Wednesday, 30 April 2014

You can tell a Yorkshireman...

... but you can't tell him much.   Thanks to Andy Kirkpatrick for that rather good joke about my home county.  My lovely home county.  If we ever move again, I hope it will be to go back there. Though it will have to be to a flat bit of it - say Hull or York - given the state of me.

I was just re-reading Andy's " "Cold Wars"...   Aaaarrrgghh.  He is a mad climber.  The climbing personality, as read about, could hardly be further from my own, which may be why I find reading about it so fascinating.

A hectic day yesterday, and I am exhausted.   A landmark was reached in that I personally made a delivery on my magazine route - the first one for perhaps a year?  I tottered slowly round to the other end of the flats - it felt rather like climbing Everest.   Bob was at home, and we had a nice chat - and he seemed pleased with the magazines.  And as I tottered slowly back I met up with a visitor who was looking for the window cleaner. We had a long chat, and I managed to give her a little witness too.  She was down here for her brother's funeral and to sort out his flat.  So I was able to say a little something about the resurrection hope.  It was like a present from Jehovah.

The Captain took us to Arundel for lunch - veggie pasta and salad for me, pie and mash for him - then he left me with my mug of foamy coffee and my studying while he went off to do his filming.  He got a couple of good little movies of Ratty.  Or was it Voley?  I haven't seen them yet.   We are in Exodus at the moment.

The upshot of it all was that, though I really enjoyed it, I was quite ill for the rest of the day, and remain so. These operations have taken it out of me to a frightening extent.   Will I make it to my 3 score years and ten? I am seriously starting to wonder.

According to our calendar The Roger is in kingdom this week. Is he?  Will we hear from him?

Since I wrote those words - yes we have!  Several emails have arrived, and he plans to arrive for lunch tomorrow. So now I must think of what to give him...

Monday, 28 April 2014

The Special Talk

The lamb curry - Madhur Jaffrey lamb and potato Delhi-style - was a success in that both Jacks and the Captain had seconds.  The small small things served with it were: the Captain's homemade chutney, Mrs. Captain's homemade fresh tomato chutney, a raita with cucumber and balcony mint, and bananas in lemon juice.  The usual cheeseboard, ice-cream and coffee followed. (Thanks to Waitrose for its lime and coconut ice-cream and its Mango sorbet - my current favourites. And no, they are not paying me an advertising fee.  If only!)

An enjoyable evening - all very light-hearted.

Then we were were woken in the early hours by the phone - there was a rescue on, though Captain Superhero didn't have to go out on it till after lunch (leftover curry).  He chauffered me to the Hall.  It was the Special Talk yesterday.  I took a few notes, basically just jotting down the Scriptures, and am going to type them up for Audrey, who is housebound at the moment, and then if I can re-create enough of the talk (even I can't read my handwriting), I might also send Vera a copy.  She is another housebound sister.  Also Jacks said she would like a copy, as she too wonders why the earth is so full of cruelty and injustice, if there is a God who is good and all powerful...   I wondered that for many years myself.

The talk was entitled:

WHY WOULD A LOVING GOD PERMIT WICKEDNESS?  (And obviously there is a lot more to say - it was only a half hour talk - but hopefully it made some listeners think and perhaps want to study the Bible for themselves, and find the truth.)

The speaker started with Habakkuk 1:3:  "How long, O Jehovah, must I cry for help, but you do not hear?
How long must I ask for help from violence, but you do not intervene?"

Have we often felt like this?   The Speaker told us he was going to answer the question under three headings

Firstly, he was going to talk about what Jehovah feels about wickedness.
Secondly, he was going to talk about why there is wickedness, where it comes from.
Thirdly, he was going to tell us what Jehovah is going to do about it.

Then I jotted down the Scriptures we went through under each heading, as follows:

1  How does Jehovah feel?

Proverbs 6:16-19:  "There are six things that Jehovah hates; Yes, seven things that he detests:  Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,  A heart plotting wicked schemes, and feet that run quickly to evil,  A false witness who lies with every breath, And anyone sowing contentions among brothers."

The Speaker asked us to note the strong language.  Jehovah hates and detests these things.

Genesis 6:5,6:  "Consequently, Jehovah saw that man’s wickedness was great on the earth and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only bad all the time.  Jehovah regretted that he had made men on the earth, and his heart was saddened."

Wickedness saddens Jehovah.

2  Why, therefore, is there wickedness?

The Speaker started off by telling us that after the terrorist destruction of the Twin Towers in New York, a leading clergyman was asked why God allowed such things to happen.  The clergyman replied, sadly, that he still did not know. The Speaker pointed out that, as the answer is in the Bible, by the end of this talk, we would know.

