Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Tulip Time at Arundel Castle

We walked in bluebell woods on Monday, and afterwards Pen treated us to fish and chips at the Arun View.  Delicious.   Then we visited the gardens at Arundel Castle yesterday.   They are amazing, perched on top of the world, you can't even see the castle once you get up there.  And it was tulip time.   There were wallflowers everywhere filling the air with scent, and in the formal rose gardens, no roses as yet, they had planted pink tulips to keep us going while we wait.
And the kitchen gardens...

The whole world should be beautiful. And it will be.

We treated Pen to lunch in the Castle dining rooms, which are all they should be.  A competent lasagne with salad for us girls, a chicken pie for The Captain, and we shared a piece of carrot cake afterwards.

Pen left after lunch today.  Veggie soup.   And I heard from an artist friend from my schooldays, Krysia, who just had a successful exhibition.  We are pleased, very, for her, also for us - as we have one of her early paintings on our wall.  And Aunt Jo rang.  She sounds very frail, but compos mentis.

Sad to see Pen go, but lovely to have seen her, and we all hope to get together for a writing day 'oop North this summer.

Monday, 27 April 2015

A Walk in Bluebell Woods with Penny

Penny arrived yesterday, and I hope we are going for a walk in the bluebell woods this morning.  Ii is sunny.

A question:  If there are white bluebells, as there are, are there also blue whitebells?

Saturday afternoon was a UK wide video link presentation at the Kingdom Hall.  A member of the Governing Body spoke to us, and we also had a talk from one of the Bethel brothers. And of course, a summary of our Watchtower study.  And there were some lovely experiences from the field.   So there was no meeting yesterday morning, which worked out quite well, as Pen arrived in the afternoon, and it gave me the morning free to shop and to sort things out.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Butterfly Mark, and Adders

Butterfly Mark rang this morning with an invitation to a talk about adders in Hazlemere tomorrow. At the Museum.  The Captain is going, and I would love to go with him, but we are having a special meeting at the Kingdom Hall tomorrow - a video link-up - and I will be there all afternoon.

The Roger came and went. We had a lovely day with him, catching up on the News and laughing at all the dilemmas we now find ourselves in. I sent off a message to Anne of the Cape to tell her he was en route, and she responded with an interesting spiritual question about being saved.

Can any of us say we are?

Well, according to Jesus's words, we can hope we will be, but we can't say we are.  Not yet.  At Matthew 24:13 Jesus said:  "But the one who has endured to the end will be saved."

So i can say that I so much hope to be saved, to "inherit the earth" as Jesus promised.  But I can't yet say that I have endured to the end.

And the end will either be to the end of my life - and I am getting horribly close to my sell-by date, or at Armageddon, whichever comes first.   After Armageddon, things will be so different. For one thing. those of us who are there then will no longer be dying, we will be heading back to life and perfection.  It won't be a question of endurance, but of increasing happiness.
Audrey is back in town after a long stay in hospital and I hope to walk round there and say hello this afternoon.   And how strange and wonderful to be able to "walk round there".  Walk.  

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

The Special Talk: A Promise of Perfect Family Happiness

This is reconstructed from the very scrawly notes I took during the talk - my hands are not good at the moment- so the notes are not very good - some bits missing, some bits I can't read!  But I hope what I do have down is accurate.

Special Talk  Sunday 19th April 2015 (given worldwide)

A Promise of Perfect Family Happiness

The Speaker started by talking about his new granddaughter who was born yesterday.  He spoke of the joy of the new baby, and the worry about his daughter, who had a difficult time.  That is family life now, a mixture of joy and of worry.   

How can we have happy families?     Its an urgent question. Apparently the U.K. has the highest rate of family breakdown in the Western world, and now only two thirds of children live with both their parents.

The "world" will tell us that we don't need the family - and try to persuade us it's an outmoded institution.     But we are going to look at what Jehovah, the Maker of marriage, has to say. And we are going to look at four areas.

1.   Who created the family arrangement.
2.   What is its purpose?
3.   What is our goal? ( I think, I can't really read what I wrote here)
4.   How do we achieve it?

The Speaker then directed us to Genesis 1:26-28:
"Then God said: “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness, and let them have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and the domestic animals and all the earth and every creeping animal that is moving on the earth.”  And God went on to create the man in his image, in God’s image he created him; male and female he created them.  Further, God blessed them, and God said to them: “Be fruitful and become many, fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving on the earth.”"

