Thursday, 28 May 2015

Tap Dancing

Arundel WWT
Tuesday afternoon we went to The Wetland Trust - a lovely afternoon, blue sky, white clouds, hot and quite humid.   Col showed me a Nettle Tap Moth.   He was a tiny chap, and he landed on a little leaf, and did his courtship dance - whirl, whirl, twirl twirl - hoping to attract a lady. A tap dance?
Common Nettle-tap, Anthophila fabriciana
I was very impressed (nothing wrong with HIS knees!), but no lady moths turned up, so he moved on to another leaf.  I hope he has found a lovely girlfriend now.
Jenny and I were on the door to door work Tuesday morning - quite an interesting morning, and a lot of people not at home.   And Wednesday was a quiet at home day - a housework day - apart from shopping and picking up my meds.  A lot of retirement is spent picking up medications from the pharmacy.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

A Bank Holiday

It didn't really register that it was a Bank Holiday yesterday until I saw the crowds on Green and Beach - and the carpark full to the brim of cars.    Such important days when you are working, just another day in retirement, though one on which you would want to avoid travel if possible.

Also it didn't rain!  So where was the Bank Holiday weather.

I visited Audrey in the afternoon - she looks well and is being very well cared for.  I took her sweets and magazines, and updated her on all the congregation family news - though we probably all do that as we visit.  And then I went on to a doorstep I last called on over two years ago.  Not only was the lady at home, but we had a good talk.

She didn't seem over-thrilled to see me at first - she was expecting family and in the middle of cooking - but when I said I wouldn't keep her and handed over the magazines, she was very taken with them.  She said that only that morning she had been talking about this - about the way things are going - that the end must be coming soon.  And she said: "Its all in the Bible isn't it?"  (She is of the generation that read and respected the Inspired Scriptures.)

Yes, she said, I will certainly read them, and kept me talking quite a while. So I was so glad I went.   I then did one more call, on a young girl who we met in April. She was very very pregnant, baby due any moment, so I didn't want to call back for a while.  But its nearly two months.  Anyway, she took the May mags, and I met The Bump in person - now a sturdy and handsome young baby.

I meant to do my last two magazine route calls, but I ran right out of steam.  My energy levels are frighteningly low.  So I went home and fell asleep on the sofa.

When I was young and bursting with energy I did not really know what to do with it, how to direct it.  Now that I do have the knowledge, I don't have the energy.

This is the article that caught the attention of the lady at the door:

Sunday, 24 May 2015

The Three Thousand Point Turn

I noticed that Jean was praying as I tried to get out of the cul-de-sac I had driven us into on Saturday morning. And I am very grateful she was. It was full of cars and vans and what nots and I had to turn the car by the millimetre to get out.  But I did get safely out without bumping into anything, so Jehovah must have kindly listened.    We had worked on our territory with a group of siblings and were doing some of my route calls on the way back to Jean's place.

We found a couple in and got a warm welcome.  I really must offer Mike a home Bible study next time I call.  However, Jean reminded me to tell him about the website:, and as he is a computer buff, he is going to have  look.

Captain Butterfly has fluttered off to the woods and is out of phone reach.  Jackie is back, hurray! She rang us last night and we are invited round for supper at the weekend.   I did some calls on my way back from the meeting this morning...   neither of my magazine route calls was in, but I did find a return visit at home.  He hovered over accepting a "What Does the Bible Really Teach?"  book, but in the end decided not to.   I have to hope and pray that something stays in his mind and that he will talk to the next JW who calls on him. I walked past the Talking Gate, which is also on that road - its one of those private roads you can't park on.  And I would have liked to call and see if the Gate will speak again, and if it liked the Tract it allowed me to leave in its letterbox.  But I need to have someone with me, just in case it should ask me in.  

Friday, 22 May 2015

From House to House

Acts 5:42:   "And every day in the temple and from house to house they continued without letup teaching and declaring the good news about the Christ, Jesus."

I was out going house to house with a Ghanaian brother yesterday morning. We did two hours - a lot for me these days. But the second hour was on a return visit of his - so I wasn't walking for 2 hours which, depressingly, I can't manage any more.   He had offered to show the lovely lady we called on how to access our website:   And we not only found her at home, but she was looking after her granddaughter. So the little girl was able to help her granny with the computer, and we watched a couple of videos from the site.  The little granddaughter also showed us her art portfolio from school. She has an artist's eye. She had a painting of the beach huts that was very well seen.