1 John 5:19:  "We know that we originate with God, but the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one."

The world is currently ruled by "the wicked one".    At John 8:44, Jesus said this about him: " You are from your father the Devil, and you wish to do the desires of your father. That one was a murderer when he began, and he did not stand fast in the truth, because truth is not in him. When he speaks the lie, he speaks according to his own disposition, because he is a liar and the father of the lie."

A murderer.  And the father of the lie.    He told the first lie ever told, in Eden.   Genesis tell us that the world as created was "very good" - it was perfect. (Satan himself was a perfect angel, before he made himself Satan the Devil, by rebelling and slandering God.)   The result of this rebellion, and of our first parents following Satan?

Romans 8:22 says:   "For we know that all creation keeps on groaning together and being in pain together until now."   Jehovah knows this, and cares deeply about it.  Exodus 3:7 says:  "Jehovah added: “I have certainly seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and I have heard their outcry because of those who force them to work; I well know the pains they suffer.""

3. So, therefore, what is Jehovah going to do about it?

The Speaker started by reminding us of Matthew 24, in which Jesus gave us the signs that would tell us that this wicked system of things on the earth was about to come to its end. And he drew out attention to verse 21: "for then there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again."

We then read these beautiful words from Psalm 37:9-11:  "For evil men will be done away with, But those hoping in Jehovah will possess the earth.  Just a little while longer, and the wicked will be no more; You will look at where they were, And they will not be there.  But the meek will possess the earth, And they will find exquisite delight in the abundance of peace."

The Speaker drew our attention to the phrase "they will find exquisite delight in the abundance of peace".

We then read Revelation 21:4:   "And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”

And what about any lasting pain from the horrors of this system of things, ruled by Satan?   The Speaker directed us to Isaiah 65:17:  "For look! I am creating new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be called to mind, Nor will they come up into the heart."

This system will be gone like a bad dream - no scars, physical, mental, emotional, will torment us then.  Jehovah can and will heal them all. If we turn to him.

The Speaker touched briefly on the reason why Jehovah has allowed this situation for 6,000 years (which, while it seems an age to us, is only a few days in God's eyes) but that subject needs another talk in itself. We are living, as it were, in a court case, in which the issues raised in Eden are settled once and for all time.  Our first parents disobedience has put a question mark against every one of us, as to whether we will willingly obey our Creator out of love.  Or not.

And the Speaker reminded us that, as Jesus foretold, a global education work is going on right now - with all the teaching based on love.

And we finished by returning to Habakkuk, chapter 3:18,19: "Yet, as for me, I will exult in Jehovah; I will be joyful in the God of my salvation.  The Sovereign Lord Jehovah is my strength; He will make my feet like those of a deer And cause me to tread on high places."

And the Speaker ended by pointing out that 111,000 congregations worldwide had heard this talk today.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Wuthering Frights

Maybe you would like to read "The Ecclesall Witch Project"?  Obviously, I wrote it ages ago, and I only ever saw part of the Blair Witch thingy anyway. Col got a DVD and watched it.  I did watch a bit, but their getting lost in the trackless woods tied in to such a deep anxiety in me that I had to stop. Which helped to make me realise how wise the congregation is when it warns us not to watch such things.  I had to learn the hard way!

Everything we put in our mind makes connections in our brain. The Bible warns us to be careful what we allow ourselves to think about for that reason. The Maker of the brain knows its workings.

Anyway, as I had gone and watched the beginning of it, I couldn't help but muse about my 3 hapless sisters (the wuthering frights) trying to make their blockbuster movie, hampered by the fact that they don't have the same sort of forest in which to get their protagonists lost.  Its part of a series I wrote to amuse my sisters ages ago, when we used to have our regular writing sessions.  It ought to speak for itself, but as I am not Sue Knightspeare, I am going to have to say that the three sisters are always trying, and failing, to become famous. They have a brother, Branston, a swot who does his homework and keeps his room tidy. The sturdy Albert Cowlishaw is an admirer of the prettiest sister (I forget now which one she is - as I say, it was a long time ago), and the Count is a friend he brought back with him after a hiking trip to Transylvania. I wrote that trip up as a script many years ago, but seem to have lost it. They have an aunt, who has a wardrobe full of saris, and they live on the Wuthering Frights Council Estate, designed by their father, an architect.

The wardrobe full of saris sticks in my mind as, one day, the sisters hide in it, and find a mysterious world... where winter reigns.

So, lights go down, curtain goes up - and don't try this at home children:

by Me

In which we get lost in the dark fastness of Ecclesall Woods, the Entity has an encounter with Albert Cowlishaw, and many strange adventures befall us on the way.

“I’ve just been to see the Blair Witch Project sisters, I could spit!”  That was Ellis, crabby as usual.  

“What is the matter, sister dear?”  I asked her sweetly, knowing it would annoy.

