Whatever curious and interesting subject strikes my fancy, be it silly or serious, gets posted for your reading pleasure.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

The Perpetual Pilgrim - My New Video Series!

Hi everyone - most of you know I live in Fatima, Portugal

For those who haven't heard about Fatima, it is known throughout the world as the sacred site where the Blessed Virgin appeared to three little shepherd children in 1917 for six successive months on the 13th of each month, starting in May and ending in October with the spectacular Miracle of the Sun that was witnessed by over 70,000 people.

Now a resident for over 15 years and having gained some insider knowledge about the area I thought I would share what I've learned and give video tours and travel-documentaries of the area entitled "The Perpetual Pilgrim" to those who would love to know more and see what it's like here.

There is so much to explore in the Fatima area and beyond, lesser known sacred apparition sites, historical monuments, world heritage landmarks, local and national Portuguese history, daily experieces living in Portugal, etc, I hope to cover as much as possible!

Below are my first two videos -  I'll be sharing future ones here on my blog as well. 

(Please note, I'm new to putting videos together, so bear with me here!)

Hope you enjoy! Also, if you are on YouTube, please subscribe to my channel so you never miss a new episode.


Ep. 1 - Introduction to the Shrine, where it is in Portugal, a quick walkabout, plus meeting up with some feathery friends!


Ep. 2 - the Miracle of the Doves and Portugal's Historical Sacred Oath to the Queen of Heaven


See Past Blog post / Table of Contents

Sunday, 9 September 2018

The Freshman Essay Writer – A Funny Blast from the Past – Plus Useful Tips on How to Write a College Essay

As I was recently cleaning out some of my bookshelves and drawers to get ready for the next writing project now that my latest novel has finally been published, (you can learn more about that by clicking here), I came across a reference sheet handed out to us in our Freshman year in college typed up by Dr. Michael Murphy who taught the Romantic Era Music course in the department. 

If you are wondering what my major was, I studied music / musicology at UCC, Ireland.

Amazing I still had this leaflet after all this years, but then again, right now I still have all my college notes - never throw out a useful piece of information is my motto!

The sheet includes basic but some helpful advice on how to write college essays – and I couldn't help but have a good laugh over it. The good Professor had a sense of humour when it came to whipping the inexperienced writers into shape with his handouts.

It's worth sharing for its practical information, and, to show what greenhorns we were when it came to writing on an academic level. Hey, we were fresh out of high school after all, and in Ireland what they called an 'essay' in English class is what I would call creative writing and short story lessons, we hardly received a lesson on how to produce a real hard-core essay arguing a point, not like I remember when I was in grade school in the States. (Yeah, my Fifth and Sixth Grade teachers believed in starting early when it came to college preparation!)

However, the English classes in Ireland were different.  As a result, the professors had a mess on their hands when we Freshmen all arrived.   I was certainly rusty even after the 'creative writing classes'. They must have had a good snicker or two over the first wonky 'scholarly' scribbles we handed in as 'essays'. Prof. Murphy kindly gave us the following to sort us out.

Of course, the old sheet I discovered is geared to music students, but you can still learn a lot from this if you're new to essay writing, and, you might get a good chuckle to make your day. Here it is, an example essay title and how to begin along with Professor Murphy's comments. (My comments / explanations will be in red if and when needed):



ESSSAY TITLE (with advice)

'Outline and discuss the main issues of Romantic programme music.'

There are two tasks involved (i) outline or identify and (ii) discuss the main (most important, seminal) issues (topics, themes, concepts as you perceive them) of Romantic programme music. You should identify the origins of programme music, the main genres which were dedicated to prog mus, the composers who championed it, the philosophy of prog mus (e.g. the nineteenth-century idea that instrumental music has the power to speak and be 'poetic', that music didn't need words to be complete, that music was more suggestive and expressive and insightful of the imagination than words could be because words are too specific whereas music has access to the imaginative world and can bypass consciousness without hindrance from specific categories.) There is also the issue of prog mus, symphonic poem and nationalism. Throughout your essay you must refer to specific works which were dealt with in class and with which you have become familiar from your own study. You may photocopy extracts from works to illustrate your points or you may refer to specific bar numbers. If you wish to quote an author or lecturer you must acknowledge the source in a footnote. (I have given advice on this below). It is immediately obvious if you copy something directly out of a book because the prose style suddenly changes (not always for the better) even if you scrape around for synonyms and alternate words and alternate grammar structures. There is nothing wrong with quoting other people. In fact you are supposed to do it, but you should (i) acknowledge your source and (ii) make an intelligent comment about the quote (e.g. state why you are quoting this author (because you can't think of anything of your own to write is not a good reason), do you agree with his / her point, do you wish to modify it, contradict it, do you think it clarifies some issues etc). Your first point of reference should be the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. There are two copies of it in the library (if you don't know where it is- I mean the dictionary of course) then ask a librarian or another music student. You should consult the article on Romanticism, Programme music, Symphonic poem / tone poem, and the article on relevant composers, and genres.
Please don't start your essay with a long definition from the Grove of what prog mus means. I know what the Grove and most other books have to say about the issue, I am more interested in what you have to say. Also don't write biographies of the composers. You should set out your main points in the first introductory paragraph.

