Saturday, 19 January 2019

Good Wives? Margaret Forster

I have always been a Margaret Forster fan and am trying to collect all her early novels from second hand bookshops.  And I found "Good Wives?" in our local Oxfam the other day. She tells the story of marriage down a couple of centuries through the lives of Mary Livingstone, Fanny Stevenson, Jennie Lee and herself.

I have only skimmed it so far, reading more about the Forster marriage, as I have just read and re-read her wonderful memoir "Hidden Lives".   But what a dangerous and difficult thing marriage has been for so many women.

It should not have been.  It was an arrangement that should have brought nothing but happiness. But once our parents cut themselves off from their Creator it all went wrong.

Col found an old wartime penny yesterday.  1944. All covered with verdigris. A penny was something back then.  In the 1950s it could buy you 4 aniseed balls, or 1 gobstopper.

I took Jean out on Friday as we are not available today - meeting Catherine and Rob for lunch. I also took her to visit Ken on Wednesday afternoon. He is looking much better then when  I last saw him, so they are looking after him well. I hope to get back to my visits to Maggie next week, as I think the Nursing Home is open again.  Thursday was the meeting of course. The morning was taken up with medical matters - lots of medical matters.   

I posted a letter and a copy of  "Old Playgrounds" to Darren on Friday.

And I posted a copy of our latest Watchtower magazine to a lady on my route who is no longer able to make it to the door.  Well, I drove over and put it through her letterbox.

Our lives are so difficult now, damaged and dying as we are. But we are not abandoned. And if she will only read the magazine, check it with her Bible, and think seriously about it, it will give her such a wonderful hope.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

The Foresight Saga

Have I published this epic poem (by me) before?

I can't remember. But surely something of such literary importance is worth re-posting?

Well I'm going to blog it anyway.

The Foresight Saga
by me

My darling baby 
when you grow up
your life will be wrecked
when your wife runs off 
with an architect
But you'll marry again
that's for sure
and have a daughter
you'll just adore.

I wrote it for one of those competitions where everybody wins and everybody gets published. 

I probably should have called this blog "Medical Matters", as they filled up yesterday.  Appointment for diabetes eye test - drops in, exploding light, results looked OK, but Techie guy has to check them first - my GP will be told - had to ring up hospital re x-ray appointment - no date - do I just drop in - and next Arthritis app - no letter received yet - need date and time, so I can get the timing for the blood tests - left message on an ansafone - hope to get back to me 48 hours - letter from GP about making app for blood test - rang up - waited, waited, waited and waited again (they are so busy, almost overwhelmed) - got app for Wednesday - then a nurse rang - could  I pick up a BP form on Wed and do a weeks bp tests - and she will make me an app for another problem (which has just appeared) - letter will come - follow up again if not.

How long can I go on keeping all this in my head?  And how long can the NHS afford me?

Anyway, enough Mr.Jingling.   Jacks came to us for a fish and chip supper on Saturday night.  Jean and I had a very good morning doing return visits - and the meeting on Sunday was lovely. It is good to be back into the congregation routine.

And Jean and I were out again this morning - doing return visits.  Then I did my walk - and made Captain B a supper of bacon,egg,tomatoes,mushrooms and fried potatoes, and I had a veggie stew. We both had berries and yoghurt for afters

The first series of Midsomer Murders is being shown and we a really enjoying it.  I had forgotten how good it was in its heyday.

The Brexit/Bremain fiasco continues with nobody seeming to know what is gong to happen...  and the weather is still a bit too warm for the time of year.

Friday, 11 January 2019

Carbs and Fruit, Fruit and Carbs

This new way of eating is proving difficult.  What I like to eat is carbs and fruit, fruit and carbs.  What I should and could be eating (under DESMOND rules) is, for example, a large steak with veggies, a chicken salad,  or oily fish. And oily fish 3 times a week!

I haven't yet managed oily fish ONCE a week...   And I would be happy with the veggies and salad, but don't want the steak and chicken.  So I guess it will be a veggie soup day today - with a couple of slices of bread (can't quite go carb free yet), and a little more fruit than I should he having. But less than I would usually have.

And I think I will go and make a sugar free jelly, which I can have with yoghurt. 

Berries are a standby too, as they said at the DESMOND Course that berries are good. 

Tuesday started out well - Jean and I spent the morning on the doors, getting our 2019 witnessing started.  Then it all went downhill in the afternoon when, after making a large carrot cake for the freezer, I fell asleep in front of the telly.  On Wednesday I managed a walk in the morning, and walked round to Jackie's in the afternoon with some home-made veggie soup.   No visit to Maggie as the Nursing Home is still closed.

Thursday was the meeting - and I caught up with my studies - but that was it.  I didn't even do my walk.   As for the oily fish... I still can't face it.

