Monday, 31 August 2015

The Day Draws Closer

The dreaded day of the operation approaches fast.  I don't think I'm going to able to cope with it, and I'm not even having it this time.

Jean and I went out together on Saturday and we did some of our return visits and finished my magazine route for August, all bar one call which I did yesterday - and got a shock when, having knocked at the door and no-one answered, I pushed the folded magazines carefully through the letter box, and there was a sharp bark and a dog grabbed hold of them.

I didn't even know they had a dog.  I hope there was some magazine left by the time they got home.

Jackie cheered us up by coming for supper on Saturday - some curries: some made by Cooks, and some made by me.

Its grey and rainy today - the weather being in harmony with the way we are feeling.

Friday, 28 August 2015

A Tall, Dark, and Handsome Stranger

"Who are you, tall, dark, and handsome stranger?"  I gasped as I staggered back through the front door with the shopping yesterday. "And what have you done with my Captain Butterfly?!"

"It is I, Captain Butterfly."  The stranger said turning his best profile towards me.  "I have just been to Malcolm and had my hair cut."

"NO!  I can scarce believe it - how wonderful you look - etc - and can I have a cup of tea?"  

"Certainly", preened the tall, dark, and handsome one, as he set off kitchenwards.

Like shooting fish in a barrel...

Anyway - the dreaded day draws near - and no stranger, no matter how t, d, and h could replace the Captain.

What did I do yesterday?  I must have done something. I did not get out on the field service, regrettably.    But I did the shopping and got the Butterfly Memerships posted.  And did quite a bit of cooking - making soup and curry out of the veggies that needed using up.  And of course it was the meeting at the Hall last night, so I did my studying for that.

I have arranged to pick up Jean tomorrow for the field service group, and she will come with me to Wick to finish my magazine route - she has some calls there too.  In fact, I need to sit down some time today with my jumble of return visits and sort them properly, as there are a couple of flats there that I need to try and call back on.  Especially one where i had an interesting chat with a young lad about Evolution/Creation.  I haven't managed to find him at home again.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Anne of the Cape

I am looking out over a stormy English Channel this afternoon, and the rain is monsooning down outside.   Keith and Janet left this morning, having overnighted on their trip back from France. They seemed happy and relaxed, so it was clearly a real holiday.  

I was talking to Anne of the Cape yesterday, on Skype, before the system crashed around our ears.   But we had a good chat and are continuing it by email.

She always has some wonderful spiritual questions to ask. This time about The Rapture, as she has a colleague who believes in it.    I hope Anne will be able to show her that the idea that all the good are going to be raptured up to heaven, and the wicked left on the earth, completely reverses what the Inspired Scriptures tell us.

For example, Proverbs 2:21,22 says, simply and clearly:
"For only the upright will reside in the earth, And the blameless will remain in it.  As for the wicked, they will be cut off from the earth, And the treacherous will be torn away from it."

What else is Armageddon for?

She also wants to know what happens next, according to Bible prophecy.  And Bible prophecy has never yet failed to come true,in every detail. I am suggesting that she asks her local Jehovah's Witness congregation for a copy of the book "God's Kingdom Rules" as it has a chapter telling us what the near future holds.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

A Murmuration of Clocks and Cards

Bob was very taken (and not in a good way) by our clock.  It chimes every hour with birdsong. Well, I say birdsong. Appalling racket would be another way of describing it.  He and Judy sent us a Thank you card - and when we opened it, it sang at us in Nuthatch.

Jean and I managed an hour and a half on the doors yesterday morning - not bad for us - though we were asked in by Ursula, so we weren't walking all that time.   It was a lovely day, hot and humid, but with a cool sea breeze. And the flowers of August were all round - each one a miracle of beauty and engineering.

We had a tricky set of not at homes to do, on a cul de sac road with very confusing house numbers. But when we stopped to ask for help, the guy we stopped, who was working on the road, asked us for a set of magazines to read with his tea break!

"Have you got something scientific for me to read?"  he asked.

Have we!   Thank you Jehovah.  Because this month's Awake magazine contains a fascinating article about the Genetic Code.

I hope it will help to waken him up to the fact that the more we know, the more we come back to the truth of Genesis.

Jackie cooked us a paella last night.  Excellent - a tribute to her Spanish years.  Keith and Janet arrive tomorrow, on their way back from France.

