Feel Good Friday #NationalDonutDay

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graphics-lol-999440According to cake-loving Mr Grumpy, today is National Doughnut Day.

Each year on the first Friday in June, people participate in National Doughnut or Donut Day. This day celebrates the doughnut and honors the Salvation Army Lassies, the women that served doughnuts to soldiers during WWI.

In 1917, the original “Salvation Army Doughnut” was first served by the ladies of the Salvation Army. It was during WWI that the Salvation Army Lassies went to the front lines of Europe. Home cooked foods, provided by these brave volunteers, were a morale boost to the troops.

The doughnuts were often cooked in oil inside the metal helmets of American soldiers. American infantrymen were then commonly called “doughboys.”

So in honour of the day, I have collected a few cake-related jokes or should I say puns for you. Hope you enjoy them and please try not to groan too loudly.

Why is a cake like the sun?
Because it rises in the yeast and sinks beyond the vest.

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What jumps from cake to cake and tastes of almonds?
Tarzipan (I asked you not to groan loudly.)

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Knock Knock! Who’s there?
Bacon. Bacon who?
Bacon a cake for your birthday.
(What did I say about groaning?)

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A baker stopped making doughnuts after he got tired of the hole thing.

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Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.

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When asked about rumours that he owned a bakery, Shakespeare replied, ‘It’s much a-dough about muffin.’

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Our local baker pays his staff on a flourly rate.

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Bakeries show how well their business is doing with a pie chart.

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The baker who always put too much flour in his bread was a gluten for punishment.
(Okay that’s enough now. And please don’t throw rotten tomates at your screen either.)

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Veteran Pillsbury spokesman, Pop N. Fresh, died yesterday of a severe yeast infection. He was 71.
Known to friends as ‘Brown-n-Serve’, Fresh was an avid gardener and tennis player. Fresh was buried in one of the largest funeral ceremonies in recent years. Dozens of celebrities turned out including Mrs. Butterworth, the California Raisins, Hungry Jack, Aunt Jemima, Betty Crocker, the Hostess Twinkies, and Skippy. The graveside was piled high with flours as longtime friend, Aunt Jemima, delivered the eulogy, describing Fresh as a man who ‘never knew how much he was kneaded.’
Fresh rose quickly in show business, but his later life was filled with many turnovers. He was not considered a very smart cookie, wasting much of his dough on half-baked schemes — conned by those who buttered him up. Still, even as a crusty old man, he was a roll model for millions. He enjoyed being prodded by his many friends who invariably poked fun at him.
Fresh is survived by his second wife. They have two children and another bun in the oven.
The funeral was held at 3:50 for about 20 minutes.
(Okay, I’ll let you groan as loudly as you want at that one.)

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I’ll stop tormenting you now. Have a good weekend and remember to smile while you stil have teeth!

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In the Spotlight – Lily Graham #newrelease

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Lily Graham picDelighted to have the wonderful Lily Graham here on the blog. Lily is writer and wellbeing features journalist. She lives with her husband and an endearing, slobbering bulldog named Fudge and brings her love for the sea and country-living to her fiction. She recently signed a three-book deal with Bookouture and her latest novel, The Summer Escape is due out in May 2016.

Lily, thank you for agreeing to be on my blog Facing 50 With Humour even though you are clearly not fifty or anywhere near it!

Thank you for having me!

Also thanks for bringing Fudge with you. Mr Grumpy needed the exercise and seems to be enjoying chasing around the garden throwing sticks. We’re a relaxed bunch here but we all love humour so if you don’t might sticking this red nose on we’ll get going.

Sounds brilliant!

Before we chat about your new release I have some nice easy questions for you. Please relax, take a deep breath and then answer the rapid fire round

Love it!

Mr Benn or Bananas in Pyjamas?

Bananas in Pajamas

Good answer. “Cheers” or “The Simpsons”?

The Simpsons

Mr Grumpy will be pleased. He’s a big Homer fan. Scrabble or Monopoly?

