Monday, 31 January 2011

Another weekend rushes by

Where is the time going to?  And what did we do?   The girls came round on Friday morning for coffee, cakes and the butterfly programme, but no Ken this time as he is not at all well.   So I had to pick everyone up and drop them off, which got complicated but we managed in the end.
We went to Jackie's in the evening for a roast dinner (pork from The Farm Shop) and met her daughter in law for the first time.  She is over without the children this time.   They are going to come to us next Friday.
Captain Butterfly had a dig on Sunday - he is just researching a halfpenny he found - dated 1807.  I am wondering what you could buy with a halfpenny in those days?   A loaf of bread and a pint of milk?   A house?  The Isle of Wight?  I have no idea.
Jean and I went on the door to door work on Saturday morning and did some return visits.  The wind was icy and we couldn't manage more than an hour.  Jean was frozen.  I started my February magazine route, and hope to continue tomorrow when I am out with Audrey.
I am still busy helping Jan with editing his Guide.
I read a P.D.James this week.  "A Certain Justice" - good thriller - kept me absorbed throughout.  I must go down to the library and see if there are others of hers I haven't read.  My ankle (the one I broke) is bad today, very painful, so I could so with some good reading.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

The Captain and the slide show

Col did his first Maldive trip presentation last night - a talk and slides - and lots of people took his card, so he may be asked to do more.   It was on rather late, but went very well.  A lot of the day was spent in going through it and trying to get it all just right.  But I did do a big shop in the morning.

I was out with Louise this afternoon. We managed nearly two hours - and, bearing in mind these words of Paul:  "I planted, Apollos watered, but God kept making it grow" (1 Corinthians 3:6),  I hope what we were doing was watering.  We had a cup of tea and a long chat with a very hospitable lady who Louise has been calling on for some time now.  It was cold - there was a bitter wind when we left, but the flat was warm and cosy.

Its the meeting at the Hall tonight, so we get back into our Kingdom routine again.

We heard from the Thai branch of the family today via the cousin's group.  He promises us some photos of the children soon.

Col got the car and its new tyre this afternoon - and the bill - AAAArrrgh.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

My enemies have sweet voices

During the first talk at the Circuit Assembly, the Circuit Overseer mentioned a poem called "My enemies have sweet voices" by  Peter Morgan.    The point was, as the Bible says:   “Satan himself keeps transforming himself into an angel of light.”—2 Corinthians 11:14

We must resist the spirit of the world, as it tries to persuade us that good is bad and bad is good.   The Hebrew Scriptures warn:   "Woe to those putting bad for good, dark for light, bitter for sweet." - Isaiah 5:20

The urgency of the preaching work was stressed - and I was out on the doors this morning with Audrey, Maggie and Jean.

Our tyre has proved to be a bit of a disaster, as apparently the wheel was damaged too.  It is going to cost rather a lot to fix, although not as much as Ollie the dog has just cost his people after he managed to gulp down a bar of chocolate and had to spend the night at the vets clinic.

Pauline's letter arrived today, en route from NZ via Lilac Tree, and I will send it on to Sheffield when I have replied.  Pauline (and her ex-taxi) came round faithfully every week to take me out for a meal when I was in plaster from my broken leg.   How kind a friend is that?

Sunday, 23 January 2011

A Knight in Shining Armour

We were out in the uncharted wilds of Surrey late afternoon when the Captain's car hit a giant pothole shortly after we left the assembly and a tyre was shredded.  He pulled into a sort of driveway with a vast pair of locked gates and rang the AA.

The AA man could not find us on his maps (I used the word 'uncharted' wisely).

"But where are you exactly?" he kept asking.

We kept trying to explain.

"So you are out in the middle of nowhere?"

We kept trying to explain.

Eventually, we managed to work something out.  And the AA conjured up a shining Knight of the road who actually knew where "Bones Road" was.   (And I now worry that I know why it is called "Bones" road -  breakdown there, and all they find is your bones, some years later.)

