Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Maurice the Mussel

Leg and back very bad today - complain, moan, grizzle - but managed an hour with Audrey on the doors - and we did find quite a few people in, plus a little interest.  The gentleman we got out of his bath a few weeks ago said that he would like me to call round with the October magazines, so we shall see.

Haven't done much else - arthritis - but we did walk on the beach and watch the sun setting.  A quiet sunset tonight as the West was very cloudy - but all with a reassuring calm beauty.

I am wondering about finding out whether or not it is possible to be friends with a mussel and plan to adopt one on the beach - and say a polite 'Good morning', 'Good evening', as we walk by it and see what happens.

Col says it will get eaten by a seagull and I will have my heart broken (which I think translates as 'Get a life!').

Monday, 27 September 2010

A September sunset

Something to counteract all the horrors - a calm peach and yellow sunset - lots of gulls winging across it, fishing, doing their thing - Captain Butterfly photographing them.  The tide was out a long way, and we waded out and out - and the setting sun was reflecting peach and gold in the water left by the sea.

It was another glimpse of the Paradise the world was intended to be and will be again.  And I so much needed to see it.  At the moment of course the gulls were hunting for mussels.  But when its Paradise again they won't be.   And, if its technically possible to be friends with a mussel, they will be friends.

Pat, Jim, and the dogs left this morning.  We hadn't seen them for 13 years, but it was as if we had only seen them yesterday, as it is with some people.  It took me right back to their house in Expatistan in which we had many happy times - and their little dog Sunny, who was a character and a half.

And Pat remembered Shadow - his picture is beside me as I type.

We didn't talk much about old times though as they, like us, seem to have been very busy with retirement.  Its a whole new world somehow.  In many ways its like being back in our courting days.  Only better.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Not out on the doors

I did not get out on the doors this morning, which makes me feel bad, but as one guest leaves, the next arrives - well they arrive tomorrow.   We attempted to do the last butterfly tetrad this morning and were walking past the river of Sunflowers when a gamekeeper plus dog informed us that we were trespassing!   He didn't set the dog on us, thank goodness.

Things do seem to have improved a bit there as I can remember trespassing on a farmers field when I was tiny - I had followed the big boys - giants of 5 or 6 years old - and we were digging up some root vegetable from the farmer's field and eating it.  

What can it have been?    As I remember it, it tasted lovely.

Anyway, the farmer did set his dog on us.  And who can blame him?   And it would have got me as my little legs couldn't get me away fast enough, had one of the big boys not gallantly risked his life by turning back and hauling me over the fence.

We showed the kindly gamekeeper our tetrad map and he showed us the public footpath to it.  But we didn't do it, owning to my arthritis not being up to tramping up a whole Down today.  Poor Captain Butterfly - tethered to a mate with damaged wings.

So we went to Tesco and shopped for the Pat and Jim visit. 

I forgor to ring Anne yesterday and I am behind with my studies...

Friday, 24 September 2010

Oyster Catchers

Col has rushed off to the beach to try and catch some Oystercatchers while the light is right.  If he has got some good pictures I will request one for this blog, so it should appear in time.

I am suffering from a severe arthritis attack in both knees, so my wings are clipped at the moment - and  I won't be catching any oysters for a while.

Bea left this morning - we hope she is going to find time for another visit before she leaves for the North. She has been a constant in our life here.  The Autumn flowers she bought me remain and brighten up the lounge.  

Lovely roast chicken dinner round at Jacks last night.

I spoke to Audrey today - and we hope to work together on Tuesday.    I have also spoken to the returned Maggie, who I hope to see on Sunday, and managed (before the arthritis struck) to hobble up to the post office and send the wedding photos off to Aunt Jo, a congratulations card to my sister Siwe, and a little card to Ellen, who was a student of mine at one time.

This blog is supposed to be my diary (I can't write one anymore because of my hands) so I need to remember to note who I posted what to - and when.

An evening of couch potatoing lies ahead of me - and quite some moaning and groaning every time I try to get off or on the couch, or even move.  Its not looking too good for my book about my expedition to Everest, although I am planning to do it by couch - so I suppose as long as my team of couchpushers keep me supplied with my painkillers and anti-inflammatories, along with the constant nice cups of tea, I may yet do it.

Watch this space!!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010


We - Captain Butterfly himself (my superhero), Bea, and me -went off to do a couple of his butterfly tetrads today. We have to get them finished before the butterfly season ends.   Col and I also did one locally yesterday afternoon.   And Shirley and David, Bea's friends who are staying in Chichester came over to visit Bea yesterday and took us all out for lunch at our local - which was very kind and much appreciated.