Both

“Woman’s Weekly” or “Cosmopolitan”?

Cosmo. Sigh.

ABBA or Queen? (Ha! Don’t care if you are too young!)

Both!

Yes, difficult to chose bewteen two great groups. If you hang about afterwards I’ll show you the ohotos of when Mr Grumpy and me did a tribute ABBA act. Can you tell us a short joke?

animal-graphics-tortoise-722759Three tortoises decide to go on a picnic. Bob, John, and Van Wrinkle. After a week and a half of travelling they FINALLY get to the park only to realise they left the coldrinks behind. Someone will need to go back. Van Wrinkle is nominated but he’s very suspicious. What if they eat the food without him? They promise they won’t. They swear on their shells they won’t. Finally, reluctantly, he agrees. A week goes by. Then two. Finally Bob says, “God, I’m starving.” John sighs, “Me too, what if we just eat one of the sandwiches?” Suddenly Van Wrinkle pops his neck out from behind a rock where he’s been hiding all along, and says, “I knew it! I knew you’d do something like this!”

What makes you laugh most?

FTowersMy dog – when she runs at you she runs sideways and never stops and goes barreling into things. I’m fairly sure she does this to make me laugh on purpose. Also reruns of Frasier and Fawlty Towers.

Mr Grumpy adores Fawlty Toweres. He won’t want you to leave. If you don’t watch out, he’ll have you sat on the sofa watching his boxed set. You are standing in front of a Pick ‘n’ Mix stand which sweets are you most likely to choose? (I’d go for those Gummi Bears – yum!)

Oooh depends what’s there but probably chocolate covered peanuts and chocolate covered crystalized ginger. And chocolate covered toffee. Chocolate covered anything. Except raisins. It’s like the i before e rule, except after y.

What was the first CD you ever purchased?

Celine Dion in French. I was 12, it seemed like a good idea at the time. I blame Puberty.

Oh la, la. Hilarious!

Thank you, Lily. Now can you tell us a little about you and your books? What genre do you write?

Women’s fiction

Who is your favourite character in your books?

Caroline Murray my rather posh and naughty 65-plus travel writer who may or may not have had a love affair with Mick Jagger in my forthcoming novel The Summer Escape

Where do you think up your ideas for stories?

The car – something about driving gets the ideas flowing. Walking also does the trick. And sometimes I try to be civilised and take myself out for a cappuccino to think – that usually works well when I’m a little stuck.

What do you do to help you concentrate on writing?

This can be hard. I get distracted by social media and the needs of a demanding day job. Making sure I get some time to write in the morning can set me up well for the day – and if I don’t fit it in the morning it’s almost impossible to force myself to do it in the evenings even though I know I have to.

I try to stick to weekly word count schedules – but I often fail. Having a fixed deadline helps – can’t take the journalist out of me! That’s how I finally finished my first novel a few years ago. I changed the goal from ‘perfect book’ to ‘finished book’. I still need to remind myself of this though.

Could you please tell us something that doesn’t show up on your website. Surprise us!

My favourite film trilogy of all time is Back to The Future. I make far too many Harry Potter analogies especially in situations I shouldn’t, like around boardroom tables. Some people don’t appreciate this. They are muggles, of course.

I’m a huge fan of fun lists – and mentally list things I love all the time for no other reason than it’s a brilliant example of procrastination at work, for instance top of the list right now would be My Grandmother Sends her Regards and Apologises by Frederik Backman, and reintroducing carbs into my diet. Also a gold star as always to English bulldogs everywhere. Also dwarf bunnies.

Lily, it’s been a huge pleasure having you here. Thank you again. Oh could you leave Fudge behind. I’m sure Mr Grumpy loved playing with him.

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Summer escape1Lily Graham’s novel The Summer Escape is about love, loss, a burnt down vineyard and following your heart in beautiful Crete.