“What’s the matter??   Acton, that could have been us. It should have been us.  We should have had the success with that film.  Don’t you remember?  When we sent you, and Albert Cowlishaw and the Count into Ecclesall Woods, with those two hand-held cameras.”

“Yes, well I told you from the start it wouldn’t work if you sent the Count”

“Don’t talk with your mouth full Currer.   Anyway, IF you remember, Branston wouldn’t go.  He had his revision to do.  And the Count wouldn’t let Acton be alone with Albert.”

Do you know, if I had lived in the days of Barbara Cartland, men would have fought duels over me.  I could see I was going to get the blame here, and thought I should dump it firmly in the lap it belonged to.     “If Branston hadn’t been so hopeless, as usual, then it would have worked.  Albert and I did our bit.”

“Oh, yes, Acton.  You certainly did.  I heard all about it from the Evil Entity we hired.”

“That’s right. I remember now.  It was when the first branch of Evil Entities R Us opened up in Sheffield.  That’s what gave us the idea.”

“Currer, stop talking with your mouth full.”   That was Auntie, from the cellar.  She was busy changing the Count’s earth.

“Yes.  And it was more than an idea.  We had it all planned out.  You know, the first night in the tent, there would be vague sounds around them – disturbing, but subtle.  Just a hint of unease in an otherwise jolly party.   The second night they would awake to find all those sinister bunches of tied sticks round the campsite.    And the next morning they would wake up to find one of their party missing.   Then as night fell again – and by this time they were hopelessly lost in the dark fastness of the woods – they would hear the screams of the lost one, drawing them on to the sinister old ruined house.”

“It kind of worked out, Ellis.  We did manage to get lost.”

“Well, that’s one thing I hadn’t bargained for.  Not in Ecclesall woods.   I was trying and trying to find you ever since we got that call from the Entity after the first night.”

“Albert thought it were right mardy.”

“Don’t talk with your mouth full Currer.  It was just pointing out, through understandably clenched teeth, that there was no point at all in it spending the whole night making subtle yet sinister sounds outside the tent, if the sounds coming from inside the tent completely drowned it out.”

“It wasn’t my fault Albert packed tins of Pork and Beans.”

“Nevertheless, Acton, it should have been thought of.   And I think that’s what got it so disturbed and its knots weren’t all they might have been.  Apparently it was dreadfully hurt when Albert retied them all the next morning.”

“Well, he was Chief  Scout, and Knotcraft is one of his badges.  He couldn’t really let it go, Ellis.   And anyway, the Count was missing during the night. That could have been all mysterious and exciting.”

“Yes, but that was part of the problem.  He was always missing during the night.   He spent the daylight hours huddled in the tent. And the night flitting round the woods.  In fact, during the harassment hearing, the Entity said that the Count was stalking it and kept wanting to kiss its neck.   And, when the Damages case came up, it turned out that, when the Entity did that thing where it attacked the tent from the outside, it severely damaged its shins on the Count’s coffin.”

“Wasn’t a coffin.  It was a Transylvanian sleeping bag.  He told us.”

“Currer, stop talking with your mouth full.” Auntie flew past with a couple of bottles of Dadda’s Pea Port that seemed to be going critical.

“Translyvanian sleeping bag.     Yes, well, how could you have failed to notice that the Count’s ginormous Transylvanian sleeping bag was missing from the tent the following morning?”

“We’d got other things to worry about Ellis.  It was our third night out there.  My eyelash curler stopped working on the second day but Albert just wouldn’t stop filming.  And he was very anxious to find the Entity of Ecclesall Woods so he could sign it up for his Knotcraft course.  But we did hear the Count screaming, and we rushed over to the old house, so it all ended right.”

“Yes, but it’s what he was shouting.  Didn’t I script:  “Incoherent screams of panic";  not:  “Come and see, I’ve found a fabulous cellar with a cosy corner for my sleeping bag”.   And I certainly hadn’t envisaged the film finishing with a jolly sing song round the campfire!”

“You must admit though, the rousing chorus of Gin Gan Goo combined with Albert’s legs in hiking shorts was a bit too much for some of the Preview audience.  They fainted in droves.”

“It’s no consolation, Acton.”

Friday, 25 April 2014

A Medical Morning at the Library

Captain Butterfly dragged me to the library this morning kicking and screaming (me doing the kicking and the screaming). They are running health checks down there - no waiting. And he insisted. I didn't want to know the state of my health, especially given the sleepless night I have just had. The pain in my knee kept me awake - not agonising as it was, but enough to stop me staying asleep.

Anyway, we did it. And he was right.  All OK, apart from my chloresterol is up...   not spectacularly, but higher than they currently like.  I don't know if its that they have changed the goalposts again, or if we have been eating too many ready meals from the supermarket chill cabinet as I haven't been doing all that much cooking over the last 6 months. Will try to do better.

