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".