Monday, 29 April 2013

Into the Unknown

I was just talking to the Captain about his latest blog - Rewilding.  He points out that this is a step into the unknown.  What will happen over the years as the land is managed by the animals on it?  

The earth is so lovely and so complex.  And I am so grateful to Jehovah for giving us this lovely home - and for promising us he will not let it be brought to ruin.

I did very little today, beyond make the Captain's sandwich lunch - and tea.  And our tea was very simple - an Abel and Cole pastie apiece with leeks, and a yoghurt for afters.  I talked to Anne of the Cape via email, and also to a sister called Evelyn who lives further down the coast. She is Ghanaian, and she has had two knee transplants - is still getting over the second one.  We had a long and comforting chat and she has asked me to let her know how my visit to the surgeon goes.  It sounds like I will be spending months on crutches, and is all very scary, but she says she is glad she had it done.

So I too may be taking a step into the unknown.

Col and I are enjoying the latest Ben Fogle epic. Tonight he was spending time with a family who live in the Alsakan wilderness, in a yurt.  A young couple with two tiny children - lovely children and so well-behaved.  I am sure it is good for children to live close to nature, with beauty all around them.  Though that also means living rather close to bears.  But what a spectacular place Alaska is.  I've never been to America, but we have been to NZ a few times, and this reminded me of South Island. The light, the shimmering ice, the mountains...

When I was a child, the country came more into the city somehow.  We lived quite near the centre of our Northern town, which was the steel centre of the world back then  - all the stone was black with soot.  It was (and is) a city of trees and parks, one park stretching right out to the moors at Ringinglow.  And I can remember the ground being carpeted with baby frogs in the spring.  You don't even see that in the countryside now.

I tottered to the meeting yesterday, and at the end of the meeting the Presiding Overseer came over to tell me that there has been a discussion about me (and my notorious knees) and what they want me to do is to drive my car right up to the door.  "But", I panicked, "you don't want me reversing anywhere near our lovely new Kingdom Hall".   "Indeed", he assured me, "one of the elders will park your car for you, and bring it back to the door at the end of the meeting."

It made me want to cry, to feel so looked after.  Jesus said that if we follow him he will give us brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers, and how true that is.  And now I must really try much much harder to be a good sister myself.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Lemming Thursday?

There was more sea fret on Thursday.  The  Channel disappeared for much of the day, leaving even the Green looking a bit virtual.

It wasn't a day of dizzying excitements.  We had a big supermarket shop - including a shop for a friend who also has arthritis  - a trip to the Post Office - and then it was a collapse onto the sofa for me.  I did manage to get to the meeting, although only just.  So glad I did.

Friday was a grey day, some rain earlier.  The Green was very green and the Channel a pale turquoise grey.

 Had a long telephone chat with Jacks  - who is coming over for a fish and chip supper tonight - and Maggie, who I hope to see on Sunday.  And of course Audrey. And the Sheffield sisters and I had a lot of to and froi-ing by email over some facebook happenings.   Captain B was off on a 1 day course at Sussex Uni.  He was on another course on Thursday evening, about how to help people in dangerous stages of depression.   And the stresses of life seem to be ensuring there are quite a lot of them.  We are living in what the Christian Greek Scriptures call "difficult times, hard to deal with", as this present system of things on the earth approaches its end.

Unfortunately, it reminded me of an episode in The Brittas Empire, when Mr.Brittas decided to become a Samaritan, and they let him spend a whole day manning the phones.  Not surprisingly, he wasn't a success.  "They called it 'Lemming Sunday'".

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

A Sea Fret

The Channel has disappeared - there is nothing but a misty space past the stunted bushes that line the sea front, and the pine trees in the garden are wreathed in mist.  It looks so lovely. Though it will prevent Captain B going out to do his transect this morning if it keeps up, as there will be no butterflies to count.

Mark the Butterfly is coming over for coffee this morning.

