Sunday, 31 October 2010

The Comet at Yell'ham

I said I would put another Hardy poem in my blog for Pat.  And here it is:

The Comet at Yell'ham   by Thomas Hardy

It bends far over Yell'ham Plain,
And we, from Yell'ham Height,
Stand and regard its fiery train,
So soon to swim from sight.


It will return long years hence, when
As now its strange swift shine
Will fall on Yell'ham; but not then
On that sweet form of thine.

I think this particular comet - can't remember its name - has been back since - although, as the poet tells us, not in the lifetime of the two watchers here.   Our lives are so short now.  Over before we know it.

It seems the comet was much brighter when they saw it - with a more distinct tail, or train.  Perhaps it was a little nearer the earth then?

Will Pat and I be here to see it next time around?

I hope so.  I hope we will both see it many many times.

Captain Butterfly who had his Metal Detecting head on this morning is fast asleep in the armchair.  He looks exhausted.  I am probably going to sleep too.  I was at the meeting at the KHall this morning - as wonderful as ever.  It looks like I will be going out on the doors with three of my sisters this week, Audrey, Jean and Maggie. 

Saturday, 30 October 2010

The Wedding Orchid

The orchid that Gabi and Dan gave us after their wedding has just started to flower.  Its flowers had been cut for the bouquet and now it has produced 4 tranches (?) of flower stalk - with one beautiful white flower already out.  I will ask Col to photo it for one of our blogs.

Jean and I were out on the doors this morning - doing Not at Homes from last week.  We were rained off after 45 minutes. It was an odd morning - rain clouds, beautiful saturated light shining on the red leaves, and a rainbow in the distance.  We both had two very nice calls we can go back on and hope to call at the other doors during the week.

Mick, who was taking the group, reminded us once again of the vital importance of getting the Bible's message to people.   

Captain B had his fossil head on and was off fossilising.  We are getting ready for Jill, Tom, Linda and Nick for the bonfire and fireworks tonight.   As a JW I don't celebrate the night itself, but the bonfire and fireworks all happen right outside our window so we do share the view.  I shall be providing hot sausage rolls, garlic bread, that sort of thing.

Took Audrey shopping yesterday morning, and also did my marathon shop for the weekend.

Thursday, 28 October 2010


Flitting across the stage like a piece of fairy thistledown  in my sparkly white frock, I leap into the arms of Loys, the disguised Duke.    Ooops... poor chap.    Still, never mind, who comes to see him?    On I dance twirling gracefully across the stage to rapturous applause from an admiring audience.

Yes, we went to see The Welsh Ballet's Giselle last night - every little girl's dream.

Apart from a whole lot of wonderful dancing, it has a good message and a bad message.

The good is that Giselle knows that, as Jehovah has told us, love "does not keep account of the injury" - and she does not revenge herself on her betrayer, but saves his life.

But the bad thing about it is that is is based on the idea that we have an immortal soul.   Giselle lives on after her death and is able to save the Duke from the spirits of other jilted lovers, who too live on in ghostly form.  

So if and when  you go to see it,  please remember that in Eden, Jehovah told Adam and Eve that they would die if they disobeyed him.  In other words, they were not immortal.  

They disobeyed, cut themselves off from their Creator, their source of life,  and from that moment they began to die,  And eventually they stopped existing and returned to the dust of the ground from which they were created.

It was Satan who said that Eve would not die if she disobeyed, who told her that there was something immortal about her.

Her Creator said the exact opposite.

We, as Adam and Eve's children, are all born dying - through no fault of our own.   Jehovah knows that, and he can reclaim us from death.  But, while we are dead, we are, as the Bible assures us 'conscious of nothing at all'.  We aren't hanging round dancing at people who have annoyed us.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Red sky in the morning

The sunrise was so wonderful this morning that I got Captain Butterfly out of bed - and he was out on the balcony in his jim jams photographing it.  It was, as the rhyme says, a 'shepherds' warning', as we have had a rainy and a stormy day.  Very cold too. But lovely, with the Autumn leaves rustling everywhere.

It is easy to see the holiness of the creation in the very early morning.

Audrey and I managed an hour on the doors this morning, trying to tell people about their Creator. We met Jackie, who was driving off to a meeting, and said Hello.

I shopped after dropping off Audrey - and made the food for tomorrow night.

The Gang of Four Plus One are coming by tomorrow morning for another watch of the new DVD : Jehovah's Witnesses, Faith in Action. Part 1 : Out of Darkness.

Monday, 25 October 2010


Retirement Sundays - how are they different from the Sundays of working life, and from schoolday Sundays?

