Wednesday, 12 August 2020

A Jurassic Moth


Oak Eggar, Lasiocampa quercus

We had a splendid moth visitor yesterday.  A beautiful Oak Eggar.   Enormous.  I hardly dared step out on the balcony in case it swooped and carried me off to its lair - to feed its brood of little, well, Acorn Eggars I suppose. Stunning.

Yesterday was Southlands for the Rheumatology Nurses Clinic.  Two lovely ladies - everything on time, and safely isolated - and I have some new painkilliing ideas to take away with me, if no new medicine  The inflammation is down again - thank goodness - but they gave me some information about two further meds that can be added to my pantheon if necessary.

I am going to hold back though, as anything that is effective against arthritis is so strong that so are the side effects. Its better to struggle on as long as you can really.

I have also practised my part in the Ministry School - my householder is a West Indian sister who is full of enthusiasm for my talk. She reminds me of Wilhelmina, also a Caribbean-Brit, who taught me the truth all those years ago.

Among all this talk of immigration, I must note that I have good reason to be grateful for the West Indians who came here.

Monday, 10 August 2020

The Saturday Afternoon Session of the "Always Rejoice!" Convention

Sunday morning we had a shortened Watchtower study -  30 minutes, on Zoom - then we all zoomed off on our various devices to attend the Saturday afternoon session of the Convention.

Wonderful teaching, starting with videos from the worldwide brotherhood on all the continents.  A standout experience was one from Nigeria. We saw two of our brothers - Gabriel and Joseph - out on the ministry - these experiences were from the 2019 service year, before the Lockdown.  One of those brothers is blind, the other is lame. So one can't see, and one can't walk. But between them they get around and do the preaching work that Jesus gave his followers to do - one wheeling and one steering.  A wonderful pair, and an inspiration.

The Symposium was: Help your Bible Students to...

 * Feed themselves spiritually (Matthew 5:3, John 13:17)

* Attend meetings (Psalm 65:4)

* Avoid bad associations (Proverbs 13:20)

* Overcome unclean habits (Ephesians 4:22-24)

* Develop a personal relationship with Jehovah (1 John 4:8.19)

The drama, first half, was about Nehemiah and the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem.  We will see the second half three sundays from now.  And the final talk was "Making Disciples Now Prepares Us For New World Disciple-making".

During the thousand years, during which time the Kingdom of God will be ruling over the earth, restoring it to the paradise it was always meant to be, and restoring obedient humankind to the life and perfection our first parents threw away, there will be a vast teaching work to be done.  All the resurrected dead will need to be taught.  Those who died as faithful servants of Jehovah will need to be updated on all that happened since they died; but as Acts 24:15 assures us that there is going to be a resurrection of the righteous and the unrighteous,  many who are resurrected will need to learn who the true God is, and all about the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ. 

  "And I have hope toward God, which hope these men also look forward to, that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous". (Acts 24:15)

Here is the link to the Convention: https://www.jw.org/en/


I have a confusion of appointments - not helped by my being so deaf - so when they ring up with new instructions I never know if I have it right.  What I did on Thursday, Friday and Saturday escapes me, but I think not much as I put myself on a 3 day detox, which always makes me feel awful - pounding headache etc - so that apart from keeping up with my studies and getting Captain B his meals - non-detox - I don't think I did anything. Watched a lot of telly - and moaned and groaned.

It was so hot yesterday that Captain B returned early from his treasure hunting. He left BEFORE THEY CLOSED THE FIELD.  Unprecedented. He did make it nearly to the end, and was in the last three, but...

It really was that hot.   Like being back in Saudi Arabia, but without the air conditioning.




Thursday, 6 August 2020

Highlights

I thought I would blog a few highlights from the Saturday morning of the Always Rejoice! Convention which I attended on Sunday in our kitchen.

