have a word with you, urgently!"

(To be continued - Part 4)

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Award Ceremony to Suldog

For Thumbelina's Roast please press HERE

Now, before we proceed with the next installment of my play, 767 Weddings . . etc which I shall post on Monday, there is a little business for me complete, requiring just a few minutes of your time - a mini award ceremony - unusual for me because I normally put on a big show for these.

I received this "Over The Top Award" award from Granny On The Web recently and it is time I passed it on.

The recipient I nominate is unique, so there is just one award and that person is . . . . . yes, you've guessed . . . . . . . Jim Suldog.

"What!", you might say, "you must be stark raving bonkers!"

"Fancy making an award to Suldog: he'll have your guts for garters!"

My reply is, "Either I am extremely brave or I am nuts! bearing in mind what happened the last time I was bold enough to present Jim an award . . . plus a plate of fish and chips I might add. And do you know what? Jim had no appetite for these whatsoever. And then we got into an huge argument about American Football having no rules!"

Well, look at this award:
First off, Jim I apologise that a lady is pictured. I have not the know-how to draw a moustache and as far as I can tell there is no male award equivalent in existence. So kindly forget the gender - it's the thought that counts.

Normally there is a list of 35 mundane questions requiring 35 equally mundane answers - I thought I would dispense with these because if I did include them I think you would really go over the top and come straight over and bash me one! (Thank God we no longer have Concorde). But if anyone feels they must see all these silly questions and answers press HERE

Instead I invite you to list 35 ways of torturing or killing me in the most frightful and painful ways imaginable - I do this purely for the amusement of your readers and mine too, I might add.
The award reads, "Your Blog is Over The Top", but Jim I am not awarding it for that reason. Already we all know your blog is over the top and that is why we all love it and visit it frequently. My reason is purely in anticipation of your likely over the top response. I can feel the vibes from way across the pond and wonder exactly which missiles you are preparing right now for me and which ones are launching at me. Perhaps I like to live dangerously!

My second reason for this foolhardy gesture is because there is a seasonal flavour to it.

We have just completed the anniversary of Armistice Day when the First World War ended on 11 November 1918. We all remember the phrase "Over The Top" when us Tommies boldly or madly climbed the ladders and charged wildly into no man's land for King and Country. Well it is into that spirit I enter the fray, for I am going over the top into a hail of whatever is coming my way as I present you with this "Over The Top" Award which I am sure all your followers, and mine, will agree is truly deserved by you.

Should I keep my helmet on?

Now back to the fish and chips! How could anyone refuse this? I've even given it lashings of ketchup!! This piece of cod passeth all understanding! . . . . and Jim still refused it.

I'm still alive so it looks promising so far.

As the man said when he fell out of the Empire State Building approaching floor twenty, "So far so good!"
Oh! It seems as though someone has beaten me to it, Jim. I note from your blog you have the award already - what another brave or foolhardy person! How can that be?
I quote from Jim's comment informing me he has the award already:
"Eddie, you idiot. I would love nothing more than to flay you until you were a bloody lump, but I already received this award.

Now, if you want to substitute your name for every time Jazz's name appears in that, feel free. It will probably give you great pleasure, since the English are well known around the world for a fondness of having the lash put to them.
(Hopefully, everyone is still reading.)
I love Eddie. I really do. And, Eddie, if you really, truly, want me to barbecue you, I'll be happy to do so. But, damn it, man, you've got to give me something I don't already have - which rules out the clap - and probably something I want - which rules out pretty much anything else you have to offer.) (That was supposed to be a nice paragraph, wherein I let everyone know how much I truly adore Eddie, but it got rather venomous at the end. Sorry. Even though he's a big poofter who likes to wear women's underwear when he goes grocery shopping, I think the world of Eddie. I wouldn't want anyone to get the wrong idea concerning him.)
(I really do love you, Eddie. Thanks for the fun.)"

