Wednesday, 29 June 2011


We just watched The Apprentice.   It was the first task I have ever felt able to do.  Usually I haven't a clue.  You would have needed to start with a great tasting biscuit and offer one each to the buyers before saying anything.  If they liked it, the battle would be almost won.

It was a disaster for one team which sold nothing.  But the team with Helen on won - as it always does - with one massive order.  

The Gang of Three (as Maggie is still convalescing) came round for a coffee this morning - and we watched "Out of Darkness".  A lovely morning.

Col was off at Oaken Wood - see his blog.   He has a great Ringlet photo.

It was a housework afternoon - making cherry crumble out of the whole cherry orchard that Col had picked. And doing a great load of ironing.

Audrey and I were out on the doors yesterday.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Norman in Concert

We went to Norman and the Band's concert on Saturday night - just a walk across the Green - and we went down to the sea in the interval.

They played both Tuxedo Junction and In The Mood.   And a piece called "Amelia" that Norman had written for his granddaughter.  It was beautiful.  I hope it might become a regular part of their concerts.

IF I get to be in the earthly Paradise, with life "to time indefinite" stretching before me, will I be able to play a musical instrument?  Will I be able to sing?

It seems likely, as if I am there, I will be perfect. So my ears will be perfectly tuned and my vocal cords will work perfectly.

It was the meeting at the Kingdom Hall on Sunday morning and afterwards Jean and I did a couple of return visits.  Captain Butterfly was marshalling in Brighton - people, not butterflies.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

How did Helicopters Evolve?

Its Armed Forces Day and we have been watching a Royal Navy helicopter on the green outside our flat.  Us - and every small boy in town.  It was impressive - especially when it came some feet off the ground and just stayed there.

It then set off down the coast - without strafing us - and came back and did some appalling things over the sea.  It seemed to fly straight down into the sea, then roared straight up again - just in time.  Brilliant flying.

What an amazing machine it was - a marvel of engineering and design.

And yet when we see a dragonfly - infinitely more beautiful and complex - we are told to believe that it just evolved.

Jean and I talked about the complexity and the beauty of the creation this morning to a gentleman we met on the doors.  He did take a Creation brochure and assured us he would read it, although he said he did not want us to call back.

I lost my field service group this morning!  Or rather I couldn't find them.  We were meeting at a different house and I couldn't find it.  So I decided to do some return visits and for some strange reason turned down a road I usually avoid - too many parked cars - and found my group.    They were working that road, so I joined up with Jean and off we went.

We went up to London on Thursday to meet Bob and Judy - friends from our University days - and we lunched at The Royal Albert Hall.  A first.  Nice that you can go on having firsts, even when you are retired.

It was a lovely summer day - blue sky, scudding white clouds, big trees in their full green, girls in their summer dresses.  And of course yet another generation of young girls to be waitresses in London's various coffee bars and cafes.   I waited myself in my time.

Jackie came round for supper yesterday.  I cooked that reliable chile beef recipe that I learnt many years ago in a Tex Mex Cookery class in Expatland.   And we had it with small small things (yoghurt, grated cheese, corn salad).  I ought to start making cornbread again.   And of course strawberrries and cream for afters.

Its the Concert tonight.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Dorothy's Detective Agency

Audrey and I did an hour on the door to door work this morning, then I dropped her off, and went back to the lady who is worried about her cousin in Christchurch.  I asked Dorothy to help and within a day she had found the family and the news about them - some good, some bad.  So I was able to take the information round this morning.  The lady and her husband were really pleased and I came away with a punnet of fresh garden picked raspberries as a thank you.

Not one of them was hurt in the earthquakes that have struck S.Island though.

I also placed two magazines at The Vicarage.  Which was a nice surprise.

I can't think I did anything much yesterday, beyond a big shop, some cooking and some studying.

Except that I did read Jan Karski's "Secret State".  It is completely harrowing, but I promised Jean I would read it so I did.  Its pretty unputdownable though.

