Milestones along the Way – The Tin Chapel Men and by Hook or by Crook by Geoff Cronin


The Tin Chapel Men

In my father’s day there were many crusades against the demon drink, in fact there was a slogan popular with politicians of the time, “Ireland Sober, Ireland Free”. Hence it was no surprise when a company of evangelists appeared in local halls around the country, preaching about the evils of drink among other things. They were known variously as The Hot Gospellers, The Sankey Mudie Men and The Tin Chapel Men. Incidentally, men whose surnames were Sankey and Mudie were associated with this movement.

The modus-operandi was the same wherever they appeared. A local hall would be hired and leaflets advertising a free evening lecture distributed around the town and free tea and biscuits might even be suggested. So the hall would be peopled by a selection of layabouts, drunks and those who had nothing better to do and the meeting would begin with one of the preachers speaking about the evils of drink.

To illustrate the point he would hold up a glass of water in one hand and a common earth worm in the other and he would say “See what I hold in my hands, a glass of God’s own fresh water and a lowly earth worm. Now I drop the worm into the glass and you can see he swims about quite happily. But now I show you a glass of the demon whisky, I drop a worm into it and the unfortunate creature shrivels up and dies immediately. And now, my dear people, what lesson may we learn from this?” He pauses dramatically, holding the glass containing the whisky and the now dead worm and a semi drunken voice from the audience says, “If you drink whisky you’ll never get worms”.

All I can say at this stage is, if it didn’t happen it should have!

***

A man whose neighbour was recovering from a serious illness was asked by a friend how the man was doing and he replied,

“Well, sure he’s between the bed and the fire.”

***

A tourist being shown over the Irish countryside by a local, paused when he saw some red berries growing on a plant at the roadside.

“Tell me,” he said, “what are those berries?” “Those are blackberries,” he was told.

“But they are not black, they’re red,” said the tourist.

“That’s true,” said the guide, “but you see sir, they’re always red when they’re green!”

***

By Hook or by Crook

There is a saying attributed to Oliver Cromwell concerning his approach to Waterford, Hook Lighthouse being on one leg of the estuary of the Suir river and Crook being a townsland on the far side of the estuary.

In my opinion this saying has nothing to do with Cromwell, but instead refers to the terms on which an old time landlord let a cottage on his estate to a tenant.

The conditions allowed the tenant to gather firewood on the estate limited to what could be obtained by Hook (meaning a Billhook) or by Crook meaning a long pole with a metal hook at one end by which rotten branches could be pulled down from the trees.

About Geoff Cronin – 1923 – 2017

There were few jobs that Geoff could not turn his hands to, and over the years he mastered an impressive number of professional undertakings. Master baker and confectioner, mobile cinema operator, salesman, band leader, senior executive and master wood turner, storyteller and writer.

Geoff Cronin published his first book in 2005 at age 82. The Colour of Life is a collection of stories of life in Waterford during his childhood and early adulthood in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. This was followed by two further books that related tales of further adventures in Waterford and Dublin.

Thank you for dropping in today and you can read The Colour of Life, The Black Bitch and the previous chaptes of Milestones in this directory:

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/the-colour-of-life-by-geoff-cronin/

Milestones along the Way – 100 Plants and snippets by Geoff Cronin


The Hundred Plants

When I married Joan Flanagan we went to live at number 30 St. Ursula’s Terrace, a rented house where Joan had lived all her life. As we had been courting for four years prior to the marriage, I knew all the neighbours in the area and they had decided that I would need good advice especially when it came to gardening as the garden was my first priority when I moved in.

It all began the moment I took a spade in my hand and went out to tackle the garden, which had been sadly neglected for years. My immediate neighbour on my left appeared the moment I sank the spade into the ground.

“I see you’re making a start there” he said, “and you have a tough job in front of you”. “I’ll tell you how to clear that land of weeds, first of all get yourself a hundred (cabbage) plants, next get a short stick and put a point on it, now get a bottle of water. Then when you have the ground dug and levelled come along with your pointed stick and put holes in the ground about two feet apart in rows and have two feet between the rows. Now get your bottle of water and put water in each hole. Then drop the plants in the holes and bring soil in around the stems and there you have your cabbage patch and those plants are so hungry that they’ll starve the weeds by eating up all the nourishment in the ground.