I was able to do my studying on the balcony yesterday. First time this year!   It was sunny, though not especially warm, and the sea was like a dark blue jewel, shining in front of me.  It was lovely to have Jehovah's two witnesses right there. His word, in the shape of the Hebrew and Christian Greek Scriptures, and his glorious creation all around me.

The gift of life is more precious than I can find the words to say.  Even now - when I am going into this awful decline.  Lot of pain yesterday.  And now I seem to have a problem with my hearing - just on some frequencies.  And we have a date for the fitting of the "You Have Reached Your Sell-by Date" bathroom range, (in more Politically Correct Terms, the "Silver Sixties Suite", or some such). Actually, I have just ordered the paler version of the standard ShowHome range. That is the easiest option.  And I am not artistic enough to work it out for myself.

Thinking of how precious life is, the tragedy of the Boston bombers seems to deepen by the day. So many lives destroyed and families devastated, including their own.  And for what?  And I don't forget all those lives destroyed in Iraq, because of non-existent weapons of mass destruction.

Our need for the incoming Kingdom of God - the heavenly government that will bring peace on earth - has never been more obvious.    And so I want to end this blog with this lovely promise from Psalms:

"Come, you people, behold the activities of Jehovah,
How he has set astonishing events on the earth.
He is making wars to cease to the extremity of the earth..."
Psalm 46:8,9

Jehovah will make wars cease - worldwide.  Something we - the children of Adam - have never been able to achieve.  And then those who have died will awake from the sleep of death, into a truly peaceful earth.

It isn't just that there will be no more war - a miracle in itself - but there won't even be an unkind word or an unkind thought when the earth is Paradise.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

The Clock of Terror

Thanks to the Birder Border we have a strange clock on our wall. It chimes the hour with different birdsongs.  It gave me a fright the first time I heard it. I thought a bird had got into the room and was panicking.

It did happen once when a pigeon flew in!

However, I am getting used to it now, and quite enjoying it.  Its a pretty clock too, with a face full of birds.

Yesterday I typed up the notes from the Haysbridge Convention that Audrey and I missed. We have a sister who takes amazingly comprehensive and legible notes.  It was all about our conscience - that marvelous compass given us by Jehovah.

The theme was:  Safeguard Your Conscience.  And the theme Scripture was 1 Timothy 1:19:  "Holding faith and a good conscience, which some have thrust aside and have experienced shipwreck concerning [their] faith."

To help us to avoid such shipwreck, seven questions were asked and answered during the programme:

1, What is hazardous to our conscience?
2.  How can we train it?
3.  How can we be clean from the blood of all men?
4.  What does thinking and acting on Bible principles reveal about us?
5.  How can we avoid wounding the consciences of others?
6.  Young ones, how can you bear up when under pressure?
7.  What blessings come to those who follow their spirit directed conscience?

Saturday, 20 April 2013

The Border Birder

The Border Birder - Dougal the exExpat - rang me today to report a sighting of swallows in Lancashire.

It is a lovely sunny day here, though not warm enough to sit out on the balcony. Captain B and his sandwich box disappeared early and are not back yet. I have had a real nothing day due to the fact that I can't move much.  Had an interesting chat via the door phone with a guy hoping to find some witnesses for an incident that took place on our green in the early hours.  I couldn't help, but we had a chat. It turns out his granny was a Jehovah's Witness!  I was trying to reassure him that the world will not continue like this. A rescue is close at hand.

Am trying to think what I did yesterday...   I made a carrot cake, half of which is now sliced up and in the freezer as packed lunch fodder.   I have done a bit of witnessing on the internet.

Facebook has been talking quite a bit about the horrible thing that happened at the end of the Boston marathon, when two explosive devices were detonated causing death and damage all around.  

It reminded me of being in London when the IRA were bombing mainland Britain. Its strange how you get used to it.   I remember thinking that, well, if it isn't the IRA bombing us, it will be someone else. And, sadly, I was right.  Its all so random there isn't much us down here at cannon fodder level can do about it anyway.

