Saturday, 30 July 2011

Dinner at Jackies

We had a lovely roast chicken dinner at Jackie's last night - lots to catch up on as we don't seem to have seen each other for ages.   El Capitano was off again searching for the Misper  ("missing person" to us civilians).  She was found, thank goodness, sometime this afternoon, though not by the Captain himself.

Jean and I did an hour and a half on the doors this morning - in a caravan park - lovely gardens - one gentleman gave us a tour of his beautiful garden, but sadly did not want to hear about the Paradise the whole earth is to become.

Then it was Hall Cleaning...  but I felt a bit redundant this time, as all I did was half of the dusting - quite a few sisters turned out.  It shouldn't be the turn of our field service group again till next year.

The Motor Fair is roaring away on the green.

Ann of the Cape skyped with some interesting Biblical questions which I hope to tackle tomorrow.  We had a good talk.  I wish she lived here.  It was so nice when we lived in the same town.

And it was lovely when me and my siblings were all young married and we all lived in our Northern hometown...

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

More Sad News

We got the sad news today that a friend of ours from Expatland has died.  He was the same age as me.   Ralph was American -  a lovely person.  And he was one of the ones responsible for giving us such an excellent library.

Now we must write to his wife in France...  What can we say about such a loss for her?

I was remembering his dog Max - a very fierce Alsatian.  He adored Ralph and Mrs R. but not only had no time for anybody else, but was quite fierce about his dislike.   I was The Lady who Ran the Boarding Kennels for some years, and Young Master Max stayed with us now and again.  He was a very intelligent dog and would tolerate the guys who worked in the back.  He never bit them.  But he had no time for me, and I got a warning "I mean business lady" growl if I got too close.

One day as I was rushing out the back door into the yard on some urgent errand, I bumped into Max who was on his walkies.   His walker gave a gasp of horror - as did I - but Max just gave me a cold look and walked on by.

He did not bite me.

He has accepted me at last, I thought, I am now a piece of the Kennel Club furniture.  So to celebrate, when I did my morning rounds with the doggie treats, I offered him some (I usually stayed well away).  Sadly, he growled and made it clear that he did not talk to the furniture.

However, he did not bite me, and he well could have done, given I ran right into him.

He was one of only two dogs who stayed at my Doggie Hotel who was completely unbribeable, refusing all my offers of doggie biscuits and suchlike.

I am glad that Ralph outlived him, as I don't think Max could have lived without Ralph.

The Channel is calm today.  There are some new pink geraniums on our balcony.  The earth is so lovely.  And I hope that Ralph is sleeping safe in "the everlasting arms" and will wake up and see this beautiful world again, when the time comes.

Is there any chance we can be re-united with the pets we have loved and who loved us?

That is something to leave safe in Jehovah's hands too.  

After all, if we loved them, He loved them even more.

Anyway, this is supposed to be my diary so what have we been doing?   Not a lot. Getting slowly back into routine after the Convention - and coping with the side effects of being back on the new medication.  Audrey and were out on the field service yesterday. We were calling on not-at-homes, and we also did a couple of return visits.  Otherwise it has been some shopping and housework and studying.  Its Hall Cleaning on Saturday - it was to have been Thursday, but we have swapped this week - its the meeting tomorrow - Maggie will be there.  I called in for coffee with her on Tuesday and gave her the new releases from the Convention, together with a programme.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Back from Brighton

One day you are a young married and the next you are in the "Special Needs" section at the Convention.  And very grateful for it too.  Ken, Jean and I found good seats and were able to order our lunch and even had tea and coffee bought to us. It was so helpful - thank you very very much, young brothers and sisters.

And, as we always say, the Convention was the best ever.  But, as they are getting better and better, we are always right in so saying.

The theme this year was:  "Let God's Kingdom Come!".

The opening talk was: "Why We Need God's Kingdom To Come."  (If you aren't sure, watch the News. And also think how short a time it is from being one of the young marrieds to being one of the Zimmer set.)

