Sunday, 28 February 2016

A Feathered Egg

Goldcrest, Regulus regulus
We went to the Wetland Trust for lunch on Friday - lasagne for Himself, veggie chile for me - and saw both goldcrests and firecrests on our afternoon walk there. They are exquisite little birds, but very fidgety, they flitter and flutter non-stop, and are not easy to photograph.  But the Captain did get some lovely shots.  My favourite is the one above - egg-shaped, feathery and looking rather baleful.
Firecrest, Regulus ignicapillus, with his fiery crest and mask
Today, El Capitano is chauffeuring me to the meeting at the Kingdom Hall.  And I have a load of new butterfly paperwork to do this afternoon.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

An Invitation to the Memorial of Jesus' death

The Memorial of Jesus' death will be held worldwide on Wednesday 23rd March, after sunset, in your local Kingdom Hall. You are all invited, and hopefully, will receive a personal invitation, giving time, date, and location.

We remember the last Passover supper Jesus ate with his faithful apostles, when he said: “Keep doing this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19)

And, when writing to members of the spirit-begotten Christian congregation, the apostle Paul added: “As often as you eat this loaf and drink this cup, you keep proclaiming the death of the Lord, until he arrives.” (1 Cor. 11:26)

So the Memorial calls special attention to the significance of the death of Jesus Christ in the outworking of Jehovah’s purpose. It highlights the meaning of Jesus’ sacrificial death particularly in relation to the new covenant and to the way that his death affects those who will be heirs with him of the heavenly Kingdom.

The hope for most of us, of course, is to "inherit the earth" - to live forever in the restored earthly Paradise, under the loving rulership of the Kingdom of God - the Kingdom for whose coming Jesus taught us to pray.

We start to distribute the invitations today.   Though sadly I can't get out to do so, as I am still in recovery - with very limited use of left arm and a fair amount of pain.  I don't know when I will be driving again.   And still find it hard to cope with strange cars.

However, on a sad note, I tottered across to deliver the magazines to Bob yesterday - I was worried about him, as I knew he was very ill, and as soon as I saw his wife I knew.   She told me that he had died on Sunday.   Peacefully, and at home, for which I thank God.  Bob was such a lovely guy.   I said so, and said how sorry I was.    Col took me shopping this morning, and I found a perfect card - a sunset photo taken on a Scottish island - and I wrote my condolences in it and popped it through their letterbox this morning.

I hope that Bob will wake up in the restored earthly Paradise, when the time comes for the resurrection.  And it is that hope that we will all be thinking about as the congregations gather worldwise to memorialise Jesus sacrificial death.

Without that ransom sacrifice, what hope would we, the fatally damaged children of disobedient Adam, have?

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Dozing in front of Daytime TV

After a painful session with the physio yesterday morning just about all I managed was an afternoon dozing on the sofa. Hercule Poirot, or whoever the current afternoon detective is, would be saying to the gathered suspects "and the murderer IS" when the answer would morph into "you must reduce the sauce down", and I realised I had dozed off before the end of the detective and slept through the start of the cookery.

I had barely time to hurtle my rubber brick at the screen while shouting "as opposed to reducing it UP" before I was dreaming again and woke up to find a tough and maverick detective doing something tough and mavericky.  Then I woke again with a guilty start and thought I had better put the Captain's tea on. He was out all day doing conservation work in the Downland.

I have such a sleep deficit from those weeks when all I could manage was a couple of hours a night.

I did manage some study. We are looking at the story of Abigail at the moment and trying to take the lessons from it.   Listen to people  - don't think that we know best and that we have nothing to learn. That would be one valuable lesson.  And, very importantly, always respect those Jehovah has chosen. Yes, they are imperfect humans, we all are, but Jehovah knows what he is doing.  His wisdom is immeasurably above ours.   And I got the last but one of my magazine route calls parcelled up and posted (by the Captain, this morning).  I hope to deliver the last one personally tomorrow, as it is only a 5 minutes walk away.

And I answered Kathryn's letter.  Her 2016 didn't get off to a much better start than mine sadly.

How quickly our lives go. She and I are approaching our three score years and ten.    If this system of things on the earth is still up and running in 10 years time, how many of us will be here?  Not us I don't suppose.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Two Illustrations...

...and a landmark - my first attendance at the Sunday meeting at the Kingdom Hall since last year. Once again, I have been listening in on the phone line, but its so much better to be there.  Its harder to concentrate at home too.

My arm was aching and aching though.

The public talk covered the question I always had till I opened the door to two Jehovah's Witnesses who sat me down and showed me what the Bible on my shelf - the Revised Standard - actually said.

The question:  If there is a God and he is all-good and all-powerful, why is the world so full of cruelty and injustice?  Why is nature "red in tooth and claw"?   It seemed that either God could not be good, or he could not be all-powerful.

The Inspired Scriptures answer that question, perfectly and beauitfully.   And our speaker today used two simple and effective illustrations to make it clear.

The first related to the question of who rules the world - the system of things on the earth - at the moment.  

