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Monday 27 April 2009

A Blogging He Would Go!

There it was, conceived, written, developed, revised, perfected and finally published . . . . . . . . yes, at long last, actually published!

My first post! - painstakingly crafted with every ounce of wit, flair and skill I could muster! A story surely to mesmerise the entire blogging community and then beyond to the world at large - I would be a star! By some miraculous mass participation in ESP I expected everyone in unison, eagerly waiting and seated at their computer screens just for me, to read this masterpiece of literary genius. Surely, this would cause them to sit up, rock them to their very foundations and inspire them to queue in droves, demanding More! More! More! with encouraging comments and questions as to who is this fantastic new boy on the block?

To ensure success I took pro-active steps to 'hook up' my blog to all available search engines and I employed a suitable stat meter to analyse the many positive comments I expected to receive from all round the world - surely success was guaranteed.

There I sat in front of my computer screen awaiting a multitude of hits from satisfied readers - yet the comments tally remained stubbornly at zero. No matter, I would return later after interrogating my stat meter. I saw to my joy there were several hits recorded already and overjoyed I saw there was one loyal person currently on-line. 'Who could it be?', I asked myself, 'Is it a gentleman or perhaps a lady? My heart thumped faster and faster; surely this was it! - contact at last! This person had been on-line for 2 hours!

And then it dawned on me - what a let down! This persistent viewer was none other than . . . . . . myself! And, to cap it all, the others were recorded as duration = zero seconds. Brushing this disappointment aside as a mere coincidence I returned confidently to my comments record beneath my blog which somehow insisted recording 'nil points', absolute zero! I was mortified - all my efforts had amounted to ZILCH! What was the world missing, I wondered?

In my minds eye I sacked my stat meter for failing to make those awful and inconsiderate zero hits stay and read my work. I was very disappointed with it since it had failed me abysmally - it let people get away when I wanted them to stay. I needed something a little more 'pro-active'. I thought I must have a nasty piece of work lurking somewhere deep within my blog because it was amazing the number of times I saw visits of duration 0 seconds, time and time again and I kept asking myself, "Why?" It was as if some hideous monster had jumped out at every poor unsuspecting innocent hitter, shouting, "Boo!" frightening them away from my work. I thought I really must get this fixed because it was depriving the world of entertainment far exceeding that on any goggle box. What I needed was a sweet talking, assertive, highly entertaining audio visual assistant who's job was to grab every hit by the 'short and curlies' and bind them right there in their seats making them watch, listen and inwardly digest! This, of course, applied to hits from the world at large, but what about comments from the blogging community itself? Surely that would be a piece of cake! Wrong again! The comments icon was inclined to disagree for it remained stubbornly fixed at ZERO.

I must be doing something wrong! Was it my ability? - maybe! Was it my subject matter? - maybe! Was I being too serious? - maybe! Was I being too jocular? - maybe! I just did not know.
I did not realise these people had lives to lead outside Blog Land - kids to pick up from school, meals to cook, houses to clean, jobs to do, their own writings to perfect and publish, their own followers to attend to . . . . . . etc . . . . etc. How dare they, I thought? They should be reading my work and not attending to their's!

It was some time before the penny dropped! No-one was replying to me because no-one had read the post! They could not read it because they did not know me and they did not know I was there, you silly idiot! How preposterous of me to expect everyone to have a degree in ESP and to expect them to clone themselves!

So the answer was to get myself known in the blogging community by visiting other sites, reading other people's work and making intelligent comments on their work. In that way actually getting to know people and SLOWLY building friendly relationships with them. Joy and hope appeared in my heart again! I thought the best place to start was to read David McMahon's site at Authorblog and what a pleasant surprise that was. Eagerly I read loads and loads of posts and plucked up courage to make the occasional comment here and there.

I noticed hundreds of weird looking blog names, typically Menopausal Old Bag, Retired and Crazy, Sniffles and Smiles, Robynn's Ravings! There were hundreds of them in a sort of society reminding me of our social insects - something like a bee colony or an ant colony! I asked myself, "What sort of a place have I come to?" "Is this real?", I wondered. "Am I mad?" "Why not use names like Fred Blogs (ah! that's a good one really, isn't it?), John Smith, Will Jones? Why all these weird names?"

