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 lovely review of Till by the author Stuart Aken on my Amazon site. Such a lovely 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 the lovely 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.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Moth City Redux - and a Paradox

Spindle Ermine, Yponomeuta cagnagella
Captain Butterfly - or should I say Captain Moth - has been finding much camera fodder on our night balcony and is continuing to open my eyes to the wonderful world of mothery.
The Dun-bar, Cosmia trapezina
The following is a paradox (and nothing to do with moths):

From the Newsroom at
"NEW YORK—On June 2, 2017, officials in the Russian city of Oryol gave special recognition to the local congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses, expressing gratitude for their participation in the city’s annual cleanup efforts on April 22, 2017. There were 70 Witnesses who volunteered to spend the day removing trash from the streets of Oryol and from the Orlik River that winds through the city. As a token of their appreciation, city officials presented the Witnesses with a small gift and a handwritten note stating, in part: “In gratitude for a good deed for the community and for the environment.”
However, one month after the cleanup, and one week before being formally thanked by city officials, one of the Witness volunteers, Dennis Christensen (pictured in above inset), was arrested for so-called extremist activity while attending a peaceful religious meeting on May 25. Russian authorities have been using the claim of extremist activity to target Jehovah’s Witnesses throughout the country.
However, one month after the cleanup, and one week before being formally thanked by city officials, one of the Witness volunteers, Dennis Christensen (pictured in above inset), was arrested for so-called extremist activity while attending a peaceful religious meeting on May 25. Russian authorities have been using the claim of extremist activity to target Jehovah’s Witnesses throughout the country.It is no surprise to those who know Jehovah’s Witnesses that Dennis, and the other members of the congregation, would voluntarily participate in the cleanup of their city. They have been performing this service for many years, continuing even after their legal entity was liquidated in 2016,” states David A. Semonian, a spokesman at the Witnesses’ world headquarters. “Jehovah’s Witnesses in Oryol and in other cities around the world are known for being model citizens. That is why it is ironic that Dennis, a diligent, law-abiding Christian, would be treated like a criminal shortly after making a positive contribution to his community that was recognized as honorable by officials in Oryol. We believe that Dennis should be released immediately and be allowed to continue his peaceful worship and positive community service in association with his fellow worshippers.
The arrest of Mr. Christensen took place almost a year after the local legal entity used by the Witnesses in Oryol was liquidated on June 14, 2016. The charges leveled against Mr. Christensen also came on the heels of the April 20, 2017, decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation to liquidate the Administrative Center of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia, near St. Petersburg. Mr. Christensen is still being held in pretrial detention by authorities in Oryol."
We are being targeted under new religious extremism laws.  Why, when we are peace loving and try to be good citizens and to good to all, as Jesus teaches?
This is from an interesting article in The Economist.
"The ruling puts the group, whose members preach non-violence and refuse to serve in the military, on the same legal footing as several neo-Nazi groups. Lawyers from the Russian Ministry of Justice argued that they pose a threat to “public order and public security”. The group’s property and assets are set to be seized. Any organised religious activity will be considered illegal, with violators facing steep fines and even potential prison sentences. If implemented, the decision would be “by far the most severe blow to religious freedom in Russia since the end of the Soviet Union”, argues Geraldine Fagan, author of “Believing in Russia: Religious Policy after Communism”.
The ruling is a testament to the growing influence of the Russian Orthodox church, especially of a radical wing who see the Jehovah’s Witnesses as a dangerous sect that deviates from the official version of Christianity. Christianity. The court’s decision marks the culmination of a long and concerted campaign. Experts trace the latest wave of troubles back to 2009, when Orthodox activists and local authorities began aggressively pursuing members and congregations. Regional courts steadily added Jehovah’s Witnesses literature to lists of banned extremist works, often on absurd premises. (One pamphlet was flagged for a line criticising the Russian Orthodox church. It was a citation from Tolstoy, whose works are not exactly banned in Russia.) The group’s refusal to participate in militaristic state rituals further fuelled suspicion. “The campaign dovetails with the drive for greater security, unity and patriotism,” says Ms Fagan. “Otherness and dissent are seen as threats.”

If the Russian Orthodox Church feels that we have deviated from Christian teaching then it can clearly demonstrate that, using the Inspired Scriptures.  We would be the first to want to know if anything we are teaching is unScriptural.

