Wednesday, 29 July 2015

The Rainbow

On the work with one of my sisters yesterday morning, and it turned out she knows one of the ladies on my magazine route - has witnessed to her on the bus and at the bus stop.  We all had a good chat. We finished our assigned territory, along with my last two route calls for July.

And I got myself out later on some overdue return visits.

The "increasing of lawlessness" increases.  We watched Crimewatch last night. Too scary for me really, but the Captain was watching it and I was drawn in despite myself.  There was some brilliant policing done to solve the murder of a nice family man walking home from work - and also an interesting item about the increasing amount of attacks on police, fireman, ambulancemen and hospital staff.

Now I don't want to get starry-eyed about the past.  It certainly was not Paradise. But I do not remember firemen, ambulance teams, etc coming under attack as they tried to help us - let alone its being routine!    And an interesting point came out.  It appears that the Home Office is keeping no statistics on the amount of attacks on Police Officers.   Why?

The situation at the Channel Tunnel and its Ports seems to be getting desperate.  What will happen next?  And how bad will it get before Armageddon?   All we can say is that Jehovah will not allow his beautiful earth to be ruined.

I drove to Durrington this morning but was unable to find the Nursing Home I was looking for and had to drive back again.  Then I got caught in a kerfuffle at the rail crossing, because the barrier gates had failed!  If that situation started in the rush hour, a lot of people will have been late to work yesterday morning.  Captain Butterfly kindly took me out there this afternoon so I could spend some time with Maggie, and I hope I now know how to find the way under my own steam.

Then after a bit of a stressful day, a rainbow appeared outside our window.  Thanks to its Creator, Jehovah of armies, the God of Abraham.

Monday, 27 July 2015

A Rainy Sunday in Retirement

The Captain set off early - very early - for his marshalling duties in the Worthing triathlon.   Then the rain started.  He got soaked. The Triathlonites started off soaked, as it begins with a swim in the chilly Channel.   And I got soaked, plus drenched in a gutter-tsunami from passing cars, while walking to the Kingdom Hall.  There is nowhere near to park now.   But it was well worth it - a lovely meeting, great talk and Watchtower study. And Maggie is back!

The Watchtower article was teaching us how to imitate Jehovah's loving-kindness.

We were both back for lunch - yesterday's chicken and rice.

Jacks was over for supper last night - stir fry chicken with mushroom, egg fried rice, spring rolls (courtesy of Waitrose), followed by cheese, coffee and trifle (also courtesy of Waitrose).   An evening full of laughter and our latest discoveries in the Country of Old Age into which we are travelling, fast.

Talking of Waitrose, it has moved. We can't understand why really, as it was such a local success.

Then it was a quiet Sunday afternoon - we watched the Athletics from London, which Col had recorded.  Usain Bolt won the 100 metres again - and did he stop halfway through to make and drink a cup of tea before strollng to victory?  I think he pretty much could have.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

A Cavalier from Latvia

We were helped to find the right block of flats by a gallant (and handsome) young lad from Latvia on Thursday morning.   My sister then gave him a little witness about the Kingdom of God (from the "Good News for People of all Nations" booklet).  He read it, and said, in his halting English that he was "atheist".  Nevertheless, Jenny asked him, if she could get him some information about the Kingdom of God in his native language, would he read it?

He seemed pleased and touched, and said yes. And then he gallantly kissed her hand!

Suddenly he reminded me of my aged father - who was Polish, specifically a child of the fields and forests of Belarus.

It was a lovely witness, and I am learning a lot from my siblings.

Yesterday was two trips to Worthing Hospital - the Captain and I are having to structure our lives round medical trips of various kinds now - and on the second one, Col dropped me off to visit Maggie, and picked me up on the way back.  Her room was full of visitors when I arrived, but we had half an hour or so to ourselves.  She is going to be at the Kingdom Hall on Sunday, which will be great.

It was a day of fierce rain yesterday - and late yesterday evening there was a thunderstorm way off over the Channel somewhere - on the French coast?   We could see the occasional flash of lightning and a distant rumble of thunder.