Further, I saw comments people made containing strange abbreviations in what I can liken only to modern day hieroglyphics, LOL and btw. What on earth did all that mean? I thought LOL meant "Lot's Of Love" so I ventured out confidently into the blogging world and read some blogs containing interesting posts - I found a rather sad one and thought I would console this poor lady by adding to her tale of woe, LOL, which elicited the blogging equivalent to a 'slap in the face'. I soon learned what LOL meant! Ouch! Further I was convince that ROFL meant something hugely rude so I avoided it like the plague.

I struggled for an age concerning btw. Usually it appeared in the middle of a point made in a comment when suddenly the context changed completely rendering the remainder of the comment quite unintelligible. I guessed the true meaning might be "Bring the Wife" or dare I say, "Beat the Wife", but eventually I tumbled on the true meaning.

There was no manual on Blogging Etiquette so I had to learn the hard way hoping no-one would have to wrap my knuckles along the way. By and large people were very kind to me because if I blundered I was not chastised too harshly since I as a new-comer and I did have a guardian angel in Blog Land incognito to keep me on the straight and narrow. At that time no-one knew she was none other than Maggie May of Nuts in May, my sister.

Then there was all the mechanics of blogging to learn and inwardly digest - I was floored with widgets and links and how to get images on the screen - it took gargantuan efforts to get to grips with all the technology even though I hardly considered myself a Luddite.

I decided to follow David's blog but hadn't a clue how to sign up. Eventually I fathomed it so I went over to David's site and awaited eagerly to sign up as a follower, at the time his 632nd. I had been playing with my photo URL on my profile when I pressed the wrong key and an unflattering photograph of Gordon Brown appeared not only on my user profile but also as an icon on David's list of followers.

There was Gordon Brown, gazing out like a stunned idiot from hundreds of dutiful and faithful followers with the name Eddie Bluelights shouting his identity to the whole world. Panic welled within my breast - not knowing how to undo this error I said to myself over and over, "I have ruined David's Blog! what am I to do?"

Then as if by magic I received my first comment - I had made contact at last with another human being when I was beginning to think contact with a little green man might be much easier - I was inclined almost to say, "Take me to your leader!" I was delighted! It was a nice and encouraging comment from "Granny on the Web" - thank you Granny, I shall have it framed as a shining example of your kindness and I shall nail it to my side bar.

I have met some highly talented writers and made some truly great friends and gradually built a small following, signing up also as a follower to some wonderful writers posting truly great and inspirational work. The television has not been switched on for weeks and I find the whole process of blogging highly satisfying. It is not just about writing but reading much better work elsewhere which I find rewarding and I have learned such a lot in only a few months.

One reason why I have posted this is to encourage new bloggers to persevere and not to expect too much too soon, like I did - it takes time to meet people, to get to know people and to get results from one's efforts. There have been times when I have been tempted to stop writing and blogging altogether but I am very glad I persevered - I have met some super people out there and had some fun doing it. Occasionally, I hear a most welcome visitor wiping his feet on the doormat with an Aussie accent, "Good on yer, Sport! Put the kettle on!" Always nice to have him appear!

And . . . . . if you are watching, David, we all appreciate your efforts to help would be bloggers get off the ground by your tireless efforts to promote and encourage them - your POTD scheme is a credit in this regard. How you do it I cannot fathom - a true shepherd amongst a flock numbering 767 (sorry 768) - you must have at least two divine characteristics - Omniprescence and Omniscience!

Oh and David, btw I've repaired your blog! Gordon Brown has vanished from it for ever! LOL
Wish he'd vanish from here as well! . . . . although he was last seen flying out of the country!

Tuesday 21 April 2009

Brass Zombie Chickens Found Lurking!

For recipients of my Zombie Chicken Awards please read my previous post first or you will be totally confused by all this seemingly senseless activity. For the remainder please read on! Please!