Nute and Pen have finally managed to synchronize their busy diaries and have arranged a visit for May.

I have emailed a couple of stories to my young publisher.  Plus, for his amusement, "The Ecclesall Witch Project"  (my take on The Blair Witch Project).  Its an in-joke for us Sheffielders, as my protagonists get lost in the dark fastness of Ecclesall Woods.  And anyone who knows my northern hometown knows that even I, with all the directional sense of a paper bag blowing aimlessly about in the wind, could not get lost in Ecclesall Woods.

Our thought for today contained this scripture:  "For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, this one is like a man looking at his own face in a mirror.  For he looks at himself, and he goes away and immediately forgets what sort of person he is.  But the one who peers into the perfect law that belongs to freedom and continues in it has become, not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work; and he will be happy in what he does." - James 1:23-25

When we look into the perfect law that belongs to freedom, we see what we should be...  will we act on what we see, or go away and forget about it?

Thursday, 24 April 2014


To the Bluebell Woods with Jackie and the Captain.  They are a little bit of paradise, and this was my longest walk for over year.  I am in quite a lot of pain now, and hope I haven't crippled myself.   Jacks cooked us supper last night - lasagne, salad, cheeseboard and fruit pie with yoghurt.  A lovely evening, as it always is.

She gave us a cup of tea after our walk and then we came back and watched an old James Bond on our new TV Box thingy, which was installed on Thursday. We haven't got it working properly as yet, but hopefully it will work in time. Whether I will ever be able to work it out is another matter.  The poor giant sardine that was chasing JB round a wreck - I think it got blown up or something (I went back to my book at that point).  I dropped back in later to find JB and the heroine leaping off a cliff, into the sea. Poor horse - especially if the giant sardine had survived a la James himself, and was waiting hungrily for it.

The Loch Ness monster has, apparently, been spotted again. But what tragically has not been spotted is any sign of the missing Malaysian plane. And I think they are probably giving up now. The black box will have stopped working as I understand it.

Off-line over Ishtar (Easter)

Our new internet system - BT - failed almost as soon as it was installed and we have been off-line over the Bank Holiday - until about 30 minutes ago in fact.  Not happy - but I suppose least said, soonest mended. And I am so glad to have it back.  I will now be able to email the new membership figures to the Butterfly Board, and also to email some more stories to my publisher, as he has requested.  And how I love saying "my publisher"!

We - himself, Jackie and me - did a walk in the bluebell woods on Saturday morning.  I managed a 15 minute hobble on my stick - my longest walk for ages, apart from some of those immense treks through various hospitals (designed, I presume, to cull the weakest among the patients).  It was beautiful, and I hope that a picture will appear now the the Captain and I have grabbed our blogs back from the void.

My knee has swollen up though, and has been extra painful since - a warning that I am going to have to take this slowly,

We had supper at Jacks on Friday - lasagne, a cheeseboard, and a hot fruit pie with yoghurt.  All excellent, and a fun night as it always is with Jacks.  She also gave us tea after our walk.  Col took me to the meeting on Sunday, and I was able to have a heart to heart with my sister Jackie, who is also having a lot of problems with her walking.    We had a visiting speaker - on the subject of Satan, who he is, why he is, what he is trying to do, and the coming rescue from "the god of this system of things" (as Satan is described).  And why anyone should doubt the Bible's warning that the whole world lies in the power of "the father of the lie" I do not know.
Did the butterfly paperwork today - not too much, thank goodness, as I feel very tired.  I walked - my first walk on my own - over to Bob's yesterday - he lives in the next block of flats. I wanted to take him the April Watchtower and Awake, but he wasn't at home. I felt like I had climbed Everest when I got back.

Friday, 18 April 2014

The Thoughts of Chairman Sue

I have been reading a lot about the Plath and Hughes debacle - plus re-discovering Celia Fremlin - plus re-reading Maria Coffey on the death of Joe Tasker on Everest - and, above all, continuing being taught by Jehovah.  Col drove me to the Hall last night for the meeting.  We are learning about "the marriage of the Lamb" this week.     It reminded me of my Catholic Convent Schooldays, when all the nuns claimed to be the bride of Christ.  Which made me feel rather sorry for Jesus, though I suppose I thought he ought to be able to deal with them if anyone could.

A lot of thoughts jumbled up in my head. Along with the sawdust. And the guilt, at doing so little.  My knees are still painful, and its hard to sleep, hard to get comfortable at night. I think what I had better do is concentrate on a Celia Fremlin quote or two, to give a flavour of the book, as I will have to return it to the library soon enough.  She can be very funny.  I love the greenfly.

