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Madazine (4 Viewers)


Honoured/Sadly Missed

Visitor: Good morning.

Cashier: Good morning.

Visitor: I have a hundred in old tenners here and I’d like to exchange them for the new notes.

Cashier: Oh, you would, would you? Well, this should have been done by Monday and it’s Wednesday now. Why have you brought them in so late?

Visitor: I know I should have done this earlier, but the money belongs to my wife and she’s only just noticed that it’s out of date.

Cashier: Has she now? It’s a pity she didn’t spot that earlier.

Visitor: Yes it is, but as it happens I phoned your manager and was told that it’s all right for you to swap the cash now.

Cashier: This is very irregular but I’ll oblige you without consulting my boss. Anyway, why hasn’t your wife come in herself?

Visitor: Because she isn’t well enough.

Cashier: What’s wrong with her?

Visitor: She has arthritis, but I don’t see what that has to do with you.

Cashier: It wouldn’t do you any harm to humour me. How long has she had this problem?

Visitor: A couple of years.

Cashier: Are you looking after her properly?

Visitor: Of course I am. Are you satisfied now?

Cashier: Not quite. How long have you been married?

Visitor: Forty-two years.

Cashier: Ah, I thought as much.

Visitor: What do mean by that?

Cashier: It’s simple enough. Forty-two is six times seven. That’s the seven-year itch, sixth time around. You’ve probably been looking elsewhere and neglecting the poor woman, so this ailment is an outward manifestation of her inner pain.

Visitor: I’m so sorry to hear that. As a matter of fact we haven’t been getting on too well recently.

Cashier: There, you see. If you’d been treating the lady properly, she wouldn’t have landed you with this old money problem. What she’s really doing is crying for your attention. It’s high time for you to show that you really care.

Visitor: For a person who seems to be less than half my age, you appear to know a lot about these matters.

Cashier: Age doesn’t have much to do with it. I’m a married woman and I do know plenty about suffering.

Visitor: You appear to conflate wedlock with misery. I don’t see why.

Cashier: No, you wouldn’t. However, I can’t spend all day discussing your affairs.

Visitor: Pardon me, madam, but you started this. I came here on a simple errand and you sailed into me in this unwarranted way.

Cashier: I’ve finished now.

Visitor: What a relief. How about the shiny new banknotes?

Cashier: Oh, yes. One hundred in tens. Here you are. And make sure you spend some of it on that poor woman.

Visitor: You seem to have forgotten that it’s her money.

Cashier: Don’t quibble. Just buy her something nice. She won’t mind whose cash it is. Now pull yourself together and start giving her the affection she needs.

Visitor: I’ll see what I can do. Goodbye and thanks for the advice.

Cashier: You’re welcome. Have a nice day.

* * *



Honoured/Sadly Missed
The item below is a letter just received at our office


To the editor of Madazine.

Dear Mr Rider-Hawes,

This is a note to let you know that I have discovered a way of saving the human race. No doubt you will wish to know how this came about. It happened three days ago, when I got talking with a man in a pub, where we shared a table and had a few drinks together.

Our conversation took an extraordinary turn when I asked the man what he did for a living. He replied that what he called his people did nothing in the conventional sense. As he appeared to be fairly young, able-bodied and mentally quite sharp, I asked him if he would be so good as to tell me what he meant by his people and how they got by in our world.

My companion’s response astounded me and I suppose it will have the same effect on you. He said that he was a representative of an alien race from a planet in a distant galaxy, that these creatures could change form to suit any surroundings and that those on the Earth had assumed human form. When I asked how many of them were among us, he replied there were many thousands of both genders, distributed everywhere, roughly in line with each country’s percentage of our world’s total population.

In response to my request to know what his kind wanted here, he further astonished me by saying that they intended to take over after the human race had, as he put it, vanished. I pressed him for details as to how our disappearance would occur and he replied that he and his complanetoids (I invented that word) had plenty of time to observe us destroying ourselves, as he seemed to think we would in due course. Should we not do so in what he and his fellow beings considered a reasonable length of time, they knew how to exterminate us quickly and easily.

I noticed that although we had been drinking for quite a while, the fellow was totally sober. Then I realised that it was because he had been imbibing only fruit juice. At that point, I had the inspiration that will rescue us from extinction. I asked him if he would allow me to buy us a round, suggesting that he might care to try beer or possibly something stronger. His gave himself away at that point. With a look of horror he answered that he and all of his like were intolerant of alcohol and that the slightest drop of it was fatal to any of them.

I bided my time until my interlocutor excused himself to go to the toilet. When he did so, I hurried over to the bar, bought a shot of vodka and poured it into his half-full glass of orangeade. On his return, he took a sip of it and within seconds, he slumped back in his chair, eyes glazed and breathing stertorous. After a further two minutes, his body went into a spasm, then he gave a short gasp and appeared to expire. At that point I left. Confirmation that he had perished on the spot came to me in the form of a report in our local newspaper the following day.

You will surely grasp what is necessary for our salvation. All we need to do is ply everyone we meet with any sort of drink, provided it contains alcohol. That way we shall dispose of these interlopers before they do the same to us. Naturally I realise that we might in the process do some damage to human teetotallers, but as ever one cannot make an omelette without breaking eggs. You may thank me if you wish.

Yours sincerely,

Horatio J. J. Pumps-Ventricle

Editor’s note. Pumps Ventricle, eh? Seems to come from the heart. (I hope you don’t have to look that one up, Pumpers.) We shall see how the wider public reacts to your message but everyone in this office is grateful for this pointer to our deliverance and you may be sure that we shall do our bit. We can hardly wait to get out there and indulge in all the booze-ups we shall arrange, hoping that in the process we shall get rid of a few of the intruders you mention.

* * *



Honoured/Sadly Missed

A young married couple, Nicola and Thomas, hired a taxi for a whole evening. They had in mind to first call at a public house for a drink or two, from there to go on to a restaurant and then to finish their outing by taking a ride in an open carriage in the town park. The agreed fare would be £100.00. An excerpt from the dialogue that took place in the cab is given below:

Thomas: Right, we’ll start with a drop of good cheer. Please take us to the Hussar, driver.

Cabbie: I wouldn’t go there if I were you, sir.

Thomas: Oh, may I ask why you say that?

Cabbie: It’s snooty, the sort of place where they make you feel uncomfortable when they think you are not their type. I’m sure you know what I mean. The prices are very high and the drinks are nothing to write home about. I’ll take you there if you insist, but you’d be better of at the Nag’s Head.

Nicola: I don’t fancy that. I’ve heard it’s a spit and sawdust establishment and I hope we don’t strike you as potential patrons of such a place.

Cabbie: I grant you it’s a bit rough but you can get tanked up there for half what you’d pay at the Hussar, the booze is better and so is the company.

Thomas: Look, this is none of your business. Just do as we ask. When we’re ready to move on, we’ll have dinner at the Palace in Regent Road.

Cabbie: I wouldn’t recommend that.

Thomas: I don’t care what you’d recommend but as a matter interest, what have you got against our choice?

Cabbie: Just about everything. It costs a packet to eat there and it’s unhygienic.

Nicola: In what way?

Cabbie: Well, for one thing the cooks and waiters think they’re God’s gift to the diners. Condescending is the word, madam. There’s every chance somebody on the staff will take a dislike to you for no good reason and if that happens, you can bet that one of the chefs will be doing something nasty to your food.