Publication date May 26th 2016

Amongst the beautiful olive groves and sea-front tavernas, summer has arrived on the sun-drenched island of Crete.

After losing the love of her life, Ria’s life has been on hold. So when her boss becomes completely unbearable she makes the snap decision to run away to the Greek island of Crete, armed only with her passport.

When Ria finds herself working for eccentric novelist Caroline, she meets handsome vineyard owner Tom. He’s charming, mysterious and Ria starts to wonder if it’s not just the beautiful Greek island that she’s falling for.

But as Ria gets to know Tom better, she uncovers a tangled web of secrets. What is he hiding? Ria has some secrets of her own. Can she open up to Tom and learn to live again?

This summer, escape to the sun with this charming and emotional story about starting over and grabbing happiness with both hands.

Praise for The Summer Escape:

‘Beautiful scenery and sympathetic characters made this an outstanding read’ For the love of Books

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You can find Lily Graham by clicking on any of the following links:

Website     —-   Twitter   —-   Facebook

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Purchase your copy of The Summer Escape from Amazon UK or Amazon US

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Can I Ask You a Personal Question? #MondayBlogs

1483675_10151878313623004_344575081_oI stumbled across a new book that made it big in Australia and New Zealand but is new to the UK. Called Can I Ask You a Personal Secret by Jon Steele it is brilliantly entertaining, perfect for parties or any social event when you want to break the ice, get to know people and enjoy yourselves.

There are only two rules: You can’t refuse to answer a question and you can’t lie.

Simple, right?

Yes, until you read some of the questions. Trust me, before long you will be guffawing at the responses.

So who has written this entertaining book? I tracked down Jon Steele and tried to learn a little more about the man behind such questions as:

When did you last drink champagne?

Do you think you are easy to live with?

When did you last throw up?

What do you wear to look sexy?

Jon was born above a shop in Brownhills in the West Midlands. He and his family moved house many times within the area, even more so after his parents got divorced when he was ten and, at the last count, he has had more than twenty-five homes.

After completing school and doing a variety of work interspersed with numerous trips abroad, Jon spent four years in London before heading to Sydney Australia in 2000 to join his sister Jane. After thirteen years and some very precious times Jon returned to the UK and, wanderlust sated, decided to settle down. Where did those itchy feet end up? A few miles from where it all began … close to Brownhills.

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Can I Ask You A Personal Question by Jon Steele

Here are 1000 questions to ask yourself, friends, family and lover. They are funny, sexy, thought provoking, mischievous, cheeky and very nosey!!
Amusement is guaranteed, prepare for some hilarious responses, rekindled memories, opinions exchanged, revelations, scandal, cringing and secrets revealed!!

Take them with you to a party or the pub, on a holiday or journey, ask them in bed or on a date…wherever!! You’ll certainly get to know whoever you share them with better than you ever imagined.

No cheating anyone…you must tell the truth.

Tweet your fun on Twitter @steelereveal

Like Jon’s Facebook page

Buy this book on Amazon.co.uk

Buy this book on iTunes

Follow Jon on Twitter @SteeleReveal

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Life is a Rollercoaster When You Write #amwriting

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theveryfinalhownottomurderyourgrumpyWriting your book is only the beginning. Yes, you spent months and months and in some cases, years grafting away to emerge with your baby – the result of tears, sleepless nights, living a very dirty, neglected house while you resemble an extra in a zombie apocolypse film.

You should be proud of your achievement.

However, there many more steps to climb. You now have the task of getting that book and your name out there. It will involve many, many hours of hard work – and I mean hard work. You will need to dedicate hours to marketing, networking, and of course doing more writing.

