Philip Catshill's Blog: Philip Catshill, Author and Artist

December 27, 2017

Our "traditional" Boxing Day Dinner 
I received a gift this Christmas Which money could not buy Five generations of our family Joined us on Boxing Day!

Daughter & her husband 
have grandchildren of their own
And I sit in joy wonder, 
to see the family grown

Our Grandson brings his girlfriend
Our Son brings children three
But they are far too big now
To sit on Granddad's knee!

Greats and great great grandads,
Great Grandma's, Mothers & Dads,
Nineteen sat at our table,
Our growing family ...

And Joy abounds in this house,
That day and all year through

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Published on December 27, 2017 12:03 • 1 view

December 5, 2017

What is it like to have a Stroke?
I've had two major and one minor strokes, together with countless TIAs. 
The other day, someone asked me, "What is it like?"
In case you are interested, this is how I describe the long road to recovery ...

having a #stroke is like dropping a dozen jigsaw puzzles down a flight of stairs ...
A few pieces will stay in the boxes, but other pieces scatter on the treads
One or two might slip in between the carpet and the wall, and might be lost forever.
Other pieces might land upside down so you can't see the picture at all, just the cardboard on the back.
You have to pick up the rest, one pice at a time, look at the picture and decide in which box it belongs.
Sometimes, you will put the piece in the wrong box, but in time, you will get the majority of pieces back where they belong.

It just takes time, patience, and courage.

Never Say I Can't
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Published on December 05, 2017 11:37

October 1, 2017

I only met my South-African born brother-in-law three times. Twice in 1982 and again in 1986, but in those few visits, our readiness to share a joke and a smile developed a bond that survived throughout the years of separation. We never exchanged mail directly, but he always had a quip or a quote to add to my sister’s replies.Once, when my birth family faced disintegration through disagreement, he advised me to walk away and said, “It’s better if you see (her) only once a year… and only then if you have a photograph!”Beneath the façade of humour, he managed to supress some immense tragedies that had occurred in his life. He outlived all three of his children from his first marriage. His two daughters died together when their mother was involved in a car accident. His son, who was also in the car, bore the physical and mental scars for twenty-five years, until one night, burglars broke into his Johannesburg home and shot him dead.When humour failed him, he found solace in alcohol, and perhaps alcohol caused his death at 73, just a month ago today.My sister was in her thirties when they married. They never had children.
I live 6,000 miles away from his home, 6000 miles away from my sister and over thirty years have gone by since I last saw either of them, but for some inexplicable reason, his passing has taken something deep and meaningful from my soul. How can I miss a man I barely knew so much? I feel full of grief and mourning coupled with worry for my sister, now very alone in her world, 6000 miles away from home.
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Published on October 01, 2017 02:47 • 9 views

September 26, 2017

With truth, love endures
But lies often seem stronger
Lies cut wounds even deeper,
In time, the wounds will heal
but scars remain forever.
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Published on September 26, 2017 06:24 • 3 views

August 16, 2017


I don’t know whether this social phenomenon has ever been documented, but I’ve noticed it happen in playgrounds, in families, in work places, in clubs, even in churches.
It usually involves a controlling personality ‘Person A ‘and is often triggered by a minor, often insignificant error or omission by Person ‘A’, which causes another person, Person ‘B’ to be inconvenienced, upset or just confused.
Instead of just acknowledging or admitting the minor error, Person ‘A’ becomes aggressive towards Person ‘B’, displays anger, makes counter accusations and generally implies that Person ‘B’ has no right to be in the slightest bit inconvenienced or upset. Person ‘A’ might even claim that Person ‘B’ had, by action or omission, caused or contributed to the error.
Obviously, this causes Person ‘B’ to be more upset or disturbed.
What usually happens is a third person, Person ‘C’, will attempt to calm the situation. Almost always, Person ‘A’ will resent the intervention. With Person 'C' around, Person ‘A’ can no longer bully or subdue Person ‘B’.
Now Person ‘A’ knows he or she can’t bully Person ‘C’, so instead, in this hypothetical but frequently occurring situation, Person ‘A’ will openly denigrate Person ‘C’ to other classmates, friends, family or congregation members and in doing so, Person ‘A’ effectively persuades others that Person ‘C’ is responsible for escalating the minor problem into a major crisis.

