Thursday, 30 August 2012

The Project for Today...

... was to make a carrot cake to use up the carrots.  Achieved!   And then I fell asleep in the armchair.

How do all these valiant paralympians do it?

My project for tomorrow is to take Maggie out on her magazine route.

The meeting last night, our last at our borrowed Hall, was so lovely. And Steve came up at the end to tell me that our Bible student will be at the meeting on Sunday.  He has been asking after me apparently. I am so looking forward to seeing him, and so happy that he is listening and learning.  And I got my September magazines - Jenny very kindly climbed Everest for me and got them.

Was surprised when watching Midsomer Murders with Captain B yesterday.  A workman of Midsomer arrived at his workplace to find a body in the yard, and went screaming in to Reception to get them to call the Police.

Surely, in Midsomer, you run screaming for the Police when you DON'T find a body in your workplace?

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Latest Health Scare and an Oyster Catcher

And I don't mean to imply that I have caught Oyster Catching or some such thing. Its just that there was an Oyster Catcher on the Green this morning and Col camera'd it.  They are more usually found on the beach.

This growing old is very scarey. It wouldn't be if we weren't dying of course, if we had been perfect as we were supposed to be. It would all be wonderful then.  And it will be wonderful when everything is made new.

Had some funny "turns" yesterday morning - appointment with doctor - lovely young doctor - or is it that they all look young to me now?    Explained symptoms - he diagnosed illness, which started with the wonderful word "benign".  It is an inner ear condition - common in "older people" - will likely clear itself - if not take meds - if meds do not work, then a small procedure, non-invasive, will follow.

Col says they will put me in something similar to the Apple Tree Shaker that was used as a murder weapon in one of Midsomer's innumerable murders, and shake me until my ear canals right themselves.  I am hoping he is wrong.  As he said it, he looked worryingly like Basil Fawlty when told that Sybil's operation was going to be "rather painful".

While I am on dismal subjects I have sadly to report that the "Brazen Hussy" that Bea bought us has died. Not that many plants can cope with life on a sea-facing balcony and it obviously couldn't. I think the one that she bought Jackie is still doing well though.

We were so pleased at the time that she bought us a Brazen Hussy, and not a Zimmeria, or an Incontinentia.

On a happier note, I am back in touch with an internet friend from Oz.  And he ends his email with a "please be sure to keep in touch".

Obviously I wasn't able to take Audrey out, not knowing what the funny turns might imply, or if i might black out at the wheel.  But I am now cleared for driving. And I had lots of consoling telephone talks with Maggie, Audrey and Jackie about it all.


Monday, 27 August 2012

The Orchid and I

I wasn't going to do a blog today as I haven't been doing much.  However, Col has offered me a photo of Linda's orchid, which is doing very well.  It now has eleven flowers - so I thought I should do a blog in its honour. The orchids and I spend a lot of time together at the moment.

What else?  Fed Captain B (Jackie's lovely home baked ham is still providing us with salad teas); and I was asked for a poem by an American internet friend - she wants to publish "Bedtime Stories" (from "Old Playgrounds") on her blog.  So I was pleased about that.

Jackie was round in the morning for coffee and a chat. And Audrey and I chatted on the phone.  We hope to be out on the doors tomorrow. Audrey has some Not At Homes for us to follow up.

I have finished my climb of Everest, North Face, with Matt Dickinson and Al Hinkes.  An exhausting business, I don't mind telling you.  And I think they were a bit puffed too after dragging me and my sofa all the way up and down.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

A Little Girl

Hot and sunny today - on a Bank Holiday Sunday.  Col left a'butterflying early this morning - he is at the  next computer blogging his day as I write.   It was our last Sunday meeting at the Bognor Regis Kingdom Hall this afternoon.  A lovely meeting of course, but I was very tired.  We had supper at Jack's last night - a wonderful evening as always - a roast ham dinner with apple crumble and custard  - and a parcel of ham to take home.  Which turned up this evening as a ham salad tea.