Where next? Self-publish or look for a publisher? Well, there are arguments for and against both but I am going to say that for purposes of being taken as a serious writer, getting those interviews with television, radio and getting your work into magazines, having a publisher behind you is the best way forward. Finding one willing to take your work is another matter. Be prepared for rejections and have a mountain of patience. These things take time – a lot of time.

grumpyoldmenopauseI have been incredibly fortunate in that respect. ThornBerry Publishing picked up my first two books and at the Festival of Romance in Bedford that same year, I found myself on a table next to the enigmatic publisher Kim of Safkhet Publishing who invited me to send my next book to her. I did and as many of you know, Safkhet went on to to publish seven of my books including the very popular Grumpy Old Menopause, winner of The People’s Book Prize Award 2015 and probably the book I became best known for.

Last year, having made more of a name for myself and following various television appearances and more articles about my work, I took a chance on submitting to Bookouture, a tremendous publishing house with some outstanding authors.

I was over the moon when they signed me up for a two book deal. Life was great. I was going in the right direction.

justaddspiceIt never pays to get too complacent and the publishing world has its difficulties like any other sector. Safkhet announced in early April that after much discussion they were reluctantly shutting their doors at the end of May and all rights would be returned to the authors.

I have a lot to thank Safkhet for and am very sad they have had to give up.

However, I was thrown into disarray. I had a new release coming out with Bookouture and suddenly seven books with no publisher. behind them.

I did what any hard-working writer would do in that situation – I howled in frustration and banged my head against my table several times. I couldn’t face sell-publication all over again. I didn’t have the time or energy to get six books back into the market. My cover designskils are rubbish as is my typeetting ability and besides i had anoter book to write for Bookouture.

miniskirtsandlaughterlinesAnyway, to cut this epic story short, I have fallen on my size seven feet yet again. I am absolutely delighted to announce that Delancey Press based in London, loved my books and have taken them on, revamped them and have produced new editions for the market.

I received my author copies last week and I can’t resisit stroking them as i pass them. I love them. They are beautifully produced. Even Mr Grumpy was extremely impressed by the quality and the attention to detail on the covers. He liked the man running away from the menopausal wife and loved the French countrysie scene for Surfing in Stilettos.newbooks

Delancey Press are also producing eBooks for Kindle, Kobo and all e reading devices and are doing small print runs of paperbacks too which you can purchase on Amazon or by clicking on this link

I have to keep pinching myself to make sure it is true. Ouch! It’s true.

I could not be happier if you threw me into a giant vat of gummy, jelly bears or an equally large vat of wine.

All of my books have had a makeover and I can’t tell you how thrilled I am with the results.

Aimee Coveney of Author Design Studio has worked her socks off the last few weeks to get them ready for Delancey Press. She produced covers not just for eBooks but full covers for all the printed books and a range of Twitter and Facebook headers that you will be seeing popping up soon. I cannot recommend her hughly enough. She totally “got” what I wanted for the covers and within hours had sent ideas and possible mock-ups to me. I didn’t need to change much at all … she has the ability to get the right image immediately.surfinginstilettos

Just look at the covers she has produced.

I love them all!

So, I am delighted, truly delighted to share my news today and show off all the new covers.

Aimee is ridiculously talented and you can contact her about cover design or website design HERE.

 

 

DPLOGOThanks to Delancey Press all the new editions for each book are all available TODAY!

 

Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines 
Amazon UK   *   Amazon US   *   Delancey Press

Surfing in Stilettos
Amazon UK   *   Amazon US   *   Delancey Press

Just Add Spice
Amazon UK   *   Amazon US   *   Delancey Press

How Not to Murder Your Grumpy
Amazon UK   *   Amazon US   *   Delancey Press   *   Central Books   *   People’s Book Prize Award 

Grumpy Old Menopause
Amazon UK   *   Amazon US   *   Delancey Press   *   Central Books   *   People’s Book Prize Award 

Grumpies On Board
Amazon UK   *   Amazon US   *   Delancey Press   *   Central Books   *   People’s Book Prize Award 

JPEGFINALGOBFRONT COVERVSMALL

 

So, I guess the morale of the story is … never give up. If you love writing as much as I do, then stick to it.

