From our Church Mag – Sep

Render unto Caesar, but don’t take the Mick

Parking at Westgate shops car park t’other day like, it said on’t pay station 90p for up to 2 hours stay. Ah put in pound but no change came forth. Ah’ll go t’foot of our stairs. By ‘eck ducks, it were reet daylight robbery as Ah were only theer not 20 minutes to make our monthly Children’s Joy payment t’Ukraine, baht ‘at.

Reverting to Southern, I don’t know about you, but that smacks of profiteering to me. It might be legal, but moral it ain’t. Not only did the car park company charge me for time I did not need to pay for, it did me out of 10p. A small amount I grant you, but it’s the principle. Theft I call it. How about a bit of Fair Trade from our corporates in their domestic dealings?

It made my day though when I got back to my car and an elderly gent with a walking stick had just parked in a disabled space and was about to squander some of his pension on a ticket. I asked if he was planning on staying long. He reckoned about half an hour, so I gave him my ticket and saved him 90p.

In your face NCP. I will probably waste my time if I complain to Trading Standards about you, but at least I can warn people about your sharp practice.

The trains are an endless source of amusement at times. For my devoted readers, if not always for me. This latest snippet though did not involve me for once.

A girl sat next to me at Laindon on the way to London one morning recently. She had her music on and the sound was escaping from her headphones. I was inwardly boogieing because it was proper music with guitars and drums, not that new fangled hip op rubbish the young cats currently listen to. Some women got on at Upminster and were like yak yak yak all the way to Barking, before one asked my neighbour if she could turn her music down. Her response to the girl when she said sorry, she didn’t realise it was being overheard was “Well we were jiving here.”

Next time luv, if you want a quieter carriage, try travelling in the quiet carriage. You can’t miss it. It has the words quiet carriage painted on the side. Of course then somebody might just ask you to turn your chatty decibels down.

That reminds of the time, some years ago now, when we were able to open windows on our line. A girl across the carriage had the window open. She was facing in the direction of travel. A woman sat opposite her and closed the window. The girl remarked, perfectly politely, that she had just opened the window. The woman said back that she wanted it closed, despite her sitting position being away from the airflow once the train was in motion. The girl asked why she didn’t sit somewhere else as she had been there first. Because I want to sit here was the woman’s response.

I dunno. I’ve lost count of the times when grown ups have displayed lack of manners like this in the face of exemplary behaviour by the young. I hope I never get grumpy like that.

Bon voyage readers. Happy trails. Stand well back from the platform’s edge and mind the closing doors.

Ever seen a green slug? Me neither. Until today. There was one on the bottom of our box for recycled glass and I didn’t even paint it, it was naturally that colour. Honest.

How about argued with your 3 year old in Tesco’s? Jezebel and I did once. Mark, our oddly accented new curate reminded me of just such a piece of impromptu retail entertainment in a recent sermon. He was talking about better bread. That used to be the hook line in the Kingsmill ads when it first came out. Kingsmill, better bread. Well Tesco’s own white sliced wasn’t good enough for one particular youngster twenty and some years ago. She wanted better bread and boy did she let the entire supermarket know it. As an innocent bystander, watching a distraught mother trying to reason with a toddler who knew what oven baked dough product she wanted her sandwich fillings to grace, my sympathies were with the hard pressed parent, but I couldn’t help admiring the child’s determination. It pays to advertise.

I’m Ben Jericho, the Victor Meldrew of Langdon Hills. Don’t get me started on cold callers.

Here’s a bonus for anyone who missed Alan Barrett’s flying visit in August. A smaller version of Mike Ardly’s cartoon appeared in the notice sheets on the particular Sunday Alan and Janet made their welcome return. I was asked why they were barbecuing a zebra. I’m told it is in Mark’s honour, what with him hailing from Zimbabwe and all. Apparently, zebra are found as far South as Northern Zimbabwe, so the geographical accuracy of Mr Ardly’s offering is sound, even though some people’s physical proportions are exaggerated to accord with the voracious appetites artistically attributed to them some years past.

I have also been authorised to point out that any other Ardly work possibly reproduced elsewhere in this magazine were originally created at the behest of Ronnie Millar. Mike would like it to be known that all his previous acts of wanton vandalism ceased when he started doing his A Levels in 1972 and that he has been a pillar of society ever since. At least I THINK the word was pillar.

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