I am on the doors with my siblings this morning - and Jacks comes for supper tonight.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

The Poppies of July

Shirley Poppy, Papaver rhoeas
Captain Butterfly got some lovely shots of Bob and Judy's garden, which was looking splendid.

Cathy and I were out on the work yesterday morning.   She came with me on my magazine route calls, which was very helpful. We found two people at home, and had some good talks.  Margaret was just on her way out, but she stopped and talked for about a quarter of an hour. She has so many questions.   I hope she will keep asking us them, as we can show her that the answers are in the Inspired Scriptures.

Wonderful answers they are too

Cathy came back for coffee and biscuits - and a bit of banter with the Captain, then I got lunch and fell asleep...I wish I hadn't as I didn't sleep well last night.  And am now more tired than ever.   Neither of us slept well.

Nute just put a graphic account of a spider attacking a fly on fb - well observed... and horrific. And it reminded me of a Betjeman poem.

The Cottage Hospital

by John Betjeman

At the end of a long-walled garden in a red provincial town,
A brick path led to a mulberry- scanty grass at its feet.
I lay under blackening branches where the mulberry leaves hung down
Sheltering ruby fruit globes from a Sunday-tea-time heat.
Apple and plum espaliers basked upon bricks of brown;
The air was swimming with insects, and children played in the street.

Out of this bright intentness into the mulberry shade
Musca domestica (housefly) swung from the August light
Slap into slithery rigging by the waiting spider made
Which spun the lithe elastic till the fly was shrouded tight.
Down came the hairy talons and horrible poison blade
And none of the garden noticed that fizzing, hopeless fight.

Say in what Cottage Hospital whose pale green walls resound
With the tap upon polished parquet of inflexible nurses' feet
Shall I myself be lying when they range the screens around?
And say shall I groan in dying, as I twist the sweaty sheet?
Or gasp for breath uncrying, as I feel my senses drown'd
While the air is swimming with insects and children play in the street?

So now I must say again that the first chapter of Genesis assures us that nature was not made "red in tooth and claw", and that we were not made to die. We live in the tragedy created when our first parents made that terrible decision to cut themselves (and us, their unborn children) off from their Creator, their Source of life.

A rescue is close at hand. 

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Bea's Butterly Bag

The lovely butterfly bag that Bea gave me has been perfect for the Conventions. It has come with me every day, holding all my books, my packed lunch, my water, my brolly (not needed) and sundries; fitted neatly into coach and convention seat, and looked pretty while doing so.

We ended on a really high note today. And I might well post some of the notes I took as the days go by.  Sat with a sister from Hastings and travelled back on the coach with Jenny, who is also behind with her return visits so we are going to try to get together for a catch-up session.

The commission Jesus gave his followers is, as the Convention reminded us, to preach AND teach. We must try to follow up on every bit of interest found, but its not easy.

Jacks invited us to supper tonight which was great - looked after beautifully - chicken kiev, asparagus new potatoes, followed by Eton mess, and then some cheese with a goats cheese for me.

Saturday, 18 July 2015


The theme for today was:   "Have... the Same Mental Attitude That Christ Jesus had" - with a lot of practical and timely advice as to how to achieve that - insofar as us imperfect, fatally-flawed, children of Adam can.

I sat with Jean today.  We found good seats in the very top layer of the "Old Crocks and Crumblies" sector.  Don't know how it will go tomorrow. We had nearly 9,000 people there today, and there will probably be more on Sunday.  And there were so many baptised!

We will find out the total tomorrow.

Jean and I left at the speed of light - well, if you imagine two rather slow and elderly light beams, one on a wheeled zimmer - as we were worried about the lifts. There are two, with long long queues for both.  However, we did well and were not the last to make the bus.

It is actually a great venue and I hope we can keep going there.

The theme tomorrow is:  "Keep Following Me" - Matthew 16:24   And we have a very valuable Symposium in the morning:  "Have Love Among Yourselves".   It is going to be a discussion of that perfect, inspired definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13.