The "world" seems to divide those who put bombs in public places into "Gallant Resistance Heroes" and "Evil Terrorists".  I am assuming this latest bombing will fall into the latter category.

Jehovah tells us, simply and clearly, that it is wrong.

Psalm 37 says:
"Let anger alone and leave rage; Do not show yourself heated up only to do evil."

So, we must not let  the injustices and cruelties of the world get us so heated up we start to do evil ourselves.  We can trust in Jehovah to deal with it.   "For evildoers themselves will be cut off, But those hoping in Jehovah are the ones that will possess the earth. And just a little while longer, and the wicked one will be no more; And you will certainly give attention to his place, and he will not be. But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth, And they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace."

In Jehovah's eyes, a thousand years is like a day, so only a few days have gone by since those words were written down for us.  At Armageddon, Jehovah will "bring to ruin those ruining the earth" with their greed and violence.  But it is for Him to do, not us.  We need to be meek - obedient - towards Him now, and hope to find our exquisite delight in the abundance of peace in the restored earthly Paradise.

If the two young lads - one dead now - are, as alleged, the Boston marathon bombers, I wish wish wish they had known these words and paid attention to them.  How many lives would have been saved? And how much suffering would have been saved?  And I need these new knees so that I can get out there and tell people.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

A Butterfly Borgia

I nearly poisoned our guest - by giving him chicken, to which he is allergic!   I didn't know.

He survived - and hasn't grown feathers, or anything. But...

In the faraway Land of Expat, he was a friend who mainly dropped by in the evening for drinks and nibbles - and of course when I cooked for people there I tended to make a variety of dishes Arabic, or Indian, or Chinese style, so there would be a lot of choice anyway, if he ever did join us for a meal.

Having learnt my lesson, last night when Jacks came over, we got a Thai takeaway from The Lemon Tree (still excellent), and got lamb, beef and tofu dishes as well as chicken.

We watched Margaret Thatcher's funeral in the morning, as our visitor wanted to. I wouldn't have bothered otherwise, but it was a historic occasion, and was interesting. And very well done.  She was our first, and so far, only, female Prime Minister, and I think she is the only PM in the last century - ever? - to have been re-elected three times running.

The actual religious service was quite chilling though and I went off to make us a sandwich lunch during much of it.  (No, not chicken sandwiches).

The granddaughter, Amanda, read some verses from the Bible. And did it wonderfully well.  Daunting enough to stand up and speak in St.Pauls, but with the world's eyes upon her... I could no more have done that at her age than fly.

She looked lovely while doing it too. Which has enthralled the tabloid press.

However, I was amazed at the verses that had been chosen.  Did no-one notice what was actually being said?

Strange, and powerful, to have these words read there, then.  We have a wrestling - not against blood and flesh - so we, the children of Adam, must not be fighting each other.  And who is identified as the ruler of the world?

" Put on the complete suit of armor from God that you may be able to stand firm against the machinations of the Devil;  because we have a wrestling, not against blood and flesh, but against the governments, against the authorities, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places.  On this account take up the complete suit of armor from God, that you may be able to resist in the wicked day and, after you have done all things thoroughly, to stand firm.  Stand firm, therefore, with your loins girded about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness,  and with your feet shod with the equipment of the good news of peace. Above all things, take up the large shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the wicked one’s burning missiles.  Also, accept the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, that is, God’s word,  while with every form of prayer and supplication you carry on prayer on every occasion in spirit. And to that end keep awake with all constancy and with supplication in behalf of all the holy ones."
Ephesians 6:11-18

Sunday, 14 April 2013

A Glowing Watercolour Morning

At my computer at 6.30 this morning, I was able to look out over a glowing watercolour morning - layers of turquoise, shading into soft glowing blues, whites and greys as the Channel met the sky.  Nearly an hour later, the layers are still in place, but the colours have changed. It would perhaps take a painter to say exactly how.

