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Saturday 30 August 2014


Happy Weekend Folks

ABC Wednesday Link - G is for Gravestone Inscriptions

This week I continue with Hilarious Epitaphs:

A famous one:  Shakespeare's tomb at Stratford-on-Avon carries this solemn warning:

(I bet many a person wonders why he wrote this and what secret may lie below)

John Gibson Lockhart, Sir Walter Scott's biographer, for a clumsy would-be poet:

Here lies that peerless peer Lord Peter,
Who broke the laws of God and man and metre.

David Garrick, actor, on Oliver Goldsmith, great writer but inept conversationalist, nicknamed 'Noll' : 

Here lies Nolly Goldsmith, for shortness called Noll,
Who wrote like an angel but talked like poor Poll.

Matthew Prior, 18th century poet on himself,

Nobles and heralds by your leave,
Here lies what once was Matthew Prior;
The son of Adam and of Eve -
Can Bourbon or Nassau go higher?

18th century Scottish philosopher David Hume,

Within this circular idea
Called vulgarity a tomb,
The ideas and impressions lie
That constituted Hume.

On Nance Oldfield, a famous 18th century actress:

This we must own in justice to her shade,
'Tis the first bad exit Oldfield ever made.

W. C. Fields, comic, said that his epitaph should be:

On the whole I'd rather live in Philadelphia.

Groucho Marx had very definite ideas:

I want it known here and now that this is what I want on my tombstone. Here lies Groucho Marx, and Lies and Lies and Lies and Lies. P.S. He never kissed an ugly girl.

Lionel Barrymore, Hollywood actor, told a magazine his own epitaph should be:

Well, I've played everything but a harp.

Samuel Foote, 18th century actor and brilliant mimic, had two suggestions:

Foote from his earthly stage, alas! is hurled;
Death took him off, who took off all the world.


Here lies on Foote, whose death may thousands serve,
For death has now one foot within the grave.

The poet Keates proposed:

Here lies one whose name was writ in water.

Robert Ross, intimate friend of Oscar Wilde went one better:

Here lies one whose name was writ in hot water.

Anonymous gravestone inscription:

Cheerio, see you soon.

Anonymous graveyard inscription from the USA:

Once I wasn't,
Then I was
Now I ain't again.

A young person's tale:

Came in
Looked about
Didn't like it
Went out.

Silly but brief inscription:

Here lies Ann Mann;
She lived an old maid
And she died an Old Mann. 

And finally for this week

From a gravestone in Aberdeen:

Here lie the bones of Elizabeth Charlotte,
Born a virgin, died a harlot.
She was aye a virgin at seventeen,
A remarkable thing in Aberdeen.

(Amazing that some of these were inscribed)

More next week

Tuesday 26 August 2014


Welcome to another story by Eddie, the eccentric ex-ambulance man.

"OMG", I said, "where are the keys?  I can't get into my ambulance, and this guy needs oxygen!"

Earlier, I had collected six renal patients and taken them to a General Hospital, near the sea for Renal Dialysis.  The idea was to wait four hours and then pick them up again, take the local ones home first and then those further afield.  

This vehicle we affectionately nicknamed "The Sunshine Bus" and I remember seeing the milometer clock through 100,000 miles on that inward journey. 

The delightful backdrop was my last port of call, a nursing home, where I collected "Tom" on our way to the Renal Unit. We did this three times a week.  Tom was a little backward and I gave him a job to do on the way in, to lookout for speed cameras, which he always remembered, and warned me about.  Dear Tom, I think I heard recently he has a new kidney transplant now, which is marvellous.

When I had finished delivering Tom, the last patient I received a call from 'control' to ask if I would go to the general departure lounge and take a gentleman in a wheelchair home. 

When I arrived I found the gentleman and noticed he was on oxygen which was no problem for me since I had all the equipment on board.  He said he could manage for a few minutes without oxygen while I pushed him in his wheelchair and fixed him up with oxygen in the ambulance. 

While I was doing something else a nurse transferred him from a chair to the wheelchair and I said goodbye and proceeded quickly to the ambulance.  

When I arrived I looked through my pockets for the keys, only to discover they were not there . . . . I searched again and to my horror they still were not there.  I said to the old boy I must have left my keys in the departure lounge and headed back and we quickly got him hooked up with oxygen again.  

