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Hello again to our former readers of years past, and a warm welcome to those who have joined our great Trafalgar community in the last few years.

This column came into being to hopefully provide a bit of nonsense, which we hope will at least create a few smiles, and distractions for all to enjoy.

Your writer is prepared to own up to lots of fibs, liberally mixed with some very funny true stories.

When the source of a story or joke is known it will always be acknowledged as it appears. Thanks for giving us a trial run.

We begin with some contributions from some of the most talented ladies ever to grace the stage. Rita Rudner once vouched that “I don’t plan to grow old gracefully. I plan to have facelifts until my ears meet.” She also confessed, “I love being married. It’s so good to find a special person that you want to annoy for the rest of your life.” Joan Rivers also has some associated thoughts on the facelift subject. She said, “I wish I had a twin sister so I could know what I would have looked like without all the plastic surgery I’ve had.” Laura Kightlinger was speaking about family life. She said “I thought about having a family, but I haven’t seen any that really appealed to me.” Roseanne Barr, a funny lady who once told her audience that “I love my husband, I love my children, but I want something more than that, I want a life.” She also told us that her husband was always saying that he needed more space, so she locked him out of the house for a few days.

One of the funniest male comedians had to be Bob Hope. He told an audience, “I remember having performed for the Mafia – if they didn’t like you they didn’t applaud – they just let you live.”  Someone once asked him how he coped with such a lot of air travel. His reply was, “flying? I’ve been to almost as many places as my luggage.” He told us about a friend who was paranoid that his wife was having an affair with a jockey. He said he came home one night and found a horse under the bed. Bob Hope was so popular that he was asked at one stage to run for president of the USA. He said, “so nice to have such an offer, but declined on the grounds that his wife Dolores wasn’t prepared to move into a smaller house”.

Sir Malcolm Sargent (1895-1967) was an English orchestra conductor. He was a debonair man in both looks and manner, and with his smooth black hair he was nicknamed, Flash-Harry.
He remarked that “people in concert audiences didn’t seem to realise that a conductor facing his orchestra can still overhear conversations in the front row.” Plenty of ladies made sure they sat as close as they could, and during one performance, there were two or three ladies in that position, and even with the orchestra playing, he recalled that one lady leaned over to the other and said, “I wish my backside was as flat as his.”   

Our final subject relates to some items which appeared in a book by author Antony B. Lake called The Pleasury of Witticisms and Word Play, with a section devoted to ‘schoolboy howlers’. He has compiled a list of answers given by students, which he has collected over many years. Each of these items were not questions. They are the answers. He insists that we do not need to waste space on the questions.

Zanzibar is noted for its monkeys. The British Governor lives there”.      

“Trigonometry is when a lady marries three men at one time”.   

“The Magna Carta provided that no free man should be hanged twice for the same offence.”   

“Homer was not written by Homer, but by another man of the same name.”   

“Two popular ancient sports were Antony and Cleopatra.”     

“Robert Louis Stevenson got married and went on his honeymoon. It was then that he wrote Travels with a Donkey”.       

“Joseph Haydyn had a lot of will power. He died in 1809 and is still dead.”   

“Bach was the most famous composer in the world and so was Handel.”   

“Paganini was a famous fiddler. He fiddled with many of the greatest singers in Europe.”

Keep smiling, Basil.