Our AA hero fixed the car in a jiffy, not at all phased by the arrival of a very large and glossy lorry full of expensive showjumpers that wanted to get in the driveway we were blocking.

And we were able to deliver our precious cargo - Jean and Audrey - safely home.  And ourselves too.

The Circuit Assembly's theme was "They are no part of the world" - John 15:19

The importance of being separate from the current world system of things cannot be overstated.

I have a lot to think about and to try and improve on.  A lot.  

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Hello Caroline

Thanks for the comment from the Canadian Branch about my eyelash problem.  Quite a shock.  Even I hadn't got round to worrying about my eyelashes.   Two cases in a week...  Perhaps its a strange new virus - aaarrrgh!

Well I can only hope they will behave themselves from now on and grow in the right direction.

Maggie and I were out on the doors this morning, and we called in at the Pharmacy for her prescription on the way back.  And the Man Who Came To Tell us About The New Central Heating Boiler came.  Apart from that it was a quiet day.

It has been cold, but very beautiful - blue skies, calm Channel.

Jackie came over for a curry last night.  I wonder if we would have settled down here quite so well if Jackie hadn't been living just around the corner.   Its nice to make such a good friend later on in life.  Its thanks to Bruce for introducing us... we do often think and talk about him, and Jackie still has some of his wonderful photographs on her walls.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

The team of Maggie and Sue

Maggie and I were out on the doors this morning, out with our Bibles and our Bible based literature.  Beautiful morning - low sun - calm English Channel - but with a biting cold wind.   We worked with a couple of brothers in a few small streets near the shops.  We didn't find many people in, or much interest.  But at least we went.  We plan to work together again on Thursday.
The Captain and I both had our eye tests yesterday, and both passed.   Though I will need new glasses, and also I had to have two ingrowing eyelashes extracted.  A first for me.  I requested a general anaethestic, but apparently the health service doesn't run to it. Same optician as last time - a young Pakistani Brit - very professional - very steady hands - with a few stern 'keep stills' he managed to get the recalcitrant lashes out.  I hope he will stay around, but he is the sort who will probably move on to a more and more dazzling career in the world of eyes.
The chicken for tomorrow is in its marinade (Jackie is coming for a curry), and Col and I went up to our local for sundowners.  We haven't done that for months and months.  Great to watch the sun set over the river again.
Had a chat with Audrey on the phone, and Col posted our last butterfly calendar to John and Ali, so as I posted a card to them this morning, they will get something from both of us.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

An evening at Tom and Jill's

Jackie, Col and me spent last night with Tom and Jill - over a lovely homecooked dinner.  Jill had made us fish pie and a ricotta tart.  And we started with a glass of champagne!   Their rambling cottage and garden always makes me wonder a bit about flat living - then I think about my arthritis and Col's back and come back down to earth with a thump. We are very happy here, and its practical.  The balcony and the orchid table are about all we can manage now.  But it is a lovely garden - apparently, literally, a field, when they first moved in.
Linda called round for a coffee this afternoon. They have their allotment, all ready for the Spring, but have serious worries about their jobs... These are very difficult economic times.  I can't decide how worried to get about us.
Ronald, Jean, et moi had a lovely Saturday morning out in the field service.  It was cold and rainy so we decided to do return visits, and we each had one very positive experience, even though Jean and I pretty much got my return visit and her husband out of bed!  However they were very nice about it and we had quite a long conversation.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Going backwards

Parallel parking is a mystery to me, and I am not good at reversing, therefore Audrey rang me early so we could get to the shops before it became a necessity.  We found a slot on the library road - my size - the sort you could get 3 double decker buses into - and had a successful shop.  It was raining and it got worse and worse.  After my coffee with Audrey, I drove back along a flooding sea road, with the rain lashing down.  I am not good at driving in the rain either, as in my Saudi years those great sprinklers in the sky hardly ever worked.  We (The Captain and his lady) have both been tackling our paperwork mountains, and have watched Bargain Hunt, and Countdown.