This quote is from "The Long Shadow", when our heroine finds, to her shock, that her stepdaughter's house is up for sale (she is in for another shock when she goes inside):

"Thus it was that when she first saw the FOR SALE board, she quite thought she had mistaken the house.  It must be No.32, or No.36, into which she was inadvertently turning.
But no. It was No.34 alright. For a moment she stood staring stupidly.
"It can't be..." was her first thought; and then; "But surely Herbert would never leave his greenfly?"
His roses, of course, really; but since it was always the greenfly that one was hearing about, it was difficult not to think of them as the central attraction.  She stared again at the board."

Then there is the neighbour of our heroine (Imogen), who has just been widowed before the book starts.  The neighbour (Edith) is also a widow of long-standing, and is very competitive about it.

"Edith stared, her mouth opening and shutting silently, while she sought vainly among her habitual repertoire of reactions for something that would do.   There was nothing; and so she settled, at last, for being vaguely offended. Not that Imogen's outburst had been an insult, exactly, but it was - well - ungrateful, in some complicated way.  After all, if she, Edith, was prepared to understand so well how Imogen was feeling, then surely Imogen could at least go to the trouble of feeling that way?"

Thursday, 17 April 2014

The Beast in Question

European Swallowtail, Papilio machaon gorganus
at Windover Hill, East Sussex, 24 August 2013
Here it is - the very Swallowtail that might have eaten Captain Butterfly's leg (had it been a great white whale) and sent him hopping off on his mad quest for vengeance, or at least another even better photo.   He didn't find it. None of them did, as far as I know, but they had a good time trying.

I hope its alright.   Butterflies are much tougher than they look, but nevertheless the world that our first parents' disobedience created for them is full of danger.

Yet this is how it started out:  "And God went on to say: “Here I have given to you all vegetation bearing seed which is on the surface of the whole earth and every tree on which there is the fruit of a tree bearing seed. To you let it serve as food.  And to every wild beast of the earth and to every flying creature of the heavens and to everything moving upon the earth in which there is life as a soul I have given all green vegetation for food.” And it came to be so.  After that God saw everything he had made and, look! [it was] very good." - Genesis 1:29-31

This was not a world in which nature was "red in tooth and claw". It was a perfect world. It was Paradise.  And it will be again.  What else are we asking for when we say The Lord's Prayer?

It was a lovely day. Not warm, but sunny. The Channel was blue with tiny fluorescent white frills coming and going at the edges. I did half an hour on the balcony studying away.  I don't have my 2014 Yearbook and hope to pick it up, along with the next study Watchtowers, at the Hall tonight.  So, hopefully, this is the beginning of getting back to my routine.

I made a big veggie stew, did my studying and talked to Audrey on phone- she is just back from her surgery - aaarrrrgghh.  And read my Celia Fremlin "The Long Shadow".  I was amazed to find her in the library - thought she was out of print.  I hope she is back again, as she writes excellent thrillers, just the sort I like, where the everyday suddenly goes wrong.  Or does it?

She is very funny too, and I must add a couple of quotes to my blog.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

There She Blows!

It was a lovely evening last night. Col drove Jackie and me to the Hall and Maggie saved us seats.  It is always very full on the night of the Memorial. David gave a talk straight from the heart, the bread and the wine were passed round (though we have nobody now in our congregation who takes it), and I was able to hold Col's hand during the prayer.

We looked for the full moon in the sky as we left the Hall - and there it was.  And Jesus would have seen it shining over Jerusalem, on the 14th day of Nisan in the first century C.E.

I managed to arrive without my Songbook!  But at least I know the words to the two songs we used, so was able to screech along off-key as usual.  I am hoping that if and when I am perfect again - and I am pinning my hopes on the ransom sacrifice which we were commemorating - I will have a lovely singing voice.

"A miracle indeed," Captain Butterfly would be saying if he were not hurtling about preparing for a field trip.   A swallowtail has been sighted in Hampshire, a cry of "There she blows" has been echoing round the Butterfly world, and he has left, with a quick goodbye kiss, as I type this, at 7.15 in the morning.   How great that they all rush out to photograph butterflies now, and not to harpoon them, and pin them in boxes.

And how fortunate that the pain in my knee woke me up at 2.30 and I had to get up to have tea, toast and a painkiller, as I took the opportunity to make his packed lunch (cheese sandwich, marmalade muffin), so it was ready to be grabbed as he flew past the fridge.

Every cloud can have a silver lining.  I would skip about Pollyanna fashion except that the Knew Knees, rather sensibly, don't allow for such capering.

Anyway, it was good to be back at the Hall after 6 weeks away and see everyone, including the newest addition to our Congregation family, tiny little 3 week old Lauren, who was as good as gold throughout.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Jackie says...

... that I am looking a lot better than when she last saw me.  So that was comforting.  And my chicken dish turned out well, which was a relief.  The cake?  Not so well, but I think it will be OK as a a sturdy packed lunch cake. And as Captain B had shot and killed a punnet of strawberries we had those with ice-cream for afters.

