Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Will I Ever Learn Wednesday

First of all, there is no Part III of the Ozarks Mill trip.  I did good to make it through Part I!

Hubby sold the sheep this week.  A very nice young man who lives north of here was looking for an established flock of sheep - and we were looking for someone who wanted to buy an entire flock of sheep.  It was kind of meant to be.  I think selling the sheep was one of the hardest things hubby has done in a very long time.  He got choked up while telling me how he personally loaded each of his "girls" and "babies".  I got choked up listening.  We solved the problem of keeping our guard dog without anything to guard by deciding to keep raising only a few sheep for the purpose of selling to established customers.  We'll raise them through the Spring, Summer, and Fall and send them off for slaughter before Winter sets in.  So I guess that means Radar will have the winter off.  Hope he deals with that ok.

Let's see.  Do I really need to do a Will I Ever learn post this Wednesday?  I think I posted it on Monday.  But I'll add one additional ditz moment.  This one belongs to hubby.


We stopped at a convenience store to buy mints.  I bought what I thought was mints and headed out.  It turned out to be gum.  Without saying anything about the mistake, I gave Jim a piece of the gum and we headed on down the road.  After much chomping and smacking, he looked at me and said....  "Where'd I get this gum?"  

Here's your sign. 

Have a great rest of the week everyone!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Mills of the Ozarks – Part II


We love the Missouri Ozarks. 


Even when we wake to the sounds of thunder and the previously warm days, have once again turned cool, and we can’t see the road through the driving rain, we love the Missouri Ozarks.



In the Missouri Ozarks, the pace slows to a crawl.

Jim and I visited this area shortly after we married almost 38 years ago.  It was time for a return visit.

Ozark County is a place of rafting and fishing during the warm days of Summer.  There was a lot of fishing going on even during the cool, rainy days of Spring.

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This proud angler was more than happy to pose with her nice trout. 

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I don’t believe she knew it was once again raining.  I’m positive she didn’t care.


This is how we remember Dawt Mill.  The history of the mill can be found here.  The photo came from their official web site.  We often wondered if the mills had been preserved or had been left to the decay of the ages.

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This is Dawt Mill today.  I’ll have to admit to some disappointment in my heart at how modernized everything was. 

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Dawt Mill now boasts a very good restaurant.  Watching the water flow down the NorFork River, and the ever present driving rain, as we ate breakfast was very mesmerizing.

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Our waitress was nice enough to let us roam around the upstairs, where they have overflow seating for the summer crowd.

From Dawt’s we headed to Hodgson Mill.  This is the one we really wanted to see, having remembered it best from our previous trip.


Closed!  So we walked around the barricades and checked out what we could. 

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I think they did a great job of restoring this mill. 


Maybe the attraction to the mills is the fact that where there is a mill, there is water.


I like this little building, nestled in the hillside.  With a little imagination, there are all sorts of story possibilities.

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Zanoni Mill in the distance is part of a serene, private setting.  Beautiful.

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Did they really need to post a sign?  Not for me, but I’m sure there are those who will ignore the sign and try to make it across this swinging bridge.


Rockbridge Mill has been turned into a trout hatchery and fishing resort.  The mill itself was closed (the story of the trip), so we snapped a few pictures from the outside.


It was raining again, so we headed on down the road.


The sun peeped through the storm clouds on Bull Shoals Lake long enough for me to snap this picture.


Then we went into the little restaurant on the lake called “Jackies” and watched the rain pour.  The sweet little gal handed us a menu with all sorts of tempting choices.  I first ordered their signature Catfish.  But, that was not available yet, as they were still in the off season.  So I ordered the BBQ.  Hmmm, no that was not yet available either.  Off season, you know.  So I asked for a suggestion of what they serve during the off season.  Hamburgers and Pizza.  I refrained from asking why they handed out menus, and ordered a pizza.  Jim had the hamburger.  Both were really good!

Next day (Sunday) we were up and on the road heading home  early – while the rain taunted us with the fact that mother nature will have her way… like it or not.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ozark County Mills Trip – part I…

(this was written the evening of day one, but posted when we returned to civilization, and the internet, on Sunday)

Friday, April 23rd - Day one of our trip to the Ozark Mills.

