Sunday, 31 March 2013

The Rhino has flown, and landed somewhere else

Roger is back on his travels, wending his way towards Africa.  He left on Saturday morning. We had a lovely evening with Jackie on the Friday, and Roger made her laugh so much she thought she had cricked her neck.

Its very cold - frost on my car this morning - dealt with by Captain Wonderful as he set off on his treasure hunt.    "Find a Viking Horde today" I wittered as he left "and we can have my knees done privately".

He did come back with a George 3(?) halfpenny- but I doubt that would finance an ingrowing toenail, let alone a pair of knees.  I got to the Hall for the meeting this morning, and Mick gave us a wonderful encouraging talk.  Which we all need. So many of us are ill - and the pressures on the children are so tough now. The peer pressure is very different from what it was when I was at school - when Noah's Ark was still drying off on its mountain top.

Roger came on Thursday night to have a look at the new Hall.  He said he was impressed by the range of age groups - from very young to very old.  It really is a family.

Friday, 29 March 2013

A Visitor from Planet ExExpat

Roger - exPlanetExpat - arrived yesterday, hurray, so the day before I was tottering around dusting and cleaning and doing a load of washing.  And finishing my studying for the meeting.  He and Captain B drove me to the Kingdom Hall, helped me in, and collected me afterwards.

The Memorial on Tuesday night was a wonderful occasion, made extra special by having the Captain beside me and being able to hold his hand during the prayers.  Maggie saved us seats, and the other Jackie's lovely young granddaughter sat in front of us.   I think there were nearly two hundred people in attendance, and yet our new Hall didn't seem overfull as the old one used to. We fitted in well.

None of the people I invited came, but at least they were invited.  I got the last 4 invites to the doors just in time - thanks to my gallant chauffeur Captain B, who drove me to each house on the road and waited in the car.  Its a road where you can't really park as every front garden is a driveway.

Jackie is joining us for supper tonight - an Abel & Cole chicken pie with veggies and mashed potatoes -  pie and mash.

Monday, 25 March 2013

My Knees visit the Mariposa Forest, Chris Packham, and the Amazonian Firemen

And they drove me to the Kingdom Hall on Sunday.  They have had a busy time.  Martin gave the talk and I wish every one of you could have been there.  The Inspired Scriptures locate us in time, and he was talking about the march of the world powers, as prophesied in the book of Daniel.  Pretty much everything about that prophecy has been fulfilled, except for its dramatic ending, when the incoming Kingdom of God destroys all earthly governments.   We are living in the time of the feet of iron, mixed with clay.  And it is the feet of the image that are hit by the stone of God's Kingdom.

Then there is the Monarch butterfly. The Mariposa. For anyone who says they will only believe in God if he shows them a miracle - Jehovah has surrounded us with miracles.  We see fragments of the original glory and perfection of Eden all around us.   We just watched the documentary about the migration of the Monarch butterfly on iplayer. A miracle. Then we went to see Chris Packham in Horsham.  It was a  fascinating talk - this is our third year of going.  He had some amazing photos of wildcats in Africa, and of pond-skaters on his local stream.  I had no idea what aggressive little creatures they are.  He also caught us up with the latest doings of Itchy and Scratchy.

I was in trouble kneewise though, and if it hadn't been for the help of Captain B, one of the attendants, and the guy sitting next to me, I would not have been able to get in and out of my seat.

And last night we watched a fascinating new series, starting with a local fireman going over to work with a tiny fire crew in Brazil.

It was wonderful. The valiant Brazilian fire fighters, with minimal equipment, work night and day to tackle fires in the Amazon rain forest - fires on a scale its hard to imagine.  And so many of them. The problem is that cleared forest land is very valuable, at least in the short term, so there are fire setters constantly at work. The night we watched, there were following someone setting fire after fire after fire.

In his talk, Chris showed us photos of the South American rainforests taken from the air.  And it is devastating.  The forest is being sectioned up, with vast bleak prairie farms in between -leaving stretches which rainforest creatures cannot cross, isolating whole populations in a shrinking bit of forest.