What a nice chap! I think I will set Marguerite on him, at least she loves me!
I hastily modified my post and left a comment on Jim's post to this effect:
"Jim - OK, you have the award so you can either accept my Over he Top Award as a joint gift or my alternative award. Let's jump right over from WW1 to WW2 and capture the flavour of this prestigious award highlighting a famous victory sign. I would be very happy to pass this 2009 Friendly Blogger Award to you as a sort of consolation prize. I affectionately call this my "Up Your's Award" and can think of no other person worthy to receive it other than yourself. I do so in jest, Jim, I think you are great really but I can discern the smile with steam starting to come out of your ears and nostrils - or is it wind?
"I am not able to read the other (middle) word but the Winston Churchill sign comes at no extra charge he! he! "
Ok folks! It's on! Just heard from Jim to say I am due for the biggest thrashing I've ever had but he is a bit busy right now but he advises me to flee the country! Hell hath no fury like Suldog's scorn LOL. Here is his reply:
"Eddie - The "Friendly" Blogger Award? How could I possibly pass it up? How marvelously incongruous to accept such an award with a steaming pile of vitriol! Not immediately, but, yes, soon. I know you'll take it like a man, and I appreciate the opportunity to have some fun with this. Thanks!"

Saturday, 14 November 2009

The Sunday Roast

Thumbelina Invites You Into Her Secret Worlds

This week's interview is with Thumbelina,
who writes the blog
Secret Worlds .

Thank you, Thumbelina

Here's the first of the standard questions. Why do you blog?

I come from a long line of thumb sized blog attempts. Some were not very good at this blogging lark and Tom Thumb ended up being an expert blagger instead. For a definition of blagging look here:
He started off small and would just blag his way into things but eventually he moved onto the other definitions of blagging. *sigh*
I try my best to not think about it.
So, blogging helps to block the memory out. I have gone from writing a huge number of posts a month to one or even.... none! But on the whole, I have managed (with the help of a large pointed umbrella being poked up my behind) to churn a post or too out here and there.

Have I answered the question yet? I'm not sure. Why do I blog? Well, I guess the main reason is because I like it. Unlike a lot of certain social networking sites (which I won't mention) I am comfortable with blogging. (I was never comfortable with blagging although I could do it. Definition #1 that is.) I am in control of my blog, and, (if I want to be) I am in control of who comments or visits my blog. So I feel safe-ish on the blogosphere where I can get viewpoints on my writing, my photos and generally care about what is going on for a heap of people I have never met but love dearly. They seem to care about me too!

What's the story behind the blog name?

I used to have a tiny tiny thumb-sized blog but nobody could see it. So I decided I had to get to the big sized blogs.
Then I used to have a much more transparent blog and name. People on the outside knew who I was on the inside. One day though, some one I thought was nice turned out to be not nice and would come and lurk and take information about me from my blog and use it on the outside to hurt my boy. So I moved and she moved. And I moved again and eventually, to cut a long story short, I found a secret hideaway which I call my Secret Worlds. It is my world inside the blogosphere and most of you know who I am, but the one on the outside doesn't and that suits me fine. So Secret Worlds it is and I am happy here. I can be as crazy as I like in here and it's all right because you know me.

What is the best thing about being a blogger?

The friends. Thumb sized ones and ordinary sized ones. No doubt about it - it's the people you 'meet'. Yes it gives creative outlets but without the feedback it means nothing. There are some of you out there that have followed me through 3 blogs (one private) to this fourth blog. That's friendship. Thank you thank you thank you. Outside people don't always get it but blog friendships are some of the best and most sincere friendships - perhaps because we have to make the effort and actually visit and reciprocate etc.... I dunno. I am not sure how it works - in theory it shouldn't - but it does. And blogging is about people. The people are the best thing ever about being a blogger. And none of them are thumb sized. Some are thumbnails, but not thumb sized.

What key advice would you give to a newbie blogger?

Don't try a thumb sized blog. No one will see it. And also....
This has been said before but I agree with it 95% : Be yourself.
I say 95% because you need to keep 5% back. Don't tell everything unless you want it on the news headlines. It is the world wide web after all. Also, when you start out, until you have found your feet and got comfortable with your blog persona and style, don't tell "friends" on the outside. Wait. You don't know yet what you want to blog. Learn from my mistake! Wait. That's the 5%. Give yourself the freedom to write what you want how you want. You can't do that if you know the neighbour is reading it.... But once you're sure (or it is a lifelong solid friend) then by all means... it's up to you who knows about your blog.

