Monday, 29 June 2009

a visitor from The Cape

Not a butterfly, but Roger, en route from America. His migratory path will take him home to the Cape at some stage.

He is here till Thursday.

We just watched Andy Murray win his match, but it went to 5 sets and was touch and go.

and all that jazz

We went to see Chris Barber at the Chichester Festival Theatre last night - see the Captain's blog for details. He was great, and the band were such fun. A wonderful evening. And the theatre was packed.

Give us what we want, and we will turn up.

We were not a young audience though. This was very noticeable at the interval as we all creaked slowly off to the bar, with a clash of zimmer frames and a gnashing of false teeth.

Roger arrives this morning, en route for South Africa, having spent some months in the US.

the maintenance guys are here painting the balconies, so our dining room is full of balcony flowers and watering cans

Saturday, 27 June 2009


Although we started the day off with a sea fret, and I took an umbrella with me on the field service, by the time we left Sue's to go on the work, it was hot, and it got hotter and hotter and HOTTER.

I was working with a young brother from Ghana, and even he found it too hot.

Anyway, we did an hour and a half, which included a couple of Ronald's return visits. He doesn't have a car so he bravely came along with me and we made it. I had to go twice round a very large roundabout, and back out of lots of parking spaces, but we made it.

I did a lot of praying about it first, and very specifically asked Jehovah that I would find parking spaces when I needed them. I asked Ronald to pray about it too.

Which I think he did quite fervently. He wasn't too happy when I said I not only wanted him to direct me to the territory, but also to make sure that I stayed on the left hand side of the road.

"Now I AM nervous", he said, looking for the door handle. But at that moment i lurched away from the kerb and off we went.

I have taken the afternoon off. We have been watching Wimbledon - we are watching the Andy Murray match at the moment. He has just got the first set under his belt and made a great start in the second.

Charles - also from Ghana - told us an experience he had when out with the Circuit Overseer the other week. The householder who opened the door said she was 'Born Again' and did not want Witnesses calling on her.

John, the CO, asked her this. If he did stay at home, how long would it be before a Born Again knocked at his door?

It is something I can only hope she will think about.

Friday, 26 June 2009

threescore years and ten... maybe

Another perfect summer day - lovely skies, and a refreshing breeze. I felt very tired as it has been quite a week. The National Portrait Gallery on Wednesday, and Don's funeral on Thursday. In the morning we went to Warnham, and in the afternoon to the funeral. Then it was the meeting in the evening - very hot in the Kingdom Hall. I felt sorry for the brothers in their jackets.

But it was the best thing I could have done after the funeral. I sat where Don used to sit. And thought about how he won't be there to greet me again until the new system of things.

We (the Captain and I) got to talking about funerals on our way back from Don's. And thought that realistically we had better write down what we would want. Its not a happy thought. But...

Who knows?

Maggie must feel like the bottom has dropped out of her world. After 40 plus years with Captain Butterfly I think I would feel like less than half a person if something was to happen to him.

Tomorrow is Sharon's funeral. She was so young - died very suddenly of a pulmonary embolism.

She didn't come near her threescore years and ten. Whereas Don, despite all his health problems, made it to 82.

I wonder yet again if those young doctors at Chichester A & E didn't save my life that day when Col rushed me in. They had me on Warfarin almost before I could say what was wrong.

I am very grateful.

But of course in a case like Sharon's there is no time, and no warning.

How wonderful it will be to be in perfect health - life 'to time indefinite' stretching before us.

More wonderful than we can imagine.

Got some very good news from Pen today re finding a publisher for her book! Not half bad in a recession. Bea and I talked by email. And I also talked to Linda. I was just saying to Col yesterday that we hadn't heard from her for a while for a while.

We went to Chichester this morning and did a massive Lidl shop and a smaller M & S one, and used up our Jessops and Lakeland vouchers. At least some of them.

We have a lemon squeezer again!

Monday, 22 June 2009

ask a silly question

During the Sammy weekend, Sam often phoned home to speak to her little sister Beth and tell her all about her adventures at the seaside. At one point she handed the phone to Nute, with a: "Would you like to speak to your granny Beth?"

" Hello Granny", piped a tiny voice.

"Hello, Beth" said Nute in her grandma voice "And what are you busy doing?"

"I'm talking on the phone," the voice piped in return.

a quiet Monday

A quiet day today. Talked to Nute - she and Sam had an OK journey back home, all went to time, and Sammy seems to have really enjoyed herself, which was the point of the exercise. At any rate, she wants to come again, as soon as possible.

Her elderly great aunt may need a week or so's recovery time though.

Studied in the morning - lunched at home (omelettes) - and then went to Swanbourne Lake - see Captain Butterfly's blog.

I bought two bags of duckfood (50p each) and fed loads of ducks, geese, coots, moorhens, pigeons, you name its, all sorts of feathered things. And I got pecked by a duck.

When you look at the amazing flipper feet of the Coot they say so clearly 'design' - they witness to their Grand Creator, Jehovah of armies.