Some points about writing an essay.

Refrain from using conversational idioms and informal phrases. Such as ' Ya know the way that Chopin begins the Ballade is a sort of like an introductory bit.' Don't ask questions in the essay for example, 'Why does Liszt give titles for his symphonic poems?'. Don't write long meandering sentences which never get anywhere, and which, through the inclusion of many, and sometimes superfluous clauses, tend to elongate the sentence to monstrous proportions which have the effect (and an undesired one at that) of boring the reader to distraction. Keep the sentences short and to the point. Don't use abbreviations when writing long words. You may type your essay. Use a dictionary (or spell checker) to clarify any spelling you are not sure of. All of these instructions are designed to get you writing in a professional manner. To be a good writer you have to be a good reader which means reading with a dictionary and with a critical attitude. Just because something is written in a book doesn't mean it is true. It could be an opinion, and opinions can be wrong or misinformed. You are in a university to form your own informed opinions. There is little merit in stating something without being able to support it with evidence and thought.

CORRECT             INCORRECT (even if I do it in handouts)

do not                             don't
cannot                           can't
does not                        doesn't
separate                       seperate
programme music      prog mus

Please note the difference between nineteenth-century and nineteenth century. The first one is as follows: 'Chopin is a nineteenth-century composer, and the Ballade is a nineteenth-century programmatic genre.' In this case nineteenth-century is descriptive as an adjective. The other one is simply 'In the nineteenth century blah blah blah'.


Rythmn, genre, dialogue, legato, dissonant, virtuoso, interrupt, domineering, definite, equal, arabesque, metre, centre, programme (not 'program' which is the American style. Use the Anglo version of words.) competent. Not the difference between 'to compliment' and 'to complement' – I'm not going to tell you. Consult a dictionary.

(Note: Since the classes were very small, about 20 to 30 Freshman students if I recall, I think the rat-a-tat-tat about American spelling was added for my benefit. In Ireland the Anglo spelling of words is used. Hence, they did a good job of knocking the American spelling out of me! So, if you wonder about the British style in my works with switched 'r' and 'e's, extra 'u's, not to mention 's' instead of 'z', things like that, now you know.   Also, as a music student we have to understand musical terms and titles in other other languages, which explains the next part. German terms and titles can be confusing!)


'lied' = German song
'lieder' = plural of 'lied'
Ein Heldenleben
Dichterliebe ('liebe' means love)


(In 'listening exams, we had to recognise a piece played over the sound system, the composer, and if we didn't know the piece, that is if it was a surprise sound clip or we couldn't remember the piece, we had to explain who we thought it was and why, explain the style etc. Our listening test answers were also just as wonky!)


Don't use words you don't fully understand, and don't use words in the wrong context e.g. 'befuddling' is not an apt choice in reference to piano technique.

Don't write 'Chopin wrote a lot of piano music in his day.'

Don't write 'This music is difficult to play live.'

Please don't write 'Strauss takes the mickey out of his critics in Ein Heldenleben.' Try to be more professional 'Strauss satirises his critics' would be more appropriate.

Don't write 'This music is definitely danceable to.'

Don't write 'In this piece there is a question and answer type of thing'.

Some of you are a bit confused as to which century you are in. Chopin was very dead in 1935 but he was composing in 1835.

(Chopin is not impressed.  Sorry, I couldn't help myself.)

Please don't repeat the same thing over and over and over and over and over again and again and again and again and again etc etc etc etc because it tends to make the reader very very bored and somewhat tired indeed when he / she realises that the writer has little to say but insists on saying it many times just to fill out the page with ink. State your point once and leave it at that. If you want to refer to a point you made earlier then do it, but don't repeat the same thing ad nausem.




The function of footnotes is to allow you to give the source of a book from which you quoted something in your main text. You can also use a footnote to add some opinion of your own to a statement in the text or to give some extra information which would interrupt the flow of your text (see example x, number 3 below).