Anyway thank goodness for our wonderful SoupMaker.   We never seem to get tired of veggie soup. Though its even nicer with potatoes in it.

And I should be ashamed of myself for all this complaining.  These are nothing if not First World Problems.   And, alas for Desmond, we will be sharing a packet of fish and chips tomorrow night.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019


The theme text for our "BE STRONG!" assembly at Haysbridge on Saturday was Joshua 1:9:

"Have I not commanded you? Be courageous and strong. Do not be struck with terror or fear, for Jehovah your God is with you wherever you go.”

Very timely.

And here are a few thoughts from it, IF I can read my notes.

In quoting James 1:2-4,  the speaker reminded us that James knew what he was talking about. He had been through a lot.
"James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the 12 tribes that are scattered about: Greetings!  Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you meet with various trials, knowing as you do that this tested quality of your faith produces endurance.  But let endurance complete its work, so that you may be complete and sound in all respects, not lacking in anything."

And we were reminded about three ways in which Jehovah srengthens us.

He is the Hearer of prayer.
He has given us his Inspired word.
He has given us a loving congregation family.

I might try and decipher a few more notes in following blogposts, if I can read DrunkenSpiderwhofellintoanInksttandandstaggeredacrosstheNotebook font.

Yesterday... what did I do yesterday?   I did shamefully little on Sunday for sure beyond starting to catch up with my studies.  And I did get 3 letters/cards done:  one to Lilian enclosing the programme from the Haysbridge Assembly; one to Pete thanking him for the new address and giving him some info re publishers; and a thank you to Jen for that lovely veggie lunch she gave us all.

And yesterday I posted them, along with getting in Jack's shopping and ours, and got the basic tax form info sorted out and all on one page, along with getting us lunch and supper.  (veggie soup, cheese omelette).

Oh yes, and on both days I did the brisk walk I must now aim for every day...   I plan to be out with Jean this morning doing return visits, but we will certainly not be walking briskly - it will be more a sort of training for the Zimmer Olympics - without much hope of a medal.  And my own brisk walks aren't that much better.   We both used to be great walkers too.

As Jackie says: "What is happening to us all?!"

And, as I always reply:  "Please accept a home Bible study from us, your local Jehovah's Witness congregation, and you will not only find out what and why, but will also find a real and wonderful hope for the future."[search_id]=7de14674-be45-46df-9947-c8d0b4e96007&insight[search_result_index]=0

Friday, 4 January 2019

Tony Harrison - Social Mobility

Many many years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was a student in Newcastle,  the Poetry Fellow in the English Department was Tony Harrison.    He was very good-looking and glamorous and I (fresh from my all girl Catholic convent) was never brave enough to speak to him, but I used to go to his readings, and have followed his (very successful) career with interest.

I was recommending his poetry to the Polish-American poet John Guzlowski ("Echoes of Tattered Tongues") yesterday.  They both write with such power about their parents - and language.

I just came across this small Harrison poem I had not read before:

Social Mobility

Ah, the proved advantages of scholarship!
Whereas his dad took cold tea for his snap. 
he slaves at nuances, knows at just one sip
Chateau Lafite from Chateau Neuf du Pape

Its from his "Selected Poems"- a book well worth reading.

"I hope you noticed that the sandwich fairy has visited the fridge" I reminded the Captain.   He had, and assured me that the sandwiches would be safely on board as he left for his hard day's detecting. This was Wednesday, when I did a big shop (for us and for Jacks) at a rather empty post-Xmas rush Waitrose.  And I attempted to visit Maggie in the afternoon, but found a notice on the door asking that visitors stay away as they have "a winter bug" going round, and do not want cross infections.

Thursday was a hospital day, for me.   All seems  as well as it can be, and I will be started on the new med as soon as the current one is finished.   I was given a lot of time to discuss things.  I tried not to take up too much time though. They are all so busy. 

We Waitrosed it again - as we park there - and Jacks is coming for supper on Saturday and I won't have much time to shop.

I hope to get back into my routine next week.  No meetings this week because of the assembly at Haysbridge.

Today I hope to get some of the mountain of things I have to do done. So far I have done my studying for tomorrow- a great Watchtower all about how precious the good news of the Kingdom of God is - and have made the cauliflower cheese for tomorrow - won't have much time to cook. And managed  a brisk 30 minute walk - to the river and back - chatted with the valiant Jean - and made sure the sandwich fairy has re-visited the fridge.   Oh and made the veggie soup for supper.  And already its starting to get dark.

A sunny day though, and not as cold as it should be for January.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Hello Julia

Hello Julia, if you are reading, and welcome to 2019.   Sorry we missed you - but maybe next time?  We had a great drive back down - 5 hours door to door, which is about as fast as it gets.