We are trying to tell everyone what the Bible really teaches, and so many of us can testify to its power.  Its nearly 30 years ago that I first talked to the JWs, and in that first twenty minutes talk in my front room at Newington Road, I learnt more about what the Bible on my shelf says than i did in all my years of churchgoing, both Catholic and Protestant.

And I am so grateful.

The New Statesman article concludes like this:

"The Jehovah’s Witnesses came under attack in part because they presented an easy target, argues Mr Lunkin. Members do not vote, are staunchly pacifist, and enjoy little support among a population that bristles at their door-to-door proselytising and unfamiliar theology. But the ruling is unlikely to cause believers to lose faith. “Who are we supposed to listen to now?” Mr Sivulsky muses. “The unjust decision of the court, or God?”"

Yesterday was our 44th Wedding Anniversary. And it doesn't seem a day too much.  ("More like 44 years too much" I seem to hear Captain Moth muttering the background.)

He had some champagne chilling in the fridge, and we had pizza and great tennis to watch - and the Captain drove off and fetched Jacks to join us!   She is a bit shaky, but on the mend at last it seems.

And I managed to distribute Convention invitations round the block - and had a long and interesting chat with a neighbour.

It was so HOT.  Where are these promised thunderstorms?

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

A Rosy Footman

Rosy Footman, Miltochrista miniata
On the balcony one night last week - this exquisite creature!

On Saturday morning the Captain left early in his hunt for the butterfly and moth herds, and I felt as if I had just come through a long and serious illness. And wanted to stay in bed.  But  I remembered Jean's maxim when she doesn't feel like going out - get yourself ready then see how you feel. So I did - and off we went, and did a full morning, with some very interesting calls, including a cup of tea with a very nice and interesting Irish chap.

On Sunday morning the Captain's alarm clock went off at 5.00 a.m.  I am only just recovering.   But the meeting was great and I managed to do a couple of calls afterwards - one to Crystal who along with her family leaves for a new life abroad in a few days. And I called in to Waitrose to get Jackie's shopping.  It was really hot.

Today the team of Jean and Sue tottered round a rather swish housing estate, leaving invites, and meeting some very pleasant people, one of whom asked Jean what it was that decided her to become a Jehovah's Witness - after he had established that neither of us had JW parents. Jean is from the Protestant wing of Christendom and I am from the Catholic wing.  And we both had such a surprise when we found out what the Bible actually says.

A wonderful surprise.

Our balcony continues to be moth city, and also provides many lovely surprises, such is the beauty and variety of the creation.

Friday, 30 June 2017

A Savage Arthritis Flare-up

These days, I always feel tired.  Old age, arthritis, par for the course. But when we got back from seeing Maggie on Wednesday afternoon - where we got our usual warm welcome - I felt terminally tired.   I had to make soup for supper.  We have a soup machine. I had bought a packet of ready chopped sweet potato and pumpkin, so all I had to do was to chop one potato, one carrot, one onion, a bit of celery, herbs, add water and stock cube and turn on. On, and put the garlic bread from the freezer into the oven.  Next to nothing. But it felt like climbing Mount Everest.

Then they had  a Patients/Doctors meeting at our local surgery that evening to discuss all the things that are going on - thousands of new patients, difficult in recruiting doctors etc.   It was comforting to know what they were doing - and be reminded what nice, if tired, doctors we have.

I wish we could have a government that would regard the NHS as a jewel in its crown.

But during the meeting I began to feel this worrying pain in my left leg - upper.  Please God this is not my hips going... the thought of having to be back in hospital, in the horrors of the wards...

Anyway, this was the beginning of what has to be my worst flare up so far. Neither the Captain nor me got much sleep that night.    At one point I did pray to Jehovah for some relief - and I did then manage about an hours sleep, which was a lifesaver.   And yesterday was a nightmare of pain.   My leg is still very painful this morning, but nothing like it was. I was able to get myself to the computer, albeit on my trusty zimmer, to try catch up.

I couldn't even get myself to the loo yesterday.  Captain B was wonderful.  A tower of strength. And at least we were able to sleep through tonight.

He is still finding exciting moths on our balcony every night. They really are exquisite.  I am beginning to wonder if next years calendar should be a Moth one, though it would have to include a Swallowtail butterfly as he got such great photos on his little holiday in Norfolk with Dan.