The illustration was of a parent and child waiting by the side of the road till its safe to cross. Suddenly the child wrenches itself free and runs across the road - but a car is coming. The parent sees that it his next door neighbour's car.  But, instead of slamming on the brakes, the driver accelerates towards the child, hits him, and drives off, even faster!

The parent gets his badly injured child to hospital and rings the police to denounce his neighbour.  However, to his shock, the police do not arrest the neighbour.   It turns out the car had been stolen, and it was the thief recklessly driving it away who had injured the child.

The point?   Although, yes, the earth does belong to Jehovah - everything does - he is the Grand Creator - at the moment it has been stolen. Satan rebelled in the garden of Eden, and he persuaded our first parents to join him.  And ever since then "the whole world" has been lying in the power of "the wicked one".  Satan is in charge of the system of things on the earth - which is why it is both cruel and unjust.

(1 John 5:19) "We know that we originate with God, but the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one."

Then the question follows- why does God allow this situation to continue?  Surely he can remove Satan any time he wants?

Yes, of course.  But Jehovah has allowed us to live for a while - a very short while in his eyes - with the consequences of rebellion, so that the issue of who has the right to rule, whose rule is best, can be settled once and for all.   The Speaker did not refer to this Scripture, but the Bible does assure us that "distress will not rise up a second time".

Which brings me neatly to the next simple illustration.   If you have a young teenager who decides they no longer need their parents but are going to set up on their own, and off they go, would it be a good idea to sneak into their untidy flat at night, clean up all the mess, fill the fridge with food, do their washing for them, etc?     You would want to, of course.  This is your child. But how are they to learn that they are not able to cope on their own, that they need their parents guidance, if you do that?

Jehovah has allowed us time to find out if we can successfully rule ourselves - be "like god" - as Satan told Eve - or if our Creator was telling us the truth when he says that "it does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step".

The last 6,000 years of human history stand as witness to the truthfulness of Jehovah. We desperately need his guidance.  We have tried everything, learnt nothing, and are on the brink of ruining the earth. When our first parents rebelled, far from becoming gods, they found they could not even keep themselves alive, let alone run this beautiful and complex planet.

So, while Jehovah has left us to live with the tragic consequences of the choice our first parents made for a little while, he also promised us a rescue, right from the moment things went wrong, and that rescue is well in hand - so close now.   The Kingdom preaching work that Jesus left for his followers to do has never been more urgent.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Hunting the Wild Ladybird

Firecrest, Regulus ignicapillus
More landmarks. The Captain chauffeured me to the meeting at the Kingdom Hall last night.  It was my first time at the new Thursday meeting arrangement - I have been listening in on the phone line, but its much better to be there.

The butterfly memberships arrived on Wednesday. Two months worth.  There has been sickness at Butterfly HQ, so they were very delayed.  There were an awful lot of them. So, on Thursday Col entered them all for me - I am only just now getting back to typing with 2 hands - and I began the marathon task of making up the Membership packages.  I finished them after breakfast this morning.

And today we went for lunch at the Wetland Trust in Arundel - first time since last year. Col lugged the membership packages (in a wheelie suitcase) into the Post Office en route, so that is done.   We had a chicken curry lunch and a walk during which Col found and photographed a Firecrest.  I hadn't realised what tiny birds they are. Exquisite,  And very darty.  It was hopping all over the place, never standing still for a moment - a real challenge to photograph.

And while Col was getting his cameras from the car, I tracked, hunted down, and stuffed down, a chocolate ladybird from the Gift Shop.

It was yummy.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

The Great Marmalade Muffin Shortage

The Five Year Cake-Baking Plan of Comrade Mrs Captain Butterfly has failed - to some extent. Comrade Captain said reproachfully yesterday that there were no more marmalade muffins in the freezer - only carrot cake.  Instantly this started a worrying train of thought in my mind in which he is found wandering malnourished in the wilds of Sussex and has to be taken into care because his wife failed to supply him with homemade muffins.

Even worse,  I packed up his sandwiches plus fruit cake the other weekend and he forgot to take them. When I opened the fridge and found them there my mind rushed straight back to the Wilderness, picturing a collapsed Captain, one skeletal arm reaching out desperately for the last withered blackberry on the brambles...    Thank goodness Sussex is well stuffed with tea shops, pubs and Chicken McNugget outlets.

Anyway, that gives me my project for tomorrow morning.  Make another batch of muffins.

Well - tentatively - until the next disaster - things seem to be moving in the right direction.  Captain Butterfly, Terry, Jackie and I went to the talk at The Arundel Wetland Trust last night.  Michael (Blencowe) was giving it, and I didn't want to miss one of his talks. He more than lived up to the billing we had given Jackie - and we laughed all the way through - and learnt a lot about what has been done for wildlife in Sussex over the last hundred years.  If a lot has been saved, a lot has been lost.

If I didn't know that Jehovah will "bring to ruin those ruining the earth" I would be in despair.

And then today I was taken out for a walk in the local park.  It was very muddy and slippery - worryingly. But we got to feed the ducks - or rather we tried to, but ended up feeding a squadron of squawking seagulls.

And Col will take me to the meeting on Thursday!

