Monday, 28 February 2011

With Beboy's mum to Cissbury Ring

A new Kingdom Hall

We had a presentation at the Kingdom Hall Saturday about the plans for a new Hall.  Members of the Regional Building Committee had come down to talk to us about it and to show us the plans.   Not only is our building now quite old, but its too small. We are bursting at the seams.  Especially for the yearly Memorial of Jesus' death when the congregation seems to double.  So it seems we will go ahead.  But we now have to raise the money.
With Beboy's mum to Cissbury Ring
We went on a very muddy walk to the top of Cissbury Ring today.  Beboy's young mum came with us. She is over from the Phillipines on a visit  The rest of the family - Beboy included - have not come with her.

We saw the lovely view of the Downland from the top, and found a ladybird which is starring in today's Captain's Log.

We were talking about Ubai's homeland and it made me think about our trips to the Far East, so I thought I would add a poem.

by me (many years ago)

Banana palms fruiting
Machinery chugging
Behind corrugated fences
Coconuts lying redundant 
On the grass
Bright butterflies
On clear blue skies
A long wait for the Sheik
Who talks and talks
Hours go by
In the grassy dark of palms
the thin white cat
Eats duck I bought

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Chris Packham Watch

What have I been doing for the last few days?   Think think...  a noise as of two brain cells whirring round a large empty space...    Not feeling well - as usual.  The arthritis is not being treated at the moment, owing to the lung problems the medication caused, so I am feeling very very tired, and in pain.  Whine, whinge.

We went to hear Chris Packham at Horsham on Thursday night - and it was a dark and misty drive back for the valiant Captain.

Chris was an excellent speaker - even better than I had hoped.   He had us laughing, enthused us, and showed us some great photographs, and some funny clips from Spring/Autumn Watch outtakes.

But yet again, what we are doing to the animal creation is so sad.   And if I did not have Jehovah's promise to cling on to, I would be in despair.  He has promised us that He will 'bring to ruin those ruining the earth'.  And none of His promises has ever failed, or ever will.

I went out with Louise in the afternoon and we did nearly an hour and a half of return visits.  We finally found the baking lady at home, and she said she would like me to drop the magazines in every month.

Captain Butterfly is off butterflying again - he is helping to clear woodland rides today, in spite of all my clucking and fluttering (I worry about his back).  And I am off to the Kingdom Hall. We need a bigger Hall now, we are very crowded, and today there is a presentation about that new Hall, and, probably, a time table for the building.

We then hope to get out on the door to door work for an hour or so.  Although in my case that will depend on how well my leg is going to work.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Half Term at Wisley

Captain and Mrs. Butterfly went to Wisley yesterday - but we had failed in our intelligence gathering and not realised it was half term!   The place was packed with caterpillars and - but no, I don't think I can sustain this butterfly metaphor - so there were lots and lots of children in various larval stages with their heroic parents all on a day out to see the Tropical butterflies in the hot house.    We had to queue for nearly 40 minutes just to get in, which pretty much used up my pathetic reserves of energy for the day.

However, the first thing we did was to rescue a butterfly!   I spotted it down a little cul de sac in the hothouse and thought it was dead, but Captain B rushed in and gave it the kiss of life (or something) and we left it looking reasonably happy on a flower, a little out of the general melee.

And I got a chance to talk to a very nice lady who I met when we were both slumped on a bench waiting for our companions to finish their photography.  I was saying how impossible it is to believe that butterflies just evolved.  What, after all,  is caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly but a miracle?

She agreed with me.  And we had a bit of a chat.  And I was able to tell her of Jehovah's promise, recorded in the Book of Revelation, that He will "bring to ruin those ruining the earth".

Apparently the butterfly herds in the UK used to be so large that a naturalist could reach up and bring a whole netful down for his killing bottles.  And I hope once again to see the earth so full of butterflies - although without the killing bottles of course.

I shall ask Captain B to put up his picture with a glimpse of me through a waterfall.  He might caption it:  "More Lovely than Any Butterfly".  Or he might decide to be truthful ("Old Bat in Greenhouse").