Nicola: Oh, dear. Anything else?

Cabbie: You bet. One of their favourite tricks is to get an empty bottle of top-class wine, fill it with the cheapest plonk they can get, recork it and present it as the real McCoy. A friend of mine knows a lot about these things and they offered him what they said was a Gevrey-Chambertin, Premier Cru. He swears what he got was Beaujolais Nouveau.

Thomas: Astonishing. If that’s true, how do they get away with it?

Cabbie: It’s a question of percentages, sir. They know that on average, only one party in five complains. The others are either too shy to make a fuss, or they’ve had a bevvy or two before they dine, so they don’t realise they’re being swindled. That way the restaurant foists them off with rubbish eighty percent of the time. Makes sense from their point of view.

Nicola: Appalling, but we’ve booked.

Cabbie: Well, it’s your money but I think you should try Tommy’s Grill & Griddle.

Thomas: Yes, we’ll do that. After the meal we’d like you to take us to the park and wait while we have a spin in one of those carriages.

Cabbie: That’s something else I wouldn’t do if I were you.

Thomas: This is ridiculous. What’s wrong with our plan?

Cabbie: I suppose you’ll be wanting to do that around nine o’clock, right?

Thomas: Yes. So what?

Cabbie: The place is full of muggers and suchlike at that time. You could wind up with somebody jumping out of the bushes and telling you to stand and deliver. Those types are just like eighteenth-century highwaymen.

Thomas: This is ridiculous. No doubt with your encyclopedic knowledge you have an alternative suggestion.

Cabbie: Yes I do. Your best bet is to go to the News Theatre in the railway station. It’s small, sort of intimate and the seats are luxurious. You get an hour and a quarter of great entertainment – a newsreel, a couple of good travel shorts and a few hilarious cartoons. In my view, a much better way to pass your time than what you have in mind.

Later. The cab has taken Nicola and Thomas home.

Thomas: Well, thank you driver.

Cabbie: The name’s John, sir.

Thomas: Right, John. Thank you for steering us to a pleasant evening. I’m sorry I doubted you.

Nicola: That goes for me too. We met some very nice people at the Nag’s Head, had a super meal at Tommy’s place and a really lovely time at the theatre. I enjoyed every minute of our outing.

Thomas: So did I. Look, here’s the payment we agreed on and another twenty for your guidance.

Cabbie: No need for that, sir. The advice comes free. Now just to see you top off your night out, take this.

Thomas: What is it?

Cabbie: A bottle of single malt, with my compliments. After all, Christmas is coming.

Nicola: What do you mean? It’s the twenty-fourth of September.

Cabbie: I know that, but you can’t deny what I said about Christmas. It comes every year. Good night.

* * *


Honoured/Sadly Missed

The item below is a letter we have just received, which I think offers an interesting slant on a topic that seems to be on many minds at present. Editor

Dear Madazine,

It occurs to me that you may be willing to publish details of an idea I have been playing with for a while. It started when I conflated two pieces of information I gleaned from listening to my radio. Perhaps there is no good reason why I should have fused the two, but I did so and came up with a notion that I think may give us all a pointer to the future.

The first item was a report that a man in France had sued his employer – a public body – for what he claimed was distress caused to him because his job gave him a total sinecure. In order to be paid, he was required to be at his workplace each workday, though he had no duties, to do nothing but pass the time until leaving for home. His employer was aware of this and quite happy about it.

The second item arose during a programme about the future of employment in general. An expert in this field stated that the advance of technology would soon put millions of people all over the world out of work. Even those now doing professional and senior executive jobs would be replaced by machines.

My reaction is that it is a pity this did not come along earlier. I am not suggesting that the people affected should be put onto scrap heaps, but rather that they should continue to be paid, in most cases as before but perhaps from different paymasters, say new national bodies.

What I envisage is that the displaced workers should be required to turn up for work somewhere, much like the Frenchman mentioned above, and occupy themselves according to their inclinations and abilities, on condition that their labours are directed to the good of society as a whole. They should not be allowed to fool around with pointless games and similar pastimes, regardless of how they might try to rationalise such activities.

My notion here is that if a number of people are placed in a given spot where they must stay for a working day of average length, most of them are likely to cooperate and exchange ideas that benefit them and others. I suppose one could liken this to the atmosphere of universities. Perhaps we might even call these places multiversities. There would of course need to be some kind of supervision, the nature of which I have not yet thought through. Spice could be added by rewards for anything deemed socially useful, to be determined by judging panels.

In putting forward this proposal I am mindful of my own long career in the mills of industry and commerce. I don’t believe that my country derived much benefit from my efforts, whereas had I been set free to occupy myself as I wished, I like to think the outcome would have been better for my contemporaries and for future generations.

When I took the opportunity to retire somewhat earlier than expected, my boss, the company’s chief executive, asked me what I intended to do with my time. My reply was that I wanted to indulge my long-held desire to produce works of fiction. I was not too pleased when he retorted that most of my work for the previous ten years had comprised writing reports for him and his fellow directors, and that the nature of those papers was such that my proposed future efforts would not represent much of a change. The cheek of it! But never mind my disillusionment after that decade of toil, or the fact that I have not yet done what I had in mind. Let me just hope that you will put my scheme before your readers and I would like to hear their reactions.

Yours sincerely,
Tobias Oxminder

* * *



Financial Patron
Be A Miracle Worker – Part Nineteen

The Miracle


After having reached his eighty-third birthday on 8th January 2020, when the Sun was in Capricorn, my husband of fifty-six years and best friend of sixty-nine years departed from the earthly school of life on Saturday, 25th January 2020 in the morning. Will you believe me when I tell you that I am glad about it? The 8 is ruled by Saturn, the planetary ruler of Capricorn, and that made my husband a double Capricorn and that is the hallmark of a very old and experienced soul. In keeping with his Saturnian style, he left our world behind on a Saturday, the day ruled by guess who? Saturn!

Knowing that, if he managed to get things right towards the end of his present lifetime by patiently enduring whatever came his way, he would be released from the compulsion of having to take part in further earthly lessons. And so he refused chemotherapy and bravely battled with cancer of the waterworks until the state of his health got so bad that he had to be taken to our local hospital less than a fortnight ago. In the morning of the above mentioned date, one of the nurses saw him contentedly sipping his cup of tea. When she looked again less than ten minutes later, he was leaning back and the colour of his face had changed. Very quietly he had just slipped away.

Together we have been working on a miracle for quite a while and only the day before he departed from our world I told him that the miracle could happen quite suddenly. Little did I know that it did and how it would manifest itself in the end and that in God’s time and God’s way – not ours. My thanks to God and the Angels for this blessing. It’s a great relief to know him safe and sound, alive and well, starting to enjoy the greater freedom of the spirit realm. All along I have never given up hope that one of these days a miracle would happen for him and that he would then be writing the last chapter of this part of my jottings.

Through his suffering his karmic debts must have been paid and the balance of his spiritual bankbook restored. The slate was wiped clean through clearing out, down to the last one, the false beliefs, prejudices and superstitions that were stored in his soul memories. With this the conditions were right and nothing stood in the way of a miracle, so that it really could come about quite suddenly. Knowing where he was going and what awaited him, made it easy for him to let go without a struggle when the Angel of Death took his spirit/soul by the hand and said: ‘You’ve suffered long and hard enough, old boy, come along with me! I’ll take you home.’