Sunday, 14 February 2016


Regressed - after boasting about my landmarks...   had some very painful physio on Thursday, and was advised to go back on painkillers, so that i could get some sleep,  i find them very hard to take and have been off them for ages,  however as was in such pain i decided to take the hospital dosage,  i have been so bad ever since - and my arm/shoulder still hurts.  AND  had a pounding headache for well over a day - but didn't dare risk taking any more painkillers...

The Captain was out on a Search and Rescue mission yesterday - middle-aged lady missing from home under rather troubling circumstances - and at least I was able to get the supper for Jacks organised.  It was very simple - just a case of setting the table, putting the Cook's lasagne in the over, and making a vaguely mediterranean salad to go with it.  But a couple of weeks ago that would have been quite a problem. So things have moved on.  Its just that I have gone back to being in quite a bit of pain, but I know its all part of the process of getting the arm to move again.

Hopefully I will finally get back to the meetings, as I think Col can take me on Thursday and then I shall arrange for a lift.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Another Landmark Slingwise

A trip through the rush hour to the hospital yesterday and i am out of my sling - except for trips out. Still one-handed though.  My shoulder feels OK, but my arm aches and aches and doesn't move much. A lot of physio over the next 6 weeks apparently.

However i did manage quite a busy morning - washed floors, dusted, tidied, studied, did a
bit more of the magazine route - and a bit of witnessing online.     but then i dozed in front of the telly.

Its a medical week.  Physio tomorrow - and my annual health check on Friday.

Jenny joined us for lunch on Monday- ham sandwiches (courtesy of Waitrose and the Duchy) and custards (courtesy of Lidls),  And as she too has been through some recent medical traumas, we were able to have a good chat about what the doctor said to us when we had our tubes tilted.   Captain Butterfly went rather pale and seemed to lose interest in his sandwich.

Visits from David and Carol have helped so much too, They brought flowers, and prayers, and later my Feb magazines.  And yet they are so busy. David being one of those brothers who does so much for the congregation.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Dining Out

My internet friend Ash was invited to the chef's table for a steak and wine dinner last night- in Florida.  We were invited to a roast chicken supper at Jackie's- and very nice it was too.   But I didn't get to the Recorders Conference with Captain B as I was hoping to.

I think I was expecting 6 weeks to be a sort of magic marker - after which I would be up and about. But, while i have every hope that i will be out of my sling in a few days, the physio has told me to be half in half -wear it part time- or my shoulder will ache too much.   On Thursday I  start physio for the shoulder itself - to bring it back on-line.   Which will,apparently, take another 6 weeks.

But i don't know when i will get back to the meetings, let alone the field service,  The Captain still doesn't want me out unsupervised by him.  I have put him through a lot of trauma these last weeks, We do medical appointments together, carefully supervised walks to the beach, and an occasional outing to Jackie - just round the corner - special chair for me - and i can manage the loo.

As for what is happening in the world - the violence on the streets of England daily -a refugee crisis that seems potentially worse than post WW2, with its displaced myriads, my dear aged father among them - and a new terror disease on the way - what can we do?  Clearly politicians don't know, any more than the rest of us.

Today's thought for the day addresses it all, so i will add it..

Sunday, February 7

Through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin.Rom. 5:12.
Both Adam and Eve sinned, but Adam was held responsible for their wrongdoing. The first human pair were led to think that they did not need Jehovah as their Ruler. That raised this vital question of sovereignty: Who has the right to rule? To provide an answer for all eternity, God allowed rule independent of him to continue for a time. He knew that experience would prove that rule independent of him would fail. Over the centuries, such rulership has plunged human society into one calamity after another. In the past century alone, about 100,000,000 people died in wars—and that includes millions of innocent men, women, and children. So there already is mounting evidence that “it does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” (Jer. 10:23) Realizing that fact, we acknowledge Jehovah as our Ruler.—  Proverbs 3:5,6:  "Trust in Jehovah with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways take notice of him, and he will make your paths straight."

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Jane the Physio

Saw Jane today- she is pleased with my progress and provided a couple more tortures- er, exercises - for Col to take me through.   How nice physios are now, compared to the terror physios of old.

Monday, 1 February 2016

An Odd Landmark in Recovery

Yesterday I tried to take my glasses off,   That's odd, I thought, I don't seem to have them on.   And even odder still, I didn't seem to have a face.    Am I now going to have to spend one half of my life trying to find where I have left my glasses, and the other trying to find where i have left my face!?

Before I could go any further with that alarming thought, it dawned on me that I had reached up for my glasses with my wounded-but-recovering arm - for the first time - so that must be a landmark.  (I am sling-free three brief times a day, when I do my exercises.)

That suggests to me that it will take a bit of time to get to know my new shoulder,  It was telling me that my arm had reached my face when it hadn't.

Jackie and Linda came over last night for a curry.  Linda brought two trays of Kerala chicken from Marks & Sparks and some poppadoms - we provided rice and the small small things - Jacks bought some especially nice wine - and M & S also provided dessert - courtesy of Linda.

A fun evening with lots of laughs.