To my way of thinking, the only way to resolve a situation like this is for Persons ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ work together on restoring friendships, relationships and trust at the earliest opportunity but that only happens in fairy tales, because in real life, Person 'A' wants to retain his or her dominance over Person 'B' and can't achieve that while Person 'C' is prepared to intervene.

Instead, Person 'A' works towards an understanding or reconciliation with Person 'B', but ensures Person 'C' is excluded from the process. In some (but not all) cases, Person 'B' is persuaded by Person 'A' to abandon the association with  Person 'C', which effectively increases Person 'C's isolation.
Having reached this reconciliation with Person ‘B’, Person ‘A’ switches his or her attention rebuilding a relationship with Person ‘C’.
This puts Person ‘C’ in a dilemma. On the one hand, Person ‘C’ wants to restore harmony in the playground, family, workplace etc so now Person ‘C’ has to choose whether stand aside and accept whatever tactic Person ‘A’ employs to regain his or her control over Person ‘B’, or to walk away, find another corner in the playground, resign from work, join another church congregation.  In all the times I’ve witnessed this social phenomenon, I’ve never encountered a Person ‘A’ type who makes any attempt whatsoever to reverse his or her denigration of Person ‘C’, thus Person ‘C’ is still ostracised or shunned by those he or she once counted as friends. Whatever the outcome, the relationship between ‘C’ and everyone else involved is damaged, tarnished and sometimes destroyed.
Such is the damage to these relationships, the ‘C’ type persons will sometimes change schools, resign from jobs, even leave the clubs and churches.
Every dictator or bully in history has succeeded through isolating the stronger while dominating the vulnerable , so this situation is nothing new.
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Published on August 16, 2017 11:01 • 7 views

January 31, 2017

Full marks for Never Say I Can't – Judges Commentary in full ...Writers' Digest 4th Annual Self-Published e-Book Awards.Judge4th Annual Self-Published e-Book Awards.”
Entry Title: Never Say I Can'tAuthor: Philip CatshillEntry Category: Life Stories

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 5Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 5Production Quality and Cover Design: 5Plot and Story Appeal: 5Character Appeal and Development: 5Voice and Writing Style: 5
Judge’s Commentary*: opens the book with an engaging scene, and we are soon – thanks to the author’s stellar talent in sharing his observations from inside the affected mind – immersed in the disorientation and fear of the post-stroke mindset. ‘Each every’ and the author’s early attempts at speaking are well-shared, and we get plenty of sensory detail such as the feel and temperature of the floor, the vinegar-cleaned windows, and other fascinating details he is able to process. We’re moved by how the author moved through the earliest stages of his recovery when progress has not yet been made. We sense the confusion, the wish to communicate better, the numbness.
Well done.Author has created a very sensory account here. Very essential to the book’s success. I found the ‘rankings’ of patients in the care center according to whether or not they’ve had a ‘proper stroke’ fascinating. It was amazing to think that the human race’s need to rank and impose status would ever apply to recovering from stroke.
It was a deep and moving scene when his friends preferred that he not accompany them to the ground floor for their departure, since it felt like they were abandoning him. That’s heart-wrenching, and the author presented this raw interaction with the concerned friends movingly.‘I will manage’ uses terrific economy of words to show his empowerment and admirable courage. Settings are rich and detailed, and dialogue with caregivers is richly nuanced. We can feel that the caregivers are sticking to scripts that work with patients, but because they care so much for this patient, they show more heart and honesty with him.Well done. We cheer for his progress, and we listen intently to his stellar writing voice.Engaging and inspiring.
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Published on January 31, 2017 03:18 • 12 views

March 8, 2016

Penny for Them receives Awesome Indies Approval
Penny for Them at
Penny for Them at
If you were told your country’s secret service needed you to do something you have done a hundred times before, would you hesitate or help? 