Then the following year plant your spuds in that patch which will be clean of weeds by that time. And there you have it!”

As I thanked my neighbour (for nothing) and as he left the scene, my next door neighbour on the other side appeared and approached me with the comment. “I see your thinking of making a start there and I noticed your man giving you the benefit of his experience. Well, let me tell you, he’s talking bullshit and you should pay no attention whatsoever to anything he says. Now I’m tilling this garden this last fifty years and I know a bit about it. Given see, you have a neglected garden on your hands there and there’s only one way to clear the weeds out of it and here’s the plan…

“First of all get yourself a hundred (cabbage plants) and then you’ll need a bottle of water and a short pointed stick etc. etc.” There followed precisely the same instructions but with this addendum. “I knew all belonging to you boy and I know the way you were raised and how could you know anything about gardening?”

So, not wishing to hurt his feelings, I thanked him for his advice and since by that time the daylight was fading I went back into the house for my tea.

A few days later I was walking down the town when a man from three doors down, stopped me. “Hello there” he said, “I see you’re making a start on the garden and I noticed that you were getting plenty of advice from your two next door neighbours. Well you can ignore whatever they told you because they know feck all about gardening and I’m going to put you right here and now. You can see what you have here is an old neglected garden and there’s only one way to clear the weeds out of it. Here’s what you have to do. First get yourself a hundred plants (cabbage), then you’ll need a short stick with a point on it and a bottle of water etc. etc.”

The recipe was exactly the same as before and I had to smile but I thanked him for his advice and went on my way.

In the event I made a hen run in the section nearest the house, a row of loganberries was next followed by rhubarb, onions, carrots and lettuce and guess what a small cabbage patch!

My neighbours were decent and helpful in every way over the years that followed and I still cherish those memories of a happy if frugal time of my life.

Postscript

Joan and I lived at number thirty for several years. I built a kitchen on to the back of the house as the family grew and turned the existing kitchen into a living/dining room.
The building of the kitchen, which I did single handed, is another story. We left that house in 1955 and moved to ‘Selby’ and that is yet another story.

***

An apprentice shop assistant was ten minutes late coming back to work after lunch and the manager, who was a stickler for timekeeping, stopped him at the door and the following communication ensued:-

Manager: Why are you late back after lunch?

Boy: I had to get a haircut, sir.

Manager: You’re not entitled to get your hair cut in the firm’s time.

Boy: But it grows in the firm’s time, sir.

Manager: Well, it didn’t all grow in the firm’s time.

Boy: I know that, sir, but I didn’t get it all cut!

©Geoff Cronin 2010

About Geoff Cronin – 1923 – 2017

There were few jobs that Geoff could not turn his hands to, and over the years he mastered an impressive number of professional undertakings. Master baker and confectioner, mobile cinema operator, salesman, band leader, senior executive and master wood turner, storyteller and writer.

Geoff Cronin published his first book in 2005 at age 82. The Colour of Life is a collection of stories of life in Waterford during his childhood and early adulthood in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. This was followed by two further books that related tales of further adventures in Waterford and Dublin.

Thank you for dropping in today and you can read The Colour of Life, The Black Bitch and the previous chaptes of Milestones in this directory:

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/the-colour-of-life-by-geoff-cronin/

Milestones along the Way – The Banks (of The Suir) by Geoff Cronin


The Banks (of The Suir)

In the 1930s, when I was a boy there were five banks in the City of Waterford. The Munster and Leinster, The Bank of Ireland, The Provincial, The National and The Penny Savings Bank. The population of the city at that time was approximately twenty five thousand.
The bank manager was regarded as a very important man in those days and in fact his employees, clerks and typists etc., were held to be a cut above the ordinary. The clerks were required to join the golf club and to be seen in all the best places – they were paid about thirty shillings a week!

