Monday, 30 June 2014

The Fairest Flower in the Meadow

And I'm there too - standing in front of it.  The Captain took me to the meadow at Fairmile Bottom yesterday evening to see the Marbled Whites. They were roosting and once I got my eye in, I could  see them everywhere among the flowers and grasses.  Some of the flowers were closing up for the night - and there were intermittent perfect little dandelion clocks.
Marbled White, Melanargia galathea on thistle
Shouldn't they alone tell us that we are not seeing a blind watchmaker at work - but seeing The Master Watchmaker.  Each clock is more exquisite than a Tiffany jewel, and more perfectly engineered than... not being an engineer, I can only come up with the Blackadderish wonderfully engineered thing.

Jehovah's creation speaks to us as clearly and directly as his Inspired word does.

We had a wonderful talk yesterday from a local brother.    The question being: Should we put our faith in science, or in our Creator?  

My ankles are now hurting from my Fairmile walk - along with my knees, but they always hurt - so I have decided to post my last two magazines, and I am also sending a card to the lady who now has a brain tumour, just to say how sorry I am and that I hope her medical treatment will go really well.  I have put nothing religious in it, given the notice that is now on her door, and can't call again. Though it feels like abandoning someone on The Titanic. She so much needs to know where the lifeboat is

And now I had better abandon my metaphor before I overload it and sink my blog.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Back to the Field (sort of)

Ringed Plover chick, Charadrius hiaticula
Forced myself out this morning, and arrived at Sue's to find Ron there to scoop up those of us (myself) who did not know about the last minute change of venue.  I followed him to the right house. We had a nice service meeting and then set off - me to do a few more of my magazine route calls.

Got a lovely warm welcome from two of them, and a long chat!   A couple were not at home.  But I had one very sad call.  Chris has had a bad health year too, and is now seriously ill. She does not want me to call any more. Though she was very pleasant and has taken the latest magazines.  I will have to pray that she will come to know that a fortress is the God of ancient times, and underneath are the everlasting arms.

We all need to know that so much, and to know why we can trust those words with all our heart.

The Ringed Plover parents have done a wonderful job and their chicks are now fluffy (and probably sulky) adolescents.  In the face of all the dangers: gulls, dogs, foxes, us - they have almost got them to the leaving home stage.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

More Soup Dragonery

Linda joined us for supper Wednesday night - soup again - pumpkin (plus onion, garlic, herbs, chile, potato, and some red pepper I had left over), toast, and frozen yoghurt. And the Captain opened a bottle of white wine.  A very quiet day for me - some studying, vacuuming, and soup making - recovering from Tuesdays grand march and seagull attack.

Its high summer now, and I am grateful for the sea breeze.  The Channel is a calm turquoise blue this morning, the Green is still green (though we will need some rain soon to keep it that way), the balcony geraniums are ablaze, and Captain Butterfly has just been able to report an interesting new moth to the Recorder of Moths.

I am reading the Harry Thompson biography of Peter Cook.  A compelling read - an excellent bio - but sad. I don't suppose the end of anyone's life is ever cheerful, but his last years seem very sad.   But it is reminding me how funny and surreal he was.  And Private Eye endures to this day, which it would not have done without him.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Never Talk to a Seagull

I managed to totter off and do four of my magazine route calls this morning.  Only one was at home, but he did seem pleased to see me, and we had a nice doorstep chat.  He was puffing away on his ciggie as I handed him the Watchtower about the Bible and smoking...

On the walk up one drive I noticed a seagull on the roof. It was making a strange piercing repetitive call.  "Whats the matter chick?"  I asked it as I stopped to see if I could tell what was up.   I could see it noticing me before it got on with its calling.   I delivered my magazine and set off back down the path. Whereupon it dive bombed me.  It kept coming for my head, which was alarming.  I managed to get very close to some garden trees so it wouldn't be able to get at my hair and eyes and was able to get out of its range.

Maybe it had a baby on the ground and, on seeing me noticing its call, thought I was a predator and was on the look out for the little creature.  Flattering, but poor judgement on its part if so, as you only have to look at me to see that an arthritic tortoise could outpace me without much effort.