The Aramco Expat site has been in touch asking me about my book, as they will publicise it!  I think I have Charlie to thank for this. And I do thank him and them. So today I have to do a little blurb about it.   Its surprisingly difficult though.  I don't recognise my book from the publisher's summary at all. It is all based on a dream I had, a childhood game we used to play (which is why the toys turn up), and a vague feeling that, if we kept on building malls, we were going to run out of shoppers.

It all sounds much more purposeful when they write about it.  So I need to find a balance.

Friday, 21 August 2015

The Balcony Geraniums in their Glory

As taken by Captain Butterfly to test out his new camera flash (or some such technical thingummybob).  At least they will be heading this blogpost when the Captain returns from his Butterfly Hunt.  He and his box of sandwiches had disappeared when I got back from the shops.

There is such a feeling of Autumn in the air now - which I don't mind as I love Autumn - its just continually amazing how quickly the years are hurtling by.

When we came out of the Kingdom Hall after the meeting last night, it was dark. Definitely dark. No question of whether I needed the lights on to drive back.  How long before it will be dark when we drive there on Thursday night?

Maggie is back with us now, which is good, as she always saves me a seat next to her.  I popped in and visited her on Wednesday.  Her new room is very nice, with a great view of the garden. She will be able to see the Autumn colours as they come and go.  But its not home.

We were out on the doors yesterday - one of my sisters came with me and helped with my August magazine route. We had a long chat on Tony's doorstep, about all sorts of things, and I hope we were able to show him that Genesis does NOT say that the earth is only 6,000 years old!

In fact, the only thing you can deduce about the age of the earth from the Genesis account is that it must be older than 6,000 years - and surely no Scientist would disagree with that.  It tells us Adam was created in 4026 B.C.E - probably in the Autumn, as mankind’s most ancient calendars began counting time around October 1, or at the first new moon of the lunar civil year.

So he would have first opened his eyes in an Autumn garden.   Which is the point - the earth was not only already there, but it had  reached the stage of creation where there could be a Paradise, a beautiful garden, for Adam to wake up in. And the animals were there, as Jehovah brought them to Adam, so he could name them.   "Now Jehovah God had been forming from the ground every wild animal of the field and every flying creature of the heavens, and he began bringing them to the man to see what he would call each one; and whatever the man would call each living creature, that became its name. "

We have no idea how long all that took.  I don't think Science is too sure either.  Just a very very long time.

And Genesis begins this way: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and desolate, and there was darkness upon the surface of the watery deep, and God’s active force was moving about over the surface of the waters."

When that beginning was, Genesis doesn't tell us, nor does it tell us who long the earth was there - formless and desolate  - until the creative "days" began.

Anyway, I hope we managed to get that across.

The Captain now has the date for his operation...

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

A Difficult Letter

Thanks to Jane for reminding me that the Fibonacci Sequence is also seen in cauliflowers, broccoli, and pine cones.    It is an amazing world that Jehovah made for us.

I can understand now that maths is a fascinating subject.   If only I were able to understand it better.

Kathy and I were on the door to door preaching work yesterday.   And we each did some return visits. Though I still have a sheaf of guilt-making calls I have not got back to.  And I managed to do the letter to the husband and family of an old friend from our Saudi years.  Mary has just died of lung cancer...    I wanted to put down some of our memories of her.

We have a card ready to go, with the letter.  Its always hard to know what to say at this time, but it is very important to say what you can.    And I have so much to say about the hope for Mary, about when they will see her again. But, for the moment, I have left it at suggesting they talk to the next JWs who call if they want to know what the Bible says about death. It is more comforting and more helpful than anything else.

What I remember most about Mary is how hospitable she was, and how like home her house always was.   We saw them just about every day at one time.  She and Chuck had a long and happy marriage - quite an achievement, especially in today's world. And its going to be a strange new world for all of them without Mary in it.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

The Glory of the Fibonacci Sequence

We had a wonderful talk at the meeting today - starting with Romans 1:20:

"For his (Jehovah's) invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship, so that they are inexcusable."

And the more we know, the more science can tell us, the clearer that is.

The Speaker discussed the Fibonacci Sequence, using a drawing of a Sunflower, showing how the seeds conform to the Golden Sector in nature.  I believe he said we see the same thing in the stars, in the design of the Milky Way.  I wasn't taking notes.  

Cathy said it made her feel she was learning the truth all over again.  

I would love to write a sunflower poem, but my poetry/verse writing days seem to be over.    What rhymes with Fibonacci?   The only thing that I can think of is Versace... and as I wouldn't know a designer label if I fell over it, I don't think the poem would ring true.