Banking then was seen as reserved for wealthy people, shopkeepers, property owners, solicitors, big farmers and the like and people who could boast a cheque book or a bank account were thin on the ground. In general business was done in cash and wages were invariably paid in cash.

In the previous century, powerful families founded their own banks and produced notes for one pound, one guinea, two pounds, three pounds and fifty pounds and these were signed by family members or partners as guarantors. The prominent Waterford banks of the time were Newport’s Bank and Roberts Bank. Samples of their bank notes, now quite rare, are illustrated in this book and I learned that a Waterford Bank note for nine shillings was recently sold at auction in Canada for £800 sterling.

But back to the 1930s – at that time there was a bank in every town and village in the country, some of them in remote parts, and a story is told of one such bank in a small town. At this point I must tell you that the standard minimum staff in such an establishment would consist of a manager, a cashier and a porter. Bank Inspectors were employed by the head office to visit the branch offices without prior notice to check up on the operations of same. Needless to say the branch staff did not welcome such visits.

However, a visit from an inspector was scheduled by head office for this particular bank and he arrived at 11 o’clock on a Tuesday morning. The little town was not fully awake at that hour and there was nobody about as the inspector approached the bank. He checked the time as he walked purposefully through the entrance noting that the porter was not “on the door”.

There was nobody to be seen in the bank. No porter, no cashier and no manager! No customers either! The inspector was perplexed and as he pondered the situation, he heard faint voices coming from the manager’s private office. He went quietly towards and opened the office door a crack and saw the three boys engrossed in a game of poker. He retreated quietly and passing the cashier’s box he pressed the alarm button.

Well the bell went off with a deafening volume and the inspector stood in the middle of the foyer and waited for the inevitable panic to erupt. But nothing happened. No movement from the manager’s office. Nothing!

But while he stood there, perplexed and dumbfounded, the bar man from the pub across the road appeared carrying a tray with two bottles of stout and a large whisky, entered the bank and vanished through the door of the manager’s office. Almost immediately he re-appeared carrying the empty tray and as he passed the cashier’s box he reached in and switched off the alarm.

When he was dead level with the open mouthed inspector, he said “The manager wants to know what are ye havin’ ”?

One Pound note from Waterford Bank, 1880

Three Pound note from Roberts Bank, 1809

***

On his way home from school a boy, the extent of whose finances was one halfpenny, went into a cake shop and asked for “A halfpenny stale penny cake!”

My father recounted this story from his schooldays in the 1890s.

©Geoff Cronin 2010

About Geoff Cronin – 1923 – 2017

There were few jobs that Geoff could not turn his hands to, and over the years he mastered an impressive number of professional undertakings. Master baker and confectioner, mobile cinema operator, salesman, band leader, senior executive and master wood turner, storyteller and writer.

Geoff Cronin published his first book in 2005 at age 82. The Colour of Life is a collection of stories of life in Waterford during his childhood and early adulthood in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. This was followed by two further books that related tales of further adventures in Waterford and Dublin.

Thank you for dropping in today and you can read The Colour of Life and the previous chapters of The Black Bitch in this directory:

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/the-colour-of-life-by-geoff-cronin/

The Black Bitch and other Tales – The Cure and other smippets by Geoff Cronin


The Cure

Mikey was a well-known character in our town. He was also a sporadic drunk and had the reputation of being witty. In his bouts of sobriety he used to hire out to local farmers for a week or two and the proceeds would go towards his next binge.

He was doing a week’s work for a certain farmer and was ‘living in’ for the week. On the first day when he went in for ‘the dinner’, a rabbit stew was served up. This proved to be generally acceptable but next day it was roast rabbit and in fact it was rabbit every day for the whole week.

On the final day, however, Mikey complained of severe stomach cramps and seemed unable to work, going constantly to the lavatory.

The lady of the house expressed concern and asked if he needed the doctor, to which Mikey replied. “I think, ma’am, ’tis a ferret I’d need!”