Now just take a look at this! Quite extraordinary!
Remember this little trophy on my previous post?
Today I found some brass zombie chickens ALIVE! in the crew room at my ambulance station!
They were arguing furiously whilst standing on the mantelpiece. You might say THEY WERE THOROUGHLY BRASSED OFF and insulted with all these awards and gave me the COLD TURKEY!
For those who are not interested in chickens or turkeys there is plenty of fish and chips available.
If you would like to read a good play in five installments there is a ripper here entitled
767 Weddings, 2 Irate Vicars and Almost a Funeral starting with the trailer and this builds up to a real Easter treat.
Previews of coming attractions and dire warnings of things to come:
I am writing a love story would you believe - yes the old chap has feelings you know! He isn't exactly a block of stone! It just requires a fantastic memory, that's all! But it's all there!
I am starting a parallel blog to Clouds and Silvery Linings entitled Plato's Ponderings or maybe Plato's Procrastinations - please advise which one you prefer.
The purpose of this is rather like a confessional box, really!
The idea is for you to confess all the wrong things you have done and I will write the stories up, publish them and obtain the film rights for forthcoming blockbusters. How about that!
The other reason is to bounce ideas off each other for new stories far away from the madding crowd.
The main reason is to place posts like this on it so I can keep my usual blog for sensible projects.
With the English Grand National Horse race just over I am working on a giant horse race with funny things occurring at the fences and between the fences. Now do not worry I will say only bad things about fictitious horses! and only good things about YOU! but funny! You will enjoy, I promise!
Business of the day concluded, except for the riddle which no-one has managed to solve.
Here it is again:
There were twins
One was 'terty'
The other was 'tertyto'
One was born in March
The other's birthday was in September
And they married each other
Here is the conundrum is written the English:
There were twins
One was thirty
The other was thirty too
One was born in March
The other's birthday was in September
And they married each other
So the answer is:
One was thirty and the other was thirty as well
One was born in a place called March (they both were)
and both their birthdays were in September.
And . . . . . . they were both vicars and married each other to his/her partner.
I am most disappointed in you! (says he tongue in cheek) Not one of you got it right! And all that talent too! Well I never!

Sunday 19 April 2009

Chicken Zombie Oscar Awards

Not long ago I was joint recipient of this highly coveted Zombie Chicken Award for services to blogland, presented by Janine from Sniffle and Smiles. I humbly accepted my 1/5 chicken portion but this presentation was conditional on me subsequently presenting the remains to five people whom I considered deserving of this highly prestigious trophy all bloggers would willingly die for.
I was a little worried at the time because there was not a lot of chicken left from my 1/5 portion suitable for further distributions because the other greedy winners hi-jacked the breast and legs leaving me a wishbone, a wrung neck, a couple of feet and the giblets. I decided to bide my time, hoping eventually the chicken would somehow reconstitute itself. After just one week the miracle happened 'voila' for it did regenerate itself into a whole chicken again - so I am now able to make the awards.
But first you all have to get into the mood for actually wanting to win this trophy so I am setting you a small task. At 1200 GMT precisely you should play this video and join in with appropriate gestures and singing of lyrics in exactly the correct places.
I trust you all strutted round the room singing your heads off, waving your arms and making complete idiots of yourselves!
It now gives me great pleasue to read the nominations for best zombie chicken award, and they are:

The Mighty Sam for his services to Morris Dancing
Menopausal Old Bag for her inspired blog site name and her humourous posts - most enjoyable
Retired and Crazy for interrupting her cleaning programme during the Easter Holiday to read my play - you truly deserve a medal as well as the award. Also I enjoy your blog

Valleys Mam for her tireless and informed comment and debate on Welsh and United Kingdom politics
Dishing with Debbie - always a great read
And the winner is . . . . . well there isn't one! . . . . . . for you are all equal in first place.
Therefore I invite you all to collect your trophies and in turn award the prizes to five people you consider worthy of such honour. I shall be writing to you all in due course.

The prize is conditional on paying me a small fee of £1 per portion, i.e. per award and a further condition as that each of their people each give me £1 as well . . . . . and so on . . . . and so on.
The mathematics to this is rather interesting:
5 x £1 = £5
25 x £1 = £25
125 x £1 = £125
625 x £1 = £625 . . . . . interesting!
3125 x £1 = £3125 . . . . very interesting!
15625 x £1 = £15625 . . . . . exceptionally interesting!
78125 x £1 = £78125 . . . . . . wonderfully interesting!
390625 x £1 = £390625 . . . fantastic!
1953125 x £1 = £1953125 . . . Bingo! we're millionaires folks! "Hey, love, we can retire!"

I realise you may be a bit busy and have little time available to attend this cermony - in other words you are already running around like headless chickens. I have a solution - you can decapitate your chicken to tailor make it to fit your situation - I really don't mind, but I want to get rid of it soon - it's eating me out of house and home!

