Monday, 31 July 2017

Persecuted, but not Abandoned

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Dan, Dan, the Butterfly Man,

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

They both do so much for the world of butterfly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 27 July 2017

You Can't Go Home Again

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

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

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

Now the poor old mirror sees a terrible fish.

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Nabbs Cottage

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

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

The tiling is still in the Hall.

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 23 July 2017

A Lovely Review

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

It says:

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

Friday, 21 July 2017

The LandMark Evening

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, 17 July 2017

The Wasp in the Jam Jar

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

Theme for the day?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So we need endurance.

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

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

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

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

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

She later became a JW.

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

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

And rested my aching limbs.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

A Visitor from Madeira

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Moth City Redux - and a Paradox

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

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

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

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

And I am so grateful.

The New Statesman article concludes like this:

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

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

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

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

It was so HOT.  Where are these promised thunderstorms?

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

A Rosy Footman

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

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

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

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

A wonderful surprise.

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