I explained about the keys and looked everywhere retracing my steps and became concerned that I would not be able to get the six renal patients home.  I tried lost property, the reception desk - everywhere. 

I reported the matter to control, 25 miles away, who said they had found a spare key and the only person who could bring it down was the managing director - oh dear.

It was then a magical picture appeared in my head.  The patient must be sitting on the keys in the wheelchair - it was the only pace they could be.  I got back to the departure lounge and got the patient to stand up . . . . . .  and there they were staring at me on the seat!!  What a relief.

So I was able to stop the MD coming dawn, get the elderly man home with oxygen, and then all the patients home safely.

The nurses were quite amused in the renal unit when I told them.

I must have subconsciously put the keys down whilst attending to something else and meanwhile the nurse sat the patient down onto the keys . . . . . 

That is something I made sure never happened again.

Saturday 23 August 2014


Happy Weekend Folks

I'll have some more Alternative Meanings for you next week, but I thought we would have a change this week and look at some:

Hilarious Epitaphs

(Yes, I remember that well in 2002 - what a character Spike was)

An anonymous punster commemorated Dr John Potter, Archbishop of Canterbury:

Alack and well a-day
Potter himself is turned to clay.

Lord Byron savaged prime minister William Pitt the Younger, who is buried in Westminster Abbey:

With death doomed to grapple
Beneath this cold slab, he
Who lied in the chapel
Now lies in the Abbey.

The 'Welsh Wizard', David Lloyd George, suggested as epitaph for himself that might have been adopted by many other politicians:

Count not my broken pledges as a crime. 
I MEANT them, HOW I meant them at the time.

Wisecracking American writer Dorothy Parker proposed this simple tombstone inscription for herself:

Excuse my dust.

Dorothy Parker, suggested that this should be carved on an actress's tombstone:

Her name, cut clear upon this marble cross,
Shines, as it shone when she was still on earth,
While tenderly the mild, agreeable moss,
Obscures the figures of her date of birth.

Hilaire Belloc wrote of himself with the cheerful vanity of an author:

When I am dead, I hope it may be said
'His sins were scarlet but his books were read.'

John Gay, author of The Beggar's Opera, composed his own epitaph:

Life is a jest, and all things show it.
I thought so once; but now I know it.

The journalist, George Augustus Sala dealt a cruel posthumous blow to a colleague, John Camden Hotten:


William Blake, eccentric poet and painter, detested everything his highly successful fellow artist, Sir Joshua Reynolds, stood for, hence the verse:

When Sir Joshua Reynolds died
All Nature was degraded;
The King dropped a tear in the Queen's ear,
And all the pictures faded.

. . . . and now a few more embarrassing gaffs from those who should have know better:

Mr Milosevic has to be careful.
The calendar is tickingRichard Haas

A zebra doesn't change its spots - Al Gore

The crowd gave the players an arousing reception - Packie Bonner

I have a thermometer in my mouth and I'm listening to it all the time - Willie Whitelaw

I'm absolutely thrilled and over the world about it - Tessa Sanderson

We'll be heading for the deepening heights of recession - Economics spokesman

I would like to than the press from the heart of my bottom - Nick Faldo 

More next week

parting shot:

What message would you like on your tombstone?

Pat says: "I'll be coming to haunt you soon!" . . . . . . lol

. . . and Shadow says: "I'm never going to die!"

Wednesday 20 August 2014


Another test of our flimsy cerebral hemispheres for Tess's weekly prompts for Magpie Tails.  This one MAG233 shows a lonely ship steaming out to sea.  What will this conjure, I wonder.  Will let you know when I start writing.

Yell Sounds, Shetland, 2014, by R.A.D. Stainforth

Steaming Somewhere

Shetland stationed ship 'sets sail', steaming silently seaward, steering south, skipping several submerged shipwreck sites, slicing smooth settled shimmering spacious salty seas. 

Stormy sunset skies shine serenely, shadowing shady sloping sun soaked shores, somehow silhouetting spectacular segmented silver sea/sky systems.

Surrounding shores, Sweinna Stack, Sim Skerry, Sand Skerry, Samphrey show stupendous scenery, speaking surreptitious secret sagas, saluting steaming ship.

