Friday, 29 September 2017

First Review of "Waiting for Gordo"

The waiting for the first review of "Waiting for Gordo" is over, as I found this on the Amazon site today - and from a fellow author too.    I am so happy with it.

"This very unusual novel combines magical realism with tension, suspense and humour. Miranda and her husband Jim arrive on a luxury, but remote, island for a diving holiday. Jim will dive with their party, and Miranda will enjoy the sea, the sun and relaxation. But like all Paradises, something is lurking on the island that may not welcome the visitors. What is it that moves in the undergrowth as Miranda strolls round the island enjoying the night sky? Why is the long-awaited Gordo continually delayed - and why is it that one by one, Jim and Miranda's party, the only visitors on the island, are starting to vanish? WAITING FOR GORDO explores eco-destruction, responsibility, and the darkness that so often underlies the beauties of nature. Miranda and Jim are characters who engage and convince, the slow burn of the narrative means the tension gradually builds. And what about the golden cockroach? Highly recommended."

But I am still waiting for my first copy of "Waiting"  - which is kind of appropriate, I guess.  People have been asking me how long it is, how many pages. And I have to admit that I don't know.

I was talking to Lilian from PlanetExpat about it yesterday. And talking of the lost Planet, we are meeting two of it ex-denzins for brunch today - they are touching down locally for an hour or two in their travels.  We last saw them on their super yacht in Chichester Harbour before they sailed it to Oz.

I made it to the Meeting last night - thank God - under my own chaufferage.  My first outing since Captain B took me to the dentist on Monday morning.

Monday, 25 September 2017


 I heard today through a facebook post that a very old friend, Mary Jane, has died. She died in March - and apparently quite a few of her friends do not yet know it.   And, yes, who would have told us.  Her mother would have, but she died a year ago.

Janie and I knew each other from the age of 12, when her family moved in next door to ours.  We have kept in touch over the years, though recently it has been a matter of an end of year letter, but she has been down here to stay with us.  We always got on well as a couple with both her husbands...

Her second husband - her happiest marriage - died many years ago, very young. And she never married again.

I hope that she is safe in "the everlasting arms" - safe in God's memory, along with Barrie- and that when the time comes for the dead to wake, he will be the first person that she sees.

They are holding a Memorial for her in Medicine Hat - where she lived for many years.  Col and I will have a glass of wine for her tonight. He liked Janie a lot - they got on really well.

I have managed to contact the lady in Medicine Hat who says she only has one contract for Janie - who I think is her sister in law.  I have asked her if she could let me have it, IF she feels OK about sending it to me.

Its a sad old world we live in at the moment.  However, I hope I will see Janie again one day.

On a more mundane note, I did make it to my dental appointment this morning - but only because Captain Butterfly was my chauffeur.   All well, apart from one lost filling, which he neatly repaired in about 3 minutes with no drilling.   It was so quick I could hardly believe it when he told me.

"Right, I'll make my escape then" I said hurting off the couch at the speed of light.  Well, at the speed of a rather elderly light beam, zimmering through the universe, light years behind all the other beams.

He thought that was very funny so we ended the appointment on a laugh, which is the best way.

But then of course I got home to this melancholy news.

I have been playing "Elizabethan Serenade", which takes me back to the lost world of 1950s/60s England when Janie and first knew each other.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

A Flare-up

The horrendous arthritis flare up began late on Friday afternoon. Friday night and Saturday were awful.  Now on Sunday after another sleepless night, I seem to be turning the corner.  Apart from my back, which is worrying me. The attack started with my right ankle, but during last night it seemed to progress from the bottom of my spine to the top.

At one point I thought I was having a heart attack - painful tightness in chest, and difficulty in breathing - but after a while it seemed more like the roaming arthritis attack.

So I am missing the meeting today - and the Circuit Overseer's talks!  Which is sad. I have tried to listen in, but the line is a bit crackly this morning and that, combined with my tinnitus, has made it impossible.

I am becoming more of a wreck every day that passes.   This growing old is difficult.

