Monday, 31 December 2012

And more rain

Its a wet and windy afternoon by the South Coast. The rain is pouring down, the Channel is very stormy.  We had a good drive back yesterday - sunny most of the way - though there was a belt of heavy rain after Oxford.

We had another family get together at the bungalow on Saturday, in which the two youngest members of the family met each other for the first time.  Pretty, frilly, little Eleanor seemed quite fascinated by the tall, dark and handsome Harry, and kept toddling past him.  But he was busy with an Alien Making Machine, and I don't think she even appeared on his radar.

I was impressed by the way he offered his chocolates round without being asked.

They are both lovely and I only wish my parents could have been there to see them.

Talked to Audrey today, and am wondering if i can get to the field service group tomorrow and get back on the doors. Don't feel wonderful today but, obviously, am tired from the journey.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

The Rain

Torrential rain this morning. Col managed to walk Ollie just before it started - and we both went out shopping in the first mini-lull.  And got quite wet.  Ken provided an excellent and gigantic cottage pie for Lilac Tree, Derby and The Janet.   The two little cousins (Harry and Eleanor) met for the first time I think - the youngest of the great-grandchildren.

Us oldies are now sitting quietly, reading, or asleep, or generally flaked out.  Or blogging.

Janet and I now have each other's email address, so hopefully can stay in better touch.

The tribe from Derby do hope to visit us this year and give young Eleanor a few days by the sea.

Friday, 28 December 2012

The numinous names

Ringinglow, High Storrs, Oakbrooke...  all the numinous names as we drive through the city to my sister's - all overlaid with layers and layers of memories.   And today (Friday) we drove over  The Snake Pass, via Glossop, to visit the tribe of Bea - or three of them at any rate.    More and more memories... what will it be like if we have lived for a thousand years?

It is damp and misty - a lot of mist on the high moor tops.    Tomorrow Lilac Tree Farm - all of them - are coming for lunch, plus the Derby mob, and Janet who I haven't seen for some years.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Scooter the (un)Dread

Scooter has had a personality transplant since the last time we all shared the same bedroom. She tucked up next to me, and when I purred at her she purred and purred back.  She slept on me until my legs got too frozen (with arthritis) and I had to move. But she did not claw, bite, or sulk off the bed, just moved onto Captain B.

Perhaps she has finally got used to us coming and going?

Saturday, 22 December 2012

A wild and stormy December day

It seems an appropriate day to pull this little poem out of my poetry file.  The rain is pouring down, the Channel is roaring (with one valiant/mad windsurfer on it), and all those travelling this weekend are probably having to go by submarine.

I wrote this many years ago:

         HI TIDE   by me
The sea had long wanted to go into town
 So, early one morning, it roared in
 Found the arcades still closed
 And battered them down.

Captain Butterfly is at the other side of the table collating and referencing his years and years of wonderful coral photos.  He is going to provide a very interesting snapshot of the Maldivean sea.  I am listening to the DVD that Malcolm gave me of the Assembly I missed at Haysbridge.  Wonderful, and I so much hope I won't miss any more. It is a privilege to have two days with nothing to do but concentrate on being taught from God's word.

The speaker is just talking about the unselfish, loving and giving attitude that a Christian husband must have.  It reminds me how grateful I am for Captain Butterfly.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Gym Lessons

Or P.E. lessons to those a little less old than I am.  Anyway, my visit to the physio uncovered that my exercises have done more harm than good and I am now on the list for hydrotherapy - as - gulp - urgent.

Got to the meeting last night, but only because Captain Butterfly drove me.  One of my young brothers was waiting at the bottom of the drive to help me into the Hall, and one of the elders helped me back down the drive to the Captain waiting in The Geranium.

Feel guilty and not like a witness at the moment as I haven't been out once this month. Am in some interesting internet conversations though - one with an American columnist - she replied to my email, I have replied to hers, will she reply to my reply?  I don't know. It must still be in the middle of the night there.   Aurora and her Chariot of the Dawn have just passed over us here, uncovering a lovely sunrise, and are now heading in the columnist's direction.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The spirit of the world

It is a lovely sunny day today, but, par for the course at the moment, I am not able to go out. My right knee is swollen up like a balloon and the left one isn't too wonderful either. Nor is the rest of me - moan moan, whinge whinge.    Captain B very kindly drove me to the meeting on Sunday. I could have driven myself, but was so grateful to be spared the walk to the Kingdom Hall. We have no carpark now.

We had an outing yesterday!  To Pulborough Brooks.  We forgot to take my Blue Badge.  However I hobbled successfully to the Restaurant, clinging on to the Captain, we had a bowl of veggie soup, and then hobbled slowly to the pond afterward, where I sat on a bench and read my Daily Scriptures.

We went to Jackie's last night. She was feeling a bit down, I was feeling a bit down, but we all felt a lot more cheerful by the end of the evening.   She gave us Chicken Kiev with cauliflower cheese, cheese and biscuits, and, a Captain Butterfly favourite, apple pie.

I found this in the comments when reading the online Guardian this morning:

"You know, as a parent (albeit in the US) I think the problem is in another direction that nobody dares point the finger at. And that is at the culture itself. Once I had children, I found myself at war with a culture that was determined to undermine every message of self discipline, restraint, or respect towards others that I was trying to teach. I found myself alone in a world that bombarded children with messages of disobedience for it's own sake, crass commercials psychologically designed to hook them on all manners of bad foods, and a bunch of enablers who screamed at every instance of parents trying to at least assert a little control over this. It is amazing the toxic crap we spew out for our childrens consumption, both physical and mental, and then wonder "who's fault it is" that they are the way they are."

And this:

"Another bugbear was constant references to 'confidence'. My daughter is well-mannered and reserved but with a strong spirit and and involved in many extra-curricular activities. She's a good musical instrumentalist and plays with ensembles which have taken her abroad for concert trips and this year, at 17, is sufficiently confident to embark on a Canadian trip for two months as a youth leader at a children's camp. However, she was consistently described as lacking confidence which concerned and confused me. Then I realised that what was applauded as confidence was actually what I saw in many instances as loud, boorish, unrestrained and generally ill-mannered behaviour."

Ephesians 2:1,2 says:  "Furthermore, [it is] you [God made alive] though you were dead in your trespasses and sins,  in which you at one time walked according to the system of things of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit that now operates in the sons of disobedience"

So here are two parents noticing "the spirit that now operates in the sons of disobedience".  Satan made himself a resister of Jehovah.  He now rules the world and tirelessly promotes the same spirit of rebellion in everyone.  Jehovah's word, and his holy spirit, are our defence against the spirit of the world.   And this is a reminder of the vital importance, the urgency, of the Christian preaching work.   

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Richard and Hyacinth ride out

It was "Keeping Up Appearances" by the seaside today, only with an unusual casting. The Captain was Hyacinth, and I was Richard. We were taking my geranium coloured car out so I could get the hang of it before my drive to the meeting tomorrow.  "Mind that pedestrian, Richard!"  "You should be in first gear!"  "You should have signalled by now!"  "Mind that field of cows!".

Though it was heroic of Captain B to come. He doesn't much like being driven by anyone, let alone me. And he has now taken me through all the technical things I needed to know. Where are the windscreen wipers?  How do I make the seat go down? Which is the steering wheel?  You know the sort of thing.

As in the model I tremblingly test drove, the seat is that little bit higher which helps so much. And the door a tiny bit wider. When your knees don't bend so well that does make quite a difference.

We also test drove my new Blue Badge - and I drove carefully into the disabled parking space at Waitrose and carefully out again. ("Mind that pedestrian Richard!").  They too have a little bit more space, so it is easier to get both me and the car in and out.  I am grateful to that lovely young physio who interviewed me after they had initially turned me down. He saw that i really do need it.  And I wish I did not.

I am very pleased with the colour of my car. In fact I love it.  I would never have dared choose it - would have stuck to something sensible - but now I can pretend that it was the only option (which actually it was, apart from white, unless I waited till next year).

Friday, 14 December 2012

The Geranium

I don't think I have ever seen the English Channel as stormy as it is today. I would love to brave the wind and rain and go down to the seafront, but my knees simply won't come along with me. And I can't go without them.

My new car is here.  A vivid shade of red. I thought "tulip" at first, but have decided it is more "geranium".  Hope to try it out tomorrow.

Used up all the veggies to make a big chili veggie stew, with dumplings for supper.  It is stew and dumpling weather.

Col away fetching car most of day - and he lunched off a Bounty Bar.   Spoke to Bea and Audrey on the phone. Bea relieved to be out of hospital, but will be in plaster for a while.