One part of me cannot help feeling guilty because sadness when someone passes into the world of light is the traditional thing of the past. Yet, the other much stronger spiritual side of me just feels happy and relieved that he no longer has to suffer. That’s why God and the Angels have decided in their infinite wisdom to write this last chapter of ‘Be A Miracle Worker’ through me, the same as all other parts of my writings always have done and to this day are coming into being. As this outcome is much more beautiful, good and right than any other one could possibly have been at age eighty-three, I am glad to oblige.

Let’s steal away, let’s steal away,
No reason left for staying.
For me and you
Let’s start a-new
And quietly steal away.

Let’s leave behind the city streets,
The gloom and desolation,
Of earthly life.
The rain, the cold,
Growing older and older
That’s too tough a station
For you and me.

The Fureys
Edited by Aquarius

I hope that one of these days the same kind of miracle is going to happen for me and that I too will be allowed to quietly slip away. And it’s not a goodbye or farewell we are saying to each other now, my Beloved, merely ‘au revoir’ and ‘auf Wiedersehen’ in the world of light. This is humankind’s true home from which we emerge at the beginning of every new lifetime and return to when it ends, at whatever earthly age this may come about. It’s no big deal really and nothing to be afraid of. And because in spirit we are one, until then you will be with me in any case and never be more than a thought away. What more could anyone wish for?

For me it’s a comforting thought that everything in the whole of Creation is wheels within wheels and cycles within cycles, and that this also applies to our earthly existence. On the whole human lives unfold like the seasons of the world around us, never stopping or even resting, merely slowing down towards the end. In both cases spring, summer, autumn and winter quite reliably are followed by another springtime that brings a renewal, regeneration and rebirth. In the case of human beings this happens in the world of light, our true home. There we rest and recuperate from the stresses and strains of earthly life until we are ready to either apply for another earthly lifetime or being allowed to move on to exploring the next higher level of the spirit realm that is ready and waiting for us.

The outcome depends on which degree someone’s development has reached. But whatever happens, without interruption every one of us at all times is taking part in the flow of the great river of life and evolution. All of us are constantly proceeding forwards and upwards, each on their own individual spiral as well as that of humankind and the whole of Creation.

From ‘Be A Miracle Worker’

* * *

P.S. Dear Friends. Before his departure into the spirit realm the Courtjester wrote several more Madazine items. In loving memory of him and appreciation of his contribution to the Writing Forums, from time to time I hope to share another one of them with you, his cherished readers, until the last article has gone.

With love and light,

* * *

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Financial Patron
To The One I Love And Who Loves Me


Now that I have departed from the earthly plane,
Release me and let me go.
You and I, we still have many things to see and do,
So do not tie yourself to me with regrets and tears.
I gave you my love and you will never guess
How much you brought to me in happiness.
I thank you for the love you have shown,
But now it’s time for each to travel on alone.

So, weep a while, if grieve you must.
Though not for me, only for yourself and
For the hole my passing has created in your life.
But then let your grief be comforted by trust
And the knowledge that
It’s only for a while that part we must.
Bless the memories you carry in your heart.
It knows that no love is ever lost,
That life is eternal and goes on and on,
Not just for you and me, but everybody.

You and I now are closer than we have ever been
And I’ll never be further from you than a thought.
So whenever you need me, call and I’ll be near.
Even though you can now neither see nor touch me,
Know that I have never gone from you.
And when you listen to your heart,
You’ll feel my love there soft and clear.

And then, one fine day,
When you are coming this way,
You’ll find me waiting to greet you
And with a smile
I shall welcome you home.

Fr. Pat Lennon
Edited by Aquarius


Financial Patron
Au Revoir Courtjester

Life and water.
Into the ocean of life drops a milestone.
The ripples reach out and as they intersect
with other ripples from other milestones,
create a complex weave of dancing refractions.

In my life I have had many milestones. Writing Forums is a fertile garden for them. Of these, I wish to tell of Courtjester. While, sadly, his corporeal body is no longer here, his strength and skill and humanity remain as simple words on this screen, even though they are an eternal part of him. For us he is leaving behind his legacy of strength and determination. They are immortal and are guiding those who find them and understand their messages. He, like you and me, was and will always be, a writer.

As he partook of the dance of life and wrote about it, made us richer. Now the wind blown leaf of his spirit and soul are resting, but I know he will soon be writing up a storm of a different kind in a new place. I salute his generous spirit and soul. See you on the other side of the veil of consciousness that separates our world from yours.

No writer, like no artist, ever rests in peace. There is always a story to be told. Write on.

Bazz cargo

* * *

I could not have expressed it as well as you did and thanks a million for that, dear Friend. I sense the Courtjester looking over my shoulder, reading your kind and loving words, smiling, nodding in agreement and thanking you. God bless you, your loved ones and everybody at the Writing Forums, writers and readers alike.

With love and light,

* * *


Financial Patron
In loving memory of The Courtjester
from my Madazine Pending File


A man noticed that a woman appeared to have been following him for over half an hour. Curious to confirm his suspicion, he turned a corner, came to a standstill and accosted her when she reached the spot. The conversation went as follows:

Man: Excuse me for stopping you, but I believe you have been trailing me for some time. Is that by chance or intention?

Woman: Oh dear, is it so obvious?

Man: It is. I walked along Manor Street, turned into Albert Road and entered this shopping precinct, where I took a right turn, then two left ones. I’ve covered a mile and a half and you have been within a whisker of thirty yards behind me the whole way. Whenever I paused, you did the same. Would you care to comment on that?

Woman: Yes. I must confess I have been following you. I’m sorry if that has upset you, but it’s part of my field experience.

Man: In what area?

Woman: I lost my job recently and I’ve spent two hundred pounds on a correspondence course designed to teach me how to be a private detective. This is my first outing covered by lesson two which is Unobtrusive Tracking.

Man: Well, I regret to disappoint you Miss, Mrs or Ms – tick where appropriate – but you are about as unobtrusive as the proverbial elephant in a living room.

Woman: How do you think I went wrong?

Man: Where do I start? First, if you want to be inconspicuous, you need to keep your distance. A hundred yards would be about right. Second, there’s the small matter of what you’re wearing.

Woman: I see. Is it the coat?

Man: Well, if I may paraphrase Raymond Chandler, the coat helps but you don’t really need it, though I have to say that your choice of bright red does tend to attract attention. You might also consider changing your headscarf from that striking shade of yellow to something darker. Then there are your black fishnet stockings. Lastly, I strongly recommend to get rid of your three-inch heels. They’re not the ideal footwear for a private eye. If you persist with them you’ll always have trouble following your quarry for any length of time. Frankly, your outfit could lead a man to think of you as being in a quite different occupation.

Woman: This is very depressing. I’ve been in financial difficulties for a while, especially since paying for this tuition. I can’t afford any more clothes at present and I have eight more lessons to learn if I’m to finish my training and try to make use of it for earning a living.

Man: I see. Look, take this twenty-pound note and go round the charity shops. You should be able to get some decent stuff with this. And make it sober, maybe grey or black. Do it today. And here’s my card. Call at my office about nine tomorrow morning. Perhaps I can be of some assistance to you.

Woman: This is really nice of you, but how do you think you might help me?