I have found another poem in the Penny anthology.   It reminds me of that bone-chilling evocation of sleeping rough in a wintery England in George Orwell's "A Clergyman's Daughter".

The Embankment
(The Fantasia of a Fallen Gentleman on a Cold, Bitter Night)

by T.E. Hulme

Once, in finesse of fiddles found I ectasy,
In a flash of gold heels on the hard pavement.
Now see I
That warmth's the very stuff of poesy.
Oh, God, make small
The old star-eaten blanket of the sky,
That I may fold it round me and in comfort lie.

(From: Poem for the Day, One, edited by Nicholas Albery, Chatto and Windus)

Thursday, 13 January 2011

A rainy afternoon

Its grey, misty and rainy today. But mild. No ice, no snow, so no complaints.  I went out with Louise, a young pioneer sister, this afternoon.  We called on my last route call for January.  He seemed pleased to see us and said he liked one of the articles in the last set of magazines so much he has lent it to his daughter.  It was about Christian neutrality.  I failed to find Daniel again.   The lady at the flat I thought was his said she had never heard of him. So there is a puzzle.  But she took the current magazines - about the Garden of Eden and what it means to all of us - and I can call back.
I posted the card to Janet B- got the news she had broken her leg yesterday!    And also one to Bob and Helen, hoping we can get together this year.  

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Floods, fictional and otherwise

I went out with Audrey yesterday and with her help delivered the rest of my January magazines bar one.  What was lovely is that we found people in and got a warm welcome.  I also found a good home for the spare doggie treats from Peanut's last visit, at the letterbox lady's house.

Penny brought me "Poem for the Day" Vol.One, and I am really enjoying it.  Another great addition to my poetry library, containing old favourites and new.

I was browsing through it again last night while we were watching something called 'Flood', about London and the highest tide ever and the Thames Barrier not holding it back.  It was a very obliging flood, in that it stopped every few minutes or so to give each character a chance to work through their 'issue' and express a lot of angst.  And nobody could open a door or do anything without what seemed like hours and hours of pulling and pushing and straining and angsting.  The people of Brisbane are going through the real thing at the moment - terrifying flooding there - and they are probably doing so with minimum dramatics.  

So I had loads of time to read my poems - and found this - from a poet new to me.

Those Winter Sundays
by Robert Hayden

Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze.  No one ever thanked him.

I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he'd call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love's austere and lonely offices?

Monday, 10 January 2011

Foam flowers

Col and I walked along the front to the little pier today.   The wind was icy, the Channel was raging and there were foam flowers everywhere.  Two lines of poetry came to mind.  One, from an Anne Sexton poem (The Truth the Dead Know), is:
"The wind falls in like stones from the whitehearted water".

The other is from Swinburne's "A Forsaken Garden", a poem which always makes me think of my young parents in Cornwall, just after their engagement.

"Heart handfast in heart as they stood, "Look thither,"
 Did he whisper?   "look forth from the flowers to the sea;
 For the foam-flowers endure when the rose-blossoms wither,
 And men that love lightly may die - but we?"

They did die. But the foam flowers were all over the beach this afternoon.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

More ice on the windscreen

Amazed to find my windscreen coated in ice as I set off for the Kingdom Hall this morning.   Our flat is so warm I hadn't realised what a cold night it must have been.  It took me ages to get de-iced and I tumbled into my seat next to Maggie as David was on the platform just about to get the meeting started.
Col was off Treasure Hunting all day - some pictures of what he found will probably appear on his blog in due time.
I did nothing much at all today but sleep - though I did make the chicken into a curry so the hungry hunter had something hot to eat when he returned.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