Of course the Serpent is still in the garden at the moment. But when I think of how lovely it is even now, I wonder just how lovely it is going to be when Paradise is restored.

We called in at the organic shop-restaurant in Arundel on the way back and picked up some things. And then had a fish and chip supper... well, I suppose that is fairly organic in its way.

I had a long chat with Lilian who phoned from London. The local congregation have invited her to the upcoming District Convention and I am urging her to go and to really listen and pay attention when she does. I believe the theme this year is: 'Keep on the Watch'.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

An early morning swim

Nute and Sam are now heading home - hopefully their journey is going well. We all had a swim this morning. It was cold getting into the water!

The Captain is now off following the Butterfly herds, and I am tackling the mountain of seaweedy towels. Sam had most of us swimming every day.

The dishes are all done, kitchen sorted and I am now going to crash out in front of some afternoon telly.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Detecting Sammy

Sammy is down on the beach with Captain Butterfly and they are metal detecting. I hope she manages to find something interesting. We, her gran and great aunt, are taking some time out.

We all went to Warnham for lunch and a walk round the reserve, which is so beautiful and peaceful. Sammy seemed to enjoy it all and had to be dissuaded from getting too near swans with their cygnets. Her gran and I were chased off a beach in Ireland by an angry swan when we were about her age, and we haven't forgotten the experience.

They leave tomorrow. We are hoping we might all be able to go in for a swim in the morning, but it depends on the weather. If not, we can go over to Arundel and feed the birds in the park there.

Sam may insist on our going in for a swim this afternoon, but I hope not as there is a cold wind blowing.

She is ten now. Its strange to think how much our childhood must seem like pre-history to her. How would the 1890s have seemed to me at her age?

A generation is coming, and a generation is going...

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Driving issues

Driving issues yesterday... when the brother in charge of the field service group asked for someone to work with Manda the Circuit Overseer's wife, I put up my hand without thinking through the parking and driving issues.

Anyway, its all too painful to go into the details, but nevertheless we did get to the territory safely and had a wonderful hour out together. I learnt a lot from her. And we had some great conversations on the doors and I now have a couple of return visits to do.

Sadly I won't be out today as we have Nute and Sami arriving tomorrow and today is a shop cook and prepare day. I should get to the C.O. talk tonight though, but may well miss his talk on Sunday. Jackie and Brian will be joining us for the weekend. And we have just heard from Roger - ex-Aramco - that he will be coming for a few days at the beginning of July, on his way back to SA.

Sami has apparently been looking forward to this visit for months, so I only hope we can live up to her expectations. She is very fond of The Captain, and will hopefully be able to spend a lot of time with him on his butterfly and dragonfly rounds, while Nute and I trail along behind catching up on things.

Monday, 15 June 2009

A quiet day in

A quiet day in today, which was most welcome. No shopping, nothing, apart from a walk along the beach with the Captain in the evening. He is Captain Dragonfly at the moment. I made us lunch by combining the remains of the vegetable soup I made on Saturday with the remains of the chicken curry I made on Sunday, to make a sort of chicken stew. It was very nice.
Tomorrow I have to drive to the Kingdom Hall - park in the car park there - and take myself off to the territory, wherever it may be. Scarey. And on Wednesday, Audrey will be with me, as she and I will work together. She knows the territory so well that she will be my navigator so that will help.
I still have one magazine call to make for Maggie - I did the others on Sunday.
The Circuit Overseer's visit starts tomorrow, so we have a meeting at the Hall tomorrow night.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

A winter sunrise

When Bea was here we were talking about the view from our flat - and I mentioned the winter sunrises, when the sun is so red, and it reflects in all the pools left by the tide. In the winter I try to catch the moment when the sun comes up over the horizon.

Hello Pat, in case you are reading this.


We were riding through frozen fields in a wagon at dawn.
A red wing rose in the darkness.

And suddenly a hare ran across the road.
One of us pointed to it with his hand.

That was long ago. Today neither of them is alive,
Not the hare, nor the man who made the gesture.

O my love, where are they, where are they going
The flash of a hand, streak of movement, rustle of pebbles
I ask not out of sorrow, but in wonder.

Czeslaw Milosz
(translated from the Polish by himself and Lillian Vallee)

When 'the red wing' rises out of the darkness, it is one of those moments when you can feel the holiness of the world. The creation speaks of its Creator.

As the Psalmist was inspired to say:

"The heavens are declaring the glory of God
And of the work of his hands the expanse is telling"

And the questions... I am still amazed and grateful to have been given the answers.

One of the things that impelled me to write poems - in my brief poetry writing stage - was this wish to catch the moments as they flew by. As I got to nearly forty (and how young that seems now) I began to realise as never before how short it all is, what little time we have to spend in this beautiful world, and how short a time we have with the people we love.

A new driving feat lies before me today. Can I manage Maggie's magazine rounds? I have her little maps and my own map book... I even have a tiny little magazine route of mine own now. A very nice guy called Tony said he would like Awake magazine every month, so it is time I delivered him his June copy.