I drew the curtains at 7.15 a.m. to find a beautiful start to the new year.  The moon was a perfect crescent, its companion the morning star was so bright - and they were echoed by the lights dotted along the dark promenade. The sun was just beginning to glow along a horizon of low clouds at the back of the Channel.

Soon Jehovah will "bring to ruin" all those who are ruining his lovely earth.

We had lunch at the Arundel Wetland Trust - and a walk around afterwards.  It was a beautiful day, as you can see from the photos.
Goldfinch, Carduelis carduelis

I had better make a list of What I Did in My Holidays while my few remaining brain cells can remember.

We traveled 'oop North' on the Sunday - once again a good journey - the traffic was heavy but not bad.   Monday we pottered about helping Nute - who is very organised.   I made the lunch for us and chopped veggies.  But unfortunately I am so feeble nowadays that my hands didn't stand up too well to the chopping, and I really had to pace myself.

On the Day itself - Saturnalia, the Solstice, whatever it should rightly be called - the Dronfield family, and Jo and Matthew came. We all managed to fit ourselves round the table, and we had a lovely roast turkey dinner. Followed by an immense array of puddings. I confined myself to a bowl of fresh fruit salad, a tiny taste of Helen's cheesecake (I could have eaten it all - she and Nute are great bakers), and a quarter of a home-made mince pie.

Wednesday we drove over the Snake to see Bea and family.  She gave us a lunch of veggie soup and cheese sandwiches - perfect for the day after the Day - and I had a tiny taste of the apple pie and custard that followed.

Anna is now applying for Uni - to do photography. And she has already got a couple of interviews of the strength of her portfolio.  They are a very artistic family.

The weather stayed damp and cold - no ice, no snow.  The driver over the Snake is lovely whatever the weather, but it closes when its really snowy.

After lunch on Thursday I was sitting in what used to be my parent's sitting room - a big square room - and thinking thst they would be pleased to see it filled to the brim with their children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.  And lots of wrapping paper and tinsel and suchlike.   Sadly, my bro and his family were not there, being in Oz, but we had a Skype call with them.

Ten years since we saw them!  They all looked very well.

Anyway, it was a crowded day with the Lilac Tree Farm family and the Dronfield family, and Jo and Matthew.    And Harry, the only great grandson, coped very well in a sea of little girls.  He rose calmly above it, and go on with his computering.   They had requested a Treasure Hunt, which seems to have become a tradition. But one of the younger grandaughters had somehow managed to suss out every clue in the house (which is quite big and rambling) before it even started.   She led them all whizzing past the clues at top speed to the Treasure itself.  Harry followed the tide of bossy little girls calmly, made sure he got his Treasure, and got back to his computeriing.

We are considering laying a false trail next December.  But will we all be hear next December?

I feel as if I ought to say something profound about 2018 that has just gone. But what?   We lost Shaun, the eldest grandson, so shockingly and unexpectedly.  Linda had her dream wedding, with a reception in a Castle.  I have collected another set of minus health points...

I can draw no conclusion, beyond that we are another year nearer to our rescue via the Kingdom of God, the heavenly government, for whose coming Jesus taught us to pray.

We are not praying in vain.  It should be an interesting year.   And I hope everyone will think seriously about the lovely planet and the amazing universe we live in and seek for their Creator, while he is to be found.

Saturday, 29 December 2018

The Great Hercule

We were disappointed in the new ABC Murders on the Beeb.  It is a wonderful Christie book - vintage Poirot.  And I know its been made many times, so its hard to find the new angle. But shouldn't it be an angle that is in harmony with the plot, not one that works against it.

And all those continually arty shots and camera angles...  I am sure they are great fun for the crew to do, but they make it boring for us, the boring old audience. We have seen it all before, a trillion times. And Agatha Christie never bores.

Rupert Grint was good. As, actually, was John Malkovich.  Though, and a possible Spoiler Alert here, isn't this exactly the wrong Christie in which to be giving us a washed-up and forgotten Poirot?

Surely a very important plot point is that he is at the height of his fame, so that it does seem feasible these murders could be a direct challenge to him?  I will have to read the book to make sure, but it looked as if they were going to throw away a wonderful bit of Christie misdirection...

And where is Hastings?   One clue to the whole thing lies in a remark he makes.

Oh well - we retreated into a series of Jonathan Creek repeats. Which are great fun - and scary too.

The thing is if you want a new Poirot, why not write your own?

I don't know what to say about the year that is going...  I am just so grateful we are still here, and hope we all will be this time next year.

And we are another year nearer to our rescue - to the time that Jehovah will remove all the unrepentant violent and wicked from the earth.

And to end my blogyear on another positive note - a minor one - I just got a compliment from a reader in Oz to say how much they enjoyed "Waiting for Gordo"!

It is lovely to hear that someone has enjoyed something I have written.  And thanks so much to Jehovah for the gift of language, and the ability to use it to create something that can interest and entertain.