At Kitthurst Hill, today, there was a little black calf standing well away from his herd, watching something over the fence.   I went to have a look and it turned out to be a gaggle of pheasants... or whatever the collective noun for pheasants is.  He seemed spellbound by them.   Perhaps the first time he has seen them?

And maybe the last time too, poor little soul.

We lunched at the George and Dragon - NOT off beef - in fact Col and Bea shared a Ploughman's lunch and I had a goatscheese tart with salad.

It was a beautiful sunny day.

Monday, 20 September 2010

The house of three milks

"One soya bean, one goat, and one PROPER milk" said Col glumly as he brought in our mugs of tea.

Bea will only have soya milk, I only have goats milk (arthritis reasons), and Col only has real milk - i.e. from a cow.

We spent the afternoon butterflying and found a whole river of sunflowers.  I have never seen anything like it and have asked for a couple of photos for my blog.

Jackie is back - hurray! - and has asked the three of us round for dinner on Thursday - the only night she has before she goes away again.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Maggie is back!

I heard at the meeting this morning that Maggie comes back today - she thought she would be away for 2 weeks but wasn't sure - we sit together at the meetings, so I have missed her.  We will try to plan at least one morning out on the work together this month.  Lovely meeting this morning - a great public talk about who we can trust in a corrupt world - and the Watchtower study was all about the qualities we need to be able to do the Christian preaching work.

The foremost is humility.

The nice thing this afternoon was a Skype chat with Anne from The Cape. She was all muffled up in wool, dressed for the next ice age, as it is very early Spring there.

It was her birthday.   I don't celebrate them, being a Jehovah's Witness, but I am glad she was having a good day.  And i am certainly very glad she got born.  I just wish she lived down the road, as it used to be when we all lived in our Expat town.

And Col was home all day!

Saturday, 18 September 2010

A busy Saturday

Jean and I toiled up a long long drive to some enormous gates today to find a sort of panel with buzzers and buttons.   We puzzled over it.   Then: "You've pressed the wrong button!" said Jean.   (I had, I usually do.)   I had meant to activate the intercom, but the giant gates swung silently open. We tiptoed in, up another drive, and knocked on the door.   No-one was in.  Not even the staff.  I heard a noise behind us and it was the giant gates silently closing again. 
Thankfully we found another button on the inside and managed to open them and escape.  Otherwise...  We popped a small publication through the letter box so that they would know who had called in case they worried about it.  And also it will show them the way to find true security if they read it.  There won't be any need for locks on our doors, let alone security gates, when Paradise is restored.
We basically got rebuffs this morning, but we were both in a funny mood somehow, neither of us feeling very confident.  However, we did deliver a few magazines and try to find a few of our return visits at home.
Then I dropped Jean off, lunched, shopped, ironed, did the dishes and cooked a roast chicken dinner for the wandering boy who has been off on Metal Detector business all day.
Now i am very tired.  We both are.

Friday, 17 September 2010

A golden thread

Audrey and I watched  "Faith in Action, Part 1: Out of Darkness.   Which was lovely.  It shows a golden thread of faith running down the centuries, as faithful people tried to teach Bible truth in the face of strong opposition from Church and State.   We are very much looking forward to Part 2, which we hope will be released next year.

I also took her to buy her spring bulbs.   Crocus and Narcissi.  And surely each bulb is a miracle, speaking clearly of the qualities of Jehovah, its Grand Creator?

El Capitano B flew off to the Downs near Eastbourne still chasing the Clouded Yellow, and he also called in on Bea.    And he brought some nectar back in the form of two books - from Bea to me.   "Some Tame Gazelle" by Barbara Pym, and Agatha Christie's "The Secret of Chimneys".   So I have a treat in store.  I think that Tame Gazelle is Barbara Pym's funniest book.  And although I have read Chimneys before, I can never remember who did it - or if I do - I can't remember how - and why they have such an apparently watertight alibi.

My library got scattered during our expat years, and I am trying to recreate my Pym and Christie shelves.

The Channel has been calm and blue today, and there is a quiet sunset going on over it as I write.  A touch of cold in the air today  though - a preview of the coming Winter.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Autumn in the Downland

It was a perfect Autumn day on the Downs at Hope Gap.   There was a strong wind blowing and the sun came and went through the clouds - the light was beautiful - the colours of Cuckmere Haven would have made me get out my paint palette and do my best to capture them (were I an artist and had I a paint palette).  There were little mushrooms everywhere, berries galore in shades of red and black, and wildflowers. There was a rabbit basking in the intermittent sunshine - lots of valiant dogwalkers - and butterflies - see The Captain's Log - all in the lovely September light, which was changing by the minute.