What that generation went through!  And how stoical they were about it all.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

The Long and Winding Road

Jane and I worked on a long and winding country road this morning - long drives - much green space.  But we found most people at home and had one or two good calls.   One gate we came to had a fierce netting of wire with a serious looking BEWARE OF THE DOG sign on it.   We shook the gate a bit and as no dog appeared or barked we tiptoed in and up the drive.  "You're brave, coming in here" said the owner.  Although, as I said, we did check first.  We saw the Hound of the Baskervilles through the hall window and certainly would not have gone in had it been loose in the garden.  He (the householder, not the hound) most definitely wasn't interested, but we had a pleasant chat, and he assured us he wouldn't loose the dog till we made it to the gate.

Jane left me at the shops so I was able to get some strawberries for our tea and walk back.

Audrey and I went out yesterday morning - then Linda came for lunch - and we went to Jackie's for supper.

Spoke to Maggie - the op is done and she is back home.  It was more painful than last time, but seems to have been a success, and she said she slept very well last night.

Its strange for me at meetings without Maggie as we always sit together.  It used to be Don, Maggie and me, but Don died the year after we got back.

Friday, 17 June 2011

A busy week

The Marbled White (see above) is one of my favourite butterflies.  Photo courtesy of Captain Butterfly himself.

Dentist yesterday morning - all OK till next check up - though I had to have some painful scrapings.  Then I cooked the chicken for Linda's lunch today -  Captain B has since eaten quite a lot of it.   Field service with Louise in the afternoon - off into the wilds of East Preston to find the flat where we were all meeting - found flat! - Louise's directions worked - she had even explained where to park.  Went out.  And not only did we find quite a lot in from the Not At Homes, but I finally found the lady I had spoken to nearly 3 years ago!

We had quite a good chat about what we are praying for when we ask for God's Kingdom to come, and I left her with "What Does the Bible Really Teach?"

I now have to try and find her at home again.

Was so amazed by that that I forgot to add another Bible Teach book to my witnessing bag.

I picked up Audrey this morning and we managed 45 minutes doing return visits.  I now have a commission from a lady at the door to try to find out what has happened to a specific street in Christchurch.  There have just been more earthquakes - terrible damage apparently - and she can't contact her relatives there.  So I have to call back there to let her know if I have found out anything.

Earthquakes, in one place after the other.   Everything is being shaken now, including the current system of things.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The Circuit Overseer and the Clouded Yellow

The C.O. visit started last night.   His first talk to us had, as he said, the longest title yet:

"Help People Become Reconciled to God, Zealously Persevere in your Efforts."

The speaker started by referring us to Revelation 7:1 to 10 with its vivid image of the four angels holding back "the winds of destruction" until the 144,000 annointed ones have been sealed, and "the great crowd" has been gathered in.   The great crowd "keep on" witnessing - persevering to the end.

And that is the point. We mustn't let anything rob us of our joy or make us lose our zeal for trying to reach everyone with the Kingdom good news.

Audrey and I got out on the doors yesterday morning - with Maggie and a very young sister who is still in the middle of her school exams. So I had an extra precious cargo in my car and prayed a lot to Jehovah to protect my driving.   And thanks to that I got everyone there and back safely.

We - El Capitano and myself - went to David's this morning to see his butterfly collection.  He has an amazing collection of Clouded Yellows.    The beauty and variety of the creation seems endless.   Although I am sad to note that people do still kill and pin butterflies.  

I know there is a science side to this - and that they do have to be classified and examined.  And David's collection is exact and labelled and beautifully done - better probably than most museums manage.

And that we do eat meat and fish sometimes.  And that loads of insects die on the windscreen of our car.

But each one is a precious and exquisite little life.

Well, Paradise is not restored yet.   Nature is still "red in tooth and claw with ravine".  But the Bible assures us that it was not created that way, and that it will not stay that way.

Monday, 13 June 2011

At Cissbury Ring

It was a perfect summer day today - blue skies, scudding clouds, - and we spent the afternoon on Cissbury Ring.   We met up with Neil - also out hunting for the...?  see the Captain's Log for the name of the creature.

Maggie and I were out all morning doing our magazine routes.   Its great spending time together in the preaching work.  And we found quite a few at home.   I had an appointment with the Lung Lady after lunch - all seems OK - and if my tests continue to be so, she will only need to see me every year from now on.

