Thursday, 29 December 2016

I like Scooter, and I like her tail...

... but which is best?

The question wasn't settled in the early hours of Wednesday, when Scooter and her tail fell out.  There was some tiny growling, the tail lashed about like a propeller, making Scooter even madder, then I must have gone back to sleep.    The trouble is when they do decide to settle the question by a FIGHT, it is always a painful draw.   Scooter bites her tail savagely and finds that the tail has an equally savage bite.

Its a bit like me and Geometry.  I could never get the hang of it.

Captain Butterfly was off chasing the Waxwing herds at Crosspool - and I am reasonably up to date with my studying - which has helped me no end.

Jen gave us all a lovely lunch - and Captain B fell on the ice!!!   Just what I have been terrified of, but he is OK, thank God.  

Jen's garden, like Bea's, is looking lovely even at this bleak time of year.  They both put a lot of thought, planning and hard work into their gardens, and it shows.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Across the Snake

We drove across the Snake Pass today to visit Bea.  And what a lovely day it was, cold, clear and sunny, with a numinous Winter light.

En route we looked for the tree with the Waxwings. This is Sheffield - trees galore - although apparently the local council has taken to chopping a lot of them down recently(?!) - but no problem identifying THE tree - a group of twitchers were twitching away underneath it.

Captain B and camera will be along there first thing tomorrow hoping that the birds are still there and that the light is still as lovely.

Great day at Bea's - and Simon and family and some in-laws came over to say hello and have a cup of coffee.

How many times in my life have I driven across the Snake?   I remember those drives from my early childhood, and here I am, still doing them.  And grateful to be here too.

Lovely sunset - and the Captain stopped at the Snake top and then in Ranmoor to try and capture it.

To Jen's tomorrow, picking up Kathyrn en route.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Foghorn Doris

I had the experience of hearing Doris see a squirrel this morning...   How to describe it?     I was reminded of that Dorothy L.Sayers book "The Nine Taylors", in which - spoiler alert! - someone is killed by noise.

Yes.   We did all survive. But it was touch and go.  And I hope there are no foxes or badgers in the garden, because I'm not sure we will make it through a larger mammal sighting.

Journey up yesterday was fine - no problems - and it was such a beautiful winter day.  Once again the layers upon layers of memory associated with my Northern hometown are so strange and powerful. Memories of my parents as young marrieds - of me and Captain Butterfly as young marrieds - of me hearing the truth here when I was nearly forty. And that is such a long time ago now.

We shopped this morning, including the turkey, and the Captain is off photographing - fungi and dippers.   I am sticking close to home - the horror of my fall last year being a powerful and troubling memory just at the moment.

I must note that I got postcards and have sent to:  Aunt Jo, Ursula, and Elizabeth.

Aunt Jo and Elizabeth are part of the memory tapestry of course. Aunt Jo as the glamorous visiting London aunt, and Elizabeth who I first met at school, when I was five.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

A Confusion of Jeans and Sues

We - Jean and me - really managed to get ourselves in a muddle today, what with missing keys, me having to do a 500 point turn to get out of Jean's carpark, and various other confusions  We kept asking Jehovah for help - and finally got out on a few calls.  Only three - but two were unexpected and we hope good.

One was a long term call of Jean's who she had more or less given up on (and it takes a lot for her to give up).  He rang and asked why he hadn't seen her for ages.  So we drove straight round there - well after all the key confusion - and found him in (loud music playing, lights on), but not answering the door. Which in many ways is why Jean had stopped calling. Anyway, Jean wrote him a little note and popped some information about the Kingdom through his letterbox.   We hope he was pleased and surprised to get it so soon after his call.

Then I did a couple of return visits - first one not at home, but the second, gleaned when I was working on the intercom in a big block of flats, actually opened the door.  Non-one has ever asked me into those flats before. The flat turned out to be right at the top - no lift - so after what felt like hours Jean and I made it to the door, rather breathless. And a very sweet and tattooed young mum took a magazine.  

The return visit next month is a bit daunting, but at least I can say it will be next year.

Then I had a call on the lady in the next block this afternoon. We had a long chat and she gave me some money for the magazines - which is nice of her - very few people do.  And we are always glad for donations, though we never ask, as we do finance ourselves, relying on Jehovah always.

Its funny how different the view of the Channel is from her flat - its more green and less busy than ours.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Tales from my Granny

My granny was quite a stern lady, quite Victorian, who presided over the childhood paradise of Nabbs Cottage.  My second thriller has what I hope will be a very scary scene set in the dark at the foot of the second staircase at Nabbs.

She was also an interesting lady - great golfer, great bridge player, great cook. And always kept the best sherry in for Occasions.  And I hope I amused and entertained the young pioneer sister I was out with Thursday afternoon with the story of what my granny wrote in my Autograph Book way back in the 1950s (when there was a craze for them among us convent schoolgirls).

She first drew a tombstone, then wrote this underneath.

Here lies the body of Andrew Jay
Who died maintaining his right of way
He was right, dead right, as he sped along
But he's just as dead now as if he'd been wrong.

I have to say I have never forgotten it.

Today was busy -  Rustington in the morning, Malcolm (hairdresser) in the afternoon - 3 loads of washing done, floors washed, lunch and supper made, including using up the rest of the cooking apples.    And the Butterfly paperwork arrived yesterday, so I am in the middle of doing it now.

Another health problem has loomed - will get the results of the tests on Wednesday. I plan to stay close to home tomorrow, so won't go the field service group, but hope to get out and do as many of my local calls as possible.



Tuesday, 13 December 2016

The Blue Lipstick Fish

Threespot Angelfish, Apolemichthys trimaculatus
Last night we - the Captain, Terry, Jacks, Butterfly Mark and myself - visited Bandos Island - in virtual space -as the Captain did the monthly presentation at the Arundel WWT supporters group:  "The Coral Reef Life of the Maldives".   The last few days have been devoted to preparing it, going over and over the slides.

It brought back the vivid beauty of the Indian Ocean, which is bursting with life. The colours, the shapes... and the Captain even brought up the point that the Mercedes-Benz Bionic car was based on the perfect aerodynamic design of a female Yellow Boxfish.

Jehovah's designs simply cannot be bettered, as he alone is the Grand Creator.

 I don't know if there is anyone who has photographed the marine life of the Maldives as intensely as the Captain has, and for so many years.  He took his party of divers to various islands there - usually to Bandos though - for more times than I can count..  I was on many of the trips, though not all.  One time I stayed behind and house sat for Chuck and Mary (on visitors visa, could not go with the divers).   I was looking after the precious Persian kittens, and that is when I had a strange dream that I was at a banquet, but as I raised the lovely food to my lips, it turned into barbed wire and prickled me.  I woke to find two tiny Persian kittens fighting on my forehead, digging their little claws in for purchase.

