Sunday, 15 July 2018

The Poplar Hawk-moth Pays us a Visit

Poplar Hawk-moth, Laothoe populi
I was just re-reading Edith Wharton's "The House of Mirth" - highly recommended - when I remembered that Hollywood  had made a movie of it starring that lovely actress,Gillian Anderson.   Brilliant casting I thought for Lily Bart.  But I just watched the trailer on Youtube.  Oh dear.  Everything - if I am to go by the trailer -is couched in breathily portentous tones.  Why?   But on the other hand,  and on a different Youtube video, the scene between Lily and Selden isn't bad.  She really is perfect for the part.   But how sad if people only see this movie, and never read the book.

It is still VERY VERY HOT.  No sign of rain.  Poor Jacks cancelled supper on Saturday night, as she was too exhausted by the heat.   A first for her!     Jean and I managed an hour and a half doing return visits on Saturday.

Can't think what else I have done, beyond studying, shopping, FEELING VERY HOT, basic housework, and watching Wimbledon. Both men's semi-finals splendid, and almost endless.

The moths are still checking into to our balcony hotel every night - and one large cloaked character turned up in my bathroom on the night that the Captain was out.   "Don't tell me" I said wearily "Your ship was wrecked on one of the pebbles on our beach, you paddled ashore, and I won't be seeing much of you once the sun has risen."
Poplar Hawk-moth

But no.  He turned out to be a Poplar Hawk-moth, not Count Dracula at all.   He wasn't a He either,  because when Captain B looked at all the photos he had taken once he got back, he found that She had laid her eggs on our lampshade in the Hall!

We now have to find a suitable tree for them - ideally a poplar.   She has entrusted them to us and vanished.  We are now in loco parentis and will have to do our best.

I hope they can learn to fly on their own.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

My Talk

My talk, to be delivered at the Kingdom Hall tonight. Will be glad when it is done.  My householder came over yesterday and we went through it.

It was the Initial Call, and the Counsel point:  49   Sound Arguments Given. Time: 2 minutes or under.

The brief was:
Question: How can couples build a strong marriage?
Scripture: Eph 5:33
Link: How can parents raise responsible children.

Sue:  Good morning - I am Sue from the local congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses. We are calling on all your neighbours this morning to talk to you about the Bible's message.

HH (interrupts).  Sorry - but let me stop you there.  I respect the work you do, but I'm afraid with the mess the world is in at the moment such an old book can't be of much help.

Sue.  If this is a book written by men, then I would have to agree with you. We would know much more than they did by now wouldn't we?  But if it is as it claims, a book inspired by our Creator, if it is his message to us, then won't the wisdom it contains be timeless?

HH:  Well, yes. It would have to be

Sue.   I can see you are busy, but may I read you one Scripture, one piece of advice from the Bible, about how to build a strong marriage.  Because isn't the family under attack at the moment?   

HH.  Yes, very much so.

Sue  So let me show you some Biblical advice.   Reads Ephesians 5:33:  "Nevertheless, each one of you must love his wife as he does himself; on the other hand, the wife should have deep respect for her husband."      So the husband is not just to love his wife, but to love her as his own self - and the wife must not just respect her husband, but have deep respect for him.   If that Biblical advice was followed by  both partners in marriage what effect would it have?

HH:   It would make it very strong.

Sue.  Exactly.  Could I call back, maybe this time next week, as I would like to show you some more Biblical advice about to raise children in these difficult times.   Then you can see whether it is out of date, or whether it is exactly the advice we need.   

HH. Yes, I am usually here in the mornings.  

I was out with my siblings this morning - it is still VERY HOT.  We did two hours - first call and a couple of returns.   An odd morning.  We met two quite unpleasant guys, one angry with us, and one just weird.  Then at the next house a very large guy with pit bull and tattoos loomed over me.  But he turned out to be really nice, and took a tract about the Kingdom of God.

Jean and I were out Tuesday morning. We went to the group, but did return visits - a few of Jean's  some very good calls.   and one of mine that had been on my mind. It went well too.

Wimbledon and the World Cup proceed apace. But of course England crashed out of the semi-final last night. Poor Captain Butterfly and poor team. But lovely for the Croatian team to be in the final.

I am no football buff - can't tell one end of a football bat from the other - but even I could see that the Croatian team had the edge - they seemed more cohesive somehow.

