Tuesday, 31 January 2017

The Pallant Gallery

We - the Captain, Jackie and Mrs Captain Butterfly - went to the Pallant Gallery today to see an Exhibition called:  "The Mythic Method : Classicism in British Art 1920-1950.


It was much more fun than it sounds, and included a portrait of Wallis Simpson - along with photos of various "society beauties" posing as various things.  (Get those women a life!).

And, greatly to our surprise, when we went for our lunch we found the restaurant had been completely re-vamped.   It is a lovely space anyway, but now its even lovelier, with a kind of 50s themes brought right into 2017.

And of course the menu has changed too.

Jackie had calves liver, sweet potato croquettes and greens; Col had a Platter with everything on it; and  had the Catch of the Day, which was smoked haddock.  We followed up with coffee panacotta (us ladies) and sticky toffee pudding (Captain B).

Oh, and a glass of our favourite NZ wine each.

It was all so good.   We hope to go again in the Spring with Bea.

The only disappointment was that Una Stubbs wasn't there this time. But I suppose we can't really expect it.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Losing the Battle, but Winning the War

At the short, simple and lovely Memorial Service for Sharon at the Kingdom Hall yesterday, the brother conducting read a message that Sharon had left for us.

She wanted us to know that she had lost the battle, but won the war.

She had lost her battle against cancer, which was valiantly fought, but which overwhelmed her in the end.  But she won the war to endure to the end as a faithful servant of Jehovah.

Jesus said:  "But the one who has endured to the end will be saved." - Matthew 24:13

We have to endure faithfully to the end of our lives, or until Armageddon  - whichever comes first.

And these beautiful words from Job were read:

 "If a man dies, can he live again? I will wait all the days of my compulsory service Until my relief comes.  You will call, and I will answer you. You will long for the work of your hands." - Job 14:14,15

Jehovah too looks forward to the time when he can begin to call the dead from their dreamless sleep. It won't be until the wicked have been removed and the earth is truly at peace.   Nature will no longer be "red in tooth and claw" when Sharon opens her eyes again.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

A Quiet Week

No car.  It is now in hospital - I had to drive it there yesterday, following Captain Butterfly, dreading that awful smell of burning starting up again.  We made it, and I am hoping it might be back today so I can get to the meeting tonight.  Someone will certainly give me a lift, but the problem is that I find other peoples' cars very difficult to cope with.  

I thought it might be time for a poem - and I have chosen this one, as hopefully my dive thriller will be out sometime this year. And I have tried to convey the beauty of the island in it, while keeping it interesting.


by me 

Palms iced with frangipan
Hide coral strand
Coconuts carelessly
Crash onto sand
Hermit crabs shop for shell
By mangrove root
At night giant bats glide out
Hunting for fruit.

Reading this, I think what Philip Larkin or John Betjeman could have done  with it, probably using almost the same words. It could have become a lament for our mortality - who knows?

As it is, is more of a verse than a poem.  I think I did hope to do something with the fruit hunting bats - something about nature being "red in tooth and claw".  But clearly I didn't.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Garden Beasts and Collapsed Cars

We - The Captain, Terry and me - went to Hassocks Friday night for a talk on Garden Mammals, given by Dr.Dawn Scott of Brighton University.  Butterfly Mark joined us there.

She is such an enthusiast for her subject.  You may well have seen her on various Watches, Spring and Otherwise. Remember the Brighton foxes for example?

Then the 4 of us went to a talk on the insects of  Binsted on Saturday afternoon, by a Mike Edwards, an entymologist - another real enthusiast.  Insects are a marvelous creation - living clockwork toys - but everything is disordered at the moment, so I find them a bit unsettling.

That was after a dramatic morning during which I Drove to Angmering (with Jean beside me) and we wove all over the place doing our calls. Had some good calls too. But - on the way back - the car gave out on us.  We did manage to stagger it back home, and,thank God, Col was there to run Jean back. He thinks it is the clutch... and I am in disgrace as apparently I am very hard on the clutch when I drive.  It goes to the garage today - when and if the freezing fog clears - Green and Channel are invisible at the moment in a lovely, if cold, screen of mist.

Jackie treated us to supper on Saturday night, which cheered us up after the car problem - which is going to cost.   We had roast veggie lasagne from Cooks, with hot French bread - followed by apple pie and ice cream.   Excellent.