And he then directed us to Genesis 2, verses 23 and 24, which say:

"Then the man said: “This is at last bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh. This one will be called Woman, Because from man she was taken.”"

"That is why a man will leave his father and his mother and he will stick to his wife, and they will become one flesh."

Do we see...  I can't read my notes at this point.

He then read Ruth 1:9:   "May Jehovah grant that each of you finds security in the home of your husband.” Then she kissed them, and they wept loudly."

Do we often find this security now?   Has Jehovah's family arrangement changed?  After all, as the Speaker pointed out, there was trouble even in Jehovah's family.   One member, who became Satan the Devil, separated himself, and persuaded others to do the same - both in heaven and on the earth.

Satan's deceit and lies persuaded our first parents to join him in rebelling against their Creator, and ushered in the situation we have now, the time which "man has dominated man to his harm". (Ecclesiastes 8:9)

We then read 2 Timothy 3:2:
"For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal,"

Disobedience to parents - trouble right within the family.   Can't read the next bit, but the Speaker then talked about finding a standard to aim for so that we can find family happiness.   Or how to recover it.

Satan can be likened to a cancer, spreading his rebellion, difficult to treat.   The Speaker used the image of  the golden bullet treatment for cancer, a treatment which seeks out specific cancer cells and destroys them (without, I am guessing, harming any surrounding healthy tissue).  Jehovah is targeting Satan and all his works.

We then read Genesis 3:15:
"And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and her offspring. He will crush your head, and you will strike him in the heel.”

And 1 Corinthians 15:24-28:
"Next, the end, when he (Jesus) hands over the Kingdom to his God and Father, when he has brought to nothing all government and all authority and power.  For he must rule as king until God has put all enemies under his feet.  And the last enemy, death, is to be brought to nothing.  For God “subjected all things under his feet.” But when he says that ‘all things have been subjected,’ it is evident that this does not include the One who subjected all things to him.  But when all things will have been subjected to him, then the Son himself will also subject himself to the One who subjected all things to him, that God may be all things to everyone."

So, as promised in Genesis, the works of Satan will be broken up.  We have this wonderful hope of the restoration of Paradise ahead of us.  But what can help us to be happy now, to have happy families, even though we are imperfect?

We read Isaiah 48:17:   "This is what Jehovah says, your Repurchaser, the Holy One of Israel: “I, Jehovah, am your God, The One teaching you to benefit yourself, The One guiding you in the way you should walk."

Jehovah has given us the instructions - if we apply them, they will help us.

We are going to look at Scriptural advice for:
1. Fathers and Mothers
2. Children.

Ephesians 5:28-32 says:
"In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. A man who loves his wife loves himself, for no man ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cherishes it, just as the Christ does the congregation,  because we are members of his body.  “For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and he will stick to his wife, and the two will be one flesh.”  This sacred secret is great. Now I am speaking about Christ and the congregation.

Verse 32 shows that Christ is a perfect example for for all of us.  Family heads can look at the tender way he cared for the congregation.  He never focused on the negatives, on the faults and failings of his disciples, though he certainly could have done.  He was a perfect man, surrounded by imperfect people.

He never reproached them, telling them they were "always arguing", or that they "left him alone".  After Peter denied Jesus, out of fear, he must have felt so sad.  But Jesus called for him to come right back into the family.

If a wife knows she is cherished by her husband she is happy.   If she is neglected and ignored she will not be happy, even if her husband provides well for her materially.

We then read Ephesians 5:22-25, followed by verse 33:

"Let wives be in subjection to their husbands as to the Lord,  because a husband is head of his wife just as the Christ is head of the congregation, he being a savior of this body.  In fact, as the congregation is in subjection to the Christ, wives should also be to their husbands in everything.  Husbands, continue loving your wives, just as the Christ also loved the congregation and gave himself up for it,"

"Nevertheless, each one of you must love his wife as he does himself; on the other hand, the wife should have deep respect for her husband."

The Speaker then gave us a lovely account from a Reader's Digest.  It was about a man from one island who went to find a wife on another. I didn't get the name of the islands, but they sounded like they were somewhere in the South Pacific.    Now in that part of the world (wherever it was), you paid a bride-price for your bride. And the price of a really top-notch bride was 6 cows.    But a very plain lady would only fetch a couple of cows.