The Saturday morning session was all about how to find joy in the disciple making work that Jesus left for his followers to do.   A key point was that a skilled worker finds joy in his work. so we need to accept all of Jehovah's help in becoming skilled teachers of his word.  The more skilled we are, the more joy we will find.

As Psalm 40:8 says:  "To do your will, O my God, is my delight, And your law is deep within me".

Six Essential Skills in the art of making disciples were discussed:
* Asking questions
* Unleashing the power of God's word
* Illustrating key points
* Teaching with enthusiasm
* Showing empathy
* Reaching the heart

And what has more power to reach the heart than God's inspired word?     As Hebrews 4:12 tells us:  "For the word of God is alive and exerts power and is sharper than any two-edged sword and pierces even to the dividing of soul and spirit, and of joints from the marrow, and is able to discern thoughts and intentions of the heart."

Everything we teach must be based on the powerful, living word of God.  So I will remind you that the Conventions are available on this link... nope, can't understand how to work the link on this new blog format. It was easy in the old one. So they are available on JW.org - search under "Always Rejoice!" 2020 Convention.


Tuesday - field service group via Zoom - talking about patience - Zoom with the family - joined this time by Jo, Alec, Nadine and the little girls.  I cleaned the fridge, and made a small batch of marmalade muffins (I was short of butter) - plus did my studying while getting my morning dose of balcony sun.  Wednesday - supermarket delivery first thing - then Col off to get his camera fixed - it broke yesterday (think: Bear with sore head) - plus sun and studying on the balcony -  and making the fresh berrry fruit salad we usually have with our pizza on Delivery Day.

There has been a terrible explosion in the Lebanon - at least a hundred dead and many many casualties... they have gone through so much already.  It does not appear to be a terrorist attack, just a tragic accident.  I wonder about my brothers and sisters there. The pictures are devastating.  Its like a scene from the wake of WW2.

I had my first telephone appointment with the doctor's surgery. The nurse is happy with my blood sugar results. And I am sitting here now waiting for what is supposed to be a call from Rheumotology.  Given they cancelled and re-arranged my appointment 4 times, and on the last re-arrangement there was a lot of confusion as to whether it was to be in hospital or by telephone... I was just typing this worrying that they were expecting me at the hospital when the phone rang - a new doctor - we had a chat - he said he needs to see me - and will book me an appointment with the Nurses clinic.

My main hope was to try to get some pain killing that actually works.  But he says I will have to talk to my GP about it. I know there isn't much chance really, as I think only morphine would touch the pain of an arthritis flareup and they are sparing with that even in hospitals in the wake of major ops.

There is so much wrong with me now that most of my appointment was spent going through all my conditions and my medicines...  which is rather depressing to say the least.

Thank Goodness we have a congregation Zoom meeting tonight. I need to be encouraged and cheered up and reminded of the wonderful hope ahead.



Sunday, 2 August 2020

A Present from Betelgeuse

My next (and probably last) novel, which most likely won't be called "A Present from Betelgeuse", as that would suggest Sci-Fi, and it isn't, may well be published next year!   My publisher, Fantastic Books, has just sent me an audio they have made of the first chapter for the next Fantasticon.  And this is even though I haven't yet finished and got approval for the final edit.  So I have to be hopeful.

I am also being asked to do a reading from my previous publications and I think I will read a couple of poems from the small family anthology "Old Playgrounds" that started my career... well, I say career... at any rate, I am published.  And I am very grateful for it too.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Old-Playgrounds-anthology-edited-Knight/dp/1470139774

This is the poem, not by me, that inspired the collection.  When me and my siblings were children back in the 1950s, we used to play in the rubble and bombsites of WW2, which turned into building sites as the post-war world got going. A gigantic hospital was built at the end of our road - it took so long to demolish, clear, build, improve, repair, etc, that the first discernible words of my parents' oldest grandchild were "big crane" ("BIG cwane").

Penny has written a lyrical poem about the way some places are haunted by memories of childhood.

Old Playgrounds (Sheffield)

Penny Grubb

A place to go. Remember where?
With cold, stone floor and dark, damp air.
Remember? It wasn't always there.