Facebook is full of rage about Donald Trump and his inauguration.  How divisive politics are - they seem to cause brother to hate brother, sister to despise sister.  How wise Jehovah is to teach his people to stay out of it.

And I hope President Trump/s family will be able to cope with all the hatred and scorn directed at him. It can't be fun to have such things said about your husband and father

The point is that Jehovah's wonderful purpose towards the earth goes on regardless of who gets elected - and he asks us to respect the earthly powers for as long as he himself tolerates them.  We have to have some kind of order on the earth while we wait for the perfect rulership of God's Kingdom - which is not far off!    

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Surviving the Savage Sea

My book order has arrived and I have been re-reading "Survive the Savage Sea" by Dougal Robertson and "Albatross" by Deborah Scaling Kiley.     Don't read them if you are just about to set off to sea. Aarrgghh.    Of the five crew aboard "Trashman" only two survived their 5 days shipwrecked  The Robertson family - all five of them, plus their young travelling companion, survived 38 days adrift, thanks to some amazing route finding by Dougal Robertson. But at a cost.  The marriage did not survive.

The Dougal Robertson book throws an interesting and sad light on just how tough the life of a small farmer can be too.

Apparently one of the sons has written his account - "The :Last Voyage of the Lucette" (by Douglas Robertson).  I think that will be on my next book order.

The team of Jean and Sue zimmered off on the doors yesterday hurtling round the streets at a very slow hurtle.  We did return visits and magazine route calls.  And one call was so so sad.  The lady I called on died at Christmas...  her husband was unable to speak to us, just sobbed at the door.  He is devastated.

If we did live in the Darwinian world the powers that be want to think we do, then why does death seem so terrible to us?

Jesus cried over the death of Lazarus and the pain it brought his family, even though he knew he could resurrect him there and then.   According to Genesis, we were never meant to die.  And surely we feel the wrongness of death, of losing the ones we love, to this day?

I have a difficult letter to do now. But it must be done.

We plan to go out again this afternoon.  We usually visit Maggie, but the nursing home is still closed to visitors because of sickness.

Following an interesting talk on Owls at the Wetland Centre on Monday night, the Captain and Terry have been on Owl Safari, no photos so far.   No owls.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

The Mink

American Mink, Neovison vison
Captain Butterfly has been getting some amazing shots at the Wetland Trust this month, including a mink eating an eel.

How lovely the mink's fur is - which is its misfortune, poor creature. And its beautiful blue eyes...   its all so sad, as I guess they will have to dispose of it.

Of course that will be a relief for eels and all the small things are the mink's prey.  It is so difficult now that nature is "red in tooth and claw with ravine".    How much we - all the earthly creation - need the rescue we pray for when we say the Lord's prayer.

We got our first flurry of snow on Thursday night, quickly turning into slush and then back into rain, and nothing so far this morning.  But we had to cancel our afternoon field service (I often go out with one of the young pioneer sisters on Thursdays)as it was monsooning it down -  and I didn't go to the meeting, for fear of it having iced up by the time I had to walk to the car.

I am now terrified of falling...   that fall last Winter has crippled my left arm, so I worry what the next fall will do.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

First Field Service of 2017

Misty, rainy morning Saturday. Wanted to stay in bed. But, thank goodness, had arranged to pick up Jean.  So did.  She very tired too, but had arranged to meet me, so did. We keep each other going.  Field service group and then off to West Beach.

That could be the follow up to my sizzling memoir "I Drove to Angmering (by myself)" - "I Drove to Angmering II (the fearsome journey to West Beach)".

Anyway, thanks I am sure to all the praying to Jehovah for help, we got there and back safely.  It was 10 minutes of terror.  Finished our little bit of "no steps" territory, and then did some return visits/magazine route calls.  We each got a warm welcome at a door, which is always encouraging.

To Jackie's for supper - one of her roasts  chicken with all the trimmings. And lots of laughing about the plight we are all in (old age).   What a good friend she is.

To the meeting Sunday.   There is no teaching like this is the world, and it is being taught worldwide.

This morning - if the rain holds off - I am out with Jean again.

Friday, 6 January 2017

The Captain Becomes Thoughtful

We were driving back from our visit to my bro in law and family in York last Thursday
when I noticed that Captain Butterfly had a very thoughtful profile.  Was he thinking over the question of: Life, the Universe and Everything?  Or maybe even considering buying another camera? That one requires an immense amount of concentrated research.