It will be a rollercoaster of a ride and you will have some serious downs and some amazing ups.

Have faith in yourself and your work. One day you’ll get that lucky break.

 

 

Grumpy Changes #MondayBlogs

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Sound the trumpets! It’s been a turbulent few weeks for reasons I shall divulge on Wednesday but today I want to share some wonderful news.

My humorous travel guide book Grumpies On Board is a finalist for The People’s Book Prize award this year and voting for the winner begins today May 16th until July 10th.

Not only is it a finalist for this wonderful prize but it has received a revamp thanks to Aimee Coveney of Author Design Studio and wonderful Delancey Press who were so impressed with the book they have republished it in eBook and print edition. The print edition is out today with the ebook following on Thursday this week. In my opinion, it looks perfect.

The book was a huge hit with Silver Travel Advisor and The Wireless Radio (who operate for AGE UK) who invited me to write articles for them after reading it:

side splitting, hilarious Grumpies on Board …  – Silver Travel Advisor

Wyer catalogues a genuinely interesting and inspiring collection of mature holidaymakers experiences, ranging from the sublimely relaxing to the downright dangerous. – The Lady

I loved Mr Grumpy his recommendations were so great. AJ Book Review Club

An excellently researched insight into the world of the truly grumpy traveller. Youngsters beware..! Nigel Vardy AKA Mr. Frostbite. Record breaking mountaineer, author and inspirational speaker.

JPEGFINALGOBFRONT COVERTake a peek for yourself on Amazon and read the first few pages. It is much more than a guide … it is a collection of anecdotes and experiences me and the Grumpy One tested out to help people “age actively” with recommendations and comments from the dry old grumpy himself. It is filled with laughs too.

And, I am so excited to share the brand new cover for it with you. It made Mr Grumpy laugh when he saw it. (And that is a rare event.)

Now, after all the anxiety, excitement and adrenaline rushes of the last few weeks, I just need to book that Vespa holiday in Korea for me and Mr Grumpy.

 

So please will you vote for it for the People’s Book Prize Award? Voting is very easy and only takes a couple of minutes.

  1. Head to The People’s Book Prize Award website HERE
  2. Register if you have not voted before by clicking on the registration box and answer the maths problem or it’ll think you are a robot. You will be sent a code to use to vote.

PBP13. Sign back in using your code and click on the purple FINALIST box to get to the right page.PBP24.Once on the page look for the non-fiction choices (see blue arrow) by clicking on non-fiction

5. Scroll down three spots and find Grumpies On Board.

6. Vote for it

7. Receive a large virtual hug from me and Grumpy.

Thank you so much. It means a huge amount to us both.

 

 

Feel Good Friday #FridayFeeling

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graphics-lol-999440My mum enjoys the odd “Irish” joke and used to watch Dave Allen regularly with me when I was younger. Today’s collection is especially for her. I hope they make you all chuckle. (I also hope none of you are Irish.)

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A Texan walks into a pub in Ireland and clears his voice to the crowd of drinkers. He says, “I hear you Irish are a bunch of hard drinkers. I’ll give $500 American dollars to anybody in here who can drink 10 pints of Guinness back-to-back.”
The room is quiet and no one takes up the Texan’s offer. One man even leaves. Thirty minutes later the same gentleman who left shows back up and taps the Texan on the shoulder. “Is your bet still good?”, asks the Irishman.
The Texan says yes and asks the bartender to line up 10 pints of Guinness. Immediately the Irishman tears into all 10 of the pint glasses drinking them all back-to-back. The other pub patrons cheer as the Texan sits in amazement.
The Texan gives the Irishman the $500 and says, “If ya don’t mind me askin’, where did you go for that 30 minutes you were gone?”
The Irishman replies, “Oh…I had to go to the pub down the street to see if I could do it first”.

