Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Back to the Field

Back to the field this morning with the valiant Jean. I rang her at the usual time.  "Sue" she said hesitantly "Would you mind if we went out a little later this morning, I have had a very bad night?"

"Well" I said kindly "If that is what you need Jean, of course,...  and by the way HURRAY as I am not up to much this morning either."

Anyway, we did nearly two hours - most of it one call - tea, biscuits, and invited back. 

Then it was home to make a curry (veggie) for tomorrow and the soup for tonight.   And to get my Expense Form sorted out - for my butterfly expenses, having my wings serviced, that sort of thing.  That is such a tiresome chore, but it is done now.  The Captain lugged the new memberships to the Post Office - and also posted the 2019 Calendars - his year in the field - the more literal fields. 

And the lovely Jean rang me this evening to tell me that she was re-reading "Old Playgrounds" - and how much she loved it.  I said I would pass on her comments to the family, as it is a small selection of family poems.  Sad and funny, and I hope interesting.

Julia emailed to say that the Thank you flowers we sent her had arrived.  (Address: The Hollowed out Oak Tree in Sherwood Forest.)  And she says she will come down for a visit - perhaps next Spring.

Hospital tomorrow - yet another routine check up - no wonder the poor old NHS is in trouble, havng to cope with me and my old age...  feel quite guilty about it.

Monday, 12 November 2018

Maid Julia of Sherwood Forest

Sunday night we got back from a trip to Nottingham to attend the National AGM of Butterfly Conservation - and Julia kindly offered to put us up.  Fortunately she lives in a nice house, not a large hollowed out oak in the Forest.  So we had a very comfortable stay.   After a somewhat stressful journey up, she took us out for an Indian meal at The Himalayan.

The restaurant was very smart, the staff charming and efficient, and I had one of my favourites - a paneer curry, followed by Kulfi ice-cream.   They even let us take the little pot the Kulfi came in home with us. Captain B wants it for a marmalade pot - in which is homemade marmalade can be housed in state.

Thoroughly recommended - we would go there again the next time we are staying with Julia.

We got to the AGM on Saturday - the venue was The Nottingham Belfry Hotel - very organised - they did a good job.   Some of the talks were a bit too dry and graphy for me.  I really like ones with lots of pretty butterflies landing on equally pretty flowers - but possibly my tastes should not be pandered to.   Jim (Asher) got the morning's business done in an exemplary and interesting manner, and Nigel, our new National Treasurer (and Treasure) coped fine with a computer glitch that robbed him of all his slides.

And one of the Awardees was Jamie from West Sussex.  That was what gave me the incentive to get up there - along with being able to see Julia.

We had a good drive back on Sunday - through some lovely Autumn sunshine, and showers.

Today we shopped in the morning - took Jackie's shopping round to her and stopped for a coffee and a catch up.   Then we had lunch - soup, veggie - and I made a big fruit cake in case it is going to be needed at the local AGM on Saturday.  (It will come in for the sandwich lunches if not.)   And I bit the bullet and got down to the load of butterfly paperwork that arrived on Friday morning just as we  were leaving.

Six new Membership packages are now ready to go to the Post Office.

And I managed a bit of studying.  So a busy enough day - for me - these days.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Beth, Walking

Carole and Beth at Littlehampton
We just hosted Beth:  http://bethfootforward.co.uk/

Clearly, her walk has begun, and Jon,  a Sussex Search & Rescue (http://www.sussar.org/) volunteer walked with her to us.  We provided supper - various curries, ice-cream and wine - a bed for the night, breakfast and a packed lunch.  And this morning we handed her over to Carole - another SusSAR volunteer - who will walk the next leg with her.

It was fun having her to stay, and a thank you for her help in raising funds for Lowland Rescue, along with the RNLI, which is such good causes.   We will be following her progress with interest.

Sadly though just as we were all milling about after breakfast, a phone call came from Jeremy to tell us that Aunt Jo has died.

His only sibling.  My last aunt.

Things are getting very sad.   And I will be blogging about her. 

She was our glamorous London aunt.  And she has always been there - up to now.