Bea moved yesterday, and we hope it went well and did not rain.  It rained a bit here in the afternoon.  We haven't managed to get her on the phone yet.

We woke up this morning to hear news of a massive earthquake in New Zealand.  It happened in the middle of the day and hit the middle of Christchurch.  Casualties are as yet unknown as many are still buried in the rubble.

We managed to get Dorothy on the phone - and she is OK, though shaken.  She has had some damage to her house, and her drive home which usually takes 15 minutes took 2 hours and 15 minutes!

They were shaken by an aftershock while she was talking to us.

There is something peculiarly horrifying about the ground under your feet no longer being stable.

Mick took the group this morning - and he started by reading from Matthew.

"You are going to hear of wars and reports of wars; see that you are not terrified. For these things must take place, but the end is not yet.  “For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another.  All these things are a beginning of pangs of distress." - Matthew 24:6-8

We didn't get a chance to talk to anybody though, as no-one was in, except for one of my return visits who said she didn't want us calling any more  (I have only called on her once - and she was quite friendly that time).  But we delivered some of Audrey's magazines for March.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Sue times two

T he team of Sue and Sue were out on the door to door preaching work this morning.  It was pouring with rain so we did return visits   Even that made us very soggy, but it was good driving practise for me.  Living in the Middle East for so long, I have had little practise with rain driving.  I was able to deliver the last of my February magazines to lovely Dave, who said we had only just caught him as he was off to bed after a night shift.  He said he was sorry to have missed us the last two times.

Talked to Bea, who is in the throes of her move.

There is an apple crumble in the oven awaiting the wandering Captain's return this evening.

It is so sad to see the troubles in the Middle East, and that they are now extending to the lovely little island state of Bahrain.   We have  many happy memories of Bahrain.  I am  thinking about sitting out there on the terrace of one of the lovely hotels, looking out over the palm trees and the blue water, and sometimes pink flamingos.  And thinking - all this, in February!

The Captain went pearl diving there one time, and bought me back a tiny pearl.

People need to hear what we have to tell them so much.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

On the doors with Maggie

Maggie and I did an hour and half this morning.  It was a beautiful sunny morning - another John Clare February day - but with a cold wind.  Captain B was off on Detector business.

His finds will appear on The Captain's Log in time.  SPOILER ALERT!!  Among them is a squashed thimble.

We had a coffee at Maggie's place when we had finished the work.

We saw Barbara Dickson in Horsham last night.  She was as good as ever - with great musicians - and a good selection of songs - finishing, in a second encore, with Caravans.

Busy April coming up in the congregations.  Its the Memorial of Jesus' death on Sunday the 17th, after sundown.   There will be special field service arrangements all month, so we will all be trying to put in more time on the door to door preaching work.  And we have a one day Assembly in Surrey.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Living with Vikings

A week or so ago I saw mussel farming mentioned on a cookery programme.  Mussel Farming!

It upsets me deeply to think of Maurice the Mussel (or any creature) confined in a battery cage, along with row upon row of disconsolate mussels. Rounded by up by mussel-dogs, corralled, caged, and fed on goodness knows what...

Captain Butterfly, busy testing his new metal detector part across our carpet, was unmoved.  "Did that farmer have a wife?"   Well, yes, he did.  "And was she young?"   Well, no, probably in the prime of life like myself.
"Well, don't worry about the little brute then, he'll have his feet under the table in no time. Lounge lizard isn't in it!"  Click click click click.

His detector began to sound like a geiger counter.  We may be living above Vikings, as it seemed to be telling us that the flat below is stuffed full of hoards.

We - the team of Sue and Jean under the headship of Captain Ronald - cleaned the Hall yesterday.
He is a lovely young brother - and even said something nice and positive about my driving which made my day.

There are waves on the Channel this morning and its raining - and I am just about to go off to the Kingdom Hall Field Service group, and Audrey and I hope to get out on the door to door preaching work despite the weather.  I will take her shopping first.

