Monday, 29 August 2011

Early Bank Holiday Morning

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Even dullish gray skies can produce great colours.  Unfortunately my ability with my wee camera does not enable em to capture the colours as I would wish.  I can however enable a perfectly flat field to look as if it is the foothills of the Alps. I have many shots of the west coast of Scotland showing the Isles of Rhum and Eigg slowly sliding down the Atlantic towards Skye!  Maybe my posture is incorrect.  The cycling on such a morning is easy as even the dogwalkers may be away for the long weekend, and those that remain hesitate to leave the comfort of their duvets. 'White Van man' is also noticeable by his absence, as are the rushing women going from school to shop and back to coffee morning and gossiping as they do (something men never do). Anyway, with their absence it was possible to move along the highway without fear of an F1 driver rushing past and I huffed and puffed (believe me!) up the hill (like the Matterhorn it is) to the fields where creation can be admired (while I breathe deeply).       



I broke off, OK I fell off the bike while using the crumbling path alongside Farmer Jones fields and as I lay there I pondered the aircraft seven thousand feet or so high above me.  Whether this one was climbing I doubted, he could have been passing through on his way to Scandinavia, or beginning the long, slow, figure  movement that lowers him down to earth once again. Either way I decided that as several crows were beginning to eye me up as carrion I decided to carry on (did you see what I did there?). I took my fill of the countryside, the stubble in the fields, the trees moving in the wind, the birds gathering their breakfast, the beer cans by the pathway, broken bottles when young males had impersonated their fathers, and wise young girls kept their distance.  Waving cheerily to Farmer Jones, well frantically actually, he was pointing his shotgun towards me, I decided to move on towards my own breakfast.    
  

On the way I shot this pic of the sun attempting to burn through the haze high above the pylons.  I swear these pylons are moving. Every time I pass there are more of them and I am sure they are gathering together like in some Hollywood Sci-Fi movie. 'The Day the Pylons Broke Free!' coming to a cinema near you.  If it did I bet they would find a way of putting a sexy blonde in the middle of them. Anyway I was pleased just to point the camera directly at the sun through the cloud cover.  I missed out the by-pass just below, I thought it spoiled the pic somewhat.



What do you man 'Bored?'
Anyway I passed the river and with one or two changes f position I managed to take a shot that looked country like.  I missed the houses being built next to the river, on the area where it has flooded regularly for the past hundred years or so, and I avoided all those orange plastic workmen's signs that the kids thought needed a bath. The darkness of the picture hides the routine litter that the ducks have to wade through daily.
I suspect they will enjoy the new neighbours, as when it floods they can pay them a visit and float straight in the windows.   



Oh and yes I have mentioned this car before.  It has been there for at least 15 years that I know off, but the doors appear to have opened!  Do you think the owner has attempted to start it perhaps? I should point out the house looks just as bad and I think he owns the two boarded up dingy shops that have lain like for many years also. I wonder why?  And you thought I was a scruff!


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Sunday, 28 August 2011

Sabbath Football Joy, as normal.....

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Heart of Midlothian 2 Hibernian 0. Goals from Stevenson and Webster saw off the feeble challenge from the 'hump it and see' wee team.  The 'flair' with which they are famous (one day I will add that to the list of 'Myths that have no source,') was seen to be long balls up to the dope wearing the No 9 shirt. He fluffed it, several times!  Besides the usual attempt to decapitate and injure our innocent players the opposition offered nothing worth mentioning.  It was however pointed out that a club famous for having incompetent goalkeepers had a star man in their goalie today, and he still lost! 


The new shape of the Heart of Midlothian continues to develop.  Another season at the top end of the table is for us to expect, while the wee team suffer another season avoiding relegation.  While our noble players receive treatment for the bruisers obtained today they will rest, in between guzzling champagne, and while the fans indulge in reminding friends who support the Hibs, if they can find them (I appear to be persona non granta from one Hibs board) that Hearts are once again dominant, the Hibs folks will be in their beds!  I suspect the only thing Hibernian will do is sack the manager, although it is of course the chairman's fault that they are in this position, but he will be replaced by another numpty, probably McGhee!   However as I am not one to gloat when my enemy falls I will pass on such gloating, but I will feature the table as it stands tonight anyway!  This is fast becoming the most one sided derby game in the world!  Let us look at the figures.