News of a school shooting in the U.S.A. is just coming through...  It seems 26 may be dead - most of them young children.   Hard to comprehend what the parents are going through as I am writing this.

I suppose there will be new calls for a change in the gun laws  - which is something for Americans to decide, I have no opinion either way.  But what does need to change is minds and hearts.   And nothing has more power to reach hearts than Jehovah's word.

Hebrews 4:12:  "For the word of God is alive and exerts power and is sharper than any two-edged sword and pierces even to the dividing of soul and spirit, and of joints and [their] marrow, and [is] able to discern thoughts and intentions of [the] heart."

Once again, I see that the urgency and importance of the Christian preaching work cannot be over-stated.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The Downland in Winter

A busy week really - like being back at work - all the butterfly paperwork yesterday - and today all the paperwork - and endless phonecalling - about the new car.  Fortunately the Captain returned from his work in the frosty downland to help me with all the technical questions.  How many steering wheels does my new car have, that sort of thing.  And he was there to make the big decision about the insurance. Plus I wrote letters and packaged up magazines to about two thirds of my route calls. The rest, hopefully, I will do with my new car (gulp) next week.

Talking of icy pavements - Bea has broken her wrist!   It is so scarey.  Just what we are all so afraid of when we get older.  You simply don't realise when you are young - you fall over, bounce up again.  Even if you do break a bone, it will likely heal quickly.

And of course I am remembering my parents, and what good care they took of me when i broke my leg so badly all those years ago - and the comfrey tea daddy used to make for me and made sure I drank every day.  A country boy, from the fields and forests of Belarus, he knew the uses of herbs.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The child in time

Jean and I shared a taxi to the Kingdom Hall on Sunday morning - Arun taxis were their usual reliable selves - and Ken gave us a both a lift back.  Jackie came round for supper on Tuesday - I made a beef chili, with small small things - and we had cheese and chocolate brownies afterwards.  A fun evening.

It was Butterfly paperwork day today - all done and dusted, though Captain Butterfly will have to fly it to the post office as my wings are not what they were.

I feel bad about not getting out on the door to door preaching work at the moment - I hope to do letters to all my magazine route calls tomorrow morning, while the Captain is out clearing woodland for butterflies.

He went for a walk on the winter beach this afternoon, and i hope to borrow a photo for the blog.  I love winter walks on the beach - we used to walk by the sea much more in winter than in summer, but don't know if I will be able to...  a second dose of new meds tomorrow. Maybe they will do the trick.

Roger turned up on our computer screens - via Skype!   A lovely surprise.  Hopefully we will see him next month.   How far away our Expat life seems.  Who knows where the time goes?

I have been reading Nella Last's 1950s diaries.  Fascinating.  She is writing about the world I knew then as a child, from the angle that I have now, as she and her husband were retired. And they had just been through a second world war, and even the calm and indomitable Nella is shaken by it. She also feels that the thread of hope that was there in the war years has gone.

It is a vanished world. And a world that I knew. And, apart from school, a world I was happy and secure in. But I think we thought then that we were going to build a brave new world. Nella by that time knew we would not.

Friday, 7 December 2012

An Outing!

An outing today to Pulborough Brooks.  I took my cushions and wrapped up warmly.  I can't tell you - wish I could - what a perfect day it is.  The sky is as blue as summer -with some fluffy white clouds - and the light from the low winter sun is amazing.  It had been raining heavily and everything was soaked, sodden and overflowing.

Waxwings had been seen at Pulborough - but were gone by the time we got there. We had lunch - parsnip soup - did a tiny walk round the ponds and then sat outside in the winter sun. The wind was blowing strongly in the trees (or was that the parsnip soup?).

Everything was so Paradise like - full of joy.

Col took Audrey and me to the meeting yesterday, and I managed to get up to the platform without taking too long about it - so I must be feeling a bit better.  Anyway, I was Natasha's householder and we did our little drama on the stage and Charles, who is conducting the school, seemed happy about it.

The subject was: Why Speak the Truth with Conviction.  The featured scripture was: 2 Timothy 1:7,8:
"For God gave us not a spirit of cowardice, but that of power and of love and of soundness of mind. Therefore do not become ashamed of the witness about our Lord, neither of me a prisoner for his sake, but take your part in suffering evil for the good news according to the power of God."

I was Natasha' s student and was asking her how I could get up the courage to tell my workmates that I would no longer be joining in the Christmas celebrations.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

More sunrise and a second childhood

I hope that another picture of another lovely winter sunrise will appear on this blog, as we were watching it this morning, and the Captain rushed for his camera.

Getting old - and second childhoods....  Yes, its seems I am unlearning how to walk. I have to go back to Gym lessons - something I thought/hoped I had left behind for good when the happy day came that I left school.  But, on the positive side, I seem to be going back to feeling the joy at the beauty and the glory of the world that I felt instinctively as a young child.

I always loved it, but as I grew up I became more and more conscious of what Janet Frame called "the sadness that belongs to the world" - a desolation, a cut-off ness.

Then when I began to look for the Creator of it, to thank Him, (and I always thought Him not Her, ThoughtPolice notwithstanding), and found Him, I understood about the sadness - and why, and that its only for  a time - and the original joy came back.  Whether that is something else that goes as we get older, well, I may find out.  But I hope it won't.

I can't say I have been doing much.  Cooked a herb chicken casserole yesterday as Jacks was coming round, but then she had to cancel at the last minute. She has been struck down by one of these winter viruses that seem to be doing the rounds.  Talked to Audrey, Bea, Jackie and Mark on the phone.   We got the 2013 butterfly calendars done and dusted.  Captain B labelled, packaged and posted, and I did the letters...  "our first ten children have done fabulously well at work and all got promoted to managing director, and our next ten have just won Strictly Come Dancing...".   I did try not to go on for a more than a chapter about my arthritis medications, utterly fascinating though the subject is.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

A red wing rose in the darkness

This was an Encounter morning:

Encounter by Czeslaw Milosz
We were riding through frozen fields in a wagon at dawn.
A red wing rose in the darkness...

The red wing of the Winter sun rose in the darkness this morning - and the fields - the Green - were frozen.

Mick and June swung by and took me to the meeting, along with Jean. And delivered me back - door to door.  Natasha is coming round tomorrow night as I am her householder on Thursday and we have to practise.  Hopefully Captain B will be able to take both me and Audrey to the meeting.  Jackie is coming for supper Tuesday night, so I have a chicken casserole to make.

Malcolm came over to ask how I was - still running-in my walking stick - and told me that he would get me a  CD of the talks from the Assembly that I just missed!

So a good day, despite a lot of arthritis pain.  

I hope that Czeslaw Milosz will be woken from the sleep of death when the time comes, and that he will see the sun rise again over the beautiful beautiful earth.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Went in young, came out... different

Captain Butterfly dropped off his sprightly young wife at the Physiotherapy unit this morning, and, an hour later after her treatment, picked up an elderly lady with a brand new NHS walking stick.  He didn't seem to notice any difference though.  We shopped at Waitrose afterwards and lunched off a cod ready meal. Quite nice too.

What have I been doing. So little.  Got to the meeting last night - the good old Captain not only took me there and back, but picked up and returned Audrey as well.  And all while he was on a shout for a rescue.  He dropped me off at the door and hurtled off into the cold night. He didn't get back till 2.30 apparently. I knew nothing about it until I woke in the morning and was relieved to find him there.

It was a wonderful meeting of course. How could it not be?

Guilt making though - the difference between what I should be and what I am.

We - the congregations worldwide - have started on a study of Jeremiah, with special emphasis on what we can learn from the life of the prophet. We too have a message of a coming judgement to give - not a popular message with "the world" - with the promise of a wonderful rescue for all obedient mankind.

A quote from the book "God's Word for us Through Jeremiah":

"We will approach the books of Jeremiah and Lamentations as gifts from God to help us live as Christians today. (Titus 2:12: "Instructing us to repudiate ungodliness and worldly desires and to live with soundness of mind and righteousness and godly devotion amid this present system of things.")...  As you consider each chapter in this volume, look for points you can use. There is no doubt that the books of Jeremiah and Lamentations will underscore what Paul wrote: "All the things that were written aforetime were written for our instruction, that through our endurance and through the comfort from the Scriptures, we might have hope." - Romans 15:4

It was many years before I realised that, as a Christian, I needed to study and understand the Hebrew Scriptures - or Old Testament.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Housebound, redux, squared

I have failed to get to Haysbridge for the Convention this time.  Just have to hope that my new med and the - gulp, dread - P.E.lessons (sorry Physiotherapy) will have kicked by the time of the next Assembly.

