Recently, we published a long extract from my new book – the entire first chapter in fact.
Today, we feature another excerpt – albeit much shorter. It is mainly a scene from the second chapter, which takes place not too long after the last extract.
In the scene (down below) our confused ‘secular hero’ receives a mysterious indicator – a sign from the Gentle Traditionalist.
You may wish to look at that first chapter (again here) before proceeding.
But if you’re too impatient for that, I’ll just quickly slip in the book description. That should give you the bare minimum you need to make sense of the scene below.
Geoffrey has a problem. All his life he’s lived according to ‘sensible’ sceptical, secular values. Then, his true love left him for a New Age community in Scotland. But it gets worse: now she wants to be a traditional Catholic nun!
Geoffrey is bewildered, angry, lost. Until, one Valentine’s day in Ireland, he meets a mysterious guide – the Gentle Traditionalist.
Together they commence a most unusual dialogue of ideas concerning:
* The Heart of the Gospel
* The Real Nature of the Church: A Supernatural Mystery
* The Crisis in Catholicism today: the Loss of Tradition
* The New Age Movement
* Why Secularism gets away with murder
Both whimsical and serious, the dialogue in this book offers a probing exploration of the Catholic Mystery, Christendom and the crisis of the West today.
Join us for a very special Valentine’s day when Geoffrey’s barren, rational world gets turned upside down …
Extract: Lost in Catholic Ireland
We don’t want to give too much away. Let’s just say that it’s not been a very nice Valentine’s Day for Geoffrey who – for the life of him – simply cannot understand Anna’s ‘bizarre’ Catholic faith.
And Anna is the woman he wants to marry . . .
Mechanically, I got into my rented car and headed down the track and off on the road to Monaghan. But, in the snow, I missed a turning, getting lost on some narrow, old road.
I came over the brow of a hill and—just when you’d think nothing else could go wrong—a stupid fox ran out in front of me. I slammed on the brakes and swerved to the right. The car skidded down the hill and slid into a ditch.
Somehow, I hit my head, hard, for I lost consciousness. After a few minutes, I came to. Fortunately, my body seemed intact. I got out of the car. My vision was slightly blurred at first and my head was pulsating. I guess I had a mild concussion.
Cursing, all I could do was tramp back through the snow to look for the main road. Eventually, I found it. A sign said two miles to Monaghan and I started walking.
After five minutes, an old woman stopped and offered me a lift into town. I hadn’t even tried to hitchhike. But this was Ireland. I couldn’t imagine a woman her age stopping for me like that in England.
I don’t think she realised I was injured and I didn’t tell her. She apologised, said she was in a terrible hurry, but could she drop me off in the high street? She let me out at what looked like the dead centre of the town.
It was the dead centre in another way, too. No one was shopping in this miserable weather. The town seemed utterly still. I stood on the pavement as she sped off. My head still throbbed and I was unsure what to do. Should I find a doctor or just sort out the car? It was then that I was given a sign.
It was, quite literally, a sign—hanging above a door, over the street. It was carved in wood and shaped like an old-fashioned pub-sign. But this was no pub-sign. It was, in fact, the strangest sign I’d ever seen. It read:
I don’t know how long I stood, staring up at that sign above my head. Everything else on the street looked completely normal. To one side was a barber, the other a bookshop. But between the two, a glass door led to a staircase. Another sign, laminated cardboard this time, was hanging on the glass:
The Gentle Traditionalist is IN
Upstairs on the 3rd floor.
(Help also provided with Romantic Dilemmas)
This was something I had to see. In my dazed condition, I didn’t even register how the two signs—taken together—weirdly seemed to fit my current situation. Certainly, I never expected a consultant to help me understand (free of charge) Anna’s bizarre traditional outlook—or what to do with my feelings for her. I just had to see what crazy Irish person would hang up a sign like that.
I began climbing the stairs. They were steep and became even steeper as I climbed. They were also narrow and twisting, veering off in odd, unexpected directions. Altogether, it felt like six flights—not three. At last, I found a small landing at the top, with a large, oak door. On it was yet another sign:
ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK
Life-altering changes probable.
(All in the Most Gentle Manner
Curiosity got the better of me. There was no turning back now. I knocked on the door. A loud voice boomed out from within, “Come through!” And through I went.