A lovely evening as it always is with Jacks.

Its grey and cold this morning.  His Captainship is going off treasure hunting - his sandwiches are ready, with a piece of the latest cake.  So I hope he won't put his back out lifting it.  And I hope he brings back a hoard or two...   I might think about travel again if we could fly first class.

Though how am I ever to get through airport security with these metal knees?  And I can't go without them.

I plan to be listening in to the meeting on the phone line this morning. We have a lovely Watchtower article today. Its about Jesus as the Rider on the white horse (of the book of Revelation), riding out to complete his conquest. Very reassuring, especially in light of the news.

Talking of news, still nothing definite about the missing Malaysian plane, although they have been saying for some time that they are picking up what sound like signals from a black box somewhere in the Indian Ocean. The families torment goes on, but I think they have been told to be quiet about it.

Bea rang - and Jean, who has collected my magazines for me and is bringing them over this afternoon for a cup of tea and a chat.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

A New Distressing Landmark

When making the chicken last night, I had to call on Captain B for help.  It requires grating a lot of fresh ginger and as I was doing it, I realised that it was starting up the arthritis in my arm and shoulder, and so I had to stop (and take the full pantheon of medications).  He came to my rescue and grated in powerful manly fashion, while I gazed at him wide-eyed, my hands clasped admiringly, and sang a chorus of "He's a lumberjack and he's OK."

Depressing though, as I have always been able to grate ginger before.  Its not a skill I had thought to lose.  And its another slip towards that waiting edge.  I think I will scour Lakeland for an appropriate grating device once I can shop again.

I did quite a bit of internet witnessing yesterday, as a discussion has re-started about Genesis.  I have been trying to point out that Genesis does not say the earth is only 6,000 years old. Quite the reverse in fact, as it tells us Adam was created just over 6,000 years ago, and he opened his eyes in an Autumn garden - in the perfection of Autumn.   So the earth was already up and running by then.

And Genesis begins this way:  (Genesis 1:1-2) "In [the] beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth proved to be formless and waste and there was darkness upon the surface of [the] watery deep; and God’s active force was moving to and fro over the surface of the waters."

How long the earth had been there - formless and waste, rather like the surface of the moon I suppose - I don't know. Genesis doesn't tell us. All we can deduce from it is that the earth has to be a lot older than 6,000 years.  

I am also pointing out again that Jesus said the meek - those meek towards their Creator - would inherit "the earth".  Not heaven.  The earth was made for us to live on forever.  And we are made of it - made from the dust of the ground.

Achievements yesterday?  I got out on the balcony and started my Watchtower study and got some sun. I did make the chicken and mushroom for tonight - with some help.  And provided lunch and dinner...  but was that it?  I fear so, apart from my exercises.  Oh and I had a nice talk with Geraldine who rang up to make sure we are coming to her and Steve's wedding in May.  I certainly should be able to make it. And had some internet chat with Nute and Penny about getting together for a writing session.

I am trying to chart some post-op progress as it happens, and I suppose I have to think back to about a month ago to realise that things have improved.  Slowly - but they have improved.

Friday, 11 April 2014

The Memorial Bible Reading

Our Memorial Bible readings began yesterday- and I like to think of people all over the world, from every nation, tribe and tongue, reading about what happened on the day of Nisan 9 in the first century.

And today we are looking at Nisan 10.  Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem riding on a donkey, as prophesied, and the way the crowds hail him as the Messiah, has angered the religious leaders. And on the 10th Jesus speaks about the death he is to die. He knows what is coming.

His faith in his Creator is outstanding - and is what we must try to emulate as much as our imperfect selves will allow us.

I am hoping that Captain Butterfly will arrive back soon with a load of shopping slung over his manly shoulders, as I need to get on with cooking the chicken for supper tomorrow, as Jacks is coming.   Its an odd chicken and mushroom stir fry, in that you need to cook it the day before and the flavours develop in the fridge over the next 24 hours. I am also planning to bake a cake for dessert.

The Captain took all the butterfly memberships for posting.   I had to wait for Butterfly Mark to deliver the new publications.   And I also got a letter written to Kathryn and did quite a lot of emailing and facebooking.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Andrea's Knew Knees

Interested to find this in an article by Andrea Dworkin- the last one she wrote apparently:

"I had both knees replaced at once, a normal practice now but unusual even a few years ago. My surgeon would later tell me that if I had had one done, I would never have returned for the second. He got that right.
I still don't know what he did to me but I came to the conclusion that the operation was barbaric, involving as it did the sawing out of the arthritis, which meant sawing through bones. It was like being kneecapped, twice, or having one's knees and bones hammered and broken into bits. After the operation I was in a nightmare of narcotics and untouchable pain. There were morphine shots. I asked for them and got them often. Even morphine shots in the upper arm hurt.
I had a hallucination but it is still real as rain to me. I was in Virginia Woolf's house and I was happy. But "they" wanted me to go down the stairs. I can't, I begged, I can't. My hospital bed was at the top of the stairs and I was afraid that they were going to push me down. I saw the steep decline of the steps. I couldn't get over my visceral fear of falling or being pushed or being turned over from the bed down the flight of steps. I kept experiencing my bed as being on the edge of a precipice."

