This story goes back to the time when gas appliances in England were being converted from methane
to natural gas. A friend of Trevor's
called Barney had a good job as a fitter of these replacement gas appliances. It was a lovely job because they were paid on piece rate. The more houses
they could convert, the more they earned. Barney got faster and faster at
He was expert at unscrewing the old oven and boiler parts, then whipping in the new fittings. He was so good that he could even convert the
appliances without turning off the gas at the mains. Now to pull off this trick Barney trained his breathing along the lines of those boys who dive for oysters. He would take a huge lungful of air,
take off with the old fitting - O.K. so gas escapes, but he soon whacked in the new shiny new joint, and then gasped another breath from an open window. There was one other proviso for this risky shortcut,
the owner had to be out.
One day he knocked on the door, explained to the lady that he had come from the gas board about their north sea conversion. The owner was delighted that she was finally going to move from the smelly old gas
to the new natural gas. She told Barney that she just had to pop to the shops and as her husband was working in the garden, Barney could go ahead with his fitting. Great thought Barney, this will be a quick
job, no need to turn off the gas at the mains. The boiler was no trouble, but one of the jets in the oven was rusty and crusted. Even though the gas was escaping, Barney sprayed a can of WD-40 on the
obstinate fitting and eventually it unscrewed and he whisked on the replacement part.
As Barney came up for air, to his horror, he spotted that the budgie in the kitchen was lying on its back at the
bottom of his cage. It was not looking good, and to add to his trouble he could see the lady opening the gate at the bottom of the garden. What to do? Being resourceful, Barney cut a length of
fuse wire and rapped it around the dead budgie's
legs and tethered him to his perch. As a nice touch he even set the perch rocking, and then turned and met the lady in the door way.'
Barney said as he sauntered down the path to the gate.
said the lady, 'my budgie'
. Barney picked up the lady's
bad vibes and his chances of legging it were not improved by the sudden appearance of the woman's
blocking his exit. 'Come back here'
she said, and as his escape was cut off by the husband, he had no option but to turn and face the music.
a miracle', the lady said, 'when I left this morning, my budgie was dead, now he's
jumped up on his perch and is swinging away happy as you please'
A customer at Stingray Fishmongers marvelled at the owner's
quick wit and intelligence.
'Tell me, Simon, what makes you so smart?'
share my secret with just anyone, 'Simon replies,
lowering his voice so the other shoppers won't
But since you're a good and faithful customer, I'll let you in on it. Fish heads. You eat enough of them, you'll be positively brilliant.'
'You sell them
the customer asks.
'Only $4 apiece', says Simon.
The customer buys three. A week later, he's
back in the store complaining that the fish heads were disgusting and he isn't
eat enough, 'says Simon. The customer goes home with 20 more fish heads. Two weeks later, he's
back and this time he's
'Hey, Simon, 'he complains, 'you're selling me fish heads for $4 a
piece when I can buy the whole fish for $2. you're ripping me off!'
'You see?' says
Simon, 'you're smarter already.'
a story set just after the second world war at Portsmouth dockyard.
One day Ministry of Defence policeman [Mod plod] stopped a worker who was walking out of the dockyard gates pushing a
wheelbarrow with a suspicious looking package in it. The Mod plod opened the package and found it contained nothing but some old bits of rubbish, sawdust and floor-sweepings.
The next day he stopped the same
worker who was again pushing a wheelbarrow containing a suspicious looking package. Once more it contained nothing of any value.
The same thing happened several days on the trot, until the policeman finally
said, 'OK, I give up. I know you are up to something, but I just can't
tell what. Please, I promise not to arrest you, but put me out of my misery; tell me what you are stealing.'
'Wheelbarrows', smiled the
worker, 'I'm stealing wheelbarrows.'
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