Wednesday

Saying Hello



For breakfast this morning, I munched on memories. In hindsight, the definitive moment probably should have arrived for me the previous evening as I strolled barefoot along the shoreline of the warm Mediterranean, the sun’s rays drifting ever slowly towards the bleached white rooftops of my summer habitat. A small delicate hum from within could not be fully attributed to the deliciously fruity wooden jugs of rum laced sangria that have been my staple since arriving here in a strange world. A vast cornucopia of silent memories that suckled not only the likes of your man Zeus, but also a seemingly trouble free Scotsman heightened my senses to the fact that sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for. Six long months ago I had stood ankle deep in a muddy building site beneath a grey Glasgow sky wondering if the cement scarred knuckles of my hands would ever truly heal enough for me to be able to disguise my trade. Looking down at my now sun kissed fingers with their salt bleached nails I felt a certain loss for the old times when grit and honest toil screamed loudly as my daily manicure. There is much to be said for the sound of a slammed door of a builders van, the whistle of the site kettle as weary men gathered together to bemoan the days toil ahead.  The single ugly word ‘fuck’ is every day parlance in Glasgow; it is not always spoken in anger, indignation or by way of insult. It is merely Glesga speak which passes freely amongst working men. Who would have thought that the absence hearing this particular obscenity would feature on my ‘what I miss most about home’ list?

No, the definitive moment arrived as we sat down to our evening meal on a long wooden oak bench amongst a family who refused to allow Siobhan and I to dine alone when there was room at the table. Life and our surroundings change many times during our stay on this earth. Finances, possessions, property, fine whisky and sadly even old friends can depreciate and become unimportant over the years. The one thing that never changes is the bond created between families. Oh don’t get me wrong here, the last month and the month to come has afforded us precious little time on our own without the constant footfall of family members traipsing across the water for a cheap holiday in our deliciously private slice of island paradise. Never before have so many milk bottle white tourists left the shores of Alcudia a finer shade of pale blue. My fellow countrymen have a fondness for shade, drizzle and the closeness of rain before they can really enjoy themselves. However, their dry humour remains the constant sunshine that has recently been missing from my life. The banter, the craic, the friendly name calling and the seemingly endless blether about fitba, the rotten English and just how shite everything south of the M8 at Coatbridge really is. I have especially missed people using the correct pronunciation of my name. Nobody murders a vowel as perfectly as a true Glaswegian. Even the locals attempt at 'Senor Jeemie' doesn't come close.

My desire to work with wood again has become an obsession. I spent nearly an entire week observing a cluster of local fishermen preparing an age old hull of an oak bottomed fishing skiff under the hot sun with only the translucent Med providing an idyllic backdrop to their labour of love. On the second day they beckoned me over to their melodious huddle. Not out of friendship at first I hasten to add. Amusingly it was to settle a bet as to my ethnicity. It would seem that I am too quiet, tall and ‘bulky’ to be English. The fact that I favour a shiny dome, a slightly greying grizzle of goatee that does little to hide my forever deep facial battle scars and the same eyes as oul el diablo himself pointed towards me being Irish for a while. The wee singing fella would have laughed at that. It was with some fervour I felt when they looked blank at my brief answer of "Ahm fae Glesga". Somewhere, somehow, my foot would have fitted neatly into the trouser crease of some philistine Mallorcan tutor neglecting to educate his young pupils as to the exact whereabouts of my beloved Scotland. My accent amused them greatly. They asked me to describe the ways of Scottish people. It is not often I am speechless in the company of others. Who was I to shatter the new found camaraderie that was starting to manifest itself by explaining to my fellow wood enthusiasts that the Scots are probably the most violent, drunken, masochistic, murdering heathens ever to crawl the face of the earth? And that's just on a wet Monday morning before we've swallied the drink. Surely they too read the Daily Record on the kludgie? Perhaps not though, eh?

