IF ...

IF ...



Saturday, 28 November 2015


The priest’s house was built next door to St Vincent Church high on a hill overlooking the old town. Father Ignatius stood by the window in his office and from his vantage point he looked down pensively at the old buildings hugging close together and sharing in common poverty.

Ever since June, Helen and Tim, three children from the local Catholic school, had said they’d seen Jesus in the park, news of the vision spread fast around town. In a place where nothing much happens except loss of jobs and business closures, such a story united people in holding differing opinions about the event.

Some readily believed, seeking hope amidst hopelessness. Whereas others, already consumed by bitterness and despair, could only rejoice in the twisted belief that the story may yet prove to be false.

Father Ignatius faced a personal dilemma.

“Could it be …” he asked himself as he looked down the street, “that our Lord would visit such a poor place. Just like He did in Bethlehem all those years ago?”

He had known the three children and their parents for years. They were good children, well raised by their parents. The girls sang in the choir, whilst young Tim served as an altar boy.

"Not the kind of children who would lie about something like this," he thought to himself. "Not about something so important."

“If they saw Jesus …” and the thought froze in his mind for a moment or two.

“Or could they be mistaken perhaps … but then, the details of the vision are so precise and unwavering. No matter how often you ask the children … they always say exactly the same thing.”

He turned back into his office and looked at the picture of Jesus of The Divine Mercy hanging on the wall.

He thought of Blessed Faustina.

“Did they doubt you too?” he asked under his breath, “you were only sixteen when you saw the vision of Christ.”

The above is a short summary of my book VISIONS. AMAZON Link and readers' reviews HERE.

Friday, 27 November 2015


We've mentioned Galileo before on this Blog but there's no reason why we can't mention him again. So here goes: Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) famous Italian mathematician, physicist and philosopher from Pisa.

In 1583, Galileo entered the cathedral in Pisa. Some men were carrying out some repairs and someone accidently set in motion a heavy lamp which was suspended from the ceiling. The lamp kept moving to and fro, to and fro, backwards and forwards. Galileo sat there on a pew and watched it move backwards and forwards ... backwards and forwards "you are feeling sleepy, very sleepy, your eyes are getting tired, your eyelids are heavy ..."

Sorry ... I got distracted by my own writing there. Exciting what? I'm so good at suspense that sometimes I surprise myself. Anyway, back at the suspense.

The suspended heavy lamp, (see what I did there with the word suspense?). As I was saying, the swinging lamp set Galileo thinking. He was easily amused. 

He noticed that the to and fro swings seemed to be timed almost the same. He put his fingers on his left wrist and counted his pulse. To his surprise the swinging of the lamp was almost the same as his pulse.

It was a Eureka moment.

He got in touch with a Swiss friend of his called Role the Tenth because he was the tenth son of a man called Role who called all his children Role. Anyway, Role the Tenth shortened his name to ROLE X. He was so excited by Galileo's discovery that he and Galileo invented a watch which works like a pendulum. It was the first time that pendulums were used for time keeping purposes.

People wore the watches on their wrist and went around swinging their arms to and fro, to and fro, to keep the watch working. Unfortunately, in doing so they often hit other people in the eye or in the face causing a lot of injuries. So the pendulum watch never took off as a successful idea. This did not deter Role X who went on to invent much better sought-after watches.

Back to Galileo, however, who also undetered by his watch experiment went on to invent the telescope. He took a long tube and put a glass lens at each end et voila.

Galileo placed the telescope by the window high up in his house in the attic and, remembering his adventure with Role X years previously, he started swinging the telescope to and fro, to and fro. He moved it to the left, then he moved it to the right, and then the left again.

And this is what he saw.
And this ...
And also this ...
Of course, those were the days before curtains in windows were invented. So Galileo put his telescope to good use by watching his neighbours' goings on all evening.

He was there for so long that his wife grew a little worried. She switched off the radio in the kitchen where she was listening to "Woman's World"; a popular programme at the time, and went up in the attic.

"What are you doing?" she asked Galileo in Italian. (She did not speak English, but even if she did, it was pointless speaking to Galileo in English because he did not know English either).

"Oh ... I am looking at the heavenly bodies" he lied as he swung his telescope upwards towards the sky.

His wife was suspicious about this but said nothing. It was after all a very cloudy night with not even a moon, so there was no chance he would have been watching "heavenly bodies" - not unless they were mooning him from their windows!
The following day, whilst Galileo was out of the house buying pizza for lunch, she went up to the attic and put a little ink on the end of the telescope from which you look. She knew from listening to the weather forecast on the radio that that very evening would also be very cloudy and therefore there was no point in watching up to the sky for planets or stars.