Since the first derby, played at Edinburgh's East Meadows on the 25th of December 1875, which the Heart of Midlothian won by one goal to nil, there have been  618 derby matches. The statistics are as follows. 


Heart of Midlothian Victories : 276
Hibernian, the Wee Team :      200
Drawn games:                         141
Abandoned: (Hibs ran away in a huff) :  1


Goals scored:
Heart of Midlothian : 1064 Goals  
Wee Team:               892 


Interestingly Hearts have won more derbies on Hibs ground than Hibernian have.
Also interestingly, Heart of Midlothian have won more derbies on the Hearts ground than Hibs have.  Good innit?


I could go on, but I leave you with the table instead.





1Rangers5913

2Motherwell6413
3Celtic5812

4Hearts638
5Dunfermline508
6St Mirren6-18
7Kilmarnock526
8Dundee Utd6-46
9St Johnstone5-25
10Inverness CT6-64
11Aberdeen6-64

12Hibernian5-73



The Future is bright, the future is maroooooooooooooooooooon!






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Thursday, 25 August 2011

Nothing to say

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So here is a picture of Battersea Bridge.....


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Wednesday, 24 August 2011

The Waterfall

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Trundling out to exercise my knees I wandered down the path usually occupied early in the morning by folks walking their dogs. Being late afternoon the women were busy in the kitchens preparing their man's dinner which is what they were made for! This meant I could enjoy the bright sunshine, the warm air, and the raging waterfall I found there.  What a lovely spot, especially when the dog walkers were absent and the neds who leave their 'Carlsberg' cans on the waterfall have as yet not arrived. This once was a delightful wooded spot lying just under the hill on which the farmhouse stands.  In the 1850's the railway built the embankment that lies just behind the photographer but even this does not detract from the site itself, in fact in may enhance it.  However as the town has moved outwards the youth has followed on.  Kids of adolescent age use the slope of the embankment as a slide and their older brothers meet to share a can of beer to prove they are men at last. How many fall in while being macho I have failed to ascertain, although I would enjoy a photograph of such!


And look! A brick bridge!  How wonderful! I wonder had we got aerosol spray paint when young would we have scribbled our names on rail bridges?  I suspect we would but the only such vandalism I can recall came when I was in my late teens, and that referred to gang names.  There were certainly lots of such scrawls in Glasgow when we visited but in was only around 1970 they began to appear in Edinburgh. I fear we would have followed the crowd had it arrived earlier however.  I prefer the bridge with just brick rather than someones initials.   



In fact I am now convinced we would have vandalised with the rest.  This door is found at the back to door to the 'stair' in which we lived.  The initials dug into the door began with the 'Teddy Boy' neighbours (and my brother) in the fifties and have been continued since. I suspect this door has now been replaced with 'modern improvements' but you never know.  Graffiti has always been important to people.  Armies marching through the Cilician Gates near Tarsus (in Turkey) left their mark on the walls.  Greeks, Egyptian, Hittite and all put their mark, and those who could write left a statement of their intent as they passed. Sadly I understand the motorway construction of the eighties destroyed the ancient gates!   My dad once admitted that he and his mates had done the same to Stonehenge. Tsk!  The druids will not be pleased.



 
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Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The Power of Advertising

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A post by  a pretty American lass reminded me of a programme on telly a few months ago. It revealed the way to make something sell, even though we all obtain the same substance almost free daily. It concerned the rise of bottled water, in spite of the stuff coming into most folks homes by a tap! 

Since it was discovered that foul water brings disease such as Cholera in its wake the supply of clean water has become important in the UK and elsewhere. Today water flows (at a high price thanks to the stupidity of privatising peoples needs) freely into every house. Clean, safe water, doctored to preserve the purity at the pumping stations and keeping the nation clean, healthy and thirst free. Who can complain about this? No-one, it is just not possible to whine about something so important coming direct into the home. Of course natural resources differ. In Edinburgh the water is 'soft.' This gives a lovely 'feel' to the water, an improved 'taste,' and when thirsty nothing 'tastes' better than cool water. In some areas, such as the south, water is hard and leaves a 'limescale' deposit around the sinks and inside kettles and the like. While harmless it is an irritation and the water tastes somewhat 'dull' in comparison with 'soft' water.

