Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Posting "Waiting"

Monday morning - while we were waiting for Hurricane Ophelia to arrive (hopefully just as a storm) - I got the first copies of "Waiting for Gordo" posted.  One to each aunt - Bea and Jo - one to the Oz Branch of the family - one to Julia who, many years ago, helped me with the first chapter (she advised me to ditch it, I did), one to Lilian whose lovely and unusual (and unused by her) first name I have borrowed for a character (one I get safely off the island), and one to young Amy, who did such a positive and intelligent review of "Till".

I have asked David in Oz to let me know his new address if he wants a copy too.  And I must also get a copy despatched to the Bavarian branch of the family.  I ran out of envelopes.

Jackie has her copy and says she has already started and has four chapters under her belt. And Jean has her copy too - she said she loved the cover - "a work of art".  I can take no credit for it, as the publisher decides, but it was based on a photo that Col took on one of our dive trips. so it conveys the tropical paradise well.

I can only hope people will find it a good read - and both scary and funny.  I have one review on my Amazon page, a positive one.  Hurrah.

At 2.30 in the afternoon the sky was full of darkness and there was a wonderfully ominous light from the West. The wind was starting to blow and there were white horses on a previously calm Channel. It was very dark to the back of the flat, inland.

However, the storm blew away quickly without really touching down here. It has caused some devastation elsewhere though.

Monday night the talk season at the Arundel Westland started.  The first was about birds - their feeding habits.    We - the Captain, Terry and me - went.  Terry bought us all a tea, and he won a nice sturdy shopping bag in the raffle, which he gave me - and I am grateful for the addition to my shopping bag hoard - valuable things nowadays.  Jacks, sadly, was not well enough to come.  Jean and I went out yesterday morning, but not to the Field Service group. We did calls - a cluster of Jean's calls and four of mine too. I am getting further and further behind, so that was a help.

Now Captain B is off for his hairdressing appointment, so he will take a copy of "Waiting" to Malcolm, who said he would like one when I told him about it.

I just hope people will enjoy reading it. I have lost all confidence in it now. But I have to agree that the cover is a work of art.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

My Talk

I had my first talk for ages in the Kingdom Ministry school on Thursday night. This was the talk I was doing:  

Return Visit: (4 min. or less) g17.5 cover—The magazine was featured on the preceding visit. Continue the conversation, and lay the groundwork for the next visit.

 And this is the current magazine (g17.5):  

And this is the talk:

Sue:  Hello A.M. nice to find you in. I'm Sue from your local congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses.   If you remember, I called earlier this month and I found you in the middle of decorating  - painting.  How is it going?

AM:   Oh, it's never ending.  But I've got the day off as I have a friend coming over.  In fact, I thought you were her when I heard the door bell.

Sue:   You are a busy lady - so I will get straight to the point. I just wanted to ask if you had found a moment to read the magazine I left with you.

AM:   Yes...  I did... but I wasn't interested in that article about disasters - too much gloom and doom on the news as it is. But there was an article about shells I found quite interesting. I used to collect them when I was a little girl.

Sue.  That was this one on the back page. Yes, they are so lovely. Do you see why we included that article?

AM:   Yes - clearly you are saying that the beauty of shells, the way they are made, says they must have a maker, a creator.

Sue. That's it!  When we see such perfect design and engineering and artistry what does it tell us about their Grand Creator, Jehovah?

AM:   But you see really your magazine contradicts itself because when you look at that article about all the disasters that can happen, that are happening, doesn't that tell us that, if there is a Creator, he does not care for us?

Sue: That really is the question. All this beauty and all the tragedy. (I gave a short illustration about how a parent making a lovely garden for a child would not include lots of dangerous animals, poisonous plants, open wells for it to fall down, etc)  And I do wonder why more people don't ask it.  But I would love to show you how the Bible answers it.   I then read her this para from the article:  Disasters assault our very sense of justice. In response, some people mistakenly blame God. Many, like Joshua, experience “survivor’s guilt.” “I still wonder if I could have saved more people,” he says. “I am comforted by my belief that God will soon bring complete justice to the earth and will right all wrongs. In the meantime, I cherish each day of life and do what I reasonably can to preserve it.”​—Revelation 21:4, 5.

And then I read the quoted verses, stressing the "faithful and true":

"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.” - Revelation 21:4,5

AM:   Of course I would love that to be true, but how can I believe it?

Sue:  If you could spare me a bit of time - would next Thursday morning be good - I would love to show you how the Bible reassures us. 

It seemed to go down very well - thank God.  In fact, a Bible student who regularly attends the meetings said that he wished it could have been longer!

Now I am not sure if that was due to my brilliant script, my dazzling stage presence, or the fact that my householder was a particularly lovely young sister.    I asked Captain B, who had watched our rehearsal, but he pleaded the Fifth Amendment and remained silent.

So I shall accept it as a tribute to the power of Jehovah's inspired word to reach peoples' hearts, and the excellent teaching we get in the Kingdom Ministry School, week after week, which has enabled even me to get up on the big stage and speak effectively.

And as I was watching Winter Wipeout yesterday (people falling off things into water, marvelous stuff), and watching the fake snowflakes fall, I thought of the beauty and complexity of Jehovah's creation.  Apparently every snowflake is different...  yet there are countless billions of them.

So I was thinking about Thursday night, when, in congregations worldwide, the same little talks would be given - so many brothers and sisters with exactly the same brief, yet each talk would have been different.

The creation is wonderful now.  What is to come in the restored earthly Paradise?

I hope we are all there to find out.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

The Chase - and the Waiting is over

It was a very slow chase, involving my artificial knees (taking me with them) and a very elderly gentleman in his pyjamas. We were chasing a beautiful fluffy Siamese cat, not each other.

The gentleman is a regular call and we found him in, but he had forgotten to shut his cat - who is not allowed outdoors - in the bedroom, and the cat made a dash for freedom.  It shot under hedges, into gardens, under vans, with his owner and myself creaking along miles behind. Jean guarded the front door keeping it open as she felt that the householder did not have his keys with him (being in his jim jams).

Three young men joined in to help us, but no use... the cat had innumerable gardens to go into, hedges to get through and cars to go under.

Then Jean shouted to us that the cat had gone down one of the alleys close to the house - the elderly gent tottered down one, I tottered down another.  As I was doing so I realised there was no way we were going to catch this cat unless Jehovah intervened. So I quickly asked for his help.

I went into the next garden and there was Fluffykins sitting in the middle of the lawn.  I went up gently talking to him, and praying and he let me pick him up and carry him home!

It reminded me of Daniel in the lions den, to be honest.    Jehovah spoke to those lions and I have to believe that he spoke to that cat.

The elderly gentleman was so overcome with gratitude that he kissed me.  But it took it out of both of us.

Then I got stuck in the car park.  I took Jean to Sainsbury's on the way back so she wouldn't have to go out again. But the parking spaces are so narrow there that it took a whole load of backing and fillings for get out when our shopping was done.  In the end poor Jean had to get out and try to guide me, and I think we both asked Jehovah for help again. 