That very evening, Galileo pretended to be tired and went to bed early. As you've guessed, he spent all night watching his neighbours again.

The next morning he woke up with two black rings round both eyes. That's because he had gotten very tired watching for "heavenly bodies" with just one eye, so he alternated eyes to have a rest.

His wife challenged him and he confessed and told her the whole truth. 

Rather than be angry, which is what you would expect under the circumstances, or over the circumstances even; the clever wily lady invented binoculars to save one from having to change eyes when watching whatever it is you want to watch.

Which goes to show:  

Man might think he is clever. But in reality woman is much cleverer than him.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

God's Waiting Room

I'm sure it's happened to you, as indeed it happens to me every six months or so. I have to visit the doctor's for a check up with the nurse.

I wait in the waiting room with other people, most of whom look so miserable I'm sure they wouldn't bring a smile between them at a funeral; and I wait for my name to be called on the big TV monitor on the wall.

I fumble through the magazines most of which are so old they might as well be written in Latin, covering such exciting subjects like Equestrian Monthly, Yachting World, and Mountaineering. Why do doctors and dentists have these types of magazines in their waiting rooms? Looking around me, I doubt any of these people could take part in any of these sports anyway. I on the other hand ...

Anyway, I pick up a magazine, more to pass the time rather than interest, and learn to my chagrin that a ship called The Titanic sank after hitting an iceberg. Surely the doctor or his admin team can find more up-to-date reading matter.

I look up at the TV monitor every now and then to see if they are showing my name as next to go in. Every so often the screen shows adverts for vaccinations and immunisations, medical check-ups for all sorts of illnesses, health insurance, and even old peoples' homes and funeral directors. You can't get more cheerful than that, can you?

I sit there and worry; for no apparent reason other than worry is the thing to do when you're called in at the doctors. I'm sure there's nothing wrong with me. It is a routine half-yearly check-up and as in past check-ups they always confirm that I'm still alive. So all should be well. After all, I'm sure they would have told me if I were dead.

My turn comes and I go in to see the pretty young nurse. She smiles and asks me to sit down next to her and then reads off the computer monitor in front of her the results she has received from the hospital. She points at the screen and explains all the figures there.

Cholesterol levels, sugar levels, and this and that and this other thing too. Then she compares these figures to the last time I visited her to see if they are better or worse. Then she takes my blood pressure ... Is it any wonder it is sky high?

One improvement the medical profession can make is not to have pretty young nurses take your blood pressure. A dragon with flaming nostrils on the other hand would frighten one so much that blood temperature would probably freeze to below zero and register no pressure at all.

Anyway, she says my blood pressure is a little high and it is no doubt because I am here for a check-up. Yea right! Great diagnosis Miss.

But what has all this to do with the title to this article, and the photo of that nurse? I hear you say.

Well, whilst waiting in that Doctor's Waiting Room I often wonder what it's like waiting in God's Waiting Room. Fumbling through whatever magazines they have there. I bet you they're all in Latin or some language I don't know. Why can't the magazines be in English? I always thought God is English. After all, all the Bibles I've read are in English, so He must be English.

Anyway, I'd be sitting there in God's Waiting Room fretting and worrying about what He will say to me. Mentioning all the things I have done or omitted to do in my life on earth. All the things I've said or not said. Hurting other people. I wonder what results will show up on God's computer monitor and whether the results will be pleasing all round or not. What if His computer is wrong? But then, God is never wrong is He?

Too late to worry now. What's been done has been done and now is the time for the final reckoning. Now is the time to find out whether I am really "dead" for eternity or whether I'd be welcomed into His loving arms.

But then ... the moral of this story surely is ... just as we have plenty of opportunities now to keep our health in check and to monitor it when it is not as well as it should be. Surely now is also the time to monitor the state of our soul's health so that when we are in that Heavenly Waiting Room we'd have no reason to worry at all.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

A Vision?

Father Ignatius was busy in his office dealing with some paper work when Eric, a young man in his mid-twenties, came in.

“I’ve changed the oil Father and gave the engine a good run. It’s as good as new.”

Eric was a car mechanic at the local garage and every now and then he came over to the parochial house to maintain the priest’s car and undertake any minor jobs that needed doing.

“Thank you” replied Father Ignatius, “I’ll await the invoice from your boss in due course.”

“Oh I see you got that picture of Jesus …” said Eric pointing at the wall. “The boss has the same one in his office at work.”