Secrets of A Shop Assistant

While serving behind the counter in the family bakery shop one morning, I overheard the following conversation between two old ladies who lived in a laneway nearby:-

“Mornin’ Mrs. Barry.”

“Mornin’ Mrs. Whyte.”

“The weather is very changeable Mrs. Barry.”

“Indeed it is Mrs. Whyte, you wouldn’t know what to pawn!”

“Tell me Mrs. Barry, were you at the weddin’ up the street?”

“No I wasn’t axed but I heard all about it, and I can tell you it wasn’t up to much, in fact I’m told they had a bread puddin’ instead of a wedding cake!”

“Well now Mrs. Barry tell us was the bride far gone?”

“Not at all girl, she wasn’t even pregnant!”

“Well, well! There’s swank for you!”

Time and Motion Study

Jack and Joe were two bachelor brothers who lived in a house with a garage at the end of a long garden approached by a back lane.

The small greenhouse, also at the end of the garden, was Jack’s pride and joy, where he grew tomatoes, early lettuce and cucumbers. The rest of the garden was a lawn which always looked absolutely perfect.

The pair lived separate lives which were carefully dovetailed, especially when it came to lawn maintenance and the push type lawn mower stood permanently by the back door.

Jack was always first out every morning and he came out by the back door and walked down the garden, pushing the lawn mower till he came to the greenhouse where he parked the mower and entered his greenhouse. After inspecting his plants he walked out by the back lane to his place of work.

Joe would emerge from the house about half an hour after Jack, also using the back door and after walking to the garage, took his car out and drove off to work. Now when Joe returned and garaged the car he took the lawn mower with him on his way to the house and in that way two strips of lawn were cut each day.

The thing was that each brother only cut his strip in one direction – never the opposite way – but the net result was a perfect lawn.

* * *

A noted drinking man was heard to declare. “We must be near a hostelry – I detect a dark green sound like the smell of broken bottles!”

* * *

An elderly lady, living alone on her farm, was rarely seen outside after dark and when I enquired if it was always so, I got the reply, “indeed it is so, sure they say she goes to bed with the hens!” Meaning she retired when the fowl were locked in at sunset!

* * *

Descriptions

A well fed man:- He’s as fat as a butcher’s dog!
A satisfied Man. He has a smile on him like a butcher’s dog!
A thin man:- He’s as fat as a hen across the forehead!
A happy man:- He’s as happy as a lamb with two mothers!
A mean man:– He’s as tight as a nun’s knickers.
He’s as tight as a camel’s arse – Dust-proof!
A notorious gossip: Her tongue is hinged in the middle like the clapper of a bellows.
She has a tongue fit to cut a hedge!
Politicians: Trying to pin down a politician is like trying to catch eels in a barrel of lard!

©Geoff Cronin 2008

About Geoff Cronin – 1923 – 2017

There were few jobs that Geoff could not turn his hands to, and over the years he mastered an impressive number of professional undertakings. Master baker and confectioner, mobile cinema operator, salesman, band leader, senior executive and master wood turner, storyteller and writer.

Geoff Cronin published his first book in 2005 at age 82. The Colour of Life is a collection of stories of life in Waterford during his childhood and early adulthood in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. This was followed by two further books that related tales of further adventures in Waterford and Dublin.

Thank you for dropping in today and you can read The Colour of Life and the previous chapters of The Black Bitch in this directory:

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/the-colour-of-life-by-geoff-cronin/

The Black Bitch and other Tales – Clerical Errors by Geoff Cronin


Clerical Errors

An Irish priest, stationed in London, was charged with the job of looking out for Irish lads who were coming to England for work and ended up on building sites.

His priestly duty was to see that these lads were kept on the ‘straight and narrow’ and introduced into good Catholic environments. To this end the priest had cultivated a network of builder’s foremen, whom he visited regularly, and these men would tell him of any new recruits from the Emerald Isle.

On one such visit he learned that one Jack Murphy had started work that week and he asked the foreman if he could meet Murphy.

“Hold on for a minute Father and I’ll see where he is and I’ll get him for you,” said the foreman.