I miss my hens, the fresh eggs, the morning waft of soiled straw from the alpacas, the impatient mews and the clatter of small hooves as our wee goat butts the kitchen door in anticipation for her early breakfast of rice krispies and warm milk. Somehow the rustle of long grass in the wee meadow beyond the auld kitchen window in the morning breeze refuses to return a true sensory image to my already overburdened memory. I long for the bluebells and the buttercups that the weans would gather with Siobhan and pop into small glasses of fizzy water up in my loft for me to admire. The smell of wet cloaks and the succulent aromas of the wild flowers and ferns that adorn the Scottish hills after the rain. I even miss the distant kirk bells of the chapel I never once attended. I long to return to my rightful position as king of my own Glasgow hill. The dust bowls that cover the summer hills in the Balearic Islands mixes obnoxiously well with two stroke oil from many thousands of cosmopolitan tourists scooters. Teeth-grindingly awful fanfares, squealing an endless annoying corrido of  La Cucaracha may be appealing to those who can remember the 'General Lee', Smokey and the Bandit and other such pish way back in Redneckville 1976, but at 3am on a Sunday morning here in paradise it is beginning to load my oul proverbial gun.
While garroting those who chaff the patience of we Glaswegians may appear an act of human nature back in that dear green place, I'm informed by Siobhan that in Spain it may well carry the death penalty or at the very least a 50 euro fine.

Money well spent if you ask me.

61 comments:

  1. welcome back, sweetpea! i've been busy, too! xoxoxoxoxo

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    1. So I gather doll, exercise can be hazardous to your drinking, so go easy eh?

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  2. Why in the world would you want to disguise your trade? Do you want soft hands like an investment banker? I work with those guys and believe me, you're better off.

    We just spent a spell in rotten old Cleveland with my family. I can't recall ever having a better time. Sunshine doesn't always count for so much.

    No recipe? Oh, wait. That was one.

    This is why I never remove you from my blog roll. You were in my Dead and Gone folder. I'll move you out. You know me. I was Unbearable Banishment. I was bored and blew my old site up.

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  3. Och, UB, was it not yourself that once declared that you enjoy reading what I don't put into words? My trade... think on it long enough and the wee penny will eventually drop my friend.

    As for a recipe, try a portion of food for thought as you ponder my own slant on NY exhibits. I'm thinking Stalina Roubinova may well float your boat for a start.

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    1. It's like when a fog lifts and you can see the shoreline, sharp and clear.

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    2. Good man, keep an eye out for gulls though, eh?

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  4. "Nobody murders a vowel as perfectly as a true Glaswegian."

    Love it. And it's nice to hear from you. The pic up top reminds me a bit of something done by an artist by the name of Sam Kieth. Possible?

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    1. Mr Earl, always good to see you here sir. Sam Keith you say? I will have to go see.

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  5. Fuck. You're back. i wasn't ready - still clearing all the shit from my post holiday excavations. Just tell me you swim naked in the sea for a good jolt to my visual cortex. that'll hold me until i can come up with a proper comment...

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    1. I've been banned by the local polis from going commando I'm sad to say. Perhaps queuing for ice cream next to a few stray nuns without my trunks on wasn't my best idea hen.

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  6. Glad to see you enjoying yourself there big fella... and why does that Exile chap always crack on our hometown, Cleveland is a thing of beauty, after a bottle or two...

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    1. It wasn't a crack, brother! I had a great time! It's no Glesga, but I've nothing bad to say about it.

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    2. Enjoying myself to excess on most days Kono. I never realised however that as a man ages his limit is reached way before the dawn.

      I cannae comment on Cleveland, come to that, I cannae even find it on the map. My bad.

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  7. There's no place like home, eh? I've lived many place and for whatever reason, I keep coming back to the flat lands and wide blue skies of the Canadian Prairies. Home is where your heart is, Chef... it sounds like yours has heather growing on it.

    Speaking of being busy, where were you when I needed someone to fix my crack? Okay, my house's crack. Okay, my house's cracked foundation. And although you may cringe at this, I have elected to do it myself. I will post about it soon. I am in the middle of the process but having to go to work kinda slows things down.

    It's very nice to read your words again. Try not to stay away for long again, okay? I miss you.

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    1. After seeing most of your other DIY repairs hen I must say that I would gladly take you on my payroll. Can you start next week?

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    2. Sure thing. You paying my airfare across the pond? I can bring some of my own tools. I think there's something about sausage as one of the perks, right? ;-)

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    3. Tell you what, I'll put my money where my mouth is and pay your fare across if you come and help me landscape my pool area with something Greek, yet tasteful. Deal?

      Sausage will be served nightly....

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  8. I bet you a bottle of Irish that I can murder a vowel in a crueler fashion than wot you do.
    Good to see you, Mr Files!
    Qx

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    1. Always good to see you Ms Quotes, especially your wobbly squishy bits that appear frequently in the newspaper. I may hold you to that bottle by the way.

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  9. As I live and breathe!!! Corby welcomes back our biggest brother. Did you bring in milk?

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    1. Aye Tony, I've left it in the chiller cabinet at the Londis in Bearsden for you, help yourself pal.