And, re Maggie and our regular visits.  When we were at Dan and Libby's party on Saturday we got talking to a lovely young physio called Heather.   She works with Aspergers and Autistic patients, so we started to talk about the amazing human brain, and I was telling her about Maggie and how she would be completely blank as to who people she had known for ages were, until  you showed her their name in her address book. Then she knew. So the info is still there - its how to find the path to it. Though sadly I think the paths are closing all the time.

But she doesn't need an address book for us now. She does know us and can usually get our names without prompting.  And she knows if we ever miss a Wednesday!  Which we try not to do. But sometime the Nursing Home itself is closed to visits as they have an infection going round,

Anyway Heather confirmed how important routine is - that we always go on a Wednesday. And she said that even though Maggie might not remember we had been for long, the physiological effects of our visit can and do linger on.  Apparently there is a big rise in endorphins during and after a visit.

All Maggie can really say now is that she loves us, and she loves us to come. Truly.  She always adds the "truly" with such feeling,  So we too get a boost every time we see her. Who doesn't want to be loved and wanted?

Monday, 26 June 2017

Swallowtail Moths

Swallow-tailed Moth (Ourapteryx sambucaria)
The Captain called me out to the balcony last night to see these two Swallowtail moths resting by our light,  They are exquisite.   Jehovah, with Jesus working alongside him as a master worker, made an awe-inspiring world for us to live on and in. The tiniest detail is a masterpiece of artistry and engineering. We have made such a mess of it, but they are coming to our rescue fast.
Swallow-tailed Moths
I was saying to someone on facebook this morning that the procession of tiny tiny egg, to caterpillar, to larva, to butterfly is a miracle in plain sight.  They agreed.

The creation tells us day and night of its Grand Creator. And the Inspired Scriptures tell us his name, ,Jehovah, the God of Abraham.

We had two items of news today. One very sad.  The wife of an old University Friend has just died.   We knew him and his first wife many years ago when we were students at Newcastle University. In fact I shared a room/flat with Diana and Col knew Pete as they had been to school together.  And that is how the Captain and I met - and the rest they say is history.   ("And we know what a miserable business history is" I seem to hear the Captain crabbing from the other side of the table.)

Diana died some years ago. And now his second wife - also a lovely lady - has died.   But we are all in the death zone now.

And we also heard that Paul, a friend from PlanetExpat, has now retired and is back in the UK.

And we had another news bulletin over the weekend.  It seems we are going to become a great aunt and uncle yet again!

A generation is coming, and a generation is going...

It was Dan and Libbys's wedding anniversary party on Saturday.  A special do, as it was their Twentieth.   They chose a lovely venue - a farm with an enchanting rambling garden.  The weather had changed though - it was grey and windy.  Not that I minded.  I am not one for the heat.

We left quite early though - as we were both so tired. The Captain was exhausted after a very difficult day - early start to get to his annual walk - car developed radiator problems...   and I had quite a busy morning - pick up Jean, to group, on the work, then onto the Kingdom Hall for cleaning duties.

And it doesn't take a lot to exhaust me these days.

Jackie is still not well, and I took her in a load of shopping after the meeting yesterday.

Friday, 23 June 2017


Jean and I had a good morning out on Tuesday. We didn't go to the Field Service Meeting at the Kingdom Hall as Jean had a doctor's appointment.  I took her there, and we both had some calls in the locale and got those done.  We finished in time for me to get to Waitrose to do Jackie's shopping for her.

On Wednesday morning I sent a card off to Marcin, in intensive care in Sydney, and also posted Dave's magazine to him. I usually send it at the beginning of the month and was surprised to find I hadn't done so this time.  They both got sent one of the lovely bird cards I got at the launch of The Sussex Butterfly Atlas.

IT IS SO HOT. in the nineties.  Jean and I braved it to Maggie's and found to our relief that the window in her room was open and the door propped open. She doesn't allow that. Ever. But she wasn't there.  We tracked her down to the lounge where she was sitting over a cold drink and she was so pleased to see us.

We had a thunderstorm yesterday.  Which we needed.   Jen and I sheltered in my car until it was over.  So we only managed 15 minutes on the doors but it was quite a productive 15 minutes as we have arranged to see the guy next Friday.

Tomorrow is the annual party at Dan's. It is their twentieth anniversary, which is good going.    I can't say I have done much today - done my study for Sunday, a load of washing, made lunch (soup again), and - well, that is about it...