Penelope is the privileged stepdaughter of Henry Kendall-Wilkes. News of his death brings her out of hiding, so thirty years after she was told a UK secret service agent needed her help, she is able to recount the story of espionage and deceit that put her life in danger. 

In 1982, Penelope’s stepfather was a Minister in the UK Government. After Penelope threatened to expose his involvement in blackmail, he tried to kill her. However, with the Falklands crisis looming, the British Government needed his expertise, which protected him from prosecution. 

At the same time, IRA terrorism threatened mainland Britain. After introducing himself as an MI5 operative, Jim Pansy asks for Penelope's help to bring her father’s killer, Sean Moran, to justice and prevent an IRA atrocity, However, the simple task quickly escalates into an unforeseen pursuit for which she had neither training nor experience. 

At last, Penny can reveal how the pursuit of a killer led her to romance, danger, and a bag full of diamonds. 

“…you won’t want to stop reading until the last word…” 

Adult content.
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Published on March 08, 2016 07:44 • 54 views

March 4, 2016

How supporting an author backfired:I'm beginning to wonder whether all the support I give freely to other authors is worthwhile.I support writers who have left reviews for my books by regularly sending Tweets mentioning their books, I list books for reviewers and other writers on my Website and whether they read my books or not, I offer support, help, advice and guidance to writers wherever my limited abilities allow.Yesterday, I noticed the review count on one of my books had decreased by one. Thinking it might have been deleted in the latest Amazon purge, I contacted the reviewer, who happens to be the author ChrisJean Clarke through Twitter ( @ChrisJeanClarke ) It appears that Chris-Jean Clarke removed her stunning 5 star review from my book because the link I sent out this Tweet: "@ChrisJeanClarke author of Hand of Fate gave 5* to "For all eternity" at"I see that Tweet as support for a fellow author, and at the same time, encouraging my followers to read the review ... Unfortunately, I now discover the Link to the reviewer's book is out of date. Chris-Jean Clarke claims that I have ignored her requests to update the link, but checking through all the Tweets in which I've been mentioned in since July, Twitter have been unable to find any addressed to me regarding this change, and that is the same with direct messages, Facebook, LinkedIn, my Email server and elsewhere. I invite everyone to check previous Tweets for @ChrisJeanClarke and if the message is there, I will apologise. But it is not. If my support is going to cost a 5 star review, I am left wondering if all the effort I put in to assist other writers is worthwhile – especially if they are going to delete reviews simply because I used an outdated link! My Tweet STILL mentioned the book title.
Ironic – if I had not given Chris-Jean Clarke books free promotion, I would not have sent out the wrong link and the stunning review would still be there!Philip Catshill
Mar 4 2016 09.03 GMT
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Published on March 04, 2016 03:03 • 15 views

February 21, 2016

Never say I can't The story of my stroke has received the IndiePENdents Seal
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Published on February 21, 2016 09:23 • 3 views

February 15, 2016

A question of credibilityAssume for a moment you are female, 20 and have no commitments or other responsibilities, if your country’s secret service needed immediate use of your unique talent, skill or experience to prevent an imminent terrorist attack, would you say no? 
I appreciate you would like more information, and this is what you are told – An identified terrorist has taken up residence in a hotel – all the secret service need you to do is use your skill to entice him to your room, the secret service will do the rest. The important word here is immediate – you have to travel elsewhere to use these skills without delay. Would you say no?

If you said no, and the terrorist attack went ahead, knowing you could have prevented it, would you feel responsible?

Feb 15 2016 09.03 GMT
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Published on February 15, 2016 03:00 • 11 views