Or maybe they will have killed me by then...

Round at Jack's Saturday night for the first time in ages - she has been away, Col has been away, she has been ill, we have been ill, and so it goes.  A lovely roast lamb dinner.  She buys her meat from Bairds Farm Shop and then cooks it properly.  It is not half raw a la Masterchef!   Col ate two enormous platefuls - and I ate every scrap of my plateload.  I usually leave half of whatever red meat I am given "whining" (and I am quoting from "The Thoughts of Captain Butterfly" here) "whining that its got fat on it, even though it hasn't, and its perfectly good meat".

I think that is why the good Captain had to have a second plateload - he didn't get half of mine this time.

Chilling review in Sunday papers of a book about the father of the atom bomb, Robert Oppenheimer:

I am deeply thankful for Jehovah's promise that He will "bring to ruin those ruining the earth".  We could never sort out the mess we have made of it.  Interesting that those words are from the Book of Revelation, the events prophesied in which started in 1914.  When John was inspired to write to those words, two thousand years ago, it would have seemed unimaginable that we could have brought a whole planet to the brink of ruin.

But we have.  

We had a sunny morning yesterday after all that rain. Don't know which way it will go today. Terrible flooding in the Midlands.  Was supposed to be starting on my new med this morning but the nurse is ill!   

Friday, 23 November 2012


Odd, this furore over the vote against women bishops in the General Synod of the Church of England.   Surely the real question is not whether women should be bishops, but why have bishops and archbishops at all?  Why Bishop's palaces? Why is there a paid clergy?

Did my Blue Badge interview yesterday with a very nice young physio - a British Asian guy who went to Uni in my hometown - so we had a chat about that. As he is a physio, I feel I must accept his verdict on whether I get a badge or not without complaining.   He can see clearly how the arthritis is progressing.  If I don't get the badge, I can appeal again in a year. And, if this new medicine does not work, I will be a lot worse by then.

A sign of the times. They had a security strip round the wall, so wherever you were in the room you could press for help!   And they don't give you the verdict on the spot. It comes by post.

I suppose that is to stop us rejected candidates from springing across the table and thumping the physio delivering the verdict.  It says something about the increase of violence that it's needed though.

He was safe enough from me however and could have given me the verdict then and there. Even if it had turned out unfavourable, my days of leaping across tables and attacking people are long gone. In fact, they never existed.  I don't think people attacked doctors and nursing staff back then.

Mark is coming for lunch today - fish and chips and Waitrose ice-cream, so no cooking required.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Old Playgrounds redux

The sky and sea are grey this early morning, but clearly delineated. The sky is a blue grey, and the sea is a deeper grey, very slightly green-grey.  There are white horses - it was a stormy night.   We have been watching the slide show of  Captain Butterfly's pictures from his day out in Derbyshire.  He had a wonderful day in the light of the low Autumn sun - and he has done it justice.

The top photo shows the Captain (or at any rate his shadow) in the landscape, and beneath is Derbyshire in late Autumn.

What a privilege it was to grow up with the Dales on our doorstep.  In my young days, on a sunny Sunday, we would take the bus and a picnic and spend the day out there. In the Autumn we picked whinberries. All of us picking all afternoon would make about one pie, but it was delicious. My mother was a great pastry cook.  We took it all for granted at the time of course, which is natural.  And then as young marrieds, we moved back up North and spent a lot of time out on the moors.  We used to have our Sunday lunch at the Grouse - they did a great beef sandwich.  I remember a tramp across the moors with Dennis on a New Year afternoon - blue sky, ice everywhere, strangely with ladybirds frozen into it.

And, as I got older and more thoughtful, I wondered about it all.  About what Janet Frame calls "the sadness that belongs to the world".  It so beautiful, but its sad.  Why?  If only?  If only what?

And then, years later, I found out when the Jehovah's Witnesses who called at my door showed me that the answer had been in the Bible on my shelf, all the time.

And now I should be out there teaching others. And I can't this morning, as my car has collapsed.

We visited the garage this afternoon, more or less to say goodbye. It has reached its sell-by date...  I can't help but have a fellow feeling.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

The beauty and the glory of the world

The sun is setting over the English Channel.  The sea is a pale clear blue, with a soft pink sky immediately about it shading into blue.  There are birds flying across the colours - notes in the sunset - and people out on the Green still.

The Circuit Overseer in his talk today reminded us never to take the beauty of the world for granted. And I hope I don't.  That first paradise moment in the blackened stone garden in Sheffield with May blossom lying everywhere came back to me vividly as I approached middle age, and I began to look for the Creator of it all to thank Him.

And I found the truth of Jesus words, that, if you keep on seeking, you will find.

Captain B phoned me from Derbyshire.  He should be back tomorrow. And I managed to get out on the work this afternoon and yesterday afternoon. Only 15 minutes in each case.  Yesterday wasn't too wonderful, though I did manage to deliver my last but one set of magazines on my magazine route.

The Watchtower for this month has an article explaining what it is we are praying for when we ask for God's Kingdom to come.  I  wonder how many people who say that prayer know how the Bible explains it. I didn't, until I talked to the Jehovah's Witnesses who called.

And then I knew.

Today, having gritted my teeth and done the long (for me) and grown up (for me) bit of driving required, I found the householder I was seeking at home. She remembered me - from over a month ago! - wanted the new magazines, and would like me to deliver December's.   I hope to be able to talk to her a bit more next time. She is a young mum.

I hope to be able to take Maggie out on her magazine route tomorrow, and Audrey on Tuesday.  I think I feel marginally better today - though my shoulder is playing up horribly.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012


view from Heyshott escarpment
Hard to know what to write about. Except that I did get out yesterday - an hour on the door to door preaching work - and then to the Kingdom Hall in the evening. We have an extra meeting this week as we are being visited by our new Circuit Overseer.

He gave us an inspiring talk - though guilt-making in my case, as I can't claim to be doing all that much of the preaching work at the moment.

I am embroiled in trying to chase Audrey's wheeled shopping bags through the strange world of buying things by post from a mysterious catalogue. After several eons waiting on the phone (as it told me how much it valued my business and played music at me) I was clicked through to what may have been the planet Neptune.   I was tempted to start humming music at the Neptunian who answered and telling him how much I valued being his customer, but i controlled myself and spelled out my problem.

The Spaceman seemed to know about my order - so they had clearly cashed my cheque! - knew which planet I was on and what my space code was.  They had been "trying" to deliver the order to me - apparently - but had failed.  They would try again.  Could they give me a time - to the nearest eon?  Sharp intake of breath - more than my jobs worth etc.

But their spaceship would arrive with the goods.  Or it wouldn't.

It hasn't improved my temper any - and these steroids are not helping.

Saturday, 10 November 2012


Bea is almost back on line!   We got a brief, truncated email a couple of days ago, and then a phone call.  She now has Windows8 and needs some help from her Technical Advisor (Cousin Simon).

I am still using Windows1066, and sturdy little peasant pixels still load my requests into their wooden waggons, harness up the horses, and drive them to the Googleface.  I am content with it, but for how much longer will it be allowed?

Not able to go on the work this morning as my visit to the doctor and library yesterday afternoon have almost crippled me...   hardly any distance either... its ridiculous.  But I must get to the meeting tomorrow and recharge my batteries.  I hope to have some achievements for today, but they will have to be achieved without my moving much.

Could I manage some great thoughts and commentary on the results of the American Presidential elections?  I couldn't yesterday and can't today, as surely "the wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places" remain in charge whoever gets in?   And they will do so until we have "the new heavens" - the new rulership from the heavens, the incoming Kingdom of God for whose coming Jesus taught us to pray.

And under those "new heavens", we will have a new society on earth.  A new earth.

Friday, 9 November 2012

The Joys of Arthritis

This will have to be a very short blog, as i can't actually think of any.  I am sitting here on a sunny Autumn day and would love to do my favourite walk down to the river and watch the tide coming and going, but I can't, as I can't move much.

I really understand what my mother and grandmother went through and hope i can stay as cheerful and stoical as they did.

At any rate, I have the internet, which they did not - and can chat to people all over the world. I can witness to sometimes even though I can't go out.   I am in the middle of an email at the moment about the holidays of Halloween and St.Valentines - and why a Christian should not be celebrating either of them.