The would-be bridegroom, Johnny Lingo (which I hope I have spelt right), had seen the girl he wanted on the other island and he went over to offer the bride-price for her.  Now her family did not think much of her, she wasn't pretty, and they felt she was not worth much. And they had told her she was only a 2-cow wife, or possibly only a 1-cow wife!

Which must have made her feel just wonderful.

However, when Johnny Lingo arrived, he gave her family 8 cows for this young lady.  They laughed among themselves, thinking it a massive overpayment.  But when the author of the article visited the young couple, now married and living on the other island, and met the young wife, he said she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen - her walk, her shining eyes, her smile.

What had made the difference?   What does it do to someone to know that their own family puts such a low value on them?

Her husband wanted her to be happy, to know how much he thought of her.  And the power of that love and cherishing had made such a difference to her.

Why not strive to make each other happy in marriage, to show how much we love and value each other?

The Speaker then read Ephesians 6:1-3:
"Children, be obedient to your parents in union with the Lord, for this is righteous.  “Honor your father and your mother” is the first command with a promise: “That it may go well with you and you may remain a long time on the earth.”"

Isn't this attitude rare in the world now?    But note the fine detail - be obedient "in union with the Lord".   So the young ones have to put effort in, they have to come to know Jehovah and to love him and his law.

We then read verse 4:   "And fathers, do not be irritating your children, but go on bringing them up in the discipline and admonition of Jehovah."

And he pointed out that inconsistency would be very irritating - if what was wrong one day was right the next, simply depending on the mood of the parent. Constant criticising and correcting would also be irritating and discouraging.

And he ended on a realistic note.  We cannot have perfect families now, but we can keep striving to improve, to make our family happier and happier.   


He read Psalm 89:15,16:   "Happy are the people who know the joyful shouting. O Jehovah, they walk in the light of your face.  They rejoice in your name all day long, And in your righteousness they are exalted."

Miracles of Artistry and Engineering

We were working door to door in a lovely part of town yesterday. Such beautiful houses and gardens, and blossom everywhere - each flower a miracle of artistry and engineering.   We got an unwarm welcome from the local vicar when we knocked at the door of his impressive Vicarage.

The Roger rang up on Monday!   He is in town and coming over for lunch today.  It will be lovely to see him and catch up.   I have the wherewithal in for a chicken and ham salad lunch - and even found myself making garlic bread - a staple from our Expat days, when people used to call round most nights and we entertained (and were entertained) non-stop.

I couldn't cope with that level of social life nowadays. The energy has gone.  Besides I am now able to do the door to door preaching work, which takes time and energy.  It is the work Jesus left for his followers to do, and the most important work of my life.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Captain Butterfly in Full Flight

Here is Captain Butterfly on screen, in full flight, with Dan Danaher.    It is a lovely little clip, but... I hope that is not a young starlet with a butterfly net I see on the horizon, chasing after my Captain.

A warning.  I will sit on her, if necessary.

Suddenly I feel a bit better.  Thank God.  So maybe the antibiotics have done the job.  I sincerely hope so.  Jackie came for supper last night - Chinese takeaway courtesy of Waitrose, but I did do a veggie stir fry and made some extra rice.

It was a lovely evening, of course.  Although we see each other so often we never seem to run out of things to laugh about - often the dilemmas due to old age.

And sadly Jackie has just lost another old old friend...  so we needed to cheer each other up.

Friday, 17 April 2015

In Memoriam

I wanted to blog something from the life of our brother Reuben whose memorial I attended on Tuesday.  When the Speaker told us the story of his life, we learnt that, as a young Sussex lad, he had fought in WW2, and had actually been involved in the D-Day landings!   What that generation went through, yet they quietly got on with their life, never saying all that much about it.

Anyway, Reuben was there, on D-Day, in charge of a boatload of soldiers.  He was handed a loaded pistol by his commanding officer and told that if any soldier refused to get off the boat and into the horror that must have been going on on the beaches of France, Reuben was to give them one warning, only one, and if they would still not go, then he was to shoot them

The moment he was out of sight of this Officer, Reuben quietly emptied his pistol.   He said he would never shoot one of his own side.

He must have had a good sound heart from the outset, because under the pressures of war people can do terrible things.

It shows though that we, the children of Adam, learn nothing from our past, because, during WW1 - the Great War - young soldiers were shot for "cowardice" and "desertion".  I think we would define most, if not all of them, as shell-shocked nowadays.  