The supporters group provided us with home-made mince pies and mulled wine in the interval, so a lovely evening.

Friday, 9 December 2016

The More Things Change...

...the more they stay the same.

Here is Betty McDonald (the author of "The Egg and I") on the Depression of the 1930s:

Her employer’s business is clearly failing, but MacDonald feels she shouldn’t leave her boss, Mr. Chalmers, in the lurch. She intends to stay until the end. “And I did,” we read, “in spite of Mr. Chalmers’ telling me many times that the Depression was all my fault, the direct result of inferior people like me wearing silk stockings and thinking they were as good as people like him.” Again, this blame-the-victim language recalls some of the rhetoric of today’s subprime mortgage crisis.
http://www.seattletimes.com/pacific-nw-magazine/betty-macdonald-and-i/


We start on the Book of Isaiah once again in the mid week meetings this week.  One of my favourite books.  Full of some of the greatest poetry ever written - after all it was inspired by the Creator of language and poetry.   And with amazing prophecy - history written in advance

Under inspiration, Isaiah actually named Cyrus as the one who would free the Jews from Babylonian captivity.   This is from the Isaiah commentary, published by The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society:

"In Isaiah’s inspired restoration prophecy concerning Jerusalem and its temple, this Persian ruler had been named as the one appointed by Jehovah God to effect the overthrow of Babylon and the release of the Jews who would be exiled there. (Isa 44:26–45:7) Although this prophecy had been recorded well over one and a half centuries before Cyrus’ rise to power and though the desolation of Judah evidently took place before Cyrus was even born, still Jehovah declared that Cyrus would act as His “shepherd” on behalf of the Jewish people. (Isa 44:28; compare Ro 4:17.) By virtue of this advance appointment, Cyrus was called Jehovah’s “anointed one” (a form of the Hebrew ma·shiʹach, messiah, and the Greek khri·stosʹ, christ). (Isa 45:1) God’s ‘calling him by his name’ (Isa 45:4) at that early date does not imply that He gave Cyrus his name at birth, but means that Jehovah foreknew that such a man by that name would arise and that Jehovah’s call to him would be, not anonymous, but direct, specific, by name."


Monday, 5 December 2016

Running on empty, and Sands running out

So its Monday, and what did I do over the weekend?  Something, I hope...  Jean and I went to the Field Service Group on Saturday morning, and we did some first calls, and I took Jean to some of her route calls and return visits on the way back.    We went to Jackie's for supper - moussaka - and we laughed all evening.  So a good day.

Sunday...  I got to the meeting - the Hall is full again -  lovely talk, the truth gets clearer and clearer - Christianity being called "the way of the truth".

But then, apart from getting lunch and supper for me and the Captain, it seems I did nothing.  I fell asleep when I got back - and slept all night as well.   It feels like running on empty.  

On Friday I did make the fruitcake for the family.  Not a Christmas cake by the way - not even a Christmas cake recipe.  It is a great boil and bake fruitcake recipe from a Cranks cookery book Captain B bought me years ago. It is always popular - a very reliable recipe.   But making it, doing my study for Sunday, and the routine housework exhausted me.

If I were writing poems now what would I be writing about old age...?  

I think I will have to borrow the words of another poet, Stephen Knight:

SAND
Stephen Knight

Sand is at the door.
Its progress through the keyhole slow:
I raise both hands to hold it back before

Sand inches, grain by grain, along the hallway floor:
Among the slippers, dunes begin to grow:
Sand is at the door

Of every cupboard, every drawer
Brims, postcards on the mantelpiece no longer show:
I raise both hands to hold it back before

My deepest rooms become extensions of the shore:
Now, where the goldfish used to come and go
Sand is: at the door,

In books, on pillows, more, and more
Sand pours towards me: with one, whispered 'no'
I raise both hands to hold it back before

My waist, my chest, my neck, my jaw
And mouth succumb to sand, its undertow...
Sand is at the door...
I raise both hands to hold it back before

Friday, 2 December 2016

The Blob

Scarlet Berry Truffle, Paurocotylis pila
I seem to remember a terrifying sci-fi movie I saw as a child in which a Gigantic Blob from Space landed, and it doubled in size every hour or so and was set to swallow up the whole world until someone like Steve McQueen came along and saved us.  I was terrified.

Well Captain Butterfly has found one!!    Doomed,  We are all doomed.    However, before I start running round like a headless chicken, I must remember that Jehovah's promise outweighs any blobbery, and in fact we are on the brink of a most wonderful rescue.

In harmony with that, I was out on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, knocking on doors, trying to tell people about the incoming Kingdom of God. And we visited Maggie on Wednesday, me, Jean and Jennifer. She is so frail now.

The meeting last night was wonderful, of course, but I have never seen so many empty seats in the Kingdom Hall.  I hope there is not another nasty cold/flu thing going round.

Surely it can't be The Blob at work already?!



Monday, 28 November 2016

Earthstar

Sessile Earthstar, Geastrum fimbriatum
Got back from the lovely meeting at the Kingdom Hall yesterday expecting to find Captain Butterfly at home waiting for his lunch.  Instead I came back to a silent flat, with a mysterious note on my computer:  "Mark rang. We've gone to find an Earthstar."

Had they been kidnapped by aliens?    In the  meantime, I thought, well, as I have no meal to get, I had better get myself out on the preaching work.  I have been trying to find a young borne-again girl we had a great talk with.  I have tried, but not found her at home.  Plus there are still some magazine route calls for November to do.  So after a quick lunch (bean and celeriac salad) I set off nervously. She lives in an area that I find difficult to drive to.

When I got back I did manage to contact the Captain, and he had found his earthstar!   On hearing of my heroic solo drive, over two rather large roundabouts, he suggested that I write one of the adventure books I am so keen on reading.   "I drove to Angmering!!"    Is there a Hollywood blockbuster in this?

The talk yesterday was to remind us how vital it is that we really are making Jehovah our refuge.  And it started with a vivid illustration.  It was of a man swept away by a powerful river.  He finds a rock jutting out of the river, manages to grab it, and angle himself on it so that it protects him from the strong current.

A few metres downstream is the Niagara Falls!

So, how desperately would you cling to that rock in those circumstances.  

As I said, it was a vivid illustration. Shudder.

He then asked us to read and think about these two Bible verses.

Firstly, 2 Samuel 22:3, which says:   "My God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, My shield and my horn of salvation, my secure refuge And my place to flee, my savior; you who save me from violence."