Footnote can be located in two place (i) at the bottom of the page (ii) at the end of the essay. The choice is yours. Footnotes must be numbered (i.e. not with letters). There is a format as to how you present the information in the footnote. See example x

example x

1 Carl Dalhaus, Esthetics of Music, tr. William Austin, Cambridge Univeristy Press, Sydney, 1982, p. 122. (Henceforth Esthetics)
2 Ibid., p. 123.
3 Schumann also wrote songs to poetry by Heine.
4 Esthetics. p. 124.

In this example note the following:

(I) After the footnote number you give the Author's name <Carl Dahlhaus,>
  1. After the comma you give the name of the book which should be underlined in Italics <Esthetics of Music,> (if a word is underlined it means it is in italics. If you are using a word processor you should give book titles in italics).
    (III) if the book is translated into English you give the translator's name (in this case <tr. William Austin,> if the book is not translated then ignore this section
  1. then you give the publisher <Cambridge University Press>
  2. Then you give the place of publication <Sydney>. Sometimes there are a few places given: give the first one mentioned.
  3. Then give the year of the most recent edition / publication (sometimes it give the date of earlier editions)
  4. Then you give the page number from which you have quoted.

In example x I have written in brackets (Henceforth Esthetics). This simply means that if I refer to this book again I don't have to write out al the details as before but I can just write the word Esthetics and then the page number, e.g. Esthetics, p. 124 as I have shown in number 4. However, if I refer to the same book twice in a row you can just write Ibid., followed by the page number as I have shown in number 2. Ibid. simply means 'same as the previous title'.


The layout of the bib is a tad different from the footnote layout. The bib comes at the very end of the essay and is arrange in alphabetical order. The examples below start at letter S. Please read through them very carefully. I chose these examples because they show you how to deal with a number of situations which arise when making out a bib.

Samson, J., The Music of Szymanowski, Kahn & Avril, London and New York, 1980.

Samson, J., (ed.), Chopin Studies, CUP, 1988.

Samson, J., (ed.) The Late Romantic Era: Man & Music vol. 7, Macmillan Press, London, 1991.

Samson, J., Chopin: The Four Ballades, CUP, 1992

Schoenberg, A., Structural Functions in Music, ed. Leonard Stein, London, 1969.

Schoenberg, A., Style and Idea, ed. Leonard Stein, University of California Press, 1984.

Stein, J., Richard Wagner and the Synthesis of the Arts, Wayne State University Press, 1960.

There are a number of things you should notice from the above examples.

  1. Although they are arranged in alphabetical order, in the case where an author is quoted a number of times you arrange the books in chronological order (i.e. by year, see the Samson and Schoenberg examples)
  2. CUP is an abbreviation for Cambridge University Press and OUP is an abbreviation Oxford University Press. Only use such abbreviations when you quote the same publisher numerous times.
  3. There are finicky things like getting the commas in the right place. For example Arnold Schoenberg is given with the surname first and then the initial of the christian name followed by a full stop and then a comma.
  4. Above you see Samson as an author and as an editor, hence you have (ed.) after his name to show he edited the book which is a collection of essays by different authors.


This is where the Professor's handout ends. Of course, if you are currently in college and your professors have a different layout they would prefer you to use in your essays, do follow that. If you haven't been given a guide, well, now you have!

For fun, see if you can guess which one of the essays WASN'T written while I was still in college.

Also, if you want some more in-depth help when writing for the University, or even creative writing / fiction, etc, this is an excellent book, click on the title to read my review:  

Saturday, 25 August 2018

VOCATION of a GADFLY - sequel to Brushstrokes of a Gadfly now available!

Vocation of a Gadfly - sequel to Brushtrokes of a Gadfly is here!

Some white collar jobs are more difficult than others ... especially when you have all Hell pitched against you.  

After the night of the horrific accident, everyone's lives have been turned upside down. With his brother in a coma and his inexperienced little sister asked to take her place at Reinold International Shipping Enterprises, Monsignor Peter Reinold is granted rare permission from the archbishop to do the unorthodox and temporarily return to his former executive life in the world to help the family through this tragic time. For charity's sake he agrees to keep things running until she finds her feet, ever wary of the dangerous surroundings he is about to enter, for an old flame is only waiting for such an opportunity and will do everything to snare him back.