Kipling wrote this about them:

"I could not look on death
 which, being known,
 men led me to him
 blindfold and alone."

If only we would listen to our Creator, then one thing we would learn is that we are all brothers and sisters, and that we should not be fighting and killing each other - and that we are to study war no more.  

It must have been both a joy and  relief to the young Reuben, back from war, when he learnt what the Bible really teaches.  He responded, and was a faithful witness to his death.

Reuben was ninety - and, for all the sadness of his death, it is good to know his waiting is over.  He longed for the restored earthly Paradise, and now that he is in the dreamless sleep of death, held safe in the everlasting arms, the next thing he knows will be opening his eyes in...  well, Jehovah knows exactly what surroundings Reuben would most like to wake up in, because he searches every heart.   The Speaker told us of the relief that our brother felt when he was safely back home again, in the quiet Sussex Downlands.   Jehovah knows that too. So maybe Reuben will open his eyes and see the Downs all around him again.

It seems an appropriate moment for another Kipling poem, which reminds us how lovely the earth is, even now.

SUSSEX  by Rudyard Kipling

GOD gave all men all earth to love,
But since our hearts are small,
Ordained for each one spot should prove
Belovèd over all;
That, as He watched Creation’s birth,
So we, in godlike mood,
May of our love create our earth
And see that it is good. 

So one shall Baltic pines content,
As one some Surrey glade,
Or one the palm-grove’s droned lament
Before Levuka’s Trade.
Each to his choice, and I rejoice
The lot has fallen to me
In a fair ground—in a fair ground—
Yea, Sussex by the sea!

No tender-hearted garden crowns,
 No bosomed woods adorn
Our blunt, bow-headed, whale-backed Downs,
But gnarled and writhen thorn—
Bare slopes where chasing shadows skim,
And, through the gaps revealed,
Belt upon belt, the wooded, dim,
Blue goodness of the Weald.

Clean of officious fence or hedge,
Half-wild and wholly tame,
The wise turf cloaks the white cliff edge
As when the Romans came.
What sign of those that fought and died
At shift of sword and sword?
The barrow and the camp abide,
The sunlight and the sward.

Here leaps ashore the full Sou’west
All heavy-winged with brine,
Here lies above the folded crest
The Channel’s leaden line;
And here the sea-fogs lap and cling,
And here, each warning each,
The sheep-bells and the ship-bells ring
Along the hidden beach.

We have no waters to delight
Our broad and brookless vales—
Only the dewpond on the height
 Unfed, that never fails—
Whereby no tattered herbage tells
Which way the season flies—
Only our close-bit thyme that smells
Like dawn in Paradise.

Here through the strong and shadeless days
The tinkling silence thrills;
Or little, lost, Down churches praise
The Lord who made the hills:
But here the Old Gods guard their round,
And, in her secret heart,
The heathen kingdom Wilfrid found
Dreams, as she dwells, apart.

Though all the rest were all my share,
With equal soul I’d see
Her nine-and-thirty sisters fair,
Yet none more fair than she.
Choose ye your need from Thames to Tweed,
And I will choose instead
Such lands as lie ’twixt Rake and Rye,
Black Down and Beachy Head.

I will go out against the sun
Where the rolled scarp retires,
And the Long Man of Wilmington
Looks naked toward the shires;
And east till doubling Rother crawls
 To find the fickle tide,
By dry and sea-forgotten walls,
 Our ports of stranded pride.

I will go north about the shaws
And the deep ghylls that breed
Huge oaks and old, the which we hold
No more than Sussex weed;
Or south where windy Piddinghoe’s
Begilded dolphin veers
And red beside wide-bankèd Ouse
Lie down our Sussex steers.

So to the land our hearts we give
Till the sure magic strike,
And Memory, Use, and Love make live
Us and our fields alike—
That deeper than our speech and thought,
Beyond our reason’s sway,
Clay of the pit whence we were wrought
Yearns to its fellow-clay.

God gives all men all earth to love,
 But since man’s heart is small,
Ordains for each one spot shall prove
Beloved over all.
Each to his choice, and I rejoice
The lot has fallen to me
In a fair ground—in a fair ground—
Yea, Sussex by the sea! 

Clay of the pit whence we were wrought, years to its fellow clay.