“It’s very popular …” mumbled the priest hoping that the youngster would soon leave. He had plenty of paperwork to get on with and he could really not afford the time for a chat.

“Did He really look like that?” continued Eric.


“Jesus … did He look like that? This is the picture painted by that nun isn’t it? What’s her name?”

Father Ignatius put down the letter he was reading and turned to Eric. It was obvious that although he wished to get on with his work the Good Lord had other plans for him.

“Her name is Sister Faustina. Her real name at birth was Helena Kowalska.”

“Greek was she?” asked Eric making himself comfortable in the armchair near the window.

Father Ignatius took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes with his right hand, as if to summon every once of patience that the Good Lord might send him. “Why now, when I’m busy,” he prayed silently.

“No Eric,” he said with a smile, “she was Polish.”

“That’s right; I knew it was somewhere foreign. Near Jerusalem where Jesus came from …”

“Not quite near Jerusalem!”

“And she actually saw Jesus and painted Him. That’s what I have been told. Do you believe that?” interrupted the young man eagerly. “I mean … she could have been lying. Can you prove that she actually saw Jesus and He looks like that picture?”

“Despite my age,” said the priest abruptly, “I can assure you I was not around when Sister Faustina was around. So I can’t actually prove what you ask for.” He then immediately regretted what he had said and continued in a more gentle voice.

“Look Eric, we are told that Sister Faustina back in 1931 had a Vision of our Lord. She saw Him dressed in white and standing very much as in the picture there. From His heart rays came out, one red and another pale, as you can see.

“The Lord spoke to her and asked her to paint an image according to the Vision she can see and to write ‘Jesus I trust in you.’ And that’s how we came to have this picture."

“Oh …” said Eric.

“Now you and I have two choices to make,” continued the priest.

“We can believe this is all true. Or we can believe she was lying and nothing really happened.

“If indeed the story is true and we chose to ignore it we would have lost a great opportunity to venerate the image of Christ; as He has asked us to do when He spoke to Sister Faustina.

“And what a great pity, and tragedy that would be! To ignore a request made by our Lord Himself.”

“I see …” said Eric pensively.

“Our Faith has a number of mysteries Eric,” continued the priest in his gentle tone, “things that we are invited to believe without any proof and without any evidence. That’s why they call it Faith. To believe in something when your common sense tells you otherwise.”

There followed a few moments silence whilst Eric digested the information he’d just heard.

“Does Jesus appear and speak to people these days too?” he asked finally.

“I believe He does,” replied Father Ignatius, “He certainly spoke through the Holy Spirit to Father John Woolley. Here, you can borrow his book …”

Eric picked up the book handed by the priest and read the title, “I am with you.”

He then asked, “Jesus performed miracles when He was on earth … Does He do so now? Do miracles happen now Father?”

“Yes … they do. Miracles happen every day to a lot of people. The sad fact is that too many are not willing to believe that they happen.

“Christ is alive and is amongst us now as He ever was. He speaks to us and guides us through His Holy Spirit.

“But hearts have hardened Eric. Plenty are not willing to believe.

“They may consider themselves Christians or Catholics but they don’t know what to believe anymore. They just go through the motions by going to church and by claiming they’re Christians.

“Christianity is not just a label Eric. Or a brand name. It is real. Christ is real and is alive today as He ever was. It is not an event that happened two thousand years ago which we commemorate as a Remembrance every Sunday. Christ is alive and here today. He is here in the Eucharist; He is here in the Holy Spirit who abides in our very soul, if we let Him. If we invite Him …”

Eric hesitated for a while and then asked “I’d like to really believe in all these things Father. I don’t know how …”

“That’s a good start … wanting to believe. Opening your mind and heart to the Lord.

“Pray about it. Ask God to help you believe. If you like come and join us at the Bible classes we hold every now and then here at the Parish center.

“Ask for God’s help and leave the rest to Him.

“Say what you can read in that picture on the wall, ‘Jesus, I trust in you’ and mean it every time you say it.”

Note: I am with you. Author John A Woolley ISBN 09508840-7-3 

More Father Ignatius books FREE HERE.

Thursday, 19 November 2015


Have you wondered how the cat gets it right every time? Here's a possible solution. Cats see things in slow motion because their brain to eye balls connections are superior to ours so although we are moving the cups, (or anything else), fast the cat is seeing it in slow motion and therefore able to follow which cup has the ball underneath it.

Either that, or this is a trick picture. I'll leave you to work out which. But take it from me. Cats and dogs, and flies DO SEE in slow motion. That's why a fly will fly away as soon as your hand gets near it. Same applies for a mosquito. Many creatures see things in slow motion.