Jehovah is our rock. Are we clinging to Him - and to no-one or nothing else?    Some people cling to money, to political power, or maybe put their faith in the right career, or a brilliant education.  But what is going to happen?   Are they rocks we can safely cling to?

We then read Nahum 1:6, which says:    "Who can stand before his indignation? And who can withstand the heat of his anger? His wrath will be poured out like fire, And the rocks will be shattered because of him."

All the rocks will be shattered.  They will prove to be false gods. We need to cling to Jehovah the true God, to give him exclusive devotion. And the talk was how we can do this, in all the areas of our life.


Jackie came to supper on Saturday. And I did cook this time - not Cooks.  Cottage pie, cauliflower cheese and carrots, followed by apple-crumble and a cheeseboard.

The leftovers took care of supper yesterday and will do for supper tonight.  It all turned out well, thank goodness, as we are still eating it.




Friday, 25 November 2016

A Collective Noun of Visitors and an Arthritis Flare Up

What would be the correct collective noun when a whole load of sisters turn up at the same bedside (Maggie is bedbound now)?      Jean and I always try to go Wednesday afternoon, but this Wednesday was complicated by Jean's leaving her phone off the hook.  I always phone her before I pick her up so we can meet in the carpark, as her flat is very difficult not to say impossible to park in.   Anyway, she rang me and it turns out she was at Jennifer's.

Captain Butterfly drove me over to Maggie - I am in the middle of an arthritis flare-up, left leg. I was back on my zimmer frame on Tuesday. The pain.   Oh joy.  I was hobbling slowly about on a stick by then, but not able to drive.   So the Captain kindly came to the rescue, dropped me at the Clinic where I joined Jean and Jennifer - and after about 20 minutes Cathy and Carol joined us!  So we were a crowd - a little flock? - and Maggie enjoyed all the company and the chattering.

The Captain meanwhile was off hunting fungi - in the churchyard just down the road.  He picked us up later and drove us both home. He is a gallant chauffeur.   I asked him if he found a more upmarket sort of fungus as we were in the posh part of town.  Any of those fancy Japanese ones we are all supposed to be cooking with nowadays?

Not that we pick and eat wild mushrooms!  Even experts can make lethal mistakes.  IF we are both on the earth when Paradise is restored - its an "undeserved kindness" so there is hope - then we shall have unnumbered Autumns in which to gather mushrooms from field and woodland.  No churchyards when the whole earth is the Paradise it was always meant to be - as "death will be no more".

Revelation 21:3-5 says:  "With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his people. And God himself will be with them.  And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”  And the One seated on the throne said: “Look! I am making all things new.” Also he says: “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”"

Faithful and true.

Not one of Jehovah's promises has ever failed - or ever will fail.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Butterfly Business

BC Sussex Chairman, Nigel Symington
Saturday was the AGM of the Sussex Branch of Butterfly Conservation. Always a good day out for the Captain and me.    Nigel dealt quickly and efficiently with the necessary business and then we settled down to hear two excellent speakers - Neil Hulme  - and Adrian Thomas.  Both are passionate and knowledgeable about their subject and know how to enthuse others.
Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Boloria selene, Park Corner Heath 2011
Neil spoke about the loss to Sussex of the Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary, and of the efforts being made to save the Pearl Bordered, which is right on the brink.
http://butterfly-conservation.org/48-8765/help-save-sussex-pearls.html
Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Boloria euphrosyne, Rewell Wood 2013
And Adrian talked about the vast resource that our gardens can be for wildlife - and pointed out that a wild garden does not have to be wild, as such.
http://www.rspb.org.uk/community/wildlife/homesforwildlife/b/gardeningforwildlife/default.aspx

In between the talks we had tea and cakes - lovely cakes - I provided a fruit cake and it all went.  I was able to take an empty plate home with me.

And Jamie Burston was there with his amazing artwork.  He kindly donated one as a raffle prize.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/jamieburston/

Captain B donated a copy of his 2017 Calendar.

There was no meeting Sunday as it was the Assembly at Haysbridge on Saturday, to which I did not get...  Feel guilty about it, but I do always go with Captain B to the Butterfly AGM.  But I did get to the Field Service meeting that had been arranged instead.  I worked with another Sue and we did an hour and a half, and covered our assigned territory.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

What Were the Wild Waves Saying?

Fantastic seas, as it was a wild and stormy day on Thursday, with a brief sunny interlude at lunchtime. Jean and I had planned to go out on the work after lunch - Mick had given us some not-at-homes - but the weather prevented it.

I did go out briefly Friday morning before I was driven back by the rain. And managed to do a couple of calls this afternoon.  But I had hoped to get more done.    Feel so tired.  My usual cry these days.

Just got the bad news from Pen that Janet, who made the beautiful wedding cake for the Lilac Tree wedding, is very very ill.  She is such a lovely lady.

The media is still full of the American elections, but I suppose it will calm down after a while. And Jehovah's wonderful purposes towards the earth go on regardless of election results.

But I am reminded of a Hilaire Belloc poem - or should that be "an" Hilaire Belloc poem? - which goes like this:

The accursed power that stands on Privilege,
(And goes with Women, and Champagne, and Bridge)
 Broke - and Democracy resumed her reign:
 (Which goes with Bridge, and Women and Champagne).


Perhaps the wild waves were saying that this time it will be different... but who knows?   The important thing is that every day brings us nearer to the moment that Jehovah will act to "bring to ruin those ruining the earth". And that is what everyone needs to know.  Urgently. Please don't let politics distract you. We are all in "the valley of decision". And maybe that is what the waves would tell us, if they could.




Wednesday, 16 November 2016

The Clever Children

This is a poem I have loved for a long time. I am a 1950s child - a child of the Nuclear Age and the Cuba Missile Crisis.


The Clever Children
by Philip Gross

"The chicken or the egg?"
                                    Their father
teased them on their way to bed
They lay awake for hours, those clever
children.  Then one little egghead said,

"Inside the shell the embryonic hen
has got all her cells in her, even the cell
of her egg, within which... So on, in, on
in time to the smallest conceivable."  Well,

now they couldn't sleep. They had to see
the ultimate egg, the egg of the future. On the way
how many breakages, unwanted omelettes, casually
discarded chickens?  At last, there it lay,

so tiny, so precious, so shimmeringly slight
it made them feel tremendous, like a pride
of giants. Now to sleep, but... "Wait!"
said one (yes), "What's inside?"

So they split it. What hatched out?
"Quick," they hollered, "put it back again."
But those clever children couldn't, not
with all the king's horses, all the king's men.


