Sunday, 21 May 2017

YET ANOTHER Arthritis Flare up

What is happening?  I have just rung Jean to say I won't make it to the meeting today, my right leg is so painful - not the knee this time, more the thigh...   it is going to get a lot worse, so even if I could drive to the Hall, which is doubtful, I would not be able to drive back.

Is my medicine no  longer working?  If so, what happens next?  I think I am state of the art as far as the NHS can provide it.

Jean and I did manage two hours on the doors yesterday morning, but it was a balanced 2 hours in that we were doing calls. We drove and walked and drove and walked, not doing too much of either.

We started by turning up at the wrong door for the field service.   Which is our Special Skill.  But as we had planned to do calls anyway, and were starting in the same road with 3 of Jean's calls, it just meant that we got an earlier start than usual.

We had some good conversations.   The current Watchtower article about the Four Horsemen of Revelation is interesting people.  

I read today that the Hilary Step on Everest is no more!   It has gone - perhaps was damaged in that earthquake that hit the mountain,    Will it make the most popular route safer, or more dangerous?

This is of great interest to a keen armchair climber like myself.   I can't tell you many times me, my couch and a nice cup of tea have been up and down that Step.   But - no more.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Bye Baby Bunting - the Politically Correct Version

To my amazement I just found myself reading the PC version of Baby Bunting!

It happened this way.  It was a dark and stormy night... well, a bright and sunny morning actually, and I took myself off to the Post Office as Amy has requested a copy of "Till They Dropped" - she wants to review it for her blog, bless her.  How lovely is that?

And if and when that review appears, it will also appear on my blog. Anyway, I did the posting and went in to Oxfam to check out the books, and found a  Mary Higgins Clark I hadn't yet read "Daddy's Gone a-Hunting". She is an efficient thriller writer, her books are very readable. But, on the first page, she introduces her theme with a verse from the nursery rhyme, but a Bowdlerised version:

Bye baby bunting,
Daddy's gone a-hunting,
A rosy wisp of cloud to win,
To wrap his baby bunting in.

Now, am I dreaming, or in the brutal realistic days of the 1950s didn't daddy used to go a-hunting for something else?    Hadn't he gone to get a rabbit skin to wrap his baby bunting in?

Though the pain in my knee was fierce yesterday morning and it seemed to take me all my strength to hobble round the flat, I was pretty much OK by the evening which was a good thing, as it was pouring with rain, and Anne-Marie rang up for a lift to the meeting.  And I was able to drive.

It was a wonderful meeting of course. Jehovah teaches us so carefully and so gently.

Aunt Jo rang today to say that the card I had sent had arrived and she loved it. I had chosen it from the shop at the Pallant Gallery, for her.    She is so frail now though...   old age is distressing.  I can remember her and my young mother, both so young and pretty in the 1940s manner.   In one way, it seems like yesterday, in another way, eons ago.

Jackie seems a lot better, thank goodness.

But I am now worrying about poor baby bunting.  A rosy wisp of cloud is not going to keep the poor child warm, not in an English climate.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

ANOTHER Arthritis Flare up

The second one this week - the last one started Sunday night and was gone by Tuesday morning.   But now my right knee  - the artificial one! - feels like someone is slamming it in a car door.  How can that be?  There is no real knee there.   What is feeling this pain? And why?

Anyway, after a lot of praying, I did manage to pick up Jean and we visited Maggie, who was expecting us. We got such a warm welcome.   We chatted and laughed for an hour, Maggie doing her best to listen and join in, and telling us often how much she loves us to come.

A boost for all of us I hope.

And  Jean and me tottered out on Tuesday morning to do calls with the powerful article in the May Watchtower.

The Four Horsemen of Revelation are riding now - have been riding since 1914.

Revelation 1:3 says:  "Happy is the one who reads aloud and those who hear the words of this prophecy and who observe the things written in it, for the appointed time is near."

We can be happy if we do read and observe the things written, because of the Rider on the White Horse, Jesus Christ.  He is riding out to complete his conquest, and put an end to warfare and sickness and cruelty and wickedness.   So this is the darkest hour before the dawn.

As Revelation tells us:    "With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his people. And God himself will be with them.  And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.” "

Isn't that exactly what we need, all this suffering and sadness gone?  But can we believe it?   Revelation goes on to assure us:  "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.” - Rev.21:3-5

Faithful and true. Everything Jehovah purposes always comes about.  Isn't that the very meaning of his name?

Jehovah wants everyone to know this.  And so the good news of the Kingdom is being preached in every nation.   It is an honour to have a part in doing this. It is a work that will never be done again. Though there will be a great teaching work to be done during the Thousand Years, as surely many of the resurrected dead will know nothing of the truth.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Philip Jackson Open Day

Today - we, Captain B, Bea, and me - met Linda and John at the Philip Jackson open day.  He opens his lovely gardens with their elegant statuary once a year on behalf of the Murray Downland Trust.

Once again, he had a sunny day for it.   Though we nearly didn't make it, as our Chauffeur Captain Butterfly was on a SusSAR call out in the early hours.

Thank God the Misper was found alive and well on the beach.  So we drove off through the lovely Sussex countryside. What a beautiful month May is!

The Jackson garden is looking lovelier than ever - the garden statuary seemed taller than ever, and (to really get to the aesthetics) the hot dogs were the best ever. And the tea and cakes.

So a good day all round. And we we were all a lot rounder by the time we got outside those cakes.

Captain B then hurtled off on urgent Butterfly business - and Bea and I recovered at home.  My leg is really hurting and I hope that the Jackson Annual Garden Do isn't going to be a bridge too far from now on.

Jacks is still not well, or she would have been there with us.  I missed my companion, as she is always ready for a sit down.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

The House of Three Milks goes to the Pallant

The House of Three Milks visited the Pallant Gallery yesterday.   And I (goat's milk) fell in love with an exhibition of embroidered pictures by James Gladwell.

I even signed the book to say how much I liked them - a first for me.  My favourites were a mother peacock with her chicks, and a puffball.

Bea (soya milk) treated us to lunch in the Coffee Bar - a delicious lunch too.  It was scampi and chips for her, Catch of the Day on Bruschetta for the Captain  ("real milk"), and a salad of halloumi, rocket, orange, roast beetroot, with a raita dressing for me.  I am going to try and re-create it if I can, it was so good.

Today I shopped - for Jacks too, as she is still not well... made us lunch, which was only cheese sandwiches, and then Jean and I visited Maggie, who gave us the usual warm welcome.

We had baked potato with salad this evening and all feel rather tired.

The Captain spent the afternoon at a local meadow where an exotic snake has been seen. There were some wardens out looking for it too. It needs a rescue!   He found no snake, but saw loads of butterflies and moths, so he is happy.   We are now watching Aliens.

Bea and I had a lot of laughs today thinking about old times - especially with Grandad and Delia,, who really should have been given a comedy series of their own.   How long they have all been gone.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Missing: Two Brain Cells

I am thinking of offering a reward to anyone who can find my missing brain cells - either of them.
I began Thursday night's meeting in classic style by being so busy talking to one of my sisters that I put my contribution for the world-wide work into the field service slips box.  I had to tell a couple of elders so they will know what to do with the money they find it, as we also have a box for our contributions towards keeping our Kingdom Hall up and running.