What would we do without Him?

The waiting for "Waiting for Gordo" is over. The books arrived yesterday.  It looks lovely, but now that it comes to sending it to people, which I have been longing to do, I have lost confidence and am wondering why would anybody want to read it...

oh dear

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Still Waiting for "Waiting for Gordo"

Back into our routine on Saturday - Jean and I went out together - walking to local calls - but it does mean I have to cope with driving out of the block of flats.  The parking on the road is so intense that you come out blind. There is no way of seeing what is coming either way.  I do a lot of praying.

She hurtled about on her walker, leaving me breathless in her wake. Amazing.

And we had Jacks round to supper last night - staying till 9.30, which is pretty much the usual time these days.   We had mascarpone chicken, mashed potato, veggies, followed by ice-cream. And we laughed a lot.

Still haven't seen a copy of "Waiting" - which has given me an idea for a follow up:  "Waiting for Waiting for Gordo".  Apparently my copies are on the way from the USA.    Longing to see it.  Have sold two copies so far, and have loads to give away - when they arrive that is.

In the meantime, a great cloud of butterfly memberships arrived. They are done and dusted and are in the hall awaiting their trip to the Post Office - hopefully first thing tomorrow morning.   And me and my lovely young householder practised our talk for Thursday.  I have the return visit in the Main Hall - 4 minutes or less.

And I had a lovely long chat with Nute and Pen - who were both a Lilac Tree - on Skype.  It unsettled me a bit, as there is a part of me that wants to be living back up North near to my sisters and their families...  but we are also very well settled here...   

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Hearts and Minds

The headline news is about the massacre in Las Vegas when, we are told, one gunman has managed to kill nearly 60 people, and wound hundreds.  Motive unknown so far.    But we are being told that his father was a violent criminal... which reminds me of the worst shooting (so far) in the UK, in Dunblane, when the killer targeted a gym full of young schoolchildren. His family background was a very unhappy one. 

Why do some rise above it, but others spectacularly and tragically do not?  In her book "Without a Map" Meredith Hall finds the young child she was forced to give up for adoption - and finds he was handed over to a childhood of severe abuse - his body is covered with scars.

Yet he is the most amazing and loving young man.

There is now a big debate about gun laws in the US.  And, taking no sides in it, it is surely hearts and minds that need to change, not so much laws. The criminally violent will always be able to get guns for as long as this violent system of things goes on on the earth.

And, talking of changing hearts and minds - God's inspired word has unparalleled power to do that.  So it was back to the field  Tuesday morning - and it was surprisingly hard to make myself get out there after a week off. So glad I did, as I knew I would be.   My sister and I did nearly two hours, which is good for me these days - we finished our territory and managed a couple of return visits on our way back home.

But I am so far behind with everything once again.  People sometimes say that if you talk to us, we won't stop calling. But I wonder if anyone thinks how difficult it is to get back to all your calls, and when you do, to find them at home again?

I never gave it a thought. I do now of course.

Sunday, 1 October 2017


Friday morning we met Ian and Sheryl at a new coffee shop that I won't name. We planned to have brunch there.  They are over from Oz, visiting family and friends and they managed a brief stopover, which was lovely.   We haven't seen them since the evening we spent on their lovely yacht in Chichester Harbour some years ago.

They really did look just the same - and seem to be keeping busy and happy.

So - we met at this glamorous new venue we have been watching them build for the last year and were looking forward to trying it out.    It was empty apart from one other couple.   We sat there for ages, then realised we had perhaps better look at the menu.  Which looked good.  There was a lovely veggie brek on that I was going to order - and some other wonderful sounding things for the others. 

The young staff, who never came near us, were having fun at the counter and playing loud jangly music.  Which I don't really want at any time - let alone 9.30 in the morning.   So Captain B asked them politely if they could turn it down.  No, they couldn't.  Or at any rate, they didn't. So we left (as did the other couple) and we went and had breakfast at Waitrose.   Porridge and blueberries for himself, a bacon butty for Ian, bacon and avocado for beautiful Sheryl, and sourdough toast with honey for myself - plus large lattes all round.  It was excellent.

We will not be bothering again with the new place. It is clearly only for young and trendy people - the sort who know what the word "barrista" means.

It has been a real nothing weekend - we are both feeling so tired - most unusual for Captain B, not so unusual for me these days.  I did get myself together for the field service on Saturday, but realised that I would not be able to drive - legs too painful.   I got myself to the meeting this morning though - so they must have been a bit better - and was able to give a lift to the lovely young sister who lives across the road. She usually walks there and I drive her back, but it was raining this morning, so I chauffered her both ways.  Which was something useful at least.

Friday, 29 September 2017

First Review of "Waiting for Gordo"

The waiting for the first review of "Waiting for Gordo" is over, as I found this on the Amazon site today - and from a fellow author too.    I am so happy with it.

"This very unusual novel combines magical realism with tension, suspense and humour. Miranda and her husband Jim arrive on a luxury, but remote, island for a diving holiday. Jim will dive with their party, and Miranda will enjoy the sea, the sun and relaxation. But like all Paradises, something is lurking on the island that may not welcome the visitors. What is it that moves in the undergrowth as Miranda strolls round the island enjoying the night sky? Why is the long-awaited Gordo continually delayed - and why is it that one by one, Jim and Miranda's party, the only visitors on the island, are starting to vanish? WAITING FOR GORDO explores eco-destruction, responsibility, and the darkness that so often underlies the beauties of nature. Miranda and Jim are characters who engage and convince, the slow burn of the narrative means the tension gradually builds. And what about the golden cockroach? Highly recommended."

But I am still waiting for my first copy of "Waiting"  - which is kind of appropriate, I guess.  People have been asking me how long it is, how many pages. And I have to admit that I don't know.

I was talking to Lilian from PlanetExpat about it yesterday. And talking of the lost Planet, we are meeting two of it ex-denzins for brunch today - they are touching down locally for an hour or two in their travels.  We last saw them on their super yacht in Chichester Harbour before they sailed it to Oz.

I made it to the Meeting last night - thank God - under my own chaufferage.  My first outing since Captain B took me to the dentist on Monday morning.

Monday, 25 September 2017


 I heard today through a facebook post that a very old friend, Mary Jane, has died. She died in March - and apparently quite a few of her friends do not yet know it.   And, yes, who would have told us.  Her mother would have, but she died a year ago.

Janie and I knew each other from the age of 12, when her family moved in next door to ours.  We have kept in touch over the years, though recently it has been a matter of an end of year letter, but she has been down here to stay with us.  We always got on well as a couple with both her husbands...

Her second husband - her happiest marriage - died many years ago, very young. And she never married again.

I hope that she is safe in "the everlasting arms" - safe in God's memory, along with Barrie- and that when the time comes for the dead to wake, he will be the first person that she sees.

