Sunday, 29 September 2013

Armchair Mountaineering

All my mountaineering books have been read, and in some cases, re-read.   Among others, I had got both "The Shining Mountain" by Peter Boardman, about his and Joe Tasker's climb of Changabang, and a Chris Bonington "Everest, the Unclimbed Ridge."

I hadn't realised till I read the Everest book that this was the climb on which those two young men died.  It was quite a shock as I had got to know them during the Changabang climb - they pulled me and my armchair all the way to the top.  A noble effort on their part.

Then they went for the more difficult side of Everest with no oxygen, and no support really.   The same climb I think that Alison Hargreaves did just before she died on K2.  There is a chapter in the Bonington book called "They walked out of our lives".

And so they did.

They set off for the summit, just the two of them.  They were seen climbing for the next two days, and last seen at sunset, immediately below the second pinnacle.   And then nothing. Silence.  Until Peter Boardman's body was found, 10 years later, on the ridge.  So they hadn't fallen.  Or at least, he hadn't.   It is as if he went to sleep that night and never woke up.  But  why?  And what happened to Joe Tasker?

I have been thinking and wondering about it since.  Why do climbers do it, push  themselves and push themselves, until...   Clearly neither of of them wanted to die.   Does it become an addiction?   Or is it that they feel the futility of the present system of things more than most, and the life and death situation of mountaineering puts the meaning back in, at least for the moments of the climb?

“The eager expectation of the creation is waiting for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not by its own will but through him that subjected it, on the basis of hope that the creation itself also will be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God. For we know that all creation keeps on groaning together and being in pain together until now.”—Romans 8:19-22.

If so, then I wish they had known that the way to put the meaning back into our lives is to seek for our Creator, Jehovah,  the God of Abraham, and find him.

The other thing I have been wondering is if - IF - I am in the restored earthly Paradise, and if Jehovah remembers Peter and Joe and wakes them up - it will be an "undeserved kindness" in all our cases, children of Adam as we are - so, IF, would it be alright to ask them what happened?  Or not.

The last few days have been very quiet for me.   I listened in to the Meeting this morning on the telephone line   We chatted with The Roger on Skype.  More cards came.  Realising nothing has been dusted for 3 weeks, I started dusting things.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

The Knew Knee has a Busy Day

Don't feel wonderful this morning - new knee feeling strange and painful - and I needed my crutches to make it to the loo.  I have to remind myself it is not yet 3 weeks since the operation- so I can't expect to feel wonderful.  The knee took me to the doctors yesterday and the last bandages were removed, while Captain B had a dental emergency attended to.  The wound has healed up well, against the odds.  So I am grateful for all the prayers said to Jehovah on my behalf.  I tried to co-operate by keeping my Vitamin C levels up - lots of fresh fruit and veg, plus a daily tablet.

Odd weather yesterday - quite hot and muggy - but with a heavy sea fret hiding the Channel for most of the day.  Captain B flew off with his sandwiches.  i made a giant chicken casserole, and Ken and Jean came round for a couple of hours in the afternoon.  Jean has recently visited Tasmania and, like us, fell in love with it.  Its one of those places where you can see so clearly the Paradise the earth was always meant to be, and will be.

Then, my first social outing since Knee-Day, we went to Jackie's for supper.  She only lives round the corner and we can park right outside her house. And she has a loo on the ground floor!  Can't tackle more than couple of stairs yet.  It was the usual lovely evening, but the day exhausted me.

And, although the bandage was removed, the strange tight feeling stayed.  I am now very conscious of this alien structure within my knee.  I am also lopsided, as the physio pointed out.  In one knee, the cartilage has been artificially restored, in the other it has been completely worn away by the arthritis.

I think I am too much of a wimp to cope with old age - although the alternative...  oh dear.  What a mess we  - the children of Adam - are in.  And how grateful I am to our Creator for the rescue that is in hand.

In the meantime, we see, as prophesied, "the increasing of lawlessness" worldwide.   But this is the darkest hour before the dawn.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Back to School

Appropriate for the month - September, the Back to School month - David rang yesterday to ask if he could assign me a part in the Ministry School in November.   I said, yes, of course.  I sincerely hope I will be back to the meetings by October.   And how differently I feel about this school.  Not that I don't feel nervous when I have a part, but everything is so positive and so upbuilding.  The Ministry School builds you up.  It does not tear you down.  And, most importantly, it teaches us how to teach others the truth, which is what every follower of Christ must do.