All contributions voluntary by the way.  We support ourselves by our voluntary donations, and are always grateful when those who take our literature contribute something, though we never ask. And I think everything can be downloaded free from our excellent website now anyway.

We trust in Jehovah to keep this vast preaching work going, as it was prophesied in his word.

And just before that I got in a panic as it turns out I had got my dates muddled (along with everything else) and had thought that we were entertaining the Corfu Butterfliers next Sunday.  However, they were coming this weekend, the day after the Brighton Branch.

So the Brighton Branch came for lunch on Saturday - pasta, salad, garlic bread, ice-cream and lemon drizzle cake.

More muddle occurred on Sunday,  in that one of our number (not me for once) got both time and flat wrong.   However, we did all manage to get together for a second Cooks lasagne lunch - with salad and garlic bread - a cheeseboard and many desserts,including the ice-creams from the day before.

Hopefully everyone enjoyed themselves, and I now have a house full of flowers - including some beautiful tulips - and a fridge full of chocolates and leftovers.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

The Waiting Game

Brimstone Moth, Opisthograptis luteolata
I took Jacks to the doctors on Tuesday - and we had such a long wait. We were there a couple of hours and we got to know everyone else there very well by the time it was Jackie's turn.  It's so worrying that the NHS seems to be stretched almost to breaking point.

I also got her some Waitrose shopping.  Not that she feels much like eating at the moment, but at least its there if she does.

And Jean and I had a lovely morning on the doors.  We couldn't work on the assigned territory as it turned out to be one of  those long long private roads - no public parking - so it would have been a long walk from where we could park the car to the territory - and Jean was tired even before we began. So we did calls instead.  Back to Angmering.

This is really taking all the thrill out my planned blockbusting adventure book: "I Drove to Angmering", as I seem to be doing it every day now.   If we all strolled up and down Everest every day, who would want to read books about it?

In fact, if all goes to plan, I am back to Angmering this morning - at which point my audience falls asleep - to do a couple of return visits.  But I don't want to be out too long as Bea arrives tomorrow and I still have some organising to do.  Plus it is the meeting tonight.

And having said all that I must remember to ask Jehovah in prayer that while driving to and from Mount Angmering this morning, nothing happens that would be at all worthy of inclusion in an adventure book. But it would be lovely if we could reach some hearts with the truth.

Christianity being called "the way of the truth".

The photo is of one of our mothy visitors who spend the night on our balcony.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Supper without Jackie

Jackie was not well on Sunday so we had our chile evening without her...  not the same at all.   We watched the snooker, the first part of the final, between Selby and Higgins.  Against form, Higgins is in the lead.

Now I am trying to cast my mind back over the vast reaches of a whole weekend and think what we did.

Captain B, with his Detectorist hat on, had a couple of interesting finds at the dig on Sunday. He is at the computer next to me researching them at the moment. They will appear on his blog in time.  And we went to the wedding reception of one of his colleagues in SUSSAR on Saturday night.

It was held at the Crowne Plaza Felbridge Hotel, East Grinstead,  Nice venue, the bride looked every bit as lovely as the bride should,  and they put on a very good do.  In fact the buffet was so good, I was just hobbling back to get another plateload when Captain Butterfly came surging along saying it was time to go and swept me off to the carpark. He had an early start in the morning.

I sulked all the way home.  Or at least I would have, but, wisely, Captain Butterfly pays no attention to that sort of thing, so there is no point.

I posted a poem on facebook, as there was rather a good cartoon doing the rounds about a lady drying her washing the trendy new low tech solar and windpowered way, i.e. hanging it on the washing line.  And that reminded me of my mother, and the mothers of her generation, who hung out their clothes to dry in all weathers.  And it also reminded me of a moment, an icy windswept New Year's day, when I must have been staying at the bungalow, that would have vanished in time if I hadn't memorialised it in a poem.

A Winter Washing Line
by me

Black trees rattle in the icy wind
Through gale-smashed panes, the greenhouse sings
Tights, shirts, tea-towels, bras and knicks
Dance to welcome Eighty-Six.

That must have been the winter my father's dilapidated greenhouse finally collapsed.

Jean and I had a great morning out in Angmering on Saturday.   We found some lovely people, and have quite a few return visits to make.   And I have the material for yet another in my daring adventure saga:  "I Drove to Angmering".   Though its almost getting routine now.  Amazing what we can do, when we do it for Jehovah.  Which is simply because he always helps us.

The meeting on Sunday was special, as we had an extra half hour watching this broadcast:

The Russian Courts have decided against us and the video takes us into the trial.  If you watch the video you can decide for yourself if it was a fair trial or a show trial.  We have been prosecuted under the new Religious Extremism laws.

Our Russian brothers and sisters were already having a hard time, but it will now get much worse. The State will take all our property there  - all our Kingdom Halls, our new Headquarters - and, as far as I can see, it will be illegal for us even to meet to talk about the Bible.

But the Society is appealing this decision.  And in the meantime, we can all see that a great witness is being given to Jehovah's name.

When he was on earth, Jesus said, of his Father, Jehovah:  "I have made your name known to them and will make it known,” - John 17:26

And, as the head of the Christian congregation, Jesus is still making his Father's name known.

It should be a quiet, yet busy, day today. With study and housework.

Friday, 28 April 2017

A Visit from a Movie Star- and an Orchid from Captain B

Green-winged Orchid, Anacamptis morio
On Wednesday we entertained a movie star and her husband!   Fish and chips at the Arun View and ice cream and coffee back here.

Dave and Maggie were with us on Planet Expat for many years, and retired to the Far East early - a long time ago.  But we keep in touch and they come and see us when they are in the UK.   Maggie, who worked in our local hospital in Expat World, has a new career.  She began by featuring in rock videos, and in adverts and suchlike.  Then both she and Dave were bit part players in a Nicole Kidman movie about the fall of Singapore.

And now she has a supporting actress role in a movie - and has even won an award.    Sadly I can't link to it, as Captain Butterfly showed me the trailer which is on Youtube, and it seems to be what they call a Slasher movie... aaarrgghh - which is probably pretty much the dialogue, given the picture of Maggie screaming away (very competently) on the poster.

But if I ever had wanted to watch Slasher movies - and I never did - then as a JW I certainly can't watch them, or encourage others to.

Psalm 11:5 tells us that: "Jehovah examines the righteous one as well as the wicked one; He hates anyone who loves violence."

And sadly so many movies these days are encouraging us to love - to be entertained by - the things that God hates.

Anyway, I hope that Maggie's next movie is one I can link to - and watch. That would be wonderful.

But on the doubleplusgood side, we would all say that retirement can be a wonderful time. We keep ourselves busy - and mostly happy (its mainly the health issues connected with ageing that are the problem) - and Maggie now has a career in showbiz.

And I have found myself doing the most important work of my life in retirement.