Man: No problem there. I’m a private investigator.

* * *

Presented with love by the partnership of
The Courtjester and Aquarius

* * *


Financial Patron
In loving memory of The Courtjester.
Another story from my Madazine Pending File.


A recent radio shipping forecast.

We’ll skip the general synopsis with all those highs and lows and things. Nobody’s really interested anyway. I’ll start with the area forecasts.

Viking: Well, there’s quite a blow up there, but what do you expect when the wind has been virtually uninterrupted for thousands of miles?

North Utsire, South Utsire: Now here’s a thing. I’ve looked into this and learned that from 1875 to 1924, the Norwegians used to spell Utsire with ‘e’ at the end, then they changed that to an ‘a’ ending. You’d think we might have caught on by now. After all, it’s been nearly a century. Makes you sick, doesn’t it?

Forties, Cromarty, Forth, Tyne, Dogger, Fisher, German Bight: A bit windy here too, but that’s hardly surprising. I mean, these spots are exposed to whatever comes from the East, and we don’t get much that’s good from that direction, do we?

Humber, Thames, Wight, Portland, Plymouth. Still a bit breezy here and there, but rather less chilly than way up north. Not so bad if you’re well wrapped up.

Bíscay: Further south, so getting warmer. Big surprise, eh?

Trafalgar: We usually give that one a miss at this hour, so why should today be different? I always think it sounds a wee bit triumphal. You know what I mean. Nelson and all that.

Fitzroy: Pity we can’t still call it Finisterre if you ask me, but nobody ever does. However, it’ll be about the same as Biscay, if you can remember what I said on previous occasions about that, or even if you can’t.

Sole, Lundy, Fastnet, Irish Sea: It’s good that we can lump them all together, as they don’t amount to much separately. It’ll be quite nice here, but there’s no need for going into detail.

Shannon, Rockall, Malin, Hebrides, Bailey: Likely to vary from passable to pretty nasty here. Think of it getting worse as it goes upwards. You know, I always feel a bit sorry for poor old Bailey, stuck up there, some distance from land. The place must feel lonesome at times.

Fair Isle, Faeroes, South East Iceland: They are sure to be about the same as Viking, so I’m not going to go through that again.

As for the weather reports from coastal stations and the forecast for inshore waters, we don’t deal with all that hogwash until after midnight, so that means I’ve got through to the end, thank goodness. Frankly, I don’t know why we do this, when the ships have no need of it. They can paddle their own canoes, so to speak. I mean, it’s easy enough for them to find out what they want to know without listening to our broadcasts, so why do we bother? To tell you the truth, giving these reports has been a pain in the neck to me for years. My fellow announcers must speak for themselves but I’ve just about had enough, so you might not hear from me again. I can’t honestly say it’s been a pleasure. That’s your lot.

* * *

Presented with love by the partnership of
The Courtjester and Aquarius

To live in the hearts of those who love us
shows that we are not dead.

* * *

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Financial Patron
In loving memory of The Courtjester.
Another story from my Madazine Pending File.

The item below is a letter received here a couple of days ago. We neither endorse nor censure the writer’s comments, but wonder whether they might strike a chord with some readers. Editor


Dear Madazine,

I hope you will decide to publish the following comments, which I make in great exasperation. My theme is the attitude currently evident in many ostensibly serious radio transmissions. The same may apply to television, but I cannot comment on this as I do not have any means of watching it.

The programmes I have in mind show a marked tendency to debase objective broadcasting in various ways. I could cite many of these but will content myself with a few glaring examples that come to mind immediately. They are as follows:

First: Weather forecasters who tell us with barely concealed glee that we are in for big trouble, for example by experiencing fierce cold, oppressive heat, damaging gales or – here is a nice one – dribs and drabs of rain. I don’t want to know the speakers’ opinions of what is about to happen. What I require is a note of the expected temperatures, cloud cover or absence of it, precipitation (if any) and wind speed. I would like to decide for myself what to make of the information.

Second: Reporters who, in the absence of anything sufficiently sensational on the home front, scour the world for news of someone, somewhere, enduring horrors which are doubtless important to the sufferers, but virtually meaningless to the rest of us. I would prefer the broadcasters to admit that they don’t have enough significant material to fill the time that has been set aside for peddling their wares. They could then offer us something soothing. I am mindful of one news bulletin (for all I know there may have been more) in the early days of radio, when the announcer said: “Today there is no news. Instead, we shall have some piano music.” That was very pleasant.

Third: Interviewers who, when speaking with someone who has had some personal mishap, ooze a degree of empathy which I do not believe can be sincere. Come off it, you lot. We all know you’re enjoying every minute of it, as are your interlocutors, who are basking in brief spells of fame as radio ‘stars’.

Fourth: Presenters who invite guests, talk to them for a while, then mention, as though it has occurred to them only in passing that the invitees ‘just happen’ to have written books that are about to be published. What a coincidence! I am convinced that the sole reason the guests have appeared is to plug their books and, if possible, to elicit compassion from listeners and perhaps eventually readers for the creative agony they have undergone to produce their deathless prose. My heart bleeds. Goodness knows there are enough dedicated book programmes on the radio, so it surely isn’t necessary for literary output to be hawked, especially so blatantly, during other transmissions.

Fifth: The persistent references to illness, both mental and physical. In my opinion, the main cause of diseases is fear of them, and the main cause of that fear is listeners’ exposure to constant prattling about health problems. This suggests to me that the content offered is shaped by worried middle-aged people who are angst-ridden about the future and who will not be satisfied unless they get everyone else as screwed up as they are. My advice to people affected by this is to cease tuning in and, as a consequence, hopefully stop worrying.

Sixth: Reporters who, when relating details of an incident, find the noisiest place they can in order to shout their comments, when they could surely move away a short distance and speak to us quietly. I don’t want to hear people yelling from under whirling helicopter blades, close proximity to gunfire, beside busy roads, rioting crowds and the like. If this is supposed to impart realism, it fails in my case, as I turn my set off until they are likely to have finished.

Seventh: I would like to know why, when I try to listen to the main late evening news bulletins, I hear a totally disproportionate amount of time given to what I call the crimecast. It seems that the news gatherers have trawled our world to bring an assortment of snippets that are of little or no interest to the vast majority of us. It looks to me that this is done to fill slots for which there is not enough material of substance.

Eighth: It seems that no matter what kind of programme is offered – news, current affairs, economics, obituaries or whatever else – the producers find some way of introducing blaring and totally inappropriate pop music at various points. I wish this practice would cease.

My final observation is that it would be nice to hear more good news, for example a comment to the effect that on the day under review, ninety-odd percent of us lived our lives in a normal, largely uneventful way. I seem to recall that the idea of offering brief bulletins of positive information was tried some time ago. The initiative did not last long, presumably because it wasn’t depressing. This leads me to think that if we were to adopt a method used in the past by the Armenian king Tigranes the Great, among others, i.e. the practice of ‘shooting the messengers’, we might get fewer gloomy items from the newshounds who survived.

I assume that other people have their bugbears about radio and possibly television, but if you would like to include my comments in one of your issues, you are most welcome to do so.

Yours sincerely,

Boadicea Higgins, Miss – and please don’t refer to me as Boudicca

* * *

Presented with love by the partnership of
The Courtjester and Aquarius

‘Living in the hearts of those who love us
proves that we are not dead.’