In my schooldays, it was a happy day - church in the morning early (I was a Catholic then), home for a lovely roast dinner courtesy of that brilliant cook, my mother - playing with my siblings and friends after lunch.  In summer the aged parents would often take us out for a picnic on the moors - by bus in the early days.  And on a rainy day daddy would take us to Western Park museum.  In Winter we sometimes used to play Noah's Ark, with our china animal collections and shoeboxes for the Ark.  I kept my collection of animals for years, until they went 'missing' in one our moves.  And for many Winters, Jen and Catherine used to come round after lunch and spend the afternoon with us. We used to huddle round the gas fire in the dining room and make ourselves cheese on toast.

But - and there was a but - I can still remember that dread of school on Monday beginning mid afternoon and getting worse and worse.

When we were a young married couple, both working we often used to visit or entertain family and friends on a Sunday, or go out for the day... I used to cook a roast dinner.

In our Expat days, Sunday was the second day of the working week.
As this is a diary, what happened yesterday, on a retirement Sunday?   Think, think...   Col was off birdwatching all day, with sandwiches.  I was at the Kingdom Hall in the morning, and did some ironing and stuff in the afternoon, and we ate together in the evening.   I made an apple crumble from the cooking apples some kind person at Arundel had left outside their house for anyone passing by.  They were lovely apples - not windfalls.  So it was a good crumble.

Pat emailed to say she loved the Thomas Hardy poem, so I must find more - the ones that aren't usually anthologised - that will fit the blog.

He is very suitable poet for the Autumn of the year - and the Autumn of my life.

Once again I have to ask: How did this happen? Just yesterday we were a young married couple.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Maurice at Sunset

The beautiful home of Maurice the Mussel.

A quiet day - I couldn't go out as I was not well due to having to take painkillers.   I did totter out to Tesco's with Col this afternoon for a brief shop.  I hope I have bought in all the ingredients for our pre-Theatre supper on Wednesday night.

We had a lovely walk by the River Arun yesterday - I sat for ages  watching the castle through the Autumn leaves - it is a fairytale castle - one that looks like it has grown there.   We watched a water rat scurrying about and there were ducks galore.

Jackie cooked us a lovely dinner last night - not roast duck!

Friday, 22 October 2010

The English Channel

is suddenly a sparkling turquoise.  El Capitano is out on the balcony now trying to capture the colour in his camera lens.   For a few moments there we could have been in the Maldive Islands looking out across the Indian Ocean.  Its a bit colder though - them sitting on the Equator as they do, and it being October here.
Its so wonderful to live right by the sea.  Which is now the palest of blues. 
I must get back down to the beach and to Maurice the mussel. I have a plotline for him, so I had better get on with it.   
We swam this morning - remembering too late we should have rung Jacks and see if she wanted to come!
We will apologise tonight as she is cooking for us.  We haven't had much of a routine though, and have tended to swim separately this week.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Its a Right Hand Turn,,,

...not a roundabout!   Captain B solved the puzzle for me by googling Google Earth and showed me exactly what it was.  I have driven along that road the other way with no problem, but my Aspergeriness had obviously clicked in again and a connection failed to be made between the two halves of the road.  Anyway, its all connected up now.

Audrey and I did the rest of my October magazine route yesterday.   I  found three people in, and the guy I usually get out of the shower said he would like me to deliver the magazines every month.   I had to stop myself saying: Fine, but in that case I want you to move somewhere where the parking is easier.  

Col was off on a Butterfly Work Detail all day - with a sandwich lunch - so I had some crisps and an ice lolly, did my studying and took myself off for a swim.

We had a great meeting at the Kingdom Hall tonight - although I am not enjoying having to drive there and back in the dark.  However, the years go racing by and it will probably be Spring again before I know it.

Someone is shortening these years.  They just don't last the way they used to.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

The inexplicable roundabout

To my horror when the maps were given out at the group today I found that I was going to have to drive to the territory via the terrifying roundabout/road combined thing that I can't understand.   I can't see how it works and where the cars will be coming from.   I got across it somehow, but chickened out coming back and drove round the houses.   Sheila and I had a lovely morning out though.  She is wonderful on the doors and I was trying to listen and learn.  But she has a very warm personality which, alas, I do not.   She also rescued me from a spider that had got into the car - she got it out efficiently and gently with a tissue and it scuttled off about its business unharmed.
I joined the family at Helen's for coffee afterwards - haven't managed to do that for ages.
Captain B was butterflying and we shopped when we got back.
Audrey and I go out first thing tomorrow morning to finish my magazine route.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Oh dear, what can the matter be?