A further condition is that you make an acceptance speech as a comment on this post. If you are stuck I have a suggestion:
"I warmly accept this trophy not only for myself but for all those who have helped me. I am very overcome and had a little tot of whiskey just to give me a bit of Dutch Courage. I am not as think as some tinkle peep I am and the drinker I stand here the longer I get." Something like that would do fine.
Failure to accept your trophy will incur a severe penalty.
I will recite a Stanley Holloway Monalogue (What on earth is that? you might say)
To read my play, "767 weddings, 2 Irate Vicars and Almost a Funeral"
at one sitting (Do not mock! It has been done before, you know!)
I therefore officially close this ceremony.
I did consider seriously awarding the post outright to David at Authorblog because he is a wonderful shepherd looking so well after his sheep, numbering 747 (sorry 748). Just think he is dishing out all these POTDs day aftyer day week after week and the poor chap never gets anything in return. So why did I not do it, you may ask yourself? I chickened out!
Now you've all been very patient so I feel I ought to tell you a joke:
There was an elderly American couple driving on the highway and a Highway Patrol Officer pulled them over for speeding. The wife, who was extremely deaf, was the guilty culprit and did not attempt to conceal her violation of road traffic regulations.
"Excuse me Madam, you were speeding!" said the officer
"What did he say?" said the woman to her husband
"He said you were speeding, dear!" shouted the husband
"May I see your driving licence?" asked the officer
"What did he say? asked the wife
"He said he wants to see your driving licence" said the husband
Looking at the licence the officer said,
"I see you come from Texas and you remind me of a woman whom I used to know. It was the worst sex I've ever had", said the officer
"What did he say?" asked the wife
"He said he thinks he knows you!"
Did you like that one?
If yes I'll tell you the one about a Morris Dancer another time.

Sunday 12 April 2009

Episode 5:- 767 Weddings, 2 Irate Vicars and almost a Funeral

(Continued from Episode 4) Conclusion

James Pendletons of all shapes and sizes entered the church to Bach’s Toccata and Fugue, played yet again by the talented organist, followed by all his other party pieces -again to tremendous applause. Both vicars were rather peeved at this latest delay. However, there were sounds of approval and satisfaction between all the Elizabeths and James as each one inspected their range of suitors and with remarkable speed they selected a James or Elizabeth of their preference. Before long they had rearranged themselves, each James with an Elizabeth sitting on his lap since there were no more seats available. They all smiled profusely at their new partners, making eyes at each other.

Yet there remained still two bridesmaids weeping. The vicar ambled over to them to enquire how he could comfort them.
“We are both 25 and have no partner still – we too do not want to be left on the shelf”, explained one pretty young lady.
“I cannot imagine that you will be, either of you. What are your names?” enquired the vicar.
Together they replied, “Elizabeth Pendleton – we are first cousins once removed from each other. We are related to James Pendleton from Liverpool as his second cousins once removed. Elizabeth is a very popular name, as is Pendleton, but the family tree researchers have not found us yet so we belong to nobody and cannot find our rightful place in the family tree which is becoming terribly complicated, demanding acres of paper to get all the details down. We are not there - anywhere! It is most upsetting.”

“Well, I may be able to assist you my dear, said the vicar addressing the first young lady, who was the most attractive, of course. “I am unattached and available – will I do?”
“Oh yes your reverence! Anyone would do really! You will do nicely but I had hoped for a James”.

“Well, actually I am a James, my full name is Rev James Evans. I would be honoured if you agreed to be my wife.”

“Oh, I’m so happy”, said Elizabeth, "I have a James at last!"

“Then that is settled”, said the vicar, “Then we shall make the arrangements for our wedding. Perhaps Reverend Harding would kindly do the honour!”

“Excuse me!” said the organist, addressing the second ‘available’ Elizabeth Pendleton, “my name too is James Evans and I would be honoured if you would be my wife - you look decidedly musical if I may say so - I can tell by your hands - I would think they span an octave and three, at least! And your Adam's apple looks as though you have a wonderful singing voice.”

“I am very musical, you are so observant. I can sing well and I play. Does that mean I can play on your organ?”

“Certainly, come up and join me in a duet - I will share my keyboard with you and we can share our lives together!”

“Then that is all settled, everyone is happy”, said Vicar Evans, “may I proceed now you have all settled down with your chosen ones? I am getting extremely nervous because I am due to officiate during a funeral service, scheduled after this wedding, in 5 minutes and we've barely started with this wedding - it has multiplied time wise by a factor of a few hundred, and . . . . . . !”

