Joe Stead – The Ramblings of an old Codger – Volume 78 - March 2007


What makes 100%?

What does it mean to give MORE than 100%? Do you ever stop to wonder about those people who say they are giving more than 100%? We have all been to meetings where someone wants you to give over 100%. How about achieving 103%? Footballers always want to give 110%. It must be true, I’ve heard it said countless times on the telly.

It is of course impossible to give more than 100%.

I was recently sent a little mathematical formula:
If: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
is represented as:1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.
Then: H-A-R-D-W-O-R-K becomes 8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 which equals 98%
K-N-O-W-L-E-D-G-E is 11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 equaling 96%
A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E is 1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%
Meanwhile B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T is 2+21+12+12+19+8+9+20 = 103%
And; ass kissing is - 1+19+19+11+9+19+19+9+14+7 = 118%

So, one can conclude with mathematical certainty that while hard work and knowledge will get you close, and attitude will get you there, it's the bullshit and ass kissing that will put you over the top.

Well Mr. Blair has given us a lot of bullshit since he took office and at long last the British public is beginning to tire of him. Indeed I believe a lot of his parliamentary pals are now wishing he would leave office too. I suppose he will become a Lord, like that really nice man Jeffrey Archer.

Jeffrey Archer! Now there’s someone to talk about. It amazes me that the BBC should employ Mr. Archer on a programme at all; that it was a programme about a jury and the truth being told beggars belief. For my part I refused to watch it on principle. Indeed if Mr. (I refuse to give him any other title) Archer’s face ever appears on the TV screen I immediately turn to another station or turn the television off– unless it is the news; then I stay tuned in the hope that I might discover that Mr. Archer is on his way back to prison. I know, I know, I should be more forgiving. The man was sentenced to prison, he did his porridge and it should all be forgotten and forgiven. I think I might be more accommodating if the man appeared sorry; if there was just a little contrition on his part. But I suppose the only way most people get to the very top in life is by riding rough shod over everybody else. There are of course exceptions (Nelson Mendella springs to mind) but not an awful lot.

Rough Shod by the way (18+15+21+7+8+19+15+4) equals 107%.


Recipe of the month
Poached goose eggs.
There is nothing quite like a poached goose egg, except perhaps another poached goose egg. But goose eggs are not identical. Some come with yolks as big as your fist, others with yolks that appear to be even larger. How did all that lovely yellow middle bit possibly fit inside the shell? Did I say shell? Don’t be misled here. If you’ve never had the delight of a goose egg be warned. The shell is not like that belonging to the egg of a chicken. Whilst a chicken egg shell can be ruptured cleanly with a quick tap from a sharp knife a goose egg will require a tomahawk wielded from about four feet above the head. Alternatively you may choose to use a pneumatic drill. It depends I suppose which comes to hand first. I keep both in my basement strictly for breaking goose eggs open. A goose egg should only be eaten with haggis by the way; preferably high quality haggis. The poached goose egg should be placed on top of the warm haggis and the yolk broken open to sink into all that lovely traditional mixture of minced sheep heart, liver, lungs, intestines, oatmeal, onion and suet. Try to get a haggis that has been boiled for approximately one hour in the animal’s stomach. This of course is not always possible.
Scots people believe Haggis is traditionally served with "neeps and tatties" (turnip and potatoes), each of these being mashed, separately. (The "neep" is the yellow vegetable — Brassica napobrassica, or Brassica napus var. napobrassica — called 'swede' in southern England and 'rutabaga' in North America). Scots people are of course completely deluded when they tell you that Haggis is a Scottish dish. Haggis was actually first discovered be a Mr. Clive Palmer an Englishman from Tring in Hertfordshire. Unfortunately he forgot to tell anybody about it. Mr Palmer was one of the infamous Tring cattle drovers who drove his cattle from Tring to Stony Stratford each day because he had nothing better to do. He also had a speech impediment which probably also acted as a bit of a draw back when passing on recipes. Potatoes had not been discovered when Mr Palmer went a droving and this simple fact outlines the preposterousness of claims from North of the border that Haggis was first discovered in Scotland.
Scots, of course, are a completely deluded nation. They still believe they are good at rugby; thankfully they’ve forgotten they ever played soccer; which is a bit rich coming from an Englishman. But at least we know when we are watching ‘bad’ soccer as we watch it all the time. We have no alternative. Of course our shirts now rightfully sport one gold star as a memorandum of the time we were handed the World Cup by a drunken Russian linesman in the pay of the Kray Twins.
So; back to the subject. Just how do you poach a goose egg once the shell has been broken? First find a nice clean frying pan fill it to the very top with water, add a little salt and bring to the boil. When the water has reached boiling temperature the contents of the goose shell should be dropped into the boiling water from about a height of no more than 10 feet. When the egg appears to be cooked – it probably is. The egg should then be lifted from the boiling water and placed upon the haggis waiting of course until the water has drained through the spatula.
This is the only way to eat a goose egg and by far the best way to eat haggis. Let the Scots have their neeps and tatties. Like us English with our soccer they know no better.