The sofa was rather low and I did get a bit anxious as to how I was ever going to get out of it. But, with a bit of help from my sturdy brother it was achieved and I did not become a permanent fixture in the house.  

We also watched a video at the meeting last night.

And we had some touching experiences from the many children in our congregation.  Two of our lovely young teenage sisters were on the platform telling us how they have started a Bible study with one of their classmates.  She has just asked them what clothes are suitable for Christian meetings.

The answer, of course, is in the Bible.  " Likewise, the women should adorn themselves in appropriate dress, with modesty and soundness of mind," - 1 Timothy 2:9

Our first study last night was so reassuring, as it was all about how much Jehovah loves and values those who serve him - how he looks for the positive in us, and sees all our potential for good.   And he knows us from the moment of our conception.

I think we are born into a terrible loneliness, cut off as we are from our Creator, our Source of life. Its through no fault of our own, but because of what our first parents did.  And a rescue is so close at hand, through the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ. And that is what we are trying to tell you as we go house to house, door to door.

I arrived back exhausted, and wanting my lunch, to find a second batch of Butterfly Memberships waiting for me, and I am embroiled in them right now.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

In which I win a Teapot and a Cosy

Monday night we were at the Arundel Wetland Trust with Terry. The talk was on the birds of the Wallacea: Where Continents Collide.

Amazing birds. Especially the nightjars and the kingfishers.  Surprising fact of the evening:  not all kingfishers fish!   Well, it was surprising to me anyway.   A great talk.  The Speaker, John Eyre, loved and knew his subject and really enthused us.

Terry treated us to a cup of tea and a strawberry cream sponge in the interval. And I won a teapot and knitted teacosy in the raffle.   Terry had already won it and given it back. And when I got it, the lady in charge asked me if I wanted it.  "Yes I DO", I said indignantly, clutching it to me, stamping my feet and revving up for a temper tantrum if necessary.    Old age really is a second childhood in many ways, but without the throwing yourself on the floor and kicking and screaming bit of the tantrum. Well, not unless there is a big crane on hand to get you back up again.

I plan to buy some proper Earl Grey now I have my little teapot.

Wet and stormy for most of Monday, with stormy seas.  Tuesday is starting off bright and sunny, with waves, but thunderstorms and hail are forecast for later.  I hope I shall get myself out on the work.

I did.   And Beryl and I did an hour together. She too has problems if she walks for too long so we were well suited, and she came with me on a couple of my magazine route calls. It was the hospital in the afternoon, for Captain Butterfly as he begins the preliminaries...  all very efficient, with a lovely nurse which did help.  Her eyelashes were about a mile long I noted enviously.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Bea's Butterfly Bag Goes to Haysbridge

Oak Hook-tip, Watsonalla binaria
It was the Circuit Assembly at Haysbridge on Sunday and, for the first time in two years, I managed to get there, thanks to my shiny Knew Knees, my wonderful chauffeur, Captain Butterfly - and above all to Jehovah, whose organisation arranged it all.
Meadow Long-horn, Adela rufimitrella
We drove through the lovely May countryside into the wilds of Surrey - "Here there Be Dragonnes" warned the Satnav in ominous medieval tones as we crossed the border and wound through the little lanes that lead to our Assembly Hall.

Bea's butterfly bag is perfect for Haysbridge. We have to take a separate bag with our breakfast/lunch and flask in it, and leave it in the dining rooms.   I packed tea (E.Grey), a round of marmite sandwiches, a marmalade cupcake (and a couple of spare to offer round), and some Lidl's fruit gums (which were popular).   All being well, the bag will accompany me to Brighton for the summer Convention.  Thank you Bea!   A lovely present.

Maggie, Jean and I managed to meet up among the crowds. They had saved me a seat.

The Convention theme was perfect.   "Seek Peace and Pursue it" - 1 Peter 3:11

It really brought home to us the words "seek" and "pursue". We must actively seek and promote peace within the family, within the congregation, at work, at school, everywhere.

And one Speaker did remind us that, after Armageddon, when the earth is being transformed into the Paradise it was always meant to be, peace will be the normal state of affairs.  We will have "exquisite delight in the abundance of peace" then. At the moment, in a violent world, we have to seek and it pursue it.
Bramble, Rubus fruticosus
Captain Butterfly spent his day out in the Insect World, and brought some lovely images back - some from the lanes round our assembly hall.   And he got some stained-glass bramble leaves the other day. The world is telling us, and telling us, of its Grand Creator, Jehovah of armies. And we are trying to tell you, as we come to your doors.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

An Almost Nightmare

Last night I dreamt I went to Nabbs again...   could there be the first para of a book in this?    It was a family get together and I went upstairs to go to the loo.  It was dark and gloomy, and I became aware looking down that there was someone - or something? - at the bottom of the stairs.  I called out to him/her/it, but it just stayed there and didn't answer.   I felt cross and realised I would have to go back down to the downstairs cloakroom as now I was scared to go further.