The closing address was: "God's Kingdom Will Crush All Other Kingdoms - When?"

We can't know exactly when.  Even Jesus didn't know when he was on the earth.  He may well know now of course, as he is The Rider on the White Horse, riding out to complete his conquest.  But we can know the signs of the times, as the Bible tells us.

This talk was specifically about the march of the world powers as set out in the prophetic Book of Daniel.

And - just as I had given up hope of Part 2 of the DVD,  in the very last talk the Speaker told us that the second part of  "Jehovah's Witnesses, Faith in Action" has been released.   Its called "Let the Light Shine".

We all got our DVDs at the end of the Convention and they let me have an extra one for a sister who is at home recovering from an operation.

Now I have to try and decipher the two notebooks I took with me.  Either twelve spiders got very drunk, fell into a vat of ink, and staggered all over the pages.  Or I took notes.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Attercliffe of Bangkok

Another poem I wrote many years ago.

Attercliffe of Bangkok
 by me

Banana palms fruiting
machinery chugging
behind corrugated fences
Coconuts lying un needed
on the grass
bright butterflies
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.

Audrey and I went on the field service Tuesday morning, after a shopping trip - to the pet shop - food for the birds - which reminds me that another pigeon has taken to sitting on our balcony railings.   Which causes me, typing peacefully away, to be terror struck by a sudden ROAR of GET OFF MY BALCONY!!  from Himself.  The pigeon sits there calmly - flying slowly off at the last minute (a second before the foaming Captain Butterfly reaches it) - while I flap round the room in a panic and knock myself out trying to fly through the mirror.

Blood test this morning.  New med no fun.  Ken and Jean will pick me up at 7 for the Brighton Convention.  

Monday, 18 July 2011

Julia of Arabia

The walking stick is still missing.   We need a Jane Marple to sort this one out.

Funny weather over the weekend - heavy rain showers and sunshine with that wonderful light that usually means a rainbow somewhere.   The nearer I get to leaving it, the more I love and appreciate the beauty of the world - and I so much want to live here forever - to "inherit the earth" as Jesus promised. 

Captain Butterfly has had his Rescue hat on - and has been on a course.  I am not feeling wonderful on this new medication.  Jean, Ken and I have made our travel plans for Brighton next weekend. And Jean and i were out on the doors on Saturday, but we only lasted half an hour as we were soaked to the skin by then, even though we were doing return visits. And we weren't sure that having a couple of drowned rats turning up on your doorstep would be very encouraging.

I managed some return visits yesterday and had a nice conversation with a young girl I have been leaving the magazines with  for some months now.  She works shifts, so I usually put them through her letterbox.  I hoped I might find her in at Sunday lunchtime and I did.

Tom won The Apprentice!  The nice guy came first.

We heard from Julia of Arabia and she hopes to come and stay with us in September.  It will be great to see her.

Pete sent me his next chapter to comment on, which I have done.  It is a wonderful evocation of Fifties England and, while he will have to cut and re-shape for publication, he must keep what he has written as a valuable time-machine.

It was a time of great hope for a brave new world.

And people really did try, but we are up against the fact that "it does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step".  And, cut off from our Creator as we are, we cannot thrive on our own.

And so we - the children of Adam - started our new millenium by re-starting the Crusades.

Friday, 15 July 2011

The Mystery of the Missing Walking Stick

We went to Goodwood - not for the races - but to look for Captain B's walking stick.  When we got there he remembered where he had left it.   Not at Goodwood.  But it was a lovely drive.  And we stopped at Brandy Hole Copse on the way back.  The butterflies were out in force - see The Captain's Log - and he also took some shots of the summer meadow.
It all reminded me how nice it is to be able to spend time together in the week - like going back to our Uni courting days.

I gave my talk at the Ministry School last night.  Jan was a wonderful householder and we got through it on time. And i managed to work completely without a script - for the first time I think.   That is because I kept it very simple.