Crazy!  That is all I can say.  Absolutely crazy.

And I have only myself to blame.

I’ll start at the beginning.  Remember my previous post about the nice guy who we made reservations with?  I ended the post with an observation about whether we were heading for Deliverance or Mayberry.  Neither.  We entered the Twilight Zone.

The first crazy thing we did was use our Garmin GPS (we named her Emmy Lou) for the first time.  We programmed in the address of where we were going, Pontiac, Missouri.   Then we decided we wanted to take the back roads, which is pretty normal for us.  Emmy Lou wanted to take the Highways.  So every time we’d ignore her directions and take a different road, she’d sweetly tell us, “recalculating”.   Finally, we decided to listen to Emmy Lou, let her do her job, and followed her directions.  She took us for the nicest, scenic, drive. 

Our destination was a good five hour trip.  Rain and sunshine traded places all day long.  Finally we arrived at the cabins.  Wow, they were nice!

Oh wait.  I need to backtrack a bit.  The night before our trip, the nice guy from the resort called Jim, wanting to know about when we thought we’d get there.  We told him maybe around 3, or 4, or well we didn’t really know.  He had some errands to run and wasn’t sure he’d be around, but said he’d leave a key and to just make ourselves at home.  I mean, does it get any nicer than that!

So.  We FINALLY arrive at the resort.  Nobody is around and we can’t figure out which cabin, and see no key.  So we call Paul’s (that’s his name) telephone number.  Carol answers.

I explain we are at the cabins.  Dead silence on the other end.  So I try again and give her our names.  She says there must be some mistake.  But… we have reservations!  We made them with Paul.  She says Paul is out of the country and never would have made reservations with us.  She takes care of all reservations.  She asked if we had talked rate.  I replied that he gave us a rate of $65/night.  She laughed! Carol explained her cabins rent for $125/night and she had not rented one to us, but that she would be glad to.  She wanted to call Paul and find out what was going on but it is the middle of the night where he is.

So now we are kinda miffed, kinda freaked, kinda lotta confused.  While we waited for Carol to call back, we headed down the road and find a nice mom and pop type resort.  The kind of place all of the fishing buddies would gather to hang out before heading out for a day on the lake.  And we booked a room with the help of the owner, Marilyn.  A VERY clean, but dated to the 60’s room.  The rate was a cool $57.  And then Carol called back.

She had decided not to call Paul but was willing to talk price with us.  We told her it was all too weird and we had a room elsewhere.  And we thought she should be worried that maybe someone had hacked her phone and was playing tricks on her. 

Then we got worried.  Maybe someone had hacked her phone to get information on when people were going to be away from home.  Maybe “Paul” was at our house with a moving van, cleaning the place out!  I mean, he had our name and phone number.  Figuring out where we live would be a piece of cake.  At some point I suggested we call the County Sheriff…

Instead we called Jim’s brother, Tracy, and put him on stakeout at the house.  The first thing he noticed was the garage door handle had tape on it.  He thought, “that’s not good”.  We were like, “no, that’s fine – the lock fell out and we didn’t have time to fix it, so we taped it back in”.  Real secure like, huh.

Tracy tours the house and sees nothing out of the ordinary.  Dust balls are still swirling around and the “dust me” the grandkids wrote on the furniture is still intact.

Then the light bulb turns on in our heads and we have him check caller ID.  We get the telephone number of the hacker.  And we call him.

Paul answered the phone.  He is wondering where we are!  And we are wondering where he is.  Can you guess what happened?

Someone (me?) called one number and then wrote down another.  Someone (me?) made reservations at one resort and wrote down another.  Someone (Jim?) apologized all over the place and tried to explain all of this to Paul while we were still trying to solve the puzzle ourselves.

Paul was nice as could be (of course).  He said, that could happen to anyone  (I kinda doubt that) and he understood.  And now the cabin was cleaned for his next visitor.  Oh, he is in Tecumseh (we passed it on the way to Pontiac).