A Saturday in retirement

Captain B hobbled off to his conference (Treasure Hunting, not Butterflies) and I went to the group. Jean and I did an hour and a quarter on the door to door work.  We found a few in, but nobody who wanted to talk to us. And we both did some route calls (our regular magazine deliveries).  I am hoping I might be able to finish mine tomorrow, weather permitting.  But it was nice to spend the time together and to give people a chance to hear.
I shopped - got some mushrooms for a soup for tonight - and did some housework.   And read the latest Susan Hill Simon Serrallier thriller.  Good, kept me turning the pages, but bleak. She doesn't mind who she kills off.
I wonder if , when I was working, I wouldn't have fitted all I did today (and more) round a full day's work. Which is a troubling thought. 
I tried to Skype Anne on The Cape, but couldn't get through. I left a message to say I would try again tomorrow.
Captain B had a wonderful time at his conference.  It seems that most archeologists these days are lovely young girls...   Has this woman's lib thing gone too far?

Friday, 7 January 2011

Will I be a moth-er this year?

In our first year of retirement we were adopted by Perry the Plume Moth, and in the second year we hatched out Vic the Vapourer Moth.

Will I have another moth baby this year?

Can I face it all again?  The terrible twos (24 hours of temper tantrums), the adolescent sulks, the trauma of empty nest syndrome as they fly the coop - or out of the window?

Who knows?   But I had better get a layette ready just in case.  So I will knit a couple of phrases that should come in very handy.

Firstly, "You treat this house just like a hotel." in a nice fairisle pattern;  and secondly, "You are not going out dressed like THAT young lady!"  in a soft pink wool.   That should cover most eventualities.

Another wonderful evening of Bible teaching at the Hall last night - sitting next to Maggie once again.  It was such a wet night with foggy car windows and the air full of water vapour even when the rain stopped, but today we have had sunshine.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Holidays in youth and old age

Left Jackie's to find it was raining -  pelting down in fact.  They are talking about the return of the snow on Friday.

Had a lovely evening at Jack's - caught up on all the news, of the holidays and families.  She gave us blinis and lasagne and apple pie and ice cream.

The poor Captain is still hobbling painfully about, but at least he can drive.

We talked a lot about the strangeness of getting older and older - and of the way we all have to carry truckloads of medication about with us.     When I was young and going on my holidays, I used to pack clothes for the beach, that sort of thing.  Now its a suitcase full of pills and potions with a few clothes squashed in round the edge.   

Monday, 3 January 2011

Twenty Eleven

So we made it into Twenty Eleven.  Amazing.   We went for a walk along the beach this afternoon.  It was grey and cold, but beautiful as it always is.  It was more of a hobble than a walk.  Poor Captain B is on a stick and my back is hurting.   There was a whole pack of dogs with their owners on the sands - small white poodly dogs and large black dobermanny dogs.   We wondered if they would tear us down and finish us off - to spare us a slow death by starvation on the beach as our hunting days are obviously over.

Maurice the Mussel says he has no time for dogs.  And I can understand his point of view.  At any moment they might do something dreadful on his head.

I hope to be getting back into my routine now - meeting at The Hall yesterday - lovely to have Maggie back - and out on the field service with Audrey tomorrow.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Back to the field

Went out with Jean this morning. We didn't get off to the best of starts.  I picked her up at 9.15 so we got to the Hall for 9.20, thinking that the meeting started at 9.30.  Unfortunately, it started at 10 - we had both managed to miss the time change announcement on Thursday night. Everyone else had heard it.

We took a visiting brother and sister  from London out on the doors with us - Ola and Lendry - and I started by driving us to the wrong road.   So we had to start again.  Then, when we got there, we found it was all flats, some with entryphone security systems.  Very difficult to work.

However Ola and her husband soared off confidently.  "Just like London territory" they said. 

Us hicks from the sticks aren't quite so used to them.

Anyway, we had a lovely morning out, met some very nice people we can call back on, and I got back about midday to a welcoming cup of coffee from Captain B.

We went for a seaside walk this afternoon.  Its cold and damp, but not freezing.

We started the new butterfly calendar this morning.