The priest followed him out onto the site and the foreman looked up.

“There he is father, on the platform on level four – the man wheeling the barrow.”

Murphy was there alright and the priest could see him plainly, a distinguishing feature of the man being the fact that the sole of his shoe was coming adrift and was flapping dangerously with every step that he took.

“Get him down here immediately,” said the priest.

The foreman duly obliged and within minutes Murphy was standing in front of the priest.

“What in God’s name do ye think yer at boy, marching around sixty feet up on a scaffold with half yer shoe hangin’ off – are you trying to kill yourself?”

“Well Father,” said the lad, “I know I need new boots but I don’t get paid till Friday and the old ones will have to do till then.”

“That’s not good enough at all,” said the priest, taking a roll of notes out of his pocket, so big that the roll was contained by a big rubber band.

The priest carefully removed the rubber band and handing it to Murphy said, “here boy, put that around your foot and it might hold ye till Friday!”

* * *

Years ago in a certain village it was mooted that a factory was going to be put up and when I asked a local what might be produced there he answered ‘camel hair cheese’.

* * *

An Irish priest was stopped in the street in Cricklewood, London, by a young man who shook him warmly by the hand.

“How are ye Father Clancy, you wouldn’t know me but I’m one of the Murphys of Ballybeg,” said the man.

“Of course I know you,” said the priest, struggling to remember.

“Just refresh my memory now, was it you or your brother that was killed off the tractor?”

* * *

During the time when priests drove around the parish in a pony trap, a boy who was late for school was running past the local shop. The priest had just pulled up his pony and trap outside the shop and he grabbed the boy saying, “here boy, hold the pony while I go in here for a paper.”

“I can’t father, I’m late for school and the master will kill me.”

But, the priest merely tightened his grip and said loudly, “if ye don’t do as I say I’ll stick ye to the ground.”

“Well,” said the boy, “why don’t you stick the pony to the ground.”

“Man, Take up your Cross and Follow Me.”

Once upon a time there was a man who was carrying his cross through life and the weight of the cross was biting into his shoulder cruelly. His back was badly chafed and his arms ached as he trudged along his way and his knees were bruised and swollen, for he had fallen more than once.

In the distance he heard faintly the sound of a carpenter at work – mallet hitting chisel, short sawing strokes – and then he noticed a large shed from which these sounds were coming. As he drew nearer he saw the large door was open and he decided to go in and

rest awhile, if the carpenter didn’t object.
As he entered the shed he saw that the walls were lined with stacks of crosses, hundreds of them. So, he leaned his cross against one of the stacks and as he did so he saw that the carpenter was none other than Jesus, who was busy making crosses for people to carry through life.

“Come in and rest yourself son,” said Jesus, “you must be weary from your journey.”

“Indeed I am,” said the man, “weary and sore all over for that cross I’m carrying doesn’t suit me at all. Will you look at the state of my back and my shoulders, let alone my poor knees where I fell. It’s not that I want to complain, you know, but I thought you might have chosen a cross for me that would be a better fit, so to speak.”

Jesus smiled. “There are hundreds of crosses here, my son, and you’re welcome to try them all and select the one that suits you best.”

Well, the man thanked him profusely and went off about the shed trying each cross carefully and hefting it on his back and shoulders and finally he came back to Jesus.

“I’m very grateful to you for giving me such a choice and I’ve found a cross which fits me perfectly and I will be able to carry it for the rest of my journey.”

With that he picked up the cross and headed for the door, a happy man.

“By the way,” Jesus called after him, “That’s the one you came in with!”

* * *

Question from a small boy to a man with a sour face:
“How much would you charge to haunt a house?”;

©Geoff Cronin 2008

About Geoff Cronin – 1923 – 2017

There were few jobs that Geoff could not turn his hands to, and over the years he mastered an impressive number of professional undertakings. Master baker and confectioner, mobile cinema operator, salesman, band leader, senior executive and master wood turner, storyteller and writer.