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Father Murphy walks into a pub in Donegal, and says to the first man he meets, “Do you want to go to heaven?”
The man said, “I do Father.”
The priest said, “Then stand over there against the wall.” Then the priest asked the second man, “Do you want to go to heaven?”
“Certainly, Father,” was the man’s reply.
“Then stand over there against the wall,” said the priest. Then Father Murphy walked up to O’Toole and said, “Do you want to go to heaven?”
O’Toole said, “No, I don’t Father.
The priest said, “I don’t believe this. You mean to tell me that when you die you don’t want to go to heaven?”
O’Toole said, “Oh, when I die, yes. I thought you were getting a group together to go on a trip right now.”

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Paddy and Mick are walking down the road and Paddy’s got a bag of doughnuts in his hand.
Paddy says to Mick, “If you can guess how many doughnuts are in my bag, you can have them both”

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Two Irish mothers, Kate and Lorna were talking about their sons.
Kate says, ‘My Patrick is such a saint. He works hard, doesn’t smoke, and he hasn’t so much as looked at a woman in over two years.’

Lorna responds, ‘Well, my Francis is a saint himself. Not only hasn’t he not looked at a woman in over three years, but he hasn’t touched a drop of liquor in all that time.’

‘My word,’ says Kate, ‘You must be so proud.’

‘I am,’ announces Lorna, ‘And when he’s paroled next month, I’m going to throw him a big party.’

 

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Facts to Make you Smile #thursdaylaughs

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A FEW FACTS TO MAKE YOU SMILE TODAY

If you yelled for 8 years, 7 months and 6 days you would have produced enough sound energy to heat one cup of coffee.
(Hardly seems worth it.)

If you farted consistently for 6 years and 9 months, enough gas is produced to create the energy of an atomic bomb.
(Now that’s more like it!)

The human heart creates enough pressure when it pumps out to the body to squirt blood 30 feet.
(O.M.G.!)

A pig’s orgasm lasts 30 minutes.
(In my next life, I want to be a pig.)

A cockroach will live nine days without its head before it starves to death. (Creepy.)
(I’m still not over the pig.)

Banging your head against a wall uses 150 calories an hour.
(Don’t try this at home ; maybe at work.)

The male praying mantis cannot copulate while its head is attached to its body. The female initiates sex by ripping the male’s head off.
(Honey, I’m home . What the…?)

The flea can jump 350 times its body length. It’s like a human jumping the length of a football field.
(30 minutes. Lucky pig! Can you imagine?)

The catfish has over 27,000 taste buds.
(What could be so tasty on the bottom of a pond?)

Some lions mate over 50 times a day.
(I still want to be a pig in my next life…quality over quantity.)

Butterflies taste with their feet.
(Something I always wanted to know.)

The strongest muscle in the body is the tongue.
(Hmmmmmm…….)

Right-handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people.
(If you’re ambidextrous, do you split the difference?)

Elephants are the only animals that cannot jump.
(Okay, so that would be a good thing.)

A cat’s urine glows under a black light.
(I wonder how much the government paid to figure that out.)

An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain.
(I know some people like that.)

Starfish have no brains.
(I know some people like that, too.)

Polar bears are left-handed.
(If they switch, they’ll live a lot longer.)

Humans and dolphins are the only species that have sex for pleasure.
(What about that pig? Do the dolphins know about the pig?)

Now that you’ve smiled at least once, it’s your turn to spread these crazy facts and send this to someone you want to bring a smile to, maybe even a chuckle.

(and God love that pig!)

Originally posted on Tetraplegic Living where you will find a whole bunch of funny jokes. 

Feel Good Friday – Ouch! #FridayFeeling

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graphics-laughing-560039It’s Friday and that can only mean one thing – Feel Good Friday joke time. My collection today comes from Michelle and I hope you enjoy them.