* * *



Financial Patron
In loving memory of The Courtjester.
Another story from my Madazine Pending File.


The item below is a letter we received a day or two ago, addressed to me. Editor

Dear Mr Rider-Hawes,

While I am cognisant of the fact that you do not devote much of your organ to current affairs, I feel you might offer your readers a little something of my own devising, which I think could be of great benefit to them and perhaps to many more of our compatriots. My subject is one now receiving an enormous amount of attention, namely Brexit.

I suspect that most of us may now be weary of hearing pronouncements from self-styled experts in every aspect of the UK’s departure from the European Union. Much of the output concerned is both tiresome and unnecessary, as it is, at least in my view, impossible to be an expert on an event that has no precedent. Also, it puzzles me that people who seem to be armed with all relevant knowledge of this matter should come with such certainty to opposite conclusions. One would think that truly sensible, logical minds would, when in possession of every scrap of pertinent information, converge on a particular opinion, regardless of their genders and largely of their ages. That they fail to do so persuades me that too many of them are motivated more by socio-political dogma than analysis.

My research indicates that the deluge of information and opinion to which we have been subjected has resulted in great confusion in the minds of a large number of us, including myself. I believe there are millions of Britons who are now unsure as to whether they really went for the right option in 2016, irrespective of how they voted. The scheme I am putting forward would resolve the quandary troubling these people, as they would not need to agonise any further, having covered both in and out options.

The solution to this so-called problem is to my mind very simple. I suggest that we hold another referendum to ratify or reject the one we had in 2016. However, the second one would be different from the first. My proposal is that the remain or leave choice should be same as before, but should be preceded by a government statement that an indecisive result would mean retention of the status quo ante, i.e. the position before the first referendum.

You might ask how the outcome I envisage could be achieved. This is perfectly straightforward. Under the system I am advocating, all voters would be required to put their crosses in both boxes, leave and remain. Any ballot paper not completed in this way would be regarded as spoiled. This exercise would have huge advantages all round. The voting age could be fixed at any point, so for example those aged sixteen and seventeen would qualify.

One can imagine the relief in official quarters. The UK government would be immensely pleased by the removal of any requirement to do anything – always a welcome development to any British administration. The joy among eurocrats in Brussels would be boundless, as they would have seen the validation of their main democratic principle, namely that people who make the ‘wrong’ choice in any first referendum must keep on voting until they get the right answer. In addition, the civil servants on both sides would derive great satisfaction because a vast amount of unnecessary work will have been done, keeping many people harmlessly occupied for a long time.

I submit this plan in the hope that if adopted, it will bring an end to the current disgruntlement, regardless of who is experiencing it.

Yours sincerely,

Aloysius Spindle

Note: At first reading this seems a strange idea but on reflection perhaps it indicates the confusion in the minds of many of us, including me. Editor

* * *

Presented with love by the partnership of
The Courtjester and Aquarius

To live in the hearts of those who love us
shows that we are not dead.

* * *



Financial Patron
In loving memory of The Courtjester.
Another story from my Madazine Pending File.


A: Nice weather. It makes one feel good about the whole Universe.

B: Which one? I’m a multi-universe man. But perhaps you don’t dwell on such matters.

A: On the contrary, there are long periods when I do little else.

B: Most interesting. So I imagine you will have taken up a position with respect to our Cosmos and the possible plenitude of others.

A: I have my views, but so much depends on the significance one assigns to the Anthropic Principle, on which I have cerebrated extensively.

B: I think one should dismiss the concept as merely speculative. I am more inclined to cogitate on the Deceleration Parameter.

A: Really? I’ve always thought of that as the sum, to any given level, of an infinite series, leading towards the omega limitation.

B: Ah, well, we are all entitled to our opinions and I would certainly wish to eschew animadversion. However, I would say there is at this stage no sound reason for us to accept that omega is quantifiable.

A: Without desiring to asseverate, I think it is, and I derive that conclusion from the extent to which the ekpyrotic process, assuming the hypothesis concerning it is verified, facilitates examination of the Hubble Constant and the ascertaining of its precise value.

B: I don’t see how the two are connected. I’m persuaded that when in pursuit of the Hubble figure, it is more important to have a clear understanding of the hydrostatic equilibrium of maturing celestial bodies.

A: Indeed? I would place greater emphasis on the wider aspects of the degeneracy of compacting matter. However, to digress for a moment, I have of late devoted some time to questioning whether we shall detect superluminary bodies.

B: Well, many people mock that notion, even as a theory. Still, they do the same with regard to other many other conjectures. Die Menschen verhöhnen was sie nicht verstehen, if I may lean upon Goethe.

A: Ah, yes. The people deride what they don’t understand. I never before encountered the quote, but clearly the German polymath knew whereof he wrote.

B: True, but to return to our theme, I often think that we would make more headway if we could establish with certainty the absolute magnitude of cepheid variables.

A: No doubt, but how are we to do that without sure knowledge of the effects of gravitational lensing?

B: We might well get a pointer to construction of the cosmological distance ladder by considering the sub-atomic firmament in general and quantum indistinguishability in particular.

A: Hmn. The extremes of size. That would raise the question of whether both the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle and Pauli Exclusion hold good in the context of the possibility of quarks being leptonic entities.

B: We can only persevere with our respective endeavours. I’m fairly confident that the TOE – the good old Theory of Everything – is almost within my grasp.

A: My own bouts of lucubration have led me to conclude that I also have made much progress in that direction. In fact I . . . oh, my goodness, I seem to have cut off a piece of your right ear. Clumsy thing for a barber to do. So sorry.

B: Don’t give it another thought. Thanks to Mother Nature’s wondrous bounty in such matters, I have two ears. Give me the severed portion and I’ll get it re-attached when time permits. You might take comfort from learning that I err at times in my work as a taxi driver. Last week I inadvertently delivered a man into a duck pond. Parked too close to it. He was sitting at the front with me. Got out and took a bath. Paid me with a wet fiver.

A: Just one of those things. It’s a relief to know that I’m not the only one who executes the odd professional faux pas. There, we’ve finished now, and I must say I’ve greatly enjoyed the polysyllabicalism of our interlocution.

B: It was indubitably sesquipedalian. Here is your money. You will appreciate that in the circumstances I do not feel it appropriate to offer a tip – the ear thing, you know.

A: Perfectly all right, sir. Mind the step on your way out, and in view of your occupation, may I express the wish that you fare well. Ha, ha.

As the customer leaves, dripping blood across the flagstones, he addresses a man intending to enter the shop. “I wouldn’t go in there if I were you. That fellow knows precious little about cosmology and he’s even weaker on nuclear physics.”

* * *

Presented with love by the partnership of
The Courtjester and Aquarius

To live in the hearts of those who love us
shows that we are not dead.

* * *



Financial Patron
On the 8th January 2021 the Courtjester would have been eighty-four, if he had stayed on this side of the veil of consciousness that separates the spirit world from ours. In memory of my husband, I would like to share with you one of my Madazine favourites. Apart from that I believe it’s a brilliant piece of work, it somehow rings a strong bell with me in connection with what’s presently happening in our world.


Greetings, my fellow Zubukians! I intended to address you today from the balcony of Government House. Unfortunately, current circumstances preclude that, so I must ask you to accept this television broadcast as a substitute. When I finish speaking here, I shall try to make my way to Revolution Square and review the annual parade of our magnificent Republican Guard, after the insurg . . . er . . . merrymakers now occupying that holiest of grounds have, entirely of their own free will, dispersed. I am informed that this will be within an hour.