Geoff Cronin published his first book in 2005 at age 82. The Colour of Life is a collection of stories of life in Waterford during his childhood and early adulthood in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. This was followed by two further books that related tales of further adventures in Waterford and Dublin.

Thank you for dropping in today and you can read The Colour of Life and the previous chapters of The Black Bitch in this directory:

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/the-colour-of-life-by-geoff-cronin/

Smorgasbord 2016 in Review Laughter the best medicine – The Irish View on Life.


This is one of the most popular Laughter the best medicine in the last three years.. and it had most views in 2016… Now that we are back in Ireland I can confirm that it might rain but you cannot beat the warmth of the people.

I have to mention that my husband is Irish and his father is one of the finest raconteurs of jokes and stories, Irish or otherwise. My own mother’s family originated from County Cork.. in Ireland, Cork men have been the butt of many a joke as have those poor souls from Kerry. The Irish have a long and revered history but they have also endured dark times. And I have little doubt that it is there wonderful sense of humour and their ability to take the mick out of themselves that make them so universally liked.

We had been married about 17 years before we returned for several years to live in Ireland. I had visited many times of course to visit my in-laws but had never been fully immersed in the culture or the sense of fun.

I remember coming out of the Shelbourne Hotel in St.Stephen’s Green in Dublin shortly after our arrival. An upmarket establishment to say the least and I followed on the heels of two very well dressed, behatted ladies of mature years. I stood behind them as we waited for traffic lights to change so that we could cross the road and one said to the other. “Would you look at that feckin’ traffic!”

It took me a while to get used to hearing the use of this word in everyday language but whilst in some cases it is a less offensive version of its four letter cousin, it in fact started life as a meaning ‘to steal’ or ‘to throw’ something.

Anyway it is Friday, it’s raining and I thought that you might enjoy some of my favourite examples of Irish Humour including the marketing of Irish drinking establishments.

irish-pub-notices-09

Too much of the good stuff.

One night, Mrs McMillen answers the door to see her husband’s best friend, Paddy, standing on the doorstep.

“Hello Paddy, but where is my husband? He went with you to the beer factory”

Paddy shook his head. “Ah Mrs McMillen, there was a terrible accident at the beer factory, your husband fell into a vat of Guinness stout and drowned”

Mrs McMillen starts crying. “Oh don’t tell me that, did he at least go quickly?”

Paddy shakes his head. “Not really – he got out 3 times to pee!”

irish-pub-notices-10

Oil be there!

Decades ago, there was a huge fire in one of the oil fields in Texas. The boss of the field contacted Red Adair, but was told that he couldn’t do anything as he was booked up for weeks. But Red Adair gave the Boss the telephone number of his cousin, Green Adair, in Ireland. So the Boss phoned Green Adair, who said he and his team would be over on the next available boat.

A few days later Green Adair and his team drove their transit van off the boat and travelled without stopping to Texas. Arriving at the oilfield, the boss tells him that the best place to see the fire was up on top of a nearby ridge. So Green and his men pile back into the Transit and drive up to the edge of the ridge.

After a few minutes, the Transit slowly moves off the top of the hill, gathers tremendous speed, and plummets right into the centre of the fire. Green Adair and his men jump out, and start stamping on the fire and blowing at it furiously. After a couple of hours, the fire is out.

The Boss is delighted and goes to see Green Adair and his men. “That’s the most amazing thing I’ve seen in my life! Incredible!!!” says the Boss. He willingly and delightedly gives them a cheque for $5 million, and asks Green Adair what’s the first thing he’ll do with the money. “Get the feckin’ brakes fixed!!!” came the reply…

irish-pub-notices-13

Irish War Games

‘Hallo, Mr. Sarkozy!’ a heavily accented voice said. ‘This is Paddy down at the Harp Pub in County Clare, Ireland .. I am ringing to inform you that we are officially declaring war on you! We voted to reject the Lisbon treaty!’

‘Well, Paddy,’ Sarkozy replied, ‘This is indeed important news! How big is your army?’