Also, in your own home, if you have a significant other, involve them even if they are not bloggers. My hubby knew from the start what I was writing - the post was always available for him - and who I was communicating with. I would tell him about these bloggers who commented and it has been the best thing I did as I have good friendships with many of them. There is no "blog jealousy" in our house. If I hadn't explained some of the comments or shared some of my blog friends' posts with him, it could have led to some jealousies and problems. (He is not the jealous type either.) So be 100% open about what you write and who you communicate with online in your home. My hubby knows Maggie, Daryl, Suldog, Hilary and Frank, David and all those others (yes and you Eddie!) almost as much as I do. That would happen with "real" friendships (he knows my friends but not as well as I know them) and that is what I made sure I had happen with these friendships. There is never a problem then visiting blogs or emailing . . .

What's the most significant blog post you've ever read?

Oh my goodness. I really cannot answer this one. There are so many blogposts that are significant for different reasons. I wouldn't want to single any out and couldn't either. What I will do is direct you to Hilary's blog where she has started linking to Posts of the Week following on from David's Post of the Day feature. If you visit that each Wednesday (ish) then you will definitely find significant posts. I promise you.

What's the most significant blog post you've ever written?

Probably this one and it isn't even on my blog!! Typical!

Okay - seriously, it is hard to chose because really it is YOU the reader who should decide that. But there are some that have meant a lot to me and have got my heart and soul in them. They show ME, warts and all, raw, vulnerable I guess, but also they show the people I admire. I have picked three and some of you out there will remember them -
one to my mum, one for my dad, and one about losing the most precious thing I could - myself. Apart from those three, I have numerous photo ones I am particularly proud of but these ones inparticular I like - The Portuguese Skywatch, and an earlier Skywatch, (that's yet another sunset) and The Box - a hilarious look at how a fat cat sits in a small box. Hilarious to me anyway. :0/ Finally (you see? I can't pick just one! There are so many that mean so much for so many different reasons!) If you want to read some fiction, I wrote two short stories. One is "The Last Day" and the other is called "Inseparable". Hope you enjoy those.

If you were going to pick two blogs for roasting, which two would you pick and why?

Again, it is hard to just keep it at two blogs and also trying to remember who has already been roasted! So I am going to say Frank at Baron It All. Frank posts every week or so, maybe more often, and is a keen fisherman. I am not a keen fisherman but he takes me (us) on quiet serene walks and has a wonderful sense of humour and irony. He also has a great dog called Benny and it has always been a real pleasure to visit this gentle man.

The second blog I would nominate is Laughing Wolf at Loopy Lair (Paws and Reflect). Laughing Wolf's blog is an absolute treasure chest of information and fun. He often copies stuff into his blog but it is nicely chosen and edited and inbetween these bits he has his own writings and thoughts. He always, (like Frank) always answers a comment in his comments and is another gentle man. I love sitting on this blog and learning stuff.

 Thumbelina screensave cropped


Today's Sunday Roast with Thumbelina is the 90th in a weekly
series of interviews with bloggers from around the world. __________________________________________________

This interview will feature in The Roll of Honour
for all published Roasts. To view press

Monday, 9 November 2009

767 Weddings, 2 Irate Vicars And Almost A Funeral - Part 2

(Continued from Episode 1)

This is a re-run of a story I wrote last Easter when I was an ambulance man. I have now left the Ambulance Service.

Almost as soon as Geraldine vanished, much to the relief of the frightened vicar, another blinding flash maintained the untimely interruption to this most unusual wedding service.

Inside the church entrance stepped two gentlemen, one wearing very strange apparel, never before seen by anyone in the church or elsewhere. The other was clearly a man of the cloth.

They both strode forward together to amazed looks of horror.

The vicar shouted with a trembling voice, "Who are you and do you realise you are disturbing a wedding? My, I have never in my life experienced so many interruptions. You Sir, in the funny clothes, state your business."

"I am Eddie Bluelights and I come from the future on a different mission to Geraldine, a lady whom I believe has visited you already. My personal mission is to find my great grandfather, James Pendleton, and try to save him from a most unfortuate event scheduled for January 1905 - but I will explain all that later.

