Thursday 27 June 2013

Barnaby thinks about Stevie Wonder

Barnaby was lucky enough once to go to a Stevie Wonder concert.
To break the ice with his new audience Stevie asked if anyone would like him to play a request.  A little old Japanese man jumped out of his seat in the front row and shouted at the top of his voice...
"Play a Jazz chord! Play a jazz chord!"
Amazed that this guy knew about the jazz influences in Stevie's varied career, the blind impresario started to play an E minor scale and then went into a difficult jazz melody for about 10 minutes. When he finished, the whole place went wild.
 The little old man jumped up again and shouted...
"No, no, play a Jazz chord, play a Jazz chord".
A bit nonplussed by this, Stevie, being the professional that he was, dived straight into a jazz improvisation with his band around the B flat minor chord and really tore the place apart. The crowd went wild with this impromptu show of his technical expertise.
The little old man jumped up again.
"No, no. Play a Jazz chord, play a Jazz chord".
A little brassed off that this guy didn't seem to appreciate his playing ability, Stevie said to him from the stage "OK smart ass, you get up here and do it!"
The little old man climbed up onto the stage, grabbed hold of the mike, and started to sing,
"A jazz chord to say I ruv you................."

Now, of course, this story could be seen by some to be politically incorrect on a number of levels, relying on a stereotypical image of a non native english language speaker and a blind pianist for it's humour, when, actually, it's nothing more than a shaggy dog story, completely invented and relying on a rather bad pun to raise a smile. Barnaby's Quirky Verse is rather like that, complete invention and a lot of bad puns. You could check them out at (some of them are even FREE to download).

Thursday 20 June 2013

Barnaby thinks about tipping

To tip, or not to tip? That is the question that Barnaby has been pondering this week. Should tipping be encouraged or should it be banned entirely? Is it a way of rewarding especially good service, or does it simply perpetuate a system that allows employers to underpay their staff?

In some cultures, tipping is seen simply as an unavoidable part of the cost of the purchase and has little to do with the quality of the service. This seems to Barnaby especially to be the case in the U.S.

In other cultures, such as China, offering a tip is seen as an insult.

Barnaby is reminded, however, of a sign in a restaurant which read, 'We pay our staff well. Please do not insult them by leaving tips.' However, beside the till itself was a jar labelled "Insults".

The question of whether to tip or not and by how much is frequently a source of consternation not only to visitors, but also to locals. Establishments in the U.K. are increasingly adding a tip automatically to the bill on the assumption that most people will pay up rather than risk the embarrassment of querying the addition. Only the very brave or exceptionally dissatisfied customer will strike out the extra demand.

Barnaby is of the opinion that people should be paid a fair wage and that the advertised price should include the service charge. Yes, Barnaby deplores tipping.

So, to make things absolutely clear, the prices displayed against Barnaby's books, including the FREE ones, is the full price. What you see is what you pay. No tips are expected or accepted,. (unless it is advice on how to improve his writing). See for yourself at

Tuesday 11 June 2013

Barnaby thinks about al fresco living.

During the recent week of unusually warm and sunny and weather in the UK, Barnaby was reminded of the times that he spent camping under canvas. His earliest memory is of being allowed to sleep out on the back lawn with his brother and sister, an experiment which ended at about ten pm, when sibling squabbling was clearly going to prohibit any chance of sleep.

Later, camping with the scouts and even holidaying abroad with his young family, was considerably more successful and enjoyable.

Barnaby's camping days under canvas are probably now behind him, as he values the comfort of hot showers, flushing toilets and comfortable beds more highly than the crisp dawn air and fresh overnight dew that might otherwise greet him on unzipping the tent each morning, though he was persuaded to try a week in a motor home recently, where he renewed his acquaintance with the joys of the chemical toilet and empty gas bottles.

It brought to mind the story Barnaby heard about Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson camping on the moors, lying in their sleeping bags and staring up at the night sky. "Tell me what you can deduce from what you can see, Watson," said Holmes.

"I can see from the orientation of the stars that we are lying approximately north/south," said Watson, "and that from the position of the moon, that it must be almost three a.m. From the lack of cloud cover, I would say we are under a high pressure weather system and that the weather tomorrow will probably be fine."

"Excellent, Watson, excellent," said Holmes. "Anything else?"

"I don't think so," replied Watson. "What have I missed?"

"Someone has stolen the bloody tent," said Holmes.

Barnaby's e-books can all be found on  and are eminently suitable for reading indoors or al fresco. Why not take one camping with you. You'll find it intensely satisfying.

Tuesday 4 June 2013

Barnaby wonders about weeds

The weather has been excellent for the past few days, clear blue skies, warm temperatures and just a light breeze. Just what we always hope an English summer will be and so often isn't.
Barnaby has been indulging in a spot of gardening. He is not ashamed to admit that he is a fair weather gardener and would prefer to be looking through a window at the garden from the warmth of his office when it's cold and wet outside.
This means, of course, that Barnaby's gardening consists mainly of pulling up the weeds that have been growing happily outside while he was sitting, typing, inside.
The most important thing, therefore, is to be able to distinguish the weeds from the flowers, especially when some of the weeds are rather attractive in their own right. So, what exactly is a weed?
A weed is most simply defined as being a plant growing in the wrong place. A potato in a cornfield is a weed. A rose in a potato field is also a weed.
None of this, of course, has anything whatsoever to do with e-books, unless it happened to be an e-book about gardening. Happily there are no weeds in Barnaby's e-books as you'll find out if you visit where all Barnaby's books can be seen in full bloom.