And this is from a wonderful Ted Hughes parody by Wendy Cope:

  Budgie Finds His Voice
     From The Life and Songs of the Budgie
               by Jake Strugnell
     ...When the sun was lifted away
      Like an orange lifted from a fruit-bowl
     And darkness, blacker
     Than an oil-slick,
     Covered everything forever
     And the last ear left on earth
     Lay on the beach,
     Deaf as a shell
     And the land froze
     And the seas froze
     ’Who’s a pretty boy then?’ Budgie cried.

We went to the Fortieth Anniversary of the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme on Saturday.  It was a rainy drive up there - to Wallingford, near Oxford.  We passed a road called Jethro Tull Gardens. So, by using all my feminine intuition and with both brain cells at full stretch, I deduce that Jethro Tull must be a local lad.  And it was a tiring drive back for Captain B.  But it was worth it.  Very well organised, and encouraging for all the Recorders.  But quite technical.

What I gleaned from it is that Butterflies can be the canary in the mine; observing carefully what is happening on PlanetButterfly can give a timely warning about what is going wrong. And as they are so pretty and iconic, it is easier to raise awareness through them.

There was an interesting observation about the way it seems some new(ish) pesticide is changing the behaviour of a certain type of caterpillar.   So what else might it be doing?

It did underline the power of the Bible's warning that "it does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step".  Which brings me back to the Philip Gross poem I started with.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

From The Spectator

Delighted to find this in the Books of the Year review, in my current Speccie.

A.N.Wilson chose Michael Denton's Evolution:Still a Theory in Crisis.  Apparently its a sequel to his Evolution:A Theory in Crisis, and A.N.Wilson says:

"This takes us up to date with the dazzling developments of life scientists over the last 30 years. Denton is a sceptic about Darwin's theory of evolution on purely scientific grounds.  It is hard to see how anyone reading his book could not be persuaded. Palaeontology provides abundance evidence of evolution within species, but none of one species morphing into another. Denton is fascinatingly clear in his exposition of the science of genetics, and how it destroys the Darwinian position, A truly great book."


So happy to read this, as this is what we are trying and trying to tell people.  Science supports the Genesis view of creation, not the Darwinian theory of evolution.   And there are immense implications if Genesis is the true story of us.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Two poems. "Lament" by Zbigniew Herbert and "Visitation" by Robert Roberts

I happened to get out my Poetry folder - not poems written by me, but poems i have found down the years and wanted to keep.  And I thought how these two poems, both of which I love, connect.


LAMENT
To the memory of my mother
by Zbigniew Herbert

And now she has over her head brown clouds of roots
a slim lily of salt on the temples beads of sand
while she sails on the bottom of a boat through foaming nebulas

a mile beyond us where the river turns
visible-invisible as the light on a wave
truly she isn't different - abandoned like all of us.


So beautiful and sad it makes me want to cry.   But how I would have wanted to assure the poet that we are not abandoned.


Which leads me to the second poem.


VISITATION
by Robert Roberts

We walked out in high winds today
Through Harpford Woods, March daffodils
All knocked about and trees asway
Like masts at sea and stormswept hills.

Like ocean rollers all around
And underfoot the March-dry road
All iron ruts and underground
Or overhead a jealous god.

Out of an old old covenant
The awe and anger now no more
Troublesome than a gale's half-spent
And out of date bad-tempered roar.

Outside our house we found a man
Black briefcase, grey suit, well brushed hair.
He smiled. He was no other than
Jehovah's Witness waiting there.


We are not abandoned.  In every country, in every island group, Jehovah sends his Witnesses to tell people the good news of the incoming Kingdom of God.  He is not an angry God, he is a caring God, who is love. And he wants every one of us to have "the glorious freedom of the children of God" in the restored earthly Paradise.

But it is up to each one of us. He will not force anyone.  Jehovah respects the free will he gave us.

I was just doing my Workbook study for tomorrow and thought I would like to add this extract from our current Watchtower magazine:
Though Jehovah is the Supreme One, he invites us to approach him in prayer and assures us that he listens to us. (Psalm 65:2) God loves and cares for us so much that the apostle John could truthfully write: “God is love.”1 John 4:8.

https://www.jw.org/en/publications/magazines/watchtower-no6-2016-november/visions-of-heaven/


And I hope so much that Zbigniew Herbert and his mother will meet in the resurrection - waking on an earth truly at peace, an earth ruled by the law of loving-kindness. I hope both poets will be there. I hope we all will be.

Jean and I visit Maggie this afternoon, and I am taking her over a fan, as she said she would like one like mine. Captain Butterfly had kindly ordered me 3 via the internet, so no problem.

Monday, 7 November 2016

A Talk Coming Up

Was handed my next talk at the Hall on Thursday - and can't do it.  This time I was going to be doing the Bible Study - 6 minutes or less - having graduated through Initial Call - 2 minutes or less - and Return Visit - 4 minutes or less.

My material was:

10 “The early Christians,” notes The World Book Encyclopedia, “considered the celebration of anyone’s birth to be a pagan custom.” The ancient Greeks, for instance, believed that each person had a protective spirit that attended the person’s birth and thereafter watched over him. That spirit “had a mystic relation with the god on whose birthday the individual was born,” says the book The Lore of Birthdays. Birthdays also have a long-standing and an intimate link with astrology and the horoscope.

And I won't be able do it, as we will be 'oop North that week.  Captain B likes to go, and it is of course a family get together, which is how I try to view it.  I try to stay out of the Christmas stuff as much as possible as that is another holiday with pagan roots - well its rooted in paganism in fact. Look at the way its celebrated.

But I would be very happy to visit the family another time, and spend the 25th in the way we did a few years ago when I was between operations and couldn't travel.  We spent the day at the Lagoon watching the flotilla of newly arrived Merganser ducks, and having a sandwich lunch in the car.  It was a lovely day, with a lovely numinous light - dark clouds holding off like curtains round the wintry brightness of the lagoon.   As it the Merganser ducks were on stage.

It was Audrey's Memorial Service at the Hall on Wednesday, and afterwards Jean and I visited Maggie. She knew were were coming,- and knew us when we arrived,

And we had supper at Jackie's on Saturday night - one of her famous lamb roasts. We all agreed that its good to be back in our old routine.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Holly Parachutes

Holly Parachutes, Marasmius hudsonii, growing on holly leaf
These little fungi are so tiny you would never notice them if you were not on the hunt for fungi to photograph.  Captain B and Mark found them yesterday.
Holly Parachute
It was the big bonfire on The Green on Saturday night, along with the usual spectacular firework display.    Jackie came, and so did John and Linda.   I provided sausages, garlic bread, salad, pizza, samosas, a cheeseboard, and carrot cake and ice-cream.