Jean and I got to the Field Service Group yesterday and we did have a lovely morning out together - we were given just the right amount of territory, and we made a return visit on a lady who remembered exactly what Jean had said to her about the resurrection.

Its Sylvia's Memorial at the Kingdom Hall today - and Jean just rang to ask for a lift.  So we will be going together and I will think about Aunt Jo as well as Sylvia at the service this afternoon.  Especially when the brother giving the talk reminds us of the hope we have of seeing our loved ones again.

Monday, 5 November 2018

The Great Western at Corsham

We were invited to the Family and Friends opening night of The Great Western Pub at Corsham.


Mike and Kim the new landlords are friends from our Saudi years.  We spent our last night in the Middle East with them.  They drove us over the Causeway to Bahrain and treated us to a wonderful meal at Senor Pacos.  They also coped with the moment on the Causeway when the guy in charge refused to accept our Exit Only Visa - which seemed to leave us in No-Man's land - pretty much having left Saudi, but not having left enough to enable to us to drive the next few yards that would let us enter Bahrain.

It was lovely to see them again - 10 years later!  They don't seem to have changed at all. They were in a frenzy of preparation - complete refurbishment - workmen still drilling in one of the rooms - but it was all looking very good.  It felt great as soon as we stepped inside- a log fire was burning - it has the cosy feel of a good local.  And the darts team was already playing in the back room. 

They put on a lovely buffet - and we met the chef - a lady with spiky hair, tattoos, and great cooking skills.

So we hope its going to be a real success.   It will be hard work, but well worthwhile. We hope to call in for lunch when things have calmed down a bit.

And if you find yourself in Corsham, please pop in, have lunch, and say hello to Mike and Kim for us.  And to the two friendly dogs, who were so excited to have a pubful of people to rush about at.
Back to our routine now.  Jean and I had a morning on the door to door work on Saturday. It was such an effort to get ourselves out, and we did not make it to the Field Service Group.  But we were so glad we did go.  One of Jean's regular calls - a Methodist lady - told us that she appreciated the mags so much she was sharing them with her group.

It was worth going out to hear that alone.

And I drove us (myself and a young sibling) to the meeting at the Kingdom Hall Sunday morning - the Captain having left early with Metal Detector and sandwiches.  No hoards of treasure to report but I think he enjoyed it all.

It keeps him off the streets - and in the fields.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

The Man in the Shed

"More sandwiches" commanded The Captain sternly, interrupting my morning phone chat with Jacks.

A sandwich emergency!     I was puzzled as I had already sent him off on his latest Fungi Hunt with sandwiches plus an extra cake for Butterfly Mark.

"There is a man in our shed, and he needs breakfast!"

Apparently some homeless chap had spent Sunday night in our dustbin shed...   and it was a cold night too.   Now our shed is reasonably clean and upmarket as such things go - it is designed to look like the garages and there is just about room for one person to lie down.  But, how worrying it is that someone has had to sleep there.

He was moving on apparently, but I made him up a lunch box - cake, fruit and sandwiches. And Col gave him a warm coat.  I have been longing to have a coat and jacket clear out, so maybe this homeless chap has helped to get us started.

I knocked at the shed door at lunchtime, but there was no-one there. I was going to offer him some lunch.  Why he was homeless I do not know.  Many who are have come through our "Care" system so may never even have known what a home is.

Its an insane world system we live in.   And a cruel one.

I was out with my siblings this morning going door to door with our Bibles and Watchtowers, telling all who will listen what the Bible has to say about this - and to assure them that things will not be going on this way.  Soon God's will WILL be done on the earth.  And Jehovah's foremost quality is love.

Monday morning, I took Jackie's prescription to the Clinic for her and took the opportunity to get the mystifying form for my upcoming diabetes course filled out.  It seemed to mystify them too, but some medical figures have now been entered in various boxes and, hopefully, they will have to do.

Our imperfection - the imperfection we are born with - makes getting older a painful business.  Otherwise getting older would be wonderful- learning all the time, appreciating the beauty of the world more and more... learning to love each other more and more.

And we will be so happy when God's will is done on the earth.  Already we can find much happiness through the teaching in the Christian congregation and in the loving and orderly way it is organised.

