Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Krysia Michna Nowak (Schooldays)

"The Mulatto" 1978
I found this interesting video on line:

Its fascinating, but then I love to watch an artist at work.

Krysia and I were at Catholic Convent school together, though not in the same year. She is younger than me. Mind you, nowadays, who isn't?   We knew each other briefly many years later when we all lived in my Northern hometown.  I remember her mother baking a lovely cherry cheesecake for us.

And we have a Krysia Nowak on our wall still - it has travelled with us and now lives with us in retirement. We bought it many years ago when she had an exhibition at the excellent Philip Francis Gallery (long closed sadly).  Glad she is still painting.   I would be if I had any skill in that direction.

It is dated 1978, titled "The Mulatto". I think it is of Toussaint L'Ouverture - the leader of the slave revolt in Haiti.  Wordsworth wrote this about him:

   English Poetry II: From Collins to Fitzgerald.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.

390. To Toussaint L’Ouverture
William Wordsworth (1770–1850)

TOUSSAINT, the most unhappy man of men!
  Whether the whistling Rustic tend his plough
  Within thy hearing, or thy head be now
Pillowed in some deep dungeon’s earless den;—
O miserable Chieftain! where and when        5
  Wilt thou find patience? Yet die not; do thou
  Wear rather in thy bonds a cheerful brow:
Though fallen thyself, never to rise again,
Live, and take comfort. Thou hast left behind
  Powers that will work for thee; air, earth, and skies;        10
There’s not a breathing of the common wind
  That will forget thee; thou hast great allies;
Thy friends are exultations, agonies,
  And love, and man’s unconquerable mind.

It is a wonderful poem - and a sad story.  Toussaint L'Ouverture's people had it as tough as anybody has.  However, Jehovah does warn us not to rebel, but to trust in Him with all our hearts.  He also warns though that "man has dominated man to his injury".  And that if you oppress people you will in the end drive them to madness.  A lesson that we, the children of Adam, do not seem to have learnt to this day.

I got out on the doors yesterday - managed three widely spaced calls, all with a bit of walking attached. Unexpected in the last case - the private road was blocked by a large truck delivering windows, and I had to Park and Walk (totter).   I found two of my regular calls at home and got a nice warm welcome.

One, Bob, is on the same kind of medicine I am, and we compared notes about how impossible it is to stay out in the sun (one of its many side-effects).

Sunday, 27 July 2014

For Dizzying Excitement and Fearless Political Controversy...

... you will have to find another blog.   This seems to be mainly: What I Did in my Holidays.

And what we did yesterday was shop and have Jacks round for supper  - and watch the Commonwealth Games.    Supper was fish pie (Cooks, not cooked), ratatouille (made with the courgettes from a friend's garden), creme caramel (Lidl's) and rhubarb crumble (cooked by me and Linda, rhubarb grown by Linda's friend).

It is always lovely to see Jacks. We heard the latest saga from the Channel Islands - always fascinating.   And laughed a lot about the awfulness of ageing.   And what a hot night it was - we had all the windows open but there wasn't a breath of air.  

We also talked about marriage, and about a mutual friend who has problems.    So, while I don't think I can manage any controversial, Politically Incorrect opinions to spice up my blog, I was wondering if I could say something useful about marriage after 41 years.

The main thing is that the Inspired Scriptures, both Hebrew and Christian Greek, really are the Users Manual. They are inspired by Jehovah, the Maker of marriage.  He knows how it works, and if we follow his advice, it does.    It tells us that marriage is a sacred arrangement, and that the husband should cherish his wife as a really precious gift, and the wife should have deep respect for her husband.

And its interesting and chilling to see how effectively "the world" destroys the family arrangement by promoting the opposite values.  Societies where women have no freedom and no choice can promote behaviour in husbands that cannot be respected, and certainly does not lead to a wife being valued.   In the West now, the idea that all men are foolish children and all women tough and independent (and "need a man like a fish needs a bicycle")  does much the same job.

But, if we stick to Jehovah's standards, and the wonderful teaching through the congregation, we can make each other happy instead of unhappy.