They are holding a Memorial for her in Medicine Hat - where she lived for many years.  Col and I will have a glass of wine for her tonight. He liked Janie a lot - they got on really well.

I have managed to contact the lady in Medicine Hat who says she only has one contract for Janie - who I think is her sister in law.  I have asked her if she could let me have it, IF she feels OK about sending it to me.

Its a sad old world we live in at the moment.  However, I hope I will see Janie again one day.

On a more mundane note, I did make it to my dental appointment this morning - but only because Captain Butterfly was my chauffeur.   All well, apart from one lost filling, which he neatly repaired in about 3 minutes with no drilling.   It was so quick I could hardly believe it when he told me.

"Right, I'll make my escape then" I said hurting off the couch at the speed of light.  Well, at the speed of a rather elderly light beam, zimmering through the universe, light years behind all the other beams.

He thought that was very funny so we ended the appointment on a laugh, which is the best way.

But then of course I got home to this melancholy news.

I have been playing "Elizabethan Serenade", which takes me back to the lost world of 1950s/60s England when Janie and first knew each other.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

A Flare-up

The horrendous arthritis flare up began late on Friday afternoon. Friday night and Saturday were awful.  Now on Sunday after another sleepless night, I seem to be turning the corner.  Apart from my back, which is worrying me. The attack started with my right ankle, but during last night it seemed to progress from the bottom of my spine to the top.

At one point I thought I was having a heart attack - painful tightness in chest, and difficulty in breathing - but after a while it seemed more like the roaming arthritis attack.

So I am missing the meeting today - and the Circuit Overseer's talks!  Which is sad. I have tried to listen in, but the line is a bit crackly this morning and that, combined with my tinnitus, has made it impossible.

I am becoming more of a wreck every day that passes.   This growing old is difficult.

I thought I had paced myself too.  I visited  Jean and her daughter on Friday morning, shopped first, and so took it easy on Friday afternoon. But... maybe it was the stairs?  I do try to avoid them these days wherever possible.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

A Very Very Precious Cargo

Actually two precious cargoes. Firstly I had to take our Circuit Overseer's wife to Angmering, and then I had to pick up Captain Butterfly from the station. He is safely back from his African Safari - tired, but hopefully happy.

He has now seen the Big Africa. His previous trips were firstly to dive with the Great White Sharks, and secondly (and with me) to go to a friend's wedding in Jo-burg and then stay with Anne of the Cape on, obviously, The Cape.   It was lovely. And we did see some of the big animals. But not in their big setting.

Busy week for me as it is the Circuit Overseer visit - always a boost for the congregations. And I feel I learned a lot this morning working with my sister.

Tomorrow I hope to visit Jean - now back home after her operation - and fit in some field service too.  A lot will depend on the weather.

I visited Maggie on Wednesday, and got my usual warm welcome. And managed half an hour on the door to door work, before we were rained off.

Monday, 18 September 2017

The Quickest 10 Seconds in Human History?

Usually Col times my arthritis injection while I jab the thing into my leg and scream Hurry Up, Its Hurting, as he counts a  v e r y  s l o w  t e n  s e c o n d s...  but as he was not around Sunday night, I had to do it.     12345678910.   And I got the injection pen the right end up this time - which I failed to do on the other occasion I had to do it on my own, and injected my finger instead of my leg.  A painful surprise.

If there is a stick lying around anywhere, that is sure to be me firmly holding onto the wrong end of it.

Talking of which I managed to get us to the wrong road on Saturday morning - even though I do  have a map. I drove us to the Way not to the Crescent...  still it had not been done, and we did have some good calls.  But if I can manage that WITH a map, what would I have done without one?    We would probably have ended up on a crescent in Timbuctoo, wondering why it was so hot and dusty, and why we had to drive most of the way under water.

Today I have to make a trip to the doctors with my blood pressure results and to the pharmacy with a prescription.  To my  horror some more Butterfly Memberships have arrived and will have to be done.   I have changed the bedding, washed the sheets etc, have a veggie soup cooking, and have done my errands.   But no studying as yet, and I do need to get on with it as it is the Circuit Overseer visit this week,

Friday, 15 September 2017

"A Hillsborough Situation"

A young girl. who was caught up in some kind of bomb(?) attack on a packed London underground train today, was being interviewed on the BBC News and said that she saw many injured in the panicked rush to get off the train and out the station.  She described it as "a Hillsborough situation", which was chilling.

Its hard to know yet what happened. People are talking of an explosion, a fireball, screams and a panicked exit.  People are packed in like sardines during rush hour...

We commuted on the London underground for years, in our youth, through IRA bomb scares and all.

What next?

On a more happy note, I got to the meeting last night, though I didn't make it to the field service in the morning. I have had two bad days, painwise.  But I hope to be back on the work tomorrow morning.   We have just come to the end of Ezekiel, with its amazing restoration promises.

There is so much to look forward to, if we listen to our Creator, Jehovah, the God of Abraham.

Jacks is coming for supper tomorrow night - lasagne and salad.  I have Cooked them, not cooked them. Well, I will be making the salad and dressing.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Storm Aileen

We were out in the field yesterday morning, on an estate in which all the streets have the names of flowers.  I left a magazine with one gentleman who didn't claim to have much faith in the Bible, or even in the idea of a God, but was prepared to have a look as he could see no way out, beyond praying and hoping there is someone there...

As it becomes more and more obvious how true the warning in the Inspired Scriptures is - that "it does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step" - will more people start to look for their Creator?

I certainly hope so  Its very urgent.

It was a beautiful September day - turning into very stormy weather by the evening. The wind howled and roared round us all night.  The sun is appearing this morning and there are still big waves on the Channel.

I just saw the News and apparently it was Storm Aileen!  And its now heading North.  My tinnitus was so bad last night that I was only vaguely aware of it and was amazed when I stepped out onto the balcony. It stormed and roared all night, but it was the pain in my leg that kept me awake.

And of course it was nothing at all compared to what those in the Caribbean and America have been going through.

News of my siblings there on today:

BREAKING NEWS | Hurricane Irma Update

Information is becoming available regarding the status of our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean and southeastern United States in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
Sadly, an elderly brother in Florida and one of our sisters in Georgia died while evacuating. Additionally, two of our brothers were injured in Tortola, which is the largest of the British Virgin Islands. Throughout the Caribbean, over 40 homes have sustained major damage and at least 40 of our brothers have been displaced. Assessments are ongoing as the brothers gain access to affected regions.Our prayers are with those who have lost loved ones and the many who are impacted by the storm. We continue to rely on the comfort Jehovah provides through the congregation.—1 Thessalonians 3:7.

Saturday, 9 September 2017


The waiting for "Waiting for Gordo" is over!  It was officially launched at the Fantasticon in Hull this  month, and has even sold some copies.  I'm really sorry we could not be there. Maybe next year?