Sunbeams scatter, screaming seagulls swoop, sea salmon shoals swim, self satisfied scruffy sailors sing, shrewd skipper steers ship safely, spying shingled saturated shellfish shores.

She sells sea shells on the sea shore.
The shells she sells are sea shore shells, I'm sure.

I was 'sunk' on this one for a long time!

Why not have a go at Magpie Tales . . . . it's fun, that's why I do it.  

But you may be a poet and don't know it.


Monday 18 August 2014


It's very strange sometimes how the memory is 'jogged' for no apparent reason.  All our experiences are 'up there' and can surface unexpectedly at any time, even many years later, rather like this one did recently.  

Many moons ago, around 1485, I managed a Customer Service/Sales Office for a brake lining and clutch facing company.  Two telephone girls, Janet and Jean took most of the incoming calls, dealing with stock availability, orders and delivery information.

One memorable day Janet took a call and suddenly collapsed into a fit of uncontrollable laughter, and frantically gestured to me to take the call, since she obviously couldn't.

I took over the phone and asked with whom I was speaking and had to fight back a surge of hysterics welling up inside when a little man's voice declared unwavering, "Mr Bollock!"

Valiantly, I managed to say, "Good morning Mr Bollock, how may I assist you?"  . . . . . and there were gales of laughter in the office, as they overheard me.  I continued, "I am sorry the young lady earlier experienced a severe coughing attack and you were almost cut off!"

He said, "She didn't have a coughing attack did she, it's my name isn't it?  I have that effect on everyone whenever I telephone about anything!"

I said, "Well, if you don't mind me saying so, it is a slightly unusual name . . . . "

He interjected, "If my ancestors had chosen the plural version things might have been slightly better, do you think it might help if I changed my name from 'Bollock' to 'Bollocks' "?

I struggled so hard to retain my composure.

I said, "Well really, Mr Bollock, I don't think it is quite my place to say, but I am inclined to think you'd get the same response if you did that."

He said, "I thought so too.  Since you are the only person who has managed not to laugh I think I can talk to you.  Tell me, do you think if I changed my name from 'Bollock' to 'Balls' do you think the young lady would have laughed so hard?  You see I want to keep the pedigree of my name intact?"

I really had tears of suppressed laughter in my eyes but somehow managed to say, "Regrettably I think the answer might be yes, but if I might make a small suggestion, if you use the singular version, 'Ball', then I don't think you would have any problem and you will find that would mirror your present name almost exactly in a non-humorous way, and you would be preserving the pedigree of your name at the same time."

He was over the moon  and thanked me so much and said excitedly, "Right, tomorrow I am starting procedures to change my name from Bollock to Ball by deed poll."  (I bet he got a laugh there as well.) . . . . and he continued, "when I ring again about a future query I shall look forward to giving your young lady my new name and her being able to handle my call without any laughter."

Oh dear, I was really struggling by now and somehow I managed to deal with his call before collapsing in a heap on the floor, quite helpless.

When I told the office what had happened we all were in absolute uncontrollable hysterics for 10 minutes and had to close down the telephone lines until we recovered; hoping that we did not get another call from Mr Bollock. That would have been too much.

I often see Janet in my home town and we always laugh about this, even though it occurred 30 years ago.

Saturday 16 August 2014


More Quotations

Another Weekend - already!

ABC Wednesday link
theme - E is for Entertaining Quotations

I'm including some gaffs at the end.

 . . . . and we start with the much debated topic, marriage:

Marriage: A community consisting of a master, a mistress and two slaves, making two in all.
(Ambrose Bierce)

Marriage:  A romance in which the hero dies in the first chapter.
He is too chicken to own up

Marriage: Marriage is give and take. You'd better give it to her or she'll take it anyway.
(Joey Adams)

Marriage: Marriage is like a cage: one sees birds outside desperate to get in, and those inside equally desperate to get out.
(Michel de Montaigne, French writer, 1533-1592)

Memoirs:  When you put down the good things you ought to have done, and leave out the bad things you did do - that's memoirs.
(Will Rogers, 20th century US comedian)

Monogamy:  An obsolete word meaning a fidelity complex.
(J.B. Morton)

Moral Indignation: Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo.