It is much much COOLER now. Thank goodness.

I have been going through the official version of my Dive Thriller - launch date to be announced any day now. Will anyone buy it?

I think my writers royalty income has been about one hundred pounds so far.   Not exactly J K Rowling.   I would love to be able to make some money for my young publisher though.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The Swallowtail Moth and Pedro Conejo

Swallow-tailed Moth, Ourapteryx sambucaria
Our balcony seems to have become a Moth Hotel, hopefully a good one and well recommended, as more and more keep coming, including this giant fellow.
Peter Rabbit with Adonis Blue, Polyommatus bellargus
Dorothy of South Island left on Monday with her travelling companion, Peter Rabbit, or Pedro Conejo as he is known since his recent travels in Peru.  He sends regular bulletins and photos back to Dorothy's little granddaughter.   He recently appeared in Kithurst Meadow, helping Captain Butterfly with his transect.

We had a bit of an Aramco reunion on Saturday night, with both Dorothy and Linda there.  Jackie joined us, although she didn't eat much.  But still, it was a start.  We had lasagne, salad, garlic bread, a set custard with raspberries and blueberries, champagne, wine and coffee.   I Cooksed it, rather than cooked it.   And on Sunday we had lunch at The Steam Packet. It was good.   Roast pork for them - fish and chips for me.

I did get to the meeting on Sunday - and this morning I have to take Jean to the doctors and then we might do a few calls in the area.

The talk at Arundel last night - the end of the talk season - was great - on Madagascar - but sad as the flora and fauna there is unique - and so threatened, so beleaguered.  It needs all the eco-tourism it can get to keep the small reserves going.

And it was so hot.  Terry came with us.  And we all got very very hot.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

A Towering Inferno

The fire at Grenfell Towers in West London has killed who knows how many people.  Will we ever really know?    There will be so many enquiries and post mortems, but at the moment who can really say why it went up like a Roman Candle, leaving no time for those trapped on the top floors to escape.

They were going about their business, in their homes, and were suddenly engulfed by a nightmare.

As the Christian Greek Scriptures say "all creation keeps on groaning together and being in pain together".  But when the rescue comes, the dead will not be forgotten.   So I hope all those killed in the fire are held safe in "the everlasting arms" and have a wonderful awakening ahead of them. They fell asleep in a nightmare, but will wake up in the restored earthly paradise.

I was out this afternoon with one of the young pioneer sisters, trying to tell all who will listen about the incoming Kingdom of God. And Jean and I spent the afternoon with Maggie yesterday.  It was very hot.

Dorothy of South Island arrives tomorrow, so much of today was taken up with dusting, polishing, and getting the washing done.

Captain B drove Jacks to her hospital visit, and she came back here for tea and a biscuit and to pick up the soup I had made for her - leek, potato and basil.  At last she seems to be getting better - and may even join the Captain, me, Dorothy of the South, and Linda on Saturday night.

I must think what to cook - or, more probably, what to Cook (what to buy from Cooks.

Some wonderful news from the Brighton Branch of the family.  Amy has got a First!!  

Monday, 12 June 2017

The Norfolk Swallowtail

Swallowtail, Papilio machaon britannicus
We - that is to say Jean and I - managed to get it into our heads on Saturday morning that the Field Service Group was cancelled because the children of the household were ill.   So we set off, on our own, early,  and started on our calls.   We always have lots of calls to do.  Return visits, magazine route calls, we never catch up. I doubt that any of us do.

Anyway, as we drove along - stopping, starting, in and out of cul-de-sacs -we kept meeting our brothers and sisters who were also out on the preaching work. Which was lovely  - and also informative, as we found out there was no problem with the group at all.   Something had gone wrong with the grapevine.  Or, more likely, Jean and I had simply forgotten to activate our shared brain cell that morning.

Then I ran Jean back home, rushed back had some lunch and picked her up again and we went to the Hall for the Broadcast.

We had tea and cakes and then stopped afterwards for Hall cleaning.  It was such a hot day - and I had a headache by the evening.

Captain Butterfly is back from his butterfly weekend in Norfolk. They had a wonderful time.   Swallowtails galore.  One of these Swallowtails will surely be appearing on next year's calendar.