I started writing it many many years ago - and it was taken by a London Agent briefly (also many years ago), but she then changed her mind and said it did not fit existing thriller categories.

Some years later I submitted it to Fantastic Books as an "eco-thriller" - and voila!  it found a home.

I now hope it will find readers and reviewers. And I would LOVE it to make my young publisher some money...

The inspiration for this book came from the annual dive holidays Captain Butterfly used to organise for the Aramco Shoal.  We went to some lovely tropical islands.   And so I combined that with an Agatha Christie plot - "And Then There Were None" - put my characters on a small island, and then, one by one...

This is one of the many lovely photos he took.

I've just noticed its being marketed as a novella. so while its a lot longer than "Till They Dropped", it is clearly quite a short book.  I have not yet seen it in book form, and am longing to.

So, its short, and I hope it is very readable. I have tried to make it entertaining, while touching on some more serious subjects - tourism (the benefits v the damage), global warming, and the way we are ruining the earth.

It is very much not a political thriller - it takes no sides and has no political solutions to offer.  And given that even I did not know who was doing it (and why) it till I was halfway through writing it, I hope my readers will be surprised when they find out.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

The Young Lady from Hyde

There was a young lady from Hyde
Who ate a green apple and died
The apple fermented
inside the lamented
Now she has cider inside her inside.

One of our calls yesterday morning - a lovely Irish Catholic gentleman - taught us this limerick. Then we had a coffee and talked about Armageddon. He is a very learned man and always gives us an interesting history lesson, this time about The Marshall Plan. And we try to tell him something about the Inspired Scriptures.

We managed two hours, which is good for us.  The elder taking the group gave us a lovely territory, ideal for us, as we could circle back to my little car.  We finished it and did some of our regular calls, including limerick man, who may well be from Limerick of course.

 This afternoon I plan to visit Maggie, sans Jean, who has family visiting.  But another sister who lives locally may come too.  It is hard as Maggie has so few words left now, just a few sentences. But nobody could make us more welcome than she does.

Captain Butterfly has an Old Boys Reunion on this week, including a tour of his own school.  I wouldn't mind a tour of my old school come to think of it.  Of course it will have changed so much, but...

Sad school was such an unpleasant experience - one that so many children hate.   Because what do you want more as a child than to learn things?  Children are always asking questions.  And I can now see that having time just to learn is a privilege.

But... something is fundamentally wrong with the school system.  Not surprising, given that something is fundamentally wrong with the world.

And only the Kingdom of God will put it right. Already millions of us worldwide are experiencing how well, and how kindly, it educates.  Think how kindly and patiently Jesus taught his disciples when he was on the earth. He is teaching us just as kindly and patiently now.

There is another fearsome hurricane approaching the Caribbean and America as I type this.  I hope it won't be as bad as it looks, because it looked terrifying on the News - like something out of that Hollywood movie - The Day Before Yesterday? The Day After Tomorrow?

The Channel looks calm and a pale blue grey. But who knows what the sea will do next?

What we need to remember is that Jesus - the one annointed as King of Jehovah's Kingdom - calmed the sea when he was on the earth, showing us how he has been given the authority to bring the natural forces back into the loving harmony they had in Eden.

Monday, 4 September 2017


I have been banging on again about September, heralding Autumn, being something of a metaphor these days and then reluctantly remembering that I can no longer  be said to be in the Autumn of my days. I am now beginning Winter.

So my metaphorical season has not arrived yet.  Its just round the corner though.

Thursday I was out on the door to door work. Our young householder cancelled his regular Thursday call, but we hope to see him this Thursday.  Jean and I were out as usual on Saturday - to the group, in a new venue, and we worked a very well worked road, but had a couple of interesting calls.

Sunday was the meeting - wonderful. There is no other teaching on the earth like this. And then some of us went for a Waitrose coffee afterwards. Sat there talking for ages, with three visiting sisters and a Bible student who is now attending the meetings.

And Jackie came over for supper on Saturday night; a shepherds pie (courtesy of Cooks), with cauliflower cheese (cooked by moi), carrots and string beans from our neighbour's allotment. He arrived at breakfast on Saturday morning with a big bag of fresh beans!

Followed by the usual ice-cream- oh and of course a bottle of NZ wine. Marlborough has been our favourite brew for ages - Oyster Bay, all of them.

And Jackie lasted till 9 o clock and felt fine the next morning!  So that is a real positive after all these  months.

And it took me back to one of my layers of expat memory. There was a time when our social life revolved round Wednesday night (which heralded the weekend there) and darts.And I always used to make a big cottage pie, with carrots and cauliflower cheese.  That was what the darts players liked. We probably had ice-cream for dessert then too, or maybe fresh fruit, but I can't remember.

One of the many positives about getting older is the layers and layers of memory that accrue.  Of course, because we are the damaged children of Adam, living in a fallen world, many of those layers involve pain, sadness and regret.

But I can perhaps glimpse how wonderful it will be when all the sad things have faded away and we are building layers and layers of memories of life in the restored earthly Paradise.

The human brain is an astounding machine - and quite a problem for evolutionists.  Why should we "evolve" something so complex if we don't even seem to use half of it.  I think Charles Darwin acknowledged that as a problem (I think, I haven't read his tome), so I wonder what he would think these days when we know so much more about its complexity.

We also understand now that what we choose to think about makes and strengthens connections in the brain, and can better understand how we benefit from listening to the Creator of the brain, Jehovah, the God of Abraham, who warns us to be careful of our thoughts, to be careful of what we dwell on, what we allow into our brain.

And, on that brainy note, I will finish my first September blog. Its raining today - and looks beautifully grey and green outside, with a calmish misty Channel blending into a misty sky.

Captain Butterfly has no plans. And its not butterfly weather.  "You will be able to spend the whole day with me", I trilled.  "Yes", he said, looking - well, I'm not a hundred per cent certain that was a thrilled expression.  Not even two per cent.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

The Butterfly of the Baskervilles

I am now kicking myself that I did not make a butterfly the hero of my upcoming Dive Thriller, "Waiting for Gordo". It has an insect protagonist, who plays an important role, but its a very unglamorous insect indeed.   However it did come to my rescue many years ago, at a very tricky moment.

We belong to Butterfly Conservation now - and maybe I would have had a whole market ready and waiting for me if I had transformed my gallant rescuer into a Butterfly.  A Purple Emperor perhaps? They are fierce little creatures, who have been seen chasing birds away from their treetop.

The insect that came to my rescue has no Conservation Societies devoted to it. Rather the reverse in fact.

To write "Small Island" as it was originally called, I borrowed an Agatha Christie plot, "And then there were None", and put my divers on an island, where, one by one, they begin to disappear.

So I am wondering, if I am to write a follow up, is there another plot I could borrow - and put a Butterfly in it?

The Butterfly of the Baskervilles will be a fearsome creature that glows in the dark and makes a dead set at the new incumbent of Baskerville Hall - now Baskerville Hall Hotel   Given what Purple Emperors feed on, it will make quite a good match with the Giant Glowing Hound it will be sharing Grimpen Mire with.