We love the earth - we are made of its very substance.  Jehovah made it so lovely, just for us.   We can see that, even now, though the original serpent is still in the garden.     How lovely will it be when Paradise is restored, and when Reuben wakes from the dreamless sleep of death?

Wednesday, 15 April 2015


Those with sensitive dispositions had better look away now.  I was struck down with a horrible horrible bladder infection yesterday.  I realised something was up just as the Memorial for Reuben finished, and had to race home - via the Post Office unfortunately, as I had a load of Butterfly memberships to send on their way.

I want to write something about Reuben, an amazing experience he had during the war. Showing what a good heart he must always have had.  But I won't be able to do it today.

The Captain organised my antibiotics for me, for which I am so grateful, as I am not able to leave the house.  And I have started on them.   He is away doing  a butterfly talk. I was able to let him practise it on me this morning, in between painful trips to the loo. And I was able to organise a salad lunch for him, in between painful trips to the loo. And I also caught up with my studies for this week, in between painful etceteras.

I have had to let Sylvia down and she had co-opted me as an emergency helper for Thursday.  I feel very bad about it, but there is no way I will be at the meeting tomorrow night.  She was lovely and understanding about it, which did help.

Monday, 13 April 2015

The Circuit Overseer Talk

(This is reconstructed from the notes I took, for Maggie.)


Brother Rose told us he was moving onto the Hull Circuit, so I am hoping he might call on Penny and co. And that they will listen!  He then started the talk by saying how fear can paralyse us so that we can't move, or it can cause us to panic and make the wrong move.    So we need to cultivate qualities such as peace, confidence and courage, which are the opposite of fear.

Our first Scripture was Isaiah 42:13:   "Jehovah will go out like a mighty man. He will awaken his zeal like a warrior. He will shout, yes, he will let out a war cry; He will show himself mightier than his enemies."

We need to have confidence in Jehovah.

The Speaker asked us to look at the example of Jesus. Think of his courage in tackling the moneylenders at the Temple - twice!  He risked his life doing that.  But he had zeal for Jehovah and for pure worship.

The Inspired Scriptures condemn cowardice.   Hebrews 10:39 says:   "Now we are not the sort who shrink back to destruction, but the sort who have faith for the preserving of our lives."

The Speaker reminded us that Satan wants us to be afraid, and referred us to 1 Peter 5:8, which warns:  " Keep your senses, be watchful! Your adversary, the Devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour someone."

Brother Rose then told us an interesting thing about the lion's roar.  He said that to the animals in the wild, the roar serves as a useful warning, but to domestic animals in a pen, it is a terror. And, if it causes them to panic, and break out of their pen, then the lion will get them.

Satan wants to terrorise us into leaving Jehovah's sheepfold.  And the Speaker reminded us of the powerful article in the May 15th Watchtower:  "Be Watchful, Satan Wants to Devour You" - one that we will be studying later in the year.

We then read Isaiah 30:21, which says:  "And your own ears will hear a word behind you saying, “This is the way. Walk in it,” in case you should go to the right or in case you should go to the left."

God's word of truth can drown out the lion's roar and keep us safe, if we pay attention.

We thought of David's courage, facing the 9'6"Goliath, armed only with a sling and some stones.  If we read the account, we will see that his courage came from his complete faith in and reliance on Jehovah.

The Speaker then made an interesting point about how our own imagination can help us - or hinder us!

He pointed out that if we have a fertile imagination - the sort that makes us lie awake and worry about everything that might go wrong - we will have panicked ourselves.  (He might have noticed I was looking rather guilty at this point, as this sums me up rather too well.)

Also, we must take care not to become weighed down by the anxieties of life - worries about our health, worries about how to make a living, all sorts of things.

We looked at Proverbs 4:25:  "Your eyes should look straight ahead, Yes, fix your gaze straight ahead of you."

We should trust in Jehovah, and use our imagination wisely.  It can give us confidence if we keep our eyes fixed on the new system.  And, yes, if I think about the Paradise earth, it puts things in their proper place.

The Speaker then discussed 4 qualities that we need, and their link with courage.

Firstly  FAITH.  This is the foundation of courage and it needs to be strong and firm. He gave us the example of the importance of literal foundations, when he told us of a building in Canada that sank one floor into the ground once people  moved into it.  Its foundations were not strong enough to support both people and building!