Charles had a chat with me afterwards and told me what speech quality I am to work on next time.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

In a summer meadow

We were in a summer meadow on beautiful Kithurst Hill yesterday. So I decided to find a couple of poems I wrote many years ago about summer and inflict - er - privilege my blog readers with them.
Marbled White

 by me 

Summer comes to Sheffield
And greens the thick ribbon of trees
That ties the stone villages of the city.
Daisies dance on Dore lawns
Botanical gardens bloom
Round Ringinglow
Heather moorland hums with bees.

And by contrast:

SUMMER in ARABY   115 degrees
by me

I feel like a piece of toast
A barbecue roast
A restaurant broast
This heat is the uttermost.

Took Audrey shopping on Tuesday and we went out on the field service.  Then I went to Beryls to meet her and Jannett so we could practise for my part in the School tonight.  Aargh.  I will be glad when its done.  Its 3 years since I appeared in the Ministry School.

Before that, Col, Ronald and I have to clean the Kingdom Hall.   And the poor Captain was called out at 1.15 this morning on an urgent search - people rescue, not whale rescue this time.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

The Butterfly from Mars

Blue fur!

Captain B had a very successful butterfly day.   I studied and did housework - dusting, polishing, washing clothes - the Monday routine.

It was the Meeting at the Kingdom Hall yesterday morning.   And I am feeling very guilty as I did not go on the work afterwards as I intended.   There was a lot of business to see to after the meeting - and Joyce was visiting again.  So I drove her back to her sister's flat.

And somehow after i had done all that it was lunchtime and I went home. And I think I slept quite a lot in the afternoon.

I should be able to get out more this weekend though as Capt B will hardly be around he has so much in his calendar.

Jean rang re our plans for the Brighton Convention - Ken is going to take us on the Friday.  Jacks rang re meeting up for supper, but we can't at the moment synchronise our calendars - this week is so full.

Life as you get older...  there was an article in ...(?) The Mail online (possibly) about the diffculties of dating when you are over fifty.  I am wondering if you should want to be dating - even if you are single.  It sounds so teenage, and was rather a fraught business as i remember it.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Baking - and a request to Captain B

We worked on the doors this morning - over and over with two brothers.  We had one interesting conversation and can go back.   It is our month to clean the Hall again!  Time is hurtling along, faster and faster.   Ronald and I will do the cleaning on Thursday after the Field Service group, with Captain Butterfly, IF he is free and agreeable to help.

It will be a busy week.  Jan and I meet up Tuesday to practise our part in the school on Thursday - my first appearance in the school since I left the land of expats.  Plus the field service - I have to remind myself to pick up Audrey.  And it seems as if I will hardly see Captain B - his week is stuffed to the gills.  

Aunt Margaret's funeral is this week.

Got an email from Peter thanking me for the crit of the first Chapter of his memoirs, which re-creates the world of our Fifties childhood with startling vividness.

I made a cake this afternoon as a present for El Capitano.  It was our 38th Wedding Anniversary on Thursday and we weren't able to celebrate as we were at the hospital all morning and I was at the Hall in the evening.   It is a date cake - a Delia Smith recipe - so a reminder of all our years in Expatland too.

The deeper and deeper levels of corruption being revealed in "the world" every day are shocking.  And frightening.   But not surprising to anyone who has paid attention to the warning from our Creator that, for the moment, "the whole world" is lying in the power of "the wicked one" - Satan the devil.

And he is also called "the father of the lie".

But not for too much longer. We are heading towards "the land of straightforwardness".

Friday, 8 July 2011

For Free Chocolate Cake...

Now that you have been tempted into my blog I can reveal:
(a) that the doors are now locked
(b) that the full title of this blog is "For Free Chocolate Cake Look Somewhere Else".

Sorry.  But I need an audience for my poem. Its quite short so don't panic.

I sent it off (many years ago) to a competition run by a magazine that was being edited by Auberon Waugh.  I suppose it could have been The Oldie.   He wanted some more Mrs.Ravoon adventures - see:

So I wondered where the scary lady had come from.  And wrote this:


The ship has returned
From the alien star
Captain and crew
Who knows where they are?
Nothing inside
But a large silk cocoon
In which form the features of

I didn't win.