Bea leaves for her new home in the North next week.  We went over to Eastbourne today to take her for lunch (at the Golden Galleon), and we had a walk round Cuckmere Haven afterwards.  It was cloudy and sunny with a strong wind and beautiful Autumn light.

The next time we see her it will probably be Up North. And hopefully she will still be coming to stay with us, although she is no longer a bus ride away.

We managed to get ourselves stuck in the ladies loo.  We could not find the right door.  First we tried to go in to the Mother and Baby Changing Room, then we found ourselves heading into a broom cupboard.  When we finally got out we found Captain Butterfly waiting outside, his profile of weary patience featuring strongly.   We then found some Fools Gold (pyrites) on the beach.

I feel there is probably a poem in that somewhere, but as I don't write them anymore, I won't be able to find it.

But there is a poem by Thomas Hardy I want to put in here.  Because its not a goodbye to Bea, but its goodbye to Eastbourne and so many memories of her and Brian there.  And I was also thinking of my mother, as a child, evacuated with her convent classmates to a Convent on the South Coast during the war.

THE MARBLE-STREETED  TOWN    by Thomas Hardy (1914?)

I reach the marble-streeted town,
    Whose "Sound" outbreathes its air
        of sharp sea-salts ;
I see the movement up and down
    As when she was there.
Ships of all countries come and go,
    The bandsmen boom in the sun
        A throbbing waltz ;
The schoolgirls laugh along the Hoe
        As when she was one.

I move away as the music rolls:
    The place seems not to mind
        That she - of old
The brightest of its native souls -
        Left it behind!
Over this green aforedays she
    On light treads went and came,
        Yea, times untold ;
Yet none here knows her history -
        Has heard her name.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

The Field

We blackberried this afternoon - at what I shall have to call The Field (Craggy Island style) as I don't know what it is called.   We took a big manly tupperware container and a little girly one.  The Captain soon had the big container filled and then took over the small girly one and filled that too.  I was very hampered by the spiders webs which were everywhere, protecting the berries.
Apparently its the courting season for spiders, and they are all over the place, scurrying about with little boxes of choccies tucked under their arms and bearing bouquets and charming smiles. And then getting eaten for their trouble, poor things.
Which reminds me that, as we haven't been on the beach, I haven't been able to continue my campaign to get to know Maurice the Mussel.  He strikes me as quite a ladies man though, so he might be off doing some courting of his own.
June and I were out on the door to door work this morning.  It was sunny but cold with a touch of ice in the air.
Winter is on its way.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Driving Miss Maggie

We went to some of Maggie's magazine route calls - found quite a few in and had some good conversations. We then went off down by the station to try and find some of my Not At Homes.  Not a one at home...  But we met up with a group of our siblings working on the doors down there, which was lovely.

Lots of Big Boy Grown Up Driving to do - plus a visit to the Big Sainsburys - with the Big Carpark - so I came back exhausted.  But happy.   Put the chicken in marinade for tomorrow, made the crumble from the blackberries we picked - a successful one according to Captain B, but a little too sweet.

Shouted crossly at the Captain (because I was tired and cranky) - but did apologise and made him an extra nice tea.    But talk about not practising what you preach...

Am having an interesting chat with Ari, an internet friend.  He wrote to say how he dislikes this time of year with all the Halloween stuff.  So I sent him this:

The book The Worship of the Dead points to this origin for Halloween:

“The mythologies of all the ancient nations are interwoven with the events of the Deluge . . . The force of this argument is illustrated by the fact of the observance of a great festival of the dead in commemoration of the event, not only by nations more or less in communication with each other, but by others widely separated, both by the ocean and by centuries of time. This festival is, moreover, held by all on or about the very day on which, according to the Mosaic account, the Deluge took place, viz., the seventeenth day of the second month—the month nearly corresponding with our November.” (London, 1904, Colonel J. Garnier, p. 4)

Thus these celebrations actually began with an honoring of people whom God had destroyed because of their badness in Noah’s day.—Gen. 6:5-7; 7:11.