We took sandwiches and ate our lunch on one of the many memorial benches - all with stunning views overlooking the Channel.  I hope so much that all those who they memorialise, who all loved the coast there, will have a wonderful awakening when the time comes, and see the downland again.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Couch Potatoing up Everest

I haven't actually got my expedition together yet, so my book 'Everest by Couch' is on hold,  and I am looking out over a stormy Channel.   I was out with Audrey on the doors this morning - we did some of her magazine route calls.   Captain Butterfly was on the beach.  As the butterfly season comes to an end, his winter chrysalis looms and I am wondering what or who will emerge from it.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

When flowers fall out

Good things that happened today.    The meeting at the Kingdom Hall, with Stuart giving the talk - which was all about being in Jehovah's book of life - how we can hope to be - what we must do to remain there - what happiness there is ahead for all those in that book - more happiness than we can now imagine.   Captain Butterfly getting some amazing shots of the Clouded Yellow - I have asked if I can have one or two for my blog - he has a whole sequence of it having a vicious fight with a Meadow Brown - they are depressingly human-like sometimes - but its lovely to look at - like two flowers fighting.  And we have Jehovah's promise that nature will not remain 'red in tooth and claw with ravine', but will return to the peace that prevailed in Eden.   Then I got emails from Anne, Wit and Bob.

All a welcome antidote to a nasty dose of the world's double standards - on The Antique Road Show of all things!

Tom and Jill

Tom, Jill and Jackie all came over for dinner.   We had a great time with them and hope they did with us. We all plan to get together to watch the fireworks in November.   

I was out with Jean this morning. We had a lovely time - although I found nobody who was interested and none of my return visits were at home.  However, Jean had some great talks on the doors.   We were working on an estate so new that the brothers haven't even mapped it yet!  That is a first for me.  And more new driving experiences.

Will I ever be a competent and confident driver?

Went out with Audrey yesterday - took her to the shops and then we had a coffee.  We are going to get together next week to watch the new DVD (HGV?HNC?ABC? - one of those disc thingies that puzzlingly replaced videos) that the Watchtower Society released at our summer Convention.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

John Clare on September

Now that i am a safe distance from my own little poem, I will post some more lines from John Clare's 'The Shepherd's Calendar'. I don't want to be shown up here.

What was the big thing about September when we were all young?  John Clare notes it well:

"None but imprison'd children now
 Are seen where dames with angry brow
 Threaten each younker to his seat
 That thro' the school door eyes the street
 Or for his horn book turns away
 To mourn for liberty and play..."

I remember it well (sobs brokenly).  The endless summer holiday - and suddenly! a new year at school - or occasionally a new school.  There was a  certain excitement about it too, but that didn't last long.  I really did not like school at all, though I wish now I could have realised what a priviledge it is to have all that time to learn - and what it was all for.

Jamming children together in large peer groups is not a good idea either.

Not that John Clare is starry eyed about children.  I don't think he is searching for his 'inner child' or anything,as he also notes this:

"As yet no meddling boys resort
 About the streets in idle sport
 The butterflye enjoys his hour
 And flirts unchaced from flower to flower
 And humming bees that morning calls
 From out the low huts mortar walls
 Flye undisturbed about their holes
 And sparrows in glad chirpings meet
 Unpelted in the quiet street."

We had parents who taught us to be kind to animals, but not everyone does.

The language is interesting - the butterfly 'flirts' rather than flits. 

Black Swans

We spent yesterday afternoon and evening with Sheryl and Ian on their lovely holiday yacht - see The Captain's Log for photos.  My last experience of boat living was many many years ago when we were a young married couple and we went for a canal trip with my brother in law and his wife.   Things have changed since then.  There are ensuite bathrooms, and the loo is not full of frogspawn and indignant frogs.

A lovely evening, with a most beautiful sunset.    And a pair of very friendly Australian black swans who turned up to join us for pizza.  They are Oz swans, which is appropriate for Sheryl.

My only problem was getting onto the boat.  Its a very high clamber up the side (for me), and my knees  just don't seem to work the way they did (arthritis), but with Ian pushing from below and Captain Butterfly pulling from above, I made it.   I only hope there was no one standing by with a camera, because if so I will be appearing on the Prannet of the Year Show in December.

On Tuesday I went out with Audrey, but we were rained off after only 3 doors.  Violent rainstorm - absolutely soaked us, so we went back to Audrey's and had a coffee.  She gave me another hand knitted scarf to add to my pantheon - a lovely soft turquoise blue one this time.   We shopped at Tesco's.   And this morning I started my cooking marathon - making the lamb, Chinese style.  Plus i had my health check at the Clinic - hope all tests will be OK.