For all of us, this is a solemn day, yet also a joyous one. Solemn because it gives us the opportunity to commune on a national basis, feeling ourselves at one with our ancestors, and joyous because it was exactly twenty years ago that we threw off the yoke of colonialism. Further, it is nineteen years to the day since the events took place which resulted in my becoming Prime Minister and, three weeks later, President of our beloved country.

I am deeply conscious of the heavy burdens placed upon me by the simultaneous holding of the two highest offices of our state, the more so as there is nobody who will, or can, lift them from me. I fear that I shall not be able to relinquish these duties this side of the grave. We live in troubled times. Everywhere in the world there is disorder, and we cannot insulate ourselves. There is no denying that we have our problems. Even in my own party, the National Alliance for Zubukian Integration, there has been unrest and, it must be admitted, corruption. Many of you will recall that only seventeen short years ago, I was obliged to dismiss the ministers of finance, home affairs, foreign relations and transport. Having no suitable replacements, I was forced to assume their portfolios myself- – yet more responsibilities that I shall, however reluctantly, be required to discharge for the rest of my days.

Why shall I not be able to cast off these millstones? I think you know. During the post-colonial disturbances, every party but my own in our hallowed land simply disintegrated, vanishing virtually overnight. It was left to us alone to carry the inextinguishable torch of democracy. True, there was an attempt made recently to form a viable opposition. To my deepest chagrin, that effort failed. I was greatly distressed by the collapse of the Alternative Progressive Enlightenment- – the APE – party.

Feelings ran high at the time, and the prevailing mood affected me as much as anyone. I cannot look back without a sense of deep sorrow at my last words to the leader of the aspirant rival organisation. I merely intended to convey my admiration of the man as, so to speak, the dominant male in his movement. It was regrettable that I referred to him as the chief ape. Also, my remark was ill-timed, coming as it did two hours before the untimely and, I emphasise, totally accidental demise of that fine young statesman. May his soul forgive me.

The unfortunate disappearance of the APE party was not the last of our troubles. Even now there are elements in our revered homeland intent upon fomenting strife. Indeed, it is for this reason that I speak now from the National Security Compound, surrounded by three- – yes, three- – concentric perimeter fences of four-metre-high electrified wire. I ask you to remember that fact, though the last thing I want is to be separated from you by the defences of a totally impregnable fortress. My dearest wish is to be among you, wringing your . . . hands. Yes, my friends, your hands.

Our former colonial masters claimed to have left us with a working governmental system. I spit upon their assertion. If they had made adequate provision before their departure, why were we compelled to discard their arrangements? We even had to change the name of our country. The colonists left us with what? I will remind you. The stark and unimaginative Zubukia. With our modernisation plan, we changed that in less than two years to the People”s Democratic Republic of Zubukia, or PDRZ. Can anyone doubt that this is more appropriate to our status in the world?

My compatriots, we have recently been the target of unwarranted attention from various external bodies. The international team that visited us last year concluded that literacy standards here had declined since colonial days. I spit upon their report. They said that the level was formerly fifty-two per cent and that it had fallen to twenty-three per cent. Do these meddlers not realise that we have our own traditions, our storytellers, to meet our needs? Notwithstanding that, I strive ceaselessly for improvement. I aim to ensure that in under ten years, there will a book in every school and, where there is evening tuition, a candle in each classroom.

We have been told by another agency, whose name I cannot bear to utter, that we lag behind other democracies in terms of our degree of enfranchisement. I spit upon this supposed finding. Is it not true that every first-born male over the age of forty in our country now has the vote? How does that accord with the monstrous charge against us? Obviously it does not. Our advance has been exemplary and will continue at an appropriate pace.

I must now deal with the most unworthy of all the accusations hurled at us. I refer to a bulletin issued by the World Bank, saying that our ninety-billion-dollar finds of oil, gas, uranium, platinum, gold and copper should have been better used in the last nine years. We are told that a land of four million people should be reaping greater benefits from such bounty. At the risk of being censured for excessive expectoration, I spit upon that document. Such malice can have been engendered only by the fact that no interest has yet been paid on the loan of twelve billion dollars, made to us by the Bank eight years ago.

Who is at fault? These legalised loan sharks should have known better than to bury our poor country under such a mountain of money. Our financial structure could not cope. Inevitably, there was confusion, multipartite transactions and complex pecuniary allocations which I struggle unflaggingly to trace. I was, sorrowfully, obliged to seek the assistance of a certain European country, well-versed in these matters. The World Bank asks where the funds in question are now. I answer that that is m . . . our business. Further, if the masters of usury continue to badger us, I shall, on your behalf, repudiate the debt. Do you hear this, you Shylocks in Washington? Not one shavaster shall I pay.

Now, my friends, the cares of state demand that I leave you for the moment. I hear the clanking and rumbling of those tribulations closing in upon me. They are constantly at my gate. If you can still see or hear this transmission, I ask you to join me in singing our national anthem, Zubukia Forever. Let the rafters ring!

* * *

Presented with love by the partnership of
The Courtjester and Aquarius

To live in the hearts of those who love us
shows that we are not dead.

* * *



Financial Patron
The following is the essence of a teaching from the White Eagle group of spirit guides that appeared in ‘The Quiet Mind – Just Laugh!’: ‘If everything goes wrong, just laugh! Let your laughter have its fling and let go of things. Keep your vision on God and know that in the end everything is sure to come right. And that is the truth.’

With love from Aquarius on this side of the veil
that separates our two worlds from each other
and the Courtjester greeting you from the other side.

God bless you all and keep you safe, always.

* * *


Financial Patron
Today I would like to treat you to another one of my all-time favourites that ever came forth from the Courtjester. Something to really make you laugh, not merely chuckle, I hope.


A: You seem to be undecided, madam. Are you looking for somebody?

B: No, I was seeking an empty seat. This is the only one. May I join you?

A: Delighted. I always think it’s a little dreary to dine alone on long rail journeys, especially at the last sitting. Perfect timing, too. I was just about to order. Heard someone say the steak’s good, so I’ll try it. A rare one for me.

B: I’ll have the same. Remarkable enough that these people offer so varied a menu, but the inclusion of rarities is astonishing.

A: Er, perhaps so. Fairly comprehensive wine list, too. I suppose one should opt for burgundy, but I have a weakness for claret, so I’m going that way.

B: Claret, you say. I’m more inclined to Bordeaux, but I will accept your choice.

A: Excellent. One shouldn’t be too fussy. My name is Spond, Shane Spond. Let us dispense with formalities. Call me Shane.

B: Pleased to meet you, Mr Spond. Legova, Major. I agree that we should not stand on ceremony. My forename is Puttya. You may use it.

A: Puttya Le . . . yes. The pleasure is mutual, Major. An army officer, are you?

B: I was for some years, but not now. The title keeps slipping out. It’s a habit. Excuse my saying this, Mr Spond, but I have a strange feeling of having come across your name somewhere, and your face seems familiar, too. But then, one sees so many dossiers and photos. No doubt I am mistaken.