Then I called Carol back and tried to explain what happened and assured her she just had a ditz, not a hacker.  But come on folks, what are the chances of there being two Pauls involved in this tale?  Zippo!  And yet, there you have it.

We ended the day by going to the grocery store to buy a frozen pizza, beer, and snacks.  Yes, our cozy get away spot had a kitchen.  Eat your hearts out.  Then we returned to the resort, I fixed myself a nice stiff drink (I really needed one), Jim popped a top on his beer, and I turned on the oven.  Marilyn was such a clean freak that over the years she had cleaned the temperature numbers clean off the oven knob.  Or maybe it was just that old…

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”What is that smell”  “I smell it too”.  It’s gas.  The oven is gas?  But I only know electric.  I haven’t used a gas oven in over 35 years.  Do we need to worry about a pilot light?  Jim said something about moving closer to the door.  But the oven heated up.  We popped the pizza in and will soon devour it. 

I’m sipping on my drink as I write this and am still shaking my head in amazement at this entire day.  It was definitely a Twilight Zone type of day.  And I forgot my jammies.  Jim says he doesn’t mind.

I’m thankful that we didn’t call the sheriff’s department to check out our house.  Can you imagine trying to explain all of this to them?

Oh, and it is beautiful in this part of Missouri but a little too damp for me.  Hopefully the sun will shine tomorrow.

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Carol’s place – It was nice looking, but really wasn’t all that welcoming, no matter what the sign said.

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Our retreat for two days… Really, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

Stay tuned tomorrow for Part II of the Ozark Mills trip.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Will I ever learn Wednesday…

How is it that it is Wednesday again already!  The week has just flown by.  Here are a couple of what was I thinking type moments for you.



We are making plans to travel deep into the hills of the Ozarks for a short get-away.


There aren’t a lot of places to stay in the immediate area where we are going – at least I don’t think there is because I didn’t find much on the internet.  I finally chose a place with cabins that looked promising.

When I called to make reservations, the conversation went something like this:

Guy:  Empty Arms Hotel (or something like that)

Me:  I’d like to make reservations for two.

Guy:  We have a cabin available.  What is your name?   Where y’all located?  Jefferson City?  Don’t think I’ve ever been there.  How’s your weather down thare?  It’s warmer here than thare.  Y’all plannin’ on gettin’ in some fishin’?  Then he took a breath.

Me:  (After answering all his other questions) What is the cost?  $65 sounds reasonable.  Do you give AARP discounts?

Guy:  Weell now, this bein’ the off season, I already gave ya a nice discount.  That thare cabin is usually $85 a night.  But y’all can save $10 a night of ya want to bring your own towels and linens.  When do y’all think y’ll be gettin’ here?  Nah, it doesn’t matter.  T’was just wonderin’.  Nah, I don’t need no credit card.  Y’all call me if your plans change, now won’t ya?  Then we’re good.

Me:  Uh, yes I certainly will. Thank you.  Enjoy the weather.  And I hung up. 

The whole time I was on the phone I was wondering what song I’d hear if he put me on hold:  Dueling Banjos of “Deliverance” fame, or the theme song from Andy Griffith’s “Mayberry”. 

My money is on Mayberry hospitality, Ozark style.  I think I’m going to like this place.


This one is on Iggy.  You don’t mind, Iggy, do you?

In his comment on my last post he said:

The red (rhododendron is so pretty! what is the blue flower in that picture?)


The rhododendrons are Azaleas and the blue flower is hubby’s gazing ball.  Gotcha!

My lilac bush to the right is blooming for the first time in many years.  A little tip:  only prune your lilac bushes if you don’t mind them not blooming for a very long time…


I took my cup of coffee with me when I went out to take pictures this morning.  Now, sitting here typing this post, I can’t find it back.  It’s still outside.


Here is one from my not so distant past that my kids have been waiting to see.  They are still laughing at me.  I get no respect.

I was in a hurry (as usual), late for work (as usual), and hadn’t eaten lunch yet (as usual).  So I swung through the drive through for my favorite quick, I’ll get you through the day, snack.  A DQ Blizzard.  I used to live on those things.