Faced with smouldering temptations, Peter soon finds another battle lies in store when an unusual case is brought before him that requires his rare spiritual expertise.  A gravely ill young woman is in dire need of assistance. Doctors are at a loss, nursing staff are terrified. Her legal guardians turn to him as their last hope, it is now up to him. Armed only with his faith, prayer and his exorcism weapons, Peter dares to defy an ancient enemy only to discover an inferno prepared to destroy him.

Will he and those around him survive the ordeal? 

Find out in Vocation of a Gadfly, Book Two of the Gadfly Saga.

Vocation of a Gadfly (Gadfly Saga, #2)

Read a FREE PREVIEW online at Academia, click here.

 Read a FREE PREVIEW online at Internet Archive, click here.


  Hardback Edition  - available at all major online bookstores.  You can also order it at your local bookstore.  (AVAILABLE and IN PRINT.)

Batalha Publishers (August 22, 2018)

948 pages  (Print slightly larger than the paperback.)

6 x 9 inches

ISBN: 9789899684479

Order online at Amazon, click here.

Order online at Barnes and Noble, click here.  (Eligible for FREE SHIPPING!)

Please note:  Paperback Edition is available ONLY at Amazon. 

Batalha Publishers via CreateSpace  (July 20, 2018)

732 pages.

6 x 9 inches

ISBN:   9781723348761

Watch the BOOK TRAILER video! 

Saturday, 10 March 2018

St. Patrick and His Blessed Crozier

Exactly where did St. Patrick come from? Scotland, England, Wales and also Ireland have been proposed as the birthplace and homeland of the Emerald Isle's most beloved national saint, but the most likely of all contenders for St. Patrick's birthplace is France, and his childhood home, Brittany.  Ancient accounts suggest it is from here he received his blessed crozier, An Bachall Iosa, or the Staff of Jesus.

First, you may well ask ~ how do you know for certain St. Patrick was a Frenchman?

(Well, he was of Roman lineage with possibly some Hungarian in the mix, but we'll get into that!)

Among the books in our home is an old treasure entitled “The Life of Saint Patrick, Apostle of Ireland” published by John Murphy in 1863. Although an old source, Murphy lays out his argument in favour of France, and I for one find it very convincing, although trying to figure out what he was trying to say in his old academic way was a challenge! However, here is a concise account of Murphy's study.

Starting with St. Patrick's own account, we find the saint gave very few details about his life, but revealed he came from a respectable family. His father was called Calphurnius, and his grandfather was Potitus, (or Otide), and they both took holy orders. After the birth of his children, Potitus became a priest.   I may have missed this detail, but apparently Murphy's history of St. Patrick does not say how this came about.  Either Potitus was a widower, or he and his wife may have separated upon his decision to enter the priesthood: in the ancient days it was possible for a man to become a priest if he decided to separate from his wife with her consent.  Calphurnius became a deacon.  Both their names denote their Roman heritage.

St. Patrick's mother, Conchessa, apparently came from respectable Roman stock as well: she was the niece of St. Martin of Tours who was born in what is now Hungary, the son of a Roman solider who was destined to become a bishop.  Yes, the same St. Martin that cut his cloak in half and gave the other half to a beggar only to discover in a vision he had given it to Christ.

As we can see, St. Patrick hailed from a very pious family, one with a famous saintly member associated with Tours, France, and from hence we start our journey of discovery. 

Murphy highlights the importance of Tours in St. Patrick's family history, together with an analysis of the ancient Irish hymn written by one of the the saint's disciples, St. Fiech, first bishop of Sletty and afterwards the archbishop of Leinster. St. Fiech was a young poet under the tutelage of Dubtach, the poet-bard of the High King of Ireland. After the famous night when St. Patrick defied the royal decree and lit his holy fire across from the royal seat of Tara, St. Fiech was converted along with the rest of the King's court by the holy missionary's preaching.  In his ancient hymn, St. Fiech declares St. Patrick was actually born at 'nemThur', the Old Irish meaning 'Holy Tours'. Being his disciple, St. Fiech obviously heard this information from the man himself, and therefore Murphy declares in his book that Fiech's hymn is very convincing evidence indeed. St. Patrick was born in Tours, France.

As to St. Patrick's family home existing in Brittany, Murphy directs our attention to an early writer named Probus, who apparently lived in the 6th century according to Bollandus. Probus writes:

St. Patrick was a Briton, of the village of Banava, in the district of Tyburnia, adjacent to the the Western Ocean, which village we undoubtedly find to have been in the province of Neutria (Nuestria), which giants are represented to have formerly inhabited.”

It is easy to see why many historians think St. Patrick came from British Isles since 'Briton' means a native or inhabitant of Great Britain, and was also the name of the people in Southern Britain during Roman times, however....