Monday, 9 July 2018

Moths galore and Nature, red in tooth and claw.

Burnished Brass, Diachrysia chrysitis
Our balcony is Moth City at the moment - some wonderful creatures are living there.   We are getting to know some of them and I was about to venture on some names, when tragedy struck.
The Coronet, Craniophora ligustri
Col was on the balcony doing the early morning watering - it is still VERY HOT - when he heard a clamouring from the bushes outside.  Had he been able to speak Sparrow he would have realised the chorus was saying:  "Get off that balcony Person!  We want our breakfast and we want it now".

And they did want it now, because while he was still on the balcony down swooped the sparrows and carried off our poor paused on the railing, poor wriggling Monty Moth in his mouth, as if to say:  Look what I got!

Nature is still "red in tooth and claw with ravine".   What a horrible mess it all is.

On the doubleplusgood side, they have now managed to get 8 boys safely out of that cave system in Thailand.  Thank God.  Four boys are still in there, with their Coach, but all being well they will be out tomorrow. The rains only have to hold off for another day.   Some video from the cave system has been published on Youtube.  Aaaaaarrrrrgggghhhhh...  those rescuers are so brave, and so at risk themselves.  How the boys got to where they did I do not know.  I have to assume they were driven deeper and deeper into the cave system by the rising flood water.

It reminds me a little of that harrowing chapter in Tom Sawyer, when Tom and Becky get lost in the caves.

Jacks came for supper on Saturday night. We had some real champagne on the balcony, among the moths.  It was our 45th Wedding Anniversary,   I hope we will have many many more - and that one day we might be celebrating our 4,500th.  Will we be on a balcony overlooking the English Channel?  Will I think back to these days then?   Will there be an English Channel?

I hope we are all there to find out.

It was so HOT on Saturday.  Perhaps the HOTTEST day so far.

Friday, 6 July 2018

The Boys in the Cave

The Thai boys missing in a cave system in Thailand were found alive and well - if very very hungry - after 10 days.  A wonderful moment. But they are trapped there, in a flooded cave system so dangerous that one professional military diver has already died trying to organise the rescue.  How are they going to get them out of the flooded cave system -  and it seems there may be more rain on the way - so there is not much time?

They are such brave little lads, staying so calm and cheerful, after days in the dark and the cold.  And what brave divers to go on through the flooded caves until they found them  - and to go back with food and medical supplies - and back again to try to organise the rescue.  Which is so urgent, with the rain coming. Rain is the last thing needed there at the moment.  Whereas here, where we need and would welcome rain, there is none.

How dangerously disordered things are.

And two more in the UK have been poisoned with Novichok (the nerve agent) poison.   Where is it? What is the source of the contamination?  And what are the hands that drive us, the children of Adam, into inventing and manufacturing poisons so terrible they could destroy life on earth?

I have never come across a better explanation than the Biblical one.  It continues to warn us that the whole world - all its institutions - are lying in the power of "the wicked one", Satan the devil.  And Jesus not only called Satan "the father of the lie" but also "a manslayer".

How much we need the Kingdom of God, the heavenly government, to be ruling over us and restoring and repairing the earth. 

I was out with my siblings yesterday, trying to tell all who will listen about it.  We were out for over 2 hours - doing first call and returns - and I was so exhausted that I feel asleep when I came back. I was vaguely aware of Joanna Konta being knocked out of Wimbledon and then nothing until Captain B returned from his day's metal detecting. It was probably the clanking of his sack of ring pulls that woke me.

But all the time I am typing this those young Thai lads are in the cave - at least with some light, food, water and medication now. But they are still there.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

My Radio Interview - the voice of Mrs Captain Butterfly...

I have only dared listen to it once, and don't know what to make of it.  But my young publisher seems happy with it, which is the main thing.

The link to the interview is within the link.

It is still so HOT - with no sign of a - what is the opposite of a thaw?  We have had a strong sea breeze, thank goodness.    I made two days of the Brighton Convention- Friday and Sunday.  Very tiring, but well worthwhile.  And the Old Crocks and Crumblies Section (my natural home these days - in fact I am getting rather over-qualified) was air-conditioned, which was a great help.

Jean and I were out on the work yesterday, but only managed 40 minutes.