Walter interrupted . . . . "Excuse me Vicar, a horse driven hearse has arrived outside with a coffin, some guests and funeral paul bearers. Also quite independently three others have arrived - a gentleman describing himself as a Bishop with two nuns attending."

"Oh! jeepers! Just what I wanted, I must say! Show them in - I guess I'll have to modify the service again! What a mess!"
The Bishop and two nuns strode into the church. The Bishop looked rather amused. "We've heard you are having one of your a 'doos' here, Rev Evans, and thought we'd pop over - your 'parties' are far more interesting and amusing than playing croquet, aren't they my sisters? Quite a 'hoot' usually! judging by all these ladies sitting on these gentlemen's laps, can anyone join in? Or is this some kind of game you are introducing into the church? Tell me, what do you want me to say to the funeral entourage - they've been waiting for an hour and the deceased is getting decidedly impatient, although he's not doing much to complain at the moment! Better get it sorted soon before he does!"
"Wheel them all in!", said the flustered vicar.
"What is the full scope of the problem? Perhaps I can assist to muster a solution to this chaos that lies before me!" said the Bishop, obviously loving every moment.
"It's a very long story - perhaps you'd better start reading from Episode 1"

Five minutes later the Bishop had a full grasp of the situation.

"The solution is very simple, we have 2 Vicars and a Bishop and between us we can undertake all the weddings here except one plus the funeral - we can do it in one sitting. The wedding of James from Liverpool to Elizabeth must take place in St Benedicts church, Liverpool under the remit of Rev Harding - that will be later. All the rest can be done here, including yours Vicar! Now bring in the coffin please - who is the deceased?"
"James Pendelton, your grace!"
"What! Oh No! I cannot believe this! Am I mad or is this a nightmare? I have total information overload!" said the exasperated vicar, almost spent with exhaustion.
"Come on old chap it's only a name, dear boy, very common round these parts - let us proceed. This combined wedding and funeral ceremony must be a first in my considerable experience! The hymn choices are going to be a bit tricky, how about these foe a short list?

'Nearer my God to Thee',
'Abide with me',
'Rock of Ages',
'Give me strength',
'Help, Lord, the souls that though hadst made, and perhaps,
'Deliver us Lord'
There, the balance should be about right from that little lot! There should be banns called, of course, but as Bishop I am in agreement to waive that requirement - we all want to get home for our teas after all. I see the registrar is here. Little fellow, can you manage to write all the details of the deceased documentation plus the, let me see 767 plus 2 = 769 marriages? No! Well there are 694 (sorry 695 at the last count) followers of an Australian photographer outside doing nothing! Go and elicit their assistance and bring them in to witness the weddings and help with the writing! There that's settled! Of course there will be a huge shortage of rings so today we shall be using imaginary ones unless someone can miraculously drum up 769 of them. Now let me begin."

"But you grace! If we have any more people in this church it will sink! It will be too heavy", protested the vicar.
"Rubbish, my man, oh ye of little faith - this church is built on rock and not on sand! Just do it, and get them all in, there's a good chap!"
"First! I want the two feuding James Pendletons and their Elizabeth partners to come to the front, shake hands and make up. There is no reason how you can expect eternal forgiveness if you cannot forgive each other - and you've got the mean it! Come come. There that's better! I don't expect you to have Sunday lunch together but be civil and nice to one another!"