Captain Jet  has gone hurtling off on a Metal Detecting weekend, with his usual package of sandwiches.  I was able to use up the last of his welcome home chicken in them.  And with that spell-binding and dramatic fact, I had better finish before i send my readership to sleep.

I suppose I could say something interesting and to the point about the American election results...

... no, sorry, I can't think of anything.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

The Captain is back on shore...

... after 10 days mainly spend under the Indian Ocean with the Shoal.  He has had a wonderful time - bought back more amazing photos - even of some tropical butterflies which seem to be thriving on the tiny island.  See the Captain's Log for some tropiciana.

It is cold but sunny today. Audrey and I managed an hour on the doors, but I am very slow and creaky.  I think I overdid it a bit yesterday, getting the flat fettled for the Return, making the apple crumble etc.  I also had a doctor's visit and took my library books back.  Nothing at all a few years ago, but this year, rather like a marathon.

Audrey has a part on stage in the Ministry School on Thursday night.

Here is a tiny poem I wrote about a trip to the tropics (Thailand) many years ago:

Breakfast in Asia

Frangipani blossom in a plastic cup
and the sprinklers singing
in the cool morning air
as the sun revs up.

Saturday, 3 November 2012


The last Autumnwatch last night!   However, there will be a Winterwatch - I think and hope from the same beautiful spot in Scotland.   Highlight for me were the beavers getting in their cache of logs for the Winter, with the babies helping by bringing their own twiglets.  And two little beaver kits getting hold of the same twig, having a tug of war over it, and knocking themselves into the water.

There were twigs galore too!  No need to fight, but Suecius she say: "The twig in the other kit's mouth is always greener".

They all looked so happy and contented, busy with satisfying work, the little ones both learning and playing. We also saw a brief interaction between beaver and otter.  There was a little bit of dancing at each other in the water, but otherwise it was fine. Apparently beaver and otter families have been known to happily share the same lodge.

Perhaps we could learn something...

And the horrendous fights of the stags for their herd of lady deer - after which, once the ladies come into season, they go off and choose their own stag anyway.  And the fight between two male hedgehogs for a beautiful, if prickly, lady.

They excelled themselves in AW this year - I am just sad it was so short.

Very overcast this morning.  Apparently it is snowing, or will snow, on the Brecon Beacons.  I hope to get out on the door to door work, but it wont be for long, as my knee and shoulder were keeping me awake last night.  But we so much want people to know about the wonderful promises in the Bible, how the whole earth will be brought back to Paradise - nature will no longer be "red in tooth and claw" - and the meek (those meek towards their Creator) will inherit it - and "reside forever upon it".

Thursday, 1 November 2012

History written in advance

Yesterday was a busy morning only in the phone-call sense:  Captain Dive Holiday, Bea, Jackie, Maggie and Audrey all called for a chat. Which was very nice as I had no plans to go anywhere or see anyone.   Weatherwise, it was like a mad March morning - strong wind, blowing and blowing, big waves racing at the Green, and a blue sky with scudding white clouds, with a brief monsoon.

The sound of the sea was wonderful - the power of the waves!  And it was a wild and stormy night.  Calmer today though.  And, now, mid-afternoon the sky is blue with big fluffy clouds and the sea is turquoise, white horses racing along.

Hobbled out to Waitrose, and then its the meeting tonight.  Its the Theocratic Ministry School Review  - 10 questions mainly about Ezekiel and Daniel.

Daniel contains that spine-tingling 70 weeks prophecy, which not only told the Jews the year that the Messiah would appear on the earth, but said that he would be cut off in death with "nothing for himself", and that afterwards Jerusalem and the Temple would be desolated. As they were, when Titus and the Roman armies came up against Jerusalem in 70 C.E.  The Arch of Titus stands in Rome to this day as a reminder of how exactly that prophecy was fulfilled.

The strengthening thing about studying fulfilled prophecy is that it gives such an assurance that everything else Jehovah has prophesied will come about.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Exhaustion and a very blue Channel

The English Channel. late afternoon, yesterday, was a wonderful calm blue, with a layer of  pale pink sky above it and then soft blue grey fluffy clouds - tenderly beautiful.  And yet a storm was raging over East Coast America - various facebook friends have been posting their experiences.  And Captain Dive Trip tells me that the Indian Ocean is stormy.  Worry worry.

I am still exhausted.  Audrey and I did just over a hour on the door to door work yesterday, and now I can barely stand up.  Its frightening to be so debilitated by a short walk.

Our first door was the local Vicarage.  You do it said Audrey.  I'm not ready I panicked. Fortunately I had my Bible verse - Matthew 24:14 - ready by the time the door opened.  It was the local Vicar.  And it was not a warm welcome.  I wasn't even allowed to read one verse from the Bible.

I will read it now, as none of his parishioners would let me read it either.

"And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come."

My question is this. What is it that will end, according to the Bible?

Clearly not this lovely earth, as the meek are going to inherit it and "reside forever upon it".

A related question is: what is the Kingdom of God?   A question beautifully answered in the November edition of The Watchtower.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Bonfire Morning

If I were a great painter, I would be producing a series of paintings of this morning.  If I were Bea, I would be doing it in glowing silks. As it is, I will have to try to paint it in words.

I got up very early.  There was a blanket of black cloud above us, seeming to touch the tops of the terraced houses.  And there was a curly bank of cloud on the horizon like low hills. Between the cloud and the cloud was an area of pale pale blue sky with a tiny bit of pink as the sun started to burn below the horizon. And the bonfire still burned on the dark Green, sending up smokelike clouds.   Then the sky got redder and redder and the colour began to edge the clouds and reflect off them.  And flocks of seagulls were soaring in the gap - attracted by the warmth of the bonfire - and probably breakfast, as I expect there will be lots of fast food bits and bobs lying on the Green, as they haven't yet cleared up.

Everything is now a light bright pink.

What a beautiful beautiful world Jehovah made for us. And how grateful I am that He will not let us ruin it.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Towards the End of the Morning

I am doing a lot of re-reading at the moment - yesterday Michael Frayn's "Towards the End of the Morning".  I had forgotten how good it is. I hope it isn't out of print.   It was first published in 1967, and is like a window in time. A very funny window too.  Erskine Morris... the new entrepreneur - the mysterious Miss Pennycuick... Fleet Street in all its old glory...  I was young then...

If you can find a copy, do read it.

I have also found a copy of "Busman's Honeymoon" by Dorothy L Sayers - and re-read that.

Crumbs!  I don't know what to say, except that I did keep expecting someone like Frankie Howard to burst in saying "Oo er missus" at various moments.   And I did feel sorry for poor Miss Twitterton, brought in to spectacularly fail to get her man, while Harriet Vane spectacularly succeeds.

The moral dilemma at the end is very interesting.   Dorothy L Sayers was an intelligent and highly educated woman, yet I wonder if she knew what the Bible actually says.   She writes a scene where Sir Peter is agonising over the fact that the murderer he has caught is about to be hanged - and yes I can imagine that would be pretty harrowing.  He has visited the murderer in jail and found him/her (no spoilers) unrepentant.  He says to Harriet: "If there is a God or a judgement - what next?  What have we done?"  Harriet, who usually knows everything, doesn't know.

So did Dorothy L Sayers know, given that she surely is Harriet?  Only the Inspired Scriptures still carry on telling us what they have told us from the start:

Romans 6:23 says: "The wages sin pays is death", and, therefore, "he who has died has been acquitted from his sin". (Romans 6:7)   So the murderer was acquitted from his/her sin by the execution.  All us children of Adam are born missing the mark of perfection -which is what sin means - and so we die and return to the dust of the ground from which we were made.  The question - the Biblical question - would be : "Will he/she be awoken from the sleep of death?"  Daniel assures us that "many" of those asleep in the ground of dust will wake up (Daniel 12:2); and Acts 24:15 says that there will be a resurrection of both "the righteous and the unrighteous".

And for all those who wake from the sleep of death it will be to a fresh start - they will be able to learn the truth in the restored earthly Paradise.

Still effectively housebound. I will have the bonfire on the Green to watch tonight, and the fireworks. I have been invited to a leaving party this evening, but don't think I can make it as they close our road off quite early, and I can't walk there.

A couple of years ago, I would have been able to.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The wildlife of the South Coast rainforests

Still have my cold, still not doing much.  While I did get to the meeting on Sunday, I have done very little else.

We, in the worldwide congregations, are coming to the end of a verse by verse study of the Book of Acts, and are soon to start on a study of Jeremiah.   And, after studying how valiant Paul and those earliest Christians were, you wouldn't think that I would have been deterred from a garden gate this morning by a giant spider and its web.  