'Briton' is also the ancient spelling of 'Breton', or a native of Brittany. That region of France received its name from the tribe of Britons who escaped the marauding hoards of Saxons ravaging Britain during the 5th and 6th centuries. Murphy notes that Brittany was one referred to as 'Little Britain' among the early writers because of its ancient British ancestors, hence it is easy to confuse.

Considering St. Patrick's Roman roots and the family connection to Tours, Brittany seems the more likely of the two. Murphy continues the connection to Brittany through the original Old Irish wording of St. St. Fiech's hymn relating St. Patrick's escape from slavery and his subsequent period of theological study:

Patrick stayed in the “Andeas an deiscort leatha / An-innsigh mara toirrian” …

Murphy declares this should be translated to:

Southward of the southenmost part of Letavia / In the islands of the Touronian sea”.

He points out that ancient scholars mistranslated the Old Irish words 'leatha' (also 'lethu' in verse IX), mistaking it for Italy, when Letavia is the correct translation, which in the Middle Ages was known as 'Amoric Gaul', aka the northwest of France.  Another mistake was made regarding the islands of the sea: “toirrian” into “Touronian” does sound more accurate than the Latin translation of the hymn “In insulis maris Tyrrheni”, the “In the islands of the Tyrrhenian” Sea.

Hence, Murphy shows that Probus had used the incorrect Latin translation of 'Tyrrhenian' and not the Irish wording in his chronicle of the saint, which makes quite a big difference:

The Western Ocean (…) is in another part (of Probus' work) called the Tyrrhenian, which designates, beyond all doubt, the Turonian Sea, at the mouth of the Loire, and opposite the country inhabited by the Turones, or, as now denominated, the people of Turaine, whose capital, Tours, was a great city, even in the times of the Romans, but more celebrated afterwards for being the residence of St. Martin, St. Gregory, and a multiplicity of other illustrious men.” (Murphy, p. 43)

Therefore, if Murphy's analysis of a misunderstanding regarding Tyrrhenian for 'Turonian' in the ancient text is correct, St. Patrick lived in the district that lay next to the Turonian Sea, which would be Brittany. It would make sense that Patrick's family stayed somewhere near Tours if he was born there, and Brittany certainly qualifies.   

Notice the ancient map of France below dating from the 1600s - Tours is listed as "Turonia" (under the 'Celtica' region to the top left).  It is situated on the 'Ligeris' or Loire River which flows through Nantes, Brittany into the Atlantic.

Is there any trace of his childhood home left? St. Patrick himself said in his Confession that his family owned an estate called "Bannavem Tiburniae".

Looking at the second word, Murphy notes that 'Tiburniae' refers to the ancient Roman usages of 'Tabernae' referring to Roman encampments dating from the time of Caesar's invasion of Gaul, the word also referring to 'taberna', or the temporary shelter formed of wooden matierals. So, this would point an ancient Roman settlement, and of course, St. Patrick's family had Roman roots.   In recent times Rev. Marcus Losack has presented an intriguing theory as reported by Sarah McDonald in the "Irish Times" (Oct 28, 2013):

Marcus Losack argues that Château de Bonaban in Brittany is Bannavem Tiburniae. The site on which Château de Bonaban was built reportedly contains remains that date from the Roman era. These remains were discovered in the basement of the château in the 1870s but unfortunately they have since been lost through renovations. Rev Losack hopes an archaeological dig can take place that may reveal other evidence of a Roman settlement and possibly provide confirmation for his theory of St Patrick’s origins.

 He is currently in negotiation with the new owners of the château to see if this  is possible."

Backtracking a bit, in clarifying of the meaning of the 'Tyrrhenian Ocean' to be a misspelling of the 'Turonian Sea' and its location, plus finding a quote from a French source regarding St. Martin of Tours and his famous monastery, Murphy discovered and corrected a grievous error regarding the location where St. Patrick's received a portion of his theological training, by explaining how the word 'inch' was used among the ancient Irish:

