Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Sausage and Mash, but hold the sausage and hold the mash

We got back from our trip 'oop North on Monday - left Sheffield at 9.15, arrived back home at 2.30 - two stops - so a good journey, thank God.  As I am writing this we are in the throes of unpacking, watering plants, sorting, opening the mail etc etc.

Adam's merry men are doing the carpets downstairs.

The Derby branch of the family came over for lunch on Sunday bringing the two youngest granddaughters.  The menu was planned with them in mind - sausages (from The Real Meat Company), mash and peas, followed by ice-cream.   Firm favourites.   Although... oldest youngest granddaughter didn't want to eat any sausage or any mash (but she had her choc ice), and youngest youngest granddaughter didn't want her mash and wouldn't eat her choc ice - it had chocolate on it and it was cold.

At that point we all remembered the occasion on which youngest oldest grandaughter was asked if she liked Captain Butterfly's homemade strawberry ice-cream. "NO. I don't.  Its cold and it tastes of strawberry."

Was there a time when children ate what they were given?   And of course they usually pretty much have to, but doting grandparents do try to provide treats at Sunday lunch.

It was a busy week - lots of writing and editing work done  - lots more to do - and I am now feeling SO TIRED.

But I hope to get out on the doors this morning with my siblings. What better way to cope with the horrors of the news, the difficulties of old age, and the stresses and strains of the system than to try to tell all who will listen of the coming and imminent rescue?

I doubt I shall do much else though, beyond a necessary shop and making supper tonight.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Writing, Editing, Publishing

I just read Janet Dean Knight's about to be published novel - not sure if I can name it before its published - a good read - and very evocative of a lost world - working class England of the 1930s, just pre-war. I particularly like the way she has the names and the tiny details right.

We saw Dan - my young publisher - briefly this week - and I must remember to send him one of my short stories as soon as I get back.

Captain B was out in Endcliffe Vale yesterday afternon.  Its a lovely day and I feel frustrated I can't go, but I do hold him back. Also we have no hot water. The tank sprang a leak a few days ago and none of us can have a shower while it awaits repair.  So I don't want to get hot sticky and dusty.

We would have left on Friday, but Col has Metal Detecting Business this weekend. Important stuff he assures me.

Alex, Nadine and the two youngest granddaughters should be joining us for lunch today. Sausages and mash - in deference to 7 and 4 year old preferences, to be followed by mini choc ices or ice lollies.  The Captain's alarm went off at 5.30 and he, his metal detector and a box of sandwiches, have vanished into the wilds of Derbyshire.

Foghorn Doris has been barking madly at squirrels.  The garden is full of them. Fortunately the foghorn gives them ample warning, as she is a Jack Russell and would not be kind to them if she caught them.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

The Writer's Workshop

Monday was my first ever day at Writer's Workshop. Just the 3 of us, Nute, Penny and me, and a big big house all to ourselves.    We finished today, Wednesday. And I have to say it works well.  I am back in the world of the book I have been working at since the Millennium, and have shrunk it a lot. But realise how much more work it needs.

My two fellow writers have got their new thrillers underway.  And today we rescued an exhausted bee - two doses of sugar water, with a rest in between and it flew off.

Fish and chips tonight.

And I have sent today's Scriptural Thought to a fb friend.  It seems so exactly what she needs to hear at the moment.  I am hoping to find a response on my page.  It is, of course, exactly what I need to hear too.

Wednesday, April 18

Keep conquering the evil with the good.​—Rom. 12:21.
Even if we had a difficult childhood or if our present circumstances seem hopeless, we need to keep contending and persevering. We can trust that if we do so, Jehovah will bless us. (Gen. 39:21-23) Think of a situation that you are facing and that may be a trial for you. Perhaps it is some type of injustice, prejudice, or ridicule. Or the trial you face may be that someone falsely accuses you, perhaps out of jealousy. Rather than drop your hands in defeat, remember what enabled Jacob, Rachel, and Joseph to continue serving Jehovah with joy. God strengthened and blessed them because they kept on showing deep appreciation for spiritual things. They kept on contending and acting in harmony with their earnest prayers. We are living close to the end of the present wicked system of things; thus, we have strong reason to hold on to the firm hope set before us! Are you willing to exert yourself to gain Jehovah’s favor?

Saturday, 14 April 2018

The Bank Vole

Col got some great sightings and shots of the Arundel Bank vole the other day - see his blogpost:

When I have gone there to see them, its usually been nothing, or a quick flash of fur as one darts from one hidey-hole in the log pile to another. They really posed for him this time.

Woke up to find that the English Channel had been stolen!   However, panic over when the mist cleared and it re-appeared.   It was Field Service at the Kingdom Hall this Saturday, so I took us to the Hall, and Jean and I were given a Crescent of our own to do. We managed to do quite a bit of it - and had some good calls.   It was such a lovely morning.  Sunny, but with a slight mist coming and going.  At one point some tulips shone in the misty distance like jewels.  And the blossom!

Our last call was on a gentleman who assured us that the Bible was outdated, old-fashioned, and of no relevance.   "Have you studied it much?" asked Jean, gently.  It turned out he had only ever read bits of it.

Please don't make up your mind till you have studied it.  If it is as it claims the Inspired word of the Creator of this amazing planet, set in this awe-inspiring universe, then the proof lies within it.

We just have to hope that the doubting doorstep gentleman will change his mind before too long.

We had lunch at the Hall - then the April broadcast - then I drove my passengers home.  A nice day.

But a sad and frightening day news-wise - with the attacks on Syria, and the seeming return of the Cold War.  Our April  Awake!  magazine is so relevant.