I am going up to the Kingdom Hall for the 10 o clock meeting, and then hope to do the rounds afterwards.

It is all so that people can come to know that Jehovah, the God of Abraham, is the Creator of this awe-inspiring universe - and to give them the answers to the questions posed in the poem.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Striking Portraits

To the Constable exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery today with Bea and Captain Butterfly. Constable portraits amazing - although my favourite was the Hampstead Garden painting. If the Czar of the Gallery had said to me: "Sue, because of your general wonderfulness we are going to allow you to take one portrait home with you", then that would be the one.

The tube strike didn't really affect us, except that the train out of Victoria was much fuller than usual,

We had fish and chips from Osca's this evening - and watched some telly - including the Gabon Monkey Expedition. Beautiful, but sad, because the animals are so threatened. They try so hard to live their lives and care for their children, and we are making it just about impossible for them. I had to hang on to the promise made by our Creator, Jehovah, that he will 'bring to ruin those ruining the earth."

I know things will not go on like this for much longer.

And we watched the Sussex episode of the David Dimbleby series: 'A Picture of Britain'. It was very moving.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009


We went to Arundel with Bea today (see the Captain's blog). We visited the second hand bookshop at the bottom of the hill and I found some books for the November Maldives trip. An Agatha Christie , and 'The Day of the Triffids' and 'Castaway' to re-read; and 'The Perfect Storm", a Ruth Rendell, a Rona Jaffe and a Nicholas Monsarrat. Should be good solid holiday reading.

I failed to go out on the Field Service this morning!

Bea treated us to a lovely lunch at Butlers in Arundel and we came home to a credit crunch supper - chicken soup from the weekend's chicken, and stewed pears and ice-cream.

We are having a quiet night in, and are off to London in the morning

Monday, 8 June 2009

Rustington with Bea

In the morning I drove us to Rustington - a first for me. We prowled the Rustington shops and Bea bought me a lovely bag for the Field Service work. It needs to be neat, big enough for my books and magazines, and easy to get said books and magazines out of.

I hope to premiere it tomorrow morning. Another first, as I hope to go on my own wheels - which i am nervous about as I don't know which map we will be using - so I dont know where we will be going, whether I will know my way, or be able to park, etc etc.

And will I have to turn right across the traffic coming out of the Kingdom Hall? Or will our map take us left?

Will I be able to park successfully in the tiny Kingdom Hall car park?

Worry worry.

For the rest of our day, see the Captain's blog.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Driving Rain

We escaped the storms ravaging the country today - it was a lovely sunny morning with a bit of rain late afternoon. However, its 9.15 now and we have just heard some thunder. So I think the storms may be about to find our quiet little seaside town. Bea and the Captain had a busy day (see his blog) and are now out on the balcony with their wine. I will join them when I have written this.
I went to the Kingdom Hall this morning. We got the sad news that Don can no longer have visitors so he must be a lot worse, and Maggie had left a package at the Hall for me. I volunteered to do her magazine route for her, so she has left me a package of magazines with addresses and little maps!
Wonderful of her in the middle of all the trauma with Don, her husband, my brother.
So I now have to get more adventurous with my driving. Having spent my driving life on the right hand side of the road, driving round Toytown, I am finding it difficult to start again.
But I must, or I cannot do my field service and return visits properly, let alone do the magazines for Maggie which is the help she needs from me at the moment.
Bea has bravely agreed to come with me to Rustington for a stroll round the shops tomorrow morning. And if we survive that, I will probably blog all about it tomorrow.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Retirement - Anniversary 1

We arrived back in the UK a year ago today - in the early hours of the morning.
Pen left early - I had the morning at the dentists - oh joy.
Linda came over to spend the afternoon with us and we talked a bit about old times in Saudi.
We went for a walk and were watching a mother duck with 8 fluffy little ducklings in tow, and saw them come across a group of teenage ducks from last years batch. One of them started to pick on and chase a little duckling. One of its valiant fluffy siblings roared across the water to attack the whole group of them with its tiny beak.
It was quite harrowing to watch. But all got away safely.
It will be wonderful when the world is restored to Paradise, and nature is no longer 'red in tooth and claw with ravine'.
A very hot day. So a good start to summer.

Mermaids sighted off Littlehampton Beach

Pen left very early this morning, and I have a Dental appointment at 8.30... It was a lovely weekend. She came to the Kingdom Hall with me on Sunday morning for the Public Talk - which was about building a happy family. And then I co-opted her help in doing some return visits. She came with me in the car and waited there with her book while I knocked on the doors. The Captain does not like me to do them on my own, and I couldn't find anyone else going out at that time. Two were not at home sadly. And the third seemed to be in the middle of a big family lunch so I decided not to knock.

It was a very hot day - hotter than Spain! - so Pen and I cooled off in the sea at Littlehampton later.

The Captain had his Metal Detecting hat on and we didn't see him till the evening.

We went to The Silk Road for some Middle Eastern food - a treat from Pen to
celebrate our one year retirement anniversary, which is today.

Linda - ex-Aramco - is coming over later today so we will celebrate it with her too.