To the natives of Ireland and Scotland it is well known that an isle in the sea, an islet in the loughs, lakes and rivers, a dry hillock in a morass, nay, sometimes a place nearly though not altogether surrounded by water, is, in Irish and Erse, an 'inch'. Islands of this sort were, in the primitive ages of Christianity highly sought for after for a contemplative retreat, by pious monk and ascetics. (…) In the isles of the Amoric Sea (i.e. the ocean next to Brittany), too, there are many such edifices. Nay, along the meandering banks of and torturous mazes of the fertilizing Loire, from Orleans, through Touraine, a district emphatically styled by geographers the garden of France, till it empties itself into the Turonian or Amoric Sea, many of the primitive saints of Gaul (France) built their cells and monasteries for religious contemplation. Among those (…) was out saint's uncle, Martin of Tours. This great Apostle, whose pious labours achieved the conversion of the western parts of Gaul from Gentilism to Christianity, and was originally 'the son of Roman Tribune, born in the year 316, (…) in the west of Hungary, was first compelled to embrace the profession of a soldier, though he always always showed a particular predilection for a retired life: from this , however, he was necessitated to withdraw in 374 AD, on being elected Bishop of Tours (…) . In order, however, to have less converse with the world, he built near the city of Tours, between the Loire and a sharp rock, the celebrated monastery of Marmoutier, which still exits, and is considered the most ancient abbey of France.' In this 'inch' (island) it was, and in some other 'inches' in the Turonian, and not in the Tyrrhenninan or Mediterranean islands, that St. Patrick fixed his residence for studying divinity (…) under St. Martin, and other holy masters after that saint's death.” ~ (Murphy, pp. 47-48. Murphy's French source in italics about Marmoutier, Il Morut a Candes, November 400.)

Of course, this makes sense: St. Patrick with his respectable family connections with the Church would most likely have stayed near Tours, not to mention Tours was also blessed with the leadership of St. Germanus, who was also bishop of Tours, who according to accounts was also St. Patrick's tutor. In the middle of the 9th century, Eric of Auxerre wrote about the life of St. Germanus and declared that he “considers it the highest honour of that prelate to have been the instructor of St. Patrick”, adding that he remained under St. Germanus' tutelage for eighteen years, who then recommended him to Pope Celestine who gave him the mission to evangelise Ireland. St. Fiech's ancient hymn also mentions St. Patrick studied under St. Germanus before heavenly visions alerted Patrick of God's plan to send him to Ireland. (Image: St. Germanus teaching St. Patrick, stained glass window in in the Lady Chapel of Gloucester Cathedral.)

Futhermore, if Murphy's book is correct, then Patrick did not receive his famous crozier called Jesus's Staff in the Tyrrhenninan or a Mediterranean island as some historians continue to suggest to this day, but on the secluded 'inches' of the Turonian sea: he received his staff in Brittany.

After his stay in Rome, St. Patrick returned to the 'island', or rather, an 'inch' in the Turonian Sea and stayed among the barefooted hermits there according to Murphy's study of the sources. Sacred legend and history blend at this point. Some writers say Christ appeared and gave the staff to St. Patrick, other accounts relate a hermit on the island names Justus received the visitation from Christ and was ordered to bring the staff to St. Patrick. Other ancient chroniclers write its origin is uncertain, but St. Bernard declares it was covered in gold and precious gems. From sacred history and Tradition we learn St. Patrick carried out his duties as missionary bishop with it, and also not a few wonders, such as casting all the demons out of Ireland via the snakes, also, impaling a convert! (Read about that story here. Ouch!) According to tradition, the staff along with the Gospel text used by St. Patrick were transferred from Armagh to Christ-Church, Dublin. History says  oaths and treaties were signed on it.  During legal disputes and like contentions, to solve the issue the people would utter an oath on the Staff.  Apprently, no one would dare utter a false testimony while swearing by the power of the Staff, for it was believed if someone committed perjury in making their oath, great plagues would occur.   Sadly, the staff alleged to be St. Patrick's was burnt outside Christ-Church as a 'superstitious relic' a short time after the Reformation in 1538, its gold and gems confiscated.

In addition to all of Murphy's scholarship, there is another spiritual, mystical reason why I favour Brittany, France as St. Patrick's homeland and the site where he received the famous Bachall Iosa.

After Calvary, Brittany is the most blessed land chosen by God according to the approved mystic Marie-Julie Jahenny (1850-1941). Due to the Bretons' great devotion to the Faith, the Mother of God, and the Monarchy of France, Brittany will be spared most of the chastisements about to befall the earth before the Three Days of Darkness and it will become a place of sanctuary. Our Lady revealed to Marie-Julie Jahenny that since the time of Calvary she has not seen so many graces reserved for one place as for La Fraudais, Brittany. Therefore, Brittany shall in effect become a new Holy Land of grace as it will become home of the new Sanctuary of the Cross and the centre of Renewal regarding the One Holy Catholic Faith. France is destined to bring about the promised Age of Peace and the restoration of Christendom via the Reign of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts and this reign will continue until the End of Time.