It was then Mickey flew towards Eddie full of the joys of spring. For he had been asking all the Elizabeths if they knew of any little budgie hens available. His luck was in for a little green budgie hen winked at him as she peeped out from a handbag - she had been watching him for half an hour and thought to herself, 'This is the chap for me'. Mickey flew over to her and said, "Hi babe, what's your name then? Don't tell me, I bet your name is Elizabeth or is it Lizzie?"
She nodded, "Lizzie".
"Thought so, suits you. What lovely eyes you have! Do you realise I have travelled through time itself just to meet you? Come lassie with the classy chassis, come fly with me!"
He took off and she followed him. They flew round and round, up and down, weaving between the pews and furnishings. It was love at first flight. The congregation loved it - they all clapped in admiration of their acrobatics. After a while they both landed on the Bishop's mitre. Mickey said, "Your grace, we are in love. Will you marry us?"
Their little service was done first and was very short. Mickey kissed Elizabeth affectionately on the beak but she blushed profusely. "Not in front of all these people, dear!" she said.
The Bishop commanded, "Now to the service, there are 767 couples divided by three which equals 256.333 each." No that won't do! Can't start cutting people into three! Oh! I'll do it all and you two can join in - so here we go!"
"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to say farewell to this gentleman, John Pendleton, and to witness the marriages between John Pendleton and Elizabeth Evans, John Pendleton and Elizabeth Pendleton . . . . . . . . . etc . . . . . . . . etc.
Has anyone got any cause of impediment why these couples may be married?"
SILENCE (wonderful!)
"Do all the John Pendletons take your chosen Elizabeth Evans or Pendleton to be your lawful wedded wife?"
"Do all Elizabeth . . . . . . . . . . "
The service was highly unorthodox and lasted for hours but eventually it was completed with the funeral finally over as well. There was no sign of a protest from within the coffin which was a relief for all.
The Bishop concluded, "You are all married, you may kiss the bride but make sure she is the correct one. You are free now to go forth and multiply and fill the Earth. I expect Rev. Evans will be inundated with Christenings within the year."
"There remains one thing to do to unravel this fiasco! That is to get the other wedding party to the correct church and I ask Eddie Bluelights to use his motorised contraption to get them there as soon as possible. The service is over go in peace, . . . . wait for it, after the blessing!"
The organist, James Thomas, and his new bride, Elizabeth Pendleton, seized their chance for glory and played with wild abandon as a duet this time all the difficult organ pieces in their repertoire as 767 happy couples left the church. Vicar Evans was exhausted and relieved it was all over. Rev Harding wondered still whether he was asleep and dreaming. He looked shell shocked. The Bishop took it all in his stride and commented that he had not enjoyed an afternoon as much for as long as he could remember and asked Rev Evans what he had planned for next week.
James and Elizabeth boarded the ambulance together with all their principal players, Walter, Sarah, Cyril and other close family. Rev Harding would travel on the stretcher for a well deserved rest.
It was then that Mickey spoke to Eddie. "I am not going back with you, Eddie! I want to stay here with Lizzie in this time zone. It is much nicer! The people are much nicer! The air is much nicer! I don't want to go back to that horrible world in which we live!"
"I understand, Mickey, just what I was thinking - it is much nicer here. I have to go back because my family is there. But you cannot stay here, Mickey! You might alter the whole course of history! You could seriously violate the laws of cause and effect! Just think if you and Lizzie have some chicks and one of them becomes your ancestor you could run the risk of a fatal error in the time-space continuum! It might cause the whole universe to quietly dissapear! Interfering with the laws of time is highly dangerous!"
Mickey argued, "Well that's what you have been trying to do today isn't it, with you trying to alter James's mind concerning 1905 and hoping when you return to our time you will find John and James living to a ripe old age? What happens if they do? That could cause a space time violation too, couldn't it? They might have more children and that might alter the course of history as well!
"That's different, I think, because James and Elizabeth are both here already and I am trying only to change an action and not introduce a being into the equation belonging to a different time."
Lizzie interjected, "I don't think it will be a problem because I cannot have children - I had a hysterectomy last year so Mickey being here cannot in any way alter the laws of cause and effect."
"That should be alright I guess, but I will miss you, Mickey! and you were a fantastic substitute for a Sat Nav."
They said goodbye with tears in their eyes and Eddie drove away with the sirens and blue lights flashing. For a little way the two budgies flew beside them making ambulance noises but finally could not keep up and returned to their new life together.
"Boy have I got some questions for you, great grandfather, and grandad and grandma!" said Eddie as they sped to St Benedicts church.
Meanwhile Congleton church was completely empty when old Joseph Pendleton, who had been dozing, woke and enquired, "What did that lady want to know about George Pendleton, the miller?” Where is she? I have a lot of information for her!"

The End
(If you have missed earlier installments it might be worth starting at Episode 1)

Finally here is a riddle!
It has to be presented as a strong Irish accent - otherwise the game would be given away.

Here it is:

There were twins
One was 'terty'
The other was 'tertyto'
One was born in March
The other's birthday was in September
And they married each other.