I hope to be doing a bit this morning as one of my neighbours is coming round for a cup of tea and to collect her magazine.  I usually go to her, but thought I should entertain her this time.   And I have one more route call to do before the end of the month, so am catching up, as much as one ever does.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Thought for the Day

Thought for the Day - on the radio yesterday morning - had a moving and powerful item about the persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia.  They pointed out how persecuted our Russian brothers and sisters already are, and noted that it is now being taken to a new level,  The programme even went on to make a comparison with Hitler's Germany, when our German brothers and sisters were severely persecuted for their refusal, as Christians, to join Hitler's Nazi party, his army, or even to Heil him.

The Speaker also pointed out that we are not extremists in the usual sense of the word - we do not go around killing or hurting people. We simply believe that the Bible is God's word and try to tell all who will listen to us what it actually says.   That is considered extreme nowadays, I guess. But no-one has to listen to us if they don't want to. And we take no part in politics or the military, so we can never force our beliefs on anyone.

Why would we want to anyway.  Jehovah could force everyone in an instant, if he wanted to. But he wants us to turn back to him out of love for him, for his law and for his creation.

The Watchtower Society will do all it can to help the Russian brothers through whatever legal processes there are, but above all we must trust in Jehovah with all our hearts.   He has told us that he can and will keep hold of us through whatever comes.

Jean and I managed to meet up on time on Saturday and work out a viable route, and got a lot of our calls done. With no getting lost and no misunderstandings...

Ir was supper with Jacks on Saturday night: Beef Stroganoff with rice and veggies, a cheese platter and a choc ice.   It was a happy evening, as it always is.

Its quite cold, but sunny.  Lovely walking weather, if only I could walk.

We had our upbuilding Sunday meeting  and afterwards I did a couple of magazine route calls and did the shopping.   And I did a load of washing and got supper ready for the Captain's return.  But that was about it.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Bluebells on the Angmering Estate

Bluebell Wood, Hyacinthoides non-scripta
We - the Captain, Jackie et moi - had our annual bluebell walk yesterday morning. The light was beautiful, the bluebells wonderfully blue, the anemones and stitchwort shining white, and there was an orange-tip flitting around.

Captain B kept quizzing us about the names of wildflowers, and we kept getting them wrong.  Much to his annoyance. Apart from that it was a relaxing morning. We had a coffee at Jack's afterwards and admired the cherry blossom - at its peak.
The scent of blossom was everywhere. I am sure that smelling it and seeing the blossom is quite healing.

In the afternoon His Butterflyship went off to Rewell Wood, and I met up with one of the young pioneer sisters and we did some calls. Then it was the meeting in the evening.

We shared the experience, via a little video clip, of one our German brothers, who along with many of the JW family, were in Hitler's concentration camps.    I see the the ban on Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia is going ahead, though we will appeal.   Our Russian brothers and sisters suffered so much at the hands of both Hitler and Stalin in the last century.  I hope they are not about to suffer like that again.   This is where we have to trust  in Jehovah with all our heart, and pray constantly.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Butterfly Debates

Holly Blue, Celastrina argiolus
There is a lot of debate on fb (by the inhabitants of Planet Butterfly Conservation) re the exact identity of some of the butterflies they saw on their Corfu trip.  Its quite a complex business.

I have a couple of useful catch-all titles for any pretty flying thing I can't identify.

a)  A Duke of Fritillary (if its multi-coloured)
b)  A Cabbage White/Blue/Yellow/Purple* (if it isn't).
(*strike out colours which do not apply.)

So, wisely, I have stayed out of the debate.

Yesterday we had an interesting, if a bit of a confusing morning, on the Field Service.   I ended up with Jen at the house of a Minister who had come to the Memorial this year.  And Jean was off somewhere else. It was quite a lot of complex driving - for me.

Jean and I hope to get back together again today to visit Maggie.  And tomorrow Captain Butterfly, Jacks and me hope to do our annual Bluebell Walk in the morning, then I shall be out with one of the young Pioneers in the afternoon, and it will be the meeting in the evening.

A busy day, so I hope to finish my studying for Thursday night today.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Dreaming of Caesar

Swallowtail, Papilio machaon
His Butterflyship flew back yesterday afternoon, (via Easyjet)  having had a great time.   Jacks came round to join us for a welcome back glass of wine later. He has brought back a treasury of wonderful photos from Corfu, pressies (olive wood bracelet, olive wood lemon squeezer, and embroidered tablecloth) and a lovely tan.  And he is coming to the Special Talk at the Hall today!

It is titled: "How to Cultivate Peace in an Angry World", and will be given worldwide.

It could hardly be more timely or more needed, looking at the headlines.   I hope millions will join us today in hearing it, listening, taking it into mind and heart, and applying.

Yesterday morning as I had Jean riding shotgun (metaphorically speaking - the thought of Jean, me and our one braincell being anywhere near a loaded weapon...) I felt confident enough to drive us to Cuff Miller en route to the Field Service Group.  I was in desperate need of more petrol, but, I am embarrassed to admit, I rely on Captain B to fill my car.  For one thing, he travels about so much he always knows where the cheapest petrol is. And for another, while I understood the system on Planet Expat, and could do my own petrol-getting there,  I have never found out how it works here.

However...   I parked up at what I hoped would be the right pump, with my car on the right side of it and tiptoed in to the garage and found a guy at a computer in a little office.  "Er, can you help me?" I twittered hopefully "I need to fill my car with petrol."

"Of course" he said, springing up from his computer "What does your car take?"   "Er, not diesel" (I was confident about that.)

He was so lovely, came straight out, filled it up with the right stuff and gave  me a careful lesson about how to do it next time, and Voila!  I was all set up again.  Cuff Miller has my petrol business from now on.  I don't care what their prices are.

Jean and I were well on time to the group - a small one this Saturday - and did some calls, just about an hour, then got back to be ready to welcome Captain Butterfly.

We had a chicken salad tea (with new potatoes).   Which I hoped would not be a bit of an anti-climax after all his restaurant and taverna outings in Corfu.

And I think he will be flying off this morning after the Special Talk, as there is news of a Large Tortoiseshell.   Clearly he is not yet butterflied out.  Judging by yesterday, I will fall asleep in the afternoon.

Last night I dreamt about Caesar the Dalmatian,  I was walking near to my childhood home when, from far off, I saw this large dalmatian hurtling towards me.  I knew it was Caesar, and we were so happy to see each other again.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Early Morning

Its early morning here - 6.30 - and the sun is getting his hat on.   I feel very tired and may go back to bed...   missed Captain Butterfly's Corfu call. Don't know how. Tried to skype him back, but couldn't. Did leave a message though.

I find that the older I get the more anxious I get about separation. The Captain and I have been together since we were students in Newcastle, many eons ago.  And so I will be glad when he gets back here safely.

He is a having a wonderful time though. And it seems the sun's hat is well and truly on now and we are shaping up for a hot one.   Am I the only person in the world who does not want blazing sunshine every day and likes weather?  It does sometimes seem so.

However, I ought to get out on the balcony and get a dose of Vitamin D the way Jehovah planned it.  Or as near as we can get in a fallen and disordered world.

