Monday, 30 July 2012

The Opening Ceremony

Jackie came over for chile on Saturday night and we had our usual lovely evening. She is such good company.   I managed to drive myself to the Hall on Sunday, to a wonderful meeting, but am paying for it knee and ankle wise today. Have to totter off for a hospital appointment - the Lung lady - this afternoon.

I must be costing the poor old NHS a fortune, and when the government decides on a patient cull, I fear I will be top of the list.

The Olympics have started. And we watched the Opening Ceremony on Friday.  What to think about it?    I had expected to be bored, and carry on reading my book.  I am re-reading Agatha Christie at the moment - even when I can remember who did it, I can't remember how or why, or see how their alibi can be broken.   But the Ceremony did grab me.  An amazing spectacle.  And brilliantly organised.  It could all have gone horribly, spectacularly wrong.   However, I find myself agreeing with Melanie Phillips in the on-line mail today.  She says: In the attempt to convey just this, Boyle succeeded brilliantly. Beijing this most definitely was not. 
This was the very antithesis of that regimented display of synchronised  subservience. This was patriotism at its most quirky, shot through with surrealist humour and manic energy. 
But it was "dripping with Political Correctness" (Melanie's description), and "sentimentality" (Melanie, again).  Much as I loved the lindyhopping nurses and the child patients dancing in their beds, it was hard not to think of two recent cases in which patients died of thirst while in hospital - one young, one old.  That is a failure of nursing at such a basic level, it suggests something terminally wrong with the whole system.  And I suppose I, a now elderly child of the post war baby boom years, must acknowledge being part of the problem.

And did the Ceremony make us forget that all round us were armed soldiers, rocket launchers on rooftops, unthinkable levels of security?  

I did enjoy the Queen parachuting in, and Mr.Bean. Although I thought there should have been two tiny parachutes for the corgis.

I enjoyed it, but to me it well pictured where we are in the stream of time - very near the end of this current system of things on the earth.  It is the darkest hour before the dawn.

“‘I, Jesus, sent my angel to bear witness to you people of these things for the congregations. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright morning star.’”

When the bright morning star rises up, he will put an end to the time when "man has dominated man to his injury", and restore the earth to Paradise.  Then our dead loved ones will wake up from the sleep of death, into a world more lovely than they knew it could be.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Two Thousand Years of Happy Memories

Col drove us to Kithurst Hill this morning, very early. He wanted me to see the meadow full of Chalkhill Blues. But, and here is a sad landmark, I could no longer reach the meadow.  I managed to stagger as far as the flower filled verge, where I sat on our new chair and waited while Col disappeared down into the meadow and photographed.  Then he came back and got me and I staggered back to the car park and sat in the car while he did another 20 mins photographs.

I did my studying, out there, in the loveliness of the summer creation. And I thought, as I always think at the Hill, of Col and me maybe going there two thousand years from now.  Life "to time indefinite" in the restored earthly Paradise is an undeserved kindness, so we can hope.  Will it all be forest then, or will we have preserved the downland?   Surely there will be no carpark needed?   And I wonder, as I always do, will we think of how we used to come here, back in the days of imperfection, when Satan ruled all the kingdoms of the world?

With almost two thousand years of happy memories behind us, maybe we won't.

Jacks is coming for supper tomorrow - hurray - and I have decided to make us a chile.  A beef chile.  I have a recipe i learnt at a Tex Mex cookery class in the Land of Expat many years ago.  Its always turned out well, but the secret is to make it the day before.  So Captain B says he will come back early, with the beef, and we will go to the supermarket for the rest.  Hopefully I will cook it this evening and make the small small things to go with it on Saturday.  Ice cream and a cheese plate for afterwards I think.

An evening with Jackie, and an afternoon with my siblings at the Bognor Regis Kingdom Hall are going to be the best medicine for me.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

A Moaning Minnie

I don't think I'm brave enough to have arthritis.  I am too much of a wimp.  My mother was heroic and stoical about it.  How will I be, with my backbone of solid custard?  Anyway, I await diagnosis of my current problems which will take a couple of weeks I think.  Col is so lovely. He took me to the Hall last night and picked me up.  And it was wonderful to be at the meeting, to hear the teaching, to be with my siblings.   I was supposed to be out on the work both morning and afternoon today. But, the plans of mice and men...  although did I just see a pair of mice toiling up the road with their Bibles and Watchtower magazines?

Hurray for them, if so.

So what i must do, apart from resting my legs and trying to get the swelling down, and studying, and at least some housework, is to try to do some witnessing via the internet. The Bible's message is so important, so urgent.  Jesus compared the days we live in now to the days of Noah, before the flood.

Col and Mark are off chasing the wild butterfly herds in Hampshire. And my big adventure for the day was tottering out onto the balcony with books and a cup of tea, and doing my studying while looking out over one of Jehovah's grand creations, the beautiful English Channel, and getting my dose of sunshine.

From which you will deduce that it is another sunny day here by the English Channel.