But I was!  Shame on me.  We put it down as a not home (NH), so someone else will call.  Perhaps there should be a SAH symbol (Spider At Home) so that whichever of my siblings who returns can be one not scared of spiders.

But we did have a lovely morning - much more interest that I have found for some time.  So I hope that I will be forgiven Spidergate.

I feel so tired though. This cold won't go.

Its been wet and foggy here - the Channel disappearing into a grey-white mist. Not cold yet, though apparently it will be at the weekend.    Col found and caught an escaped budgie and rushed it down to the vets clinic.  Budgies can and do live wild on the South Coast, but if this is one that had only just escaped it may not have survived the weekend out. Snow is forecast for parts of the UK!

The ungrateful little brute gave him a severe pecking.

Friday, 19 October 2012

The Blog of a Nobody

I have been struck down with an Autumn cold - caught from Captain Butterfly.  So my blog is going to get even more Diary of a Nobody than it already is.  I could list my cold medications - and if only I had two friends called Cummings and Gowing as Mr.Pooter did, I could list their comings and goings.

There are two wonderful animal rescue videos in the Mail onLine today. One is a puppy rescued from a shrinking sandbank by a passing canoeist, and the other is a baby elephant rescued from a pit, and returned to its distressed and relieved mother.

I hope Jehovah will bless and keep all the rescuers.   But it made me so sad to think of what I was taught as a young Catholic convent schoolgirl - that animals "don't matter", as "they don't have souls".   Fortunately I was taught very differently at home, by my parents, that animals do matter, and that we should care for them and be kind to them.  Both my parents were country children - my father grew up in the fields and forests of Belarus. And wild forests they were - and perhaps still are.  The fear of what was in those childhood forests came back to my father in nightmares at the end of his life.  There was a time when I had to tackle a bear in his bedroom.  My mother was from a small village in Lancashire - from the wonderful world of Nabbs Cottage, our childhood paradise.

Then also there was the religion of science which taught us that animals don't have feelings, only instincts.

How much cruelty has been and is being perpetrated because of these ideas?

It wasn't till I was nearly forty that I found out what the Inspired Scriptures say about animals.  Two Jehovah's Witnesses called at my door and, among other things, they showed me this:

"I, even I, have said in my heart with regard to the sons of mankind that the [true] God is going to select them, that they may see that they themselves are beasts. For there is an eventuality as respects the sons of mankind and an eventuality as respects the beast, and they have the same eventuality. As the one dies, so the other dies; and they all have but one spirit, so that there is no superiority of the man over the beast, for everything is vanity. All are going to one place. They have all come to be from the dust, and they are all returning to the dust. "  - Ecclesiastes 3:18-20

We are souls - "nephesh" - as are the animals, and we all die, and return to the dust of the ground from which we were created.

That is why the hope of the resurrection - the re-standing to life again - is so important.  And I know even more forcefully now than I did at 40 how short life is!  Its over before you know it.   And what a short time we have to be with the people we love.  Captain Butterfly and I met 45 years ago, and its gone so quickly.  Just a moment in time.

The Channel is quite calm today, and grey, under a grey sky.  Yesterday was a day of stormy seas, and wild waves.  

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Another memorial

It was the Memorial service for Irene this afternoon.  I gave Audrey a lift there and back.  A lovely talk, about her many years of loyal service to Jehovah - and we sang "Keep Your Eyes on the Prize" at the end, which reduced poor Maggie to tears, as it makes her think of Don, her husband.

Maggie and I plan to do her route calls tomorrow morning.

Its been a wet and windy day here with big seas and high tides. The waves were so big in the morning I expected them to come spilling over the Green.  I would have loved to walk along the beach, but I can't.

Audrey and I managed just half an hour on the work on Tuesday, though it took us well over an hour by the time we got there and back as we had a problem finding the territory.

My knees are very painful.  Steve asked if I could come on the study tomorrow morning, but I just can't tackle stairs yet - ever again?!  I hope our lift here doesn't break down again.

We must shop at some stage tomorrow, as I have just about used up everything. The apples Col picked have been turned into a giant apple crumble, and all the veggies have gone into a leftover vegetable soup.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Monday begins with a splendid sunrise

Another Monday begins, and I am grateful for every single one of them.    Monday is different in retirement, after a busy weekend I look on it as a rest day.  It used to be a horror of  a day in school term time.  And not all that pleasant in my working years.   But now it is redeeming itself wonderfully.

Jacks was round on Saturday night and we tested out the Abel & Cole steak and ale pie. Very good, will be ordering more.  A simple meal too, I just made veggies and a cauliflower cheese to go with it, and we had some exotic ice-creams from Waitrose afterwards.  May I recommend their lime and coconut ice-cream, combined with their mango sorbet.  (They are not paying me for this, neither is Abel & Cole. If only!)

Yesterday was the meeting, which was excellent as always.  And in the afternoon we made a difficult phone call to friends, one of whom has just been diagnosed with cancer.  We hope to see them for lunch soon, IF the chemo permits such outings.  It doesn't at the moment.

When people wonder if they will be bored in retirement, one thing they don't factor in is the amount of time that will be taken up with doctors visits, hospital visits, blood tests visits, collecting medications visits...  I didn't.   I don't know what Adam and Eve were thinking of when they ate that fruit!

It seems that Eve had been persuaded to "look for the goddess within".  Of course, she found no such thing, except perhaps a goddess complex that she has passed on to us, her daughters.   However, I am hoping to be here, on the earth, in perfect health - something I, a daughter of Eve, have never know - "to time indefinite".  I hope to see unnumbered Autumns.

They also don't factor in that life gets more interesting and more wonderful the older you get - so far, anyway...   But I have been housebound a lot over the last year and have never, yet, been bored.  For one thing, I have one of Jehovah's grand creations - the English Channel - right outside my window.  Always changing, always beautiful. And no sunrise and no sunset, no sky, is the same as any other, or ever will be.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

A rainbow sky...

... but no rainbow as yet.  We are ringed by an ominous dark blue sky and some rain has spotted the windows.  But we are in sunshine and the English Channel is sparkling away.  It feels as if there ought to be a rainbow, but I can't see one yet.

Had a bad night - got up in the early hours to take painkillers with an early breakfast - then managed to sleep till about 9.00 when I found Captain B staring at me offering coffee. So i did not get to the field service group.  However, it has been quite a productive day so far.  I have cleared out my wardrobe and got three bagfuls of clothes and shoes for the charity shops.

I have admitted, finally, that i will only be wearing sturdy sensible shoes from now on, no matter what the occasion, so a lot of stuff can go.  I have scrubbed out the bathroom and Captain B has been vaccuming.

And my Watchtower study for tomorrow is done.  Its a lovely one, reminding us yet again that while "the world" may say "sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me", the Inspired Scriptures say the exact opposite.   James likens one wrong word to the little spark that can start a forest fire.

"So, too, the tongue is a little member and yet makes great brags. Look! How little a fire it takes to set so great a woodland on fire!  Well, the tongue is a fire. The tongue is constituted a world of unrighteousness among our members, for it spots up all the body and sets the wheel of natural life aflame and it is set aflame by Ge‧hen′na.  For every species of wild beast as well as bird and creeping thing and sea creature is to be tamed and has been tamed by humankind.  But the tongue, not one of mankind can get it tamed. An unruly injurious thing, it is full of death-dealing poison.  With it we bless Jehovah, even [the] Father, and yet with it we curse men who have come into existence “in the likeness of God.” Out of the same mouth come forth blessing and cursing."

We need to be so careful to keep "the law of loving-kindness" on our tongue.

Jacks is coming for supper tonight.

Thursday, 11 October 2012


A Captain Butterfly shaped mouse has been preying on my tray of marmalade muffins. There seem a lot less than there should be.

Had a lovely Wednesday evening with a young Ghanaian brother and the sister who is doing the demo with me, and her husband.  We had a cup of tea, prayed for help from Jehovah, and then we decided how we were going to do it. Hope to practise it on Captain B - if he can speak through the marmalade muffins, that is.

Ronald and I were talking about how we came into the truth (I gave him a lift there and back), and it turns out we were both very shy children who never said a word at school if possible. And now he is so active in the congregation - giving talks - organising Louise and me in our demo - and he is so young - AND he is doing it in a foreign language.

We agreed that Jehovah has done wonders with us and for us.