But the Memorial went so well - beautifully organised, with a clear explanation of why the ransom sacrifice is vital, and why millions the world over were gathering in gratitude and respect.

Jackie came with me, and also one of my sisters who needed a lift.  She is young (compared to us) and was wearing the most elegant stiletto heels, which caused Jacks and me, plodding along in our sensible comfy shoes, to reminisce about our shoe-wearing past.

They came back for tea and biscuits afterwards.  And Captain B turned up on Skype to join us!  A lovely evening.

No girly tea for the Captain though, he was brandishing a tankard of Corfu Beer.

I am so thankful to Jehovah for bringing the truth to my door and giving me a life full of hope and meaning.   And I am very grateful for this lovely morning. Its now 10.00 and  I was out on the balcony getting a small dose of sun, and I wish I could find words to describe how lovely it all looked.  The sun was coming through clouds, so the sky was mostly overcast, but it was blue, not grey, so that sky and Channel merged, and the little boat heading for the river seemed to be floating through the sky.

I was thinking about the Thousand Years, during which Paradise will be restored.   We  were talking about it on our visit to Maggie yesterday.  We think it will go really quickly, as we will all be busy with such wonderful things. And what then?   Then I guess we can say that our real lives begin - we will have "the glorious freedom of the children of God".

I hope we will all be there.  There will be new things then, wonderful things. Things we can't even imagine now.

Monday, 10 April 2017

While the Butterfly is away, the mice will play

Well, I have planned some Wild Swapping Parties since Captain Butterfly escaped on his hols.  Last night we all threw our medications, zimmers, hearing aids, and what have you into the ring and pulled one out at random. Then, with our new partners, we swapped details of our arthritis medications and told each other what the doctor said to us when we had our tubes tilted* - and all washed down with tankards of cocoa.

Sizzling stuff.  We like our cocoa nice and hot these days.

At least that is probably what would have happened last night if I hadn't dozed off halfway through a cup of tea and Gardeners Question Time, and had forgotten to arrange it anyway.

Hopefully a quiet day today, beyond studies and housework, as it will be busy busy busy tomorrow if all goes to plan.   I will pick up Jean in the morning, go to the Hall for the Field Service - I have 2 invitations left and would like to deliver them.   Then take Jean back, have lunch, go to the Hall for cleaning, IF I can get myself together.  I usually do, unless I am having one of my hospital/post-op does, but feel so tired these days, there are no guarantees.   And I must, please God, get to the Hall for the Memorial tomorrow night. Jacks is coming with me, if she is OK.  She too is uncertain healthwise these days.

Must just throw in the important and earth shaking news that I spent the morning making a big fruitcake, for the Col and Mark lunches - and the afternoon doing the Butterfly Memberships which flew through the letterbox during the morning.

Talked to Jacks and Terry, and to a happy Captain B who has seen more snakes and a Grecian Copper and a Southern Festoon.

*Thanks to the wonderful and much missed Victoria Wood for the"tilted tubes".

Sunday, 9 April 2017

The Memorial approaches

It is on Tuesday night, at 7.30, at a Kingdom Hall near you.   I hope to be helping with the last bout of Hall cleaning on Tuesday afternoon. I could not make the Saturday as I had to take Jean home, and we have already been out on the work in the morning.

It was also the Broadcast at the Hall on Saturday.

And our sisters had made some wonderful fruitcake for the tea and cakes afterwards.

Which reminded me that I must do some cake making myself this week.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Beauty and the Beast

North Stoke Orange-tip on Cuckoo Flower
How did I know that if I ever got offered a role in Beauty and the Beast it would not be as the Beauty?    Because it turns out that I am the Beast who stopped Captain Butterfly seeing the Beauty (the Large Tortoiseshell) at North Stoke yesterday morning.

I was still crippled by this arthritis attack so I asked him if he could do a Waitrose shop before he went off.  He did, leaving early, but it took quite a time. He went to the bank too.  Then he hurtled off with his sandwiches, his cake, and a camera at every corner, but got there too late.  It had been seen earlier and he phoned to tell me gloomily but had now vanished.Two of them have been seen during the past week, a male and a female. Is there hope for a new colony?

So he has left very early this morning, with the usual accoutrements. Which reminds me - a job for next week is to restock the freezer with cake.   I think it will be back to Marmalade Muffins, made with the Captain's Home Made Marmalade, of which we have vatsful.

I hope hope hope the Beauty will turn up this morning. And I hope that one day Captain B and I will be beautiful and perfect in the restored earthly Paradise with life "to time indefinite" stretching ahead of us.

Obviously I have not been doing much.  Exhausted after severe pain. But yesterday I did manage to give the bedroom a bit of a slow spring clean, and get a couple of loads of washing done.  And I am keeping up to date with my studies. It is very important not to let them go.

Spoke to Bea on the phone - long chat, she even, so kindly, offered to come down and look after me.  And Jacks.  And Jennifer (my sister). And also Lilian who was my Bible student many years ago on Planet Expat.   She is back studying with her local JW congregation and will hopefully get to the Memorial on Tuesday night.

Like me, she is now older and less confident about going out in the evening. But they will arrange a lift for her, door to door, there and back.

I would have liked to offer a lift to one of my calls, but I feel so unreliable at the moment that I just can't.  I keep having these violent surges of arthritis that cripple me - and leave me exhausted in their wake.

Moan moan whinge whinge.   However, I keep sternly reminding myself to think how I would feel now if I did not know the truth - Christianity being called "the way of the truth".   And that reminds me to be very grateful and think about the happiness in store right here on the earth.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Yet Another Arthritis Flare-up

What is happening?  This time it is my left foot - started Sunday afternoon - and got worse and worse.  An awful night - no sleep - and now i can hardly bear touch it to the ground and am back on the zimmer.

Monday night I did sleep, but moving, sitting up and touching the foot to the ground was agonising.   Coming up to midday, it is getting slightly better. Still need the zimmer, but hopefully will be able to retire it in an hour or so.

Spoke to Jean this morning - she was very comforting about it all. She has so many problems too.

We were out Sunday after the meeting - only for half an hour, but we placed quite a lot of Memorial Invites. And one of the sisters we were out with was bitten by a  dog! - a little Yorkie...

Quite a shock.

And we had two lovely talks from the Circuit Overseer on the last day of the visit.

An interesting point, from the Sermon on the Mount.

In my faraway Catholic Convent schooldays, we used to read Matthew 5:3 as "Blessed are the poor in spirit, because theirs is the Kingdom of  heaven."

But the New World translation says:   “Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need, since the Kingdom of the heavens belongs to them."   And the footnote says that an alternative translation would be “those who are beggars for the spirit.”

The Circuit Overseer pointed our the difference between being "poor" and being a "beggar".   You may be poor, may not have much, but can be able to support yourself.  But a beggar has, by definition, to ask for help.

So we will be blessed if we realise just how much we need our Creator, if we realise how lost we, the damaged children of disobedient Adam,  are.  Because then we will seek Him, and we will find Him.

And the Kingdom of the heavens will belong to us, in the sense that for most of us we can live forever in the restored earthly Paradise under its wise and loving rule.  For those few who are "the saints", the "holy ones", they will actually be in heaven, part of "the kingdom of priests and holy nation" ruling over the earth and "making all things new".