The other thing is that the longer a marriage goes on, the more running jokes you have, and the funnier they get.  Which helps a lot too.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

The Day of the Rhubarb Crumble

Linda came over for a swim and tea yesterday (quiche, salad, and a creamy dessert from Waitrose), and she brought us some rhubarb, which I crumbled today.  Captain B had a day in for a change - it was roasting hot - and so he had crumble and custard for his lunch (along with a plate of salad left over from yesterday).

It was the meeting tonight...  I must try to get back out on the doors...  had a long chat with Tamar, and of course Maggie, who always saves my seat for me. And Val. She and I have regular commiseration sessions about our operations/arthritis/medications and what the doctor said to us when we had our tubes tilted.

Old age is a strange strange business.

I have been reading Gordon Ramsay's autobiography and a biography of David Jason, which I found in the Charity Shop round the corner from Waitrose.  Not a lot to say about either of them, though they were both very readable.  The David Jason bio brought back some wonderful moments from "Only Fools and Horses". And Gordon Ramsay's book shows that it is possible, though painful, to rise above a difficult childhood.

Another passenger plane has gone down.   Air Algeria, with 116 people aboard. There is no suggestion it was shot down.    Jehovah has so many to remember, but if we keep in mind that he knows every star in a universe more vast than we can comprehend, we don't have to be anxious about it.

Once again, I hope that, whatever happened, it was over very quickly for passengers and crew, and they have the joy of an awakening ahead of them - when the time comes.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Flying Ants

"Look at all these darling little silvery moths hatching out!"  I trilled, fetching Captain B from the other side of the meadow on Sunday evening.    "Flying ants hatching" he said setting up his cameras.   "Ants! Flying at me!!"  I screamed in girly fashion, running off.
Though it wasn't running in the way that Usain Bolt would have understood the word - and in any case I had to watch where I was going, in case I crushed a whole other colony of hatching flying things under my great feet.

It was a beautiful evening.  Though the terrible events worldwide loom larger and larger, as lawlessness increases.   Bible prophecy tells us that things will get worse yet - but on a "darkest hour before the dawn" basis.  The only thing I can do is to stick as close to Jehovah as possible, and tell others about Him, so that they too can come to the Refuge.  

And if people learn and accept that vengeance belongs to God, he will repay, and we trust him and leave it to him, it would instantly calm things down.  Instead we have revenge upon revenge, retaliation upon retaliation.
What a mess we, the children of Adam, have got ourselves into. As the Hebrew Scriptures warn us "it does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.

I don't have any political answer to this. As far as I know there isn't one. See the warning above.   If both sides were prepared to stop it...  but clearly they aren't.

So I must go on trying to tell people what our Creator, the God of Abraham,  is doing now, and what he is going to do - and beg them to come to the Refuge. And of course I can at least try to avoid wiping out whole colonies of little hatching creatures with my feet in the meantime.

In harmony with that, I have finally got my July magazine route started - the ones I have to post, as they are up flights of stairs, which still loom in front of me like Everest.   At least, its not so much the going up them now as the coming back down.

Another hot night  - and another hot day looming up.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

The Harebell

Harebell, Campanula rotundifolia
We went out for a walk this evening and found, among other things, a patch of harebells at Fairmile Bottom.  If we had ever owned a pub perhaps we could have called it "The Harebell" - or, if we had had a restaurant, it could have been "Harebells".

They are wildflowers that remind me of my childhood.

I talked to John at the meeting - we are still swapping hospital stories.

We had a lovely supper with Jacks on Saturday night. She gave us salmon with new potatoes and asparagus and a yoghurt and dill sauce, followed by cheese, and raspberries.  So good to have her back.

We are having a hot hot summer, with thunderstorms.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

The Beautiful Names of Moths - Part 2

Black-tipped Ermine, Yponomeuta plumbella
The second batch of newly hatched July memberships have been done and dusted, if not actually posted yet. The carrot cake got made and has turned out well.  That meant I had to shop first.  Yesterday was the hottest day of the year so far, and being out in it for just 30 minutes knocked me out so much that have not been able to go out this morning...   Its worrying.  Could it be a side-effect of the medication.  Certainly a previous med, the one I had to come off, made me super-sensitive to the sun.  Perhaps that side effect is long lasting.