Personally, my decision is to leave it well alone.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Reflections in October

We were at Ferring Rife this afternoon.  It was cloudy, a bit windy, a good walking day really.  We picked two tupperware boxes of blackberries and I must make them into a crumble.  We swam in the morning - in the local swimming pool, not the Rife!  Although we were accosted by a very friendly dog who had been in the Rife, or somewhere like it and he shook muddy water over us with loving enthusiasm.
We also went to Worthing to pick up Wine kits.  Plus I posted a  letter to Jo thanking her for the photo of the young us on honeymoon, and letters to Kathryn and to Margaret (enclosing the invitation from Pen).
My own reflections in October...  I found myself thinking about the Paradise earth ahead and imagining Autumns then.  Adam probably first opened his eyes in an Autumn garden - in the Garden of Eden, the most beautiful garden ever planted,  He was in Paradise.

A blackberry afternoon

Another lovely day yesterday. Audrey and I were out on the work in the morning. We did some of her route calls, which involved a lot of complicated driving (for me, probably not for anyone else), into a small village, and out again.  So many roads round here were not made for cars.  I found a gentleman I had been looking for for some time.  When I first talked to him he had just lost his wife, and we have had a couple of brief conversations since them.  He has been away staying with family, and I said i would call back in the Autumn. However, he does not want to talk to me any more.
Col and I went out to wander round an enormous field that has miraculously survived, so far, all the pressures for development on the South Coast.   Sadly, it looks like we may finally lose it now, in the middle of a housing recession.  People are obviously fighting to keep it as a field.   I don't know what could be more valuable down here, as we are all getting so crowded together.   There were some lovely blackberries we were picking and eating and, if we can find a moment, we will return with some containers this afternoon and have blackberry crumble for tea.

Monday, 11 October 2010

The Admiral and the Wasp

We were back at Brandy Hole on another perfect Autumn afternoon - cloudless blue sky - Autumn colours - lovely to be able to spend a Monday afternoon together - one of the many joys of retirement.

We were looking for a... Duke of Fritillary (all purpose name for a hard to find butterfly - an orange one in this case)... but didn't find it. However I spotted a Speckled Wood and then a pristine new Red Admiral.  It was feeding on the flowers of the ivy, along with a whole load of wasps/bees, which kept bothering it.

I think they thought the Admiral was a flower and would try to keep landing on him.  He would get rid of them with an irritable shake of the wings.

We swam this morning.   Jacks is back - hurray! - and she may join us as we re-establish the swimming routine.

And I heard from Ari - an email friend from New York.  

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Into darkest Surrey

Over the border and into Surrey yesterday to visit Linda and Catherine.  It was such a lovely day - the perfection of Autumn. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and the saturated reds and yellows and golds of Autumn were everywhere.   None of the horrors of the last 6,000 years of being cut off from our Creator have been able to stop us seeing the original Paradise.

Catherine was talking about her travels and the experience of looking up into the night sky from the darkness of the jungle.  She said that it did make her wonder - think that there must be Something or Someone. 

I can only hope she will hold that thought and cling to it and try to find that Someone.  I did.  And I get more grateful that i did every single day.

We walked through the park to Richard's flat, which allowed the Captain to get some photos for his blog.

A nice day out - and great to see Linda and Catherine again.  When the mothers were alive, we (the cousins)  used to meet up regularly and naturally at their houses, but now we all have to make more of an effort.

Felt exhausted by the end of the day though - I have so little energy now.

Jean and I were out on the door to door work this morning - visiting our Not at Homes from last week.  We found a lot at home.  They mainly knew exactly who we were and did not want to talk. But we found one young man who was very nice to us and who talked to us for a bit and took the November magazines.

A letter from Jo was waiting for us when we got back yesterday, enclosing a photo that Paul took of the young Captain and Mrs.Butterfly on their honeymoon, in the Lake District, all those years ago.

I might ask if I can have it on the blog.  Although it is quite melancholy to look at old photos sometimes.

A quiet afternoon and evening now lies ahead I hope, so I can re-charge my batteries for tomorrow.  I have the meeting at the Kingdom Hall in the morning, Col has his metal detecting trip, then we both fly off to the Butterfly AGM after a hasty lunch.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Two landmarks

Two seasonal landmarks today.

Autumnwatch started.  I saw the end of it when I got back from the meeting.  The starlings were lovely, as were the otters, but I wish they didn't feel the need to dumb everything down. It ends up being rather like an irritating and loud children's programme.

The second landmark was that I had to drive to the meeting with my lights on tonight.  Winter feels very close when that happens.

What a wonderful meeting it was though - the teaching gets better and better.  When Jesus was on earth, the crowds were astonished by his way of teaching.  Its the same now.