I still wonder at ending up here, in the chalky downlands, flint shining everywhere, stepping over the "close bit thyme" of the Kipling poem, "Sussex".

I think I will quote a line or two now:

We have no waters to delight
Our broad and brookless vales--
Only the dewpond on the height
Unfed, that never fails--
Whereby no tattered herbage tells
Which way the season flies--
Only our close-bit thyme that smells
Like dawn in Paradise.

 Like dawn in Paradise

Sunday, 12 June 2011

A stormy day

It has been raining all day - with high winds - and a stormy English Channel.  The balcony flowers are blowing about.

Jean and I managed two hours on the door to door preaching work yesterday.   I couldn't have done that without my injection - thank you the Hospital.  We found quite a few at home and have a lot of return visits to do.

Jean loved my father's poem.  She said it made her cry.   And she could see it was like hearing him speak.

This is going to be a busy week as its the Circuit Overseers visit.  I hope to be out on the doors every day apart from Friday.  We have an extra meeting on the Tuesday night, and several special talks from the C.O.

This gives a great feeling of being cared for - of how Jehovah looks after his people.   How would I be feeling now if I hadn't been taught what the Bible says?   What hope would I have?

Captain B and I are just looking out over the wonderful waves on the Channel.   The speak of the dynamic energy of their Creator.

Friday, 10 June 2011

The Jawbone Gang

The Jawbone Gang, by Penny Grubb, published by Robert Hale, had its London launch yesterday.   Pen gave us another funny and informative speech and reading, and ALCS hosted it as brilliantly as usual.

We - Captain B, Jacks and me - arrived (via train and tube) just on time.

Danny and Gabi came so it was a chance to catch up with them - they hope to get down here for a weekend by the sea at some stage.

I am wondering if we will have another summer full of visitors like last year, or not.

Things I must do today are to shop, return or renew my library books, and study.  And Col has his Butterfly Transect to do.  He assures me he is just counting them, not actually transecting them.

Thank goodness that the Victorian passion for killing them and pinning them to things has gone out of fashion.  What was the impulse that made people want to kill something beautiful as soon as they saw it?  

Jacks and I spent the train journey back doing the Crossword in the free newspaper and having a sort of fugue(? if that is the right word) about what happens as you get older.   We realised that the news in Christmas cards and letters now tends towards the "and John had his second bypass this year", "and sadly Mary's Alzheimers is worse" area.

And then we sit there realising that we can't remember who John and Mary are.


Anyway, a great launch and a mini family reunion.

Thursday, 9 June 2011


We had a heavy shower of rain this morning - badly needed.  I don't know if its enough to signal to the clever grass on our green that its safe to start greening up again. We shall see. Maybe it can tell if there is more on the way?

I was so pleased to see a tiny 3 minute snippet on the telly last night about Evolution/Creation, with a Scottish scientist, a Dr.Noble, saying that while Natural Selection and Gene Mutations certainly played a part in the variety of life, the evidence for design is very strong.

And where there is design, there has to be a Designer.  

“Raise your eyes high up and see. Who has created these things? It is the One who is bringing forth the army of them even by number, all of whom he calls even by name. Due to the abundance of dynamic energy, he also being vigorous in power, not one [of them] is missing... Have you not come to know or have you not heard? Jehovah, the Creator of the extremities of the earth, is a God to time indefinite. He does not tire out or grow weary. There is no searching out of his understanding."  - Isaiah 40:26-28

I wish that Captain Butterfly had been there to hear it, but he was out at his Treasure Hunters meeting.

I have a horrible feeling that I didn't do much of anything yesterday.   The Channel was so beautiful, it was like being in The Maldives and looking out on the turquoise Indian Ocean.   It sparkled and gleam in various shades of blue and turquoise - and was covered in waves of a fluorescent whiteness.

I did study and make us a vegetable fried rice for our lunch.   With organic brown rice too.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

The Zimmer Twins

Audrey and I were out on the doors this morning doing magazine deliveries.   A lot of complicated driving and not many magazines delivered sadly.  However, we had one very good talk on the doorsteps with a lady I have been calling on for a while, and we can go back.