I was watching a little girl run across the green the other day. She was probably about three - out with her parents - sturdy little legs - pink skirt. She was at that age when it is all so new and fresh and wonderful, like the morning of the world.  And I was thinking how it must look to her - the vast and endless green, but also she would be very close up on all the details, not seeing the whole as such.

You are born, you come to consciousness in a world in which you are young - a world that has old people in it, fixed in their sphere as they always must have been.  Maybe when I was a toddler, running across a lawn, someone who was born in the 1880s was watching me and thinking the same thoughts.

Friday, 24 August 2012

The Thoughts of Chairman Sue

I doubt I will be doing much today, beyond a fair amount of staggering round the flat groaning and saying "Oh, my knees", so I wonder if I can manage a thought or two for my blog. Will the two brain cells whirling round the vast empty space inside my head collide, and produce a thought?  However, before I actually start any thinking I must brave a trip to the great outdoors and put the rubbish out.

 Done!   And it did get me musing about the 1950s.  Minimal packaging compared to now.  Not so much in the way of packaged convenience foods, and no fast food then that I can think of bar fish and chips, which was a rare holiday treat.  And of course every house that had a garden or backyard had a compost heap, and maybe chickens to eat up scraps.  We always had both garden and compost heap.  Daddy (a country boy from the fields and forests of Belarus) used to grow comfrey in his herb garden and put the leaves on the heap, and he also used to buy something called Garotta (I think), to compost it all. I did start up a compost heap in our Arabian garden, but found that all I had done was make a cockroach nursery.

Now, leaving the chairman for the moment - and I suppose it should be The Thoughts of Chair Sue, unless I want a visit from the Thought Police! - although would that bring a risk of someone mistaking me for large flowery sofa and sitting on me? - here is something well worth thinking about - the perfect definition of love from the Creator of the amazing human brain.  Its from 1 Corinthians 13:

" Love is long-suffering and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, does not get puffed up,  does not behave indecently, does not look for its own interests, does not become provoked. It does not keep account of the injury.  It does not rejoice over unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails..."

I was also thinking today about how people seem to be on a much shorter fuse. We have things like "road rage", and "air rage", and even "trolley rage" at the supermarket.   So at a very stressful time in human history when we need to be long-suffering - slow to anger - we are being encouraged to go the other way.  And bragging seems to be encouraged now.  

The Chair, exhausted by all this thinking, will now sign off for today.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Summer coming to an end...

Everything is lovely and sunny and summery, but there is a feeling of Autumn now, of summer ending - a strange feeling - reminding me of facing up to a new school year after the wonders of the long summer holiday.  I love Autumn though.  Captain B is out a'butterflying, having first posted the butterfly memberships for me and done some basic shopping. My excursion yesterday has left me pretty much housebound.  I have had a lovely morning on the balcony though, studying, and getting some sun.  Chatted to Audrey on the phone - we talked over our two lovely calls yesterday, thinking what we might say next. The main thing is to ask Jehovah to help.  The new meds not kicking in yet, but hopefully they will. Emailed a a virtual friend in the States who is waiting for the news after her cancer op.  We heard from Dorothy of South Island last night - and she will be coming to stay for a couple of days in September.  We have booked Jackie up for a Thai meal while she is here.  It will be lovely to see her.  We have had a quiet summer, visitor-wise, this year. Though that was perhaps not a bad thing, given my state of health.  Dorothy says she wants to take us for lunch at the Pallant Gallery, so I must persevere with the new meds and hope to be up to it.

Monday, 20 August 2012


Splendid fireworks on Saturday night - from a boat anchored off the beach. Col, Jackie and me had premier seats as it all happened in front of our balcony. We had wine and hot sausage rolls and nibbles and a fun evening.  Loads and loads of people out on the Green.  The music was Abba.  I think it was a Jubilee celebration...

I got a bit carried away on my new medication and showed off by getting up out of my chair - gratuitously - twice - just to show i could.  For weeks and weeks it has been so painful to move that i only do so when I have to - and that very slowly. Am paying for my acrobatics now though.  But hope the new med will really kick in in a day or two.