Growing old is a tiring and complicated business.  But it was never meant to happen to us. Not in this way. Not stuck in a dying body.

Jacks is back, hurray. And we shall see her for supper.

Captain Butterfly - should I say Captain Moth - has found a meadow full of  Black-tipped Ermines.  A lovely name for a lovely creature.  I hope to visit the meadow with him one evening and see them for myself.

There is much flutter in the Butterfly World as a Yellow-legged Tortoishell (or Scarce Tortoishell) is visiting us this summer.  

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Jill and the Swallows

We were looking at the old swallows nests in the barn/garage.   They have nested there for years, but this year when they came, they stayed a couple of days, then Tom saw them looking in the kitchen windows...   Then they left.

We have to wonder if they were looking for Jill. She was a great cook and often in the kitchen. And she died on Christmas Day.   At any rate, the swallows left and have not nested this year.

Tom had taken us out for a lovely lunch at Angmering Manor.  The boys had steak and chips, I had haddock and new potatoes.  Then we all had panacotta with berries.   Plus a bottle of wine.  And coffee and shortbread biscuits in Tom and Jill's lovely rambling cottage garden afterwards.

Still expect Jill  to come out and join us...   the wrongness of death... and the hope of the resurrection.

Lara and I did our talk at the Hall this evening.  I was very troubled by not having my hair to hide behind, but we got through it - and within the time constraints.     The Congregation is stressing the importance of the informal preaching work alongside the door to door work.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Shooting Fish

"It makes you look much younger"  said Malcolm after he had finished shearing me.   "Are you sure?"  I quavered.   "Yes,  MUCH younger." he said firmly.  So I simpered happily home and he went off to shoot some fish in barrels.

Lara came round yesterday and we practised her talk.   The material Lara is using is this extract from the book "Reasoning from the Scriptures":

"Will God, in his great mercy, eventually save all humankind?
Does 2 Peter 3:9 indicate that there will be universal salvation? It says: “The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish [“he does not want anyone to be destroyed,” TEV], but that all should reach repentance.” (RS) It is God’s merciful desire that all of Adam’s offspring repent, and he has generously made provision for forgiveness of the sins of those who do. But he does not force anyone to accept that provision. (Compare Deuteronomy 30:15-20.) Many reject it. They are like a drowning man who pushes away a life preserver when it is thrown to him by someone who desires to help. It should be noted, however, that the alternative to repentance is not an eternity in hellfire. As 2 Peter 3:9 shows, those who do not repent will perish, or “be destroyed.” Verse 7 (RS) also refers to “destruction of ungodly men.” There is no thought of universal salvation here.—See also the main heading “Hell.”"

The title of the talk is:  " Universal Salvation Is Not Scriptural"

She has written a good talk - we had to trim it by about 40 seconds, and it came in at 4.56 minutes.

I just hope I will be OK on Thursday.  I am still feeling quite sick as I had a bit of a do (right leg) on Monday and had to take some anti-inflammatories and painkillers.  

Its another beautiful summer day.  So hot there are thunderstorms on the way.  Post-haircut, I was out on the balcony doing my studying - me and the geraniums basking in the sun.   The Captain is off transecting butterflies (in the numerical, not the scalpel sense!).  He has requested a carrot cake for his packed lunches, so I must go and get some carrots.

Monday, 14 July 2014

"Without a Map" by Meredith Hall

I have just been re-reading "Without a Map", and don't know how to recommend it enough.  For one thing, her reunion with her adopted son goes to show that you do not have to become an abuser if you yourself are abused. You can make another choice.  As, wonderfully, her eldest son has done.

Here, I hope, is an extract:

If I were a painter there would be a beautiful - watercolour? oil?  mixed media? silk? - painting in my blog today as I would have tried to capture the scene I drove through on my way back from the Kingdom Hall after the Sunday meeting.  The sea was turquoise, sparkling, with little yachts bobbing about - and the sky was a tender blue, full of fluffy white clouds.

We went for a short walk on the beach in the evening - a beautiful summer evening with numinous light from the setting sun.

Another sunny morning - we have shopped - at Lidls - Col has gone to meet a fellow Butterflyer in Houghton Forest, and I have done a load of washing - and had half an hour on the balcony in the sun looking out over a sparkling Channel while doing my study.  We are looking at Leviticus at the moment - and also learning how we can exercise whatever modicum of power we have in a godly, Jehovah-like way.