Its very rainy this morning. The Captain went swimming and I went shopping. And we both got very wet.  I woke him up in the fairly early hours by going through my demo talk in what I had thought was a low enough murmur.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

The Pig of Tilling

I have just read, and am now re-reading, "Miss Mapp" by E.F.Benson.  It is as funny as all the Mapp & Lucia books.  And EFB is so good on the charm of Tilling (Rye) and its marshy setting.

"There is not a town in all England so blatantly picturesque as Tilling, nor one, for the lover of level marsh land, of tall reedy dykes, of enormous sunsets and rims of blue sea on the horizon, with so fortunate an environment."

Yes, although I am a child of the Yorkshire moors and Derbyshire Dales, I love it all.  And that "blatantly" is very well deployed.   

There is a wonderful passage in Proverbs where Jesus, personified as wisdom, speaks to us of how he worked beside his Father:
“Jehovah himself produced me as the beginning of his way, the earliest of his achievements of long ago.  From time indefinite I was installed, from the start, from times earlier than the earth.  When there were no watery deeps I was brought forth as with labour pains, when there were no springs heavily charged with water.  Before the mountains themselves had been settled down, ahead of the hills, I was brought forth as with labour pains,  when as yet he had not made the earth and the open spaces and the first part of the dust masses of the productive land.  When he prepared the heavens I was there; when he decreed a circle upon the face of the watery deep,  when he made firm the cloud masses above, when he caused the fountains of the watery deep to be strong,  when he set for the sea his decree that the waters themselves should not pass beyond his order, when he decreed the foundations of the earth,  then I came to be beside him as a master worker, and I came to be the one he was specially fond of day by day, I being glad before him all the time,  being glad at the productive land of his earth, and the things I was fond of were with the sons of men."

Jesus loved the earth and everything on it - especially us.  It is a damaged creation at the moment - the serpent is still in the garden - but we can see its beauty everywhere, and we can know that by the end of the Thousand years it will all be perfect again, as it was when it was created.

Then E.F.Benson is very funny about the Tilling tourist industry - obviously in full swing back then.   Of the
Tilling tourist he says:

"Few if any of them left without purchasing one of the famous Tilling money-boxes, made in the shape of a pottery pig, who bore on his back that remarkable legend of his authenticity which ran:
                                             I won't be druv
                                             Though I am willing,
                                             Good-morning, my love,
                                             Said the Pig of Tilling."

Brilliant!  I'd have bought one too.  And our own little seaside town could do with a Pig of Tilling.

Audrey and I were out for an hour yesterday - it started raining heavily just as we finished.  I did little else - so tired, can't sleep, steroids (whinge, whinge), did my study and some emails and got us dinner.

Jackie is back.  Hurray!   We will invite her round to test fly the Abel & Cole Steak and Ale pie at the weekend.  Talked to her on the phone today and caught up.  And made a tray of marmalade muffins for Captain B's portable lunches.

One of the ladies on my magazine route has died.  She has been very ill for a long time.  I hope she is sleeping safe in "the everlasting arms" and will wake up once again in the Paradise earth.  And she can continue to learn - as we all will - IF we are there.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Rainy Days and Mondays

Its a rainy Monday here on the South Coast.  There are white horses on the sea and our Green is very green under the grey sky.   The balcony geraniums got a good battering in the recent storms but are still clashing away bravely.

If I were back in poem writing mode, I would be writing a poem about late Autumn and tiredness - perhaps all woven round a metaphor about the tired geraniums.  What rhymes with geranium?  Although poems do not have to rhyme nowadays. Half rhymes are nice though.   My steroids are working, but preventing me sleeping.

I would like to fall asleep over the computer, but I can't.

A quiet day ahead I hope.  Shopping.  Dropping off latest request for meds. Library. And posting the Butterfly Membership Packages.   The meeting yesterday was one I wished everybody I know could have attended.  Ronald got together with me and Louise and we are to go round to Louise's on Wednesday to practise a demo for the Thursday night.  This will be a first for me, to be part of a demo on the platform.

Captain Metal Detector found an amazing coin yesterday, which will be featuring on his blog.  We test flew the new Abel and Col chicken pie at the weekend - hot on Saturday, cold on Sunday. And we can say that it is very nice indeed.

Anne o'the Cape and i have been talking on Skype again, and she is going to see if she can get the book "The Bible, God's Word or Man's?" from her local Kingdom Hall.  She wants it to help a friend. People's faith in the Bible has been so weakened by "the world".

Saturday, 6 October 2012


Grey squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis
The Backyard Squirrel
by me

The darting backyard squirrel
quickly covers peanuts with snow
and hurries back for more
She doesn't see me
watching at the door.

do you have the sense to know
snow won't be here for ever
Before the thaw,
you must collect your treasure.

If  I have put this poem in before, sorry. I was inspired to do so again by some charming squirrel photos Captain B took yesterday.  The squirrel in the poem was a bungalow squirrel, many years ago.  It was a Yorkshire squirrel. The one in the Captain's photo is a Sussex squirrel, from yesterday.

Got back to the Saturday field service group this morning and Jean and I did some calls.  Tricky driving.  We got ourselves into one cul-de-sac, with no apparent way out. There were cars parked everywhere, on corners, at odd angles, making the little turning area a nightmare.  I drove into a narrow cul de sac with garages both sides and very little room. Jean and I both asked Jehovah for help, and I did a 30 (or so) point turn and we finally got out of there.

The next excitement of our day was a trip to the Clinic for our flu shots and then to the library.  And we pioneered the new Abel & Col chicken pie for lunch.  Very good it is too.

Strictly Come Dancing tonight!

The Butterfly paperwork has finally arrived and I must get that done so i can post the new membership packages on Monday.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

The Waves

Its overcast today, with heavy rain showers, off and on.  I am looking out over a very green Green to a turquoise Channel, surging with white horses and splashing up white foam just behind the hedge.  Its hard to stop watching it.  All that power and all that beauty - telling us over and over of the qualities of its Grand Creator, Jehovah of armies.

I hope so much my dear aged parents will wake up one day to see it all again.   They holidayed in Cornwall, as a young engaged couple, in another lifetime, and they loved the wild Cornish coast.

Yesterday Audrey and I managed about an hour on the doors, in a very swish part of town, with lovely Autumn gardens. We both placed some literature, so we must call back.  More driving on that big grown-up road with its big boy roundabouts...  Did shamefully little else - 55 minutes plodding slowly from door and door and I feel exhausted.  Its ridiculous.

Have done a little better today so far.  Shopped. And got two loads of washing done. Captain Coppice is on his way back from coppicing and clearing duties - so what I have to do now is to get a lamb casserole in the oven for tonight and do my day's studying.

Then a quiet night in in front of the telly.  At the moment, that is my absolute favourite way of spending the evening.  I think its the last episode of Mrs.Biggs tonight too.  Well written, well cast, and gripping.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Free Lighting For our New Kingdom Hall?

It was a hospital day today and I have been x-rayed so much that I will probably glow in the dark - and I will light up the whole Hall on these darkening nights, thus saving on the electric bills.

Anyway, it all went as well as it can, and time will tell.

Oddly I feel quite a bit better - maybe a bit of my self-help is working?

Captain Butterfly ordered me the first part of the collected "Mapp and Lucia" from Amazon, and I have been keeping myself happy with "Miss Mapp".  The duels between her and Diva over the dresses - wonderful - and the duel between Colonel Benjie and Captain Puffin - SPOILER ALERT! - the nearly duel - the early train as they both try to escape from each other - wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.

The book also has the Mapp and Lucia map of Rye, and IF I can get a bit better then the Captain and I hope to have a few days there next year, and we will tread the very streets that they trod.

There is a wonderful light on the Green as I am typing this. It is fluorescing two fat seagulls who are waddling across it.  There are a few children playing quietly in the playground, lit up by the low Autumn evening sun.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

New Kingdom Hall and the Kindness of neighbours

Captain Butterfly came to the Hall last night for the Dedication Service - so I was able to hold his hand during the prayer.  Usually I can only do that once a year, at the Memorial, so it was a red-letter day.

A funny video had been made about the building process - we are going to get a copy to show to Jacks, who was away yesterday - and to the family (so you have been warned). Her daughter came to the Open Day though.

The experiences were wonderful. The brother who did the talk about them had tears in his eyes as he finished.   The site here is so difficult - tiny entrance with a shared drive - plus in making the Hall bigger we were, in planning terms, "overdeveloping" the site.   Then assuming we got planning permission,  we could not go ahead unless every one of the neighbours signed an agreement about it.  That involved three of them losing their garages and shared drive for three months - three long dusty, noisy months.  Another neighbour's fence had to come down for the duration.  And another neighbour's garden was needed to store the scaffolding.  And the pub would need to agree that we could use its carpark. And its a very busy pub.  Oh and we needed to build a landbridge over three neighbours gardens to give access into the pub carpark.