No, it was not a happy experience.  I was awake so I could have told her that yes, there was a lot of hammering, banging and drilling. Plus the smell of burning bone every so often.   At one point I wanted to send a message down to my young surgeon via the anaethetist to ask if he would finish demolishing that house and get on with my knees.

I was only allowed morphine 4 hourly after the first op  And it was not enough.  I was allowed it hourly after the second op. And it still wasn't enough.

And I was interested that she too had these hallucinogenic dreams afterwards.   So did my sister Hazel and so did I - I think I have blogged them.  I suppose its a profound shock to the body.  Even though I knew what to expect during the second operation and thought I was perfectly calm when the banging and crashing started, the anaethetist suddenly interrupted the conversation we were having about the beauty of The Cape, leapt up and injected something into me.  Apparently my blood pressure went haywire. And then a bit later two people were shaking me and shouting "Breath, breath", and they put me on the oxygen.

Today - little achievement - though I had a sunshine session on the balcony while I did my studying. The light on the Channel and the Green was so lovely, so numinous.    And I sorted some books, and made a banana bread as we have some ripening bananas to use up.  I used the Jack Monroe recipe from The Guardian. Captain Butterfly approves and most of the loaf is now cut and frozen in the deep freeze for his packed lunches.  Got a card from Turkey from Kathryn - a call from Audrey - and was able to join in an internet discussion about why Jesus has come to be regarded as God and worshipped as such.   Why indeed, when the Bible tells us, clearly and simply, that he is the Messiah - the one sent forth by God - and the only-begotten Son of God?

A clue:  Think "father of the lie".

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Blowing in the Wind

Its not necessarily a good idea to read certain poems at times, but how much more fully I can feel them every day that passes.

This is from "A Shropshire Lad",by A.E. Houseman from a lovely anthology Pen gave me: Poem for the Day, One, forward by Wendy Cope.

"From far, from eve and morning
 And yon twelve-winded sky,
 The stuff of life to knit me
Blew hither: here am I.

 Now - for a breath I tarry
 Nor yet disperse apart -
 Take my hand quick and tell me
 What have you in your heart.

 Speak now, and I will answer;
 How shall I help you, say:
 Ere to the wind's twelve quarters
 I take my endless way.

The poet has returned to "the ground of dust" - is now blowing about in the wind's twelve quarters.    Will he be called from the sleep of death when the time comes?   I do hope so.   And how long before we too...   aargghh...   This was never meant to happen to us.  We are made to live forever - and hopefully we will.  But only through the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ, as his death paid back to Jehovah the perfect human life that Adam so wilfully threw away in Eden.  That is why he is called "a corresponding ransom".  He perfectly corresponded to Adam, who was perfect until he chose to fatally damage himself.

Which is why the Memorial on the night of the 14th is so important.

It seems to me that I achieved nothing yesterday, beyond some study - we are in Exodus again now - some witnessing by internet - and making a pan of veggie stew with the leftover vegs.  It was a grey and rainy day which kind of matched my mood.   Its sunny today but not warm. The Captain's sandwiches were made - Polish sausage from Lidl's today - and he has spent the day at the ducklingface, it being too cold for butterflies.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

The Memorial of Jesus' Death

The Memorial, or the Lord's Evening Meal, will be held at your local Kingdom Hall on Monday the 14th April - after sunset. Here on the South Coast of England, it will begin at 7.30. Captain Butterfly will be there with me, if all goes as planned.

You are most welcome to attend. There will be a prayer to begin and end, a song, a short talk about the meaning of the ransom sacrifice, and the bread and wine will be passed round. There are not many who take it these days - but its always passed round.

I listened in to the meeting on the phone lines this morning, and in the afternoon I did the Butterfly memberships, which arrived yesterday.   I will have to report to the Board that we have lost more members than we gained this month.  What was it the Romans did to the bearers of bad news?   Let's hope it was something kind and lovely.  We had a fun evening at Jackie's - roast chicken dinner, followed by a cheeseboard and ice-cream.   So nice to have her back.

The Captain has brought back some wonderful duckling photos.    Its been a bit of a cold grey day here and I am still feeling rather down and depressed.   And this cramp in my leg still bothers me, though not as much as it did.  There are times when I wish I had never embarked on these Knew Knees, but hopefully if I am blogging six months from now, I will be feeling much happier about it all.