Suddenly, the profile spoke.

"Jen's crumble was really good. Just the right amount of tartness."

I had to agree it was.   She served it as dessert on Wednesday. And with the right accompaniment - custard.  It was a mixed fruit crumble - possibly from fruit she had foraged herself. I must remember to ask.

The Captain has standards for his favourite dessert. And so far the Fat Cat Apple Crumble and My Own Version of Same have vied for top place. But we may just have been overtaken.

That was a momentous Wednesday.

The Poor Captain is down with a bad cold and not at all the usual dynamo.  And I am not too wonderful myself, my poor battered immune system still can't get rid of old cold, or exactly fight off new Sheffield cold...

But I got to the meeting last night. Driving was awful - windshield freezing as I drove.  But I am so glad i went and reconnected with the most perfect teaching that there is in the world.

I hope to get back out in the field on Saturday, but not if the ground is icy. I cannot afford another fall.

We came back to some very good news.  Linda and John are engaged- and we are going to plan a champagne supper to celebrate!  Some good news to tell Jacks on Saturday.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

The Berlin Wall between Cat and Dog

The wall was up again at the bungalow - but a bit different from before, and we had to get used to the new rules, times, and the complicated gate with catflap.

Doris was described by the Shelter as "a dog who will not chase cats".  A sentence accurate in every way if only they had left the word "not" out.

Captain Butterfly and Mrs Captain (myself) arrived back on the South Coast yesterday afternoon.  It took us 5 hours, door to door. So a good journey.  No hold ups, apart from one very brief and unusual one.  There was a sign "SLOW- ANIMALS ON ROAD".    ??   Then Captain B saw a swan, with the RSPCA van there. So we hope for the best for it.

We took our usual sandwiches and flask of tea.

Its strange to be home again after 10 days away, though I am enjoying the comforts  The arthritis and the mechanical bits inside me make it hard to cope with other peoples' houses.    And I don't think I have ever felt so tired.  Even the human dynamo that is the Captain is tired.

I have had a terrible fail in shopping and there was no bread in the freezer when we got back. So we had defrosted veggie soup last night  - and I had to quickly make some rather stodgy dumplings to go with it. And, as neither of us has been able to get ourselves together and shop yet, we will be having the remains of the soup for lunch, and I am making some chapattis to go with it.

The third load of washing has just been done.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

ARRIVALS - Jeremy Abrahams

Jeremy Abrahams cycled round to deliver our copies of his book "Arrivals. Making Sheffield Home" in person, and joined Nute, Ken, Keith, the Captain and me for coffee.

The book is a series of masterly photographs of immigrants from all over the world who settled in Sheffield and made it home.

It contains a photograph of our father, as a handsome young man.  Nute is holding his framed photo near to where The Wedding Cake (the Registery Office he designed) used to stand.

And the Captain and I went to the Exhibition in Western Park yesterday afternoon.

A masterly set of photographs, and well worth a visit.

And it was lovely to see small children everywhere. Yet another generation starting to discover the world through the Weston Park Museum, as we did, such a long time ago.

It is now 2017 and I am so grateful we are all still here. Fireworks last night keeping us awake.  Poor Scooter disappeared, but turned up, starving hungry, at 3 a.m.

Pen was over Friday/Saturday and we had a writing session.  I now have the first page of my next book. But whether it will work or not - time will tell.

What I must do today is catch up with my studying.   I need a good reassuring comforting dose of God's word.  We are in the Book of Isaiah at the moment - which contains, among other things, the promise that when God;s Kingdom is ruling over the earth, nature will no longer be "red in tooth and claw".

Isaiah 11:6-9: "The wolf will reside for a while with the lamb, And with the young goat the leopard will lie down, And the calf and the lion and the fattened animal will all be together; And a little boy will lead them.  The cow and the bear will feed together, And their young will lie down together. The lion will eat straw like the bull.   The nursing child will play over the lair of a cobra, And a weaned child will put his hand over the den of a poisonous snake.   They will not cause any harm Or any ruin in all my holy mountain, Because the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah As the waters cover the sea."

The earth will be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters cover the sea.  Paradise will be restored, and all creation will be at peace as it was in the beginning.  Then the dead can be woken from the dreamless sleep of death.

And what a wonderful awakening it will be.