We all had a good time (I hope).

It is the Memorial Service for Audrey at the Kingdom Hall today and I will be taking Jean and then we will go and visit Maggie.

I am busy with my edits for "Small Island".  Fantastic Books have done a great job of editing - I agree with all the changes they want me to make, apart from wanting to keep the "dalek lights" and someone being (metaphorically) "in stasis".

Yesterday was an at home day for me.  I did a couple of loads of washing, washed the floors, and made a veggie stew and an apple crumble for supper.

Friday, 28 October 2016

The March of the Toadstools

Sulphur Tuft, Hypholoma fasciculare
Picked up Jean on Wednesday, and we visited Maggie. She is definitely a bit brighter. I think they have got her eating properly, which is making a difference.   It was another beautiful Autumn afternoon.  Took Jean to the Opticians afterwards to get her new glasses.

It was foggy yesterday morning - the Channel and the Green took a while to appear again.  The Captain and Butterfly Mark were off chasing the fungi hordes - and I went out with one of the young pioneers in the afternoon.  I still haven't got back to the Field Service groups, except for Saturday. Oddly, this cold seems worse in the morning, I am hoarse and coughy.  Maybe next week.

But I did manage to get out Tuesday afternoon and move my magazine route along a bit...   had two very nice conversations with 2 ladies I have been calling on for ages.

The big bonfire has been built, ready for Saturday night, and the fairground attractions are arriving.   Jacks is coming over - first time we have seen her for ages! - and also John and Linda.  To watch the fireworks.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

A Family Saturday

Linda and Rob came for lunch yesterday - and told us they are now engaged!  Which is wonderful.They are in the process of house buying and  looking forward to their new garden. Then Cousin Linda rang and she, and her daughter in law, and the shiny new granddaughter arrived.

We had a lovely day together - like old times when we used to meet up regularly at the houses of the twins.

Lunch was lasagne, salad, and garlic bread, followed by ice-cream.  And tea and biscuits for the later arrivals.

Time moves along...   new perspectives all the time. Once again I wonder what it will be like looking back from the perspective of a thousand years... and that first thousand years will be a momentous one.  It will see the resurrection of the dead - both "the righteous and the unrighteous".

I hope we are all there to see it.

The meeting this morning was so encouraging - and this week I hope to re-start my working with the young pioneer sisters.   I had a routine of field service before my accident - nearly a year ago now - and am only just beginning to re-establish it.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Not Going Out

We were supposed to be going out tonight.  To a Murray Downland Trust talk.  The sort of occasion we don't usually miss. But... the Captain was off early to do his conservation work for the Trust, and I set off early for Waitrose.  I need to get a particular space in the carpark where I can't be blocked in. My knees are not very flexible now and if someone parks close to my driver's door I can't get back in the door.

One of the unexpected things about getting old is having to make innumerable calculations of this sort.

Anyway. I shopped.  Lugged the bags slowly and painfully up the stairs - our lifts are out for a few days - awaiting a new thingummybob - and cooked a chicken so we can have chicken salad for the next couple of days. After lunch I rang Jean, picked her up, visited Maggie, stayed about an hour and a half, she seems very well all things considered - dropped Jean back home - toiled back up the liftless stairs - collapsed on sofa - Captain B arrives and says he has decided we are not going out tonight. He can't face any more driving.

I was so happy!   I feel terminally tired and a quiet night in in front of The Great British Bake-off is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Toadstool Autumn

Fly Agaric, Amanita muscaria
Col and Mark were out today looking for, and finding, some amazing fungi, such as this splendid Fly Agaric.   I was at the meeting - ran Jean home afterwards - did a quick shop - and made a carrot cake.   Col and Mark have been getting through a lot of cake recently.
Fly Agarics
Yesterday the Team of Jean and Sue rode out from Micah's.  It was quite a way to the territory, and what with me driving, Jean map reading, our poor old eyes, and just the one brain cell between us, we drove clear through our territory and found ourselves on one of those fast roads that was probably trying to take us to Brighton.

"There has to be a roundabout at some stage", I bleated to Jean as she despaired over the map.   And there was and I got round about it, and we tried again - this time arriving successfully at the territory. Most people were not at home, but we had two very interesting calls.

At one door we found a young girl who had just become a "born again Christian", and she had some questions to ask us.

She asked why we didn't believe Jesus died on a cross.  And we explained that, if you look at the original text of the Christian Greek Scriptures in an interlinear Bible, you will find that the Greek word rendered “cross” in many modern Bible versions is stau·rosʹ. In classical Greek, this word meant merely an upright stake, or pale.

So we understand that Jesus was executed on a stake, a single piece of wood.

Right at the last minute I had put my Reasoning book into my bag, thank God.  And so I read her a quote or two from it.

For example:
The book The Non-Christian Cross, by J. D. Parsons (London, 1896), says: “There is not a single sentence in any of the numerous writings forming the New Testament, which, in the original Greek, bears even indirect evidence to the effect that the stauros used in the case of Jesus was other than an ordinary stauros; much less to the effect that it consisted, not of one piece of timber, but of two pieces nailed together in the form of a cross. . . . It is not a little misleading upon the part of our teachers to translate the word stauros as ‘cross’ when rendering the Greek documents of the Church into our native tongue, and to support that action by putting ‘cross’ in our lexicons as the meaning of stauros without carefully explaining that that was at any rate not the primary meaning of the word in the days of the Apostles, did not become its primary signification till long afterwards, and became so then, if at all, only because, despite the absence of corroborative evidence, it was for some reason or other assumed that the particular stauros upon which Jesus was executed had that particular shape.”—Pp. 23, 24; see also The Companion Bible (London, 1885), Appendix No. 162.

I then said that when this was explained to me, I wondered why it mattered, whether it was a cross, or a stauros - a single piece of wood - as the Bible describes - but then I began to think of all the things that have been done under the banner of the cross...

She really did stop and think about that.   We had a long conversation and plan to call back.

We didn't see Jacks on Saturday sadly. We all decided to cancel because of this wretched cold I have.  We remember what happened this time last year when we all got colds.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

A Visit from Dr.Who?

As I was making Captain Butterfly's sandwiches the other morning, he was busy making himself a flask of nice hot tea, so Autumn is well underway, and Winter is coming.  No problem. I love all the seasons. Its just how quickly they come and go these days.

Nute and Pen had a more difficult journey back than they had coming here, but they got back safely which is all that counts. Another thing about getting older is how fragile everyone and everything feels - how uncertain.