The squawk box asked what it could get me and I ordered a Turtle Pecan Cluster Blizzard.  It asked me to repeat my order.  Thinking we were having technical difficulties, I spoke louder.  It again asked me to repeat my order.  So I LOUDLY told it that I wanted a LARGE TURTLE PECAN CLUSTER BLIZZARD.  And it said:  “Ma’am, will you pull forward please.”

I was totally irritated now.  Here I was already late and I couldn’t even get a simple Blizzard.  So I pulled forward to talk to the person behind the squawk box, ready to give her a piece of what little mind I had left. 

She calmly told me that I was at Wendy’s, but if I would go next door to Dairy Queen, she was sure they’d be glad to sell me a Blizzard.

I went back to work hungry that day.


It’s time to get busy here.  Hope everyone has a wonderful day!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sunflowers and onions


“He” seemed to think he was getting my better side. “I” didn’t know he was taking any pictures, but since he did, I have to post them.

Do sunflowers and onions grow good together? I’m going to find out.

I have always wanted to see large, beautiful, sunflowers growing here with the white tin of the barn as their backdrop. Hopefully I will get that this year. The local MFA gave hubby onion sets that they were going to pitch. Most were too far gone to mess with, but I planted those that had possibilities. We’ll see if we get any onions – or sunflowers for that matter.


It didn’t rain last night as I had hoped, so I had to water my seeds today. The water spigot is down here. I filled that watering can six times and hauled it to the barn. Can you see the white barn roof?


Can you see it now? Yea, I’m skinny now, hiking all that distance. A girl can dream!

Next time I’m getting the hose out.

And yes, I know I have some MAJOR weeding to do. Maybe tomorrow…

Friday, April 16, 2010

Baa Baa black sheep…

Our sheep have no wool.  The are registered Katahdin Hair Sheep.  Their whole purpose in life is to grow big and provide meat. 
They’ve had another purpose, though.  They’ve provided us a lot of joy.  Jim especially. 
For ten years, he’s hopped on his four wheeler at least once a day, usually twice, to check on the sheep.  You know, they need a bit of grain to bring them in each night, and a flake of hay here and there.  Or a LOT of hay during the winter.  
Every year during lambing season, I’ve grabbed my trusty Pentax camera and headed down to the sheep field to cuddle the new babies and take pictures.  It has been a ritual of ours.
This lambing season has resulted in some really sweet, docile lambs.  This little guy kept wandering over to where I was sitting on a milk carton.  I held him for the longest time.
What is that saying about “the eye is the mirror of the soul”… something like that… 
When the babies are only a few weeks old, it is difficult to get pictures of just the babies without their mamas.  These little guys didn’t seem to give a hoot, though.  I think they were planning their escape.
Have you ever been fussed at by a sheep?  I think I just was.
One of our first sheep was a bottle fed baby, Mary Ann.  She would always greet us when we’d come down to the field.  Ten year old MaryAnn didn’t survive the harsh winter, being the last of the original five sheep to die.   This pretty white baby is MaryAnn’s grandlamb and has her grandewe’s personality.  So sweet.
”Watch that crazy lady over there.  Yea, the one sitting on the milk carton.  She’s going to do something really nutso in about five minutes.  She always does.”
This little guy had just been born moments earlier. 
Have you picked up that I’ve been using the the past tense?  We have decided to get out of the sheep business.  We like to travel and that is difficult to do when you have farm animals.
Here is our biggest dilemma.  Radar.  We both love this dog.  He is a guard dog.  Having been bred for that purpose, he needs a job to do.  If there are no sheep, there is no job.  We are thinking the best thing for Radar is to let him stay with the sheep when they are sold.  It is a hard decision to make.
Actually, the whole decision to sell the sheep has been a difficult one.  I hope we aren’t making a mistake. This was supposed to be a fun post, and it turned into an emotional one for me.  Oh dear.  Maybe we aren’t ready to quit yet…

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Will I ever learn Wednesday

It has been a very busy week for us. When we are on overload like we are right now, the ditzometer starts racking up major points.