(by me - many years ago - when my parents were alive - they were great bird feeders - and they too loved the beauty and the glory of the world)

Leaves so lately green lie on greener grass
On mossy stones the squirrels pass
To deeper shades of grey and green
Into woods where Winter waits
And breathing nearer shakes the trees
Now we start to feed the birds
The squirrel wears her Winter furs.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Lost dogs

Nute, Pen and I were coming back from our seaside walk last night when we noticed a dog on the green. He was big and black and young and collarless.  It was Nute who noticed the way he was behaving.  He was obviously looking for his person, rushing up full of hope to this person and that, and having his hopes dashed every time.  We were looking round for his owner but couldn't see anyone.
I was beginning to imagine us trying to wrestle a collarless dog back to the flat, getting him some water - and wondering if we had enough cold chicken left to feed him, when we found his owner!  A really nice guy who thanked us for looking out for his dog.
Well I can only hope that if Maurice the Mussel was found wandering disconsolately on the green someone would do the same for him.  ("With some vinegar and a packet of chips, mmm yummy" said Captain Butterfly.)
The siblings left today, we have just taken them to the Station.  Its always melancholy saying goodbye to family, but at least I have plenty to do - all the washing and my studies for a start.  And it was very nice to see them.  We had a good chat about old times and new.   And we took ourselves off for coffee at The Rusty Hulk this morning.
We went swimming yesterday - so hopefully our swim routine is now reinstated.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

John Clare on October

Once again, this is from 'The Shepherd's Calendar'.

John Clare notes all the details of October.  For example:
"The mushroom buttons each moist morning brings
 Like spots of snow in the green tawney rings."

And then he goes beautifully to the bigger picture:

"Like to a painted map the landscape lies
And wild above shine the cloud thronged skies
The flying clouds urged on in swiftest pace
Like living things as if they runned a race
The winds that oer each coming tempest broods
Waking like spirits in their startling moods
Fluttering the sear leaves on the blackning lea
That litters under every fading tree."

The leaves are lying underfoot now - littering under every fading tree.  And how lovely they are.

The four of us went to Brighton for 'An evening with Fay Weldon' last night.   She is a remarkable woman with a wonderful smile.  And we went swimming today - first time for ages.

Fish and chips tonight, with a nectarine crumble which I must just go and get out of the oven.

Monday, 4 October 2010


Col has a photograph of a dog chasing a seagull on his blog today.  It is a picture of happiness.

I was at the Kingdom Hall while he was on the beach - and our public talk was about how we can perceive God through the wonder, complexity and beauty of his creations.   Yes.

It was the perfect calm beauty of an Autumn sky that made me realise.

Nute arrived last night - Captain B chauffered her from the station. We had a roast chicken dinner.   We meet up with Pen in Brighton this evening.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

On the road again

Out with Jean this morning - near our long long road. We got some very definite rejections - people often knew who we were before we even spoke.  But Jean had one good call. And then we had some good return visits.  I found the shaving guy - it has taken me nearly a year to find him at home again!  He said he was just about to get into the shower this time.   Anyway, he and the lady a few doors down were lovely and friendly and both said I could deliver the magazines every month.

There is a wealth of Bible based information in them.

I dropped Jean off and then the rain started.  

Felt very tired and fell asleep.

Can't remember what we did yesterday - which is rather worrying, though I did email Bob and Robert on Biblical matters - and same same for Wit today - which all took a while.  But I probably slept a lot because of the pain from the arthritis.

I tried to Skype Anne on The Cape but could not get through, and Bea phoned. She offered us her and Brian's National Trust publications.

Nute arrives tomorrow.  And Pen the day after.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Maurice and the Seagull

I hope Maurice has remained unSeagulled (unlike my car).  Its raining today and I don't think we will be on the beach.  I am taking Audrey shopping and then we hope to do a call that we didn't manage on Tuesday.  Its very difficult to park at this lady's house - especially for someone like me who can't do things backwards.

Saw my arthritis doctor on Wednesday and I am to remain off my medicine for the moment but am free to make an emergency call to the Arthritis doctor for a steroid injection if necessary.
I was tempted yesterday.

The weather has changed with the Autumn Equinox - and the leaves have noticeably started to turn.  Its very grey and rainy this morning.  There are white horses on the Channel - quite big waves building up, and our balcony flowers are blowing in the wind.

Captain Butterfly is twitching at the thought of the Butterflyless months ahead.

Wonderful wonderful meeting last night.  I must learn to teach better, to reach people better, and to truly cultivate the fruitage of the spirit.  I feel so grateful to the God of Abraham.

Pen is coming to stay next week!

I will shout a 'Good morning' and 'Good evening' to Maurice the Mussel from our balcony to assure him of my continuing goodwill - and then, who knows ?