Nation: is a society united by a delusion about its ancestry and by a common hatred of its neighbours.
(Dean Inge, dean of St Paul's, London 1911-34)

Opera: Opera is when a guy gets stabbed in the back instead of bleeding, he sings.
(Ed Gardner, 20th century US comedian)

Optimist: An optimist is a guy who has never had much experience.
(Don Marquis, 20th century US satirist)

Optimist: An optimist is always broke.
(Kin Hubbard)

Optimist: A man who is treed by a lion but enjoys the scenery.
(Walter Winchell)

Originality:  Originality is the fine art of remembering what you can hear and forgetting where you heard it.
(Laurence Peter, 20th century Canadian writer)

Pessimist: A pessimist is someone who, if he is in the bath, will not get out to answer the phone.
(Quentin Crisp)

Pessimist: The optimist sees the doughnut, the pessimist sees the hole.

Now some bloomers, or bloopers:

'If' is a very large preposition. - John Major

I deny the allegations and defy the alligators! - Indicted Chicago Alderman

It's a conflict of parallels. - Alex Ferguson

I couldn't fail to agree with you less. - Fran O'Shea

That football tie is a potential potato skin. - Alan Hansen

I answer in the affirmative with an emphatic 'No'  - Sir Richard Roche

You know what they say, don't get mad, get angry. - Edwina Currie

I drink like a chimney. - Alex Ferguson

I think they have misunderestimated me. - George W. Bush

When I was young and irresponsible, I was young and irresponsible - George W Bush

(Gosh where does he get them?)

More next week
Enjoy your weekend

Thursday 14 August 2014


I am writing these ambulance stories as they occur to me.

I worked for a private ambulance company called Wings, based in Bristol.  We had a great bunch of people working there.  Some were fairly quiet, some a little more extrovert and some were an absolute riot.  I suppose I fitted somewhere in the middle, but this chap took the biscuit:

Mad Mike - he was fabulous fun, as you may imagine and we had such a great times with him, yet he could be serious as well.  The unifying factor was patient care and dedication to the job and we all had that.  But Mike was so lively he was enough to brighten any dreary day - and he always did.

Here is another photo of him, full of fun:

I took the photo of the the three of them for the company magazine.  I always took the photographs.  On this occasion the three of them were just back from an intensive 5-day ambulance driving course in Cornwall and passed their Drive 2 exam, which meant they were now qualified to drive ambulances for emergency calls, using blue flashing lights and sirens.  Well done you three.

They were great friends, Phil, about 26 and an ex-paratrooper from an elite army regiment, Charlie, a lovely girl and, Mike, about 40's.

I was about 20 years older than Mike but very fit in my ambulance days and could keep up with any of them:

Here is one of me with Charlie:

We were all good friends at Wings and I suppose there must have been over 30 ambulance staff, comprising both sexes - one big happy family.  We were all so sad when it disbanded.

One day we were lifting some heavy gear and Phil and Mike were quite surprised to see me managing so well and remarked that they were a bit surprised I could do it so easily.

I laughed and said, "They don't make 'em like they used to", and challenged them right there and then to an arm wrestling contest.  The just laughed and said, "You must be joking - you stand no chance - ok show us!"

Off we went and found a desk and I said to Mike, "You first!"
He said, "Are you sure? you stand no chance - I'll pulverise you!" , because he was about 20 tears younger, you see.

I said, "We'll see!"

Anyway we started left hand first and I saw him wince after a minute and start really straining and then over went his arm. Same using the right arm - he stood no chance and they both were flabbergasted and we all started laughing.

Then it was Phil's turn, remembering he was 26 and an ex paratrooper and I was 60.  I said, "Are you sure you want to go through with this?"  He was in hysterics and then we settled down to some serious arm wrestling.

Well I did not beat him with either arm . . .  but he did not beat me either . . . . it was stalemate!!  

They were both so stunned - bet I couldn't do it now!

Oh what fun we had.

I have often wondered what happened to these guys - I see some of the others from time to time and we always give one another a big hug when we meet.

It was all great fun and a privilege to serve in the Ambulance Service and boy, don't I miss it.

Wednesday 13 August 2014


What a title!!
What's all is this about?

Oh, it's the latest prompt from Tess for Magpie Tales

The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell . . . by Keith Haring, 1985

An Unlikely Wedding

One day I received a strange invitation,
sent to each soul, to every nation.
It was a bit weird, bizarre and unclear;
the concept and reason behind that idea.