A: Most likely. I keep a low profile. Don’t believe I qualify for being on record anywhere. However, it’s funny you should say what you did. I have the oddest sensation that the same applies to both of us. It’s probably just one of those things, but somehow your appearance rings a bell, and as to names, yours has a vague resonance with me.

B: I cannot imagine how or why. I also fly below the radar. Perhaps we’re thinking of two other people. Forgive my curiosity, Mr Spond, but you give the impression of a businessman. What line are you in?

A: Nothing glamorous. I’m a kind of agent. Ordinary bricks and mortar stuff.

B: Ah, construction, is it?

A: Actually, it’s the reverse, but really quite mundane.

B: Demolition? Fascinating. I once saw a TV programme about that. All shaped charges and dropping of lofty buildings so that they cover only their own footprints. Is that what you do?

A: Well, you could say that I deal with bod . . . er . . . objects taller than they are wide and that covering footprints is important to me at times. However, my efforts are not very refined. You could call me an animated wrecking ball. I’m sure your work is more interesting than mine.

B: Hardly, though I too am an agent. I deal in metal products. High-velocity things, mainly steel and lead. It’s simply a question of knowing who has something to sell and who wishes to buy it. I’m sometimes jokingly referred to as a loose cannon.

A: Dear me. Wrecking balls and loose cannons, eh? A detached observer might regard us as a destructive pair, wouldn’t you say?

B: Possibly, but I’m sure neither of us has anything negative in mind at present.

A: I sincerely hope not. A laughable idea.

B: Pardon me again, but I must say you seem to be staring at me. Is something disturbing you, Mr Spond?

A: Shane. I am the one who should be begging forgiveness. It’s just that you have striking eyes. A man could get lost in them, Major.

B: Puttya, please. Yes, my eyes are said to be compelling. Look into them, Mr Spond. Take your time. Lose yourself. Eyes are magnetic. Eyes are entrancing. They’re rather like mirrors. What do you see in mine?

A: Right now, the reflection of a man with two knives coming up behind me. What do you say to that, Major Legova?

B: He also has forks and spoons, Mr Spond. He’s our waiter.

A: Ah, I see. May I inquire where you are going, Major?

B: Pest!

A: Sorry, I didn’t mean to be. Just making conversation.

B: You misunderstand me, Mr Spond. I was referring to Pest as in the second part of the Hungarian capital. Buda and Pest are really twin cities, you know.

A: Of course. Silly of me. Maybe I was still fixated with your eyes. Noir de noir is the phrase that occurs to me, though possibly I’m thinking of French chocolate, or is it Belgian?

B: I’m not sure, but let us pass on. Where are you going, Mr Spond?

A: Shane, to you. I’m heading for Munich. Come to think of it, I’d better get stuck into the groceries soon – we’ll probably be there any hour now. In fact we’re slowing down. I hope I haven’t ordered too late. Where are we, Major?

B: Puttya, Mr Spond. You’re all right for a while yet. We’re coming into a place called München. All built-up areas look the same, don’t they?

A: Indeed they do. Thank goodness I can relax. I hate bolting my food.

B: You can take it easy this time. May I ask what firm you are with?

A: Oh, only a small one. It’s called Emmeyesics.

B: Eyes again. You seem to have a thing about them.

A: Pure coincidence. The name was computer-generated. One day there’ll be a bungle and something resembling real life will crop up. How about you?

B: At present I’m contracted to an international charity named Sceptre – special counter-something or other. I have trouble remembering these long titles. Earlier, in my home country, I was with another bunch of do-gooders called the Konkordat for Gratuitous Benevolence. They dream up the silliest names, don’t they?

A: Embarrassing, isn’t it? Perhaps our masters employ consultants to devise acronyms, then find words to fit the letters. I often think the whole thing verges on skulduggery.

B: You know, it seems ridiculous, but I get the same idea now and then. An element of hocus-pocus, Mr Spond?

A: Shane, if you will. And you’re right. Anyway, let’s put work aside and consider ourselves strangers on a train. Do you like Tchaikowsky, Major?

B: Make it Puttya. You speak of one of my favourite compatriots. His sixth symphony is divine. And you are right, too. We’re ships that pass in the night.

A: My own number one is Flight of the Bumblebee. How are you disposed to Ripya-Korsetoff, Major?

B: Enthusiastically, but I think the composer you have in mind is Rimsky –

A: Yes, of course. Slip of the tongue – Freudian perhaps.

B: Possibly. However, I just melt at the very mention of his name, James.

A: It’s Shane. Let’s forget Munich and get stuck in – I mean to the food, Katya.

B: Puttya. Agreed. I’m insatiable – with regard to steak, that is. It gives strength, and who knows what the evening will hold. Bon voyage, so to speak.

* * *

Presented with love by the partnership of
The Courtjester and Aquarius

To live in the hearts of those who love us
shows that we are not dead.

* * *



Financial Patron
Another item from the Courtjester's ‘Madazine Pending’ file.
Even though it was written quite a while ago,
it relates astonishingly well to our world's present situation!


This item reached our office by mistake, after the sender had put two letters into the wrong envelopes, one addressed to us (and very complimentary it was, too), the other to a well-known broadcasting corporation. We contacted the writer and were given permission to print her misdirected communication. This is done below. Incidentally, we appreciate that a number of our readers will note that some of the subject matter covered by the correspondent was tackled a short time ago by Sir Bertram Utterside. As the theme is increasingly obtrusive, we make no apology for any element of repetition.

To the editor of Madazine

Dear Sir,

I write in protest at the recent airing of a discussion between Dr Arnold Spiffing and Ms Janet Duff-Squatte, the subject being – according to one’s point of view – global warming, cooling or stabilisation. Permit me to say that I have never heard so much twaddle compressed into so short a time. It was bad enough that two such ill-informed parties should be allowed to babble as they did, and still more depressing that your chairman failed to intervene in an appropriate manner, thus encouraging the verbal brawling of two ignoramuses.

Please indulge me by transmitting a few facts to anyone who may be interested. I can speak with some authority, as long immersion in this subject has led me to the conclusion that this is a field in which few people know what they are talking about. Almost all contributions to the debate come from those with their own agendas. On the one hand, there are alleged scientists who will say whatever is required by their sponsors, so long as the latter keep coughing up funds for the boffin business. After all, the supposed experts will not produce reports which might put them out of work. On the other hand, there are the anti-everything types, prepared to leap onto the barricades in opposition to progress of any kind. Whether the subject is nuclear power, vivisection, environment or whatever, they are against it.

It has been said that there are three kinds of untruth: lies, damned lies and statistics. With regard to global warming, one thing we must consider is whether we are addressing the conditions in the atmosphere or those on the Earth’s surface. There is evidence that the former is warming even less than the latter, if indeed it is warming at all. The ground-level temperature has increased by less than one degree Celsius in over a hundred years. Now, between the major ice ages there are shorter cold periods, and we are emerging from one of them. Therefore, the temperature would have increased somewhat, irrespective of human influence, which might or might not have affected the position to any great extent.

As for ice-melt, this is occurring here and there, but in other places there is some accretion, so the overall position is unclear. Carbon dioxide is another pet hate of the activists, but for what reason? I believe some academic has already noted that the level has risen over a century or so, but that nobody knows whether the increase has been detrimental, beneficial or insignificant. A fair analysis, I would say.