I received the following petition letter. Please follow the instructions if you feel sympathetic.

MUSIC PETITION-Sign the music petition (details below) and pass it on to all your friends and colleagues!
HYPERLINK "http://www.tradarts.org"
Please do feel free to pass this on to anyone you feel might be interested.
Many thanks
From
Traditional Arts Projects (TAPS)
Fairfields Arts Centre
Council Road
Basingstoke
RG21 3DH
tel: +44(0)1256 474014
HYPERLINK "www.tradarts.org
MUSIC PETITION
There is a government move to make it very difficult for musicians to perform live in small venues, or for schools, pubs and charities to raise money for causes through musical events. The new legislation will inhibit the central role music making has in our lives and communities. If you circulate this to your musician (and non-musician!) friends, all each person has to do is go to the government's petitions website below, give your name, email and address - it takes about 30 seconds. And it could make a vital difference to the nurturing of community music making, and enabling young musicians to find their feet in the performing world. The live music/licensing e-petition now has nearly 19,000 signatures. It currently stands at no.19 in the list of 1,702 petitions on the Number 10 website. This is good, especially in just under a month - and there are five more months in which people can sign. But the petition needs to do much better to make an impression on ministers, and to encourage DCMS to implement music-friendly amendments. website: HYPERLINK "http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/licensing/

Joint Fixture List for Kimber’s Men and Joe Stead.

2007
Mar 5th (Joe) Rossett School, Harrogate. (Life and times Paul Robeson)
Mar 7th (Joe) Morley Probus Club, Morley, Leeds. – Valparaiso
Mar 21st (Joe) Garforth Probus Club - (Life and times Paul Robeson)
Apr 16th (KM) Bacup Folk Club, Conservative Club, Bacup
Apr 19th (KM) Black Swan Folk Club, York
Apr 21st (KM) Puzzle Hall Inn, Sowerby Bridge
May 5th (Joe) Sweeps Festival, Rochester.
May 6th (Joe) Sweeps Festival, Rochester.
May 11th (KM) Clennell Hall, Alwinton, Northumberland National Park
May 12th (KM) Clennell Hall, Alwinton, Northumberland National Park
May 13th (KM) Clennell Hall, Alwinton, Northumberland National Park
May 16th (Joe) Maurice Jagger Centre, Winding Road, Halifax.
Jun 15th (KM) Alcester Folk Festival
Jun 16th (KM) Alcester Folk Festival
Jun 17th (KM) Alcester Folk Festival
Jul 2nd (Joe) Moreley Pensioners Club – (Life and times Paul Robeson)
Jul 5th (joe) Thornhill Probus Club – (Valparaiso)
Jul 6th (KM) Jersey Sea Festival
Jul 7th (KM) Jersey Sea Festival
Jul 8th (KM) Jersey Sea Festival
Jul 12th (KM) Worden Arts Centre, Leyland with Banda Celtamericana
Jul 29th (KM) Puzzle Hall Inn, Sowerby Bridge
Aug 11th KM) Broadstairs Folk Festival
Aug 12th (KM) Broadstairs Folk Festival
Aug 13th (KM) Broadstairs Folk Festival
Aug 24th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Aug 25th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Aug 26th (KM) Shrewsbury Folk Festival
Sep 3rd (Joe) Conservative Club Folk Club, Bacup.
Sep 7th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 8th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 9th (KM) Swanage Folk Festival
Sep 15th (KM) Clitheroe Golf Club
Nov 18th (KM) The Open Door Folk Club, The Royal Oak, Werneth, Oldham.
2008
Feb 2nd (KM) Square Chapel Theatre, Halifax. (Matinee and evening).
Feb 24th (KM) Southport Folk Club.
2009
Jan 11th (KM) Sixmilebridge Winter Festival, County Clare - Provisional
Jan 12th (KM) Sixmilebridge Winter Festival, County Clare - Provisional

Reviews
I was trawling through Google the other day when I had little to do and came upon three reviews of the Kimber’s Men CD – Don’t take the heroes; that I believe I had not seen before.