"And Jesus approached and spoke to them, saying: “All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit,  teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you. And, look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.” - Matthew 28:18-20

I'm feeling a little less like a chocolate teapot.   The Butterfly paperwork is done, as are all my magazines, plus a thank you letter to Vera, and all await the Captain's trip to shops and post office this morning.  Plus I did manage to make a curry and am planning to make a simple chicken casserole to do us for the  next couple of days.  I now hope to get a letter and card to a sister who is really going through it healthwise and is trying to recover, in hospital, from the first of two very serious operations.

The knee seems to be doing well - the pain is less, thank goodness - and it seems to be quite bendy. The problem is that I don't know what to expect.  However, the physio will be here tomorrow, and she will know.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Finding the Needle in the Haystack

I have hardly seen the Captain recently as he has been off hunting the Snark - in this case, the long-tailed blue butterfly that has been seen Somewhere on the Coast.  And, yesterday, he found it!  He was so excited when he rung up.  He not only got photos, but some good photos - see The Captain's Log.

He is off on Metal Detecting Business today.

He forgot to make my lunch yesterday!!  Though he did leave me a flask of tea.   When he rang up to apologise, I was very very brave about it.   "Don't worry", I quavered,"I have left a note forgiving you, that will be found by my skeletal remains.   What do you mean?!  Comfortably live off my fat for the next 6 months...  How dare you!"

Anyway, I proved perfectly equal to making my usual crispbread, goats cheese and salad.

Its a lovely melancholy Autumn morning, with sun coming through clouds and a calm Channel - the tide out. Soon I hope to be looking for the Winter sunrises, with the sun reflecting red in all the pools left in the sand.  I wonder if my new knee will allow for some winter walks on the beach?

Friday, 20 September 2013

Climbing Rum Doodle

I looked out of the window the morning to see sunshine...  which means Captain B will be away with the Butterflies all day.    I have just climbed Rum Doodle, via my armchair and "The Ascent of Rum Doodle" by W.E.Bowman.

It was written in the 50s and is a gentle comedy, that did make me laugh out loud now and again. Imagine Mr.Pooter taking an expedition to the Himalayas, and you have it.

Had the clips taken out yesterday - at the hospital.  My rather good-looking young surgeon (am I turning into Marcia of "Quartet in Autumn"?!) wanted me to have it done by hospital rather than GP Clinic, he seems so worried about my chances.  Anyway, I am grateful, even though it was a long long wait, and stung quite a bit as the staples came out. He seems happy with things, and wants me to have the new and final dressing removed by the Practice Nurse and my local GP Clinic.

Tony, one of my brothers from the Congregation, called in this morning, and in the afternoon i gritted my teeth and my new knee and got down to making up the membership packages. They are piled all over the hall now, waiting Captain B's next trip to the Post Office.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

"The Fields of Thyme" by David Cohen

Been thinking a lot about the past - that Autumnal feeling is everywhere.   And also I wrote letters to both Aunt Jo and Kathryn yesterday. Aunt Jo is in the earliest photo of me ever taken, and Kathryn is an old schoolfriend. I was thinking about all the Sunday afternoons in Winter we - Kathryn, Jen and my siblings - used to spend huddled over the gasfire in our family home, making doorstep cheese and toasts.

It was a blue butterfly day.  Another exquisite blue butterfly crafted by Aunt Bea flew through our postbox, along with a copy of  "Fields of Thyme" by David Cohen.  The author had asked if he could use one of Col's photos of a large blue on the cover, and there it is, flying under the title!

Captain Butterfly is getting a lot of his work published.

Wrestling with the butterfly paperwork - getting there slowly. But I think I am still a bit shellshocked - emotionally and mentally, as well as physically.

Frances is coming over this morning - and Jackie is coming for supper - which will be cooked by the brave Captain B.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Under Interrogation

"Alright, I'll tell you where the British airmen are hiding", I screamed, as Captain B jackbooted towards me, injection in hand.

"For you Tommy, the war is over, so there are no British airmen hiding, and you can't fend me off that way", he gloated as he jabbed the needle in.

I am grateful to have a husband who can do the injections - twice daily.  I can at a pinch - and I hope someone notices the brilliant pun there - give them to myself. That is because the nurse at the hospital said:  "You will have to learn how inject yourself before we let you out - oh - er - not quite so quick."   I had grabbed the needle off her and jabbed it in at the speed of light.

 "Can I go home now?"

But it hurts less if the Captain does it.