Friday, 31 March 2017

The Wild Mushroom - George McCarthy

Magpie Inkcap, Coprinus picaceus
Wednesday night, when we came back home from the talk in Steyning by The Wild Mushroom man, George McCarthy, we saw a fox resting peacefully on the grass by the garages.  On seeing us, it got up and disappeared into the bushes.

As things are now, we keep disturbing and frightening the little creatures. When the earth is Paradise again, it will be able to sleep happily on, sure that we are not going to hurt it.  Not that we would have done anything to hurt it now, let me quickly add, but, with the serpent still in the garden, it can take no risks.

We saw some great photos from George. And there was some valuable info for all those who are trying to sell their photos.  Which is not so easy these days. Jackie came with us, but it wasn't the usual foursome, as Terry is on his hols.

The talk was called The Four Seasons - fours seasons of wonderful wildlife photos - especially of birds in Winter. And we have reached another seasonal landmark in that, on Tuesday, I drove to the evening meeting at the Hall without needing the lights on.  (Our meeting was on the Tuesday as it is the week of the Circuit Overseer visit.)   The next landmark will be when I can drive back in the light...

Did nearly two hours on the field service yesterday - including a load of tricky and stressful driving - came back, fell asleep.    I did manage to use the mushrooms to make two batches of mushroom/veggie soup, but that was about it.

Masterchef has started, which will give rise to the following dialogue:

Captain B:  "Honey, I'm home. What's for supper?"

Mrs Captain B;  "Er... baked beans on toast.  I'll just go and open the tin. Too busy watching Masterchef to cook anything."

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Old Playgrounds - and an Arthritis Flare up

A weekend of self pity - due to yet another arthritis flare up in my right hand - is not an interesting thing to write about, now that I can type again.  The hand is still red and swollen, but the awful pain has gone, just soreness now, and I can use it, pretty much.

I keep thinking about my mother and what she went through in her seventies... she became completely crippled and her heart gave out at 74.

The spring blossom should be especially precious this year, as whether I shall have many more springs to my name lies in the hands of my Creator, Jehovah.  On my own, and in this current damaged system of things,I don't think I will last much longer.

So I think I will add a poem that goes back to the 1950s, to the playgrounds of our childhood, which my youngest sister has written very lyrically about, inspiring the title of my first (of 2) books, a collection of family poems.  We played in the bomb sites, and then in the building sites they became as the brave new world we had hoped to build out of the rubble began to take shape.

                                         OLD PLAYGROUNDS   by Penny Grubb

A place to go. Remember where?
With cold, stone floor and dark, damp air.
Remember? It wasn't always there.

Perched up on the rafters high.
A breath! Dust billows, thick and dry.
The view's not walking feet, but sky.

Childhood's jungles all around.
Disused quarry's eerie sound.
Thistle sentries stand their ground.

The Rose-Bay higher than we knew.
Nettles, brambles, old and new.
And always poppies - just a few.

The juice ran thick and sweet and red
From berries wild as the kids they fed.
Garden's owners - long since dead.

Only the blue delphiniums show
That these were gardens, long ago.
Now mainly weeds. A place we know.

Through tangled growth, a shelter bare.
Relic of war - Like poppies there?
We didn't know, so didn't care.

Were there ghosts deep down below?
The men who had made the gardens grow?
There was no one there we knew, I know.

Now the attic's gone, the shelter's lost
The price of progress, or the cost?
Who thought about delphiniums tossed

Against the bricks of a brand new wall
A monster seventeen storeys tall
Where and when did the flowers fall?

Strangers walk the cold, stone floor
And where there was an old trapdoor.
Fill the space that was ours before

And though it's new, it's said maybe
That there's a ghost that people see.
I daren't go back. It might be me.

The "ghost" refers to the way that the places of our childhood are haunted by memories. The Inspired Scriptures assure us that the dead are "conscious of nothing at all".  We need neither fear them, nor fear for them.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Yet Another Arthritis Flare up

This time one finger of my right hand - came on overnight on Friday/Saturday- had to ring Jean and cancel - oh dear oh dear oh dear - I hope this isn't a permanent turn  - but am remembering what happened to my mother in her seventies... the arthritis overwhelmed every treatment...  of course there are more powerful drugs now...

And now I can't make it to Haysbridge.  Whole right hand red, swollen and of very little use.  Apart from the pain, I can barely cope with the loo here, which is set up for me.   A difficult night - dozing, waking, stressful dreams...

And Captain Butterfly, my Carer, is off to Corfu on Butterfly Business soon.    Oh dear.  and this is about all the typing i can cope with

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

An Evening with Dan and Libby...

...and with the other members of the upcoming Corfu trip.  On Friday night.  It was a lovely evening - good company, good food, in their rambling house, full to the brim with books.

I was in a lot of pain with my knee - hot and swollen.  But why?  My knees are Knew and Artificial. I will have to discuss this with my arthritis doctor at the next visit.

I hope I am not going to find myself starring in a book about  strange new medical conditions - SueKnightitis, in which the artificial joints become arthritic too.

And I was seated on a high dining room chair all evening. Thank God.  I could not have got myself off a sofa.

I did not make it to the Field Service Group Saturday morning.   But I did manage to drive myself to the Hall for the Broadcast.  It was a very short drive there and back and I felt I could just do it. But it took me an age to hobble from my car to the Hall. The walk loomed ahead of me like Mount Everest (it is flat, by the way).  And I used to be such a great walker.

However, as the English Blues Singer sang, "Mustn't grumble".  I did get to the lovely Broadcast. Such a good Watchtower study, such a good and encouraging public talk. And another powerful reminder that we are a worldwide family, united in our love for our Creator, Jehovah, and our love for each other.  This was a live broadcast that included JW congregations from the UK to Cyprus to Pakistan.

We had supper with Jackie in the evening - chicken, mashed potatoes, veggies, and  a chocolate torte for pud.  A fun evening, as it always is. We seem to cheer each other up.

Then - no meeting on Sunday, but a field service group at 10.00.  Which, to my surprise I managed to struggle to.   After yet another Jean/Sue muddle, I did manage nearly an hour on my last 2 route calls and some return visits. And that included a long talk that has left me with two Biblical questions to answer, which I hope to do today.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Past my best...

... and probably past my sell-by date (under the Threescore Years and Ten rule). Oh dear.  After this latest flare-up - 2 days of paralysis and pain - well, actually more like a day and a half, I feel exhausted- so tired it hurts - and on top of that I feel as if I have a bad cold coming on.

Captain B and I are both taking First Defence in an attempt to fend it off.  We both have a busy weekend coming up.

We are out at Butterfly Dan's tonight, and to Jack's for supper tomorrow.  Then I have to pick up Jean at 9 o clock tomorrow morning and take her to the Hall. We start offering the Invitations to the Memorial door to door tomorrow.   Hopefully you will be offered one.  Please please accept and come.   It is the most important day of the year.  

They are putting on a lunch for us at the Hall after the field service, as it is the live Broadcast from the Governing Body Saturday afternoon.  I will take Jean home afterwards, and collapse, thankful that Jackie will be cooking us a lovely supper.