Friday, 4 April 2014

The Cootinator

At last I have a bit of drama to report. The black-headed gulls, shedloads of them, were dozing on Gull Island when a little coot came aboard.  It bullied and chivvied half the gulls off the island, and I noticed that nobody argued with it. It then set off swimming powerfully straight towards the Captain and me peacefully eating our fish and chips in the restaurant. If it hadn't been for the strong pane of glass between us, I suspect we would have had to give up our lunch.

I wasn't going to argue with the little brute either.

It was nice to have an outing, but depressingly tiring.  Terry was there and we gave him a lift back.

Still no sign of this missing Malaysian plane and its crew and passengers.  I suppose it must have gone down in the deep ocean, and whatever debris there was has now sunk too or dispersed.  Maybe something will wash up on a beach somewhere sometime.  But, until then, do you go on hoping?

I continue wondering over the size of the universe - and how it is beyond our understanding. Which is exactly as it should be.   Apparently there is one star so large that if it were standing in the place of our sun it would swallow up the earth.

As the Inspired Scriptures have always told us:   “The glory of the sun is one sort, and the glory of the moon is another, and the glory of the stars is another; in fact, star differs from star in glory.” - 1 Corinthians 15:41

Star differs from star in glory  The more we learn about the universe, the more we can see how true that is.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Driving to the Sun

First of all, I wouldn't advise it. We have just been considering Jehovah's power by looking at his creation and the power of the sun is such that (and here I am quoting from Draw Close to Jehovah published by The Watchtower Society)   "if you could take a pinhead-sized piece of the sun's core and put it here on the earth, you could not safely stand within 90 miles of that tiny heat source."

But if you are set on melting both yourself and your car, then bear in mind that its going to be a long drive. The sun is 93 million miles away - and (I am quoting again) "to put that giant number in perspective, think about this: To drive that distance by car - even speeding along at 100 miles per hour, 24 hours a day - would take you over a hundred years."

Yet the sun is only a tiny part of Jehovah's creation.

When we think of what we can glimpse of the size and splendour of the Universe - and the laws to which it all moves in its wonderful dance - shouldn't we think of its Grand Creator, Jehovah of armies?

Some minor butterfly business and queries were done - studying - cooking -  housework.  I cleaned out the fridge, and found a few horrors lurking.  Hadn't done it since the operation!  

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Lorna Sage, and "Bad Blood"

I have re-read it ("Bad Blood") for the n-millionth time.  What a memoir it is.  She re-creates the era of my childhood.   And I am going to put a couple of quotes in the blog to give a flavour of it.  Both are to do with school, one refers specifically to difficulties with sums. Both I really relate to.

Its sunny but cold this morning - Mark the Butterfly may be over for coffee - but if so it will be early, so I must have my shower asap. I need time for my limbs to return to me after the night.    At least I have cake in as I made a carrot cake yesterday - half of which is frozen waiting its re-appearance as part of the Captain-s pack.  And Diane, my physio will be calling by too.

Jackie is back.  Hurray! Hurray!   We are asked over for supper on Saturday.

This is all so Diary of a Nobody - but I am not going anywhere (apart from medical) or doing much (apart from reading).   I have made a tiny tiny start on some spring cleaning - the hall china has been washed and I've made a start on the kitchen cupboards.  I am also starting to wean us off foods from the Supermarket chill cabinet and back to home cooking.  And made a big veggie stew yesterday in pursuit of said aim.

Quotes from Lorna Sage (and "Bad Blood"):

(Of her first school:)   "So the playground was hell:  Chinese burns, pinches, slaps and kicks, and horrible games.  I can still hear the noise of a thick wet skipping rope slapping the ground. There'd be a big girl at each end and you had to leap through without tripping.  Joining in was only marginally less awful than being left out.  It's said (truly) that most women forget the pain of childbirth; I think that we all forget the pain of being a child at school for the first time, the sheer ineptitude, as though you'll never learn to mark out your own space.  Its doubly shaming - shaming to remember as well,  to feel so sorry for your scabby little self back then in small people's purgatory."

"Hanmer school left its mark on my mental life, though.  For instance, one day in a grammar school maths lesson I got into a crying jag over the notion of minus numbers.  Minus one threw out my universe, it couldn't exist, I couldn't understand it.  This, I realised tearfully under coaxing from an amused (and mildly amazed) teacher, was because I thought numbers were things.  In fact cabbages.  We had been taught in Miss Myra's class to do addition and subtraction by imagining more cabbages and fewer cabbages. Every time I did mental arithmetic I was juggling ghostly vegetables in my head.  And when I tried to think of minus one I was trying to imagine an anti-cabbage, an anti-matter cabbage, which was as hard as conceiving of an alternative universe."