How is all this possible?
(I'll give you the answer next time - but I'll give you a hint. They are natural and identical twins)

I must go now because some men in white coats have just knocked on my door. I am now going to pour myself a stiff drink, have some fish and chips and inform my good wife that I have resurfaced into the real world for a few days - she thinks I'm mad! I am having a rest from blogging and she has now my undivided attention - goodnight!

Saturday 11 April 2009

Episode 4:- 767 Weddings, 2 Irate Vicars and almost a Funeral

(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 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 gateful if you would give me a couple of minutes vicars, just a few. You see, James, I am Walter's grandson and therefore your great grandson and I have come to see you from a long way into the future. 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. As you may know, your father took his own life by poisoning three months before you were born. I have his 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. 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 do that, 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. 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 am I 14 years too early this time and 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.
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 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 and 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 upset.
Eddie noticed three people in the front row smiling at him, two ladies and a gentleman. They walked slowly towards him and he recognised them at once. The ladies were very attractive - one was undecided as to whether she wanted to sniffle or smile, for Janine was so overcome by the proceedings she was quite incapable of making up her mind. The other younger lady was a bit shy but such a beauty with long dark hair and she wore red leather boots and a beautiful white dress - the gent, C. Michael Cox, was there to look after them and he carried a Donald Duck masot. They all had come from bloggyland, far far away. They threw their arms round each other and the lady wearing the red leather boots opened her arms and invited Eddie to kiss her cheek. As he did so he went weak at the knees and time stopped dead for him and his world ceased for almost an eternity as 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, waking him from his eternal ecstasy, her feet within those red boots clearly pointing straight towards him.
He replied, "I do not care, I never want to wash it off, I want it to be there for ever!"
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 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 lense 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 photgraphs, 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!", 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 had vanished, hopefully 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 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)

Friday 10 April 2009

Episode 3:- 767 Weddings, 2 Irate Vicars and almost a Funeral

In Episode 2 two highly confused vicars requested confirmation of James Pendleton's identity.

"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 did wonder whether I was in some sort of Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde situation, sometimes. 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 you are not the lady 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? But if you are not her, then where can she be?"

Said an angry Elizabeth, "Well there are 767 of them to choose from! 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!"

"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 come 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! This photograph was given to me by his grand daughter a year ago, at present just a twickle 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!?"
"On email! you silly man! Never mind, I have confirmation that a major error has occurred. Elizabeth Dutton, your groom is the James without the mustache and with brown eyes. Do not listen to or marry the 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, 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! said 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 but now I feel you are a fairy from Anderson's library! seeing you are so contrary! . . . . . but now I feel dizzie and light headed."

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 just watch him in action - the vicar needs the kiss of life and CRP! Two breaths and 30 compressions, then two breaths and 30 compressions – keep going plus Oxygen until Emergency Services arrive. Dial 999, somebody, quick! If he comes round put him in the recovery position".

"What the hell is she on about?" shouted the entire company.

Said Eddie, "It's OK and it's in hand - but this morning I never thought I would resuscitate two vicars in one day!"

"KEEP GOING Eddie", 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?"

"Give him 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 the lady 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! I have come from the future to inform you 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?"

"What the 'ell's a computer and a television?" "

She's off her trolley!"

"It's a bit 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!"

"Gosh, only two or three kids! Don't you give your husband red meat for his dinner or does he come from Runcorn? We're from Widnes! nothing wrong with us! What's up with 'im? Obviously, if he can't do that, he can never get into Liverpool Football Club or even Widnes Rugby 13 and as far as Runcorn is concerned they cannot get 13 able bodied men fit enough to even muster up a decent team!"

"Did someone mention, Liverpool F.C.?"

"Shut up! 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!!"

"Here, here. Shut up, 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 Gentlemen writing to me and I have to get back and answer their emails. I have half the men folk in England sighing at my feet and I'm thinking of starting blogging!"

"What the 'ell's blogging?"

"Oh never mind!" FLASH! Geraldine disappeared as the vicar recovered fully from his faint, assisted by Eddie Bluelights. "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 om 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 addressed the 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.

Up to the altar walked Elizabeth to the obvious approval of the men folk – with wolf whistles and catcalls and admiring glances prevailing in abundance!

"Do you like your new Elizabeth I have brought for you, James?" asked Geraldine, against a background of continuing wolf whistles and admiring glances from all the men folk.