A man was sitting reading his papers when his wife hit him round the head
with a frying pan.
‘What was that for?’ the man asked.
The wife replied, ‘That was for the piece of paper with the name Betty on it
that I found in your trouserpocket.’
The man said, ‘When I was at the races last week, Betty was the name of the horse I bet on.’
The wife apologized and went on with the housework.
Three days later the man is watching TV when his wife bashes him on the head with an even bigger frying pan, knocking him unconscious. Upon re-gaining consciousness the man asked why she had hit him again.
Wife replied, ‘Your horse phoned!’

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Wife: ‘Do you want dinner?’
Husband: ‘Sure! What are my choices?’
Wife: ‘Yes or no.’

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An elderly man walks into a confessional. The following conversation ensues:
Man: ‘I am 92 years old, have a wonderful wife of 70 years, many children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Yesterday, I picked up two hitch-hiking college girls. We went to a motel where I had sex with each of them three times.’
Priest: ‘Are you sorry for your sins?’
Man: ‘What sins?’
Priest: ‘What kind of a Catholic are you?
Man: ‘I’m Jewish.’
Priest: ‘Why are you telling me all this?’
Man: ‘I’m 92 years old . . . I’m telling everybody!’

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There once was a religious young woman who went to Confession. Upon entering the confessional, she said, ‘Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.’
The priest said, ‘Confess your sins and be forgiven.’
The young woman said, ‘Last night my boyfriend made mad passionate love to
me seven times.’
The priest thought long and hard and then said, ‘Squeeze seven lemons into a glass and then drink the juice.’
The young woman asked, ‘Will this cleanse me of my sins?’
The priest said, ‘No, but it will wipe that smile off of your face.’

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In the Spotlight – Helen Pollard #newrelease

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Helen Pollard_casual_croppedMy guest today is the very talented Helen Pollard, a Yorkshire lass at heart.

As a child, Helen had a vivid imagination fuelled by her love of reading, so she started to create her own stories in a notebook.

She still prefers fictional worlds to real life, believes characterisation is the key to a successful book, and enjoys infusing her writing with humour and heart.

Helen lives in Yorkshire with her husband, two almost-independent kids and a Jekyll and Hyde cat. She loves reading, decent coffee, scrapbooking and old eighties TV cop shows.

Helen is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Helen a warm welcome to the blog. Pull up a beanbag. Yes, Mr Grumpy wanted to help create a seventies atmosphere so we’re on beanbags today, sitting next to a lava lamp. So, before we chat about your new release, The Little French Guesthouse, I have some nice easy questions for you. The readers of this blog are probably of a certain age and we all love a bit of nostalgia so let me ask you:

Clangers or the Wombles?

Clangers

I loved them both, Bet you chose the Clangers because of the funny whistling noise they made. Yes, Mr Grumpy, thats’ the one now put away the recorder and leave us alone. “The Persuaders” with Roger Moore and Tony Curtis or “The Professionals” with Martin Shaw and Lewis Collins (drool!)

The Persuaders (and for those who know what year this was aired, I should point out that I was extremely young at the time – or perhaps it was subsequent repeats that I watched!)

It’ll be the repeats, definitely the repeats. Mousetrap or Hungry Hippos?

Mousetrap

“Bunty” or “Beano”?

Beano

Excellent. I loved the Beano and the Dandy but I had to wait until my dad had read them before I could get my hands on them. Barry White or Barry Manilow?

Barry Manilow (his was the first LP I ever bought)

I have one of his CDs in the car and caught Grumpy listening to it the other day singing along to Copacabana. Makes a change from ABBA. Can you tell us a short joke?

What’s the difference between an old bus stop and a female crab?

One’s a rusty bus station and the other’s a busty crustacean 🙂

Nice one! What makes you laugh most?

Cats and dogs doing bonkers things on videos

sweetsYou are standing in front of a Pick ‘n’ Mix stand which sweets are you most likely to choose? (I’d go for those Gummi Bears – yum!)

Sherbet flying saucers

Mmmm. That’s it. I shall be off to the sweetshop in town after this interview and buying a bag of them. I wonder if they still taste the same. If you compiled a list of your favourite comedy shows what would be at the top of your list?