Not quite logical now I think about it.   That would have been real nightmare at one time. As it was, it was just irritating. And probably one of those dreams you have to make sure you never actually get to a loo in your sleep.

Had it turned terrifying I hope I would have remembered to call out to Jehovah for help in my dream. The only other nightmare I have had since I began to study with the JWs ended as soon as I did that. For which I am very grateful.  I was an anxious child, plagued by night fears.   It seems that you pick it up from your parents. And my father's war experiences began very early, and continued.  He was very stoical about it all, as that generation were, but the damage comes down. They think now that the stress of wars etc  can cause damage at the genetic level.

Which is in harmony with Proverbs 14:30, which says:  "A calm heart gives life to the body, But jealousy is rottenness to the bones."

And my granny's second staircase, or the dark at the bottom of it, did frighten me.  I have used it in my as yet unfinished thriller "Disraeli Hall"  which I will now have to rename, since the success of Hilary Mantel and her "Wolf Hall".    Grrrrr.

We went to Fairmile Bottom yesterday - and also to the Wetland Trust.  I saw a lovely little family of moorhens - mum, dad and two tiny chicks.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Being Bored in Retirement?

A question often asked:  "What will you do in retirement - won't you be bored?"

Answer:   Haven't yet found the time to be bored.   For one thing, you don't retire from the Christian preaching work, but go on doing it for as long as you can, as best you can. The power of the Kingdom message is such that you long for people to hear it.  And I was out with Martin yesterday, driving in the rain, but we did start my magazine route for May (thanks Martin!), and had a few interesting talks with some lovely people. And got very wet.

So I find myself, in retirement, doing the most important and urgent work of my life.  And wrestling with the thought of keeping up with technology, as we can now witness on the doorsteps using our tablets...  (whatever they may be).

Sunny today. I have replied to a fb post that provided an opportunity for witnessing, made sandwiches for the Captain who has responded to the siren call of Butterfly Mark - and I haven't even had my breakfast yet.  Shopping, studying, housework and some daytime tv watching beckons. Plus a trip to my arthritis specialist.

And that is another thing - a lot of retirement time is taken up with medical issues...   and you just don't have the energy you had when younger.  I am wondering whether I could venture on a walk to the shops, as I used to, rather than a drive, which I have had to get used to...

decisions decisions. It will be another landmark moment if I do.

As for Captain Butterfly - he is so busy that some weeks I can only be sure he still lives here because the packed lunches keep disappearing from the fridge.  

So, no, you won't be bored in retirement.

Bea and Simon left on Tuesday.  But hopefully she will be down again soon.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

The House of Three Sandwich Fillings (and a trip to the Natural History Museum)

We are no longer The House of Three Milks when Bea visits, as she is no longer on the soya milk, but we were the House of Three Sandwich Fillings on our trip to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition yesterday.   Chicken and chutney for the Captain, Chicken for Bea, and Hummus for me.  Jackie came with us.  She organised her own sandwiches, and joined us in a carrot cake.

My first trip to London for an age, and I was worried about it - had something of a sleepless night. But with Captain B's help I did it.  We got taxis to and from the Museum, rather than our usual bus, which helped, though I found deplaning from the taxi very difficult (and ungraceful).  If anyone had wanted to put an end to the Brit monarchy they would have done well to have married me off to one of the Princelings.  One tabloid shot of me trying (and failing) to exit my car gracefully on a State occasion, and the mystique would have gone.

There were so many lovely and wonderful photos - especially in the children's section - that its impossible to pick a favourite, but the one I would have chosen for my wall was  GOLDEN BIRCH by Herfried Marek of Austria.   Beautiful.

And when we got back I found that Bea had bought me the Golden Birch mug from the shop!

There were lots of images of it on sale - clearly its just what the public likes. The judges had chosen a black and white of resting lions as the Photo of Photos.  I liked it, but I think the most important thing from the judging point of view was that it isn't the one us plebs would have chosen.