"Geraldine knew I was in the area and 'commanded' me to collect and bring here this very bewildered vicar beside me, Reverend Harding, from the church of St Benedict in the suburb of West Derby, Liverpool, 50 miles away. Apparently he has lost a bride and groom whom he is due to marry this afternoon, along with all their guests and the ushers. As for my clothes I am an ambulance man and I am wearing a standard 'hi-viz' yellow bomber jacket as per normal dress along with my usual green uniform. Quite proper I can assure you."

"How preposterous!" You look like a giant bumble bee! - that dress is entirely unsuitable for births, marriages and deaths, or as the modern day generation has it, 'hatches, matches and dispatches' - dreadful phrase! You need to be dignified and stately at these functions! What did you say you were?"

"An ambulance man."

"A what bulance man?", enquired the entire congregation.

"I drive an ambulance with blue flashing lights and a loud siren so I can get through traffic quickly to get people to hospital before they die, hopefully, with a qualified paramedic in attendance, so the doctors can make them better. I drove like the clappers to get Rev Harding here - he fainted when I met him so I put him on the stretcher! The roads are awful - it is 50 miles away and it took me three quarters of an hour. Has the wedding occurred yet?"

"Three quarters of an hour? Don't be ridiculous! Impossible!

"The man running in front of you with a red flag could not possibly go that fast, and neither could your horses."

"I don't need a man with a red flag and I don't have any horses - I have an engine under the bonnet (or 'hood' as the Americans say!) equivalent to 150 horses - my ambulance goes like a bullet and is presently parked outside! Where can I get some diesel fuel?"

"Ridiculous, nothing can possibly go faster than 25 miles per hour - as everyone knows the acceleration would kill you! - you'll be telling us that a man has landed on the moon next!"

"He did, ages ago in 1969 and several times since that! I come from the year 2009 where things are a lot different from your present day experience!"

"What! Nonsense!" protested the vicar, "Time travel now, H G Wells and all that! You're really winding me up now! Never mind, he's obviously loopy. Now look I am trying to conduct a wedding ceremony and everyone seems intent on preventing me from doing so. You Sir, Reverend Harding, what say you?"

"Well I arose this morning, 10 April 1891, to make preparations for a marriage I was due to conduct this afternoon, the marriage of a Mr James Pendleton, widower, to a Miss Elizabeth Evans, spinster, both of my Parish. I was walking towards the church at 2pm in order to to officiate when I noticed:

"There's the church!

There's the steeple!

"Open the Doors! Hmmmm . . . . . . . . . . . !

"But . . . . where's all the people?

" I was horrified and petrified! It was then I fainted and awoke to find myself being resuscitated by Eddie Bluelights here, who said he was here by order of someone called Geraldine to collect these two persons, James Pendelton and Elizabeth Evans from your church so I could marry them at my Parish. Are they here?"

"Well, we have ascertained that one of them is here, James Pendleton, but we are looking for the young lady who is causing us big problems - there are nearly 770 candidates."

"How strange, how come?"

It was then, as they were all trying very hard to digest this information and make sense of events, a young man at the back of the church roared across the entire congregation, "I have and objection too about this wedding! That's my Elizabeth you have at the altar - she's mine - keep your mitts off her, you at the altar with her! She’s not marrying you today, tomorrow or on any other day. She is mine!"

The vicar of Congleton was very angry, "Come to the front young man and explain yourself at once! Are you married to her? If not forever hold your peace!"

The objector quietened and said, "Married? Well no, not exactly, but she's mine all the same!"

The man under question stood near James and Elizabeth and when the vicar saw the two men together he nearly swooned, so did Elizabeth, so did James and so did the man, for the two men looked almost identical except the man who objected was clean shaven whilst James wore a mustache.

"This is most uncanny! I cannot take all the events of the day in!" exclaimed the vicar, "Are you related to each other, you look almost identical?"

"Not to my knowledge!" said James and the other man agreed, but all could see high tension and animosity growing between them.

"Young man, you object to the wedding. Exactly who are you, may I ask and why do you object?"

"James Pendleton is my name."

"What!" another James Pendleton! We have two James Pendletons, how can this be?", asked both confused vicars and the entire congregation in unison.

"We repeat, who are you?"