No, I'm not surprised such a holy man as St. Patrick destined to become the Apostle of Ireland, blessed with many graces and the gift of miracles, and, who received the promise that Ireland would be spared the destruction by fire that would ravage the world but would fall into the sea instead, should come from the protected land of Brittany, the 'New Holy Land' chosen by the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary. (Learn more about Marie-Julie Jahenny and her prophecy of La Fraudais here.) 


If you liked this St. Patrick's Day Post, check out my other ones ....


Thursday, 25 January 2018

IT's HERE! Brushstrokes of a Gadfly in PAPERBACK!

At long last, a PAPERBACK edition of Brushstrokes of a Gadfly is here!  A story brimming with art, thought-twisters, some slapstick comedy, and of course, romance. 

Entertaining and informative, it's a biting book you will love to hate, or hate to love, or perhaps love to love, or hate to hate. What will it be for you?

Extra! Extra!  Check out the NEW COVER!  

Paperback:  812 pages

ISBN:  978984231321

Size 6 x 9 inches

Width 1.8 inches 

Get your copy:



Katherine Walsingham, the only daughter of the CEO of Walsingham Industries, is an artist by calling and temperament, a lover of literature, a philosophical idealist and an animal rights activist unafraid to speak her mind. She also has a talent for leaping ahead with anything that seems like a good idea at the time, often landing in hot water with her sharp tongue and allegorical paintings to the amusement and consternation of everyone around her.

Setting her heart on opening her own gallery, life is good. She has no real worries that are usually the plague of struggling artists, but soon discovers wealth does not guarantee a smooth passage in life. Accomplishing her dream is not an easy task, and Katherine must quickly learn to balance art and business, demanding customers, brutal art critics and unexpected disappointments. With so much to do, romance is the last thing on her mind, and despite her best efforts to avoid any entanglements, has caught the eye of one of New York's most eligible bachelors. From her own reticence to become involved with anyone, to the dark rumours spread about his family, it is a relationship that seems doomed. Will Katherine be able to resist, allow love to blossom despite all the odds, or will his past history come to haunt them and keep them apart?


* Quotes from "Brushstrokes of a Gadfly"

Review by Randall Radic on Blogcritics.org

According to Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, a gadfly is "an insect that goads or stings cattle, as a horsefly. A person who annoys or irritates others." Supposedly, the Greek philosopher Socrates was a gadfly because he irritated others by causing them to analyze their thought processes. Inevitably, analysis revealed errors of not only reasoning but conclusions – mental boo boos. Rather than rejoicing over their newfound enlightenment, people became upset. People don’t like being told they are wrong or stupid or illogical. So they began avoiding Socrates like the plague, along with talking about him behind his back, saying nasty things about him. But Socrates didn’t care. He considered it his duty to be an irritant, a gadfly. So he kept doing it. In the end, he annoyed so many people so much that they decided to do something about it. It wasn’t pleasant.
Jesus was a gadfly too.

So is the protagonist of Brushstrokes of a Gadfly, a wonderful, walloping novel by E.A. Bucchianeri. 

Katherine Walsingham is the star of Brushstrokes. She is beautiful, talented, intelligent, sensual, and comes from an affluent, well-bred family in New York City. Kat’s only flaw is that she enjoys stirring the pot. She doesn’t believe in going along to get along. Thus, she utilizes her art to cause viewers to re-evaluate their conclusions about religion, cultural traditions, nuclear power, women’s rights, government corruption, and the true definition of freedom. Naturally, Kat receives lots of attention, while at the same time annoying lots of people, people who prefer the status quo to remain stationary.

The pedantry of Katherine is obvious, as she tries to set the world to rights. What’s funny is that while Kat is busy being a gadfly, the pedantry of Life wiggles in and disrupts Kat’s vision for her future. Determined to eschew romantic entanglements because of their destabilizing effects, Kat unexpectedly finds herself falling in love with one of New York’s most eligible bachelors. Because of a peculiar combination of circumstances – Kat’s reluctance, her paramour’s family, and gossip – the romance appears headed for disappointment.

Whether or not Life and Love find a way won’t be discussed. You’ll have to read the book to find out.

Essentially, Brushstrokes is a high literary romance novel. Imagine Roberto Bolano meets Nicholas Sparks: erudite and gracious with a saccharine undertone of romance and the unpredictability of life. In other words, it’s exaggerated, quaint, absurd, funny, touching, and very much like reality.