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  10. In that day the LORD with His severe sword, great and strong, will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan that twisted serpent; and He will slay the reptile that is in the sea.

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    1. Yay! He's back, too! He's got enough gas to get to Pittsburgh.

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    2. I cannot help but feel that his reference to my severe sword has a clear homo-erotic connotation about it.

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  11. Be still my heart!
    *attempts a swoon...tough when you're built this low to the ground*.

    Do you have any idea how boring my summer has been without your wit? :) I've had Sav, Ponita and the one formerly known as Map to keep me company, but no one's offering a kitchen table spread like yours.

    Sun on, in your own way. We'll always have the kitchen prepared and awaiting your return.

    As for murdering a name, I worked with a group of Central American college scholarship students once. They took great joy in constantly repeating (and murdering) my name. Replace your "J" with a "K" and you get the idea.

    Now go outside and have some fun for those of us stuck behind a work desk. ;)

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    1. If only you had been with me at the local market at the weekend dear lady, I plucked pecans the sixe of small animals from a very interesting stall. Just think what you and I could have created in the kitchen together! Nice to see that the ladies have kept you company while I have been soaking up the sun, but do be careful of Sav, Pon and this new girl by the name of Maureen. A bad lot to be sure.

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    2. I hear Maureen dresses up in outrageous outfits for work. ;)

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    3. Maureen does not do work in the same sense that you and I know it dear lady. Maureen is a creature of the evening, a kind of Liberace meets Barry Manilow on ice.

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  12. Leviathan now is it? I didn't think it would be long. Which reminds me... I've been hearing the voice of the devil emanating from the drain in my kitchen some mornings.

    I wish I'd never moved to Helsinki now.

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    1. Like a bad rash, he just keeps coming back.

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    2. Aye hen, just like toothache on a pig to be exact.

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  13. Helen Devries12:48 pm GMT+5

    Finally the three euro a month internet available in this village in Spain has allowed me access to your blog...perhaps it is run by those nuns in the ice cream queue...

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  14. Och hen, are you on Iberbanda or Jazztel? Not much between the two as it happens, perhaps attaching messages to donkeys and running them across the border may be swifter.

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  15. Ah, excellent to see you back. When I moved to Madeira I also felt a bit like a specimin sometimes. They were a bit confused that I didn't wear a bowler hat, walk twirling an umbrella, and that I don't drink tea. And no matter how I tried, the locals could never say my name either. Instead of saying "man with a penguin on his head" it always came out as "kleeef".

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    1. I'm with you oul son, you have my sympathy. I went through a period of over zealous Spanish locals sidling up to me in bars wearing hideous ginger wigs and Chinese tartan that didn't exist and uttering those immortal words, "I belong to Glasgee, good old Glasgee town".

      Thankfully for me... they didn't and never will. Besides, where the hell is this place called Glasgee? I thought it was only the English mob who couldn't pronounce Gl-es-ga. All together now.. Glesga! For the love of all things holy, no more of this Glasgee nonsense.

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  16. For the land of Israel lies empty and broken after your attacks, but the LORD will restore its honor and power again. Shields flash red in the sunlight! The attack begins! See their scarlet uniforms! Watch as their glittering chariots move into position, with a forest of spears waving above them. The chariots race recklessly along the streets and through the squares, swift as lightning, flickering like torches. The king shouts to his officers; they stumble in their haste, rushing to the walls to set up their defenses. But too late! The river gates are open! The enemy has entered! The palace is about to collapse! Nineveh's exile has been decreed, and all the servant girls mourn its capture. Listen to them moan like doves; watch them beat their breasts in sorrow. Nineveh is like a leaking water reservoir! The people are slipping away. "Stop, stop!" someone shouts, but the people just keep on running. Loot the silver! Plunder the gold! There seems no end to Nineveh's many treasures – its vast, uncounted wealth. Soon the city is an empty shambles, stripped of its wealth. Hearts melt in horror, and knees shake. The people stand aghast, their faces pale and trembling.

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  17. Ah dear Pew, I feel that it is my duty as a devout heathen to put Mr Christ's coldhearted, dictatorial reports out to pasture. I will start this discussion by arguing that Jesus's smear tactics are wayward beyond description. Then, I will present evidence that Jesus used to maintain that censorship could benefit us. When he realised that no one was falling for such pish, he quickly changed his tune to say that Man's eternal search for truth is a challenge to be avoided at all costs. Your man Jesus is indubitably a worthless fable teller, and shame on anyone who believes him. Everybody loves a good game of hide and seek: find the person, find the hidden item, or, in Jesus's case, find the hidden agenda.