Monday, 6 September 2010

September thoughts

Walking in the cemetery, in September, in my sixties is something to make me think... the year coming to its end, me approaching my three score years and ten -  and it reminds me of a poem i wrote many years ago, as I was coming up to 40 - (and how young that seems now).   But it was then I began to realise how short life is. 

The Botanical Gardens in Autumn (by me)

As the year sets slowly in the West
Its last dying glow
sets fire to the gardens
Chrysanthemums blaze
Virginia creeper reddens on stone walls.
Walking here, nearly forty, I know
How short it all is
How quickly it goes.
Shivering, I warm myself
at the dahlia's flame
the firethorne's bright coals.

Now I am hoping to live 'to time indefinite' in the restored earthly Paradise.  Hoping...

We shopped this morning - and I found the index cards for Maggie in Sussex Stationers.   We heard from cousin Linda, and I spoke to Audrey on the phone - we are going out together tomorrow.   And Col and I went for a walk in the beach late afternoon.  There was a strong wind, white horses on the sea, which was on its way back to the beach from a long way out, and it rained a bit.  The raindrops felt like hailstones the wind was so strong.

I am getting to love this flat pebbly coast, with its big skies.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

When Mrs Captain Butterfly flew...

... it was only in a metaphorical sense, thank goodness, as I have enough difficulty managing my  arms and legs, without adding things.  If I had to add wings to the mix when arriving on your doorstep with my Bible and Watchtower magazines, it would probably be like several episodes of Mr.Bean condensed into 5 minutes.  As I began to open my Bible, I would forget my wings, and they would probably sweep all the preciously nutured blooms of your prize rose tree, then I would swing round in a panic and the wings would knock your poor cat off the wall where it had been basking peacefully in the sun  - probably straight into an open wheelie bin - and i would end up being hated on the internet.

So, metaphorically speaking, we flew off to the local cemetery to do the Butterfly count (it being part of the Captain's territory).  Although it is not really a wildlife friendly place we did find some - see the Captain's Log.

Its another thing wandering round a cemetery when you are in your sixties and getting near that threescore years and ten.  I might add my reflections when I post the John Clare quote for September, but i am just about to set off for the Kingdom Hall and the Sunday meeting.

We then went for a lovely walk along the River Arun, counted some more butterflies, and also picked some blackberries.  One of the many lovely things about retirement is being able to spend more time together.  Its a bit like being students again, only a much happier and more sensible version of ourselves then.

In the morning I took Audrey to the jewellers to get her watch sorted, then we did an hour on the door to door work, then we went to the new Lidls, where she found some nice wool.

And we had a quiet night in.

Friday, 3 September 2010


Feeling very tired today.  Maggie and I had a wonderful morning out on the doors yesterday - doing return visits.  We drove all over and found many people in.  I met up with the enormous Staffie that I am rather nervous of.  I was armed with a doggie treat this time, but his owner did not want me to give it to him (fair enough, it is obviously a guard dog), but at least i found out that the young lad i am trying to find doesn't live there, he is her next door neighbour. He was obviously baby sitting the Hound of the Baskervilles in his neighbours garden when we spoke to him.   Came back, studied for evening meeting, attended evening meeting.  Is there anything like the teaching within the Christian congregation?

When Jesus was on earth, didn't the crowds marvel at his teaching and say that they had never heard anyone else speak like that?

Same same today.

We spent the morning shopping, filling up car, getting car washed etc, and I have made a fish pie and have an experimental peach cobbler in the oven for Jackie tonight.  The fish pie looks OK, the cobbler does not. I must go and check on it now.

Got a lovely email from Siwe to which I must reply this weekend. 

Audrey and I plan to go on return visits tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

The first day of Autumn

...was a lovely one - sunny, blue skies, but with a cold wind to let us know that summer is over. We went to Chichester - found some shoes - failed to get my engagement ring enlarged (swollen hands, arthritis) - got Cornish pasties for lunch - ate them at Brandy Hole - Col took some photos - one of which I hope he will put on the blog later - of Willow Pond where we sat and ate our lunch - amazing dragonfly on patrol - like a miniature enamelled helicopter.

Its strange how some people will say that the dragonfly 'simply evolved', that it had no creator or designer. Yet they would never look up at a helicopter and say (or even think) that.  But which is the more complex?

Very sadly the two fields adjoining, where the tenant farmer has been leaving some space for wildflowers and butterflies, is in the process of being sold for another large housing development.   If we didn't have the promise from Jehovah, the Grand Creator, that He will 'bring to ruin those ruining the earth', I would be feeling rather despairing now.

I have some words from John Clare on Autumn, but hopefully I will post them tomorrow. It should be quite a busy day - out with Maggie on the door to door work in the morning - finishing my studying in the afternoon - meeting in the evening.

Retirement is much much busier than I thought it would be.