We see power so misused, as we live during the time when "man has dominated man to his injury".   Horrors all over.  How much we need the coming rescue.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Back to the Field - Part 2

Feeling very apprehensive, I quavered off to the field service group this morning thinking that I must actually get back on the door to door work.   It was a very hot morning too.  Where were we working?   Clymping. A bit of a drive - a difficult drive back.   A very awkward right hand turn into traffic.

I prayed to Jehovah for help.  And...

,,,the kind brother conducting the group - Ron - scooped me up and took me with him.  It is a long, winding and lovely country lane - where we went for our wedding anniversary - and Ron said we would stop as soon as I could go no further and he would go back for the car and take me home.

We managed an hour together - and while everything aches,  I did do better than last time.  We found very few at home - and nobody interested in what we had to tell them - oh and one lady who was a visitor to the country lane (cat sitting), who is studying the Bible with us back in her hometown!

Once again, I got the sense of the power of the worldwide preaching work.  Sue and another sister were out with the bookstand and as Ron and I went up to the Hall to get it for them, our brothers and sisters from the Hall Field Service group were streaming out, with their maps and their territories, all looking very cheerful.

I must now start thinking about getting back to the weekday groups.

Col took us out for lunch yesterday.  We were going to Warnham but it started to pour with rain as we set off so we went to Arundel instead.  Met Terry and friends, and gave Terry a lift back. We shopped and bought a half leg of lamb which I must now go and cook.  Hot today, cold tomorrow. Can't believe the price of red meat nowadays, we so rarely buy it.

Friday, 11 July 2014

The Beautiful Names of Moths

I have been doing nothing much, except lying on the bed and reading.   So now I feel guilty.  I did clean the fridge and provide Captain Butterfly with his meals - plus the usual studying (on the balcony, in the sun) and housework.  And replied to Kathryn's card. They have been on one of those river cruises in Germany - which apparently was as good as they look in the telly adverts.  I hope to see her and Jen in September.

The Captain's log is full of moths now. And what beautiful names they have - the Grass Veneer, the Rosy Tabby, the Dusky Pearl - and how exquisitely made they are.  Jehovah is the Grand Creator - His work tells us that at every turn.  Genesis tells us that nature was not created "red in tooth and claw".  And the whole Bible - from Genesis to Revelation - assures us that the peace of Eden will be restored earthwide, through the incoming Kingdom of God.

There will be a "new heaven" - a new rulership over the earth, from heaven, by the heavenly government, the Kingdom of God - and a "new earth".  Within the Christian congregation we are already being gathered back into the one loving family that we always should have been.

Spoke to Lara at the meeting last night - we will get together on Tuesday for a practise session, as I am her householder next Thursday.   We had a short video about our upcoming Convention at Twickenham. There will be 50,000 attending.   Jackie, Maggie and I are all wondering about where the Old Crocks Seating will be.  And how far we will have to walk from the coach... we have been warned it might be quite a way.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

at Bailiffscourt

We had lunch at Bailiffscourt to celebrate 41 years of marriage.  A wonderful venue chosen by the Captain himself (see the photos on the Captain's Log).  I had no idea it even existed. As one of the staff said, its a hidden gem.   We had lunch in the beautiful dining room - a stylish sort of lunch - Col had pork on a stack of tasty thingummies, and I had risotto with truffle oil. I have never had truffles before in any form, but will be happy to have them again. We finished with strawberries and ice-cream.  And of course we had a glass of wine.

We wandered round the grounds afterwards - it was a perfect Sussex summer day - blue sky filled with fluffy white clouds, flowers bees and butterflies everywhere, including (the Captain was thrilled to see) a hummingbird hawk moth.  And there was a peacock, sitting sensibly in the shade.
Just being able to wander round the grounds was something. We were both hobbling - a pair of Old Crocks. We are both tired today. But it was a happy day.   IF we are both still clinging on to life this time next year... maybe we will go again.

The more important thing though is: will the present system of things still be clinging on to life?  It all  building up exactly as the book of Revelation warns. The world's religions are goading the political powers - and the level of corruption at the heart of things is becoming more and more evident.