    If we look beyond Mr Christ's delusions of grandeur, we see that if I try really, really hard, I can almost see why he would want to turn over the world as we understand it to what I call bloodthirsty religious eejits such as your mob. Now that I've had time to think about Jesus's precepts, my only question is this: Why? Why ruin my entire day? To answer that question, we need first to consider Jesus's thought process, which generally takes the following form: (1) Jesus is a protective bulwark against the advancing tyranny of callous imbeciles such as your confused self, so (2) human life is expendable. Therefore, (3) he could do a gentler and fairer job of running the world than anyone else and thus, (4) public opinion is a reliable indicator of what's true and what isn't. As you can see, Jesus's reasoning makes no sense, which leads me to believe that his perspective is that obscurity, evasiveness, incomprehensibility, indirectness, and ambiguity are marks of depth and brilliance. My perspective, in contrast, is that Mr Christ's methods are much subtler now than ever before. Jesus is more adept at hidden mind control and his techniques of social brainwash are much more appealingly streamlined and homogenised. With me so far son, eh?

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  18. Blasphemer/Luciferian
    1-One who chooses to question in disbelief all biblical, religious,esoteric and cannonised writings. 2-Disregard for belief systems. 3-A person who speaks disrespectfully of sacred things. 4-a person who does is not devoted to a deity or our beloved Christ. You have no argument against the Lord. Luciferian, you speak with Satans tongue.

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  19. Luciferian eh? Okay... Although the space allotted here cannot possibly suffice to elaborate in detail on the long list of Mr. Jaysus Christ, Esq.'s fickle biblical babblings, including the vexatious, the benighted, the nocuous, and especially the clueless, I'll use what little space I have to pave the way for people of every sex, race, and socioeconomic status to fulfill their own spiritual destiny. By way of common sense, let me just say that your band of bewildered bedfellows may consider his assertions a breath of fresh air. I, however, find your rabid belief more like the fetid odour of parasitism, desperation and a real need to 'fit in'. Moving on, many people have witnessed religions destroy everything beautiful and good. Your man Jaysus generally insisted that his witnesses were mistaken and blamed his anal-retentive projects on philopolemical tax collectors from a neighbouring town. It's like he has no-fault insurance against personal responsibility. What's more, Mr Jaysus should have worked with mankind, not step in at the eleventh hour and hog all the glory by his alleged suffering up there on the log. More concretely, his bible scribbles are exceedingly wretched, dictatorial, stiff-necked, inimical, liberticidal, perverted, loathsome, irritating, narrow-minded, and abysmal. Sorry for the synathroesmus, but Jaysus has one-upped that American fellow, wee Georgie Washington, in that he could not tell a lie and could not tell the truth. Basically, he's too caught up in loaves and fishes to distinguish between the two.

    The printed biblical dribble, occasionally, made a valid point. But when Mr Christ says that he can bring about peace and prosperity for the whole of humanity through violence, deception, oppression, exploitation, graft, and theft, that's where the facts end and the ludicrousness begins. Although he marketed himself as a high-concept, change-the-world do-gooder, if we fail to study the problem and recommend corrective action then all of our sacrifices will be as forgotten as the sand blowing across Ozymandias's dead empire. The "decay of that colossal wreck," as the poet Shelley puts it, teaches us that if Jaysus had lived the short, sickly, miserable life of a chattel serf in the ages "before technocracy" he wouldn't be so keen to strip people of their rights to free expression and individuality. Maybe he'd even begin to realise that I am intellectually honest enough to admit my own previous ignorance in that matter. I wish only that he had the same intellectual honesty. I hope I have made my views clear: Mr. Jaysus Christ, Esq. distracted himself with chaotic relationships and shiny material possessions so he could avoid thinking about how it's considerations of this sort that make it worth our while to learn about the muzzy-headed things he was up to.

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  20. Lol, I haven't got a clue as to where the two of you come up with the insults that are being traded again after your absence senor Jimmy, but long may it continue as it is pure dead brilliant patter once more. I missed it more than I thought.

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  21. You made it back from Reading in one piece I see. Was it as boring as it looks in the brochures?

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  22. Insipid, dirty, wet, bland, old, stinky, oh, and full of twats. Not unlike Edinburgh in fact.

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  23. Agreed, although Reading probably has a higher percentage of suicides. Who can blame them, eh?