He then cited Isaiah 28:16:  " Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah says: “Here I am laying as a foundation in Zion a tested stone, The precious cornerstone of a sure foundation. No one exercising faith will panic."

Faith linked to courage prevents panic.   We need to have faith that Jehovah can make us equal to any situation, to any challenge, because Satan is "roaring" hard at the moment, trying to panic all of us into going the way of the world that is under his control.

Faith is described as a large shield in the Inspired Scriptures. And the greater our faith in Jehovah is, the more protection we will have.

Secondly HOPE.   We read Psalm 27:14:   "Hope in Jehovah; Be courageous and strong of heart. Yes, hope in Jehovah."

Our hope will light up our path through the darkness.  If we walk in the dark, we will trip up.   But hope can put all our troubles and problems into perspective. We know they are only temporary, whatever they are. They will come to an end.   And the hope of the resurrection can keep us strong in the face of death.   It can switch off the lion's roar.

Third   PEACE.   John 14:27:  " I leave you peace; I give you my peace. I do not give it to you the way that the world gives it. Do not let your hearts be troubled nor let them shrink out of fear."

Psalm 55:22:   "Throw your burden on Jehovah, And he will sustain you. Never will he allow the righteous one to fall."

Do we throw our burden on Jehovah?  Or do we keep taking it back?

The Speaker talked about a young sister who used the illustration of being cold. When she is cold she puts on a sweater; if she is still cold, she puts on another one, and so on, until she is warm.  So, when she feels afraid, she prays to Jehovah for courage, and keeps praying until she is no longer afraid.

Then the Speaker reminded us of a wonderful experience from Rwanda, during the genocide there. Soldiers burst into the house of a Witness family, and told them they were all to be killed.   The father asked if they would be allowed to pray first.  Permission was given, and so they all prayed, silently, except for the youngest daughter.  She  prayed aloud, and she asked Jehovah how she was going to get back to all the people that she and her father had placed Christian literature with at the weekend, and how could she be baptised as a Jehovah's Witness if she was killed.   When she finished praying, the soldier in charge said that they could not kill the family "because of the prayer of this young child".

Fourthly  LOVE.   John 3:16:   “For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life."

These are the two greatest acts of courage motivated by love; the love Jehovah has for us in giving his only-begotten Son, and the love Jesus has for his Father, and also his love for us, in being prepared to come to the earth and die.

The Speaker reminded us of this passage from Proverbs 8:30,31
"Then I was beside him as a master worker. I was the one he was especially fond of day by day; I rejoiced before him all the time;  I rejoiced over his habitable earth, And I was especially fond of the sons of men."

Then we read 1 John 4:18:  "There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts fear out, because fear restrains us. Indeed, the one who is fearful has not been made perfect in love."

When we first learnt the truth, it moved us to be courageous - to make changes, to tell others.

And the Speaker ended on this very encouraging thought, that we are in the last day of the last days - the new system is so close now.   And he concluded with these verses:

2 Chronicles 20:15 & 17:  "He said: “Pay attention, all Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Je·hoshʹa·phat! Here is what Jehovah says to you, ‘Do not be afraid or be terrified because of this large crowd, for the battle is not yours but God’s."

 "You will not need to fight this battle. Take your position, stand still, and see the salvation of Jehovah in your behalf. O Judah and Jerusalem, do not be afraid or be terrified. Tomorrow go out against them, and Jehovah will be with you.”


We - the Captain, Linda and me - went to Jackie's for supper on Saturday night - lasagne, apple pie and cream (yoghurt for me).    A lovely evening.  And Jean and I encouraged each other out on Saturday morning and made it to the group at the Kingdom Hall, which was well attended.   We did some route calls and return visits, found a lot of people in, ahd some good talks, and were invited in by one kind lady.

Friday, 10 April 2015


Its amazing what a difference half an hour makes.  I was working with Jenny this morning and we both had had a struggle to get to the group for 9, instead of 9.30 which would be our usual time for field service.   Well worth it of course, as our Circuit Overseer is giving us some lovely little 5 minute talks before we go out. We didn't complete our territory but we did get to a return visit Jenny has by the Station, found her householder at home; and the family may make their first visit to the Kingdom Hall on Sunday.

We hope so anyway.

Can't think what else I have done.  A couple of loads of washing - my study for Sunday - made a rather uninspired chicken curry for our supper - and an apple crumble.   Watched some daytime telly and that was about it.  Oh and did a bit of witnessing on the internet.