Monday, 16 September 2013


David and Carol, bearing a large and beautiful cyclamen, came over this afternoon.  For much of the day the light and sea and sky were so beautiful outside that I kept stopping to thank Jehovah for it all.

Captain Butterfly continues his hunt for the Snark - specifically the long-tailed blue, which is being seen everywhere just before he gets there. And after he has left.

My leg aches, but the pain seems different - hoping its a sign of healing going on. I made a start on the mountain of butterfly paperwork today, and hope to get all the packages and my magazines out by the end of the week.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Listening in on the Phone Lines

This morning, I listened to the meeting on the telephone link.  Bob gave the talk - about "the spirit of the world" - and we had an interesting Watchtower study refining our understanding of Bible prophecy.  It was great to hear everyone.  And I sang (or screeched) happily along with the songs as I was on my own and couldn't put anyone off.  Captain B was on a treasure hunt.  He left a lunch of crispbread, goats cheese, tomatoes, yoghurt and strawberries prepared for me.

Maggie and Nute rang in the afternoon, and the congregation family has been told I am now open for visitors.

The promised storm arrived later this afternoon.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Flowers and Get Well Cards

Flowers from the Butterfliers, and loads of cards from family and friends. And a visit from the lovely Diane, a physical therapist, this morning.   One thing I had dreaded was going back to Gym lessons - thought I had said goodbye to them years ago. Still, they do call it a second childhood.  However, without exception, all the physios I met have been lovely and so helpful.   I am doing fine apparently, but must take my paracetamol regularly, and be slow but steady with the exercises.  And not hold my breath while I am doing them!!

That is likely some terror left over from schooldays. Shudder.

On my own for the first time as the Gallant Captain is shopping.  He is taking wonderfully good care of me and keeping me to the exercise regime.

The turmoil in my insides seems to have finally abated.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

A Difficult Back

"You've got a difficult back", said the Anaethetist, sadly but kindly.  I was perched on the edge of the operating table while he tried to get the needle in.  Lots of pinching and squeezing and cold spraying later and it still hadn't gone in.  "Sometimes another pair of eyes helps", he said going to get another Anaethetist.  It did, and the nerve block went in.

I am back home. Came back Tuesday night.  Shattered, like my knee.  Will write more.  Operation seems to have gone well, even though I was allowed no sedation at all.  But the apres-op was as bad as I feared.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

A Happy Evening...

... with Dorothy of the South, Jackie and a Thai takeaway. And some cold white wine. I did actually sleep for most of the night afterwards.

An exhausting morning at the hospital. Dorothy and I walked - she walked, I tottered - down miles and miles of corridors, till we finally found the lab - and also found Captain B leaning on the door of the lab looking at his watch - he had parked the car and come the short way round.   Got seen quickly but then had to wait as the injection site poured blood when she had to bandage it.

"Are you on warfarin?!" she asked alarmed.  "Not yet" , I said glumly.  I had to wait a while with my arm in the air till it could be staunched.

Perhaps this is what stress is doing to me.

Dorothy leaves this morning, having given wonderful help, advice and company.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Operation Dreams

Not only do I wake up in the small hours and lie awake worrying about my operation - and whether it has been postponed or not - but its now getting into my dreams.  

I dreamt last night that I was in my bedroom in Saudi - or at any rate it wasn't my bedroom here. Captain B was there and some friends and our Saudi neighbour. They were all telling me to stop worrying and to get back to sleep. But we couldn't work out how to get the dark on the outside back into the room.

Then I had one of those Eureka! moments.   It was rather like when that apple fell on Einstein's head, stunning him and causing him to come up with his theory of relativity.  ("If only that apple had fallen on one of my relatives instead, I wouldn't have this headache".)    I realised that if I turned off my bedside light, I would bring the dark back into the room. And the rest was darkness.

It has been a hot start to Autumn. Very hot yesterday.  Dorothy O'South Island arrives today, and Jackie is joining us tomorrow for a Thai takeaway.

The meeting at the Kingdom Hall on Sunday calmed me down so much.  Jehovah is rightly called "the God of all comfort".  Mick gave the talk, about continuing to look forward to the restored earthly Paradise. Various people have rung, including Bea, to ask about the situation re the op but I still have no idea when it is to be.

And yet I tell myself what a spoilt first-world worry this is to have.  And how amazing to be living in a window of time when I have this to worry about.  Not only do we have the technology, but we also, for the moment, have the NHS.

But then that gives me an extra worry... suppose the NHS implodes between ops... I will end up very lopsided. One bionic knee, one bad knee, getting worse...  what dreams will come tonight?!