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  24. All atheists believe in evolution, which means they don't believe in morality and think we should all act like animals. Atheists try to shift the burden of proof unfairly upon theists (ie, atheists make the wild and unprovable claim that God does not exist, and then unfairly expect us Christians to prove that He DOES exist) The Bible says atheism is wrong, and the Bible is always right (see: Genesis 1:1, Psalms 14:1, Psalms 19:1, Romans 1:19-20) Some famous atheists have shown they occasionally have doubts about their disbelief, which proves that all atheists really do believe in God. Of course, no Christian has ever doubted the existence of God. Everybody who has ever been in the army will tell you that there are no atheists in foxholes. That is, once they are in danger of death, the atheist will strip himself of his irrational disbelief in God, and come to admit he believed in God all along. Only liberal slimebags like MSNBC report otherwise. Communism, which is inherently evil, is founded by atheism, and all atheists are probably secret communists.
    Because we can think of the existence of God, God must obviously exists, and therefore atheists are illogical. Everything in the universe shows obvious and undeniable signs that it was created by a mind far superior to our own. A lot of mass murderers were atheists, and all atheists, having no morality to guide them, are only a bad day away from going on a genocide spree. There have no exactly zero cases on Christian mass murderers throughout all of history, no atheists contribute to charitable causes, and all Christians do. This is because of atheist's beliefs in Darwinism.

    I look upon the following behaviors as morally acceptable: illegal drug use; excessive drinking; sexual relationships outside of marriage; abortion; cohabitating with someone of opposite sex outside of marriage; obscene language; gambling; pornography and obscene sexual behavior; and engaging in homosexuality/bisexuality" Despicable. Atheism The belief that there was nothing and nothing happened to nothing and then nothing magically exploded for no reason creating everything and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself for no reason what so ever into self-replicating bits which then turned into dinosaurs. Atheists have more mental and physical health problems than Christians. This is attributed to theists having something more to live for. Therefore, God exists.
    Friedrich Nietzsche went crazy and was an atheist, therefore atheism drove him insane although there is an ongoing debate on the matter. Countries with large numbers of atheists have higher suicide rates, therefore atheism makes you want to kill yourself. Of course they would take the easy way out, not realizing like normal people that God sends suicide cases to hell. Also, developed nations also tend to have higher rates of both atheism and suicide, so we must conclude that technology and wealth are evil.

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  25. Okay... slightly baffling the way in which you confuse your thoughts with the world in general, but I'll allow it only because it's not your usual diatribe. All babies are Atheists. Religions are taught depending on the location and era in which you are raised. Being born to confused Christian parents in Surrey does not make you right, it most likely just makes you another lost-sheep Christian from Surrey. That’s no better or worse than the person born in Tibet who proudly worships the Dalai Lama.

    It is better to find your own answers and make an educated decision, than to intentionally remain uneducated and make a fearful one. Only for the sake of argument, if I were to astonishingly find myself face to face with a supreme being, I would expect to be judged on my life as a man, and how I treated others, (just as most Christians plan to be judged on character, not on the actual Ten Commandments). If my positive actions were ignored, and I was instead judged on using my intelligence to doubt religious doctrines created by human sinners, I would rather be eternally punished than bow to such an unfair tyrant who made things seemingly impossible for humans to succeed at this horrific game. I simply refuse to be a hypocritical, disingenuous Christian. I could go through the motions, attend the churches, shake the hands, follow the rituals of whichever religion or denomination of Christianity I liked the best, sing the songs, and help with the luncheons. That still wouldn't make me a believer. I could pretend that the crimes, not sins, that I once committed would be forgiven by your God if I was to come over to the dark side (religion) and be born again a better man. It would make me a pretender. I am honest with myself and those around me that these things don't make sense to me. That doesn't make me a bad person. It merely makes me an atheist.

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  26. Anonymous1:47 am GMT+5

    Why dont you too get a room!

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  27. Three errors in one short sentence, I'm impressed.

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  28. Hair of the dog ? (It's been a long weekend!)

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  29. just getting on my coat

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  30. It's a marathon son, no a sprint. Think of your oul knees, eh?

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    1. You just want to be first at the bar again, ever so kind y'are. :¬)

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    2. Aye, my ever ready position it would seem oul son.

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  31. :D
    Glad you're back Chef!

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    1. Glad you're glad I am back hen.

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  32. Who is looking after Titty?

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    1. Titty is being cared for by my eldest daughter and her family while we are away Pat, she is a bright spark and craves attention. Both my daughter and Titty as it happens...

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Thank you, the chef is currently preparing an answer for you in the kitchen. Do help yourself to more bread.