We were out on the field service this morning - four of us - and had coffee at Waitrose afterwards. We had a good morning, though did not find many in. It was such a beautiful day - blues skies, mountainous fluffy white clouds, and a feeling of Autumn in the air.

I visited Maggie yesterday, in the rain.  And came back to find that Captain Butterfly had been called away on a search for a missing despondent.  Sadly they were not able to find him in time.

The world system we live in is such a sad one.  We need the coming rescue - the Kingdom of God - so badly.

The dead will not be forgotten then.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Chemical Fog on the Channel

Queen of Spain Fritillary ♂, Issoria lathonia
Just after I posted yesterday's blog, Captain B came rushing through to tell me about this:

So there was kind of chemical smog on The Channel that morning...  but why and where it came from I do not know.

Yesterday was a sunny Bank Holiday - so very busy on the Coast   The crowds included Captain Butterfly who went rushing off in the direction of the chemical Cloud because a Queen of Spain Fritillary had been seen in that direction.

I expect he would go over Niagara Falls in a barrel if a rare butterfly had been seen at the bottom - and he could guarantee to keep his cameras dry.

All have survived - people hit by the Cloud, the butterfly (see the photo), and, thank God. Captain Butterfly himself.  He was back with photos of the beautiful Beast, but we have to acknowledge that Neil has got the best one so far.  The Butterfliers were out in force apparently, pushing aside chemical Clouds, Blobs from Outer Space, and alien Spaceships to get to their lovely target.
Queen of Spain Fritillary ♂
And how good it is that they no longer net them and pin them to boards, but take photographs instead - of butterflies that is, not Alien Blobs (they have no interest in such things).

I had a quiet day at home - housework, study, dozing in front of the telly, being dazed when Captain B's return woke me up, and getting supper - bacon, eggs and things.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Fog in The Channel

Shocking pictures of Houston this morning, all horribly reminiscent of Hurricane Katrina - people stranded on rooftops in a world that has turned into a sea.  Was no evacuation organised?  Or did people just not want to leave their homes (which I can understand)?

How is a rescue being organised?  I was thinking of Dunkirk, which my mother told me about, when a government call went out for everyone with a boat, no matter how small, to set off for the coast of France and rescue as many of the trapped British soldiers as they could.   And a brave little flotilla of small boats set off and did rescue many.  I think one of my great uncles may have been involved. He did sail, and certainly had a boat, or boats, off and on.  But he also wrote children's books, and one was called "Fog in the Channel", so I might be confusing fact with fiction there.

 "Fog in the Channel, by Percy Woodcock (Nelson, 7/6) relates stirring adventures by sea, beginning with a collision in the fog when two schoolboys board a mysterious vessel supposed to be on secret service."

I can only hope plenty of rescuers are on their way. But what a mess we are all in.  And how much we need the Kingdom of God.

The account of Jesus calming the dangerous storm on the sea of Galilee has been preserved for us to this day, in the most widely distributed book in the world. Doesn't it show us what he can and will do when he is ruling over the earth, as the King of Jehovah's Kingdom?

All of nature will return to the beautiful harmony it had in Eden, before our first parents disobeyed, and when they had nothing to fear.

Just three of us for Waitrose coffee yesterday afternoon, one of them a Bible student who comes every week to the Sunday meeting, and sits there just drinking it in.  Drinking in the teaching first, the coffee later.

The talk was about the march of the world powers, as set out in Daniel, and we talked a bit about that. Then I rushed back thinking Linda of Arabia was on her way over.  However, she has had a change of plan and will now be coming today - or possibly some time this week. I am wondering if she has something she wants to talk over with Captain Butterfly, only I warned her he would not be in yesterday.

He taught her to dive many years ago, and she often likes to talk things over with him.

He was out treasure hunting.  But found no Viking hoards, or hoards of any description. Apart from the Ring Pull hoards of course.   That Ringpull tribe certainly got through a lot of fizzy drink.

I had quite a busy week. Jean and I were out on Tuesday - had a good morning and have return visits to make next month.   We went to our regular return visit - well its almost a doorstep study now - in Angmering; and I was out with the group on Saturday morning, working quite close to home.  It was a beautiful morning, but very hot and humid.  Jean and I also visited Maggie - our usual Wednesday afternoon, and got our usual warm welcome. She had even registered that we were a bit late.

I am now on Statins - both of us are.  Along with my bp meds.  Doctor M warned me that the Statins can cause joint pains. Oh, I said, my joints hurt all the time nowadays so I don't suppose I will notice.

That has turned out to be a foolish remark.   ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch

There is no fog on The Channel today.  Not even a sea fret.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

The Egg and I

The week reverses in retirement.  Most of my life I have dreaded Monday morning, as it meant either back to school or back to work.   But now, my weekend is a busy time, and I try to keep Monday quiet. Its nice not to have to rush off anywhere.

Not that my weekend was that busy exactly, but everything tires me now.  Jean and I did our calls on Saturday morning.  There was hardly anybody at the group as the families are on holiday.   Sunday I went to the meeting in the morning. We had a reversal of the usual order - Watchtower study first, Public talk second - as our speaker was first delayed and then couldn't make it in time. So one of our local brothers took over and he did a brilliant job.  The talk he gave was about our place within Jehovah's organisation. And he used an egg and an eggbox as a rather vivid illustration.

He pointed out that the eggs in the egg box are kept in an upright position - the reason being that this makes them able to take a lot of pressure.  He demonstrated by squeezing the egg between his hands (in eggbox position) VERY STRONGLY.  It made me quite nervous for our Kingdom Hall carpet, as he was squeezing the egg so hard, and I learnt my physics in The Laboratory Where the Laws of Physics were Suspended.

Our teacher, Mrs F, would say. "Now girls for a practical demonstration of the laws of physics, I shall drop this apple and we shall see how it falls to the...Oh...(we watch as apple floats to lab ceiling).. well, write in your exercise books that it fell to the floor."   (I was utterly useless at physics and probably can't blame the lab - all I can remember about it is that iron filings do something, if you do something to them.)

However all was sane and sensible at the Kingdom Hall and the gallant egg withstood the pressure.Then the Speaker put it in a jiffy bag, carefully sealed, put it on its side and crushed it with a little light pressure from his hand.

The lesson is obvious.  If we stick close to Jehovah, if we stay where he asks us to be, we will be able to resist all the pressure the world puts on us.  If we don't, we are so vulnerable.

Simple, but true. Where would I be without this constant, clear and gentle teaching?

Thanks to Betty Macdonald, whose book title I borrowed for my blog. Its well worth a read - fascinating and very funny.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

The Captain Cooks!