The forthcoming wedding, my eyes did befell,
t'was a picture of nuptials twixt heaven and hell.
I could not believe my wide bulging eyes
and asked if this notion might prove to be wise.

Allowing for lust, maybe love, yes of course,
such union must end in a speedy divorce,
for all points relating to this sanctioned wedlock
are bound to end fast in conflict and deadlock.

Just who the bride is no-one can tell.
Is she from Heaven, or maybe from hell.
The groom; he we might speculate also.
Does he have horns, or wears he a halo?

And just who would give his offspring away?
Would he be darkness, or be he bright as day?
And who would be chosen to bless that ring?
And what kind of hymns would be chosen to sing?

Some guests would like it much more to be hot,
whilst others, more righteous, would most certainly not.
Some would be happy playing harps at great heights,
but to others this would give them such terrible frights.

When asked at the service if they had some objections
to this marriage, all said yes; there were no exceptions.
So it is  not be clear how this marriage occurs;
live in sin is the option that each person prefers.

And imagine when guests did get to the feast;
in-laws might squabble from the most to the least.
And no-one knows what they might say in their speech
and just what advice the bride's dad may beseech.

And what would the angels just happen to say?
Elect ones and demons, they would hardly play. . . . 
They might have a chat when before they decided,
a third  of them fell from the two thirds divided. 

Eddie in his Pope mobile striving to hold back the forces of evil

Well that was a bit different.  What a strange idea for a painting, wasn't it?

Why not have a go at Magpie Tales 

Saturday 9 August 2014


ABC Wednesday link
theme - D is for Droll

Another week, another selection of quotations - some famous, some infamous.

Please keep your quotations coming:

Here's one I like to kick off:

Body: Your body is the baggage you must carry through life.  The more excess the baggage, the shorter the trip.
(Arnold H. Glasow)

Faith: It was the schoolboy who said, "Faith is believing what you know ain't so."
(Mark Twain)

Friends:  People who borrow books and set wet glasses on them.
(Edwin Arlington Robinson, 20th century poet)

Friendship: Friendship is like money, easier made than
(Samuel Butler, English writer 1835-1902)

Friendship: Friendship is more tragic than love. It lasts longer.
(Oscar Wilde)

Future: That period of time in which affairs prosper, our friends are true and our happiness is assured.
(Ambrose Bierce)

Gambling: The sure way of getting nothing for something.
(Wilson Mizner, 20th century US wit)

Genius: Genius is born, not paid.
(Oscar Wilde)

Genius: A genius is one who can do anything except making a living.
(Joey Adams, 20th century US comedian)

Gesticulation: Any movement made by a foreigner.
(J.B. Morton)

Gossip:  Gossip is the art of saying nothing in a way that leaves practically nothing unsaid.
(Walter Winchell, 20th century US columnist)

Home: Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they will have to take you in.
(Robert Frost)

Imitation:  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
(Oscar Wilde)

Imitation:  Imitation is the sincerest for of television.
(Fred Allen)

Jury: A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer.
(Robert Frost)

Liberal: A liberal is a man too broad-minded to take his own side in a quarrel.
(Robert Frost)

Liberty: One of Imagination's most precious possessions.
(Ambrose Bierce)

Life: Life is rather like a tin of sardines: we're all of us looking for the key.
(Alan Bennett, Beyond the Fringe)

Life: Life is not a spectacle or a feast; it is a predicament.
(George Santayana)

Life: Life is an incurable disease.
(Abraham Cowley, poet)

Life: Life is one damned this after another.
(Kin Hubbard, US humorist)

Logic: Logic is the art of going wrong with confidence.
(Joseph Wood Krutch, 20th century scholar and critic)

Love: A temporary insanity curable by marriage.
(Ambrose Bierce)

Love: Love is like the measles; we all have to go through it.
(Jerome K Jerome)

Man:  A creature God created at the end of a week's work when God was tired.
(Mark Twain)

Sex: Continental people have a sex life;  the English have hot water bottles.
(Georges Mikes)

err! As an Englishman - no comment!!!

More next week.

. . . . and finally please stop by at Eva's for her Weekend Silliness feature HERE