And that, of course, is assuming I am pronouncing Versace right.

I spent the afternoon cooking curry for tonight - Jacks for supper.

Friday, 14 August 2015

The Thunderstorms of August

We were woken in the early hours of Thursday morning as the promised storms arrived.  There was a sort of lull early on in which I managed to get myself to the Field Service group at the Kingdom Hall, but by the time we left the meeting it was pouring down. So that was that.  However, the weekend is forecast to be dry and I hope to get out Saturday and Sunday.

Col and I were at the hospital this morning - one of his pre-op consultations.  And we shopped at Waitrose on the way back.   Jacks is coming round for supper on Sunday and I have decided to do curry - chicken, and a dahl, and some rice.

I have got some lovely reviews of "Till" on my Amazon page. Thanks to everyone who has reviewed it.  So much appreciated.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Not an Eagle's Feather

There is a feather floating like an exquisite hovercraft over the balcony tiles this morning.  Its beauty and its engineering tell me of its Grand Creator, Jehovah of armies. And it also reminds me of a poem - Browning? - that I am now going to see if I can find online.

And, yes, there it is.

Its the ending of his poem "Memorabilia", and it goes like this:

  I crossed a moor, with a name of its own
      And a certain use in the world no doubt,
Yet a hand's-breadth of it shines alone
      'Mid the blank miles round about:

   For there I picked up on the heather
      And there I put inside my breast
A moulted feather, an eagle-feather—
      Well, I forget the rest.

This is a seagull feather.  

And what a good thing Captain Butterfly did not catch its owner perching on our balcony (if indeed it did).  Not good for the blood pressure of either. Or of mine.

Linda came round last night to introduce us to John.  What a lovely guy he is.  I hope we will be seeing a lot more of him.

I have reviews up on my Amazon site now - good ones too!   I am so happy about it, as I really wanted "Till they Dropped" to be a good read.   And it seems people might want to read more. I must talk to my young publisher about "Small Island", which is basically finished and ready to go.
This is a link to "Till they Dropped", available on Kindle:

the Kindle app can be downloaded free to mobiles or pc:

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

What are we most looking forward to in the restored earthly Paradise?

That was one of the questions we thought about at the end of our Watchtower study on Sunday.   And I think, first and foremost for most of us, it was the resurrection, or the re-creation, when those we love are woken from the dreamless sleep of death.

And it will also be wonderful to be alive again. All of us are dying from the moment we are born, so do we really know what its like to be alive?

Lunched with Captain Butterfly - a leftover lunch really, not a Sunday roast - and then he was called out on a Search and Rescue.  I made him up a hasty packed supper, but I have done nothing, just dozed in front of the telly.    But I have had a lovely long Skype chat with Anne of the Cape.

We had supper at Jack's on Saturday. She provided Thai curry, rice, salad, and Eton Mess (with yoghurt, not cream, on account of my arthritis).  And, at last, there is good news of Tom.

Routine blood test at doctor's on Friday.. and then I did a mountain of butterfly paperwork which flew itself through the letterbox that morning.

And here is something else I am looking forward to when the earth is restored to Paradise - being able to look after the butterflies properly - with minimal paperwork.

Monday, 10 August 2015


My first novel  - or rather novella - is out - thanks to Fantastic Books.  It is the Kindle edition - the paper one will be coming later.
click to view

Saturday, 8 August 2015

The Walnut Tree

Walnut Tree, Juglans regia
Bob, Judy, the Captain and me had a day out at Bosham Harbour on Wednesday. The tide was way out when we arrived, and had surged back with a vengeance after lunch (in The Blue Anchor, Bob's treat, very nice too).  People were beginning to move their cars out of the way. It is a village with very high thresholds.

We went to the church and looked at the spot that is supposed to mark the grave of King Canute's little daughter, who died there many centuries ago.
Walnut fruit
We found a walnut tree.   None of us had ever seen one before and were puzzled as to what it was.  I suppose every squirrel on the South Coast will be keeping a close eye on it.

Jackie joined us for supper - lasagne (Cooks), salad, garlic bread, and ice-cream.  And our visitors left on Thursday morning.

Jean and I were out on the work this morning. We finished our assigned territory and had some good calls.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Elizabethan Serenade

Listening to Elizabethan Serenade by Ron Goodwin while looking out over a calm grey English Channel from our retirement flat fills me full of strange feelings - an Autumnal sadness mixed with the feeling of a Spring day.  Perhaps its the two ends of my life meeting?   The 1950s - a time of great hope for a brave new world, a time of youth and looking forward. But a vanished age, as distant from children of today as the Victorian Era was to us then.