"James Pendleton, a domestic cook living in Congleton b 1839, I know not where I was born yet – they can’t find the records – but my death is destined to be registered in 1902 in Angelsea, Wales, a town with a very long name - you might remember a famous railway station, the longest town name in the United Kingdom,


"What!", exclaimed the entire congregation.


he repeated, "meaning 'The church of St. Mary in the hollow of white hazel trees near the rapid whirlpool St. Tysilio's of the red cave'.

" My death certificate will show I died of peritonitis and other bowel complaints, aged 63! Obviously I did not like my own cooking! Otherwise they haven’t done all the research on me yet.”

"We do not wish to know all that! All this is highly irrelevant", said the vicar. "I'm inclined to order you to shut up and send you to the back of the church, Mr Pendleton, so I can get on with the service. What with you, that bumble bee and that mad woman who just gate crashed my service you are causing me undue and unwanted waste of time! The nuns and bishop will be getting annoyed at this unpardonable delay! However, since you object, state your reasons."

"This lady, Elizabeth, is my fiancee and we are due to marry this very day but she disappeared recently and I showed up here today just in case she remembered our wedding day - and . . . she turns up with another man who looks just like me!!!. Now I know where she was all this time, with this scoundrel."

Pointing to James he roared, "Sir, I demand satisfaction and challenge you to duel. Choose your weapons and chose a second for you dishonour me and I will have my honour restored! We shall meet outside and duel in the cemetery - to confirm my displeasure I strike your face with my glove . . . there! One of us must die and it will not be me. Vicar, there will be another funeral for you within this very hour!"

The other James Pendleton was about to respond with equal venom when the vicar intervened with commanding authority, "No you don't, no duelling at this church - I do not intend conducting another funeral this afternoon - I have one already, and I do not want any sleeping bodies disturbed in my cemetery thank you very much! I have a serious question to you, Sir, that is James Pendleton at the altar. You are about to marry this young lady, Elizabeth. Who are you and where do you come from?"

"My name is James Pendleton b 21 July 1847 in Runcorn, now living in Liverpool, father of 5 by my first marriage to Emma Long, a beautiful daughter of a stonemason, Thomas Long b 1807 – my professions range from soap hawker extraordinaire, trainee book keeper, chemist assistant, soap boiler, mineral water entrepreneur, and foreman – and I too will have my death registered in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, but in 1905, 2nd January to be precise! So I am the right man, that’s for sure."

"What!!!!" exclaimed the entire congregation, “two James Pendletons, and both ending up in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch."

By some miracle they all said it in unison with not one mistake. Fancy that!




"Remarkable!" exclaimed both vicars, adjusting their false teeth after their vocal acrobatics, "the similarity of both these fellows residing at

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is most uncanny.

Have we misheard? Kindly restate your name, occupation and from where you originate?"

(To be continued press HERE for Episode 3)

. . . . oh and by the way can you say it?

Saturday, 7 November 2009

The Sunday Roast

Far from Retired In Blogland

This week's interview is with Rosaria of Lakeviewer,
who writes the blog
Sixtyfivewhatnow .

Thank you for the interview Rosaria which was initiated by David at
It is my great pleasure to publish it.

Here's the first of the standard questions. Why do you blog?

Writing feels like a continuous conversation, a sharing of ideas and memories without being interrupted. Many friendships have bloomed through blogging across generations and across continents. I blog to feel connected to the world.

What's the story behind the blog name?

The title of my blog reveals both the age when I started, and the need to find out about what that age meant. After I retired, I had to rethink my goals and my priorities. The task became an existential search for meaning at this stage of my life: what now, what can be as important as the work I did, or the dreams I had? While my blog has expanded and morphed, the issues of the day, such as the current universal health care debate in the States, the basic need to understand what life can be at this age is still the main direction for this blog.

What is the best thing about being a blogger?

The best thing about being a blogger is the rush to discover who responds and what direction the comments take the conversation. After I posted on the need for universal health care, a blogger from Canada asked if he could respond as a guest blogger. I was delighted by his generosity and his knowledge of this subject. Most Americans are still in the dark on the kinds of services other nations have; Rob-Bear outlined a clear path.

What key advice would you give to a newbie blogger?