What did i do yesterday?   ... made another batch of cakes for the freezer - for the packed lunches - and dead-headed the balcony flowers.  I found it depressingly difficult to do the deadheading owing to being so crippled in my left arm.   Jean and I got to see Maggie in the afternoon and got 2 weeks worth of a warm and loving welcome.   The Captain and I shopped this morning - Waitrose  - and I was out on the field service with one of the young pioneers this afternoon.  She is just back from a week's Pioneer Training Course and is really built up.

And the Captain will have his chef's hat on tonight as he cooks us a steak supper.  He does not trust me to cook steak (rightly so too, I like my meat very very well done - not a cheffy well done, but a proper well done.)  I am his sous-cook though and have laid the table and prepared and cut up the onions, mushrooms and tomatoes which will accompany the steak

And we have a bowl of fresh cherries for afters.  Waitrose have beautiful cherries in at the moment and I am doing some intensive research into whether or not it is possible to die of cherry poisoning.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Another Lovely Review of "Till they Dropped"

"Fantasy? Science Fiction? Magical Realism? This book is all of these. But it’s a thoughtful, imaginative, and ultimately terrifying cross genre piece that stirs both emotions and ideas.
We’re plunged into an undefined land, except that it must be the so-called civilised world, in an undeclared time, which must be the future. What is clear quite quickly is the sense of threat, unreality, turmoil and confusion. This is a nightmare place with few answers to the many questions posed.
We follow the progress, if progress it can rightly be called, of the young woman trapped in this consumerist empire ruled by autonomous machines and AI. The suggestion is that society’s overbearing urge to consume, buy, and own, has been usurped by the serving machines and AI, which have initially enabled this pointless activity, then encouraged it. Without the moral restraints of humanity, the machines, guided by AI, decide that consumers may be fair game for consumption.
This world is depicted with great imagination and superb imagery. The relentless attempt to escape the banal but murderous entity that shopping has become is described with brief flashbacks that explain how this all came about.
A nightmare, brought to life, and populated by the innocents left in this world by previous generations of unthinking, greedy, selfish consumers. Beware!"

I found this review of Till by the author Stuart Aken on my Amazon site. Such a wonderful surprise, and thank you so much Stuart.  I have had some lovely thoughtful reviews and I appreciate every one of them.

Jean and I were out this morning on the work - in a lovely Close, and we had some good conversations and returned home tired but happy. it is a beautiful August day - blue skies and fluffy clouds. 

Sunday, 13 August 2017

A Camberwell Beauty

A Camberwell Beauty has been seen at Burgess Hill!

So now I want to post this poem Kingsley Amis wrote to his first wife.

Instead of an Epilogue
To H
In 1932 when I was ten
In my grandmother’s garden in Camberwell
I saw a Camberwell Beauty butterfly
Sitting on a clump of Michaelmas daisies.
I recognised it because I’d seen a picture
Showing its brownish wings with creamy edges
In a boy’s paper or on a cigarette-card
Earlier that week. And I remember thinking,
What else would you expect? Everyone knows
Camberwell Beauties come from Camberwell;
That’s why they’re called that. Yes, I was ten.
In 1940 when I was eighteen
In Marlborough, going out one winter’s morning
To walk to school, I saw that every twig,
Every leaf in the vicar’s privet hedge
And every stalk and stem was covered in
A thin layer of ice as clear as glass
Because the rain had frozen as it landed.
The sun shone and the trees and shrubs shone back
Like pale flames with orange and green sparkles.
Freak weather conditions, people said,
And one was always hearing about them.
In ’46 when I was twenty-four
I met someone harmless, someone defenceless,
But till then whole, unadapted within;
Awkward, gentle, healthy, straight-backed,
Who spoke to say something, laughed when amused;
If things went wrong, feared she might be at fault,
Whose eye I could have met for ever then,
Oh yes, and who was also beautiful.
Well, that was much as women were meant to be,
I thought, and set about looking further.
How can we tell, with nothing to compare?

Jean and I were out on the work on Saturday and we attempted to go to the Broadcast at the Hall, but something had gone wrong with the arrangements so it wasn't on.  We think most people were at the wedding on Saturday, including our keyholder and projectionist. And I drove to Angmering yet again - on Thursday - with Jennifer - our householder wants to see us again Thursday week. 
Today we went out for coffee after the meeting, and I ran Jean and Ann Marie back home afterwards. Jacks came for a fish and chip supper on Saturday night - she treated us - and lasted till 8 o'clock. So she is feeling a little better, thank God.   
We have been watching the Athletics, saying farewell to Mo Farrar and Usain Bolt.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

The Peach Blossom Moth

Peach Blossom, Thyatira batis
Our beautiful visitor last night was a Peach Blossom moth.  It had parked itself happily under our balcony light and posed nicely for Captain B.
Peach Blossom
I think I have blogged before about the beautiful names of moths.

Yesterday we took Jacks for a Waitrose shop and brought back coffees and had them together.  Today, health and weather permitting, Jean and I will be off on the field service.

My main preoccupation the last few days has been my own health. How right the Bible is about "three score years and ten".  How right it is about everything, thank God, or what would I have to look forward to, what hope would I have?

I now have extra meds to take and am glumly awaiting the call from my GP about my repeat blood test, which I am sure will not have been good.

Apart from shopping and providing a roast chicken dinner, yesterday was a day of little accomplished.  I didn't even start my studying for the week. I think I just slept and slept, exhausted by one shopping trip and one cooking session.

I have been re-reading Joyce Maynard's "At Home in the World".   Now that would be something to blog about, but I think it would be a very depressing blog. Its a sad story she has to tell.

But then aren't most people's lives sad, seen in retrospect?   How can we be truly happy cut off from our Creator, Jehovah?

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Wild Strawberries

Wild Strawberry, Fragaria vesca
This pic that Captain Butterfly bought home on Friday - from Cissbury Ring - gave me a blog title. But I now have to find the blog to go with it.

I feel a bit like Beachcomber with his stunning tabloid headline:


Underneath it read: "The story to fit this sensational headline has not turned up yet."

The story to fit this lovely photo has not turned up yet, but maybe it will.   Though probably not this morning as I am just off to pick up Jean for the Field Service   - our group is joining the Kingdom Hall group this Saturday.  Its sunny, so Captain B is off to do his transect.  His sandwiches are all ready in the fridge.

In fact - and here is the thrilling part of the blog - they are yesterday's sandwiches - because HE FORGOT TO TAKE THEM.  (Don't try this at home.)

Before he left yesterday,  I did my usual checklist.  Have you got:
1  Your lunch?
2. Your phone?
3  Is it on Bluetooth (it took me a long time to stop saying Blackberry)?
4. Your money?
5. Your keys?

He answered "yes" to every one, but, after he had left, I found the box of cake and sandwiches sitting beside the fridge. It had been removed from the fridge, but not made it to the rucksack.

So I was worrying away about it - picturing his skeletal form being found in the Downs, his arm reaching desperately towards the last strawberry of summer...   but he rang during my Skype chat with Anne of the Cape, to tell me he had bought a pasty from a cafe.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Taking Latte with Miss Jackie

We shopped for ourselves and Jacks this morning and took some lovely Waitrose coffees to Jackie's and stayed for coffee and a chat.   And I watched this little video about my Northern hometown - a tramride through time.