Or it might be that "What's the matter chick?" means something very rude in Seagull.

So I must never stop and chat to the gulls again.  Its too risky.  I am not a great talker to people - so it is an undeserved kindness in every way for Jehovah to have let me understand "the way of the truth", as I am so much not a people person.  I talk to gulls - well I did  (have learnt my lesson there) - cats, dogs, plants and even the furniture. But talking to people is problematical.  For me, anyway.  I very much admire people who can do it.  And yet I must do the preaching work. That is what Jesus taught his followers to do, and asked them to continue doing.

This is how the book of Matthew ends:   "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.”

This present system of things on the earth has not come to its end yet, so we must keep going.

The Captain left for his Brighton conference quite early, and I did the shopping after I had done some more of my route calls.  There was one disabled space left at Waitrose, for which I do thank Jehovah.  If I park in an ordinary space and another car parks to near to the door, I can't get back in my car. The new knees are not as flexible as the original pair.

Monday, 23 June 2014

The Balcony Geraniums

We sat out on the balcony with a bottle of wine Sunday night. First time this year I think.  A calm quiet summer evening, surrounded by our balcony geraniums, their vivid clashing colours subdued by evening.  We talked about the way the longest day had already been and gone and how are are heading into Autumn - and of how the years don't last as they used to when we were children. The summer holidays went on for ever then - that beautiful respite from the horrors of school.

Whose idea was it to jam children together in large peer groups?

I drove myself to the meeting and back while Himself was out treasure hunting.  Got a lovely surprise on coming back from the Kingdom Hall, as he had come back early.

We lunched off avocado salad, and dined off chicken curry, rice and a sort of veggie curry made in the soup machine.   Today - gulp - we may be choosing a new dentist.  Aaaaarrrrgghh.

What will happen to teeth once we are perfect again - and lasting forever as we were originally made to do? Will they simply keep re-growing and re-placing themselves?

I hope we are all there to find out.   The Congregation is teaching us ever more strongly to have the complete trust in Jehovah that the faithful Hebrews of old had, and to brace ourselves for what is coming.  And there was some excellent advice in Sunday's Watchtower article for all those feeling that the economic situation means they must leave their children and go and work abroad to earn them a better life.  If people will listen, it could save them from making some tragic mistakes.

Jehovah has perfect advice for them, as He has for everyone.   He also gives practical help right now.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

The Debut of the Blue Jacket

The blue summer top Bea bought me made its debut tonight at Dan and Libby's Anniversary Party.  It was a perfect summer evening and we sat out in the garden till after dark. There were loads of people, loads of food, and a great band.

Another landmark on Friday morning in that, after a lot of agonising, I drove myself to Waitrose and did a small shop. First time I have shopped on my own for I don't know how long.  We needed some more fruit and some more salad stuff. I also got some chicken to put in marinade for Sunday, and the next couple of days.   Hot chicken with rice, cold chicken with salad.

Paul dropped by for tea and to give us the Purple Emperor pins and then Jackie came over for lunch - broccoli soup - a new one and not bad, though I says it myself as shouldn't. Followed by bananas and Kelly's cornish ice-cream.

I have emailed the broccoli recipe to Bea, my Soup Dragon Sister, and it sounds like she is working on some recipes to send me.

I got a lovely email from Dave, one of my magazine route calls.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Soup Dragons

Did the tour of the local shops yesterday, holding on to the Captain's manly arm.  We had to search for a silver frame for a photo, trawled from the family archives, of the young us with one other person. In this case, "the young us" is not me and the Captain but me and my sisters. This is from a time before The Captain came into my life, and before our brother too.  We are talking ancient history here. Then we had to find a silver frame. Then wrapping paper, a card, and get a print of the old sepia photograph (Noah's Ark drying out in the background).

We did it, though my knees and ankles only just made it.

Then, as the Captain flew off on his mission to Arundel, the latest butterfly memberships flew in, so that took care of the rest of the my day.  Not many this month, for which I ought not to be grateful really.  But our membership is still going up. Not bad in a recession.

And Col is out posting the precious framed photo - all beautifully wrapped by himself - with a card.