The best advice I could give a new blogger is to just go for it; if you want to share your daily life, go for it; if you want to share your hobbies, go for it. After you get comfortable, you can add gadgets, improve the layout. Even with your help, David, I admit to being quite dense on technical stuff. It’s intimidating. It’s frustrating. But it doesn’t stop me from creating the conversation.

What is the most significant blog post you've ever read?

David, finding your blog at Authorblog was a stroke of luck; it exposed me to many people I would not have encountered otherwise.

I have three blogs I check first thing in the morning:

Lola’s at Aglioolioepereroncino who takes me back to my Italian roots

Erin’s at Inthroughthebackdoor who writes such insightful, poetry that makes me feel as though I am reliving my life . . . . . and

Renee at Circlingmyhead who shows me how to be brave and courageous.

This list could go on and list people from many continents who introduce me to skills and points of view that open vistas for me.

What is the most significant blog post you've ever written?

I have enjoyed writing the post(s) about health care. I could have gone further, a lot further. It is a very important topic, still debated, still too hot to handle rationally. Sharing ideas about this topic will help us all grow and find solutions.

Finally, if you were to suggest two blogs for roasting who would you pick, and why?

at Aglioolioepeperoncino and Willow at Willow’s Manor. These are exciting bloggers, with lots of ideas and talent. Your readers will definitely enjoy them.

Thank you, David, for selecting me for this Sunday’s Roast. I appreciate this opportunity.

Note from Eddie: Thank you Rosaria and for your two recommendations. They are indeed very popular and in fact both have been roasted already and well worth another read.

Lola HERE and Willow HERE


Today's Sunday Roast with Rosaria is the 89th in a weekly
series of interviews with bloggers from around the world. __________________________________________________

This interview will feature in The Roll of Honour
for all published Roasts. To view press
HERE __________________________________________________

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

767 Weddings, 2 Irate Vicars And Almost A Funeral - Part 1

Before reading this one-act play I stongly suggest visiting my introduction post which provides a short trailer to the story, plus free bonus material of matters ecclesiastic, to allow you to clear your minds completely and get you in the mood for the action which follows.

I shall be posting subsequent Episodes at weekly intervals between Roasts.

Now make yourself a cup of tea, sit back and

Anyone caught falling asleep will be ejected from the theatre!
Please switch off your mobile phones and no talking!

Exits will be barred, so there is no escape until the final curtain! Lights off please, and . . . . .

Curtain rises slowly to the sound of organ music.

The long awaited day arrived, during Easter Week, to be precise 10 April 1891 - the marriage of James Pendleton to Elizabeth Evans, or perhaps Elizabeth Pendleton - at this stage we are not sure which!

How strange, for the genealogical records from the distant future are entirely unclear. All we know, almost 120 years on, is her Christian name, Elizabeth. Whatever her surname, guests assembled at Congleton Parish Church, fully expectant that the happy couple would be united at last.

James Pendleton was seated in the front pew with his best man, John Standish, waiting nervously for his bride to appear. Would she turn up, he wondered anxiously?

He knew the answer was in the affirmative when the organist began proceedings with a grand rendition of Mendelssohn’s “Hear comes the bride”, from his 'new-fangled' masterpiece, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, as the bride, an attractive brunette, entered the church on the arm of her proud father, followed by two very good-looking bridesmaids.

And then . . . a young lady walked down the aisle to an empty front seat, followed by another . . . . then another . . . . soon more young ladies followed them, each carrying a piece of paper and seemingly in endless procession and gradually filling the pews.

And still they came, dozens, scores . . . then hundreds of them! whilst the organist completed his task, playing Mendelssohn faultlessly. The ladies kept coming in droves and so, sighing, the talented organist seized his opportunity for glory and embarked on Bach’s Toccata and Fugue followed by Handel’s “Entrance of the Queen of Sheba”.

The vicar, aged about 45, bespectacled with silver hair, looked at his time piece and wore a frown on his reddening face – it was all taking far too long and these ladies kept coming in, oddly all about the same age 30 -32.

The organist coughed and thought it prudent to play again, this time a very difficult rendition of Widor’s organ symphony, which he executed with remarkable precision and wild enthusiasm. He completed this epic virtuoso performance to tumultuous applause just as the last young lady entered the now very full church.

