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.

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:

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?!