I read one lady - a grandma looking after her grandchildren - these two verses which are quoted in the last article, and she took the magazine:

“[I have] thoughts of peace, and not of calamity, to give you a future and a hope.”​Jeremiah 29:11.

AN END TO WARFARE: “Jehovah . . . is bringing an end to wars throughout the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the military wagons with fire.”​—Psalm 46:8, 9.


Wednesday, 11 April 2018

A Showy Display

1 John 2:15-17 says:   "Do not love either the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him;  because everything in the world—the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the showy display of one’s means of life—does not originate with the Father, but originates with the world.  Furthermore, the world is passing away and so is its desire, but the one who does the will of God remains forever."

I think the expression "the showy display of one's means of life" is a very good description of the Designer Label world we are presently living in.

Jean and I had a lovely morning on the doors on Tuesday - and I visited Maggie this afternoon. She was quite traumatised by the fact that she was in a different dining room - the usual one is being re-decorated - and that when we got back to her room, it was still in the process of being cleaned, the bed not yet made.

When someone has lost nearly all of their words, its impossible to explain what is happening. Anyway, I went and found a kind nurse, and we got the bed made and we got Maggie settled.  But she looked much frailer than usual, and clung a bit when I had to go.

But John was in to see her in the morning and I expect she will have another visitor or two before I next go.  Its all very sad though. And such a lovely spring day - blossom, daffodils under the trees.  But Maggie and I are not in the Spring of our lives.

Which brings me back to 1 John, which assures us that "the one who does the will of God remains forever".  So I hope that Maggie and I have "unnumbered springs" ahead of us in the restored earthly Paradise.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Walking and Talking

Jean and I went to the Field Service group on Saturday morning. Good thing we did really as there weren't many of us there.   A lot of us are on holiday this week.  However, the territory was not suitable for us. It meant too much walking.  Jean's ankle was really bad - she was heroic to be out at all. So we did calls.  The first one - not at home - the last one - not at home - but the call in the middle was at home - asked us in for coffee - and lasted nearly two hours!    And we are invited back.

So that was just right.  Jean's ankle got a rest.  I walked her to her door - I can't park right outside it - she said she did not need any help up her stairs but would wave to me from the top to show she had made it.  So I waited till I saw her wave.

Old age makes doing the most ordinary things extraordinarily difficult.   We were saying that to Jacks, who was over for supper Saturday night - and agreeing that its a good thing you don't realise when you are young. It could blight your life.  Its not that you don't see some of the difficulties of age, but you are young, you are never going to be old...   then, suddenly...

The sad thing is that getting older should be wonderful in every way.  I don't know anyone who would go back and be young again, unless they could go back knowing then what they know now.

Which of course is exactly what the Bible promises us.
Job 33:25 says: "Let his flesh become fresher than in youth; Let him return to the days of his youthful vigor."

Yes.  Please. 

We had curry on Saturday night, mainly from the Waitrose chill cabinet, I must admit. But I did make a cucumber raita and a tomato curry.      I feel so desperately tired that its worrying me.

I chauffered two passengers to and from the Hall today - and a sister from Worthing was there, sitting with Jean and me.  I used to give her a lift in the old days - pre-knee.

The Butterfly Memberships flew through the letter box yesterday and I really ought to make myself go and do them so I can get the packages into the post tomorrow.

I am looking out over a grey and rainy Channel today - its been one continuous "April shower" all day.  Not that I mind.  I love all weathers, and don't want blazing sunshine every day.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

MRS RAVOON and Mrs Raven

Many years ago. during my time on PlanetExpat, the competition in The Speccie was to write a MRS RAVOON poem.

This link explains the genre:

And I thought - At last, a competition I can enter!  (They are usually far above my abilities.)   So I decided I would address the question of where the monstrous lady came from in the first place.

And this is what I wrote and entered:


The ship has returned from the alien star
Captain and crew, who knows where they are?
Nothing inside but a large silk cocoon
in which form the features of MRS RAVOON

I didn't win.  Or even get a mention.  But I still quite like it. 

And Mrs Raven, of the TV series "My Hero" was a bit of a MRS RAVOON.  She was the doctor's terrifying receptionist - and in one episode she even became, briefly, a malicious superhero, The Raven.

I remember this excellent moment when she is tormenting all the waiting patients even more than usual with her rules and regs, and one guy shouts at her "This is just like Nazi Germany!".

"Why, thank you,"  says Mrs R. a rare wintry smile flickering across her face.

Its Wednesday morning, as I am writing this, (but probably won't post this till tomorrow), we are off to Chichester for my postponed ear appointment.  I foresee a long long wait, a depressing interlude of me saying "What?" to all their questions... and perhaps no answer beyond everything is wearing out.  I am wondering if I should ask the Captain to take me for lunch in Chi after...it will depend how we feel I guess, plus it is the Easter hols, so everything might be rather crowded, especially the car parks.

We can remember a time when you could drive into central London for an evening out without parking worries.  That is how old we are,

The weather is still cold and damp with thundery showers forecast - hail - and snow in Scotland.  So March came in like a lion and went out like a lion.

It all went well yesterday - though the Clinic was running late, they did my tests while I was waiting and then I saw a very nice doctor - who is puzzled by my ears.  Like everyone.  Yes, I have pronounced hearing loss, but why it comes and goes is the puzzle. So I am now waiting for a Scan, and then I will see him again.

I did manage to get over to see Maggie, though only for half an hour.   She was delighted to see  me, but all visitors delight her. She doesn't know who I am any more.  But as long as she wants visitors, I hope to be able to keep going.