Captain B has agreed to a fish and chip lunch.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Bad Blood

Spent quite a bit of today re-reading Lorna Sage's wonderful memoir/autobiography "Bad Blood".

It is a powerful, painful, funny re-creation of a Fifties childhood - and reminds me of how much our lives (my siblings et moi) were lived outside, roaming around with other gangs of children during those baby boom years.

She talks about starting school and says:  "I think that we all forget the pain of being a child at school for the first time, the sheer ineptitude, as though you'll never learn to mark your own space.  Its doubly shaming - shaming to remember as well, to feel so sorry for your scabby little self back there in small people's purgatory."

And she speaks of her mother going food shopping to get - "in leftover language" - the rations.

Yes - absolutely.  Food was rationed for a long time both during and after the war.  I can remember going to get the rations with my mother. And we did indeed say we were going for the rations for quite some time after rationing stopped.

She is wonderful on the dynamics of Lorna Doone as well.  She was named after Lorna.

Felt a bit better today - got to the Meeting at the Hall and heard the teaching I need to hear - and even managed to get the washing and ironing done and make a vegetable soup/stew for the hungry hunter when he returned from his rally. He had been well fed on bacon burgers during the day.

Talked to Bea via email.  She says she likes yesterday's poem!

Saturday, 12 February 2011


Will I ever be well again - flitting happily from flower to (heavily reinforced) flower, sipping nectar?

In the meantime, as I can't do much, and Captain B has flown off on an outing, I thought I might put one of my poems on the blog. And its no use running for the exits. You will find them locked.

This one was written years ago, in very different weather from today.  I was sitting on some steps leading into the big river that flows through Bangkok (I did use to know its name), stunned by the heat, and the greenness of the river, its floating islands of vegetation, and its fish.

by me 

A blue fish, swimming on the step,
Seeing me, nervously backs off
A turtle, rising out of the green deep,
Stares at me, and swiftly sinks away
worried that I might attempt to hold him
All the thoughts that surface in my head
Melt just as quickly into heat
Before I can stir myself to know them.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Damaged wings redux

Mrs Captain Butterfly is flying on damaged wings.  Again.   But I did manage to go out on the door to door work with Louise this afternoon.  It was pouring with rain - and I find rain-driving very difficult - and we didn't find a lot of people in. But I am so glad I went out.

Called in at the doctors after i had returned Louise to her car and picked up my antibiotics.  And I thought I would pop into the library as I won't be doing much tomorrow, apart from lying on the couch feeling sorry for myself.   I have found a most interesting book:  "My Life in Orange" by Tim Guest.

When he was very young his mother became part of the cult of the Bhaghwan - the orange people.

Now he is telling the story of his childhood.   I might review it for my blog later.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

A John Clare February

It was a John Clare (the Poet) February Tuesday.  The sun was shining, melting the frost of the night, and green shoots seem to be springing up everywhere.
It was Hall cleaning yesterday and Captain B organised Ronald and me and we got it done in good time.  The Captain did the hoovering, I did the loos and emptying the wastepaper baskets, and young Ronald did the rest.
Today I was out on the doors with Audrey and we had a very interesting return visit with a churchgoing lady who seemed unimpressed at first.   But our conversation led me to read her some extracts from Psalm 37, and she said that us turning up on her doorstep today and reading her those verses was (literally) the answer to a prayer.
What a good thing we went!
The Captain and I went for a late afternoon walk by the River Arun -  and there should be some good pics on his blog.
And Anne rang from The Cape, and we got an email from Janie.  She and I lived next door to each other when we were eleven - many, many years ago.

Sunday, 6 February 2011


Meeting at the Hall this morning - and I managed an hour and a quarter on the doors afterwards - delivering some more magazines, and managing to find a couple of return visits at home.  

Jean gave me a box of chocolate truffles for Captain Butterfly - who was out with his Metal Detector tribe today.   "Well"  he said later, puzzled, "er, its kind of Jean to give me a box full of empty chocolate wrappers, but"

"Some people are very eccentric" I said, scurrying away looking rather furtive and chocolatey.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

The team of Jean and Sue

The team of Jean and Sue set off again this morning through the driving rain... and I have to admit we gave up on our first call work and did return visits.  It was too wet.  Got a call from young Ronald just before I left for the group. He asked me if I could pick him up at the station, and of course I could.