The congregation all remained standing until silence prevailed, with the organist bowing to admiring glances. Overcome with emotion he bowed once more in gratitude and felt pride welling up inside his chest. My word, he enjoyed that!

At last things settled and the vicar opened proceedings and coughed, remarking, “Well, well, well. What a full house we have today! I can say I have never seen so many at one sitting - and I may add, such an array of attractive young ladies has never before graced my church so eloquently.”

He proceeded to enquire, “Who is the chief usher here?”

“I am he, your reverence – my name is Walter Douglas Pendleton b 1871, due to die 19 Feb 1942, and I am James Pendleton's first son by his first marriage. I am engaged to Sarah here and I am told our descendants will be so plentiful they will be like the stars in the heavens, or the sands on the shore, whichever is the greater! I am an extremely fertile lad and will have 10 children. It seems my fellow usher is not so fertile. He is my younger brother, Cyril Herbert Pendleton b 1873, not sure when he will die because his descendants have not managed yet to find his death certificate, try as they may. He is, like me, fathered by James Pendleton b 1847 by his first wife, Emma Long b 20 August 1850 d 21 April 1888. He will marry his cousin . . . . . . . . "


" . . . . . . . . and I have two sisters, Edith Mary and Gertrude! . . .

"Stop . . . stop . . . . stop! . . . . . young man, we have not got all day. Would you mind, please, making your answers as brief as possible with much less of the genealogy . . . . . if you please? You are verbose in the extreme! Tell me, who are all these ladies filling the pews on this fine day – and why are there so many of them? The place is packed to the rafters. I've never seen anything like it.”

“They are all special guests, your reverence. There are 279 Elizabeth Pendletons and 488 Elizabeth Evans – the entire Lancashire and Cheshire stock of eligible young ladies named as such, born between 1857 and 1862. There is a big mistake on future 'microfiche' records of Elizabeth’s and James’ marriage certificate - even though the wedding has not occurred yet, if you see what I mean! Future generations have seen to their dismay this certificate showing her father as Joseph Pendleton, cattle dealer, when they expected him to be Joseph Evans, cattle dealer. Some people from the future are running round in huge circles trying to sort it all out because the registrar must have got so confused with all the Pendletons and Evans ladies around today he, or some silly twit, called Elizabeth’s father Joseph Pendleton on the actual marriage records when it was blatantly obvious that the registrar had all the information to hand to make a correct entry of Joseph Evans on the original certificate AND the records. What a monumental ‘senior moment!'. To clear it all up and to make absolutely sure of things we asked all available Elizabeth Pendletons and Elizabeth Evans to come to this wedding with their birth certificates, and it looks as though they have all turned up with a headcount of 767. There are a couple of other possibilities coming as well. We think all the Elizabeth Pendletons might be disqualified because of this mistake."

Upon hearing this all 279 Elizabeth Pendletons burst into tears and sobbed, “Ah! what a shame, we want James, we love him”.

A self righteous woman shouted from the pews, "Incest! incest! a Pendleton should not marry a Pendleton so all these Pendelton women should be disqualified, vicar - the mere thought of it is disgraceful! My, what a fine time I am having!"

"Shut up you old witch!" screamed all the Elizabeth Pendletons in unison, "We don't want to be left on the shelf and end up like you!"

"Silence, please, young ladies", exclaimed the vicar, I am in an extreme hurry and wish to complete this wedding with utmost speed. I have a funeral to see to this afternoon and afterwards I have arranged to meet the Bishop and two nuns for a croquet match. Now chop! chop! Come along!"

Walter continued, "Assuming the Elizabeth at the altar is the wrong Elizabeth I shall announce that the first prize to the lady who has the correct birth certificate is the hand in marriage of my father, James Pendleton himself. Second prize is a consolation of me – oh sorry I am not available, my heart belongs to Sarah, as I explained. Third prize is Cyril Herbert – oh sorry he is already engaged to Annie Sidebottom - both ladies are here today so we'd better watch our steps. What's that, dear? Oh! Alright, dear! Ouch!"