Bea and I are now officially Soup Dragons, as we both have Soup Makers.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Daisies and Lilies

It was overcast on Monday, but everything looked so lovely.  The Captain took us for lunch in Arundel (rice and veggies for me, beef lasagne for him).  Arundel is full of the lush green of summer - tall old trees everywhere.   And the various kinds of ducklet seem a bit less vulnerable now, though as heartbreakingly fluffy as ever.  The water lilies are out, the daisies are everywhere, and the air was full of the perfume of summer blossom.
I started my week's studying over a mug of foaming coffee, while Col plus camera searched the car park for creepy crawlies - and took some pretty flower shots for me.
Oxeye Daisies, Chrysanthemum leucanthemum
He kindly stopped off at a difficult access magazine route call on the way home.  I noticed that my call has finally sold his house and I need to talk to him before he disappears to see if he wants me to continue with the magazines - or, if he is moving out of the area, if he wants me to contact his new congregation and get someone to call on him.  Sadly he was out.   I may have to write to him if I can't catch him at home.

We went to the Monday night talk at the Wetland Centre.  It was about the Northern American rain forest, and the life within it and in its coastal waters.  Remote and beautiful. We saw a spirit bear - the very rare white Black Bear - not albino, but white, caused by two recessive genes.  When those two genes meet, then two black bears can produce a white Black bear.   And the Speaker finished the first half with an amazing shot of a Black bear and Killer whale staring at each other - fascinated.  Fortunately for the bear it was looking down from a cliff.  The whales will take a Black bear if they catch it in the water.

Probably they would even tackle a Grizzly.

The ladies provided us with tea/coffee and a slice of jam and cream sponge for 50p. And we won a bottle of wine in the auction.  So a happy evening.   Just the sort of evening we like and have not been able to enjoy together for ages.   Everyone there, including the staff, were there because we all love the creation, are fascinated by it, and want to care for it, as we should.

The only thing is that had that been a gathering of JWs, then there would have been a Thank you said to Jehovah for the beauty and the glory of it all. So I am saying it now, in my blog.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Barbara Pym

I have been wanting to put this quote from "Jane and Prudence" into my blog for a while, to show how funny she is.

Hopefully this does not require a Spoiler Alert.  I don't know that we read, and re-read, Pym for the plot as such.   In this extract Jane meets Prudence's latest boyfriend, and finds a suitable quotation.  Or is it?

Here is Prudence talking to Jane about the young man she is about to introduce to her:


"'Oh, there's nothing negative about it. Quite the reverse!  We shall probably hurt each other very much before its finished,but we're doomed really.'  There was a smile on Prudence's face as she said these words, for the experience of being in love with such an ordinary young man as Geoffrey Manifold was altogether new and delightful to her.

'Therefore the Love which us doth join
   But Fate so enviously debars
 Is the conjunction of the Mind
   And Opposition of the Stars,'

said Jane.  'Is that it, perhaps?'  How much easier it was when one could find a quotation to light up the way; even Prudence seemed satisfied with Marvell's summing-up of the situation.

As they approached the building where Prudence's office  was, Jane noticed a thin, dark young man wearing a rain-coat standing in the doorway, and Prudence introduced him.  And so Jane shook hands with Geoffrey as she had shaken hands with Arthur some months ago, and was amazed, as she had been then at the wonder of love.  What object could Fate possibly have in enviously debarring love between Prudence, and such an ordinary and colourless young man as this appeared to be?"


It's overcast this morning and the Channel is calm.  I am extraordinarily and worryingly tired.  There are so many things I want and need to do, but am only managing the basics.  I have just parcelled up another Butterfly Report - a request from Audrey - Butterfly Audrey - and that has reminded me that I must ring up non-Butterfly Audrey today re her books.  The meeting yesterday was lovely - but I did little else all day.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

The Bookstand

We had a training session at the Kingdom Hall on Friday night in the use of the new bookstand. I put my name down ages ago, hoping that by the time it was up and running (or up and standing) I would be able to stand with it.  The rotas will be up soon, and I am hoping my name won't appear till next month. Its going to be a one and a half hour session and I can't yet stand for anything like the length of time.