The brothers had looked everywhere for another site, but there was nothing.  So, after putting the matter to Jehovah in prayer, they decided to go ahead with this.   And it all went like clockwork. Planning permission was granted, on first application I believe.  And every neighbour signed an agreement that allowed us to do all detailed in the previous paragraph.

I hope Jehovah will bless every one of them for their kindness to us.  I know He will.

The final speaker reminded us what the purpose of the Hall is - a centre where we can worship and thank Jehovah.  And he reminded us how central this site is, how convenient.

And most importantly, he reminded us of how Jehovah promised he would smooth out the Israelites way when they were to restore true worship.

(Isaiah 40:3-4) "Listen! Someone is calling out in the wilderness: “Clear up the way of Jehovah, you people! make the highway for our God through the desert plain straight.  Let every valley be raised up, and every mountain and hill be made low. And the knobby ground must become level land, and the rugged ground a valley plain."

We thanked Jehovah very much for smoothing out our way, and for our lovely new Hall.

Friday, 28 September 2012

What to say?

A quiet week so far, with some stormy weather.   I got out on Tuesday with Audrey - we got to the Field Service Group and spent nearly an hour delivering invitations to the Open Day. We finished when we ran out of invites. Its the Hall Dedication tomorrow, with a brother down from London Bethel to give the public talk. He is also going to give the public talk on Sunday, so two things to look forward to.

Captain B has been to our local Tropical Butterfly House with Mark - to stave off butterfly starvation in the wet weather - and he has gone off to do his first woodland clearance today - a sure sign that winter is on the way.  I clucked him off with lots of remarks about "Watch out for your back".

I have a quiet day ahead in which I hope to achieve some paperwork and some study. But we shall see.

The Channel is a light grey blue and very ripply, no white frills as yet, and the balcony geraniums, lilac and salmon pink, still clash and whirl beautifully in the wind, framing the scene.

What a lovely retirement nest Captain Butterfly the Great has provided for us.  And what a beautiful world Jehovah has provided for us all.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Sleeping Sally

Writing about Sally yesterday reminded me that I wrote this poem many years ago, after one of our walks in the park, when I was dog sitting.  I wasn't a JW when I wrote it, but I was wondering about the Why of things.

And please remember, re the idea of evolution, and ape-men, the fossil evidence still says Genesis - more and more strongly.  It does not harmonise with the idea of evolution.

And Genesis tells us we are falling from a state of perfection, not evolving.

by me

Sleeping Sally dreams of biscuits
Hordes and hordes and herds of biscuits
Herds of migrating chocolate biscuits
Thundering across the primeval plain.

Sally and ancestral sisters
Rush among the herds of biscuits
Bark and tumble, kill and guzzle
Satiated, they sleep under the hot sun.

The ape upon the hillside watches Sally enviously.
Soon the ape-man will have tools
He'll corral the biscuits into packets
And dole them out meanly - one by one.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Missing my sisters and remembering Sally

Nute and Pen left this morning, which is sad, but we had a lovely weekend together. There was a time when we were young marrieds, when we all lived in the same city - our brother included - and our parents, in their retirement bungalow. And Keith and Janet too.   I suppose we took it for granted at the time, but it was great just to be able to drop in.

Even Sally the dog used to take herself off up to her granny's at the bungalow every time she could - and head straight for the never-failing biscuit barrel.   She was quite an escape artist and, every time she disappeared, we had to search all the neighbours dustbins. She was very taken with the scenic beauty of dustbins - she found something within them (in a very literal way). Then if that search turned up nothing except a lot of ravaged dustbins and cross neighbours we began the trek up to the bungalow to reclaim her.

We went to the public talk at the Kingdom Hall - chauffered by the kind Captain Butterfly, who saved us from getting a soaking by providing a door to door taxi service.

Jackie came round for supper yesterday - Thai takeaway, courtesy of the siblings - lychees, ice-cream, cheese, and chocolates.  Its become a bit of tradition now.   We also got quite a lot of writing done.

The sea is exhilarating today.  It is turquoise blue, racing towards the shore, covered with white horses, and windsurfers.  It rained all morning, but is sunny now.

I hope to be at the field service group, driving Miss Audrey, tomorrow.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Three Mermaids seen in English Channel

Brrr... we - Nute, Pen and me - just went for a swim in The Channel.  There was no-one else even paddling. It was bracing, as us hardy Brits say.

We are having a writing day today - to the new Kingdom Hall tomorrow for the public talk - and Jackie is coming round for Thai food tomorrow night.

Captain Butterfly escaped from the girly stuff by leaving on a course while it was still dark. And he won't be back till late.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Back to the Field

I made it to the Field Service group at the Kingdom Hall this morning - for the first time in 3 months!  By the time I had picked up Audrey, dropped her off, gone off to find somewhere to park (no parking at the new Hall), tottered back to the Hall, I was late. But I got there.

Audrey and I got our territory, then Mick assigned Maggie and Beryl (who don't have cars) to come with us, so it took us a while to work out where to drop everybody off and where to meet up again.  We did 45 minutes, which is as much as my knees will stand, then took Audrey back and went back and waited for the other to finish so I could take them back home.

Once again, I am amazed to be doing the most important work of my life in retirement...

Such a beautiful day. After I had dropped off Beryl, I drove back along the sea road. The tide was well in, with a sort of swell on, and the light was so lovely. The sea was a like a turquoise jewel, only alive.

Youtube keeps asking me if my anti-wrinkle cream works?!

What a cheek.

Monday, 17 September 2012

An unseasonal Spring Lamb

I got some medical advice from Tony of the doors today. He told me that the cod liver oil capsules I take will be much more effective if taken on an empty stomach.  He reckoned it really helped him, so I promised to give it a try.   "Maybe I will be leaping up your path like a spring lamb when I deliver the magazines next month" I chirped.  He paled, and made a cross sign with his fingers, to ward me off.

I suppose it is rather a scary thought.

Anyway, obviously, I got out on the doors this morning.  And had a good time.  We are delivering the invitations for the Open Day at our new Hall.  And I hope to be out delivering them with Audrey tomorrow.

We had a lovely supper at Jacks on Saturday night.  Chicken Kiev - and cheesecake.  

Captain B is on a course all day today - left early will be back late. I have a salmon salad ready to go when he arrives, plus I have started on the  two giant bags of apples he picked and have made an apple crumble. I had better go off now and make the custard.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Climbing Everest

My talk was delivered on Thursday night. And Martin, the elder in charge of the School, was very nice about it.  I should have known not to be worried about the climb to the platform, especially in a brand new Kingdom Hall.  The two little steps are right by the book counter, so I could hold on to it while going up and down.  No need for a team of sturdy Sherpas after all.  Am paying for those 4 little stairs now though!

Captain Chauffeur took us shopping on Friday, and we picked up my meds and got some library books. I lay on the bed most of the afternoon, resting my knees, which are screaming at me not to walk on them, so it helps to have some new books.

Rather cloudy on Friday  - the Channel was rippling away blue grey outside the window with banks of splendid Sussex clouds above.  Its been a lovely Autumn day today.

Today I did shamefully little - frozen shoulder plus knee - but finished my Watchtower study, chatted to Audrey and Jean on the phone, and we are now off to Jackie's for a lovely Jackie supper.  I am taking her over an invite to the Open Day at the new Kingdom Hall, plus one for her daughter, who wants to see how it has turned out.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

A bit of a nothing day

Yesterday was a bit of a nothing day - an afternoon of butterfly paperwork - and Captain B was stuck in a traffic jam for ages.

I felt a bit depressed, which I rarely do these days. Though Bea has cheered me up by offering to go through my talk with me on the phone. We will use the blog version.

I talked to Audrey and to Richard.  It rained a little bit in the afternoon.  I am still resting a lot - not much option, though the knees are slightly better.   I was reading a new (to me) biography of Jean Rhys.  "The Blue Hour" by Lillian Pizzichini.

When I was a child, Jean was living in Cornwall.  She would have been about the age I am now, so we were  in Cornwall together, but at the opposite ends of our life.  It was a place of magical holidays for us, as for some years my granny had a house at Praa Sands - now one of the foremost surfing beaches - then wild and empty.

