MOTHER TERESA

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Lady Diana – I read somewhere that you were once asked in an interview if you would have done what you have done in your life – the charity work and the good deeds, if you would still have done it if you did not believe in God – and you said no.  Is that true? 

Mother Teresa – I don’t understand.  Are you asking me if I was once asked that and, if so, how I answered or are you re-asking the question? 

Lady D – So you admit that you were once asked it? 

Mother T – No 

Lady D – But you just asked if I was re-asking it? 

Mother T – Did I?  Well, that was just a slip of the tongue 

Lady D – But is it true? 

Mother T – Are you asking if God exists? 

Lady D – No, I am asking you to imagine that he doesn’t 

Mother T – To pretend you mean? 

Lady D – Yes 

Mother T – Why? 

Lady D – In order to answer the question 

Mother T – I can’t do that 

Lady D – I understand 

Mother T – You do? 

Lady D – Yes, let us just forget this conversation then 

Mother T – To put it out of our minds completely, you mean? 

Lady D – Yes 

Mother T – Pretend that it did not happen? 

Lady D – Yes, can you do that? 

Mother T – Yes, of course I can 

SLIPPERS

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I ordered myself a new pair of slippers and now they have arrived they are too small.  I take a size nine and these slippers, the ones I ordered, are a size eight to nine.  I don’t know how that works, how a pair of slippers or shoes that are a size eight to nine can fit someone who is a size eight and also someone who is a size eight and a half and also someone like me who is a size nine. 

I suppose slippers are of the softer shoe variety and if I wear them for a few days they may stretch, although they are very tight and painful.  They pinch my toes and, when I walk, they rub and chafe the back of my heel.  I suspect that these slippers, the ones that I ordered, are in fact a size eight and a half and if I was someone who took a size eight, they would be too big but I suppose I could then purchase some in-soles to pad them out.  But you know what?  I think I’ll just send them back. 

SHREDDIES

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Whilst we were all in lockdown, I began to get nostalgic about breakfast cereals, the cereals I ate as a child.  I found myself craving for a bowl of Rice Krispies or Shreddies, especially Shreddies.  Really it was all about the Shreddies.  After much deliberation, weeks and weeks of deliberation in fact, I was ready.  I visited the supermarket and, as we needed to stock up on muesli and porridge, I made my way to the Cereal Aisle.  

There I was confronted by boxes and boxes of Shreddies.  It was all a little confusing to me as I hadn’t realised that there were quite so many different types of Shreddie.  I immediately dispensed with the possibility of the supermarket’s Own Brand and I quickly deduced that there were, in fact, just five versions of Nestle Shreddies (in this store at least):  Frosted, Coco, White Chocolate, Simple and Original.  I was a bit troubled by the packaging but I supposed that, back when I was a kid, Shreddies had just been…Shreddies and the words The Original emblazoned in massive letters on the front of the box was all for the benefit of someone like me. 

As someone returning after a lengthy hiatus of, let’s say, thirty or forty years or even longer (damn, had it really been that long?) since I had enjoyed a bowl of this fine cereal, I grabbed a box excitedly of The Original.  Home again, I ripped open the packet and filled a bowl poured in milk and I wondered if I should add sugar. 

‘Do you think I should put sugar on them?’ I asked Christine. 

‘I don’t know,’ she shrugged.  ‘Did you when you were a child?’ 

‘I don’t know, I can’t remember.’ 

I helped myself to a spoonful and thought, yeah, they definitely needed sugar and after adding a fairly liberal sprinkling I sat at the kitchen table and started to munch them as Christine put away the rest of the shopping. 

I’ll readily admit getting through that large bowl of Shreddies was pretty hard work.  But I persevered and when at last I put the empty bowl down on top of the counter Christine asked, ‘Well?’ 

‘Not as nice as I remembered.’ was all I could manage to say. 