This is where advertising men saw their chance. Knowing that the rich 'trendy' set are always on the look out for expensive 'one-upmanship' opportunities, those given the job of selling 'Perrier' water in the eighties went to work. By suggesting sparkling water that arose 'deep in the earth' was healthier than the stuff coming out of the tap, by including sexy women and of course an expensive price, the adverts touched something in the 'Yuppy' mentality of the time. Soon those bulbous green bottles were everywhere, and within moments dozens of others appeared in the shops. Today this is a multi million business.  From large enterprises to small a business is to be gained. One man found a disused well in the back garden of his new house and produces thousands of bottles, at high price, for five star hotels in Scotland! Straight forward 'water' in plastic bottles flew of the shelves at high prices as customers wished either to be seen with the right kind of water or fell for the idea that water filtered by a mountain was cleaner than that filtered by Fred Bloggs at the pumping station. Much later it was revealed that more bacteria is found in the plastic bottled water, of all kinds, and that tap water was healthier!  Facts of course do not end beliefs! The bottles still fill many shelves in the supermarkets, and price is no object to the daft ones who 'prefer it' because of 'health' or 'society' reasons.



I buy cheap sparkling water, and clearly not to impress the society around me!  This is because I looked at what is contained in the average soft drink, available at high price in the shops. Whether Pepsi, Coke or any of the dozens of other available they all contain at least eight spoonfuls of sugar and various other stuff, some of which I am not willing to trust. I decided to buy cheap carbonated water to provide for a 'fizzy' drink.  The stuff available in the shops costs from 40pence to over a pound if you are daft enough to pay for it. I pay 17 pence for the big Tesco bottle shown. Mix it with tap water and it is fine to drink, less harmful than canned drinks and with no additives bar the bubbles, and as I drink a lot of water these days it is better than the canned stuff.  When out and about during these hot summer days, yes there was one recently, buying a plastic bottle of water does make some sense. However paying £1:45 at a railway station appears to me to be just a bit dear myself!  OK if desperate but the word 'rip-off' goes through my mind here. People will not believe me when I tell them it is advertising, and the labels, which make them pay through the nose for water available from their taps. Advertising speaks to something within us, usually greed, 'keeping up with the Jones's' or a deep psychological need recognised by the advertising people. Such folks make better psychologists than psychologists! 

This is a (US) sample of the hype from the eighties, although all of my female readers will not be old enough to remember this sort of thing.

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Hmmmm, the French do things differently of course.....

                                   



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Monday, 22 August 2011

Awwwww

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Another journey into the centre of the world this morning, and a chance to wander through the park also.  The river, as seen last week, is not sufficient for some it appears, dad, and mum round the corner, have taken the kids to the small boating lake, aimed at kids, and moved in there. The feeding must be good here, as long as you can endure the folks crying "Awwwwww" everytime they spot the kids (the fluffy ones not the brats). I did first attempt to get a shot of mum and one fluffy wee one but as I got near she shoved the kid into the water and made off. Actually I thought she was a Mallard but I now begin to wonder if she was something else as both were darker than these seen here. Anyway dad was playing with his feathers and still keeping an eye on me as I approached camera in hand.  He did not appear concerned and I got the pics.  I ought to have been down lower but was fearful the knees would give way and send me into the pond among much cheering from charitable folks around, so I took care.  


   


Between the river and the pond I found these, tank traps from the second world war. I know thee is an old pillbox nearby but did not have time to go looking for this.  The ground here has many long humps, some going back to Roman days and some connected with river works, this are was clearly an attempt t hinder any German aggression in 1940.  The river leads on to the sea eventually and one reason the Romans took over Camulodunon was the fact boats could come this far upriver with supplies.  The town, on the hill to the left, was the capital of the Trinovantes tribe and some of the earthworks were part of their defences. Such things, once required for war, are now kids playthings!