There is no doubt that over the last two hundred years, we have raped the Earth’s resources to produce what is seen – falsely, in my view – as a high standard of living for a modest proportion of the human population. We have not established whether this pillaging has added negatively to what nature would have done anyway.

In summary, I would say let us by all means behave responsibly with respect to our surroundings – one should do what is right, irrespective of anticipated benefits – but let us also note that nature doesn’t care about our presence or absence, so we might as well have a good time, within reason, before we are shrugged off the Earth, along with our contemporary microbes – I know the subject of our likely departure from the Earth has been mentioned elsewhere in your pages.

If anyone wishes to take issue with these comments, I am prepared to modify them in the face of genuine information, but am not holding my breath.

Yours sincerely

Angela Narrowgnome (Miss)

* * *

Presented with love by the partnership of
The Courtjester and Aquarius

To live in the hearts of those who love us
shows that we are not dead.

* * *



Financial Patron
As an Easter egg with a less fattening centre, I have come to share with you another one of my favourite items from the Courtjester’s Madazine file:


The following letter was saved for posterity by our typesetter, Phyllis Tyne. She had applied it to a gas ring, in order to light the revolting stuff she puts into a clay pipe – we haven’t quite caught up with the smoking thing. At the last instant, she realised that the communication might be of interest to some readers. No-one here knows how we came by this item, nor (barring receipt of a confession) are we likely to find out, as the top of the single page was singed by the flames, which obliterated the writer’s name and address, and the signature was unreadable. Anyway, here it is:

Dear Mr X

I write concerning the letter sent to you some time ago by my GP. Regrettably, I do not recall the exact date, as the matter has been obscured by intervening festive seasons, anniversaries, family birthdays, annual holidays, etc., from all of which I infer that you are indeed as overburdened as my doctor feared. You may recall that the problem is a cyst on my right knee.

As it is clearly necessary to alleviate your workload, I have decided to perform the operation myself. I have little medical knowledge, but have been fortunate enough to procure a copy of a book entitled ‘Surgery on the Hoof’, written for the inhabitants of the American Frontier. Although the work was published in 1802, I imagine that basic procedures have not changed much in the meantime. I have assembled almost all the required equipment, much of which, being an average householder, I had to hand. My wife has provided an extra-large ironing board, not dissimilar in shape and size to an operating table. I shall use this as my base, since I do not wish to incur the wrath of the distaff side by possibly defacing our teak dining surface.

My other items comprise an excellent horn-handled knife – a family heirloom – and a small silver mustard spoon. Here, I would have preferred stainless steel, but we do not live in a perfect world. The knife already has a keen edge, but not wishing to leave anything to chance, I shall hone it thoroughly and afterwards dip it in hot water – essential because the oilstone I intend to use has been lying open in my toolbox for over twenty years.

As the offender is at the back of my knee, I am setting up an array of three angled mirrors, in order to, as it were, let the dog see the rabbit. I have conducted a dry run and have found the procedure less complicated than I had first thought. It is rather like reversing an articulated vehicle with more than one trailer. I propose to start by making an incision of about two inches, to expose the growth, which if necessary – you will appreciate that there is an exploratory element here – I shall puncture with a smaller cut, then remove most of the nasty stuff by (a) manual pressure (b) the mustard spoon and (c) a wall-mounted vacuum cleaner. That done, I shall snip away what I assume will be an empty sac. I may be wrong about this, but no matter, as I am very inventive and confident of my ability to handle what comes up. Still, I would not trust myself to complete the excision at an earlier stage.

Up to this point, I do not anticipate much difficulty. However, I am concerned about tying-off and wound closure. My understanding is that catgut is still widely used and as I have none, I wonder whether you could supply me with a short length – a foot or so should do the trick. If you do not have any, please do not put yourself out, as my daughter has offered to lend me an upper E-string from her guitar, which I think would suffice.

Finally, lest you should think that I am adopting a less than completely rigorous approach, let me say that I shall have by me throughout the operation, for internal and external use, a large supply of the strongest product from the house of Smirnoff.

Yours sincerely …

* * *

Presented with love by the partnership of
The Courtjester and Aquarius

To live in the hearts of those who love us
proves that we have not died.

* * *

P.S. Come to think of it, once again I seem to have chosen an item that could turn out to be of immense value in view of our world’s present state, when healthcare for ordinary human afflictions has almost disappeared in the United Kingdom. D.I.Y. is what’s called for! And the Courtjester is greeting all who are willing to follow his example. :)

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Financial Patron
Have you ever wondered what the Courtjester looked like, before his departure into the spirit world?

Well, here is my favourite picture of him. It was taken about a year before he quietly slipped away.

Ambrose Photos.jpg

His name on the earthly plane was Barrie and he was born 8th January 1937.

And because the 8th day of each month is ruled by Saturn,
the planetary ruler of Capricorn and co-ruler with Uranus of Aquarius,
he was a double Capricorn and that's a difficult pathway to walk.
He shared his birthday with Elvis Presley,
who was born 8th January 1935.

The Courtjester has asked me to greet his readers in this way.

With love - Aquarius

* * *



Financial Patron
One more item from the Courtjester's Madazine Pending File.​

What's written below is another of those little rambles our chief penned, probably not with publication in mind. However, he’s not with us today, so we’re slipping it in and taking joint responsibility for doing so. The staff.


A few days ago I was reading a newspaper article and came across the word numinous. I distinctly remembered checking its meaning on at least two earlier occasions, but still wasn’t quite clear about it. Something to do with saintliness or divinity, I seemed to recall. To make sure, I decided to consult my dictionary. Without looking, I reached out, hauled down the trusty volume at the end of my bookshelf and began pawing through it.

To my surprise, I didn’t find the word I was seeking. However, I did locate numismatics and spent a few minutes boning up on coins. That caused me to pull out small reference book which had more details about this subject. Among other things I learned that if I manage to dig up a 1933 penny I’ll be worth plenty. However, the trouble with very rare items is that they’re pretty well all accounted for, so I doubt there is much chance of my getting rich that way.

It was only when I’d finished this fascinating mini-study and put aside the little book that I realised I’d initially pulled out my encyclopedia instead of the dictionary – the two tomes are about the same size – so I got the right one and spent a further five minutes trying to remember the word I was seeking. On succeeding, I again set off in search of ‘numinous’, only to be waylaid again, this time by numina, which referred me to numen, a presiding deity.

I was getting warm but didn’t quite make it because just below numen came numeral, under which heading there was an example of the Roman counting system. Off into another thicket, where I spent a while satisfying myself that I could work out various dates and times the way J. Caesar and company did. I was quite pleased with my progress but unfortunately for my initial purpose, my eye then fell upon ‘numerator’, which made me think of ‘denominator’, which in turn moved me on to mathematics. This reminded me that I’d been meaning to find out whether that word is singular or plural, so I went off on a further little excursion. That was inconclusive but it did persuade me that I could get a lot of pleasure by doing more of this lexicographical wayfaring, much in the manner of a flaneur sauntering city streets.

On finishing with numerals and mathematics, I had again forgotten the word I’d set out to check. This time I lost track altogether, and have just remembered that I was looking for numinous. On this occasion you may be sure that I’ll find it pretty quickly. See you soon, perhaps between nugatory and nuncio, or maybe elsewhere.

* * *

Presented with love by the partnership of
The Courtjester and Aquarius

To live in the hearts of those who love us
proves that we have not died.

* * *​

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