I am now re-reading Barbara Pym's "No Fond Return of Love".  I enjoy it more every time that I read it.

Here Dulcie dines with her Uncle Bertram and Aunt Hermione, who are waited on by a Mrs. Sedge.

"The meal was already on the table when they entered the room.  A dish of mince with tomato sauce spread over the top seemed to be the main dish; boiled potatoes and "greens" were on the trolley.  Mrs. Sedge, who had come to England years ago from Vienna, had apparently retained little knowledge of her country's cuisine, if she had ever possessed it; Dulcie was always surprised at the thoroughness with which she had acquired all the worst traits of English cooking....   The second course was stewed apple and semolina pudding, dishes which Mrs.Sedge had mastered to perfection."

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

The Duke of Fritillary has been seen!!

Us on Planet Butterfly are all a'flutter as a rare visitor has been spotted.  Its a .... goes off to check on the trillion emails that have been surging through my mailbox - its a rare kind of Tortoiseshell.  It will be appearing in person, under its full name, in the Captain's Log IF he manages to see and photograph it.  He has been trying for the last two days.

Jean and I finished our work today with a latte at Waitrose. And she kindly treated us to a cake, half each.  It was very nice.  We had quite an interesting morning, though I was in a bit of a funny mood. I seemed unable to work out which was our bit of the territory.  Is this the dreaded old age - or was I always like this?

I'm not sure which answer is worse.

Anyway,on the silver lining side, it is the week of the Circuit Overseer visit.  That may have been the problem this morning - we start the work early on C.O.week, and I hadn't quite managed to wake up.   He gave us a beautiful encouraging talk on Tuesday night which will appear on my blog in time, as I am typing it up for Maggie.

Monday, 6 April 2015

The Stevie take on things.

I have been re-reading my Stevie Smith and thought I would give you her take on things.

by Stevie Smith

In his fur the animal rode, and in his fur he strove,
And oh it filled my heart my heart,it filled my heart with love.

If you held a gun to my head and forced me to choose a favourite Stevie poem, that would have to be it.

And here is a Stevie take on WW2.

by Stevie Smith

It was my bridal night I remember,
An old man of seventy-three
I lay with my young bride in my arms,
A girl with t.b.
It was wartime, and overhead
The Germans were making a particularly heavy raid on Hampstead.
What rendered the confusion worse, perversely
Our bombers had chosen that moment to set out for Germany
Harry, do they ever collide?
I do not think it has ever happened,
Oh my bride, my bride.

A good poem about the madness of it all.   The Battle of Britain was fought in the skies above my head - only a few years before I was born.  I hope Jehovah will remember all those young pilots, on both sides, when the time comes for the resurrection.

Two quiet days,with little achieved, except for a lovely meeting at the Hall on Sunday morning. And Jacks came round for a curry supper - courtesy of Cooks - on Saturday. And we had a  fun evening, with lots of laughs.  Captain Butterfly did his first transect of the year today - and we did a big shop.  I washed the floors, did all my studying for the Thursday night, as our Ministry School meeting starts on Tuesday night this week, as we have a Circuit Overseer visit.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

The Lord's Evening Meal

It was the Memorial last night.   The Kingdom Hall was packed.  And the Captain and Jackie were there with me. So an extra extra special night.

A lovely talk, explaining the importance of the occasion, and reminding us why we need the ransom sacrifice so much.    And what are the three of us always talking about these days, but how strange it is to be getting old in this way, how painful it is as family and friends begin to get sick and disappear. We can feel how wrong it is.

We were reminded that the Bible tells us death is an enemy.   And that, through "the corresponding ransom" of Jesus' perfect human life, we - all who exercise faith in it - can have the life and perfection that our first parents threw away.

Most people of course won't find out until they are resurrected, and they will be able to learn then in perfect conditions.  But for us living at the time of the end (the end of this wicked system of things on the earth - not the end of this lovely planet!), the matter is very urgent.