Oh yes and a sample of track for the enthusiasts among you. Ah trains, how lovely they are!  Of course they are better off without mobile phones, and I would like to take this opportunity to apologise the the lass who fell into the 'loop line' as we changed trains. It was an accident honest, but it did bring a smile to those of us who crowded you while YELLING AT THE TOP OF YOUR VOICE on the train.  It brought  smile to our faces if not to yours.  I hope you found your phone, if not try looking on the back of that container train, one chap said he saw it perched safely there.  Have a nice day, cause we will - now!  




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Saturday, 20 August 2011

Horrid Johnny





When I was a postman, my mate Henry John, an aged old man of one year more than I, informed me of the time he went to see his first football match.  He was taken to White Hart Lane, the Home of Tottenham Hotspur  football club. This was in 1956 (before you were born) to see Spurs playing a friendly match against Hibernian, a small unimportant side from Leith. Knowing I supported the Heart of Midlothian, 'Scotia's Darlings' he took every opportunity to mention a Hibernian victory (when?) and a corrupt referee causing the Heart of Midlothian to lose.  


On Thursday, as you will have noticed, the Heart of Midlothian played Spurs at Tynecastle Park in Edinburgh and contrived to lose by 5 gals to nil.  The ball used in such competitions differs from the one used in Scottish games in that it does not go where our players placed it, and appeared to have a mind of its own.  This disaster unfortunate occurrence was a sad event that came into my life on Thursday evening. I mourned through the whole of Friday and by Saturday morning I, along with all other 'Jambo's,' had recovered our strength and 'moved on' as they say.


The postman arrived, a happy cheery lad (he ought to be having an easy round!  It was twice the size when I did it mate!) and threw the post through the door (I wish he would open it first) with a cheery grunt. Naturally there was a bill for my neighbour, the only man I know who receives more of those than I do, and two for me!  One came from my sweetest niece, containing a programme from a concert she was involved in (Stravinsky piano piece) and was gratefully received.  The other was in a (used) Royal Mail envelope and contained this:-


      
It's a disgrace that he is allowed to use Royal Mail material for such activities.  I would complain to the management but I know that they would have given him the envelope!  Oooh I could spit!


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Friday, 19 August 2011

Friday Night is Music Night, well this Friday night is anyway.

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Is this the greatest music ever written?

                                


                                 

             


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Thursday, 18 August 2011

Summer Afternoon Rain

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As I crossed the park this afternoon looking at the sunbathing lassies I observed that as the wind was coming reasonably noticeably from the north east. Not long afterwards Bournemouth, far away on the south coast, was inundated by a terrific rainstorm. This then moved rapidly from the south west and began depositing whatever was left of the rain upon us!  Remember when I moved here they referred to this as the 'driest county in England!'   They lied!  It is difficult to actually obtain pictures of rain from here and the spots on the window do not do justice to the rain that was hammering down outside.  The gutters overflowed and streams of water reached several feet into the roadway. I watched, very concerned, as folks who had failed to check the weather forecast made their way, soaked to the skin, passing by.  I stood at the window and offered a caring smile. This was not returned.


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Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Summer Afternoon Sky

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I noticed these interesting rib like shapes in the clouds as I tramped back from the market with my shop soiled, reduced price bananas this afternoon.  I am not sure if the warmth in the air was because the clouds keep the heat trapped in or because the sun is attempting to break through them and impersonate summer!
I neither knew nor cared. I was really just looking for some sort of picture, for without one snap there is something missing in my life these days. A PC and a digital camera, How did we live before these things were discovered?  Cyrus may have built a large empire, however he could never photograph anything as he did not have the technology, and he was called 'Great!'  Many powerful men have lived on this earth, but we can take pictures and manipulate them on the PC, they couldn't!  Pah!  Who needs an empire anyway?


And now for some dodgy theology but lovely music. 


                           



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Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Buildings

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Yesterday, as I hurried along to the meeting place, I noticed this house, with the sun shining on it, and was impressed by the design, if indeed there was a deliberate design as opposed to a builder just 'throwing one up. Victorian builders just built houses according to the way they were taught, probably from their fathers, and rarely used architects.  This one looked better with the sun on it and today the gray skies left it a wee bit depressed with itself. However there are some interesting aspects to the building.
    