Kimber's Men - Don't Take The Heroes (A Private Label)
This new (second) CD from the outfit whom many now consider Britain's premier shanty-crew (though they're much more than that!) is a winner on every count. It's a fabulous selection of maritime-related music, en-compassing (pun almost intended!) amongst its menu of 25 shanties and sea-related songs, the well-worn, the less familiar and the brand new. It should thus have something to offer every potential listener - the general or casual, the maritime-inclined and the diehard enthusiast. And it scores points above its competitors in each category: the spirit of the performances, the standard of the singing, the comprehensive annotation (including provision of all the lyrics) within the admirably thick and fact-filled booklet 24-page accompanying booklet (they've done their research properly too, and it's a model of both erudition and informativeness, never once talking down to the reader). The disc is also fantastic value, with close on an hour and a quarter's playing-time. And the clincher is that for each copy sold, a percentage of proceeds goes straight to the RNLI (who also distribute the CD in their sales outlets).
Enough said? No, I don't think so...! For this CD is even more extraordinary an achievement bearing in mind the unsettling circumstances under which it has been completed. Sessions began two years ago, when Kimber's Men was still a four-piece, but were abruptly curtailed when Roger Hepworth, the group's fine tenor, was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. He subsequently died in April last year, and only at the beginning of this year were the sessions finally completed by the three remaining crew members (Joe Stead, John Bromley and Neil Kimber). Roger sings on seven of the CD's tracks (also playing guitar on two of these), and you can gauge from these (now memorial) performances just what a tragic loss the crew has suffered with his passing. As for the repertoire, the shanties range from lusty (and authentic) versions of staple fare like General Taylor, South Australia and Blow The Man Down to equally lusty and authentic renditions of more unusual or more obscure work songs like Johnson Girls and Get Along Down Buddy. Note that none of these are drawn out beyond their usefulness or outstay their welcome; at the same time, none are overly briskly dispatched. The full-bodied KM sound is gutsy in the approved manner, but it's guts with empathy for, and true appreciation of, the material and its purpose; theirs is not empty bully-boy bluster bawled out for mere effect. Some traditionalists may even balk at the crew's creative and invigorating use of harmonies and occasional multitracking, but this never becomes a mere gimmick and always serves to make the music refreshingly different while retaining the edge it needs to maintain interest.
All these positive qualities are also strongly in evidence in the songs - from trad (Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy) to Stan Rogers (Northwest Passage), James Gordon (Frobisher Bay), Bill Meek (Harry Eddom), and Richard Grainger's great arrangement of Death Of Nelson. Good solid choices all, and without exception performed with maximum credibility and a high degree of understanding, and a musicality, that's something you don't always get with even the front-liners among specialist shanty-crews. The individual voices are superb whether leading or harmonising (yes that's perfectly acceptable practice if the voices are as fine as these!), with John Bromley possessing one of the richest and most resonant basses on the scene. For many, though, the highlight of the CD will be its title track, an original composition by Neil and Roz Kimber that pays an extremely poignant tribute to the brave men and women who risk their lives to save others, especially those within the ranks of the RNLI. If I must be picky at all, well perhaps there's a slight sense of overstressing of the valedictory final section of the CD, with Rolling Home leading off a whole quartet of "farewell" pieces, and a slight staginess in the introit-and-walkawayfadeout aspect of the programme perhaps (although it does accurately reflect Kimber's Men's live act!), but that's a minor carp in the overall scheme of things and doesn't spoil one's enjoyment of the CD as a whole (though I'd have liked to have heard a bit more than 17 seconds of Haul Away Joe!). But taken as a whole the CD is a masterly and (importantly) very enjoyable product, and no finer tribute either to the late Roger or to the work of the RNLI could be imagined.
www.joestead.com
David Kidman