I waited until this week to start on taxes. Yes, I said START. Never mind the fact that we have a business and farm to report on. Every year I promise I’ll do the taxes in January. Every year I do them April 15th.

Instead of working on taxes, I was in the field taking pictures of our new baby sheep.


I know. Isn't he cute!

My eyes traveled up into the woods to the beautiful redwoods peeking out from under the tall oak trees. And that is when it happened.


I wandered over to the fence to get a better shot. I stood on an old piece of tin. I leaned in for a better shot. And I shocked the crap out of myself on the electric fence. From my toe to right out the top of my head. I’m pretty sure I stopped breathing for 5 or 10 minutes, but Jim says I didn’t.


Speaking of Jim. He is certainly no stranger to doing strange things. My ankle was sore last weekend, so he kindly offered to drop me off at the door of WalMart. We needed presents for grandkid birthdays.
After we finished shopping, I decided I could walk to the car. So we headed out. Now we are all creatures of habit, right? Well, he is the worst. So I was not surprised when he headed straight out to some yet unseen spot at the end of the parking lot. That is where he always parks. We walked. And walked. And WALKED! Finally he stopped and looked around. Where’s the car? He did a twirl or two on his tippy toes, looking around. I was already doubled over in laughter. Then he looked back towards the store, two rows over, and started walking. I couldn’t see the car, but I followed him anyway. Finally! The car was parked two spots from the store door. You know, the one right next to the handicapped spot. The one that is never open.
  • I forgot to buy wrapping paper for the birthday presents. So we stopped at the store on the way, and bought a wrapping bag. As Allen was opening his present, it hit me that I had bought ONE bag. We had two birthday parties. So I did the only reasonable thing. I stole Allen’s bag back when he wasn’t looking, so I had something to put James’ present in.
  • I forgot to open the church for the carpet cleaners. Fortunately, I gave them my phone number. You know, just in case I forgot to open the church…

  • I took some beautiful pictures earlier this week. There was no card in the camera. A.G.A.I.N.

  • Instead of working on taxes, I am working on this blog post


Years ago I hosted a baby shower for my bosses’ wife. Everyone I worked with and their spouses were invited. Wanting everything to be just perfect, I gathered beautiful wildflowers for a bouquet. All was perfect!

Later that night, Jim happened to look closer at my bouquet. And he started laughing. I never was very good at identifying poison ivy. The vase was FULL of blooming poison ivy.

The question I’ve always had was… did no one notice, or was everyone too nice to say anything… I’ll never know for sure, but I’m pretty sure if even one person had noticed, they would have gone out of their way to tease me. So I’ll go with no one but dear one noticed!

Have a great rest of the week all. It is once again just beautiful here!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

In our own backyard

Why is it that when something is in our own backyard, we don’t appreciate it like we should?  We love to travel.  We go out of our way to see sites along the way.  Yet, not more than 20 minutes down the road from our home, a great history opportunity was waiting for us in the little town of Fulton, Missouri.
So we grabbed number one grandson (number one because he was well, number one) and headed out for a few hours of site seeing in our own backyard.
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The Churchill Memorial is located on the Campus of Westminster College, the site of Churchill’s great “Iron Curtain” speech – his “Sinews of Peace” address.
“From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an "iron curtain" has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia; all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject, in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and in some cases increasing measure of control from Moscow.”
At first the speech was condemned, and Churchill was viewed as a war monger.  But as we all know, there was a “cold war” and Churchill’s predictions came true.
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Two of my dear ones waiting for me to join them.
The museum takes us from Churchill’s privileged youth to a simulation of war time bunkers.  As we moved through the museum, recordings of the sounds of war, Churchill’s Iron Curtain speech, and people talking about Churchill were available to listen to.  It was very well done.

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Who needs computers to break codes?  Not the English!
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“I'm just preparing my impromptu remarks.” Winston Churchill
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Churchill’s desk, with his drink of choice, whiskey and off to the side, his ever present cigar.
“Lady Nancy Astor: Winston, if you were my husband, I'd poison your tea.
Churchill: Nancy, if I were your husband, I'd drink it.”
I'm pretty sure Churchill was a rootin' tootin' royal horses patoot.