I feel I ought to be able to, but the new knees and operation sites are still painful, especially when standing.

Anyway, while I'm sure we will be keeping the door to door work going as long as there are doors standing, as door to door is what the first Christians, working under Jesus' direct instruction, did, we also need to witness wherever else we can, as they did. The urgency of the message increases every day.

Bea rang to say she had made it safely back 'oop North.  Hopefully we will see her in September, and will be exchanging some soup recipes in the meantime.   And we had the latest pictures from the Oz Branch of the family.  What photogenic children!

Friday, 13 June 2014

Anne of the Cape

Another interesting conversation with Anne of the Cape.  She was asking some very pertinent Bible questions and I am trying to work out the best way to answer.   Bea headed east this morning on further family visits. We had a lovely week together.   We fed her a lot of soup, but she must have enjoyed it as she has now ordered a Soupmaker of her own - a Morphy Richards.   I made leek soup yesterday.  Bea provided the strawberries for afterwards.

We are planning to swap soup recipes as we both learn to fly our new machines.

Captain Butterfly is at home.  Its a sunny butterfly day and he is at home!   He alighted on the computer next to me this morning and is perched there still. We lunched off the remains of the leek soup - well he did, I had some veggie fried rice, using up the last of the celery. And we nectared off the last honeydew melon.

There is a special meeting at the Kingdom Hall tonight.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Stanley Spencer at The Pallant

The Captain, Jackie, Bea  and me have been pounding the pavements of Chichester. We have been to the Pallant Gallery on a perfect summer day (Tuesday) to see the Stanley Spencer, and to lunch.

It was a classic summer day - hot, blue skies, white clouds, lush green and wildflowers everywhere.    And so far my legs have held up. They ache - everything hurts, but I did it.  And I think I can now leave my bag of cushions behind. It has been raising seats for me for months now, but I managed without it yesterday.

The Spencer paintings are of WW1  and what to say about them?  They are full of energy - full of his passion for fabric and for things.  The washing of the patients' lockers in the big bath tubs- amazing - like going through a time machine, and seeing that moment in time.

And what interested me so much is that the paintings showed that Spencer understood that the Biblical hope for the dead is the resurrection - waking up again on the earth.  Not floating off up to heaven.

Sadly he seems to have abandoned his first wife and his children for someone he became obsessed with and who did not love him. But I don't know that it is ever wise to marry an artist, or a poet.   They so often have rackety private lives.   One of the Captain's many fine qualities is that he has never written a poem to me, and I am confident he never will.

It gives me a lovely feeling of security.  And in any case, knowing him, if he did, it would start something like this:
"There was a young lady of Wherevermoor
Well, I say young, but she's not anymore, etc etc"

Bea treated us to lunch at Pulborough Brooks on Monday.   We had pasta bolognese - excellent, but so much we couldn't finish it and should have brought a doggie bag.    Is it that portions are much larger now, or - gulp - that we are much older - or a combination of the two?

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Lilies in a Thunderstorm

We started Saturday morning with a violent thunderstorm. Both of us were up in the small hours, due to various aches and pains.  Bea slept through after her long days travelling yesterday.  We are not the House of Three Milks as yet - we haven't bought the soy milk necessary to make us so - but we are the House of Three Old Crocks.

Tom and Jackie came round for supper last night, Tom bringing not only wine but enormous lilies from his lovely garden.  We got out the large vase from its retirement home in the spare bedroom and the lilies now have pride of place in the lounge.

Owning to my state, I didn't cook, but Cooked.  We had a Cook's lasagne, various salads, with dressing, and garlic bread.  Afters were cheese, biscuits, strawberries and ice-cream.   It was a good evening, and we all laughed a lot, and lamented our fallen state.

Bea came with me to the Hall this morning.   It has been a beautiful sunny day - but I am very tired and my leg hurts.  Captain Butterfly was out late seeking nightjars (birds,  not pints in the pub, he assures me).