DON'T TAKE THE HEROES - Kimber’s Men - APL 11. www.joestead.com
Kimber’s Men in respect of this CD, comprise, John Bromley, Roger Hepworth, Neil Kimber and Joe Stead. I thoroughly enjoyed the singing of all four men but particularly wish to single out the voice of John Bromley. John has as fine a bass voice as can be heard anywhere on the Folk scene. Amongst the 25 tracks there are many classic or standard shanties but also some excellent sea-faring songs, my favourite ones being,
Don’t Take The Heroes(N + R Kimber ), North West Passage (Stan Rogers) and Death Of Nelson. Don’t Take The Heroes is a strong moving account the loss of the lifeboat ‘ Soloman Browne’ which in 1982 went to the aid of the ‘ Union Star’ off southwest Cornwall. The weather conditions were so bad, a hurricane force12, that all lives on both ships were lost.
There is a considerable amount of double tracking in the recording, which Kimber’s Men unashamedly acknowledge. Yes, I agree that the multi-tracking does add to the presentation of this type of material – in some instances, the chorus is almost explosive. But I personally, disapprove of multi-tracking on the basis that the listener should
expect to hear in a live performance, what is produced in a recorded session. However, it would appear that multi-tracking is accepted as the norm these days.
An area which is often neglected in the production of a CD, is that of accompanying information. That is positively not the case with Don’t Take The Heroes. The track notes accompanying this CD are amongst the most informative that I have ever read, and are especially informative from an historical perspective.
This CD is an excellently produced collection of sea shanties and sea-faring songs. I say in the main with respect to the first track, Haul Away Joe. This track lasts for only 17 seconds and I feel is something of a non-event. Yes, I appreciate that is intended to ‘set the scene’. But I think that there is little merit in those 17 seconds, balanced
against the whole of the following 24 tracks, which are excellent in themselves. If you enjoy full robust singing, shanties and like songs, sung at full throttle, then you will enjoy this CD.
Reviewed by Ken Hinchliffe, Issue 81, August 2006
FOLK CD & BOOK REVIEWS PUBLISHED IN WHAT'S AFOOT


Pat Kelleher "Songs of the Sea"
Label: Long Neck Music; PK002; Playing time: 46:36 min
Kimber's Men "Don't take the hero"
Label: A Private Label; APL11; 2006; Playing time: 73:15 min
The era of the big sailing ships is also the era of the Songs of the Sea. Sailors sung all the while: shanties, working songs, love songs, sentimental songs about home and the season. Pat Kelleher is a singer and clawhammer banjo player from County Cork, Ireland. From an early age, he had a fascination with the wide open sea and maritime songs. His repertory includes traditional Irish and British sea-songs, plus more or less contemporary stuff with the occasional excursion to Canada and the US. Makem's "Boys of Killybegs", Seeger's (-> FW#31, FW#31) "Lifeboat Mona", Coulter's (-> FW#17) "Home from the Sea", Rogers' "Mary Ellen Carter", and traditionals such as "Three Score and Ten" and "The Holy Ground". Some tune or the other is well-known from the repertory of The Dubliners (-> FW#23), and this comparison gives you a good impression what to expect. Only that Pat's singing and delivery is more refined.
"Haul Away Joe" and "South Australia" (the former with special Irish lyrics) link Pat Kelleher with the weather-proofed voices of Kimber's Men from Britain: John 'Ship's Cook' Bromley, Neil 'Ship's Bosun' Kimber, Joe 'Ship's Doctor' Stead, Roger 'Ship's Cabin Boy' Hepworth. The title song "Don't Take the Heroes" has been written by Roz and Neil Kimber about a real tragic incidence in 1981, and is a tribute to the men who risk their lives on the lifeboats. Best known are songs like "Lovely Nancy", "General Taylor", "Rolling Home", or "Leave Her Johnny Leave Her". Stan Rogers is featured as well, here with "Northwest Passage". "No More Auction Block for Me" is the song which Dylan turned into "Blowing in the Winds". Unaccompanied singing, four-part harmony and a very committed ethos lead to a perception in how it once did sound at the high seas. Save that the old time seamen were rougher fellows and did not have the subtle voices. (P.S.: Since recording cabin boy Roger died of lung cancer, and David Buckley had been shanghaied.)
www.patkelleher.net, www.joestead.com
Walkin' T:-)M

Letters

Joe
Yet another nail in the coffin !!! Thought you may like to add your protest to this example of yet further dumming down of what put the GREAT in to GB. Perhaps our Ministers would consider reducing their Pensions and over the top salaries to help preserve something that is truly worth while?
Whatever your politics, the relentless destruction of so many traditional features of this country's fine history and outstanding accomplishments for so-called ‘financial savings’ and political correctness, has reached its limits. With the ability of wasting £ billions of taxpayers money, through ill thought out schemes and complete incompetence, the time has come to say ‘enough is enough’. The last ten years has seen the destruction of values of quality of life that even Hitler could not have achieved. The cost of keeping the Red Arrows is just 'peanuts' with the enormous amount of money that is being wasted
The demise of the Red Arrows epitomises everything that is wrong with Great Britain and for what? More money to be poured down and lost in the Government Black Hole? It is conveniently overlooked that the Red Arrows bring in £thousands for many charities benefiting from their performances
Brian Williams – Chairman RNLI