Perched up on the rafters high.
A breath! Dust billows, thick and dry.
The view's not walking feet, but sky.

Childhood's jungles all around.
Disused quarry's eerie sound.
Thistle sentries stand their ground.

The Rose-Bay higher than we knew.
Nettles, brambles, old and new.
And always poppies - just a few.

The juice ran thick and sweet and red
From berries wild as the kids they fed.
Garden's owners - long since dead.

Only the blue delphiniums show
That these were gardens, long ago.
Now mainly weeds. A place we know.

Through tangled growth, a shelter bare.
Relic of war - Like poppies there?
We didn't know, so didn't care.

Were there ghosts deep down below?
The men who had made the gardens grow?
There was no one there we knew, I know.

Now the attic's gone, the shelter's lost
The price of progress, or the cost?
Who thought about delphiniums tossed

Against the bricks of a brand new wall
A monster seventeen storeys tall
Where and when did the flowers fall?

Strangers walk the cold, stone floor
And where there was an old trapdoor.
Fill the space that was ours before

And though it's new, it's said maybe
That there's a ghost that people see.

I daren't go back. It might be me.



They were not all bomb sites - whole areas of lovely old stone houses with their flourishing gardens were demolished to make way for the brave new world that planners were, sincerely, hoping to build.  And we played in those old gardens for years.  And of course, nearly all gardens then had a crumbling old air raid shelter. Once I remember we found and nurtured a cabbage - only to find on picking day that another group of roaming children had been nurturing it too.  I don't know what happened. Hopefully we shared it. 

Sunday, is the third of the 6 sessions of our virtual Convention. If you wish to join us, here is the link. We are attending the Saturday morning session today.
https://www.jw.org/en/library/videos/#en/categories/2020Convention



Thursday, 30 July 2020

Not Dancing - FLARE UP right ankle

I am trying to keep a record of all my flare-ups for my next hospital check up - if and when the date and form of the appointment can be sorted out. The 4th date change has left me in limbo, as it is on a date I can't attend in person, but on which I can be at home awaiting a call - and it is not clear if they want me there or waiting by the telephone.  I have been trying to find out.

Anyway, even if a pot of gold coins were to turn up under my feet, I would not be capable of dancing about it. In any case, it would presumably belong to the flat downstairs, the occupants of which would be looking at the hole I had dug in their ceiling with grim disfavour.  (Could the pain killers actually be kicking in - I seem to be hallucinating?)

So, Wednesday morning, as I start this blog I am wondering if I will even be able to make it to my blood test today...    and to add to the medical gloom, it turns out that one of my neices has had Covid - she has just tested positive. It was during Lockdown thankfully, so there are no contacts to be traced.  She thought it was a bad cold at the time. She did lose her sense of taste and smell, temporarily, but that was before we knew it was a symptom.  She seems fine - and hopefully has picked up an immunity.

I made it to the surgery - thanks to my gallant chauffeur, Captain B - I could neither walk nor drive - and it turns out they wanted to run my inflammation test again, as it is high. Yes. Which is why I am in a lot of pain, arthritis wise.  Pain which continued into Thursday and gave me another bad night.

I feel as if my body is packing up - bit by bit, faster and faster.  Worry worry worry.   How do people who do not have knowledge of and faith in the Inspired Scriptures cope with this?

The seagulls seem really het up about something this morning.  I wish I could understand what it is and help.

Monday, 27 July 2020

The Gold Dance

Captain Butterfly finally got to do the Gold Dance on Sunday!  He found a gold coin - a Celtic Stater from 65 B.C. - right at the end of yesterday's dig.   He is a happy bunny.  

It is a lovely coin - and in excellent condition, considering its age.  And if that coin could talk it would probably be saying "More than can be said for you lady!"   And we would also be able to find out what the inside of an ancient Celtic purse looked like. Full details and photos will appear on his blog later today.