How differently we saw it all.  Jean Rhys at the end of her life, me at the beginning of mine.  This is a little poem I wrote about it years ago, probably after I read the Carol Angier biography.

by me 

I can’t believe Jean
That you and I
Were in Cornwall together
You write of freezing March weather
I remember only sun.

Of course we were never there in March.   But Cornwall set the standard for the seaside for me - rocky cliffs with sea pinks growing on every ledge, wild seas, empty sandy beaches, with rock pools full of anemones.   It was a place full of wonder and fascination and danger.    

We live now in a flat, neat, municipal seaside, but it is still an amazing thing to have the sea coming and going and surging and roaring just outside the window, and to see the enormous Sussex skies, deep blue with high fluffy white cloud in summer, and to see "the red wing" of the sun rising above the Channel in the winter mornings.  I was on the balcony studying after lunch. The sky was a perfect blue with one enormous dramatic swathe of white cloud - it was all racked up towards one end, and fat and fluffy at the other (like the best sort of cat). And the Channel underneath was a deeper more sombre blue - but it was covered in sun sparkles, so much so that it was almost white in parts.

The creation tells us so clearly about its Creator, Jehovah of armies.  I hope to be speaking about the importance of sanctifying, or hallowing, His name, at the meeting tonight, as I talk about the importance of making it known.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Further back in time

Last week we revisited our expat past, via a reunion with Dorothy and Sue.  This week we will be going further back in time - to my Catholic Convent Schooldays in fact.  (Yes, quite a long way back...)   Kathryn and Jen are touring the South Coast and are coming for lunch tomorrow.

Yesterday was the meeting in the morning. Richard was there!  His second meeting.  I must ring him today and have a chat and see what he thinks of it all.  And in the afternoon I did the Butterfly paperwork, which is waiting to go to the Post Office today. We of the Sussex Butterflyers are still ahead on our memberships - more joining us than leaving - which isn't bad in a recession.

And I rested a lot and finished my library books.  Dorothy, who is a Physio, has warned me, if and when my knees (and the rest) come back on line, not to go rushing about, but to keep on having lots of rest.   At the moment, the idea of rushing about seems as likely as climbing Everest without my sofa, but who knows.

I would love to get back to walking.  I have always been a great walker, but not once this summer have I even been able to take the little walk down to the pier.  I love to sit and watch the tide come and go.

But i am hanging on to Jehovah's promise that, when his Kingdom is ruling over the earth, "no resident will say 'I am sick'".   And we have the record of how Jesus, as the King of the Kingdom, was able to heal people when he was on the earth.  We know that Jehovah will empower him to do a permanent healing when the time comes.

I still haven't managed to find my householder for Thursday and practise my talk.  But i have sent over a copy of the script (see yesterday's blog) with her sister-in-law, so I am hoping she will ring me if she feels she needs to go through it beforehand.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

My Talk

I have to take my talk to the meeting tomorrow to practise with the sister who is my householder.  So here it is.  I actually have to give it, on the platform of the new Hall, on Thursday night.  As you will see, I have not yet been able to give up the security of a printed script for a minimal outline.  But sooner or later, I will have to.

Rs. p278 par1-3
Study 44:Effective Use of Questions

Setting: No.24, Witnessing to a member of the local Protestant Church

Sue:  Thanks for asking me in. I said last week that I would bring you a brochure that might help to answer your questions.  Its this: “The Divine Name That will Endure Forever”.

HH:  That’s kind of you, but as you know I attend the local church and I spoke to our vicar about my conversation with you, when we talked about God’s name, and he said that you are very wrong to have added God’s name to your Bible.   He said that the name is only in the Old Testament, and anyway, traditionally the Jews do not say or use the name, so Jesus would not have used it.

Sue: Oh. He is right in saying that the Jews do have a tradition of not using the name of God, but if you can spare me five minutes I would like to show you, from the Christian Greek Scriptures, the New Testament, why it is that we believe God’s name should be there.  For example, would you think about these words of Jesus, which he addresses to his Father, Jehovah: (reads John 17:26): "And I have made your name known to them and will make it known, in order that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in union with them."  So when faced with a tradition that says we must not make God’s name known, and those words of Jesus saying that he has and will make it known, what ought we to do?

HH:   If we want to follow in Jesus footsteps, it would seem we should make God’s name known too.

Sue.  Yes, that is how we see it.  We wish to make Jehovah’s name known just as Jesus did.  And don’t forget what Jesus said when he left us the Lord’s Prayer. You will know these words well, but let’s read them now.  Would you read them?

HH: (Reads Matthew 6:9): “You must pray, then, this way: “‘Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified."  

Sue: What was the first thing, the most important thing that Jesus asked us to pray for?

HH: It was the sanctification of God’s name.

Sue. Yes, so Jesus must have used and made known the name Jehovah don’t you think?

HH:  It would seem so, from what he said

Sue.  And also remember that Matthew’s Gospel was written first in Hebrew, and he makes numerous quotations of passages from the Hebrew Scriptures, or Old Testament, that contain God’s name. Do you think he would have removed that name?

HH:  No, perhaps not.

Sue.  We don’t believe he would.  So we haven’t removed it from our Bible translation either.  And other writers of the New Testament, or Christian Greek Scriptures, quoted from the Greek Septuagint, which was a translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, and fragments of those translations that remain show that they did contain the divine name.  And once again, as they were Christians, following Jesus teaching, do you think they would have hidden, or removed that name?

HH:  No, I don’t think they would.   When you tell me this, it does sound as if Jehovah’s name should be in the New Testament.  But, if it is so clear, why haven’t other Bible translators put God’s name in?  Why is it only you Jehovah’s Witnesses?

Sue. That is an excellent question, and one that I hope this brochure will help to answer.  As you read it, you will see what others, not Jehovah’s Witnesses, have said on the subject. And you will see that we are not the only ones who see that it is wrong to remove God’s name from the Inspired Scriptures.  For example, I wanted to show you this, as it is from a Protestant Publication – The Anglican Theological Review:   In it, a Dr. Walter Lowrie highlighted the need to know God’s name. He wrote: “In human relationships it is highly important to know the proper name, the personal name, of one we love, to whom we are speaking, or even about whom we speak. Precisely so it is in man’s relation to God. A man who does not know God by name does not really know him as a person, has no speaking acquaintance with him (which is what is meant by prayer), and he cannot love him, if he knows him only as an impersonal force.” 

HH:  Thanks, I will read it.

Friday, 7 September 2012


I, along with other blogs, have been asked a series of questions by Dr.Danusha Goska, on her fascinating Save Send Delete blog.

The first question is:  
1.) If you could not be a writer, and you had to be some other artist – a singer, a painter, a mime, a puppeteer – what kind of artist would you be and why? (For Kim and anyone else who is primarily a visual artist who also writes: reverse the question. If you could not be a visual artist, what other art would you choose?)

So, its time for the two brain cells to get another work out. This at least is an easy one for me.  My creative outlets are writing and cooking.   And everyone one of us needs to create, even if not very brilliantly. We were made in Jehovah's image, and He is the Creator.   But if i could be some other artist (and I am going to cheat a bit and say, as well), I would work in cloth.  I would weave, or embroider, or simply create beautiful garments out of beautiful fabrics.  Perhaps I could combine painting, and paint glowing silk pictures as Bea does.

Oddly enough, a parcel arrived for me yesterday morning, and it contained a vibrant silky caftan Bea has made for me.  She knows just what I need for the mornings - something light and easy to get into, until my joints have loosened up enough to be able to have my shower and get dressed.

I have no skills in that direction - either painting or sewing.  Captain Butterfly is the button-sewer-on in our house.   But I would love to have, and very much admire those who do.

I often think of myself in the restored earthly Paradise - and its an "undeserved kindness", so I am not supposing i have got there on merit - and one of the things I picture is sewing at some beautiful tapestry, or even just repairing things, at a large table, in a beautiful room, with big tall windows, looking out over a forest full of Autumn colours, or maybe mysteriously snowy, with lots of other ladies, all of us sisters, working together in perfect happiness and harmony.

"Save Send Delete" is a great title for a novel by the way.  And good titles are not easy to find.

Yesterday was a very bad day arthritis wise, possibly because of eating things I usually wouldn't, as we were entertaining visitors.   But I had a chat to Richard on the phone. He is coming to the Hall on Sunday.  Which makes me so happy.  And I got to the meeting, and am so glad i did.  Not only was the teaching so sustaining, as always, but two young elders both took the time out to say some lovely upbuilding things to me, seeing I was struggling.