Jehovah has promised us that he will "bring to ruin those ruining the earth".    A century ago, I suppose we could not have imagined we could ruin the whole planet, but now it seems only too clear we will, if left to ourselves.

But we are not left to ourselves. Not one of Jehovah's promises has failed, or ever will.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Making bricks without straw

That is what blogging feels like at the moment - making bricks without straw (or is it out of straw?).  I can't actually do much, and don't have much to write about.  My Everest expedition is on hold indefinitely.  And, even if I have the customised Everest knee fitted (built-in oxygen tanks), I still won't be going. I can see the fascination - getting yourself to the top is like getting yourself to the surface of the moon, and probably with less chance of a rescue. But, no disrespect intended to any brave mountaineer, especially those like Rob Hall and Andy Harris who died trying to save their fellow climbers, but I can't see any way its not a gamble with a precious, sacred human life.

I hope Jehovah will remember all those who died in the mountains though, and awaken them from the sleep of death when the time comes.

Captain Butterfly kindly drove me to the Kingdom Hall last night - handed me over to young Isaac, waiting in the icy rain for me.   Another reason I must get those new knees, IF they will let me have them, so my poor brothers don't have to stand outside in all weathers.  The meeting was wonderful, of course. There is no teaching like it in the world. But then, who is the head of the Christian congregation but Jesus, the great teacher himself?

The Memorial of Jesus's death is next week and there will be a special clean at the Hall on Saturday afternoon.  Something else I can't help with anymore. Once again it all comes back to the surgeon and the new knees.

I kneed them.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Oh for the wings of a butterfly

Getting to the surgery for my blood test this morning was a drama and a half, but only because of my knees.  If I could have got there without them it would have been so much less painful, but technically rather difficult.   What I could do with are a large and sturdy pair of butterfly wings to get around on.

I got back, took some strong painkillers, and collapsed.  And dozed most of the afternoon.

Captain Butterfly flittered in and out - mainly out - including the meeting at Steyning tonight.  I would love to have gone, but its no use.

Bea has sent me an encouraging account of a neighbour who is just getting over a knee op.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

A lot of paperwork

Spent yesterday doing a lot of paperwork, as I tried to go out and finish my magazine route but wasn't able to.  So I have most of the March magazines parcelled up, ready to be posted today, with the Memorial invitations.  I have had to cancel my service with Audrey and Maggie, and don't know when I will be able to get out again.  Presumably after I have the knee ops - IF I can have them, and IF they work...

I was talking to Jo, my niece, who has had a knee op, and she says I will be on crutches for a while. And I can't see me negotiating our potholed streets on crutches!

I drove myself to the Sunday meeting and back, but it was all I could do.  

We had supper with Jacks on Friday - a Thai curry - lovely, as always. 

Its sunny today, with a calm grey-blue Channel, but not warm.

I long for the moment Jehovah has promised us, when no resident of the earth will say "I am sick".

I know that moment will come.  None of Jehovah's promises has ever failed, or will ever fail.  Whether we will be there or not is another matter.  "He who endures to the end is the one who will be saved"...

And its an undeserved kindness, so there is always hope. 

We - the children of Adam - don't know what its like to be truly alive, as we are dying from the moment we are born.   And all I can say is that those of us who got old and sick in this system of things will surely have even more appreciation of our rescue.  And I hope that is the spirit in which i will be attending the Memorial, with, all being well, Captain Butterfly at my side.  

Alarming news from Cyprus, where apparently the Government and EU are helping themselves to everyone's savings.  They seem to want to encourage a very feckless attitude in all of us - sort of Spend Spend Spend because Tomorrow the Government will take it away.  

Friday, 15 March 2013

Hackery - The Return!!!!

Deer blog reeders - my blog and myself have been MUGGED WHile holiding in the foring country of Remoteistan andlost OUR Money and paspots.  CAN U SEND uS sum money quickly -&whileU R doing SO leave yur bank account details and I wILL SEND A MILLiON dollAS to yo...