Dogs do not see in colour but in black and white. That is why a dog will not chase a black cat at night, because he can't see it at night in the dark; and also because it is bad luck. If a black cat crosses your path when you are walking it is because it is going somewhere. That's why it is also bad luck to walk under a black cat.

All this is true because I read it in a book which I am currently writing.

Now look at this next picture.

You might think this cat is clever but I can tell you that he is actually stupid because he does not charge the proper rate for giving massages. He does all this work for a tin of cat food and a pat on the head. Mind you, on second thoughts, I think I too would do this for a tin of cat food and a pat on the head !!!

Now this next cat ...

I think is quite rude.

But be that as it may, if you are a cat lover, or even if you are not, then why not do yourself a favour and read ...

It's a humourous book about life with my cat.


It's a FREE book folks. Yes FREE. And it can be downloaded from HERE.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

William Shakespeare

Settle down now, and pay attention. Today's History Lesson is about a famous Elizabethan who lived between 1564 and 1616 by the name of William Shakespeare. It is not known what other name he had outside of this period, but to many he was also known as the "Beard of Avon", because he was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in England and because he had a beard. But then, most people at the time had beards and they were not called the "Beard of London", "the Beard of Nottingham", or wherever else they came from.

Shakespeare's life is full of controversy and it is fair to say that he is the most talked about subject of conversation and debate in England (and elsewhere) apart from the weather. That is, if you have nothing else to talk about apart from Shakespeare and the weather. Some people like to discuss science, medicine, politics, religion, saving the planet, conservation, re-cycling and numerous other subjects, but they are not as important as Shakespeare and the weather.

One of the greatest controversy about Shakespeare is whether he actually wrote the 30 or so plays, sonnets and such like writings or not. The fact that they have been written is not in dispute; but their authorship is.

Can you imagine being the author of all these writings and be forever praised and lauded by everyone?

"To be or not to be?" to quote Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe or Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford.

So let's consider this controversy further for a moment and see what we know about old Bill the Beard.

He was an actor who went to London and made a small fortune in the theatre, and also by purchasing properties (theatres amongst others) which made him very rich. He returned to Stratford-upon-Avon and bought a large house and his fame spread.

Now then ... since no one actually saw him sitting at his computer late at night typing away furiously his many plays; it is safe to suggest that perhaps ... maybe ... there's a possibility ... that he was only the financial backing behind all these plays. He was a rich man, owned many theatres, and it is possible that he put on plays as a business; very much like a modern day producer puts on plays, or makes films or produces music records and CDs these days. It doesn't follow that today's producers write the plays or sing the songs on record; does it?

In time, Shakespeare's fame and plays became synonymous to saying "hoover" when we mean a vacuum cleaner, or "thermos" when we mean a vacuum flask. People went to see "Shakespeare plays" - that is plays produced and financially backed, but not written, by him.

Now, whatever the controversy about the authorship of these writings, one thing is for sure and un-disputed.

For years on thereafter, many generations of pupils have been forced to learn these plays and sonnets by heart for no apparent reason whatsoever, since they have no purpose in gaining you subsequent employment or career unless you wish to become a teacher and force another generation of students to study the same.

I remember as a child having to memorise several of the Beard's writings. The one that comes to mind with dread is from the play Antony and Cleopatra when Antony's lieutenant Enobarbus, once described Cleopatra's charms by saying: "Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety. Other women cloy the appetites they feed, but she makes hungry where most she satisfies."

Which loosely translated means "She is a good looker, what? Makes my monocle steam up, by Jove. Would love sharing a pot of tea with her!"

I remember my teacher saying I should remember these lines by heart and quote them in the exams as it would comfort the examiner and make him more liable to award me good marks.

Of course, as a child, I did not know what they meant; but I memorised these words and repeated them over and again.

Unfortunately, a few days later our history teacher was late because his mother had died that morning. To comfort him I blurted "Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety."

I got expelled for three days from school as a result. For some reason, I also failed my history exams that year.

And there you have it ... William Shakespeare ... the Beard of Stratford-upon-Avon ... writer ... perhaps ... dreaded memory of my past ... certainly.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Missing Without A Trace

I’ve been missing for three days. Without a trace. No one knew I was missing … except me of course. I suspect none of you noticed my absence.

A few days ago the family decided to take Aunt Gertrude down South to visit friends leaving me at home alone with the dog, the cat and the goldfish. Oh bliss … a whole three days without Auntie's Australian accent grating on my nerves. Without a family demanding this and that and volunteering me for all sorts of things.