Joe
Without sounding 'ist' we discerning tea drinkers on the 'right' side of The Pennines are now able to make a really 'nice' cup of tea without having to rely on 'Yorkshire' tea - check out http://www.lancashiretea.co.uk
Regards
Graham Dixon
(Too old to Rock & Roll- Too young to Die)

Oh No Joe, No Joe, No - to paraphrase a well known song. Anyone who conjoins the words tea and bag needs a tastebud transplant. "Nice" cups of tea are made with leaves, the dusty residue is then placed in bags and sold to unsuspecting members of the public. These sometimes taste OK (ish) but can never be good enough to get into that "nice" category.
All the best,
Ray Black

Joe
A recipe for the acquisition of water, H2'0, the staff of life, now all privatised, asking us to pay ridiculous sums to have a drink of the stuff that maintains our composition of 90% water ‹ turn on the tap and refuse to pay the bill). It's the most direct demonstration you can make to liberate water from the corporations.
Jeff Sawtell

Dear Joe,
We learned of the demise of Mary Cliff's programme from the latest Ramblings. It is a blow and also an insult to Mary who is one of the nicest people in Folk Radio. I have copied to you an e-mail that I have sent to Mary to help generate support in Washington DC. It is slightly formal so that she can hand it to WETA. I have copied it to you. WETA is an NPR station and exists by subscription. It held two fund raising marathons each year. Ray worked in WETA for one of them. It felt like our station.
WETA has a very high quality output. It had super programmes on opera, classical music and indeed folk. Mary Cliff's programme was better (and longer) than anything the BBC has ever broadcast and her knowledge of the genre better than that of any BBC presenter. She put Folk on TWo et seq. to shame. The loss of Traditions will be a major blow to the professional folk musicians of Williamsburg Virginia many of whom were great fans and were given great support by Mary's programme. Its passing will be regretted by very many in the WETA catchment area.
Joe, you have done a great service in drawing attention to WETA's idiotic decision to axe Traditions - a move too BBC-ish for words. One wonders if ex BBC controllers have wormed their way into WETA management.
Sincerely,
Eric Cowell.

Hi, guys.
Tomorrow I’ll meet with another station and I hope we firm up where in their schedule I might fit. They have a terrestrial signal (where the bulk of the community would listen) as well as those new side digital channels, one of which they are filling with original programming. They also have an internet channel. So there are several options there. Besides that, they are ok with my producing a program for satellite radio -- which has already called this week.
It's been an incredible week, but it's been a stressful year and I think I’m glad it's over. I would have liked to continue with Traditions at WETA and do classical as well (which I’d announced and produced since 1972). But if that's not possible, I’ll take the program and the music elsewhere. My severance is substantial and my pension (up the road) is union.
Thanks so much for being in touch. I'll let you know what happens. I'm keeping the website; in fact I have to update it tonight, after I finally do this week's dishes and change the cat litter. I'm weary.
So, later....
Mary Cliff, TRADITIONS
www.marycliff.net

Funnies.

A farmer stopped by the local mechanic shop to have his truck fixed. They couldn't do it while he waited, so he said he didn't live far and would just walk home. On the way home he stopped at the hardware store and bought a bucket and a gallon of paint. He then stopped by the feed store and picked up a couple of chickens and a goose. However, struggling outside the store he now had a problem - how to carry his entire purchases home. While he was scratching his head he was approached by a little old lady who told him she was lost. She asked, "Can you tell me how to get to 1603 Mockingbird Lane?"
The farmer said, "Well, as a matter of fact, my farm is very close to that house. I would walk you there but I can't carry this lot. "The old lady suggested, "Why don't you put the can of paint in the bucket. Carry the bucket in one hand; put a chicken under each arm
and carry the goose in your other hand?"
"Why thank you very much," he said and proceeded to walk the old girl home. On the way he says "Let's take my short cut and go down this alley. We'll be there in no time."
The little old lady looked him over cautiously then said, "I am a lonely widow without a husband to defend me. How do I know that when we get in the alley you won't hold me up against the wall, pull up my skirt, and have your way with me?"
The farmer said, "Holy smokes lady! I'm carrying a bucket, and a gallon of paint, two chickens, and a goose. How in the world could I possibly hold you up against the wall and do that?"
The old lady replied, "Set the goose down, cover him with the bucket, put the paint on top of the bucket, and I'll hold the chickens."