There is no teaching like it on the earth.  And it is a small taste of wonderful things to come.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Poems in The Spectator - and Bonfires

Littlehampton bonfire night - boat burning
As a long time Spectator subscriber, I loved the poems they published in the magazine.   Then they stopped. And I think many of us wrote in to ask for the poems back.

And back they came. But somehow, for me, the magic had gone.  I am sure the poems were all good ones, but just not on my wavelength anymore.  Perhaps the Poetry Editor had changed?

Anyway, I was delighted to find these two wonderful poems in my current Speccie.

Going Home
Folk Festival

Closing her last set
She sings of going home
While couples rise up
From the bales they share
To fold into each other's arms
Already spirited
Across love's threshold,

Then later as I step
Alone into our house
I think of us as the song
Must have me do
On this dusky, scented
Summer night
That still belongs to you.

        John Mole

The Shadow

As the sun to the moon,
So is a parent to a favoured child,
Bestowing a concentrated bounty:
But such a child - like the moon -
Has a cold and dark side.

        Tim Hopkins

Hurray for The Speccie and for Tim Hopkins and John Mole.   Maybe they are back on my wavelength, or maybe my wavelength has changed?  Either way, I really enjoyed them, and will add them to my poetry pantheon.

Yesterday was bonfire night - the BIG bonfire was lit on The Green - its  still smouldering now, and as the sun sets I expect to see it still glowing orange - and they had the procession and the fireworks.  Jacks came over to join us but, here is another of the sad "firsts" on the slippery slope, for the first time we didn't make it through to the end of the fireworks. We had to hobble back indoors so we could sit down.

Still, it was  a good evening - veggie lasagne with salad, ice-cream and a cheese plate - and our usual NZ Marlborough wine. All those Marlboroughs are so good.

It was the meeting this morning and then I crashed out in front of the telly. Captain Butterfly is just back from a day's Treasure Hunting, so I will have to go and get him some supper in a minute.  (What is left of last nights - via the microwave).
porcupine sceat, Early Anglo-Saxon England, continental phase. 695-740 AD. AR Sceat, Series E, variety G1

No Treasure today, but he did find a sceat this week which will be appearing on his blog in due time I expect.

Friday, 26 October 2018

A Glass of Blessings

Finished my re-read of "A Glass of Blessings" (Barbara Pym) yesterday.  Loved it even more the second time. 

Could it end up being my favourite Pym?   I will have to settle for it being one of  my favourites, as its impossible to pick a favourite between Glass and "Excellent Women" and "Quartet in Autumn", and "Some Tame Gazelle" (which is surely the funniest).

Wilmet - spoiler alert - gets everything wonderfully wrong throughout. And the world Barbara Pym is writing about is the world I was born into - the world that lingered on into the 1950s.  I feel at home in her world.  And she is so funny.

Anyway, to get to my dazzling diary - my partner for field service on Thursday cancelled, so I decided not to go to the group but to do a call - long overdue - to a very nice lady my age, who lives within walking distance. We had a good talk and I hope to continue it next week.  My excuse for calling will be to deliver a copy of the new magazine.

She really seems to appreciate them.

She has been a churchgoer all her life, but seems to know as little about what the Bible says as I did before I talked to the two Jehovah's Witnesses who called.

I must pray about this.  I need to find the right brother or sister to go along with me.

I can't think what I did in the afternoon. Finished my study for the meeting and lay on the sofa dozing in front of the telly - trying to rest my horribly swollen legs. 

This morning we shopped - for us and for Jacks - delivered her shopping and had a coffee and a chat. She is feeling no better, no worse.

And we had a chat with Bea of the North on the phone. The Bavarian branch of the family has just left after a short visit.  They did a tour of the local brewery - and were amazed and I'm sure pleased to find out that the machinery came from Friesing, their local town. 

So my blog returns to a glassy note, where it began, and to a literary note, as I too have had a novel published.  And my latest reader just told me she loved it, really loved it!   Which is what every author wants to hear, that  they have written a book that people enjoy reading.  And I had better be honest and say that her husband found it a bit slow going but did like the second half when it became more incident packed.