No meeting on Sunday, but Jean and I hope to get to the special 10. a.m Field Service Group at the Hall, to continue with the Memorial invites.

So I do need to keep healthy.

Have been in a discussion with my young publisher and his editorial team about a new title for "Small Island".  It is the perfect title, but sadly it has taken me so long to write the book, and get it accepted for publication, that there has been a best seller with that title since.  We were wondering about "Island" or "The Island", but suddenly in the early hours a quirky and totally different title came to me.

I put it to Dan tentatively, and he liked it!

So here we go. I will say more when I have a publication date.  And I will try to give it a good review this time.   Col said, of my previous blog, about editing it, that this must be the first time an author has given their own book a bad review...  really I was just wondering if other authors felt the same?   Does everyone have these terrible misgivings?

Monday, 13 March 2017

An Arthritis Flare up

It started in the early hours and now i am back on my zimmer frame, moving very slowly and very painfully.  Left leg this time.  Oh dear...   I had to cancel my Dentist appointment this morning -and they will be completely within their rights to make a late cancellation charge.

All my joints ached yesterday, but I put it down to the weather and to tiredness.   I really have to pace myself these days, in quite a pathetic sort of way. And I often think of my mother and my granny, and what they went through, as they too were custodians of the Family arthritis gene.

Thank Goodness I have got all but 4 of my route calls done - and one of those I always have to post anyway. Maybe I can do that today, along with a card to Peggy's family.  That will be little bit of witnessing anyway.  And Captain B will kindly post them.  He may not be a JW, but he approves of the moral standards.

Having the knowledge of the Kingdom of God is a privilege that must be shared.

Jackie came to us for supper on Saturday night, and, as I knew i would have a busy day, I Cooked it, rather than cooked it.  We had a Cook's Beef Bourguinon, which was excellent. Its not something I have ever cooked, and it wouldn't be nearly as good as that one if I did.   We had new potatoes, carrots and leeks with it - all cooked by my own fair hand.  And Captain Butterfly made a big bowl of fresh fruit salad which we had with ice-cream.

Saturday morning, I picked up Jean, but, yet again, managed to forget to bring our shared brain cell along, as we ended up knocking hopefully (and hopelessly) at the wrong door.  The group was meeting somewhere else.  Anyway, we both had calls to do, locally, and ended up having a good morning.  We went home for a quick lunch and I picker her up again, and we went to the Broadcast at the Hall.

It was very much  about the young brothers and sisters this month, trying to keep them steady in the face of the attractions and distractions of "the world".

Friday, 10 March 2017

Will the Proof be in the Pudding?

On Wednesday Jean and I managed to get ourselves together and met up efficiently and visited Maggie.  We got a very warm welcome, as we always do.

 The morning was taken up with shopping and cooking - Captain B navigated us to Waitrose - and I made a cheese, potato and tomato casserole from my Mexican Veggie Cookery book.   We had it for supper and it was very nice.  Well, I liked it.  Not too sure if it is the Captain's sort of thing,

And my dive thriller has come back to me - for proof reading.   I did it yesterday, but it's not as exciting as I hoped, but worrying, as I found myself wanting to cut and re-write. And yet I can't tell you how many times I have cut and re-written. Whole chapters have gone, including the first chapter, which I loved, but which just did not fit.  I first wrote it many years ago.  It was even taken by a big London agent at one time - also many years ago.  But then she changed her mind, saying it did not fit the extant publishing categories.

But sitting over it yet again is difficult.  How do authors deal with this moment I wonder.    The ending does seem absolutely right.  And I think I am now happy with the beginning.  Its the large bit in the middle that worries me.

Its Friday morning and the proof reading is now done - and I feel more strongly then ever that I should start again, and cut and cut and cut until I just have a long short story.  It all seems like padding now.

The Butterfly paperwork has also arrived, along with a Brimstone butterfly that Col and Mark saw yesterday when they were doing the fungi rounds. So that, plus doing my study for the Sunday meeting, will take care of today.

I did manage a little witnessing yesterday - and had one lovely talk at the doors.  I also found that I had got a wrong number for one of my return visits...  However, the young man who answered the door took a magazine, the one about the precious gift of the ransom, and I can call back with an invitation to the Memorial. So I can only hope it was a productive mistake.

And here is a lovely experience from the meeting at the Hall last night:

JESUS declared: “Things impossible with men are possible with God.” (Luke 18:27) Many of us have experienced the truth of that statement. Despite all the efforts of those who want to stop the preaching work, Jehovah has helped us to carry it out.

Zacharie Elegbe (aged 66, baptized in 1963) recalls how a ban against the activities of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Benin actually helped the brothers: “In 1976, when we had 2,300 publishers, our work was banned and the government ordered the ban to be broadcast in every local language. That was unheard of. Though Benin’s population speaks more than 60 languages, radio programs back then were usually broadcast in only five. So when the ban was broadcast in all local languages, many thousands of people living in remote areas heard of us for the very first time. They wondered, ‘Who are Jehovah’s Witnesses, and why are they banned?’ Later, when we reached those areas, many accepted the truth in short order.” Today, there are more than 11,500 Witnesses in Benin.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Just the One Brain Cell Between Us

Jean's and my brain cell must have slept in this morning as we got in a real muddle, with me frantically phoning Jean and not finding her - and getting very worried that she might have fallen. However, we somehow managed to meet up at the Field Service Group and had a good morning on the doors.  We did an hour and a half - finishing our territory, and doing some calls on the way back to Jean's.

The afternoon was pretty much taken up making a big carrot cake, as I realised this morning that I was down to the last piece of cake in the freezer.    

Captain Butterfly was off with Mark, they are still following the fungi hordes, but any day now the butterfly season should start.  Which will require more cake.

I am still very tired from Monday morning, when Col got a SUSSAR call out in the early hours:

It was an urgent one, and quite a long way away, so off he went. And I was frantically making up sandwiches and a flask of tea at about 4.30 a.m. - and feeling so relieved that I shopped yesterday on my way back from the meeting.

The congregations worldwide are just starting on a study of the Book of Jeremiah. And we will be watching this short video:

These little intros are a real help.

Jean and I hope to visit Maggie tomorrow, if we can manage to get ourselves sorted.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

The Shredder of Time

We got our new Paper Shredder the other day, and the melancholy thought comes to me that I ought to devote 5 minutes of every day to shredding.  I have an enormous box of old letters and cards, going back to my childhood, and a filing cabinet full of stuff. And loads of manuscripts...

When mummy died, we found that somehow, even though she could barely move, she had quietly sorted through everything.  She lived in one room plus bathroom at Lilac Tree Farm then - and had a large old bureau - walnut I think.  Every bit of paper in it was current, sorted and labelled. She had made it as easy for us as she could.

And now that I am in the death zone - under the threescore years and ten rule - then I ought to start doing the same.

But, as I said, a melancholy business.

On a much more cheerful note, Jean and I got to the Field Service group on Saturday, and had a good morning out.  We did half return visits and half first calls. And had some good conversations.  Then, in the afternoon, I visited Sue, and spent well over an hour with her.  I want to try to convince her to start a formal study with us.