This corner house must have cost a packet in its day!  This home is quite large, has bay windows and a turret!  Fantastic property when built, and a credit to whoever erected the thing.  I suspect however this one had some kind of architect involved. This is much to 'out of the ordinary' for the everyday builder. 




I am contacting the Office of Fair Trading about this.  It says 'Free Withdrawals,' yet when I withdrew thousand of pounds from it the bank demanded I hand it back. Something about using your own account they yelled. It does not make that clear I say. 




Another lovely turret, this time on a school entrance.  Those Victorians, or would this be Edwardian perhaps, knew how to build schools. I could not get near enough to get a shot of the sign above the doors, 'Girls' over one, and 'Boys' over another. Actually I could see the 'Girls' sign but not the 'Boys' one.  Now I notice it is under the turret! The foolishness of insisting the sexes mix all the time is a bad thing in my opinion. At our school they kids played separately and this had many advantages for all. Ideology has damaged much in education. Some things boys learn better together, some things girls learn that way.
  


Look!  Another railway picture! Great isn't it?  Oh really, well that's your trouble, your just a woman!  Real men would see this as an inspiration, a challenge and an opportunity!  The line brings a train load of who knows what to us, while the other line takes us into a new life maybe, or possibly the buffers of course.  I have been there already!




Even better! High above, well not that high actually, stands the frame carrying the electric powerline for the trains. I thought it made an interesting image, with the steadily moving gray clouds as backdrop. The occasional blue flash, especially when the non stopping express service flew past at 80 or so miles an hour, was missed by my camera. 


What a lovely day again. Another day trip, another good half hour, another enjoyable train journey.  Even waiting was enjoyable today.  I suppose it was the variety from my routine that did that.  Now of course my routine is out of order and I will have to spend all tomorrow attempting to find where I am.  Ah well.
And so to bed......


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Monday, 15 August 2011

Railway Day Out, Sort Off

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As part of my job search I was forced to journey into the big town today. This entailed finding a suitable train timetable, they all have variations these days and the prices cannot be trusted also, and this morning bright and early, the day not myself, I wandered down to our bit of line. There in the sunshine I joined the late commuters, the London train left an hour ago, and soon climbed aboard the exciting journey that is a trip by rail!  I admit I would prefer a steam engine chuffing along through the countryside but such things are not common today.  Instead we had the usual diesel and while comfortable enough to do the job it neither 'chuffs' nor has the same romance. The 'romance' of the journey began with the train announcement scrolled across the screen above the door informing us where the train had 'arrived at.'  I thought if you have come here pal you have certainly not 'arrived!' Still it could be worse I suppose, it could say 'Arrived at Scunthorpe,' and we wouldn't want that would we? 


People on trains are the main problem with public transport.  If I could share the coach with nice people instead of ones I disliked life would be easier.  Having traveled on the commuter train on occasion I suspect many there feel the same.  These trains have been fitted with windows that open and one chap came in, took of his jacket, it was indeed a warm day, and opened the window above him and sat down.  How I hate this!  He opens the window for air, yet the air has no effect on him!  Instead it blows over to the other side of the coach freezing the people over there.  The only answer, apart from shooting him New York Police style, is to open the window above you and hope he gets chilblains!  I noticed all the windows were shut today in spite of the warmth and stuffiness around.  Maybe a cop had got on earlier as the train made its way out here?  


A substantial lass also joined us.  She immediately got the mobile phone out!  Now while mobile phones are indeed one of the many blessings we take for granted they are not an advantage on quiet railway coaches!  On this occasion the lady made a quick call, now that is a miracle, and replaced the villain in the bottom of her bag.  Quite why women do this I know not, but when it rings she then spend several minutes hunting for the brute while it plays 'Land of my fathers' in an annoying digital manner!  Some women use the mobile in the manner that once cigarettes were made use off, as some sort of protection while in public.  It is as if being occupied this way there is a barrier between them and the dangers around them.  Many pass my door pushing a pram with one hand, a toddler several feet behind them, on a  main road, while they blether into their phone. Others, male and female, can be seen in the dark evenings like some sort of firefly creature moving around. The person is not seen, just a greening glow from their phone while they read important texts.