I have poached one of his lovely photos for my blog.  What a beautiful world Jehovah has made for us. And what a lovely thought to fill it with flying flowers.

A mountain of butterfly paperwork has arrived - there has been a Membership Drive, clearly successful.  Everyone will be rejoicing except the poor beleaguered membership secretary - myself.

So that is today taken care of. But first I must get to Waitrose to do Jackie's shopping.  She is still not at all well.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Stormy Weather

It was so wild and wet on Tuesday that Jean and I did not go out on the work - though we both did go out, separately, in the afternoon.  It is still windy, and we have had some wonderful seas.   We visited Maggie on Wednesday and got our usual warm welcome.  We are quite good at getting ourselves in and out through all the locks now.

Sunny today, though still quite a wind.    We - Jennifer et moi - plan to visit the young man we have been calling on - hoping he will be at home.   I said we would leave him a fortnight to read and digest the Trinity Brochure.

I was just leaving the Kingdom Hall this morning when I was caught in a very short, very localised, downpour.  Heard thunder, saw no lightning.It has been sunny since, but breezy.   Some brothers and sisters had come over from Worthing to help us reach the deaf people in our area.  Clearly they know how to sign.

We had a very interesting talk at the door and have left some more information with our householder - this time about God's name.    Jesus taught us to pray that his Father's name be hallowed, or sanctified, be made holy. And he said that he had made his Father's name known.

At John 17:26 Jesus said:  "I have made your name known to them and will make it known, so that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in union with them."

So we feel that, as Christians, we too must make Jehovah's name known.

Anyway, I hope that we have planted some seeds.   He did think for quite a long time about God's name and why it was never mentioned in the church he attends.

And of course I now have yet another chapter for my interminable series "I Drove to Angmeriing". The thrill is wearing off even for me, never mind my poor readers.  And of course for those driving behind me as I never get out of third gear these days.

Jackie is no better... I hope to do some shopping for her over the weekend, but it won't be till Sunday as I have a very busy day coming up tomorrow, if all goes to plan.

Captain Butterfly is off on a Butterfly expedition with Dan.

And I chose the cover for my about to be published thriller!   I had a choice of two - both of which I liked.  Title to be revealed soon - it will have a blog of its own.

Monday, 5 June 2017

The Troubles

We woke up Sunday morning to news of another terrorist attack in London - 6 killed and counting,  many injured, many traumatised.  Once it was the IRA killing us and now its Islamic fundamentalists.

Who will it be next?   IF the present system of things on the earth continues long enough for the next terror group to arrive.  Hopefully it won't.

Once again I have to ask what have the world's religions been teaching their people down the ages they have had such power and influence.

The talk at the Sunday meeting could hardly have been more timely as it was all about how we do not need to fear the future, IF we trust in Jehovah with all our heart.

Monday... the terror attack is still all over the News.  Are we building up to something... I keep thinking about what the Book of Revelation says will happen next.

On a more mundane level, I did some routine housework - and went to clinic and pharmacy to get Jack's latest medicine, which I delivered in the afternoon.  Stayed for tea and a chat and we both hope hope hope that the new med is finally going to do the trick.   The Siren voice of Butterfly Mark was heard over the phone in the morning and Captain Butterfly flew off, laden with cameras and cakes and sandwiches to look for the emergent Meadow Browns.  

That made me realise that one job for this week is cake-making.

I have done my studying for the day, and did my Expenses Form.  I hate doing it and got rather bad-tempered.  Captain B asked when the next meeting at the Kingdom Hall is.   "Thursday" I snapped.  "Not soon enough!" he barked.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

The Return of the Hilary Step?

It may not have gone away at all according to this article from the Guardian:

So who knows?  I won't be going up to have a look myself. I will have to wait for the next Sofa Expedition before I can suss it out.

Thanks to Bea's kind thought of getting Jack's some flowers to cheer her up, I now have a vase full of beautiful lilies, as Captain B bought us both some.  

Jean and I were out yesterday morning with some of our brothers and sisters. We finished our territory and did a couple of Jean's calls.    The next glamorous undertaking was that I cleaned out the fridge and made supper - salmon salad.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

The Launch of the Sussex Butterfly Atlas - by Blencowe and Hulme

The Butterflies of Sussex launch poster by Mark Avery
The Good Ship "The Butterflies of Sussex, a Twenty First Century Atlas" by Michael Blencowe and Neil Hulme had a very successful launch on Thursday the 25th of May. Which is suddenly last month, as we have rushed headlong into June.