Monday, 23 July 2012

The Diary of a Nobody

Its evening, and the sun is going down.  The sky, as it meets The Channel, is a pale mushroomy pink, and the sea is a light, bright, tender blue - and its calm.  The tide is going out.  

By the time Col got out to photograph the sunset, the colours had changed, the pink and the blue had swapped round.

Today this is the Diary of a Nobody Doing Nothing.  We did shop - went to our amazing new garden centre and found a folding chair that might enable me to go out with the Captain on some of his Butterfly expeditions.  And I did my studying on the balcony - and got some sunshine. And made us lunch and tea.  But that is pretty much it.  Oh, and Wit emailed me from Holland with some more questions about the Bible.  And I sent him the answers.

Sunday, 22 July 2012


I have missed the lushness of summer so far - when we have had it that is - as I haven't been able to go out on any of these expeditions this year.  Is this permanent, or will I come back on line?  I miss my trips to Kithurst Hill.

We had supper at Jacks last night - smoked salmon, lasagne, salad, cheesecake, cheese - our usual lovely evening.

IF I can keep myself moving i hope have a busy week in the truth coming up. Field service with Audrey on Tuesday and Saturday, on the Bible study Thursday morning, and out with a young pioneer sister on Thursday afternoon.  We all, the seven million plus of us in the worldwide congregations, got another powerful reminder of the urgency of the preaching work today.  "Do we appreciate that this is the time for us to apply ourselves even more zealously to sounding out the entreaty: "Become reconciled to God"? 2 Cor.5:20

And our Watchtower study reminded us that Jesus compared the days we are living in now to the days of Noah.

While we were looking through Col's photos for the day, I mistook a tortoiseshell butterfly for a peacock -  a peacock butterfly, not a peacock bird!   Captain Butterfly is still in shock.  The Butterfly Board will probably have to impeach me and remove me as Membership Secretary.  "At least I knew it was a butterfly" doesn't seem to cut it.

Friday, 20 July 2012

To the Dentist

For my six month check up & clean.  In Expatistan it used to take 40 to 50 minutes.  Here it takes about 5. However, it is cheaper here than it was the world of Expat.  Although you didn't notice the pain of payment back then as the Company simply deducted it from your paycheck.  Anyway, the thing is that I got a clean bill of dental health - even from the x rays (which he surprised me by doing).  There is some bone loss, but not bad... for my age (the last three words tactfully left unspoken by nice young dentist).

And it always starts the same:

Dentist:  "How are you, Mrs Captain Butterfly?"
Me:        "Fine. Can I go now?" (making a run for the door).

However, I can no longer run fast enough so I have to have the dental.

Nothing else at all planned for the day, which is great as I feel so tired.  A bit of studying, a bit of daytime TV watching - will Thomas the Tank Engine get those choc ices to the seas-side in time for the children's picnic? Or won't he?  I can't wait to find out.

Don't like to think about the looming Olympics.   For one thing, if it is necessary to have rocket launchers on roofs to protect the thing, is it time to call it a day?

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Synchronised Zimmering

I am wondering if a few of my sisters and me shouldn't go for Olympic gold next year?  We've left it a bit late this year as, in order to finish in time for the Closing Ceremony, we would need to start a good few weeks ahead of the Opening one.  Our movements, though stunningly graceful and synchronised to the utmost, will be on the slow side. And we will need lots of pit stops for nice hot cups of tea as we go through our routine.

Its a lovely day here.  Captain Butterfly left in a blur of cameras before 7 this morning.  And I have been out on the balcony studying my Watchtower and getting some sun. We are being reminded that Jehovah is the great Timekeeper, and that He will act in time to save the earth from being ruined, as He has promised.

Of the wildflowers Bea planted for us, only the cornflowers have come up. But they are doing really well, and their tender blue goes beautifully with our clashing red geraniums.

Took Maggie out on her magazine route yesterday morning - in the drizzle.  Scary driving - for me - but, with lots of praying, we got it done. And I was out with Audrey on the Tuesday, finishing our magazine routes.   I should have been at the study this morning, but the brother who conducts it is taking another sister along this week. We are trying to help our student get to know the brothers and sisters in the congregation, so that when he starts coming to the meetings - as he says he will! - he will feel at home.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Captain Butterfly in full flight
You will see him to the left of the picture.   My job was to be at home by the computer - on Twitter - sending regular butterfly count bulletins to his phone - so they were updated on the state of play.  In between doing that I shopped and made the curry for Jacks tonight.  A Madhur Jaffrey lemon coriander chicken - not helped by Sainsbury's being out of coriander.  We will also have tomatoes cooked Indian style, and strawberries, chocolates and champagne - our wedding anniversary celebration - a week late.  The Captain has just jetted off to buy a real-time copy of The Guardian, but just reported that it's not in today's edition.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012


Captain Butterfly nearly got caught in a hailstorm just before lunch today.  There was a flash of thunder and a crash of lightning as a warning and he made it to his car before the hailstones arrived!  I associate thunderstorms in July with hotter weather than we have had.  It is now pouring down. Second torrential downpour of the day here by the English Channel.  Its the meeting tonight, if we aren't flooded out.