We started our day in Zimmer-twin fashion as Audrey got her seatbelt stuck in the door of her car and we could neither extract it nor get the door open.  Thankfully a passing hero - a Sir Walter Raleigh style gentleman with strong hands - came to our rescue and extracted us.

I got back to find that Captain Butterfly has taken himself off to Somerset in search of  LARGE Blues.  He did ring when I was having my lunch but it didn't get much beyond "Hello, I'm in Somerset.  There's one now!!! (sounds as of camera being wielded to a giant rushing of wings) - Bye"

I am trying to think what on earth I did yesterday.  I must have done something...   Richard, our Financial Advisor, came round in the morning. We haven't seen him since our Expat days.  It was like old times to have cups of tea and a chat with him.  We were saying how sorry we were to see the destruction of the lovely Pearl Roundabout in Bahrain. It was my favourite piece of modern civic statuary.

Its a lovely island, but not Paradise, anymore than anywhere else is at the moment.  The News is scarier all the time, and Mick took care to remind us at the group this morning what good news we have for people.  

And Col and i went to the Farm Shop and stocked up with honey and strawberries and things.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

A Sunday in Retirement

Went to the Hall this morning - increased my Watchtower order, gave Jean the poem I promised her and failed to hand in my not at homes as the brother with the map we were working Saturday morning has gone on holiday.

Jean and I did about an hour and twenty minutes yesterday morning.  We had to work a big block of flats, all by intercom, which is not easy. But it was a great morning out.  We had some good conversations that we hope to go back on.

As Captain B was out butterflying I went to Jean's for a coffee afterwards.

We have had some rain today!  But not nearly enough as my father - country boy and gardener - would say were he here.

Its his poem I have given to Jean.  Its the only poem he ever wrote as far as we know.  Its about the last time he saw his mother - before the war and then the iron curtain came between them.

Friday, 3 June 2011

A Zimmer Designed by Q

We spent yesterday morning at the hospital -  mostly waiting for a blood test - as I got an appointment with my lovely arthritis doctor and got my emergency injection.   An injection that I always want to call 'silicon', but is, I believe 'steroid'.

It had the effect of making me feel quite ill for the rest of the day, but it has very much improved my walking.  I could almost have been said to have sprung out of bed this morning.  Almost.

When the phone call telling me I am the next Bond girl finally comes I will book up for the silicon injections.  And pop down to the Lab so Q can provide me with my specially designed zimmer frame, on which I shall hurtle about chasing (or escaping from) all the baddies.

I'm not sure if they are going to call the next James Bond: "For Your Eyes Only"  or  "The Casting Director Should Have Gone to Specsavers".

I had intended to spend yesterday cooking for Jacks tonight, but instead spent this morning shopping (thank you Cooks of Rustington) and now hope to provide homemade (tho not by me) chicken casserole, followed by a small cheeseboard and strawberries and cream.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Still no rain...

...the last of May and still no rain.  We went to the hospital yesterday morning, I had a couple of appointments, then we shopped (got strawberries) and went to Mill Hill so Col could do his butterfly transect (don't ask).

Captain B was called off on a search yesterday.  I did manage to get myself off the sofa, hobbled about doing housework.  I phoned Aunt Jo, wrote out a thank you card for the BBQ, and answered another question from my internet friend.

This time he was telling me that the Bible could not be true as it describes the earth as flat.  

I was so happy to be able to show him that it does not. In Isaiah the earth is described using the Hebrew word "chugh", which means "globe" or "sphere".   And in Job, one of the earliest of Bible books, the earth is described as "hanging upon nothing".

So the Inspired Scriptures gave us a perfect description of the round earth, hanging on nothing, centuries and centuries before we worked it out.

And it is only very recently that we have been able to see the earth - a blue and white jewel - a globe - floating in space, hanging on nothing - in those amazing pictures  that have come back from various satellites and space craft

Isaiah 40:22:  "There is one who is dwelling above the circle of the earth, the dwellers in which are as grasshoppers."

"(God) is stretching out the north over the empty place, hanging the earth upon nothing." - Job 26:7