Jackie is back. Hurray!   We plan to see her on Saturday night for supper, IF I am ok. Don't want to share my cold around.  And Dan, my young publisher, has made it safely back from the States where he had a great time and did some networking.  And Jane came round yesterday morning to practise our talk for tonight -   I have asked Captain B to get me some throat lozenges...  hope I will get through it.

We were not able to visit Maggie as I dare not take my cold along there. She is so frail. And this involves so much coughing.

The Captain has just supervised my fortnightly arthritis jab.  "Get on with it!  Don't be such a wimp!" Its quite painful - but necessary.  I am hoping that Dr.Who's Tardis time machine never turns up in our flat, or the Captain might be tempted to hitch a lift back to Newcastle Uni in the Sixties and make a different and arthritis-free marital choice.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

The Sisters' Visit - and a Cold

River Arun from footbridge
We are having a Writer's Weekend -

http://www.danutareah.co.uk/
http://pennygrubb.blogspot.co.uk/

 - hampered by my having gone down with a terrible cold - out of nowhere and overwhelming.  I haven't had a cold for ages.
Still we did manage an outing yesterday - a long leisurely lunch at the Arun View and a walk back along the river.  We were all tired afterwards and went to bed early.  We are older and it shows.

There are so many layers of memory going back for us. What must it be like when you have hundreds of years behind you?  And thousands?  Well, I hope we will be in the restored earthly Paradise to find out.

Anyway, my edits for Small Island are done - plus I have picked up on a couple of small but important changes I feel that I need to make and am running them past my siblings.  Fantastic Books editor has done an excellent job.  For example she has removed an exclamation mark which makes the sentence preceding it so much more powerful.

Captain Butterfly left early on his marshalling duties - earning money for SUSSAR - but he made us all breakfast before he left.

We will be making him roast chicken and veggies for this evening, and probably baked apple and custard to go with it.

Friday, 7 October 2016

The Circuit Overseer's Visit

The C.O is visiting our congregation this week, and he gave us our first talk on Tuesday.  I am going to try and make some sense of my notes from the excellent first talk he gave us.

I hope I will make it to the talk on Sunday... but my sisters are coming down for a writers weekend and I rarely see them, so it will depend perhaps on if they want to come to the Hall with me or not.

The team of Cathy and Sue rode out twice this week - on the door to door preaching work - with some interesting results.

Cathy found a young man just leaving for work - his father was giving him a lift and pulled up in his car as we arrived on the doorstep. So it was a very brief call. But enough for Cathy to find out that this young lad was very worried about what was happening in the world, and he gladly accepted some literature that pointed him to our excellent website:  https://www.jw.org/en/

She also spoke to another younger lad.  I couldn't see his face as I was standing at the bottom of the steps, but his body language was very teenagery and Keviny.  But he took the literature. And Cathy said that as she spoke to him, his eyes filled with tears.  He is deeply distressed about something. And Jehovah is "the God of all comfort", so we hope he will find that out.  She will call back on both.

And I am trying to find a few of the people I was talking to before my fall (shudder... the horror of which still haunts me and makes me want to stay at home in a box of cotton wool - it is thanks to Jehovah that I am out and about again) - where was I?  Yes, a couple we had a long talk with, back in June 15!   Never managed to find them again - and then had this terrible fall...  Anyway, I thought probably some of my siblings have talked to them since, but nevertheless I felt I ought to try myself.  They were not in.  But, because I was in their road, I called at a house I left a tract at back in June last year. I had managed to find them in one more time and left a magazine, but we had never really talked. The tract I think I had left with the mother, the magazine with the young daughter.

I only knocked at the door because we were walking past the house. Young girl opened door. Very pleased to see us, Took two magazines, one for her, one for her sister. This was on Wednesday. They said they planned to come to the meeting on Thursday night!    So we were able to tell them that this week the meeting was on Tuesday - because of the C.O. visit - but that they could come on Sunday. And we left them the meeting times.

This is another reason I would love to be there on Sunday, to see if they do come.

It was an effort for both Cathy and me to get out. Neither of us is young, neither of us is well. But how glad we are we did.  We feel we have been useful to Jehovah this week.  A small small thank you for all he does for us.


Saturday, 1 October 2016

Last Minute-ing

What with everything that has been going on this month and general tiredness...   I spent yesterday rushing frantically around trying to get my last few magazine route calls finished.  I have done them all bar 3.  I have an appointment to have tea and a chat with Sue this afternoon, and Col is taking me to the last 2 which are just beyond my driving comfort zone (due to shoulder and arm pain). We might go after we have taken Jerry round his supper - which will be leek and potato soup. It may depend on the weather.  It is alternating between torrential downpours and bright sunshine, with lovely blue skies at the moment.

Flu jabs done this morning - and the internet is terrifying me with tales of what is actually in them. What to do? But Captain B has made up my mind for me, thank goodness. We are having them. Full stop.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Borrowing Arundel Castle

Gale arrives today, en route to her Conference.  She was such a good friend in my Uni years.  And she is the success story of our group - being big in the world of Anglo-Saxon Studies to this day.  I was tempted to ask the Duke of Norfolk if he would mind moving out of his castle and loaning it to us for the night - "just our little place in the country". However, sanity prevailed. And we do have a lovely sea view, and a spare room, and what more does anyone need?


There was such an interesting article posted on facebook yesterday, about the current state of politics, which took me right back to what the Bible told us about the march of the world powers more than two thousand years ago.  And here it is, the situation as described in the King's visionary dream.  We are living in it right now.

The article that caught my eye said, in part:

"Obama’s handler Zbigniew Brzezinski, a big-time New World Order globalist insider, put the matter rather bluntly by asserting that it was now harder to control, but easier to kill, a million people.
Specifically, he said that “new and old powers face” an unprecedented situation; the “lethality of their power is greater than ever”, but, sadly for the NWO globalists, their “capacity to impose control over the politically awakened masses of the world is at a historical low.”  
http://anonhq.com/73798-2/?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=socialnetwork


This is a surprisingly straightforward statement of "the problem" - government with such immense and lethal power in its hands, but less control over the masses than ever before  

Thank goodness a rescue is on the way!

This is how Daniel described the visionary dream the King of Babylon had that troubled him so  much.   Daniel 2:31-33: “You, O king, were watching, and you saw an immense image. That image, which was huge and extremely bright, was standing in front of you, and its appearance was terrifying.  The head of that image was of fine gold, its chest and its arms were of silver, its abdomen and its thighs were of copper,  its legs were of iron, and its feet were partly of iron and partly of clay.