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels but do not have love, I have become a clanging gong or a clashing cymbal.  And if I have the gift of prophecy and understand all the sacred secrets and all knowledge, and if I have all the faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my belongings to feed others, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I do not benefit at all.  Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous. It does not brag, does not get puffed up,  does not behave indecently, does not look for its own interests, does not become provoked. It does not keep account of the injury.  It does not rejoice over unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth.  It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails.".

Friday, 17 July 2015


Exhausted after the first day at the Convention - but wish that everyone in the world had been there to listen to the teaching, all based on loving-kindness.  Especially after the crop of horrors and tragedies on the News.

Today's theme was: Learn from Me - Matthew 11:29.  Tomorrow's theme is: Have the Same Mental Attitude that Christ Jesus Had. - Romans 15:5  

Captain Butterfly came to the bus stop to fetch me.  He got the news of his second biopsy today, and some treatment will be necessary.

We went for fish and chips.  It was a beautiful evening - blue sky with a symphony of gulls.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

The Brighton Convention

The Convention begins tomorrow - theme: Imitate Jesus.  My bag is packed - its the butterfly bag Bea gave me.    The fridge is stocked with fruit and salads, and my sandwich lunch is waiting in the fridge.

Had a long chat with Jackie today and am looking forward to seeing her on Sunday. She has asked us round for supper, and that will be a lovely end to the Convention weekend.   We also heard from Bob and Judy who fly in to Gatwick next month - they will come and stay with us for a couple of days.

Interesting study today - about Cyrus.  Long before Cyrus the Great was born, Jehovah had these prophetic words written down:

Isaiah 44:28-45:3:
" The One saying of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd, And he will completely carry out all my will’; The One saying of Jerusalem, ‘She will be rebuilt,’ And of the temple, ‘Your foundation will be laid.’”
This is what Jehovah says to his anointed one, to Cyrus, Whose right hand I have taken hold of To subdue nations before him, To disarm kings, To open before him the double doors, So that the gates will not be shut:   “Before you I will go, And the hills I will level. The copper doors I will break in pieces, And the iron bars I will cut down.   I will give you the treasures in the darkness And the hidden treasures in the concealed places, So that you may know that I am Jehovah, The God of Israel, who is calling you by your name."

Cyrus is the one Jehovah brought up against Babylon.  History records how the mighty city fell in one day, and the Jews were released from their long captivity there.

There is a clear parallel in the Book of Revelation, which speaks of the destruction of Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Balcony Geraniums

Approaching my sell-by date is making me very very tired.   Exhausted after our trip.   And simply could not get myself to the group yesterday morning.  I did get out later though, and delivered the last 5 Convention invites I had - did not want them to go to waste.  And I started my magazine route.

I drove myself back to the caravan site - site lovely, wonderful view they have - but don't like the drive there - and found two of the three people I wanted to call on at home!  They both want the magazines next month so I will have to get used to driving out there.  Its not at all difficult really, its just that I am such a wimp. You have to turn right immediately after a very busy rail crossing, and its complicated.

If I would learn to do the best I can and leave the rest in Jehovah's hands, I would waste a lot less energy in worry and anxiety. It is something to pray about, clearly.

The balcony geraniums went mad in our absence (when the cat's away) and we now have a sea of white and pink and green (the green being the geranium leaves and the mint) with the blue of the Channel beyond.  Captain Butterfly has just brought me my breakfast. He does the breakfasts, I do the other meals.  He has porridge and I have soaked porridge oats with fruit and seeds.  And we both have a cup of his lovely foamy coffee.  And we have all our morning medications - which brings me back to that looming sell-by date.

And a question. One that, I think, troubled Darwin too.  Why do we have this incredibly complex brain - the complexity of which is becoming clearer every day - if we are only designed to live for 70 years?   Isn't it beginning to seem that the human brain has a limitless capacity for taking in knowledge - just as if it was designed to last forever?

Which comes back to Genesis, as it tells us that Adam and Eve would only die if they disobeyed and cut themselves off from their Creator, their Source of life.  In other words, it tells us they were made to live forever.  And I rest in the hope that Jehovah is extending to all the damaged children of Adam - everlasting life in the restored earthly Paradise.