Jesus himself made the comparison with Noah's day:
“Concerning that day and hour nobody knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, but only the Father.  For just as the days of Noah were, so the presence of the Son of man will be.  For as they were in those days before the Flood, eating and drinking, men marrying and women being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark,  and they took no note until the Flood came and swept them all away, so the presence of the Son of man will be.  Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken along and the other abandoned.  Two women will be grinding at the hand mill; one will be taken along and the other abandoned.  Keep on the watch, therefore, because you do not know on what day your Lord is coming."  - Matthew 24:36-42

I went up for the Hall cleaning in the afternoon, and then, foolishly it seems, walked to the shops and back afterwards to get something for the three of us tonight.   (Indian takeaway, courtesy of Cooks.)   But even that short walk was too much and I am now in a lot of pain. And exhausted.   Plus Captain B has just been called out on a search and rescue, in the early hours - its 4 in the morning as I type. So I am having a cup of tea, then am going to try and go back to sleep. And won't be out on the work this morning.   However, I hope I can make up for it by getting out Monday instead.  They have a special 10 a.m. arrangement, as it a Bank holiday.

Its not the Knew Knees.  Its the old arthritic ankles that are crippling me at the moment.

But I must remember that Jehovah says he will "make all things new".  And how much we all need that.

I was just taking myself off to bed after the meeting on Thursday when Captain Nightowl said "Its Sheridan Smith, come and watch it".  "it" was the second in a series I hadn't heard of called "Inside No.9".    We are big fans of Sheridan Smith.   At first I thought it was going to be unwatchable, but it turned out to be amazing and wonderful and heartbreaking. And I have been thinking about it a lot. The sadness of the tangled web that we, the children of Adam, are caught in.

But a rescue is so so close.   This month, the Watchtower magazine we will be offering at the doors, explains about the free home Bible study.  Please think about it.  You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain, by finding out what the Bible says.

There are quite often notices on the doors we knock at saying:  "We do not buy and sell from doorstep traders".  We are not trying to sell you anything - we are trying to give you something that is "a pearl beyond price".

I was out on those doors on Thursday morning - starting work with Steve, and then someone must have said "Beam me up Scottie" as he vanished off to a Bible study and Jane arrived to help me finish the territory.  I think my legs still ache from that too, but the thing is that we did it. And I shall give the poor old arthritic joints a bit of a rest over the weekend and hope to start afresh Monday.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Cynthia Lennon - and Time

The old saying - that if March comes in "like a lamb" it will go out "like a lion" - is proving true. It came in with Spring-like sunshine, and it went out on a stormy note.  The Channel was roaring away outside the window all yesterday.

I would possibly have chickened out of the door to door work if it hadn't been for not wanting to let Cathy down. And also because I did not want to waste my remaining invitations.

As it was we did an hour and a quarter, which involved a lot more walking as I left the car parked by the Hall, and walked to and from the territory.  I placed all my invites, and Cathy was left with enough for today.

This morning I was at Malcolm's for a shearing.  "What would you like?" he asked me.  "To see where I am going",  I said hopefully. That is about all that can be done for me nowadays.  Then I shopped, at Waitrose, of course; talked to Bea and Jackie on the phone; and made a soup and am now making a chicken curry. Captain Butterfly is having a very complicated and busy day today and I am not sure if I will have more than 5 minutes to get him something to eat before he hurtles off again.

I was just about to post this blog when I  read that Cynthia Lennon has died today.  So I thought I would change the heading in her memory.

Because that is another part of the past gone.

She came across as a lovely lady, and a valiant mother to the young Julian.   She did not have an easy time, caught up in the Beatles madness, but she and John both look happy in their young courtship and marriage photographs.    I hope she is sleeping safe in "the everlasting arms", and has a wonderful awakening ahead of her when the time comes. And my sympathies to Julian.  I am so glad he was able to be with her at the end.

Time...  how quickly it goes.   I think I will have to blog a poem from my childhood, which of course I could not really understand then, for all its simplicity.

Time, You Old Gipsy Man
by Ralph Hodgson

Time, you old gipsy man.
Will you not stay,
Put up your caravan
   Just for one day?

All things I'll give you
Will you be my guest,
Bells for your jennet,
Of silver the best,
Goldsmiths shall beat you
A great golden ring,
Peacocks shall bow to you
Little boys sing,
Oh, and sweet girls will
Festoon you with may,
Time, you old gipsy,
Why hasten away?

Last week in Babylon,
Last night in Rome,
Morning, and in the crush
Under Paul's dome;
Under Paul's dial
You tighten your rein-
Only a moment,
And off once again;
Off to some city
Now blind in the womb,
Off to another
Ere that's in the tomb.

Time, you old gipsy man,
   Will you not stay,
Put up your caravan
  Just for one day?