Then we went to Jacks for supper last night. She had made us chicken and rice with broccoli, followed by tiramisu, and a cheese board.  Lovely evening, lots of laughs at the plights of our old age.

Friday, 3 March 2017

In the Dark Ages

Scarlet Elf Cups, Sarcoscypha coccinea
I was trying to think of a blogpost that would warrant one of the Captain's wonderful photos of some dazzling scarlet fungi he and Mark found.
Scarlet Elf Cups
It was a very busy Thursday for me, as I am now.  Yet again, I drove to Angmering, to return to talk to a very nice young man who is the deacon - I think he said deacon - of one of the local churches.   He was very interested in what we said about the ransom sacrifice last time, and said we could call back. So we did.  And found him in.

We had half an hour's talk.  He was saying that he believes there are only minor differences within Christendom - and that basically Catholic and Protestant Churches are in agreement.    I thought,  but did not say, that within living memory, Catholics and Protestants have killed each other over these differences.    I did mention though that many years ago,  I was a Catholic Convent schoolgirl - back in the Dark Ages.  He laughed at that, and said he was not going to mention my age. (Clearly he was not wanting a black eye.)

But what a long time ago it does seem - though I do try to think as little about my schooldays as possible.  Not happy memories.

We can call back, with an invite to The Memorial. And I must pray and ask Jehovah how we should proceed with this.

Then in the afternoon I went out with a young pioneer sister. Thursday evening was the meeting at the Kingdom Hall.  I was walking up the drive - it was dark, with the little light shining ahead of me. And I had a sudden feeling of joy, thinking about walking to meetings when the earth is Paradise again - how lovely all will be. How peaceful. And how we will look forward to hearing all the new things Jehovah has to teach us.

The Captain was out all day with his sandwiches, and three pieces of cake, as he was meeting both Mark and Mark's dad.

Jean and I went to the Field Service group on Tuesday, but we did calls - trying to catch up a bit, as Jean has done so much first call work over the last year.  We do try to follow up on every call, but its not easy. And I certainly have failures.  Sometimes its that you can never find people at home again, sometimes its that I never do get back...

And we hope to be out again tomorrow morning - on first call work, weather permitting.  And I have a call to make in the afternoon, on a very nice lady who I called on last year with the Memorial invite.

Its grey and rainy this morning, and if it goes on like this, the Captain will be prowling and growling around as he likes his outings.  Whereas I am a homebody - and love being at home.  For one thing, its the only place that is really comfortable for me now.

Monday, 27 February 2017

The Meek and the Mlld-Tempered

Yesterday, I was thinking about Jesus' famous words, at Matthew 5:5, about the meek inheriting the earth.   But it reads this way in a more modern translation.

"Happy are the mild-tempered, since they will inherit the earth."

There is so much in that.  Those who are mild-tempered towards their Creator, i.e. who listen to him and obey him, will also become mild-tempered and "slow to anger" as he is.

There will be no angry and violent people in the restored earthly Paradise.  How could it be Paradise if there were?

And it is "the earth" we hope to inherit.

What lies ahead this week?  Who knows actually, as "the plans of mice and men..."    Whereas whatever Jehovah purposes always comes about.

But, hopefully, it will be a week with quite a lot of witnessing in it.  Jean and I plan to go out tomorrow and Saturday, I hope to be out with one of the young pioneers on Thursday afternoon,and with another sister in the morning.

I had a long talk with Lilian, on the phone yesterday. We are both suffering healthwise in our retirement, but I hope she is being able to enjoy it too.  Since Dave died its been very hard for her. He was such a lovely guy, took such good care of her.   But the local JWs are calling regularly and I hope she might get back to the meetings.   There is no teaching more comforting.

Captain B is bustling about as usual.   Metal-detecting (no hordes as yet), giving talks (his underwater one, full of his wonderful photos), doing his conservation work, and looking after me ("a full time job" he said gloomily)...

I am not sure how I would be feeling now if I hadn't listened to the JWs who called on me all those years ago - when I was young! -  with me now being in the death zone (under the "three score years and ten" rule) and him rapidly approaching it...    how do those who do not know the truth cope?

This seems rather a gloomy post, but it is the early hours of the morning - woke up - can't sleep - having cup of tea - intend to go back to bed and try again.

Its the strange reversal of retirement, in which Monday seems to be my day off, so IF I can get back to sleep, I can safely sleep in.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

The Meek

In "Slipstream", Elizabeth Jane Howard notes that one of her friends says that if the meek inherit the earth, she is leaving the planet.   And I was thinking about that when Jean and I were out on the doors yesterday- thinking about what Jesus meant when he said that the meek would inherit the earth.

He wasn't talking about a character trait, as such.  He was talking about those who are meek towards their Creator, who will be corrected by his word.  Some very forceful people are meek towards God's word, some quiet and yielding people are not.

We got talking to a very nice lady on the doorstep. She went to the local Protestant Church and wanted to tell us, kindly, why she did not agree with us.  She mentioned, for example, the idea of the immortal soul, in which she believes.

Jean pointed out, also kindly, that it is not a Bible teaching.    But God's word made no impression.  The lady had her own ideas. She was not meek towards God's word.  Not yet anyway.  We can all change

Jean and I did.

"We'll just zimmer off now", I said as a farewell to the group as we tottered across the road to our car, having finished the territory.   "No running!"  said the Elder in Charge.

So we ended on a fun note - plus with one regular call of Jean's on the way back.

Jackie came for supper last night.   I thought it was about time I tried something new, and, remembering how reliable Delia Smith's recipes are, I made a Paprika chicken. It seemed very dull and dismal till the end, when I added the green pepper and the sour cream. Then it came right, and though I say it myself as shouldn't, it was delicious. In any case, the credit goes to Delia, as I just followed her instructions.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Talky Tin

Many years ago I wrote this little story about our fierce Saudi cat, Whites.   He lived a long life and is buried in the garden of one of our expat homes.  I put some flowers in with him so that if the shifting sands return him to the surface, anyone who finds him will know he was loved.

I thought I had lost the story, but I got round to a pile of old paperwork that came from Lilac Tree Farm,and found it, so I thought I might as well blog it.  I will ask Captain B for a photo of the beloved beast.   We had the new boiler fitted, and in the wake of that a leak... so its been a week of sitting around waiting for plumbers etc to call.  Though Jean and I did get out on the work on Tuesday, and we visited Maggie yesterday. Found her very well, and very pleased to see us.  (We were both too ill to go last week.)

TALKY TIN  by me

Talky Tin sat in the window seat looking inscrutable.

At least that's how everyone said he looked. And then they said what mysterious creatures cats are.  But, although she had tried hard to see what was inscrutable about him, Emily hadn't been able to so far.  To her, he seemed very easy to read.

When he was happy, he purred and smiled.  When he was hungry, he wailed and bellowed.  When he was sleepy, he fell asleep. He fell asleep on the instant, wherever he was. Emily had found him slumped by his food bowl;  upside down in the flower bed;  snoring happily under the feeder while the birds pecked around him,

He loved people, climbing and purring over all visitors - falling asleep on them if he was sleepy - waiting at them if he was hungry.