Monday, 13 July 2015

The Eagle Has Landed

We arrived back home yesterday just after the Wimbledon final had started - Djokovic v Federer - they provided us with an exciting final, Novak Dj winning in 4 sets.  I like both of them, but the crowd was so much on Federer's side that I felt I ought to support Djokovic.  Apparently he spoke crossly to a ball girl (?).

If so, then of course, he shouldn't have, even under the stresses and strains of the championship.  But... I suppose that was one advantage of having attended a Convent school in the Fifties. The way some of those nuns spoke to us, I don't think any tennis player could have upset us!    It must have helped to harden us up for whatever nastiness was to come. But it did not, sadly, teach us to keep "the law of loving-kindness" on our tongue.

It is Jehovah who teaches us that.

Our journey down was fine. We left early and had a butterfly stop at the Marbled White meadow, where the marbled white butterflies rise up in fountains courting and fighting.  Col saw the elusive creature he was stalking, but it wouldn't pose.  I sat in the car eating my sandwich and reading my latest book about Everest.   It looks like they are going to get me and my sofa down alive - given that the author survived to write the book - but we may be a little battered.  (Stephen Venables  "Higher than the Eagle Soars")    

I am hoping the eagle is not going to soar above the ProperFlushToilet level, with disabled facilities, not if I am going along.
If I was forced at gunpoint to make the choice of a single favourite butterfly, Marbled White would be one of the ones I would mention before they would have to shoot me for being unable to single one out.

And talking of butterflies, as I often am, I must get my Secretary hat on today and tackle the Butterfly paperwork I found waiting on the mat.   Then I must start my study for the week.  I want to draw as close as I can to the Grand Maker of the butterfly.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Wedding Anniversary

We celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary while in Northumberland with Bob and Judy.  Captain Butterfly managed to remember it at the last minute (we usually forget) and Judy produced a bottle of bubbly stuff.  And it was great.

We took them out for an Indian meal in Seahouses the night before we left.   Very good and a lovely drive back down the coast.    Our journey back was OK - done safely anyway.   And, on the eating front, we all went to a Turkish restaurant last night and had a great evening.

Col has disappeared off to Endcliffe Park - a ribbon of stream and woodland running from the inner city to the moors at Ringinglow - with a camera at every corner, on the hunt for what he can find. Nute is in her study working (she writes), and Ken is making the sphag bol for our lunchtime visitors: Keith, and Jo and Matthew.

I am re-reading "Trouble for Lucia" at the moment - E.F.Benson.  If you haven't read the Mapp and Lucia books, what a treat you are in for.

Here is a taste, describing the powerful effect the visit of the glamorous diva Olga Braceley has on the ladies of Tilling:

"Though Tilling remained the same at heart, Olga's brief visit had considerably changed the decorative aspect of the leading citizenesses.  The use of powder on the face on very hot days when prominent features were apt to turn crimson, or on very cold ones, when prominent features were apt to turn mauve, had always been accepted, but that they should embellish themselves with rouge and lipstick and arched eyebrows was a revolution indeed.  They had always considered such aids to loveliness as typical of women who shamelessly desired to capture the admiration of males, and that was still far from their intentions.  But Diva found that arched eyebrows carefully drawn where there were none before gave her a look of high-bred surprise: Elizabeth that the rose-mantled cheeks she now saw in her looking-glass made her feel (not only appear) ten years younger: Susan that her corrugated hair made her look like a French marquise.  Irene, who had been spending a fortnight of lionization in London, was amazed at the change when she returned, and expressed her opinion of it, by appearing in the High Street with the tip of her nose covered with green billiard-chalk."

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

The Cottage

Northern Brown Argus, Aricia artaxerxes
"Who is living there?" I asked Bob, surprised to find a lovely stone cottage where their workshop used to be.

"You are" he said.