But who knows when it will all go?  Only Jehovah. Even Jesus didn't know when he was on the earth.  He might know now of course.  We see him, in Revelation, as the Rider on the white horse.

So I should be out on the doors today begging people to search for Jehovah while he is still to be found.   An feel guilty that I am not.   But I am so tired after yesterday.  However, it was something to be able to stroll through the grounds and to go our for a meal without having to carry cushions to make the seat higher.   Its all taking a long time - and I will never be the walker I was - not in this system of things that is.

But I hope to be on the earth when this prophecy is fullfilled:

"At that time the eyes of the blind ones will be opened, and the very ears of the deaf ones will be unstopped. At that time the lame one will climb up just as a stag does, and the tongue of the speechless one will cry out in gladness. For in the wilderness waters will have burst out, and torrents in the desert plain."  - Isaiah 35:5,6

The lame one will climb up just as the stag does.

My mother, also crippled and wasted by the family arthritis, said that in her dreams she found herself a child again, running and jumping and skipping around.   When she wakes from the dreamless sleep of death, as I hope she will, she will think she is dreaming at first.

What a wonderful awakening its going to be.

Monday, 7 July 2014

An Anniversary

Tom and Jacks came on Saturday night.  It was a fun evening, as it always is with them.  My Chinese food didn't turn out so well as last time - but the cheeseboard was lovely and so was the dessert - mousse of various flavours.  Thank you Mr.Waitrose.   Drove to the meeting on Sunday, and gave Maggie a fright as I suddenly arrived at my seat just as it was starting.

I had got sidetracked by meeting a regular visitor we have - a gentleman in a wheelchair who had two knee replacements a couple of years ago.  We discussed our operations and compared scars thoughtfully and suddenly realised the meeting was starting.  I had to hurtle (in a slow kind of way) to the other side of the Hall to my usual seat.

There is no teaching like it.    As people said when Jesus was on the earth - he teaches "with authority".  And the authority is Jehovah's inspired word.

Its our 41st wedding anniversary today. And we are both hobbling!  

I hope we will be here on the earth celebrating our 441st.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

The Honey Crisis

I was cooking the ginger and honey chicken yesterday (Tom and Jackie are coming for supper tonight).  It is one of those recipes that tastes much better for being cooked the day before - when I realised we were out of honey!   At least not out, the current jar was empty, but Captain B buys our honey in binloads (its cheaper by the ton) and I didn't know where his cache was.  And he, with several others of the Butterfly persuasion, were in Dorset for the day, chasing after the rare Duke of Lulworth Cove Fritillary (or words to that effect). See his blog for details.

I rang him on his mobile, but he must have installed a "When Your Wife is Cooking" app as it refused to talk to me or let me leave a message.

Summer has arrived with a vengeance, though we did get some much needed rain this morning.  It was hot hot hot yesterday, the sea was a sparkling blue - the balcony geraniums glowed in the sun - and the players at Wimbledon kept falling over on the dry dusty grass in truly terrifying fashion.

The Butterfly paperwork arrived yesterday and I am ploughing through it.  I had intended to go to the Field Service group this morning, but my shoulder is playing up and Col asked me not to, as if it flares up he will have to cook the supper for us all tonight.  I am hoping to get out tomorrow as there is a field service group after the meeting.  That is if the Captain is out a'butterflying and not at home requiring lunch.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

A Soup Fail

My cauliflower soup has failed...   at least, there is soup, and its edible. It just doesn't taste very nice.   Did another shopping trip to Waitrose, and found a disabled parking space, and so was able to get in the basics.

My big dilemma?  What to do with the other half of the cauliflower?    Philosophers have written books about such problems...   well, no they haven't.  But their books might be a lot more useful if they had.  The would also of course be in the Cookery section in the Library and not on the Great Thoughts shelf.

The pain in my ankles has subsided, to be replaced - moan moan whinge whinge - by various other pains, all competing fiercely with the pain in my knew knees.

What was that joke the family branch in Oz told about us Whingeing Poms?

"How can you tell when a planeload of Poms has landed?"
"I don't know. How can you tell?"
"The whining goes after the engine has stopped."