Daniel's inspired interpretation of this dream tells us that it is about the march of the world powers, and it tells us where we are in the stream of time, with relation to the coming rescue. We live in the time of the iron mixed with clay.   And Daniel 2:41-43, the dream is explained:  “And just as you saw the feet and the toes to be partly of clay of a potter and partly of iron, the kingdom will be divided, but some of the hardness of iron will be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with soft clay.  And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom will be partly strong and partly fragile.  Just as you saw iron mixed with soft clay, they will be mixed with the people; but they will not stick together, one to the other, just as iron does not mix with clay."


And the Commentary on Daniel says this:

"Now that we are in “the time of the end,” we have reached the feet of the image. Some of the governments pictured by the image’s feet and toes of iron mixed with clay are ironlike—authoritarian or tyrannical. Others are claylike. In what way? Daniel associated the clay with “the offspring of mankind.” (Daniel 2:43) Despite the fragile nature of clay, of which the offspring of mankind are made, traditional ironlike rulerships have been obliged to listen more and more to the common people, who want their say in the governments ruling over them. (Job 10:9) But there is no sticking together of authoritarian rule and the common people—no more than there could be a uniting of iron with clay. At the time of the image’s demise, the world will indeed be politically fragmented!
Will the divided condition of the feet and toes cause the entire image to collapse? What will happen to the image?"

"Pay Attention to Daniel's Prophecy", published by The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 2006A

And that brings me back to the comment in this article, that  "the lethality of their power is greater than ever”, but, sadly for the NWO globalists, their “capacity to impose control over the politically awakened masses of the world is at a historical low.”  

Surely exactly as pictured in Daniel?     And, if you read on, you will see that means that the rescue we pray for when we say the Lord's prayer is so close now.

Daniel 2:44, 45 tells us what is about to happen:   “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed. And this kingdom will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it alone will stand forever,  just as you saw that out of the mountain a stone was cut not by hands, and that it crushed the iron, the copper, the clay, the silver, and the gold. The Grand God has made known to the king what will happen in the future. The dream is true, and its interpretation is trustworthy.”

Note that the Kingdom of God, which crushes and puts an end to all human rulership, is "cut not by hands".  It is not a human government, but a heavenly one.


Friday, 23 September 2016

Toppling into Autumn

When we were in Devon we were surrounded by the lushness of Summer, just at that moment before it topples into Autumn.  It could not get any lusher, so it had to fall into Fall.

And, when we went to Arundel a few days ago, it was clearly Autumn, even though I don't think Autumn officially arrived till yesterday.    I love all the seasons, and I love the idea that when Adam first opened his eyes it was in an Autumn garden.  We think that is so, as that is where the Jewish year begins.  But every year goes faster.  And we are now approaching the Winter of our lives.

Not that Captain B has been brooding about that. He is off out trying to get more shots of the Red-Backed Shrike.   See the Captain's Log.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

The Arctic in Arundel

Jacks invited us round for supper on Saturday. Hurray!   A lovely evening, as always.  We had Moroccan chicken, new potatoes and broccoli, followed by creme caramel.

Then suddenly Summer vanished and the Wetland Trust began its season of monthly talks.  So the Arundel Four: the Captain, Jacks, Terry and me went to the talk at the Centre on Monday night.

The speaker was Ian Rumley Dawson on "Arctic Svalbard".   A fascinating part of the world, and a part he clearly knows well. It ended with two amazing close up shots of polar bears - or maritime bears as they are apparently sometimes called.  So powerful - and you can see the intelligence in their faces.

The Captain and I had plans once to go to the Arctic on one of the Russian cruise ships, and see the polar bears.  But I can't go now.  I am so shaky on my feet, and IF I should fall and do myself some damage, it would be a nightmare for all concerned trying to get me to hospital.  Perhaps they would just leave me out on the ice for the bears?

So the talk at Arundel is about as near as I am going to get.

Today I picked up Jean and we spent the afternoon with Maggie. She seems a lot brighter - I think because they have got her eating again.


Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Lost Poems ; "The Year the Rice-Crop Failed" & "Dog Otter"




Ever since retirement I have been looking for these two poems. They were winners (if I remember it right) of the National Poetry Competition 2005.  I had the Poetry Society magazine which published them, but somehow it didn't make it back to the UK with me.

Wonderful poems.  Delighted to find them.

The Year the Rice-Crop Failed

by Melanie Drane


The year we married, rainy season lasted
so long the rice crop failed. People gave up
trying to stay dry; abandoned umbrellas
littered the streets like dead birds. One evening
that summer, a typhoon broke the waters
of the Imperial moat and sent orange carp flopping
through the streets around the train station,
under the feet of people trying to go home.
The stairs to the temple became impassable;
fish slid down them in a waterfall, heavy
and golden as yolks. That night, I woke you
when the walls of our home began to shake;
we held our breath while the earth tossed,
counted its pulse as though we could protect
what we’d thought would cradle us –
then the room went still and you moved away,
back into sleep like a slow swimmer,
your eyes and lips swollen tight with salt.
The next morning, a mackerel sky hung over Tokyo.
The newspaper confirmed the earthquake
started inside the sea. I watched you dress to leave,
herringbone suit, shirt white as winter, galoshes
that turned your shoes into small, slippery otters.
After you were gone, I heard hoarse and angry screams;
a flock of crows landed on the neighbor’s roof,
dark messengers of Heaven. Did they come to reassure,
to tell me we’d be safe, that we would find
our places no matter how absurd it seemed,
like the fish sailing through the streets,
uncertain, but moving swiftly?






Dog Otter

by Kevin Saving


He senses danger and is gone,
the water bulging in his wake.
You needn’t ever count upon
this sight again, and so should take
the memory and then move on?
You’ll never know what rendezvous he’ll break
with liquid arabesques – nor how he’ll trawl
fresh eddys, find new shoals to dredge.
His underwater playgrounds call
within him like a lover’s pledge.
He’ll wear the river like a shawl
in slicked–back freedom, near the water’s edge.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

The Earthworm has Landed

We arrived back home, yesterday, mid-afternoon.  A much much easier journey than the one going. It was a beautiful sunny day all the way, until we hit Bognor, when it rained a bit.

Roger has left our flat in apple-pie order and left food in the fridge and a box of excellent Belgian choccies by my chair.  We will broach them the next time Jackie is round, and eat a chocolate (or two) to Roger.

The Captain's alarm clock went off startling early this morning, as he is off on Detecting Business - helping to man their Stall at a Plough-in.  Perhaps I should say "person" their stall?  I don't want to have my blog closed down by the Thought Police.