If I did not already know what the Inspired Scriptures say, wouldn't I be looking now - trying to find the meaning in it all?  And how do you cope if you don't know?

The streets were so empty back then - I was also watching a tramride through Sheffield in the 60s - when I was a young teenager.     When I was out with Jean on the field service yesterday we were both talking about the traffic which, even in our sleepy little seaside town, seems worse than ever.

The rain the forecast promised for this morning has arrived on time, just before lunch.  I wonder if Jean will cancel our visit to Maggie, as it will involve getting very wet.

I know I have put this poem in my blog before, but its so wonderful, plus I have been re-reading "Young Thomas Hardy" by Robert Gittings.  And of course thinking of the old Sheffield makes me think of my young parents, as they were then. And going back further to when my mother was herself a young teenager during the war, and she and her school were evacuated to St.Leonards-on-Sea, just down the coast from us.

So, I give you:

by Thomas Hardy

I reach the marble-streeted town.
Whose "Sound" outbreathes its air
of sharp sea salts;
I see the movement up and down
As when she was there.
Ships of all countries come and go,
Bandsmen boom in the sun
A throbbing waltz;
The schoolgirls laugh along the Hoe
As when she was one.

I move away as the music rolls:
The place seems not to mind
That she - of old
The brightest of its native souls -
Left it behind!
Over this green aforedays she
On light treads went and came
Yea, times untold;
Yet none here knows her history -
Has heard her name.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Persecuted, but not Abandoned

Our Russian brothers and sisters are having such a hard time.  We are all praying for them. And the worldwide brotherhood is giving all the support it can.   But above all, we can trust in Jehovah with all our hearts.

Psalm 124:2-8
 “If Jehovah had not been with us
When men rose up to attack us,
Then they would have swallowed us up alive
When their anger was burning against us.
Then the waters would have washed us away,
The torrent would have swept over us.
The raging waters would have overwhelmed us.
May Jehovah be praised,
For he has not given us as prey to their teeth.
We are like a bird that escaped
From the hunter’s trap;
The trap was broken, and we escaped.
Our help is in the name of Jehovah,
The Maker of heaven and earth.”

After the meeting yesterday, a crowd of us went to Waitrose for coffee, and sat there talking so long we were joined by two brothers who had been out in the field service!

I drove Jean and Anne Marie home, and after that did nothing much at all - beyond get tea for the Captain et moi.   We had baked potato with salad - and sausages (Waitrose) for him.  I find myself less and less able to eat meat if I have to cook it myself.

And this is the last day of July - sunny - and not as wild and windy as yesterday. We are both tired after the weekend, and will hopefully be having a quiet day together. Col is at the other side of the dining table on his computer.  I have pies thawing our for our tea - beef for Himself and veggie for me - and have made some mushroom soup for our lunch.  And there is a load of studying, housework and paperwork to do.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Dan, Dan, the Butterfly Man,

And Neil, Neil too, but I can't find a butterfly rhyme for that.

They both do so much for the world of butterfly.

Spent yesterday at the hospital as I had my routine 6 months appointment in Rheumatology. They were running over an hour late, but they are extremely busy.

I am feeling the force of the Bible's warning that "death reigns as king over us" more and more.  This has been a bad week.  My blood pressure is not good, nor is my cholesterol  (and possibly my blood sugar - I have to do a fasting test next week).   I have never had problems with any of those things before, but suddenly I do.

At least my Rheumatologist was happy with me and my blood test results apart from the cholesterol one - but I think he was impressed that I already have the re-test appointment made.  My GP is on the case!

Jean and I were out on the work today on our own, as the group is in Arundel this month.  It is a chance for us to try and catch up on our returns and magazine route calls, as we are always behind.  We got a lot done, though I didn't find any of mine at home.

The Captain is at home today watching the swimming. I had just enough veggie soup left for lunch - and we will having pizza and a glass of wine tonight - with Jackie, IF she is up to it.

She isn't. She just phoned. Its all very worrying.

And also "the world" is busy going beyond satire. We have riots in London, as lawlessness increases - and this gem from Cambridge Uni:

"The student head of a Cambridge equality group has claimed that "all white people are racist" amid violent protests in London."

The Inspired Scriptures warn us about "the wisdom of the world".  And how right they are.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

You Can't Go Home Again

Nadine found the version of the Nabbs Cottage sales brochure with slides, so I was able to look inside. Something I have longed to do for 50 years.    But apart from the front hall and the proportions of the lovely drawing room, I would not have known it.  Which is not to be wondered at after all this time.

It is state of the art as far as kitchens and bathrooms go and will be a lovely family home for someone.

The enormous gilt mirror that stood over the drawing room fireplace at Nabbs is in front of me as I type. It saw me as a young child, and a teenager. Now it sees an elderly lady.  Sylvia Plath said it beautifully in her poem "Mirror".

Now the poor old mirror sees a terrible fish.

Yesterday was a medical day - two appointments in the morning, one with the doctor, one for my routine blood test.  He is worried about my blood pressure which is suddenly very high and I have to take it twice a day for a week. I am now so worried about that that I can feel it getting higher by the moment and am half expecting not to wake up.

But we - Jean and I - had a lovely time with Maggie yesterday.   My car was still sick. so the Captain kindly fetched and carried us.  He offered, I didn't ask.  And when we got there we found that David and Carol were already there, so we had quite a fun time, lots of laughing, which Maggie really seemed to enjoy.

The Captain went off to get some Everlasting Pea (see his current blog) to try to tempt the arriving Long Tailed Blues to have a Service Station stop on our balcony.

Now I am off to meet Jennifer at the Kingdom Hall and we begin the long march to Angmering.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Nabbs Cottage

My childhood paradise, Nabbs Cottage, has just appeared in cyberspace as being up for sale.  The back has changed so much, I would not have recognised it.  The grass slope and the big trees have gone.  And the asking price!   My granny would faint if she were alive to see it.

It is clearly still a family home, which is wonderful. And I hope another family will be very happy there.

The tiling is still in the Hall.

I don't know how long the link will last. But it gives me a strange feeling to see it.  Now that I am in my Seventies, the past, the feelings of the past, sometimes come back very strongly. But they do call it a second childhood.

I have set my next thriller ( if I get it finished) in Nabbs Cottage.

Lilian and I had a chat on the phone yesterday - she wanted to let me know that she had got the Convention Programme I sent her.   She still talks to the JWS quite regularly but does not feel equal to going to the meetings. I have asked her to pray about it.

And this morning Mark managed to lift his head above his paperwork and he and Captain B are trying to decide whether to have a day out together The problem is should it be seasonal butterflying, or early fungi-ing.   Problem still unresolved as I type this.