Jackie and her daughter in law came last night.  For a rather bland cottage pie, and lovely panaccotta (Lidl's made that) and a great cheeseboard (via the Arundel deli).  What a lovely girl Ubai is.  And her English is brilliant. Captain B made us coffee afterwards and did his usual efficient clearing up job.

He went off with Jackie and Co this morning to the car boot sale - and came back with a bag of cooking apples - two of which are now in the oven in the form of an apple gingerbread cake.  At least that is what I hope it will prove to be.  Its an odd recipe, in that it uses no eggs, and you put treacle in.  It dawned on me I had no cake to put in his lunch box for tomorrow, so this needs to work.

We got an email from the Oz Branch.  Apparently it is very very hot in Sydney.

Friday, 4 February 2011

So farewell then Inspector Barnaby

We watched the last episode of Midsomer Murders with John Nettles as Barnaby - it neatly segued into an intro to his successor in the last moments - with a great one line description of his first case.  It was set in a new agey sort of health farm where the Barnabys had gone for a weekend.   Dead bodies all over the place, and the usual Midsomer rules applied.  Don't open the door to anyone.  Don't go through any door.  Don't stay in your room/house. Don't ever leave your room/house.  Just don't live there full stop. But, if you must live there, pay attention to the background music!  That could really save your life.

There were some great moments.  I loved the pub, sympathetic to escapees from the Spa's Health and Detox regime, with its Re-Tox menu (steak, chips and a creamy pudding).  And of course I loved John Nettles as Barnaby. And I loved that he was happily married, had a happy family life.  And that they gave him the prospect of a happy retirement.

I also watched a black and white film called "Three Came Home", based on the story of an American woman who, along with her small child, was interned in a Japanese prison camp during WW2.  Her husband was also interned, but in a separate camp.  The title took away the worries that they wouldn't make it, and it was excellent.  And not nasty about anybody either.

I try to avoid the product of modern Hollywood as much as possible.

The meeting last night was wonderful - and I must must must rejoin the Ministry School.  Maggie is not well, but she was there and had saved my seat for me like the heroine that she is.

Jacks and her daughter in law for supper tonight, so I have a cottage pie to make, along with a cauliflower cheese - and will have to shop first.  Did very little yesterday as I was still resting the swollen ankle. It is much better but now my knee has started to rebel.  Scream.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

On the doors with Audrey

Audrey and I were out on the doors this morning - we were starting to deliver the February magazines, not doing the first call work. Audrey couldn't be out too long as she had workmen coming in to fix her windows, and I couldn't walk too far as my ankle (the one I broke) is still bad.

I was making a real pigs ear of parking my car outside the house of the lady with the pretty new agey garden,  and Audrey said worriedly "Is your ankle making driving difficult?"  

I assured her that no, my ankle was fine driving-wise (just difficult walking-wise - it doesn't like me standing up on it at the moment), it was my inability do to things properly in reverse that was causing the parking problems.  Ideally I need a space you could park three double decker buses in.  After what felt like an hour I so, I got it parked, or 'parked'.

It worries me that somewhere, gleaned from all the Big Brother type surveillance cameras they have trained on us night and day, there will be someone extracting The Most Incompetent Parker of The Year for some global competition.  And that one of my parking clips will be up there on the winners podium.

Maggie is not well and had to spend the night in hospital.  We talked on the phone and she said she does hope to be at the Thursday meeting.

Captain B was giving all our floors a good clean and polish with the steam machine when I got back, so it was cheese on toast for lunch as I couldn't get into the kitchen till gone 12.

Dorothy rang from NZ with a quick update and will ring tomorrow morning for a long chat.  More news of people losing their jobs!   We are in for scarey times.  But, as everyone who reads the Inspired Scriptures will know, it is on a Darkest Hour Before the Dawn basis.