I must say how lovely all the staff there are.  And the new loos are good.  Clean, and no queues.

Hopefully, we will be at next years Exhibition, which, goodness knows, will come round quickly enough.

We had a rare family get together on Sunday - nine of us - chicken salad lunch, hot potatoes and hot bread, followed by apple crumble, ice cream, and Eton mess.  And then a walk on the beach.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Philip Jackson Redux

We - Captain Butterfly, Bea, Jackie, Linda and I - drove off in pouring rain yesterday for our day out in Philip Jackson's lovely garden, fearing it was going to be rained off.  However, the sun came out as we drove through the May countryside, and we had a great day, including excellent hot dogs (proper sausages), home made cake and tea, and a tour of the garden and its sculptures conducted by Philip Jackson himself!
Mr Bennet's Daughter
Today the family is coming over for lunch.  Not sure how many, but I have kept it flexible, foodwise, chicken salad followed by: a lemon drizzle cake bought from the home-made cake stall, ice-cream made by Captain Butterfly's own fair hands, and an Eton Mess.

Friday, 8 May 2015

May's Gaud Gown

Back to Karen Volkman's poem for my title.   The air was filled with the scent of blossom as I walked to the Hall last night.  The beauty of the local gardens is much appreciated.   And what a lovely meeting it was. We seem to have a video presentation, from the Society's site JW,org every week now.  This time it was witnessing in the remote parts of the Oz outback.  I will link it, as its an interesting five minutes.   The distance from farm gate to front door gives an idea of the size of the territory.

I managed to totter about for nearly an hour with Barbara this morning, on the doors.  It didn't compare with what the Oz witnesses in the video are doing but then, as our meeting so beautifully and tenderly reminded us, Jehovah does not compare one with the other, and he looks for and cherishes every bit of good in us.  And that is how we should look at others.

Trying to think what I did for the rest of the day. Finished climbing paperwork mountain - did some counting of new members for Nigel - did my studying - provided us with meals - sandwich lunch, salmon salad tea for Himself and veggie soup for moi.

The elections appear to have finished now. Babies everywhere breathed a sigh of relief, and there were lots of telly chat last night about what the Exit Polls say. Erm...Why not just wait for the results?

Whoever gets the job, I don't envy them it.   We cannot successfully rule ourselves - and the last 6,000 years of human history stand as a witness to the truth of the warning at Jeremiah 10:23:  "I well know, O Jehovah, that man’s way does not belong to him. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step."

And do the powers that really rule the world put themselves up for election?

Ephesians 6:11,12 says:   "Put on the complete suit of armor from God so that you may be able to stand firm against the crafty acts of the Devil;  because we have a struggle, not against blood and flesh, but against the governments, against the authorities, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places."

The world rulers of this darkness, the wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places, want us separated from our Creator, and fearing, hating and fighting each other.  This election seems to have been very divisive.   That is why we pray for God's will to be done upon the earth, and for his Kingdom to come.  That is the government we need, the government we are longing for.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

The Old Saw Wind

Comfrey Ermel, Ethmia quadrillella
"In May's gaud gown and ruby reckoning
 The old saw wind repeats a colder thing"

That is how the poem "May", by Karen Volkman begins.

And, as May begins on the South Coast, the old saw wind is putting white horses on the Channel - in sunshine yesterday, in rain this morning.

And there was a small tornado in Germany!

I didn't go on the field service yesterday as I felt so washed out after the arthritis attack.. I didn't even do any internet witnessing.  Nothing. Except my studying for the day, which is all about how much Jehovah loves us.  Very very comforting in my present rather crushed state.  

Though it was a busy housework day as I began, slowly slowly, a long overdue Spring clean. Which, if I keep going, will probably last till Summer.

Captain Butterfly found an exciting new (new to his camera and fairly new to the area) moth.  Its the Comfrey Ermel moth - and could be called the Dalmatian Moth.  How beautifully Jehovah made everything for us.   Which is the thought that propelled me into a search for the Creator all those years ago - when I wanted to thank Someone for the beauty of Autumn.

And who could get tired of being on this lovely earth, in this amazing universe?    Even as things are now.  But when its Paradise again...

Bea and Simon arrive Saturday and we are hosting a family lunch on Sunday.

Monday, 4 May 2015

The Moth Fly Dancer

Moth Fly, Pericoma species
When Captain Butterfly rang me from the wood today he said he had seen a Moth Fly dancing on a leaf, trying to attract a lady moth fly.  I hope he found a young and lovely one.  As indeed the Captain did, many years ago at Uni, when he did his moth fly dance at the Student hop.  Well, he found me at any rate.  Perhaps the dancing moth fly will do a bit better.