It is a wild and stormy morning with waves building up on The Channel.  It should be a quiet day today  - study - paperwork - housework - telly watching.

Second day into new medicine... strong stuff... apprehensive... will it turn me into  MRS RAVOON!  

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Walking with The Captain

We have had two walks this week - Iping Common and Pagham Harbour.

Iping Common is a lovely bit of heathland - reminding me of how much of my childhood was spent on the Yorkshire and Derbyshire Moorland.  And I am always wuthering on about it.

It was a perfect summer afternoon at Pagham with a wonderful light on everything.  Captain Camera took a shot of the water for my blog.
Today it was a hospital appointment for me, and a start on my new arthritis medicine. I am now waiting for the side effects to hit.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011


We got the sad news yesterday that Aunt Margaret has died.   Soon there will be no-one left who remembers the wonderful Grannyworld of Nabbs cottage.  When I was a child it seemed as if it had always been there, and always would be there.

But, one by one, we are all going over the edge.

Captain B has taken a wonderful outer space shot in the Downland.  It looks like at any moment Dr.Who and team will turn up to save the caterpillars from the crab spider.

But who knows, perhaps in outer space, its the other way round.  Though I think those caterpillars will be alright either way, as their coats signal like mad "I'm poisonous, don't eat me!!"

Audrey and I were out this morning. We started my magazine route calls and delivered most of my invitations to the upcoming Convention in Brighton.  It was very hot in the car, but there was a refreshing sea breeze outside.

Monday, 4 July 2011

The Men's Final and a perfect summer evening

We watched Novak Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal, in four sets.  Which is amazing. Two great players.  And, at moments, possibly some of the best tennis ever seen in a Wimbledon final?

We used to watch Wimbledon when I was a child.  My mother loved it. We would come home from school and there would be a salad tea ready, with strawberries and cream, or more usually milk, which was fine.  I still prefer my strawberries with milk or yoghourt.

And we would all watch the current match.   It seemed more magical then.  I don't know whether that is simply because I am older and tireder, or because there is so much money in the game now - money and fame.

It had a charm about it too that it doesn't seem to have now.  

Col was off butterflying (see The Captain's Log), while I went to the meeting at the Kingdom Hall - being taught the word of Jehovah - and then went on to visit Maggie who is still convalescing.  Jen was there.  Then I rushed back, via the supermarket - for the obligatory strawberries - to watch the Final.

We - Capt.B, Jacks and myself - went to Tom and Jill's for supper on Saturday.   Roast lamb and a strawberry pastry.  Jill is a wonderful cook.  And we had champagne - before supper - in their walled garden.  A perfect summer evening.  Or as perfect as you can get until the earth is transformed under the rulership of the Kingdom of God.

And I got a lovely email from a guy on my magazine route.

Friday, 1 July 2011

A July day in retirement.

The 1st of July already.  And a sunny one too.   It was always such a happy month when I was a child as it was almost school-free - and it seemed to last forever - with August - also school-free - to come.

I hope it will be a happy month now, but this time I know it won't last very long.

Anne of the Cape rang me yesterday and we had a long chat. She is full of interesting questions as ever, which I am in the process of trying to answer by email.

Captain B left on butterfly safari but came back in time to watch Our Gallant Scottish Lad Andy Murray being beaten in the semi-finals at Wimbledon by Rafael Nadal.   Rafael Nadal played better than him - a cunning tactic that was shockingly successful.

I shopped, posted the June Watchtower to the guy at the fortress flats.  Unless I catch him at home (and he works shifts) I can't get in, or anywhere near his letter box. And I got chicken and salad and strawberries so we could lunch in front of the box.  Jean rang to update me on the mysterious lady who asked us to call and to make arrangements for us to work together tomorrow.

And we got a postcard from Linda and Nick in France.