No!  I have woken up to find that I am hacking into my own blog.  This is too much. And in such dreadful ungrammatical English too.  Please don't send anything.  As my regular readers will know, I am hardly capable of travelling anywhere  -let alone to Remoteistan - plus I am not letting this blog go without me.

I did make it to the Hall last night though - and was Janet's householder - on the big platform.  Ironically I was not a little girl who ever wanted to be a star of stage and screen. In school plays I was more than content to be Third Toadstool on the back row.  Though I admit I did have an ambition - unfulfilled - to get to be an angel in one of the nativity plays, so I could wear those lovely wings.

Anyway, there I was on the platform with quite an audience. And not wanting to let Jehovah, or Janet, down got me through it.   I set off early on my journey to the platform, skilfully driving my walking stick, picked up Janet en route, and we arrived on the platform early, as instructed by our Ghanaian brother who was supervising the school.

I had to start.  "No", I said "Let me stop you there. I am a Christian, and I know that you Jehovah's Witnesses don't believe in Jesus".  Janet then patiently showed me, from the Bible, that we do, and gave me my invitation to the Memorial of Jesus' death.  En route, she explained how the Bible shows that it is only the saints, or "holy ones", who go to heaven, but that the hope for most of us is to live forever in the restored earthly Paradise.

I can remember being shown what the Bible on my shelf actually says, all those years ago, in my Northern hometown.  And am so grateful that the Jehovah's Witnesses called on me.

Thursday, 14 March 2013


My email has been hacked!  I woke up this morning to find a hundred emails in my in-box.  Now that may be a normal day's mail for some, but not for retired me.  And the top email was from a nephew warning me I had a problem.

Thankfully, my resident computer expert will sort it out.

I wonder why though.   Why do people put time into being destructive?   Terminal selfishness, I suppose.

A sunny morning here by the English Channel - with a calm sea and a few drifts of snow still lying on the Green.  Our balcony primroses look wonderfully springlike.  I will be kept busy all day trying to sort out this email problem, and also chasing up on a hospital appointment.  I am "third in the queue" the hospital voice is informing me.

On the bright side, I am getting back in touch with a lot of people I haven't heard from for a while - and am also puzzling over all these names and addresses in my inbox.  I don't seem to know a good half of them.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The March wind doth blow...

This blog was going to be called: Getting Closer and Closer to my Sell-by Date, but it has snowed quite heavily and Captain B has taken some pictures.
My poem takes us back a season - and back in time, to when I was coming up to 40 and beginning to realise how quickly our life goes.  I hope I haven't blogged it before:

 by me

As the year sets slowly in the West
Its last dying glow
Sets fire to the gardens.
Chrysanthemums blaze
Virginia creeper reddens on stone walls
Walking here, nearly forty, I know
How short it all is, how quickly it goes
Shivering, I warm myself at the dahlia’s flame
The firethorne’s hot coals.

And I am a lot older than that now...  and grateful to be here, though it is all getting painful and difficult.

Philip Larkin, who had a horror of his coming death all his life, wrote:

"Only one ship is seeking us, a black-
Sailed unfamiliar, towing at her back
A huge and birdless silence. In her wake
No waters breed or break"

The "huge and birdless silence" is getting closer.  And we are right to be horrified by it. We were not made to die.

But the Inspired Scriptures assure us that Jehovah can and will remember us, keep us safe in "the everlasting arms", and wake us up when the time comes.

So I hope Philip Larkin has a wonderful awakening ahead of him into the restored earthly Paradise. Given that he saw so clearly the horror of death, he will be so happy to know that he has before him the prospect of life "to time indefinite".   All we have to do is love our Creator, listen to Him and obey Him.  And, in  the new earth, nothing will be easier, or make us happier.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Working with Jean

Jean and I worked together for the first time in ages, and had a lovely morning.  Very difficult painwise though - the knee I potholed on Tuesday is playing up.   50 minutes was all I could manage.