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A large draw is the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury.   This church, dating from the 12th century, was brought to the states, stone by stone.  It was sitting in London, left in ruins after WWII bombings.  Our friend’s dad helped with the restoration and reconstruction of the church.
Did I mention that people in Missouri are friendly?  Well, they are.  A very nice employee of the museum happened to be walking through as we were heading up the circular stairs from the museum to the church, and told us this story.
She was hired to help administer the grant that was used to restore and reconstruct St. Mary’s.  As she was working through the mountains of data, she realized there were no shipping cost.  Absolutely none!  So she approached the administrator who was largely responsible for the whole undertaking.
He asked her one simple question.  “What do the British import to the United States?”  She had to answer, “Nothing, why?”  So he explained that he approached the barge operators who transported US goods to the UK and asked if they would be willing to bring their barges back to the US full for a change – and that is how he got the stones to the east coast.  Free.
But he still needed to get the pieces of the church from the east coast to mid-Misssouri.  So day after day, he sat watching the trains pass through mid-Missouri.  And he counted.  He counted empty flat bed trailers coming from the east coast.  Day after day.  And you guessed it.  He contacted the owners of these train cars and asked if they would be willing to load the church pieces on those trailers and bring them to mid-Missouri.  And they agreed to do it.  For free! 
What a fascinating story.  I wish more people would think outside the box to find solutions.  Our nation would be in a lot better position today.  Throwing money at something isn’t always the answer.  As a matter of fact, it is usually the wrong answer.  And I’m way off track.  Let’s go back to Fulton and the Churchill Memorial.

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St. Mary’s of Aldermanbury
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View of the choir loft from below
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Two tourists looking down from the loft.  Oh wait, that’s me and Travis!  Hello down there!

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“You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.”  Winston Churchill 

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One year after the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall, President Ronald Reagan dedicated an 11-foot-high by 32-foot-long structure from 8 sections of the Berlin Wall, sculpted Churchill’s granddaughter, Edwina Sandys.  It is the centerpiece of Westminster’s campus’ cold war memorial.
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“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” Winston Churchill
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In addition to being one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century, he also had a lot of quotes attributed to him.  Many of them very funny.  I will leave you with some quotes attributed to him:
  • History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it.
  • In war it does not matter who is right, but who is left.
  • The biggest argument against democracy is a five minute discussion with the average voter.
  • We are all worms, but I do believe I am a glowworm.
  • If Hitler invaded Hell, I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.
  • I am prepared to meet my maker; whether my maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.
  • Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
  • A nation trying to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to pull himself up by the handles.
  • There are a terrible lot of lies going around the world, and the worst of it is half of them are true.
  • The United States invariably does the right thing, after having exhausted every other alternative.
  • A modest man, who has much to be modest about. (Referring to Clement Attlee)
  • A sheep in sheep’s clothing. (Referring to Ramsay MacDonald)
  • He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire. (Referring to Sir Stafford Cripps)
  • He is the man who brought pederasty into disrepute. (Referring to Tom Driberg)
  • He looks like a female llama who has been surprised in the bath. (Referring to Charles De Gaulle)
  • If you wanted nothing done at all, Balfour was the man for the job. (Referring to Arthur Balfour)
  • Lady Nancy Astor: Winston, if I were your wife, I’d poison your tea.
    Churchill: Nancy, if I were your husband, I’d drink it
  • Bessie Braddock: Sir, you are drunk.
    Churchill: And you, madam, are ugly. But in the morning, I shall be sober.
  • Young man (after seeing Churchill leave the bathroom without washing his hands): At Eton they taught us to wash our hands after using the toilet.
    Churchill: At Harrow they taught us not to piss on our hands.
  • Churchill: Madam, would you sleep with me for five million pounds?
    Woman: My goodness, Mr. Churchill… Well, I suppose… we would have to discuss terms, of course…
    Churchill: Would you sleep with me for five pounds?
    Woman: Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?!
    Churchill: Madam, we’ve already established that. Now we are haggling about the price.