We had a lovely evening with Tom and Jill last night.  And a lovely supper too, as Jill is a very good cook.It rained.  Their garden is full of daffodils. Each one a miracle of beauty and engineering.

Coffee with Audrey later on, and otherwise a quiet day, I hope.

Col and I are watching "The New Avengers" episode by episode - and loving it.   The last one we saw had the villains of the piece finding doubles of Steed, Gambit and Purdy (in between twirling their moustachios and cackling evilly).  Wonderful. I am looking foward to tonight's episode.

Friday, 12 April 2013


For all the poets out there my publisher - Fantastic Books - is running an International Poetry Competition. 

And  I am mulling over offering them a collection of short stories.  I have the stories - its a question of getting them together, and doing a little polishing, though most of them are definitely polished and finished.

Dougal - ex dog Security in our Company Town - is coming to stay next week so I have ordered a copy of "Small Playgrounds" to give him. He is a fellow writer of poetry.

It was the Memorial service for May this morning - Captain Butterfly kindly fetched and carried me.  David gave the talk - and I gave Tony, May's husband, one of the butterfly cards with some words of sympathy.
And I included a quote from Deuteronomy 33:27:  " A hiding place is the God of ancient time,
And underneath are the everlasting arms."

Everlasting arms don't go away - they don't fail to catch and hold us as we fall into death.

Had a chat with Audrey on the phone and she has asked me over for coffee on Sunday, as everyone else will be at the Assembly.  Neither of us is well enough to go, and Captain Butterfly will be out all day.

And we - me, Captain B and Jacks - are dining at Jill and Tom's tomorrow night.

It has been a beautiful day today - a lot of sunshine, some rain - and there is now a wonderful sky over the Channel.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Frank Gardner in Saudi

Last night, Captain B and I watched the programme the BBC made about Frank Gardner's return to Saudi.  He is the journalist who was shot on the streets of Riyadh in 2004.  His cameraman,Simon Cumbers, was killed, and he was left for dead.  He returned in a wheelchair, as he can no longer walk.

Frank Gardner tried to speak about Simon Cumbers' death, but broke down at that point.

He is an impressive guy, and it was an interesting and touching programme.  And it sometimes made me feel oddly homesick, as I remembered all the good things about our years there.  And some of the frightening times too, towards the end of our stay, when the troubles in the Middle East began to spill over us.

It is a grey day today, rather lovely with a mist of light rain and white horses all over the Channel.

We go off to look at our proposed bathroom today - or bits of it - the "Sunset" range perhaps?  Or the "Knocking at Heaven's Door", or the "For the Yearily Challenged" range.   But in the blunt old days I'm sure it would have been the "You're Past It" bathroom suite.

As I have probably said, what I really really want is a sunken bath with lovely wide shallow steps to get me up and down, but the people in the flat below might have something to say about it.

Monday, 8 April 2013

More Dreams

Roger's visit, with his update of the tragedy that has recently overtaken one of our friends from the expat years, must have been preying on my mind, as last night I dreamt that I was back in Expatworld, at the company hospital, talking to my lovely Lebanese arthritis doctor. Though what was said I do not know.

And I finally got my appointment with the knee surgeon, which is also on my mind.

A quiet day today - a grey old day too, but with a calm Channel.  We lunched off the remains of the chicken casserole, and I made a crumble out of some blackberries we have had in the freezer for ages.  Lilian rang yesterday and we had a long chat; Audrey phoned today, and I emailed Anne o'the Cape.

I have been a butterfly bureaucrat, as the March memberships came through the letterbox. They are all ready to fly off to the Post Office tomorrow.

We got the news today that Mrs.Thatcher has died.  She was the first - and so far only - woman to become PM.

We were trying to analyse her reign.  The thing about her, I suppose, was that she was a leader.  And so many politicians nowadays seem like empty suits.

Is it that the hands that really pull the strings (see below*) are coming more and more into view - or is that politics always look like this from the point of view of old age?