Changing trains I took several pictures of the line, secretly as possible to avoid being mistaken for an anorak! This enabled me to obtain not only the above picture but two at angles of 35 degrees and late at my destination, one of the platform itself!  There is something about railways, and something about the view as the line disappears into the distance.  When younger I watched a drama, worth watching in those days, that ended with a young couple on a rail platform as he made his move elsewhere. The story I forget but I recall an longing to move on down that line to find what was at the other end.  Now however, having been there, I find the longing less strong but an underlying desire to go and see does remain.  This time I no longer expect a pot of gold to be found there. 


For a couple of hours I was reminded of things I knew long ago, informed of the wonderful aid to help me 'back to work' that exists, but without being informed as to where the jobs themselves lay, and spent a jolly nice time with reasonable people, in the circumstances.  One thing I noticed was the spaces prepared for around a dozen participants, three turned up and one phoned in sick, he fell down the stairs on the bus or some such.  The rest?  I suspect several will not be interested, one or two will have seen it all before, and then there was us three.  Are these organisations really going to find 'placements' in firms?  If so will this be 'cheap labour?'  Who knows?  It is worth it just for the day out in the sun, the train journey and a few pictures. It makes a change from my usual humdrum routine, and nice to see some interesting, but grubby, Victorian buildings there.  I am back tomorrow for a more serious discussion and I will get a couple of shots of the buildings which intrigue me.  Clearly there was money here in Victorian days. "Who pays the fares?"  They did, good eh?

 


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Sunday, 14 August 2011

Sunday Laffs.

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I was going to mention that the 'wee team' (Hibernian) lost 4-1 away to Kilmarnock. However I would not be so cruel as to include this in a post headed 'Sunday Laffs,' would I? What? ...oh!

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A lawyer died. At the same moment, the Pope also died. 
They arrived at the gates of heaven at the same moment. 
They spend the day in orientation, and as they're getting their heavenly vestments, the Pope gets a plain white toga and wings, like everyone else, and the lawyer gets much finer apparel, made of gold thread, and Gucci shoes. 

Then, they get to see where they're going to live?. 
The Pope gets what everyone else gets, a replica of a Holiday Inn room, and the lawyer gets an 18 room mansion with servants and a swimming pool.

At dinnertime, the Pope receives the standard meal, a Manischewitz kosher TV dinner,and the lawyer receives a fine and tasty meal, served on silver platters.

By this time, the lawyer is beginning to suspect that an error has been made, so he asks one of the angels in charge, "Has there been some kind of mistake? This guy was the Pope, and he gets what everyone else gets, and I'm just a lawyer and I'm getting the finest of everything?"

The angel replied, "No mistake, sir. We've had lots of Popes here, but you're the first lawyer we've ever had."

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The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Royal Commission for Political correctness announced today the climate in the UK should no longer be referred to as "English Weather".

Rather than offend a sizeable portion of the UK population, it is now to be referred to as: "Muslim Weather" (Partly Sunni, but mostly Shi'ite)

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One night, President Obama and his wife Michelle decided to do something out of routine and go for a casual dinner at a restaurant that wasn't too luxurious. 

When they were seated, the owner of the restaurant asked the president's Secret Service if he could speak to the First Lady in private.

They obliged and Michelle had a short conversation with the owner.

Following their conversation President Obama asked Michelle why the owner was so interested in speaking to her.
Michelle said that when she was a teenager the owner was madly in love with her.

President Obama then said, "So, if you had married him, you would now be the owner of this lovely restaurant."

To which Michelle replied, "No, if I had married him he would now be President!"


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A 50 yr plus woman was at home happily jumping on her bed and squealing with delight.


Her husband watches her for a while and asks, "Do you have any idea how ridiculous you look?, What's the matter with you?"


The woman continues to bounce on the bed and says, "I don't care, I just came from having a mammogram and the doctor says I have the breasts of an 18 year-old".


The husband said, "What did he say about your 56 year old ass?"


"Your name never came up!!!" she replied.


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Man sitting at home on the veranda with his wife and he says, "I love you."


She asks, "Is that you or the beer talking?"


He replies, "It's me............. talking to the beer."




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