On the work with Audrey yesterday morning - but I was very very tired and rather lacklustre.

I shopped early this morning and posted off the next lot of butterfly paperwork, namely my expense forms and receipts for all the posting of butterfly packages.

Everything looks lovely outside with the drama of the storm.  The Channel is getting a bit stormy, the Green is an especially deep and vivid green and the clashing red and pink geraniums on our balcony are dancing away.  They remind me a bit of my lost admirer, Maurice the Mussel.  What a dancer he was!  I haven't been able to totter down to the beach for months.

I hope a seagull hasn't dared to eat him.

Monday, 9 July 2012

My Wimbledon Career

With all the grunting and groaning I am doing (re my poor arthritic knees), I feel I should be a natural for Wimbledon, as making a terrible groaning noise every time you hit the ball seems to be de rigeur for the Wimbledon ladies nowadays. That would be no problem for me, and if any Tennis Talent Scout was passing and heard me, he would think Raw Young Talent, and sign me up.

"Yes", said Captain B, "apart from the Young and the Talent".

We were on our way to the shops I think. He also ran me up to Janet's with a sackload of cakes as there was an urgent call for supplies at the meeting on Sunday.  We are on the last big push for the new Kingdom Hall build.  Our neighbours have been wonderful. Three of them have sacrificed their garages for the duration; and one garage is now storing materials, one is the (temporary!) loo, and one is the office.  We had two of the young builders stay with us on Saturday night.

I got back from the meeting in time to see the second half of the Murray match. He did very well, but Federer did better.  We do think though that if Andy M could have got his first serve to work as it was working earlier in the tournament, the result could have been different.  I am hoping for a quiet day of catching up today.

Am now wearing my Dorothy of South Island recommended orthotics.  I think they are helping my knees already...

Friday, 6 July 2012


Two spectacular sunsets - one last night - see photo - and one on the previous night when I was driving back from the Kingdom Hall.  I was out with Jean the next day and we were talking about how wonderful it was. There was a sort of cloud column rainbow in the sky.  And there will never be another sunset like it.   I hope to see millions upon millions of sunsets, and not one will be the same as the other, such is the glory of Jehovah's creation.

Anyway, the Zimmer twins, Jean and me, creaked up to our student's flat yesterday morning, and after I had asked Jehovah for his spirit to be with us, we had a lovely study together.  We all felt very happy as we left.  The afternoon was taken up with Butterfly bureaucracy, as the first batch of new members for July arrived.  Captain and Mrs Butterfly (me) are just about to release the membership packages at the Post Office.

We are looking forward to Wimbledon this afternoon.  Its cloudy and overcast, but not scheduled to rain here.  Floods, severe floods, forecast for a lot of the country.  Hopefully the Centre Court roof will be rainproof.  I am trying to type up my notes from the Brighton Convention... my handwriting... never good... so bad now with the arthritis.  Its as if a clutch of spiders had fallen into a bottle of whisky, got drunk, staggered out, fallen into a bottle of ink, got out and crawled all over my notebook.  Only not as neat as that.

Anne of the Cape and I are talking about Genesis and Job at the moment.  We hope she will make it over here for a visit one day.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Saved by Mark

I just got back from the field service with Audrey - we didn't make it to the group but did some route calls and then I took her shopping - and got wet as its been a rainy day - and was getting lunch ready when Captain B said that Mark had rung, they were going to attempt a Butterfly Hunt and two lunches were needed.  Assuming he meant two packed lunches, I made an extra sandwich box up. But he didn't, he meant Mark was coming for lunch and then they would go out.  And he did, and they did.  Which saved me from being caged in the flat with a stir crazy butterflyless Captain all afternoon.

Restarted the Cakeathon by making a batch of marmalade muffins, studied, fell asleep, and managed to lose my Convention notebook.  Hopefully it will turn up. Its only a two bed flat after all.

The young brother, a carpenter, who will be staying at the weekend rang to check our address.  And Anne of the Cape and I are back in email contact again.

Monday, 2 July 2012

A Bear with a Sore Head

Growl, prowl... "NO butterflies".

Its raining out and I am trapped in the flat with a butterfly-deprived Captain B.  The Sharapova Lisicki match kept him happy for a while - two pretty blondes playing tennis.  Not sure if he noticed they were playing tennis, but he watched happily enough.

The Wimbledon Ladies Title is safe from me this year.  I can barely walk. Three days at the Stadium, followed by having to climb up and down the stairs to my appointment this morning (lift broken again) have just about finished me off.  Audrey wants me to go out on the field service with her tomorrow, but I don't know if I will be able to.

In the meantime I have offered to put on a colourful frock, and flutter around the room, landing on one of our orchids occasionally so that Captain B can stalk and photograph me.  My offer wasn't very gratefully received.  He growled that when he wanted pressed orchids he'd let me know.

I need to go and study now and try to type up my spidery Convention notes and try to APPLY all that wonderful teaching.