Drove to the meeting Sunday but only just got there as it started.  It took me ages to get myself out of my car after i parked, and then I have to creak off down the alley and across the road.  Lovely lovely meeting though.  And once again I was struck by how practical Christian teaching is.

One thing our public talk covered were the practical applications of loving our neighbours as ourselves.  Not leaving litter everywhere for example - and being fair and impartial as Jehovah is.  There are many tensions now as the credit crunch tightens and jobs are few. We are constantly being reminded not to get caught up in them.

It has been very very hot with rumbles of thunder and a brief shower.  Its overcast and muggy this morning.  Captain B has done all the ironing - bless him. And i have made up his packed lunch as he will be off out chasing after Painted Ladies.  They are butterflies - or so he tells me.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Medical Matters

Or: What the Doctor said to me when I had my tubes tilted... (with thanks to Victoria Wood).

The Lovely Lung Test Lady has not only confirmed that I am still breathing - but also said that i may be able to move to yearly rather than six monthly tests... hurray... at least there is one bit of me that seems to be improving.  And the new doctor - also lovely! - at the Arthritis Clinic has got me on a new interim medication to try and get me back on my feet again - and is arranging to get me started on a new, and hopefully, permanent medication - one that I can cope with.

So though I feel exhausted after a morning touring round the hospital and pharmacy - you really need to be fit and healthy to cope - I am feeling much happier. There seems some hope of being able to move without such pain on the horizon.

I am also feeling exhausted and am off to lie on the bed - er, I mean get back into training for that Couch Potato Gold.

Captain Butterfly flew off after lunch, laden with cameras.  I have a chicken roasting in the oven against his return, and Jacks is coming over tomorrow to see the fireworks out at sea.  I shall just go and make his packed lunch for tomorrow and then collapse for while.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

A Request

I'm not sure I should really call this blog "A Request", it is perhaps more of a "A Suggestion".  I was talking to an internet friend in the States, who was asking me what it was I found sad about the Olympics.

When I told her, she suggested I should blog my answer. So here it is, in part.

In the first part of Janet Frame's wonderful three part autobiography, in "To the Is-land", when speaking of her earliest memories, she says this:  "I remember a grey day when I stood by the gate and listened to the wind in the telegraph wires. I had my first conscious feeling of an outside sadness, or it seemed to come from outside, from the sound of the wind moaning in the wires. I looked up and down the white dusty road and saw no one.  The wind was blowing from place to place past us, and I was there, in between, listening. I felt a burden of sadness and loneliness as if something had happened or begun and I knew about it. I don't think I had yet thought of myself as a person looking out at the world; until then I felt I was the world.  In listening to the wind and its sad song, I knew I was listening to a sadness that had no relation to me, which belonged to the world."

The sadness that belongs to the world.  Isn't it the sadness of being cut off from our Creator, our Source of life?

And watching the Olympics, which I did enjoy, the level of excitement, almost of hysteria, made me feel as if I was watching a frenzied attempt to stop us feeling this sadness, stop us realising it; to make us feel that there is real meaning in what is, at the moment, essentially futile.

I also noticed how the Closing Ceremony featured the atheists hymn "Imagine".

Audrey and I managed an hour on the doors yesterday which included a long chat with a lady I have been calling on some time.  I don't know if Dorothy o' South Island reads my blog, but if so Dorothy, hello, and she is the lady whose relatives you traced. Thanks again. 

I am now suffering for that hour on the doors though.  Only an hour and I feel more debilitated that people who have climbed Everest...

Sunday, 12 August 2012

The Diary of a Couch Potato

At least, confined to my couch, there has been plenty to watch.  We saw Mo Farah win his second gold yesterday in that amazing 5000 metres race, and Tom Daley get the bronze in the face of some brilliant competition.   And so many many others.

What was upsetting yesterday was to see the Chinese diver, who got the silver (brilliant!) looking so depressed and with those around him in tears.  They should have been celebrating.  Tom Daley and his support team all leapt joyfully into the pool to celebrate his bronze medal and I wish the same could have happened for the young Chinese athlete.