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Be Courageous!

The 2018 Convention is entitled "Be Courageous!"  We live in difficult and dangerous times - and we need to trust in our Creator, Jehovah, with all our heart.

Our courage must come from him - if it is to hold.

We prayed for our Russian brothers and sisters who are going through so much at the moment.

There was a short video that someone had filmed of a Kingdom Hall in Russia being raided by what looked like soldiers, or a sort of para-military police force. The brothers and sisters were all keeping very calm. But how truly frightening - felt quite tearful by the end.  Christians in Russia have gone through so much. But I know that Jehovah will support them - and that they could not have a better Supporter.

And something else I took from yesterday was to pray for more faith, as well as for more courage.  The two are so strongly tied together.  So I must pray for the faith and courage of my Russian siblings to remain strong.

Neither Jean nor I can cope with going today, but we hope to be there tomorrow,for the Sunday session. Another early start...

I hope this hasn't been a failure of courage on my part.  Its different for Jean, she is older and frailer. But I very much want to be there tomorrow, and two days on the trot re likely to precipitate an arthritis flare-up that will knock me out for much of next week.

Captain B kindly chauffered me to the congregation bus and back so that I didn't have to worry about parking - or have to leave quite so early.

We have some exciting talks coming up tomorrow - plus a video drama about Jonah.   The Society's videos are so professional, and are all angled to helping us understand what the Bible really teaches, how to apply that teaching in our lives, and how to teach others.

And has it ever been more urgent that people hear the good news of the Kingdom of God?  How much time is left before Jehovah acts to "bring to ruin those ruining the earth"?   We are all in "the valley of decision" here.

And above all what is ahead is so wonderful. There will be more happiness for us, here, on the earth, than we can now imagine, under the loving rulership of the heavenly Kingdom.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

A Bat in our Belfry?

The balcony Batbox?   Is it inhabited?   The moths still seem to come and go, unobstructed, but...

...who is this strange character who joins us in the evenings - very Goth in his black cloak - to complain about the cramped nature of his accommodation?  What is wrong with our spacious spare bedroom?  And where does he go during the daytime?

He is a Count apparently  - from somewhere in Eastern Europe - yet he seems to have no interest in debating the Brexit/Bremain situation with the Captain.  He arrived by ship - which ineptly managed to wreck itself on the shoals of pebbles on our shingly foreshore.  They all made it safely to the shore, wading through the ankle deep waves.

Or am I imagining the whole thing?  Are there bats in my belfry?

Yesterday was a busy day.   When I say "busy" - I mean busy in the nowadays sense, when getting up, getting showered and getting dressed can sometimes seem like climbing Everest.

It was a very hot day too - it was hotter than Portugal apparently - and its set to be even hotter today.  Far too much for me.

I had my blood test in the morning, for my hospital appointment next week.  Because of its timing I could not take Jean to the Field Service group. So I went shopping afterwards - Lidls and Sainsburys this time, parking in the Lidls carpark.  I also posted the Butterfly Memberships - I have never been so slow in getting them sent before - they arrived nearly a week ago - but at least they are now winging their way to our new members.

I even managed to find a couple of new tops to wear at the upcoming Brighton Convention.

Then I toiled up the stairs with my shopping - meeting an upstairs neighbout toiling her way down.  Her husband has had to miss (cancel) two hospital appointments because there is still no lift.   They will not be fixed till mid-July, at the earliest...

I forced myself to go out on a call - the teaching at the Sunday meeting really helped - and while doing so I placed all the rest of my Convention invites, bar one. So that is off my mind. I have a plan for the last one on Thursday.

Then back for a light lunch - the remains of last night's soup - and off to pick up Jean to take her on some calls.  We only managed 35 minutes, it was so hot, but she had two productive calls.  Neither of my calls was at home, but at least  I tried.

Afterwards it was a quiet evening in with a tired Captain B - he too had a long day out in the heat, looking for the Purple Emperor.  We had supper and watched the  footie. Team Somebody scored 2 goals and Team Somebody Else scored 1 goal.  I hope all were happy about it. I fell asleep.

I am planning a very quiet day today - tomorrow I will need to shop early to make sure everything is sorted foodwise for the weekend, and I have a call to do on Thursday afternoon. I am usually there for about an hour - it is in the flats next door. And their lifts are working!