‘Right now,’ says Paddy, after a moment’s calculation, ‘there is myself, me Cousin Sean, me next door neighbour Seamus, and the entire darts team from the pub. That makes eleven!’

Sarkozy paused. ‘I must tell you, Paddy, that I have 100,000 men in my army waiting to move on my command.’

‘Begoora!’ says Paddy. ‘I’ll have to ring you back.’

Sure enough, the next day, Paddy calls again. ‘Mr. Sarkozy, the war is still on. We have managed to get us some infantry equipment!’ ‘And what equipment would that be Paddy?’ Sarkozy asks.

‘Well, we have two combines, a bulldozer, and Murphy’s farm tractor.’

Sarkozy sighs amused. ‘I must tell you, Paddy, that I have 6,000 tanks and 5,000 armoured personnel carriers. Also, I have increased my army to 150,000 since we last spoke.’

‘Saints preserve us!’ says Paddy. ‘I’ll have to get back to you.’

Sure enough, Paddy rings again the next day. ‘Mr. Sarkozy, the war is still on! We have managed to get ourselves airborne! We have modified Jackie McLaughlin’s ultra-light with a couple of shotguns in the cockpit, and four boys from the Shamrock Bar have joined us as well!’

Sarkozy was silent for a minute and then cleared his throat. ‘I must tell you, Paddy, that I have 100 bombers and 200 fighter planes. My military bases are surrounded by laser-guided, surface-to-air missile sites. And since we last spoke, I have increased my army to 200,000!’

‘Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!’ says Paddy, ‘I will have to ring you back.’

Sure enough, Paddy calls again the next day. ‘Top o’ the mornin’, Mr. Sarkozy! I am sorry to inform you that we have had to call off the war.’

‘Really? I am sorry to hear that,’ says Sarkozy. ‘Why the sudden change of heart?’

‘Well,’ says Paddy, ‘we had a long chat over a few pints of Guinness and packets of crisps, and we decided there is no feckin’ way we can feed 200,000 prisoners.

 irish-pub-notices-16

Heaven or Hell.

In Ireland there is a little tradition that takes place two weeks before you die. In the night the angel of death visits you and takes you on a journey.

Michael had just fallen asleep when the angel arrived and swept him off in his arms. The first stop was heaven and he set Michael down on his feet on a cloud.

“Now Michael, when you die you have a choice to come to heaven or go to hell. I am going to show you the options. Here in heaven you will be allocated your own cloud, a harp and a white toga that it is your responsibility to wash when the cloud rains once a week.

Michael looked less than impressed and after a brief look around the angel swept him back up again and plummeted downwards.

They entered through a large ornate iron gate and the angel dropped Michael to the floor where he stood looking around him in amazement. There was a swimming pool with bikini clad beautiful women, a bar serving pints of Guinness and shots of whisky, there was a hot tub and he could hear some great music coming from the beach where the smell of cooking sausages wafted across to him.

The angel looked at him and asked if he had made up his mind where he wanted to go.

Michael had no hesitation in telling him he wanted to go to hell.

The angel returned Michael to his bed and left him to wake up in the morning without any recollection of the night’s travels.

Sure enough two weeks later, Michael passed away and in a flash found himself back at the gates of hell. His memory of his recent trip fully restored, he rang the bell, and was ushered in and straight through a door marked ‘Reception and Induction’

To his horror he found himself knee high in cow dung and there were thousands of other people all shovelling the muck into carts pulled by other men and women, harnessed and being whipped.

He turned back to the door to see a guard with his arms crossed keeping an eye on the proceedings. Now Michael had been known in life as a man who was not going to take any nonsense from anybody and he stormed over to the guard and demanded to see the head man.

He berated the guard for some time and eventually the door opened and the devil himself appeared.

Michael explained that he had been shown around by the angel and where was the pool; the bikini clad beautiful women and the bar? He had not signed up for dung shovelling.

The devil smiled benignly at the man and turned on his heel. Over his shoulder he uttered the oft heard words on earth.

“That was marketing, now you are a customer!”

 And to finish off.. a video that never fails to make me crack up..