And what to say about Usain Bolt?  Its all been said.  I loved the way he did a Mobot the minute his team won the relay.  That Jamaican relay team - wow!

I'm not too sure about Mo's saying that anybody could do what he has done with hard work and dedication - although if he is right, the Couch Potato Gold is mine in four years time.  So what will my trademark handsignal be?

Perhaps raising a nice hot cup of tea slowly to my lips in celebration?

I'm off to the kitchen to put the kettle on and begin my training.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Cakeathon - the Return

At the meeting last night, we were asked for cakes - but this time for the Lancing Kingdom Hall build.  Apparently the Building Committee were very happy with the cakes we supplied.  And I know we have some great bakers in the congregation. One of my sisters makes a lemon drizzle cake that is better than the Waitrose version.  And the Waitrose version is so good that the Lemon Drizzle Shelf is usually empty.

We were reminded that, now our build is coming to its finish, we need to get back out on the preaching work.

So today I plan to make my usual cakes - marmalade muffins and a carrot cake - and take them to the sister in charge of cakes tonight.  And I hope to get out on both Saturday and Sunday, even if I can't make it to the groups.

Col will be flying off to do his butterfly count - so the Olympic Games are starting to wind down. The local butterflies have gone unphotographed for a week now.

Don't know what to say about them.  The Games, not the butterflies.  The organisation seems to have been good, very good, and the Stadium is lovely. The sculpture by Thomas Heatherwick is beautiful, as is the meadow.   And I have enjoyed the cycling and the sailing very much.  But but but... when the earth is restored to Paradise, will we have, or even want, Olympic Games?

For one thing, there will be no flags to wave then - so no point in the medal table.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Where we are in the stream of time...

... we are presently discussing that in the Watchtower study on Sundays - in all the congregations, world wide. Bible prophecy is so powerful, and has been so accurate, that it sends chills down my spine.  If you want to know what is going to happen next, please go to the Meeting at your local Kingdom Hall this Sunday.  Or ask the next JWs who call.

The Book of Daniel gives us the march of the world powers - those that have exerted a major influence on God's people - often, sadly, by way of trying to wipe them out.

The prophecies in Daniel and Revelation give us this sequence:  Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, Britain and the U.S.A (like Medo-Persia, it is pictured as a two-headed world power), and the League of Nations and the United Nations.  And that is it.  The next government to rule over the earth will be the Kingdom of God - for whose coming Jesus taught us to pray.

I got back out on the field service this morning, thanks to Audrey's encouragement. We started my August magazine route - and had a very interesting talk with a gentleman I have been calling on for about 2 years now.

Col is back from his Olympic excursions - he, Keith and Janet had a great time it seems - and the Stadium is brilliant - as is the torch sculpture by Thomas Heatherwick.  Even the toilets were nice!! There was a ticket for me, but I could not make it.  Forty five minutes round our little seaside town has just about finished me off.

I feel so much happier though, now that I am back on the work.   And I never thought that I would be doing the most important work of my life in retirement.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Sitting Around Feeling Sorry for Myself

I suppose I can't have spent the last two days doing that...  A whole flock of butterfly memberships came through my door on Tuesday, and a load of butterfly queries via email, so yesterday I was a busy butterfly bureaucrat. The new membership packages flew off to the Post Office yesterday afternoon via the valiant Capt B, while I shopped slowly at Sainsburys.  

Audrey and I chat every day on the phone, and of course we are enjoying watching The Olympics. I have a new plan to enter the high jump at the next Games - provided they fit a Stannah stairlift first.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

The Thistles of July

Yesterday we went to Pagham Harbour and I managed to totter as far as a seat in the little reserve near the carpark and do my studying - Ezekiel - with the lushness of July all round me, and butterflies flying right by my face.  Enjoying the Games.  Bea sent me a bell - we have a bell joke going - and its my blood tests today and the meeting tonight.