She did have an amazing career, in political terms, though I try to have no political opinions.  And she was a gift to cartoonists.  Will Jehovah remember her, and awake her from the sleep of death when the time comes?   If so, she will find herself in a world without politics - in an earth restored to Paradise.    Then her real life can begin - a life more full of joy than she could have imagined.

*"Finally, go on acquiring power in [the] Lord and in the mightiness of his strength. Put on the complete suit of armor from God that you may be able to stand firm against the machinations of the Devil;  because we have a wrestling, not against blood and flesh, but against the governments, against the authorities, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places.  On this account take up the complete suit of armor from God, that you may be able to resist in the wicked day and, after you have done all things thoroughly, to stand firm." - Ephesians 6:11-13

Saturday, 6 April 2013

The Mysteries of the Internet

I keep sending myself spam email - of the pharmacy kind.  I wish I would stop. I mark it up as spam, I delete it, I shout sternly at myself, but still it comes.

Captain Butterfly has flown off to Mill Hill (I think), to try to see the first Dingy Skipper for the 2013 season.   There has been no jubilant phone call yet...  Dingy is not a kind name.  It is a pretty butterfly, though not colourful as so many are.  But its still a miracle - a flying jewel.  And I have finally got what looks like my Surgeons appointment. So, IF I am going to be offered the operations, and IF I can face being in hospital, and IF it all goes well... then I hope hope hope that maybe I will be getting back out on the butterfly haunts next butterfly season.

I will be missing our bluebell walks this year too.  Perhaps I should have sub-titled this blog "In which I whinge about my knees, yet again".

Compelling stuff.

We managed to shop this morning, and the Captain took my mail to the Post Office.  Which reminds me that I must ask him for the receipt.  The butterfly postage comes out of expenses.  In theory, this afternoon, I need to study, to make a chicken casserole for tomorrow, and make a cake (for the lunchboxes).

We are going to Jackie's for supper tonight.  

Thursday, 4 April 2013


Just before bed last night I had a long conversation (on Skype) with Anne of the Cape, and then I watched a graphic programme about childbirth - "One borne every minute".  Thank goodness all the babies made it this time, but it was harrowing. And wonderful. As one of the midwives said, with shining eyes, "Its a miracle, the whole process, And we get to see this miracle every day at work".


It caused me to have a vivid dream in which I had two babies.  But I had failed to turn up for their birth - rather a wise decision in view of what the poor ladies on the programme went through.  Apparently Roger had dealt with it all in my absence, and had wrapped the babies up waiting for me when I got home.   But when I came home to this strange dream house I couldn't find where he had put them.  I was just thinking that at any moment they would start crying and I would be able to track them down when I woke up. Which was a relief.

Its the meeting at the Hall tonight - a drive-myself evening as the Captain will be busy marshalling a fun run.  I only hope no-one slashes my tires. There has been some vandalism at our new Hall, and some of the brothers' tires have been slashed.   Apparently the Police are now involved.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Strictly come dancing

Roger emailed to say that he will take me dancing when I have my new knees!   That would be thrilling, except that,  me having always been a clumsy and uncoordinated person, he might well need new feet and toes after our dance.

Butterfly Mark came round for coffee yesterday morning, bringing gifts in the shape of the new Report. It looks very elegant and I intend to read it today, and enjoy the lovely photos it is packed with.  Oops - with which is it packed.  Remember those faraway convent school grammar lessons, and never use a preposition to end a sentence with.  Oops...

What a lovely thought of Jehovah's to give us flying flowers in the shape of butterflies, and to provide us with constant miracles in the caterpillar/chrysalis/butterfly sequence.

Do butterflies remember their childhood - their caterpillar life?   That is the kind of question that I might get answered if I am granted the undeserved kindness of being in the restored earthly Paradise.

Then, in the afternoon, I did manage to totter out on the work - only three magazine route calls - but its causing me problems today.  However, I don't have to go anywhere and can rest a lot.  Its a bit depressing though, that 40 minutes out, most of it in the car, or sitting down talking to people, is so debilitating.