So I had to get up early, as he has to help me get dressed.  Anyway, it meant I made an early start - shopping, washing, ironing etc.   Helen from downstairs called in to see if we have problems with our balcony.  Apparently the top flat has had their balcony power washed and she is wondering if the debris from it is what has landed all over her balcony. However, nothing on ours, so presumably not. Its all a bit of a mystery.

Butterfly Mark rang asking if I could help with a name for his Clouded Yellow blog.  We decided on Andrew Marvell's "The Garden" for inspiration - and here are two lovely photos of one of the loveliest of butterflies:

http://markcolvin.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/a-yellow-thought-in-purple-shade.html


Jackie has invited us to supper.  Hurray!

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Meeting a Real Legend

We were on the local beach on Monday and saw a couple of girls with baskets gathering seaweed and various things from the sea-shore.  That is just the sort of thing ffyona Campbell would be doing, i thought idly.

"What a graceful girl the tall one with the long hair is", I thought enviously. I am the exact opposite of graceful and the arthritic limbs have not improved the situation.  In fact, as the Captain has pointed out, I can make a bull in a china shop look quite dainty.

My thoughts continued (both brain cells at full stretch)   "She is as graceful as ffyona is in all her pictures". So, as we drew close. and  Col stopped to ask them what they were gleaning,  I blurted out "Are you ffyona Campbell?"

She was.  And we had a long talk.  Especially Captain Butterfly.  

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hunter-Gatherer-Way-Ffyona-Campbell-ebook/dp/B00B84BPJW


A wonderful encounter.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

The Butterfly Wall

We went for a walk in the early morning sunshine before Captain B tunnelled off to his earthwormery. And we found that the farm has a lovely bee and butterfly hedge of ivy.  It is abuzz with creatures

I saw the Beast again!!   It was being helped up a ramp into the back of a landroverish sort of vehicle by its kind person.    So it may just be an elderly arthritic labrador rather than the Hound of the Bittiscombes. And clearly there is no point in Captain B rushing off to buy the Tea Shop and Tea Towel concessions.

I do feel for the poor Beast, suffering from arthritis as I do myself.  I creak round this lovely cottage and garden, unable to tackle the steps to go back and see what is happening at the Butterfly wall and beyond, until the Gallant Captain appears to help me.

We are having a chicken pie from the tiny village shop tonight.  Not a farm shop sadly. With potatoes and carrots. And yoghurt/fruit/gingerbiscuits in any combination for afters.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

The Legendary Beast of Dittiscombe

Looking out of the tiny bedroom window of our lovely cottage - The Owlery - this morning I saw a large black creature in the tangle of green in the meadow rising above the cottage. It was either a large black lab out for a walk in the pouring rain with its gallant person, OR it was a rare sighting of the Legendary Beast of Dittiscombe (which I have just invented).

Lovely cottage - in classic Devon scenery. But it was a dreadful journey down - traffic hold ups all the way.

Captain B is off on an Earthworm Course today.

Friday, 9 September 2016

A Light Shining in a Dark Place

We were studying Psalm 119 at the meeting at the Kingdom Hall last night.   Among all its gems of wisdom, it contains these words:

"Your word is a lamp to my foot, And a light for my path."

Many years ago, Captain's Butterfly's Aunt Thelma gave him a Revised Standard Bible - and she had written those words on the flyleaf.  As I remember them, they were: "Your word is a lamp to my foot, and a light for my roadway".

I often thought about them.   At the time, I never considered the Bible to be the Inspired word of God, I wasn't even sure there was a God - or at least not one who cared about us.  I could see, vaguely, that there had to be Something, some First Cause.    But we were all to believe that Genesis was a "creation myth" back then.

It wasn't for many years that the beauty of an Autumn afternoon in my Northern hometown told me, as clearly as if it had spoken, of its Grand Creator.

But those words resonated - and stayed with me down the years,   The need for guidance in a dark dark place - I looked for it in many different places..  But I only found it when I began my Bible study with the Jehovah's Witnesses who knocked at my door all those years ago.

That twenty minute visit changed my life - immeasurably for the better.


The Roger is stranded in London at the moment still trying to get his papers done and dusted. The rule change seems to have caught everyone by surprise.   So he will be staying here while we are away, and will probably be here to welcome us back with a nice cup of tea - and to hear all about our adventures in the Cream Tea Cafes of Devon.


Wednesday, 7 September 2016

A Hot and Humid Afternoon

Maggie was very taken with my fan this afternoon.  The Nursing Home was so hot and it was a boiling afternoon. She likes the heat, so is fine with it - was even lying under a blanket!  She seems much brighter at the moment - was expecting me - and is still keeping up her daily diary.

We talked about the past.  Her husband and the children. And of course the Kingdom Hall. She always says how much she loved being there and seeing everybody. She and Don were always there, faithfully, week after week.

We decided she has some lovely memories to sustain her.

The Roger is absent at the moment - we don't know yet if he is coming back tonight or tomorrow - or not at all if he has finally got his citizenship papers.  We expect a phone call tomorrow if he does not appear tonight.  

I have been washing and packing and sorting - all the tiring things you need to do before you go on holiday.

Its The Great British Bake-off tonight- hurray!  I plan to relax in front of that.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

No Cake and No Snake

It rained all day Friday - much needed rain - and it rained again yesterday evening.  Our Green is looking quite green again, and there is a lovely numinous light this morning, as the sun shines through the damp air.  The balcony geraniums are glowing.

Jacks came for supper last night. Roger makes her laugh so much she could hardly eat.   He treated us to a Cook's Moussaka, followed by a selection of Cook's desserts. All of them excellent. I provided the salad and the dressing.  We had a great evening, but I noticed we were all exhausted by 10.  Poor old things that we are.

Mind you Roger had been travelling. He arrived back from his daughter's late afternoon, laden with Cook's loot. and Col left early to meet Mark for the Snake and Lizard walk. They didn't find any snakes, but did find some lizards. And at least they know exactly where to look for the elusive snakes when they go out again.   And I forgot to put in a cake for Mark!  He always has a marmalade muffin if there are some going.

And I was off early Saturday morning too, picking up Jean. The Field Service Groups was at the Hall yesterday.  We did over an hour- there were 4 couples and a flurry of little ones.

Today was the meeting at the Hall. They are really preparing us for what is to come.  Roger and I lunched off cheese sandwiches- the Captain, off Treasure Hunting, had taken his with him - and watched a Brittass - and the soup is already to go for tonight - to be be followed by banana custard.

Captain B is just back with some good coins, which will appear on his blog in due time.