If I ever become famous (and I am running out of time) and I am invited to go on Desert Island discs, then Elizabethan Serenade would be my first musical choice.    And I would end with this song from our Kingdom Songbook:

So I will begin and end on a note of hope.  Real hope, in the second case.

Cilla Black has just died.  In her home in Spain, apparently from natural causes.  She was only a few years older than us.  Will Jehovah call her from the dreamless sleep of death when the time comes?   If she is safe in "the everlasting arms" then, yes, nothing can stop it.

She was a part of our youth - of so many people's youth.  I remember her as the young singer, belting out the hits.  We, my mother and I, loved her look.   But her career lasted long beyond that, so she clearly had a good manager in her husband Bobbie.

Bob and Judy have just left for Arundel, having stayed with us a couple of days.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Thistles and Umbellifers

Brookfield Park was full of thistles and umbellifers (and butterflies) when the Captain and I went there on Saturday afternoon.   It was a hot, high summer day, but with a sudden feeling of Autumn in the air.   How quickly the years rush past.  

We saw the turtles basking by the side of the pond, and they saw us and craned their necks.  I got talking to a guy with tattoos and a friendly pit-bull sort of dog, and did try to give a little witness. But he didn't pick up on it.

Jean and I had a lovely morning out, after a tricky start. We were working at one end of a private estate - very upmarket, and absolutely no parking.  And fair enough, they all pay a lot to live there. We couldn't find anywhere near enough our assigned road that would allow us to park.  We parked up briefly and got out the map.  It didn't help.  Then I drove on and found the young bro and sister (and baby) we were working with and told them we couldn't join them on that road as there was nowhere near enough for us to park.

Its only because we have got so old. A few years ago, it would have been no problem for either of us to walk.

Then we drove on and found our Field Service conductor with his family.  We parked again, and he consulted his map and found us a road we could work AND park on.

But during all my stopping and starting there was a police car coming and going. Which was odd.  I even started to get a bit paranoid and hoped he wouldn't regard my brief stops as Parking.  He didn't.

Anyway, when we finally started work, rather later than usual, we not only finished our assignment, but had some very good calls.  And I even placed every last one of the July magazines, so I can now start afresh with the August ones.

The article on how to cope with stress placed itself..  People almost snatched it out of my hand.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Being Fed

Painted Jezebel, Delias hyparete
Thailand 1984
At the meeting Thursday night we went over all the recent studies we have had on effective ways to witness, how to get the truth to people - Christianity being called "the way of the truth".   And I was given a part in the Ministry School for September:

No. 2: Ehud —Theme: Jehovah Delivers His People.   I will be in the Main Hall, on the platform, and the point of counsel is No.32, which I must now go and look up.  Its: Expressed with Conviction.    My first thought about how to approach it is to be explaining to my householder what we can learn from studying the Hebrew Scriptures.

Captain Butterfly and I went for a long sunny walk along Ferring Rife yesterday morning - butterflies and dragonflies - came back for a soup lunch - and he then went on to Arundel and I shopped.  Lidl's.

Here is a poem I wrote about a beautiful Thai butterfly - one that Captain Butterfly (when he was just a caterpillar) photographed.  So he was already thinking in butterfly.  And I was wondering. Who made this lovely world?  Why is it so full of cruelty and injustice? Why is nature "red in tooth and claw?"  Why do we have such a short time to spend with the people we love?

I wondered if there was any meaning to it all.

I was a few years away from finding the answers, from talking to the two Jehovah's Witnesses who knocked on my door in my Northern hometown.

Clearly I already felt that there had to be a Creator, that all this complex beauty could not have just happened.  But my head was full of a jumbled jigsaw with many pieces missing, until that knock at the door.  And I am still learning and hope to go on learning for ever.   It is now, I believe, acknowledged by science that the human brain looks like it was designed to go on taking in knowledge endlessly.

Of course, Genesis has always told us that it was.  Our first parents would only die if they disobeyed and cut themselves off from their Creator, their Source of life.  They were designed to live forever.

When God Painted Thailand
by me

When God painted Thailand
He splashed on gold and red
Red and gold, against blue sky
As we walked up Sukhumvit Road
God's paint palette flew by.

The photo Col took is hanging in our kitchen now. I'll see if I can get him to add it to the blog.