E.A. Bucchianeri guides the reader through all the twists and turns of the story with remarkable aplomb, utilizing what the reviewer calls "an informed literary style." Translation: easy to read, yet without all the dreary flatness that inhabits most ‘high literary’ novels. The story sparkles with various subplots and unique characters – stories within the story – that provide diversion and respite from the primary thread of romantic tension.

 The reviewer’s favorite is Kat’s grandfather, who, having avoided the psychological pitfalls of great wealth, speaks from his heart, which he wears on his sleeve.

Brushstrokes of a Gadfly is a big book, weighing in at a couple of pounds .... Just looking at it makes a potential reader pause and consider. However, any doubts may be set aside. After the first two pages, you’ll be pleased with your purchase. It’s long, but it has everything you’re looking for: humor, love, human interrelations, good writing, a plot that moves along, and emotional catharsis.


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Thursday, 4 January 2018

Beware the Enzymes!

My blog was originally intended to be silly and serious, I'm not sure where this next post will fit, maybe in the middle, but I think it's time to share a useful public service announcement: Beware the Enzymes – washing soap enzymes that is – they are in most cases DESTROYING your clothes.

Stuff like this drives me crazy! Companies come out with a “new and improved product” only to find it does more damage in the end.

Okay, what am I nattering on about you ask?

For decades now, washing soap companies have been adding enzymes to their detergents in order to get out the most difficult to wash dirt, like gravy, blood, grass stains, tomato sauce, wine, etc. All living things have protein in them, and since most problem-stains in our clothes come from 'living' or organic things, the enzymes, or 'biologically active ingredients', literally look for and eat up these biological, protein-based stains like Pac-Man on his dot-diet.

So, what's the problem? Have you wondered why your cotton or cotton blend T-shirts, sheets etc. are starting to feel thin and wispy? Or, if you have delicate skin and can't use regular washing soap because it makes you itch to death?

Any material that is natural also has protein in it.

Materials such as cotton, wool, silk, linen, come from organic / living sources, so the enzymes destroy that material too in the long run. It's like Pac-Man eating the game board as well as the dots.

Also, if your clothes are not rinsed out fully and the enzymes are still in your clothes, they will eat at your skin too and irritate it since your skin is also protein based. Itch, itch, itch!

Some more bad news, if you live in the country or rural area and rely on a septic tank system for sewage, the enzymes will destroy the good bacteria in your tank that is needed to break down the waste products. Why? Because bacteria are living things with protein. If you use enzyme based washing soaps, they will stop your tank from working properly and it will start to stink.

And to top it off, nearly every brand of washing soap has enzymes now!

ARRRGH! What's the good news?

If you live in a country like the UK or Ireland that has 'Non-Bio', (enzyme free) washing soap, that's what you have to use. Name brand companies provide “non-bio” detergent soap there for people with sensitive skin or have septic tanks.

However, that may not be an option in the USA, (I don't know, haven't checked the washing soap there in years since I live in Portugal now), but in Portugal, there aren't any 'non-bio' soap options for the general types of soap.

The next best thing is to buy soap specifically for delicate materials, wools, and / or sensitive skin, and use that for anything that has natural fibres like cotton, cotton blends, linen, etc. They usually don't have enzymes in them.


Woolite Original” seems to be okay, but still, CHECK THE LABEL.

 I have seen “enzymes” listed in THEIR OTHER COLOUR PRODUCTS, so don't be fooled by the “Woolite” name, not all of their products are enzyme free! Some "Woolite" products may be eating your woolies!

This is really nasty because you would think “Woolite for Black / Darks” and “Woolite for Colours” etc. would preserve delicate materials too, but they have enzymes in them! In Portugal, anyway.

Hmm, it would be interesting to find out if the textile industry was deeply invested in the soap companies. (Hey, a writer loves a good conspiracy theory!) Chairman X of “Acme Wool and Cotton” comes up with a plot to invent alien mutant soaps in order to destroy their own materials so the unsuspecting public has to keep buying more of their stuff! Mwah ha ha!

So, CHECK THE INGREDIENTS, washing soaps must list enzymes.

Look for delicate soaps that don't have enzymes.

Also, if you have a stinky septic tank and find it's not working like it should thanks to these stupid enzyme detergent soaps, stop using this destructive stuff and reverse the damage by flushing down the toilet rancid milk, old yoghurt, chicken giblets with no bones, etc. anything soft, bone-free and organic with bacteria that can be safely flushed into the 'sewage dump' of the tank to rot: this replenishes the good bacteria in your tank again so it can break down the sewage.

This concludes this public services announcement from “Books, Babble and Blarney”.

If you found this informative and helpful, please share, and I wish you all a Happy Enzyme-Free New Year!