And so we are - a country cottage to ourselves!    We spent yesterday exploring the beautiful Northumberland Coast, and went over the border into Scotland.  Every time I come up here I wonder why we aren't living up here. And yet I know we are very happy in our South Coast life.

I was a bit of a trial.  Bob had to make me a wooden step so I could get in  and out of his van.   And I couldn't join them on the Hunt for the Laird of Fritillary (the Northern Brown Argus). It lives in steep steep countryside.  On the other hand, my blue badge was quite useful.

We travelled up via Lilac Tree Farm - where George made us a lovely roast lamb lunch and Dan arrived in time to join us.   We left with fresh eggs from the Lilac Tree hens (shared with Bob and Judy) and a couple of chili plants for the balcony, which will travel back home with us. We then spent the night in York with Keith,Janet and the children. They have a new bathroom, with walk-in shower, which was very helpful.  They gave us an impressive array of salads, followed by Eton mess. And now Judy is cooking some wonderful meals for us.

How is Captain Butterfly going to keep me down on the farm now?

Sunday, 5 July 2015

The Berlin Wall Comes Down

Sad to arrive at the bungalow and no Ollie to greet us.  But there was the elusive Scooter coming to say hello!    She is a transformed cat now that her two enemies: Daisy the Cat, and Ollie the dog, are no more.   She spends all her time with us. She is still not cuddly, not a lap-sitter, but obviously likes to be close to her people.   And the Berlin wall of doors that closed off dog from cats, and one cat from the other cat is gone.   Scoots has the run of the house and garden now.  And she is making the most of it.

The four granddaughters and their parents were round yesterday.  Nute put on a lovely buffet lunch - and I am going to have to put in a word for Duchy pork sausages from Waitrose.  I am not a great meat eater and not a fan of sausages, but, wow, were they good. I had to be firm with myself to stick to just one of them, and not eat the whole panload.

It was a sunny day. And in the late evening when everyone had gone, Col and I went down to Endcliffe Park and photographed creepycrawlies.

The drive up on Friday was not fun - one long traffic jam - but we did manage a stop at a Reserve, where Captain Butterfly hunted the elusive Duke of Fritillary (possibly the Black Hairstreak?) and met a fellow enthusiast he knows on the same errand.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Another Era Ended?

Hopefully yesterday was the last of my visits to my young surgeon.  He is so busy that usually you have to wait at least an hour. However, this time I was ushered straight in and it took all of 5 minutes. Then I had a form to fill in and - barring accidents (dread dread) - that should be it.

All my other joints are failing, but I can't go through any more replacements.  These knees are working well, but I am still almost terminally tired.

I long for the moment, promised in Isaiah when everyone on earth will be in perfect health.   Isaiah 33:24:  "And no resident will say: “I am sick.” The people dwelling in the land will be pardoned for their error."

Not one of Jehovah's promises has failed, nor will they ever fail.  That is the very meaning of his name - that he can and will do all he purposes to do.  We cannot, however much we want to.  

Another sunny day. The balcony geraniums are splendid.  The Channel is blue, calm, and out.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Ranulph Fiennes

Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Anton Bowring were speaking in Worthing last night.

It was their Life at the Limits tour.  Fascinating evening - and amazing stuff. Sir Ranulph has, among other things,  just become the oldest Britain to complete the Marathon des Sables.

I've done it all of course - though from my sofa, i.e. I have read the books.  And I was happy to find he has written a lot more than I thought, so I shall be looking out for those.

And maybe I will become the oldest Britain to have read his book about the Marathon des Sables (if he is going to write one)?  Worthing theatre ought to book me now.

What a beautiful evening sky though.  It was very hot, and we went out onto the terrace overlooking the sea in the interval, and, wow, a lovely evening.

Got back late.

Cathy and I were out on the doors yesterday morning.  And we had a great time. We placed a lot of invitations to the upcoming Convention at the Brighton Amex Stadium, including one with the local vicar and his wife.  They were a lovely couple, and apologised for their garden explaining that they were turning it into a wildflower meadow.  I said that Captain Butterfly would be thrilled, as we need all the wildflower meadows we can get!