It was held at the Booth Museum in Worthing - an incredible place, and the perfect venue.
Michael gave us a talk with slides and music - and it was the best show in town.

I am looking forward to reading our copy of the Atlas - not only informative but entertaining. With some great photos - some by Captain Butterfly himself!

Jean and I visited Maggie yesterday afternoon - her room was baking, but she was lying under the covers and wearing her big woolly cardigan.  Jennifer joined us and we all sat in the lounge for while, which was cooler, and a lovely young Polish nurse bought us a jug of lemonade.

What is going to happen after Brexit?  Will she still be there?  And if not, how will they replace her? And with who?  Will it be with someone as kind and patient as she is?

And Jean and I had a good morning on the work on Tuesday. We covered our territory with the others and then did a couple of calls.

Jackie is still not well...  we did some more shopping and I made her some leek and potato soup, keeping it as bland as possible.

I am now trying to make myself go to the Field Service Group this morning...   all I really want to do is to go back to bed.  Yet I had a good night's sleep.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Moth City

Figure of Eighty, Tethea ocularis
Captain Butterfly assures me that our balcony was Moth City last night.    It is strange thunderstormy weather at the moment. Did that have something to do with it?  Anyway, I am glad we provided them with a bed for the night.
Maiden's Blush, Cyclophora punctaria
Heart and Dart, Agrotis exclamationis

Mottled Pug, Eupithecia exiguata

Jean and I had a lovely morning on the doors yesterday, driving round, doing our calls.  We seemed to plan it out well (for a change), and we both found one of our callees who we hadn't seen for a long time at home and got a good welcome.

The article about The Four Horsemen is proving popular and there are no more magazines left. I still have 3 route calls to do this month, but have magazines saved for them.

Jen and I called on the young minister on Friday morning and spent half an hour with him.  He had set out chairs in the garden for us, so I was in the sun, which was difficult for me.  But we had a good talk and we left him with the Trinity Brochure.  He has gone straight to the heart of the matter, in that the central doctrine of Christendom is the Trinity, which we believe is not only not Biblical, but contradicts what the Inspired Scriptures tells us about God.

He is a lovely genuine guy - with a great family.   And he heroically rescued us by throwing himself in front of the shed under construction just as it began to topple on us.  It suddenly blew down in the high wind.

There are many who would have left us to our fate!

Poor Jackie still not well...   Col did her shopping for her yesterday morning as I was out with Jean.  And we are hoping she might feel well enough to join us for a glass of wine over the next few days.

Thing seem to be happening re my Eco-thriller "Small Island" - now re-named, Name to be revealed later.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

The Poison

Terrible terrible stories on the news.  A family concert in Manchester was attacked by a suicide bomber.  22 dead and counting.  Many injured. Many traumatised.  Children left without parents, parents without children.  

And an awful account of the torture and murder of Paul Pass. I could not read beyond the trial headlines, but he had to go through it.

The spirit of destruction and cruelty is flourishing.

And yesterday when sorting through old files, I found this poem by William Wantling


now, upon this awkward
ball of Mud
at certain times I see
despite the poison raging through my blood
all is ecstasy

It seems strangely appropriate.   What is the poison raging through our blood - and through our whole society?

The Inspired Scriptures explain it - teach us how to deal with it, without becoming poisoned or poisonous ourselves, and they assure us of a rescue.  Has the perfect advice in Psalm 37 ever been more timely?

And it also promises us this, that  "the meek will possess the earth, And they will find exquisite delight in the abundance of peace."

Exquisite delight in the abundance of peace - right here on the earth - for those of us who are meek towards our Creator, who will listen to him and obey him.

And the dead will not be forgotten at that time.

So the poet is right.  Even though he was (I assume) sick and dying, he could see there is ecstasy - not only in the breathtaking beauty of the world and the awe-inspiring universe we live in, but in the promise of more happiness ahead for us than we can now imagine.

I hope so much the bereaved families know this, or will come to know it. And that they know they will see their loved ones again.

Jean and I spent yesterday afternoon with Maggie, and Jennifer joined us.   And Jean and I had a good morning on the doors on Tuesday.   I am now trying to make myself get out to the Thursday field service group... I feel so tired, but the message is so urgent.