I would usually be on the door to door work with Jean but my car is in hospital. So it will be a housework, studying and lots of resting day.  I have a week of medical appointments coming up - gloom gloom. And I hope that Jean and me can get over to see Maggie tomorrow. It depends on the car situation, though possibly Captain B might take us.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

A Lovely Review

I found such a lovely review of "Till they Dropped" online.

It says:

"Consumerism, greed and coming-of-age; this short-story, edging on novella, is a unique and intelligent narrative about a young girl called Emily who finds herself trapped in a shopping centre. As closing time draws near, panic sets in and Emily must find a way to escape back home. I got the sense that Emily was being punished or at least warned for her excessive spending and I’d consider this to fall under the umbrella of magic realism; strange voices and talking teddy bears are seemingly a part of reality, though it is uncertain whether it is all part of a child’s dream.
This was a quick read of only forty-two pages, however, I found myself re-reading a second and third time, to fully appreciate the concept that Sue is conveying. I felt a sense of unease, like when Alice falls into wonderland and nothing seems quite right. There is talk of the Mechanism, Nothingness and Death, which followed after the War and the story is clouded with a sense of foreboding.
I really loved the way this novella made me think. It didn’t lay everything out on a plate for me and I feel my interpretation is one of many. Each character is perhaps symbolic of certain parts of society, for example, Dee, one of Emily’s dolls, is obsessed with her clothes and fashion, despite the prospect of imminent death closing in on her.
This little story is well worth a read; for its intelligence, its writing style, its thought provoking concepts and the chills that might run up your spine. What will happen when we have finally consumed everything that is left of the world?"
It is my little story of the last shopper left alive - and the deadly danger that puts her in.  And it is lovely to think that someone wanted to read it more than once.
But I would want to reassure anyone who does read it that we have a promise from Jehovah, who never lies, and whose promises always come true, that he will "bring to ruin those ruining the earth".  Revelation 11:18
We are praying for this rescue when we say the Lord's prayer and ask for God's Kingdom to come and for his will to be done on the earth. And we are not praying in vain.
Jean and I were out on the preaching work yesterday - but we didn't go to the group, we did return visits, and had some good calls.   We invited Jackie round for pizza and a glass of wine in front of the telly (athletics on), but in the end she did not feel able to make it.  She is having such a hard time at the moment.

Friday, 21 July 2017

The LandMark Evening

Thursday night I had to turn my lights on as I drove back from the Kingdom Hall... didn't expect to have to do so so soon.  That is a landmark in the year.  The next thing will be having to turn them on as I drive there.  The years hurtle by faster, and faster and faster.

The Brighton Convention was great, very encouraging, but also very tiring.   I was in a complete daze on Tuesday morning and managed to drive Jean and me to the wrong road. And, frighteningly, I can't explain why I did it.  She was very reassuring, and kind, since it meant a lot of unnecessary walking for her...  Being in the death zone now I worry so much that Dementia might be setting in.

She said it was just exhaustion.   And then when I went to the Kingdom Hall last night, I met another sister, a little bit younger than me, who said that she was in such a daze of tiredness since the weekend that she didn't know which was was up.   That was oddly reassuring.

I haven't done a lot else this week, just housework, studying and sleeping.

Had a long long talk with Anne of The Cape on Skype today. I wish we still lived in the same town.

Monday, 17 July 2017

The Wasp in the Jam Jar

Ruby-tailed wasp, Chrysis species
Feeling a bit ashamed of myself,   Friday was the first day of the Brighton Convention.

Theme for the day?

"Let us not give up in doing what is fine" - Galatians 6:9.

And yet I gave up on the second day.  I did make it on Sunday.   It seems I can no longer manage 3 days at one go.  It is too painful.

The first speaker on Friday began with a very vivid image of the wasp in the jam jar.    The whole Convention is focused on helping us to stay strong and not give up as things get more and more difficult, as this present wicked system of things on the the earth comes to its end.

We live in these times described in the Book of Revelation:   "And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels battled  but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them any longer in heaven. So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him."- Revelation 12:7-9

Until this time, Satan moved freely between heaven and earth.  Look at the first chapters of Job, for example.  But when the moment described above came, he was expelled from heaven along with all the angels who had joined him in his rebellion and now he is confined to the earth.   He is very very angry.

"On this account be glad, you heavens and you who reside in them! Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing that he has a short period of time.” - Revelation 12:12

He knows he only has a short period of time left, and he wants to take as many of us off into destruction with him as he can.

So the image was of finding a wasp in your house, trapping him in a jam jar so you can release him outside.  The wasp in the jar is very angry.   Imagine we are all now inside the jar with that angry wasp.

So we need endurance.

"For you need endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the fulfillment of the promise. For yet “a very little while,” and “the one who is coming will arrive and will not delay.”  “But my righteous one will live by reason of faith,” and “if he shrinks back, I have no pleasure in him.”  Now we are not the sort who shrink back to destruction, but the sort who have faith for the preserving of our lives
." - Hebrews 10:36-39

A rescue is on the way. So close now - which will be the subject of the concluding talk on Sunday.

The wasp/jamjar is a good image, as Satan is going to be put outside for the Thousand years.  At the end of it he will be let loose, for a little while.

Revelation 20:3 says "and he hurled him (Satan) into the abyss and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not mislead the nations anymore until the 1,000 years were ended. After this he must be released for a little while."

Why?  Why let him lose for a little while?  Why not destroy him then, after all the suffering he has caused?   My mum-in-law, a lifelong Baptist, asked me that soon after I began my study with the Jehovah's Witnesses, and to my amazement, I was able to answer her.

She later became a JW.

If anyone wants to know why, please ask the next JW to knock at your door. Or ask my blog. I will be delighted to pass on to you what has been taught to me.

I did the Butterfly memberships and associated paperwork on Saturday, washed the floors, and did some much needed dusting and polishing, and made us a salad tea and our sandwiches for Sunday, as we were both out.

And rested my aching limbs.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

A Visitor from Madeira

Marsh Dowd, Blastobasis rebeli
We had a visitor whose ancestors came from Madeira on our balcony for a couple of evenings - a Marsh Dowd. Its a bit of a Goth, lookswise. And we are so glad we provided a B & B when it needed one.

It was quite like old times, having Jackie round on Friday night for our Anniversary.  Not just that it was routine for us to have supper together at the weekend before she became so ill - but also that it was impromptu.  We hadn't planned it, it just sort of happened. Which is how things used to work on Planet Expat.

We have watched some great tennis since then.  And they moved the Field Service to the Kingdom Hall on Saturday morning so that we could get on with distributing all the invitations to the upcoming Convention.   Jean and I managed to cover our assigned territory with the help of another JW family.

We also called on Tony. Who said to me that I should never go out in the sun.  It was a very very hot day. And he is quite right, I shouldn't. And only do so when I have to. Such as delivering his magazine.

We hope to have one more go at the invites this morning.  It is cloudy, for the first time in days, but no rain yet.

We do need some, as our Green is now a Brown.