"Cor yes! what a cracker! I'm sure I've seen you before!" exclaimed James, who was ogling the new Elizabeth, 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 - Episode 4)

Thursday 9 April 2009

Episode 2:- 767 Weddings, 2 Irate Vicars and almost a Funeral

(Continued from Episode 1)

Almost as soon as Geraldine's disappearance another blinding flash maintained the interruption to the service.
Inside the church entrance stepped two gentlemen, one wearing very strange apparel and the other was clearly a man of the cloth. They both strode forward together to amazed looks of horror.
The vicar shouted, "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 in 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 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 35 horses - my ambulance goes like a bullet and is 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 and things are a lot different!"

"What! Nonsense! 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 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 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.

"Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch", 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. 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! "Encore!!"

"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 - Episode 3)

Tuesday 7 April 2009

Episode 1:- 767 Weddings, 2 Irate Vicars and almost a Funeral

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 in 2-3 day intervals. Now make yourself a cup of tea, sit back and enjoy. 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!

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 . . . seemingly in endless procession. First a few, then a dozen, then a score . . . 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 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!"

"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, 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)

Friday 3 April 2009

An unusual wedding, or should I say 767 weddings?

Ladies and Gentlemen. Here is an important announcement. You are cordially invited to the premier of a serialised play by Eddie Bluelights, entitled:

767 Weddings, 2 Irate Vicars and almost a Funeral
This quiet church will soon be a hive of activity with many unexpected guests and a few unlikely people dropping in. To find out more book an early seat for the marriage of the 19th century.

Tickets to Episode 1 are available now - Admission Free of Charge

Venue: "Clouds and Silvery Linings" blog site

Time: Anytime during Easter Week when I've finished writing it! Be patient please! I'm working as fast as I can, honest!

Please bring a Partner, a Bottle and a Psychiatrist !

Book early for a good seat in the top circle

Trailer - What's it all about? Simply a wedding in 1891 or should I say at least 767+ weddings. Someone's dropped a huge cod! Fancy that! All those people going to the wrong church and who are these mysterious people dropping in and terrifying the bride, groom, vicar and guests. You'll have to come and see for yourself. It's got everything - romance, intrigue, humour and most important, madness.
********************************************************************************** Preview of forthcoming attractions. I am presenting a serialised humorous play shortly about my family tree research and some very interesting experiences and historical fact and fiction that took place in 1891. I have added some bits and pieces and changed some names around so that my ancestors do not return and haunt me like Banquo's ghost. I hope to have it ready during Easter week. Until then goodbye my friends and Watch this space!.

Oh! and while I am writing the vicar has asked me to make a few things known from his church noticeboard.

This week's Bible Study - "What is Hell?"
Why not come early and listen to the choir practice.

This Week Special Studies:
Study 1 - Jesus walks on Water
Study 2 - Looking for Jesus

For Easter we have asked Mrs Lewis to come to the front of the Church and lay an egg on the altar.

The rosebud on the altar this morning is to announce the birth of David Alan Belzer, the sin of Rev. and Mrs Julius Belzer.


We are having some restoration work in the church over the next four weeks which means that the font could be at the front or the back of the Church. Therefore babies could be baptised at both ends.

And whilst we are on the subject of matters ecclesiastical here are some true stories about men of the cloth I have known.

Joke from a Canon: A religion teacher was teaching 5-6 year olds and asked the children this question, "Where is God?" expecting an infant equivalent of He's everywhere. A little girl put up her hand and said, "Please Miss, He's in the toilet!" "Oh! why do you that, Jane?" "Because, Miss, whenever my granny tries to go there she always says, 'God, he's still in there again!' "

Another Canon addressed us during a sermon and said an elderly lady stopped him in the street last week and told him she thought he'd died 3 years ago. "I have been praying for your soul for three years", she said, to which the Canon replied, "I'm so glad I have a large credit in my spiritual bank account!"

A friend of mine once rang his wife at 2am and said, "I'm OK love, I'm playing chess with a vicar!"

Another priest, this time an Irish one, once drank me under the table, much to the surprise of my wife who chastised me the next day. My little boy, as he was then, overheard her and next time he saw the priest with us he said, "Mummy said you gave Daddy far too much to drink!" He replied that I should have put more water in my whiskey - he didn't.

Back to writing the play! Tickets available still! Roll up! Roll up!

I hope you can come! Episode 1 will be posted on Tuesday or Wednesday. Rehearsals are in progress and are in a total shambles! Bodies all over the place!