What a wonderful and intricate world it is.  When you think of the tiny moth fly and his wonderful dance. And the little eggs that will result if he finds his beautiful lady.  And the complex packaging within those eggs, that will produce further moth flies and further courtship dances, I wonder if you would consider these questions, about the very stuff of life, the DNA.

DNA is packaged within the chromosomes in a manner so efficient that it has been called a “feat of engineering.”
Question: How could such order and organization arise by undirected chance events?

DNA’s capacity to store information still has no equal in today’s computer age.
Question: If human computer technicians cannot achieve such results, how could mindless matter do so on its own?

DNA contains all the instructions needed to build a unique human body and maintain it throughout life.
Question: How could such writing come about without a writer, such programming without a programmer?

For DNA to work, it has to be copied, read, and proofread by a swarm of complex molecular machines called enzymes, which must work together with precision and split-second timing.
Question: Do you believe that highly complex, highly reliable machinery can come about by chance? Without solid proof, would not such a belief amount to blind faith?

(Extracted from "The Origin of Life" Brochure, published by The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society).

In what way could this have just happened?  The more we know about the creation, the more we can see its Grand Designer, Jehovah, the God of Abraham.   The creation, in its beauty and complexity, is telling us louder and louder every day.  And the Inspired Scriptures assure us that God is love, that we do not live in a Darwinian world, that nature was not created "red in tooth and claw" and that paradise will be restored.

What else are we praying for when we say the Lord's prayer?

I was able to sleep last night and am now pretty much out of pain, which is so wonderful.  Linda and friend are coming over for a tea, and I am in the middle of my usual Monday housework.  At least I am able to do it. I could not even get myself out of a chair yesterday without Captain Butterfly's help and a great deal of pain.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

An Arthritis Flare-up

It did warn me I suppose. I woke up yesterday with a pounding headache, and an upset tum. So something was up with me.    But I had arranged to pick up Jean and go on the field service - and I didn't want to let her down, so I went.   We were assigned a Caravan Park by Ford Station.  Off my map!  Which makes me nervous. But we did find it. And covered half of it.  Its a lovely park - everyone has created beautiful little gardens many of which look out across fields. And we placed lots of magazines.

Anyway, I have been at home today, barely able to move. Captain Butterfly has been back on Caring duty.   Heroically.    I listened in to the meeting this morning on the telephone link.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Wolf Castle - or Arundel Hall?

Going into the Fitzalan Chapel in Arundel Castle was like stepping into an episode of Wolf Hall. The names - the dates - the tombs.   It reminded me that the past is not so far away as we think.  Its just that our lives are so short now.

Roy and I were talking about it when were out on the preaching work yesterday morning. I was feeling rather down and found it difficult, but we kept each other going and finished the territory. We found very few at home, and I don't feel I gave a very good witness to those who were in. We were working over and over with another brother and sister, which was nice.  I had to drive us there and back over the Big Boys Roundabout, but I got clear space both ways, for which I did and do thank Jehovah.  On PlanetExpat there were only tiny Traffic Islands, with hardly any traffic on them. I am still bewildered by the pace of the big city (aka our sleepy little seaside town).

Thinking over the Circuit Overseer's visit is very helpful in keeping going.  He told us a lovely experience from the door to door work.   One of my siblings had left a magazine - I am assuming with an article about the Bible's guide for a happy family life in it - with a lady at the door. As he walked to the next door, her door flew open and an angry gentleman came out. He told the brother that he did not want Jehovah's Witnesses calling at his door ever again, and he was to make sure they did not.

However, one of the angry gentleman's colleagues was a Jehovah's Witness, and when he came to work the next day he sought this JW workmate out and said that he had made a mistake.  He had picked up the magazine, read the article, and said that he realised it was just what his family needed. And could the JWs please call again.

They did, and he is now attending the meetings - possibly with all his family.   I wasn't taking notes, and can't remember.

But it reminds us how important the door to door preaching work is - even when it seems we get no results, or negative ones.  The power of the Bible to reach people cannot be over-estimated.

As Hebrew 4:12 says:   "For the word of God is alive and exerts power and is sharper than any two-edged sword and pierces even to the dividing of soul and spirit, and of joints from the marrow, and is able to discern thoughts and intentions of the heart."

It can reach the heart as nothing else can.