I finally got to the hairdresser and got myself sheared.  I have hardly any hair left, but it has to last, in case they lock us down again.  Though hopefully they won't. I don't see how the economy (that mysterious thing) is going to recover from this current lockdown.

Chatted to Jacks and Jean - we keep in touch even though we can't see each other at the moment.   And Anne of The Cape and I have been emailing about spiritual things. She is a seeker, and I so much want her to find.  We had the normal Sunday meeting - public talk and Watchtower study - and a chat in the chat rooms afterwards. I found myself in a twosome this time, which was nice.   The next two Sundays we will have the shortened Watchtower and then we will watch the Saturday Convention - Morning, then Afternoon Sessions - on our various devices.  I am really looking forward to it.

And there is a treasure that is greater than a trillion hoards of gold staters - and it is there for everyone. But you have to put the effort in to find it.  You have to search for it.  And I am going to use Captain B with his detectorist hat on as an example.  He always strives to be there at the start of a dig, and will stay whatever the weather (within reason - metal detectors/field/thunderstorm/lightning//aarrgghh) - till they close it.  He keeps on seeking.

Gold coins are not guaranteed, no matter how hard we look.  But if we keep on seeking for our Creator, Jehovah, we WILL find him.  As he himself says, he will let himself be found by us.  This is from last week's "Examining the Scriptures Daily", and it is true:
"What is the greatest form of recognition that we can strive for? It is not the kind of attention that people seek in the academic, business, and entertainment fields of this world. Rather, it is the kind that Paul described for us in these words: “Now that you have come to know God or, rather, have come to be known by God, how is it that you are turning back again to the weak and beggarly elementary things and want to slave for them over again?” (Gal. 4:9) What a wonderful privilege it is to “come to be known by God,” the Supreme Ruler of the universe! He is willing to have an intimate relationship with us. As one scholar stated, we “become objects of his favourable attention.” When Jehovah acknowledges us as his friends, we achieve the very reason for our existence.​—Eccl. 12:13, 14."

Friday, 24 July 2020

Wives - and FLARE UP Left knee

Wednesday was a day of Phone and Zoom - I spoke to Jen, Jane, Lilian and Sue.  All are coping, all with various difficulties, which probably describes everybody at the moment.  And I spent a while trying to get through to the doctor's surgery. It appears that my long overdue diabetes blood test was not done with the others...    On the doubleplusgood side, all the other results are in the normal range apart from the inflammation levels which are raised.  But I know that my arthritis is in an active phase - the pain is telling me. My left knee is very painful at the moment.

On Thursday a letter came through the door changing my Hospital appointment with the Arthritis Specialist (for the 4th time) - and changing it back to a hospital visit not a telephone consultation which it was.  I rang up to say I could not make Thursday and could I have a new date.  The receptionist however thought it might still be a telephone consultation and is going to sort it out and get back to me...

I will now have to keep following up on that - as I can do Thursday, provided it is by telephone.

I feel exhausted. And look forward so much to the promised time on earth when "No resident will say "I am sick"".  I hope to be there. I hope we all will be.  World events are rushing along, down the path the Bible prophecy foretold.

Anyway, enough droning on about my health (or lack of it) and I must return to the subject of the blog - WIVES.   

The second item in the Seminar was:  Wives Rejoice in Your Husbands.  The cited Scripture was Proverbs 14:1. "The truly wise woman builds up her house, But the foolish one tears it down with her own hands."

Do we build up our husband in our speech to him, and to others about him?   Doing so is the course of wisdom.

And another question:  Can I add even more joy to my marriage?

Its a good question. A husband and wife can work at making each other happy - or they can make each other unhappy. There is so much sadness in the world. Why not be happy?

And this Seminar contains advice from the Originator of the marriage arrangement, from the Maker's Manual, God's inspired word.
https://www.jw.org/en/library/videos/#en/mediaitems/2020Convention/pub-co-r20_3_VIDEO