As long as I can keep the pets well fed I’ll have a peaceful break all to myself. Although at times the goldfish can be quite noisy when they chatter and laugh at me from their fishtank.

Let me explain that we live in a very old Victorian house which has a cellar spanning the whole floor area of the property. You enter the cellar from a door just under the staircase.

We don’t use this basement often, it’s mostly a storage area nowadays where we keep half a dozen bottles of wine lying lazily on a shelf which I built myself … slightly leaning to one side mind you … but still OK if you wedge a book at the end and it stops the bottles from rolling off.

We also keep some foodstuff down there, mostly tins of soup, various tins of vegetables and fruits and other household goods like detergents, washing liquids and so on. And books, plenty of books. I built a few more shelves in one corner which I call the library and we've put a number of books which we refer to every now and then. You get the idea … it's just a storage area for things we use now and then.

The basement used to be a small apartment for a servant or butler in years gone by … it has a small kitchenette and bathroom still fully plumbed in and in working order, and a tiny living/sleeping area. Originally I wanted to send our guest from Australia, Aunt Gertrude, down there; but I was over-ruled, as often happens in our houshold, much to the amusement of the goldfish.

Now where was I? In the basement … or about to enter the basement to be precise. I needed a book about Australian parasites so off I went downstairs as one would in such circumstances. 

As I got to the corner where the books are, there was an almighty crash in the house as the dog started chasing the cat who followed me down in the basement. 

The dog … huge as he is … did not quite fit in under the staircase where the basement door is situated, but his immense stature slammed the door shut. That’s when I heard a clunk … clunk … clunk … sound all the way down the stairs and at my feet.

Perhaps I should have mentioned that the door handle has always been a little loose. I’ve always planned to fix it … Lord knows I’ve been told often enough … but with that and the leaning shelves it was all a question of priorities. Which one to fix first … and neither was done!

I picked up the door handle and tried to open the door. No use … it would not work. And that’s how I went missing without a trace in my own house.

No one knew I was there. No use shouting for help. No one would hear me. No point in phoning for help. I didn’t have the cell-phone with me.

Try as I might to open the door but it was all in vain. An hour or so later I heard the phone ring in the house and the loudspeaker on the answering machine said “Hello … we’ve arrived safely … Oh … you must be out. See you when we return. Have fun. Bye!”

Great … what a prospect. Trapped in my own house for three whole days.

Now it is said that in such circumstances of extreme trauma one should sit down calmly, take deep breaths and concentrate. No need to panic.

Calm down and concentrate.

And nothing aids concentration more than a drop or two of wine.

Fortunately we have plenty of that here. Or beer if one prefers … which is also easily to hand.

After an hour or so of concentration I still had no idea on how to get out of my prison.

My mind was getting a little hazy … perhaps it’s the lack of air down here. There’s a small window at the far end of the basement leading to the back garden of the house. It’s at ground level when you’re out in the garden … if you see what I mean. It’s too small to get out of; and it is barred anyway. 

Let's take another drink and concentrate.

Now then … if I could get the cat out of the window he could go for help! (Hic ... pardon me ... hiccup!)

I could tie a message to his collar! No that won’t do … he doesn’t wear a collar. Too dangerous you see, he could get caught on a tree branch and injure himself. So we’ve never put a collar on him. Perhaps I could go out and buy him a collar. Ooops ... I can't get out ... hic!

Perhaps I could tattoo a distress message on his body … a bit extreme I must say! It’ll stay with him for life. “HELP … I’m trapped in the basement!”

The problem is I have no tattooing equipment whatsoever down here, and I’ve never tattooed anyone in my life let alone a cat.

What if I cut a message in his fur with scissors? Like some people do with their hairstyle when they cut their hair in different patterns? Would the cat stay still long enough until I finish cutting his fur I wonder?

I think I need another drink … hic!

Ah … I got it. This is certain to work. I could empty all these tins of peas … well some of them anyway … no one likes peas. I could tie them to one another with a long string and tie that to the cat’s tail.

He’d make such a noise running all over town that someone is sure to find him and read my message which will be written on one of the tins.

I emptied about a dozen tins. Peas taste awful when eaten cold you know … even washed down with beer. 

I tied the tins together. Wrote a message on several tins to make sure it is read. 

I called the cat sleeping happily in the corner. I tripped on the Australian book lying on the floor. The cat suddenly got up and shot out through the window.

Typical of that cat … un-cooperative to the last. He just would not help me in my hour of need.

I was found fast asleep three days later when the family returned home. And you didn't even miss me.

More stories about my cat in my FREE E Book  

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