Apparently, to be true to his inscrutable type, he should only have sat on those visitors who were allergic to cats.  But everyone was an acceptable cat couch to Talky.

He detested all cats.  And he was not at all inscrutable about making that known. He didn't even bother  to go through the elaborate fight rituals of his kind.  He fired no warning shots across the bows. Any cat coming within the invisible line Talky had drawn around house and garden met a business like set of claws and teeth instantly.

They left quickly. And they did not come back.

All in all, Emily thought that Talky was probably from another planet.  And he hadn't bothered to do his Earth homework properly.  Or perhaps he was just lazy about his camouflage.

Yet no-one had noticed.  No-one apart from her. And apparently she didn't matter.

Which left a nagging worry in her mind. If Talky knew that she didn't matter, did that mean that he had spotted her?

Sunday, 19 February 2017

A Recovery

Back to the Meeting this morning, and we went to Jack's for supper last night - roast chicken dinner, followed by cheesecake.  All scrummy.  Captain B left early for his Treasure Hunting and has had a long if unfruitful (treasure wise) day.

I feel washed out after days of pain, but relieved that I am getting back my arm.   Who was it said that you have to be brave to face old age?  But there is only one other alternative... and its one I can't help hoping we won't have to face at all.

Its the talk at the Wetland Trust tomorrow night.

And here is some great news from the Newsroom on;

NEW YORK—Upon completion of their new world headquarters in August 2016, Jehovah’s Witnesses received official recognition for the sustainable design of their new facility in Warwick, New York. The Green Building Initiative (GBI), an organization which offers environmental assessment and certification programs for commercial buildings, awarded the Witnesses the highest possible rating of Four Green Globes for all seven of their buildings that qualified for consideration.
Shaina Weinstein, senior director of engagement for GBI, states: “Out of 965 projects nationwide, only 64 buildings have received the highest rating of Four Green Globes. For Jehovah’s Witnesses to receive Four Green Globes for all seven of their buildings at Warwick is remarkable. This accomplishment represents a very high level of commitment to water, energy, and environmental efficiency.”

Wednesday, 15 February 2017


It started on Sunday after the meeting, with a feeling of more than the usual tiredness.   Realising I would be tired after the day out on Saturday and the meeting on Sunday, I had got in a easy supper of an assortment of curries from the Waitrose chill cabinet.  All I had to do was to make a raita salad and do the rice.

It was a great evening with Jacks. Full of fun.

But by the next day I was in such pain.  My right arm - my good arm - had gone, was paralysed - and the pain kept me awake most of the night.

I began to feel a bit better during the morning and the worst of the pain has gone.  Very frightening though.  I realise how much function I have lost in my left arm...   poor Captain B had to cancel his conservation work this morning to stay at home and look after me.

I could not help but remember my mother's last years - when she effectively lost both of her arms to arthritis...

On the DoublePlusGood side Mark dropped in for tea and biscuits.

Sunday, 12 February 2017


By this evening Colin and Mark should, officially, be Sluggards, as they are on a day long Learning About Slugs Course.   Counter-intuitively, it involved getting up early and rushing off.  And the Captain has just left with sandwiches, cakes, tea, coffee, etc.

So that's the slugs sorted.  Not sure what Col and Mark will be lunching on.

We had a good day out yesterday at the Recorders Conference in Haywards Heath.  Chris du Feu, who is teaching Slugs today, gave us a talk called:  "Slugs, why bother?".   And that talk - along with Michael Blencowe's of course - were highlights.

We had great speakers all day - learnt lots. And Michael made us laugh while enthusing us for the new Butterfly Atlas for Sussex.  We already have our copy ordered, and I will be blogging about it when it comes.

It snowed gently all day in Haywards Heath and it was lovely to see the falling snow.  It didn't lie though, just melted away, and it seems there was no snow here.

Just off to the Meeting at the Hall - and Jackie comes for supper. As I knew I would not have much time or energy, it is going to be a curry selection from Waitrose.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Two Wheels on my Wagon

I was out with a young Pioneer sister Thursday afternoon. She drove her wagon round to my place and we set off.

Neither of the ladies we wanted to talk to was at home - and it was very cold. But we did have a brief chat with the husband of one of them.  It was too cold to keep people standing on the doors.

This has reminded me of those enormous biscuits called Wagon Wheels - an occasional childhood treat.  We never got two at once. And rightly so.

The meeting on Thursday was great. There is no other teaching like it.

Jackie comes for supper tomorrow.  I plan a curry evening.

Its snowing in the North.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

My Eritrean Brothers

JANUARY 30, 2017

Another Eritrean Witness Dies After Release From Prison

Tsehaye Tesfamariam died in Asmara on November 30, 2016. He was released from prison on September 10, 2015, because he was critically ill and did not receive proper medical care and treatment during his incarceration. He was born in 1941 in Nefasit, Eritrea, and is survived by his wife, Hagosa Kebreab, whom he married in 1973. They had four daughters and three sons. He was baptized as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1958.
Mr. Tesfamariam was imprisoned at the Meitir Camp since his arrest for unknown reasons in January 2009. On October 5, 2011, Mr. Tesfamariam and 24 other male Witnesses imprisoned at the Meitir Camp were placed in a half-buried metal building for special punishment until August 2012. After enduring through the intense summer heat with inadequate food and insufficient water, the health of several of them became critical.
As a result of their ordeal, Misghina Gebretinsae and Yohannes Haile died in the Meitir prison, and Kahssay Mekonnen and Goitom Gebrekristos died after their release. Mr. Tesfamariam’s death adds to this toll.

Many of my brothers and sisters are suffering a lot in Satan's system of things...  I hope a rescue for all of us comes soon. But it won't come until the good news of the Kingdom has been preached to Jehovah's satisfaction.

When speaking of the times we live in now, Jesus said: 
"And this good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come." - Matthew 24:14

I was out yesterday - 2 hours with one of my sisters - a long time for me these days (because of my feeble state) - and we had one very interesting call. It was our last one too.  We could easily have missed it, as it was not clear that it was on our road.  But we decided to knock at the door and ask which street he was on.

The young man who answered was a minister or helper of some kind at the local Protestant Church and seemed quite keen to talk to us.  He accepted two magazines, and was kind enough to say that no-one had explained the ransom sacrifice of Jesus to him before as we did. Which is a tribute to how well Jehovah teaches us.

He says we may call back and we plan to do so.

We also called on the young born again girl, who is still ill!  But her father was welcoming and took the February magazine for her - which has some very comforting advice in it.

Feel guilty I was not out on the work this morning, but I did do some much needed shopping, and am taking Jean to visit Maggie this afternoon, so it won't be a wasted day.

Captain B is out on his conservation work.  He left early with his box of sandwiches, but I hope we shall meet up for supper and the evening together.  I think its going to be baked potato tonight. But it could be pasta...   We are busy watching the episodes of Spooks that he has recorded.  What a twisted world the world of espionage is.  There will be nothing like that when the earth is Paradise again.