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I’m back! After a four-and-a-half-month hiatus, I’m back on my weblog. The hiatus, caused by a serious health problem, now solved, and compounded by the traumatic and highly stressful implementation of a decision to sell our house and downsize to something more suitable to our age, I have finally found the time and motivation to put fingers back on the keyboard and start posting again. The comments below were motivated by an international rugby union match I watched on television yesterday in the company of Dale, my daughter’s partner and father of two of my granddaughters. For those unfamiliar with the scoring rules of rugby union, here’s a summary.

A touchdown over the opponent’s line (called a try) scores 5 points. A follow-on place kick that propels the ball between the goal posts and above the horizontal bar of the posts (called a conversion) adds a further 2 points making a converted try worth 7 points. There are other ways of scoring points in rugby but converted tries are what rugby players strive for primarily.

Here’s what happened yesterday…

There we were, Dale and I, watching England versus New Zealand’s mighty All Blacks in the Autumn Internationals 2022 Rugby match yesterday. Ten minutes before the 80th-minute end-of-game full-time with the score sitting at New Zealand 25 England 6, all looked lost. Somewhat forlornly, I turned to Dale and said, “England needs a minimum of three converted tries in eight minutes to win this game. If they can do that, I will renounce my atheism and restore my belief in God.” And lo and behold, God heard me and miracles began to happen. At 72 minutes, Will Stuart (England prop forward) scored a classic push push push forward’s try which, unfortunately, Marcus Smith (England centre and place kicker) was unable to convert – New Zealand 25 England 11. Hmm, interesting but still too late with just 8 minutes left on the clock. But then, hey, it became sit up, put the beer can down, and take more notice time: in the 78th minute, Freddie Steward (England full back) steamed over the line following a pass from Ben Youngs (England scrum half) and, yipp-bloody-ee, Marcus Smith pushed his hair back and converted – New Zealand 25 England 18. England 18! Two minutes left. A draw now seemed possible if England could score one more converted try. God was obviously peeking down at me from behind a fluffy white cloud. But was he for real? I still had my doubts.

Well, with another lo and behold, in the 79th minute, Will Stuart (England prop forward) scored a second classic forward’s try and, triple lo and beholds plus a few bloody hells, hail Marys, and a vehement “Jesus Christ!” (sorry God), Marcus Smith pushed his hair back again and converted – New Zealand 25 England 25. In the 80th minute (full time) following the conversion, Marcus Smith punted the ball into touch and the game was over. England had clawed back a draw from the gates of annihilation; reputation restored. What the hell just happened? Three miracles, that’s what happened.

God smiled down at me benignly and mouthed, “Oh ye of little faith; do you believe in me now?” 

“Yes”, I whispered, “but don’t tell anybody otherwise I’ll have to rewrite my book on religion. See you in heaven, Big G.”

“Maybe,” replied my new best friend. “Maybe.”

And that, folks, is how I found religion again.

Gotta run; I’m off to Matins this bright Sunday morning.


PS. Now, what’s this I hear about Georgia beating Wales by one point yesterday, 13 points to 12? Little old backwater east European Georgia? Fearsome Wales? Sounds like another miracle. My conversion is complete.