Father Ted, closely followed by The Big Bang Theory

What was the first film you ever went to see at the cinema? (My Granddad took me to see a John Wayne western when I was 5. The usher declared I wasn’t old enough to see it as you had to be over 11. Grandfather told him I was plenty old enough to see a good western and that was that – I went in)

I don’t remember it, but my brother tells me it was Ring of Bright Water – I was only three, and I got so bored that I started running up and down the aisle. Apparently, this was a good thing, since it meant I missed one or more of the otters coming to a sticky end. The first film I actually remember seeing was Diamonds Are Forever, but all I can recall is a fight in a lift!

I cried at that film – not Diamonds Are Forever. Actually I don’t remember any fight scenes. I must be getting old or we watched it after Christmas lunch and I was asleep by then.

I cried at Ring of Bright Water. I always sob at animal films. Thank you, Helen. Now let’s chat about you and your books. What genre do you write?

My first two books were ‘sweet’ romance, but I’m heading into the chick lit/women’s fiction genre with my first book for Bookouture. Plenty of humour, cheekiness and shenanigans!

Who is your favourite character in your books?

Ooh, that’s a hard one. The Little French Guesthouse is written in first person, so of course I’m very close to Emmy. But I was taken by surprise as I wrote the book, because I became inordinately fond of Rupert, the guesthouse owner – something I hadn’t particularly planned on. Other people who’ve read it are saying the same, which is lovely.

Where do you think up your ideas for stories?

I wouldn’t say that a setting necessarily inspires a whole story, but I do have to have a sense in my head of where it takes place – if I can’t visualize it, I find it hard to get going with the actual writing. Otherwise, I think maybe the characters that come first, and then I build a story around them.

What do you do to help you concentrate on writing?

Oh, that is a bad question. I’m a dreadful procrastinator, terrible at concentrating, and I’m adept at finding all sorts of distraction activities – I mean, there are all those nice timeline spreadsheets to keep up to; pretty-coloured charts . . . Does the cat need feeding? (The answer to that, by the way, is always.) Was that the doorbell? Perhaps I ought to phone my brother . . .

Could you please put a few brief words about you – something that doesn’t show up on your website. Surprise us!

I believe Jack Johnson’s music should be available on prescription – and obligatory for those prone to road/trolley rage. If you haven’t listened to any, try ‘Constellations’ on his ‘In Between Dreams’ album. It’s like Valium for your ears and soul.

Helen, thank you so much for being a guest on the blog. I look forward to you coming by again. I know many of the people who visit here are fans of France so you will love Helen’s new book:

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The Little French GuesthouseThe Little French Guesthouse

Sun, croissants and fine wine. Nothing can spoil the perfect holiday. Or can it?

When Emmy Jamieson arrives at La Cour des Roses, a beautiful guesthouse in the French countryside, she can’t wait to spend two weeks relaxing with boyfriend Nathan. Their relationship needs a little TLC and Emmy is certain this holiday will do the trick. But they’ve barely unpacked before he scarpers with Gloria, the guesthouse owner’s cougar wife.

Rupert, the ailing guesthouse owner, is shell-shocked. Feeling somewhat responsible, and rather generous after a bottle (or so) of wine, heartbroken Emmy offers to help. Changing sheets in the gîtes will help keep her mind off her misery.

Thrust into the heart of the local community, Emmy suddenly finds herself surrounded by new friends. And with sizzling hot gardener Ryan and the infuriating (if gorgeous) accountant Alain providing welcome distractions, Nathan is fast becoming a distant memory.

Fresh coffee and croissants for breakfast, feeding the hens in the warm evening light; Emmy starts to feel quite at home. But it would be madness to walk away from her friends, family, and everything she’s ever worked for, to take a chance on a place she fell for on holiday – wouldn’t it?

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PURCHASE THE LITTLE FRENCH GUESTHOUSE BY CLICKING HERE

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