Jackie for dinner last night - beef pie with mash, and cauliflower cheese and carrots. And ice cream, cheese, and chocolate ginger biscuits to follow.

Lovely evening. Cheered me up as this constant being in pain has been getting to me recently.  I feel happy to have got out to my field service group for the first time in about 3 months too.  Mick always gives us a lovely encouraging talk before we go - and he leads from the front.  He is always out, working away.

Yesterday was butterfly paperwork day.  Its all done, dusted and the newly hatched membership packages will go to the Post Office on Monday.

I could do with a good sturdy pair of butterfly wings to fly me round the flat, and to the territory, and save my poor decrepit old knees.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013


We had some problems getting to our territory yesterday morning. I drove past our little road which meant I had to tackle the big roundabout to get back to it, so thought I might as well give Dave his magazines and invitation while I was there.  He lives on the other side of the fearsome traffic island.  

He is in the process of selling his house and downsizing, and I have (so far) managed to resist presenting him with a list of Sue-approved roads -i.e. ones that are not cul-de-sacs, don't involve large roundabouts and have plenty of parking.

We finally got to our territory, thinking we were on our own, but, as I set off from the car, I stumbled into one of the many pavement potholes and wrenched my knee - which was painful enough pre-wrench. I let out a scream of agony.

An elder appeared from nowhere to see if I was alright!

Very reassuring.

I am in an interesting 3-way discussion in cyberspace about Catholic teaching.  And we heard from Bea today emailing to book herself up for a visit this summer.   And it looks like the Roger will be with us before the end of the month. And Audrey rang saying she has been praying that I haven't done further damage to my knee and completely crippled myself.

It seems her prayers have been heard, for which I am very grateful.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Back to the Field Service Group?

Hopefully I will pick Audrey up early tomorrow and we will get to the group and go out and help with distributing the invitations to the Memorial.  All my blog readers should be getting offered one I hope - wherever you are.

We will see whether these two months of gym lessons (physio) have helped at all.

Went to Jackie for supper on Saturday night.  Usually lovely meal - mediterranean chicken casserole, followed by carrot cake.

I have been reading "Mary Barton" (Mrs Gaskell) and re-reading "Edina" (Mrs Henry Woods).  Both books reference the terrible poverty of the working poor - but Mrs Henry Woods with much more of a "rich man at his castle, poor man at his gate" attitude than Mrs. Gaskell.  I wonder if the second lady had more direct and face to face dealings with the poor and their actual lives than the second...

The problem with "All Things Bright and Beautiful" is exactly that verse.   The rich man at his castle etc., as it goes on to say: "God made them high and lowly and ordered their estate".     Only of course the Bible does not say that.  It says God made two perfect human beings, put them in a Paradise garden, and told them he wanted them to turn the whole earth into a Paradise, and populate it with a human family that would be united in love for its Creator and for each other.

A very different scenario.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

The Soup that Didn't Bark in the Night

I am having a hectic Saturday. Captain Butterfly took me to the Arundel Wetland Trust for lunch.  He was convinced he had taken me there before and got quite cross when I said I couldn't remember it.  "Yes" he said testily, as we walked into the rather splendid place, "you said you thought the soup wasn't as good as at Warnham".

"You brought me here and the only thing I noticed was the soup?", I said, pushing my way through herds of exotic waterfowl.  "Hmm, yes,to be honest, that does sound like me".

I was wondering if I was going to have to add Alzheimers to my list of ailments when he remembered that it wasn't me he had brought there, but a fellow Butterfly enthusiast.

That was a relief.   And the soup - vegetable curry - was excellent.

We looked for Ratty and the Kingfisher but didn't find either. But it is the weekend and there were a lot of children about, so perhaps they were sensible staying indoors.  It is very cold too.

You can see plenty of lovely photos of them on The Captain's Log though.

We then shopped at our new Morrisons - and are going to Jackie's tonight.

I am reading Mrs Gaskell's "Mary Barton" for the first time - and must blog about it.  Such poverty. Are we returning to it?