EVERYMAN

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I lead a mundane life and I’m okay with that.  In fact, I embrace it.  I have always managed to make enough money in order to provide for myself and give a little to charity.  If I have any ambition at all it is simply to be the quintessential ‘Everyman.’  But as I navigate my way through each day, head down and hardly speaking, I realise that I have failed. 

I voted to Remain and I read The Guardian, I read poetry, I write poetry, I haven’t read The Da Vinci Code, and I’m not on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. 

I didn’t watch ‘the game’ last night or ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’ or ‘Top Gear’ – I don’t play golf or ‘Call of Duty’ or ‘Grand Theft Auto’.  And I don’t think Katie Hopkins has ‘a point’ or that Boris Johnson is ‘doing his best’ and ‘will get it sorted.’  

SUPERMARKETS

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During lockdown I found myself looking forward to the weekly shop.  Suddenly, a visit to the supermarket had become a little trip out or a wee sojourn if you prefer. 

At the beginning of the pandemic, I was furloughed and I decided to make use of the period of unwanted freedom by reading as many of the books as possible that had already languished for too long up on the shelves un-opened.  And I mean no offence Mr Joyce and Mr Pynchon and I don’t regret the time and effort I put into reading your mighty tomes but occasionally I needed a break, to take a walk and to clear my head. 

I built a fence and new gate at the bottom of the garden.  I tidied and re-painted the spare bedroom and the kitchen and the dining room and the side porch.  But Wednesday afternoons were special.  I was actually allowed to get in the car and drive somewhere else.  Of course, during the first lockdown it was all a bit stricter, wasn’t it?  And the supermarkets preferred that we shop alone if possible and so Christine and I took it in turns, although I started to tag along just for the ride.  You can’t imagine the scintillating conversations we shared as we drove along:   

‘Wonder if they’ve got toilet rolls.  Hope we can get some baked beans, see if they’ve got any of those nice veggie sausages we used to like. Shall we get some sandwiches and eat them in the car before heading back?’ 

When we got there, I would sit and watch Christine as she queued and after she disappeared into the store I listened to the radio or got out and wandered around the car park.  But it wasn’t until we were actually allowed to go in together that it started to feel like a proper outing.  And I know that Christine and I are not alone in this because some friends of ours, or I should say now ex-friends, admitted that they began venturing further and further afield and shopping at random supermarkets.  Stores they had never visited before.  We were shocked by this revelation and decided they were bad people, flouting the rules and breaking supermarket protocol.  When, after restrictions were lifted and they rang to see if we fancied going out for a curry, we politely declined.  I mean, I was all for eating out in order to help out but not with Dominic and Mary. 

A BAD JOKE

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Did you hear the one about the two comedians who told the same joke?  A joke about a fridge, a ‘Smart’ fridge?  The comedians compared this fridge to a nagging wife or girlfriend – hassling them when they were out with the lads, reminding them and pestering them to please, please pick up a pint of milk on the way home.   

It wasn’t, in my opinion, a good joke, it was, in my opinion, a bad joke, a naff joke, a sexist joke but nonetheless both comedians wanted to claim it as their own. 

‘It’s my joke,’ said Comedian One 

‘No it’s not – it’s mine,’ said Comedian Two. 

‘No it’s not and here’s the proof,’ said Comedian One. 

‘That doesn’t prove anything and I’ve hired some expensive and swanky lawyers and I’m taking you to court,’ said Comedian Two. 

‘Okay,’ said Comedian One, ‘well, I can’t afford that and I don’t really want to get embroiled in a lengthy lawsuit that goes on and on like something out of a Dickensian novel.’ 

Actually, I don’t know if Comedian One said that or even thought it but I’m pretty sure that he did say: 

‘But it IS my joke so you know what?  Just you bring it on.’ 

And Comedian Two said, ‘Too right I will, because it is MY joke.’ 

And Comedian One said, ‘No it’s not, it’s MY joke.’ 

And Comedian Two said, No it’s MY joke.’ 

And Comedian One said, ‘No, it’s MY joke.’ 

And Comedian Two said, ‘No, it’s MY joke.’ 

AD INFINITUM