=============

A young man walks onto the stage of Stars in their Eyes, on crutches, with a plaster cast from his feet to his hips.
Matthew Kelly Introduces him as Simon. 'It's very brave of you to come out here,' says Matthew. 'Please tell the audience what happened?'
'Well' replies Simon 'about a year ago, I was driving with my uncle when we had a really bad accident. Unfortunately my uncle was killed outright but I survived. I was trapped in
the car for six hours before I was eventually cut me free.' 'The doctors had me in surgery for 12 hours but they couldn't save my legs.'
'That's terrible. But I see you have legs now. Are they artificial?' asks Matthew.
'No Matthew, while I was in hospital the doctors informed me that my uncle had in fact died, but that his legs were fine and with all the advances in medical science, they could graft the bottom half of his body onto mine. As you can see the operation was successful. I have been having physiotherapy for six months and hope to be walking fully again by the end of the year.'
A huge round of applause erupts from the audience.
Kelly responds with: 'That's an unbelievable story. So tonight, who are you going to be?'
'Tonight, Matthew, I am going to be Simon and Halfuncle'.


^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

A normal 50 something, having split from his latest girlfriend, decided to take a vacation. He booked himself on a Caribbean cruise and proceeded to have the time of his life, that is, until the ship sank. He found himself on an island with no other people, no supplies, nothing, only bananas and coconuts.
After about four months, he is lying on the beach one day when the most gorgeous woman he has ever seen rows up to the shore. In disbelief, he asks, "Where did you come from? How did you get here?"
She replies, "I rowed from the other side of the island. I landed here when my cruise ship sank."
"Amazing," he said. "You were really lucky to have a row boat wash up with you."
"Oh, this thing?" explains the woman. "I made the boat out of raw material I found on the island. The oars were whittled from gum tree branches, I wove the bottom from palm branches and the sides and stern came from a Eucalyptus tree."
"But, where did you get the tools?"
"Oh, that was no problem," replied the woman. "On the south side of the island, a very unusual stratum of alluvial rock is exposed. I found if I fired it to a certain temperature in my kiln, it melted into ductile iron. I used that for tools and used the tools to make the hardware."
The guy is stunned.
"Let's row over to my place," she says.
After a few minutes of rowing, she docks the boat at a small wharf. As the man looks to shore, he nearly falls off the boat. Before him is a stone walk leading to an exquisite bungalow painted in blue and white. While the woman ties up the rowboat with an expertly woven hemp rope, the man can only stare ahead, dumb struck. As they walk into the house, she says casually, "It's not much but I call it home. Sit down, please. Would you like a drink?"
"No! No thank you," he blurts out, still dazed. "I can't take another drop of coconut juice."
"It's not coconut juice," winks the woman. "I have a still. How would you like a Pina Colada?"
Trying to hide his continued amazement, the man accepts and they sit down on her couch to talk. After they have exchanged their stories, the woman announces, "I'm going to slip into something more comfortable. Would you like to take a shower and shave? There is a razor in the bathroom cabinet."
No longer questioning anything, the man goes into the bathroom. There, in the cabinet, a razor made from a piece of tortoise bone. Two shells honed to a hollow ground edge are fastened on to its end inside a swivel mechanism.
"This woman is amazing," he muses. "What next?"
When he returns, she greets him wearing nothing but vines, strategically positioned, and smelling faintly of gardenias. She beckons for him to sit down next to her.
"Tell me," she begins suggestively, slithering closer to him, "We've been out here for many months. You've been lonely. There's something I'm sure you really feel like doing right now, something you've been longing for?"
She stares into his eyes. He can't believe what he's hearing.
He swallows excitedly and tears start to form in his eyes......... "You mean you've got Sky Sports"

%%%%%%%%%%%%%


I dialed a number and got the following recording:
"I am not available right now, but thank you for caring enough to call.
I am making some changes in my life. Please leave a message after the Beep.
If I do not return your call;
You are one of the changes."

Keep smiling, keep singing.


Joe Stead