Friday, 6 June 2014

An Invitation, and a cloaked Swallowtail

European Swallowtail, Papilio machaon gorganus
Sussex born and bred
I was so comforted to get an invitation last night.  It just shows, always always get to the meetings if you can. I was so exhausted after that painful 24 hours that I was tempted to listen in on the phone.  For one thing, I couldn't drive, hand still painful and swollen.  However, Captain Wonderful said he would chauffeur me.

And when I got there both Ron and Malcolm said I was asked to a meeting Friday week about the new arrangement the Society now has for witnessing in public areas- malls, etc - with the book stand.  Now I have felt a bit of a chocolate teapot as far as being useful to anyone over the last year of so, so it was very comforting to know that Jehovah did not think so.  Assuming of course that the elders have it right in inviting me.

The problem though is that I feel so unreliable at the moment. These attacks come on with little if no warning and I am effectively crippled in an hour or so. But if they will schedule me on that basis, then I hope to be out there over the summer.  The door to door work will go on as it must, as it did from the start, but its so hard to find people at home now that we also have to go where the people are.

If you look at the Captain's Log you will see he got his Swallowtail photos!  The Swallowtail story has been filmed by Springwatch, so we hope its going to be featured.

There is one photo that I am hoping to poach for this blog - it is so dramatic.  I also think we definitely have one of our photos for next  years butterfly calendar.  Only 11 more to go.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Lunch Cancelled

Tom was taking us out for lunch yesterday but, with horrible timing, I had another arthritis flare up.  It started in the early hours and I was in agony for the next 24.  I really have to see if they couldn't give me something that might at least take the edge off the pain.  The painkillers I have don't even touch it.

It was an awful day.

Bea arrives tomorrow and I must get the house sorted a bit.  The Captain will do the bedroom and the vacuuming.  I have always had an ambition to have a proper spare bedroom, with bed all set up, everything arranged for guests, with only the bed to make. But have never achieved it yet.  Our spare room is full up with all our clutter.

I would love to have a big sort out but lack the energy for doing anything but the basics.  Tom and Jackie are coming over to join us for supper on Saturday and I was hoping to cook, but will have to Cooks instead.  I just don't trust myself to be able to do it.  These attacks come on so quickly, with no warning, and leave me exhausted.

The Channel is so lovely today - a jewel-like turquoise with small white frills everywhere.  I sat out on the balcony doing my studying for the meeting tonight.  The two witnesses - the beauty and glory of the creation, and the power of God's inspired word.  The congregations are just finishing Exodus, remembering how Jehovah's glory filled the tabernacle.

The Captain just rang to say he has seen and photographed a Swallowtail - locally!  And, more prosaically, I have just made a tray of marmalade muffins.

The next lot of butterfly paperwork has arrived... gloom gloom.  At least it isn't a fat envelope

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

From Halcyon River to Rain Forest

Charlie Hamilton James - that superb photographer of wildlife - has a new series about a patch of rainforest he bought in Peru.    It is of course the same story about the rainforest we have been hearing all my life - as he pointed out.  We are chopping it down at a terrifying rate, even though it is our lungs, and an immense and pretty much uncharted resource.

The programme made some good points. Why are we still importing mahogany?  Do we really need it?

Charlie and co - including a lovely Brit guy who works out there - investigated the life on a giant mahogany tree that was just about to be (legally) felled.  There was so much - some of it uncharted until then I think - all to be made suddenly homeless by us.   I couldn't bear to watch as it came down.  And Charlie had tears in his eyes.

But, of course, how do the people who live there make their living?  When we were introduced to the two illegal loggers on Charlie's bit of rainforest, they turned out to be a tiny and touching pair, father and son, trying to support their families the only way they could.  Charlie is left pondering over how to help them. And I know he will.

However, I could only think of Jeremiah 10:23:  "It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step."    We cannot run this beautiful and complex planet no matter how hard we try.

The incoming Kingdom of God, which is a heavenly government, already ruling from the heavens, already with millions of subjects on the earth, will restore the rainforest.   How can we do it, try as we might?  The whole world system is against us.

You can see the burning rain forests from space.  I know that because we once saw an Imax movie that took us up to the space station and could look down on the earth, and see not only how lovely it is, but what we are doing to it.