Walter continued, "This mistake has caused our descendants tremendous confusion because they are not sure whether Elizabeth started out as a Pendleton and her mother married an Evans who adopted her, or whether her parents were not married (gasp! from the congregation) or whether Elizabeth herself started as a Pendleton, married an Evans who then died, and she then met James Pendleton and now intends to marry her, in which case she will become a Pendleton again! – quite confusing really, isn’t it! So we had to invite them all to make sure we cover all eventualities! All the ladies here today are very keen on James because every Elizabeth here has seen his photograph and he is such a dashing bobby dazzler that they all want to marry him. It looks a bit like the X-factor with ferocious competition for the hand of my father – may the best lady win, I say!”

“Ladies!” asked the vicar, “apart from his photograph you have viewed you can see Mr James Pendleton in the flesh at the altar, and do you all wish to marry this James Pendleton?”

All 767 sighed and replied at precisely the same moment - “Not half!” Yes, we do, he's lovely!”

“Well I can’t marry you all to him, just one I think! But before I do so you must prove your genealogy first! Talk to the ushers who will examine your credentials. Now young lady at the altar, why are you here and not with the other Elizabeths? Can you prove your genealogy, be it an Evans or Pendleton? Cum, cum, hurry along!”

“Not here”, your reverence, “I do not have my birth certificate with me. I didn’t think I would require it today 'cause we've done all the banns and all that, but I can tell you my surname is not Pendleton nor Evans. It is Dutton."

"What! Not Pendleton nor Evans, but Dutton!", exclaimed the entire congregation. "What's she doing here then?"

"Precisely!" exclaimed the vicar, "What are you doing here? Who gives her away? You Sir, are you her father and state your name please?"

"Richard Dutton and I am her father. This is the correct Elizabeth for this church because the banns of marriage were called ages ago and it's all perfectly legal and above board. Elizabeth Dutton is engaged to James Pendleton - they have been courting for 5 years or more. I've been trying to get rid of her for years and he comes along perfectly willing to take her off my hands and who am I to stand in his way? Further, I am a banker and have enormous bonuses each year so I have pots on money so I had no difficulty attracting a suitor for her! He seemed decidedly keen."

"Oh! Daddy, you are so hurtful! How can you say things like that about your little girl? Don't you want me to marry for love?"

Before he could answer the vicar protested, "But I have on my sheet Elizabeth Pendleton or Evans . . . . not Dutton. Something is very wrong! How strange! Where is the registrar? Is he here? Not yet? Now I really must get on with this wedding so I take it that it is a mistake on my sheet and nowhere else so I shall start proceedings immediately. I really do not know why all these other Elizabeths are here - they are an irrelevance!"

"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to witness the marriage of James Pendleton to Elizabeth, err Dutton. Has anyone got any just cause or impediment why this man and this woman may not be joined together in holy matrimony? Speak now or forever hold your peace!"

“We have!” Shouted all 279 Elizabeth Pendletons and all 488 Elizabeth Evans in unison, “He’s mine! Get your ‘ands off ‘im, you Elizabeth at the altar. I’ll scratch your eyes out!”

There was a series of scuffles in the pews and several Elizabeths swung their handbags at each other until the vicar stood up and shouted, “Silence, ladies please stop fighting at once!”

They were all silenced by a tremendous FLASH and everyone fell to the floor. The poor vicar looked terrified. From nowhere appeared a stern looking middle aged lady dressed in strange clothes - she looked as though she belonged to a different age. The lady materialised fully at the back of the church to a stunned and already nervous congregation.

She yelled, " I have an objection! - stop the service - I come from the future! You are making a grave error and I am here to give you dire warning! "I am Geraldine", she continued, "this wedding is a total shambles - nearly everyone here is at the wrong church - you are 50 miles away from where you should be! It seems Elizabeth Dutton, her father, the bridesmaids and the vicar are the only authentic players in this complicated fiasco, plus the possibility of another James present somewhere in this church, but not the one standing at the altar. The rest are intruders!"

"What!", exclaimed a highly confused congregation. Needless to say the startled, soon to be bride and James the groom at the altar both wore astonished frowns and looked round at the lady who, turning bright scarlet in the heat of the moment, reiterated, "At least one or maybe two of those marrying today are attending the wrong church! There has been a huge 'cock-up! I will be back soon with evidence - until I return stop the service immediately".

She vanished as quickly as she had appeared, in a flash, much to the relief of all, who thought her a crank, yet remained highly nervous.

(To be continued - Episode 2)