I thought I had paced myself too.  I visited  Jean and her daughter on Friday morning, shopped first, and so took it easy on Friday afternoon. But... maybe it was the stairs?  I do try to avoid them these days wherever possible.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

A Very Very Precious Cargo

Actually two precious cargoes. Firstly I had to take our Circuit Overseer's wife to Angmering, and then I had to pick up Captain Butterfly from the station. He is safely back from his African Safari - tired, but hopefully happy.

He has now seen the Big Africa. His previous trips were firstly to dive with the Great White Sharks, and secondly (and with me) to go to a friend's wedding in Jo-burg and then stay with Anne of the Cape on, obviously, The Cape.   It was lovely. And we did see some of the big animals. But not in their big setting.

Busy week for me as it is the Circuit Overseer visit - always a boost for the congregations. And I feel I learned a lot this morning working with my sister.

Tomorrow I hope to visit Jean - now back home after her operation - and fit in some field service too.  A lot will depend on the weather.

I visited Maggie on Wednesday, and got my usual warm welcome. And managed half an hour on the door to door work, before we were rained off.

Monday, 18 September 2017

The Quickest 10 Seconds in Human History?

Usually Col times my arthritis injection while I jab the thing into my leg and scream Hurry Up, Its Hurting, as he counts a  v e r y  s l o w  t e n  s e c o n d s...  but as he was not around Sunday night, I had to do it.     12345678910.   And I got the injection pen the right end up this time - which I failed to do on the other occasion I had to do it on my own, and injected my finger instead of my leg.  A painful surprise.

If there is a stick lying around anywhere, that is sure to be me firmly holding onto the wrong end of it.

Talking of which I managed to get us to the wrong road on Saturday morning - even though I do  have a map. I drove us to the Way not to the Crescent...  still it had not been done, and we did have some good calls.  But if I can manage that WITH a map, what would I have done without one?    We would probably have ended up on a crescent in Timbuctoo, wondering why it was so hot and dusty, and why we had to drive most of the way under water.

Today I have to make a trip to the doctors with my blood pressure results and to the pharmacy with a prescription.  To my  horror some more Butterfly Memberships have arrived and will have to be done.   I have changed the bedding, washed the sheets etc, have a veggie soup cooking, and have done my errands.   But no studying as yet, and I do need to get on with it as it is the Circuit Overseer visit this week,

Friday, 15 September 2017

"A Hillsborough Situation"

A young girl. who was caught up in some kind of bomb(?) attack on a packed London underground train today, was being interviewed on the BBC News and said that she saw many injured in the panicked rush to get off the train and out the station.  She described it as "a Hillsborough situation", which was chilling.

Its hard to know yet what happened. People are talking of an explosion, a fireball, screams and a panicked exit.  People are packed in like sardines during rush hour...

We commuted on the London underground for years, in our youth, through IRA bomb scares and all.

What next?

On a more happy note, I got to the meeting last night, though I didn't make it to the field service in the morning. I have had two bad days, painwise.  But I hope to be back on the work tomorrow morning.   We have just come to the end of Ezekiel, with its amazing restoration promises.

There is so much to look forward to, if we listen to our Creator, Jehovah, the God of Abraham.

Jacks is coming for supper tomorrow night - lasagne and salad.  I have Cooked them, not cooked them. Well, I will be making the salad and dressing.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Storm Aileen

We were out in the field yesterday morning, on an estate in which all the streets have the names of flowers.  I left a magazine with one gentleman who didn't claim to have much faith in the Bible, or even in the idea of a God, but was prepared to have a look as he could see no way out, beyond praying and hoping there is someone there...

As it becomes more and more obvious how true the warning in the Inspired Scriptures is - that "it does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step" - will more people start to look for their Creator?

I certainly hope so  Its very urgent.

It was a beautiful September day - turning into very stormy weather by the evening. The wind howled and roared round us all night.  The sun is appearing this morning and there are still big waves on the Channel.

I just saw the News and apparently it was Storm Aileen!  And its now heading North.  My tinnitus was so bad last night that I was only vaguely aware of it and was amazed when I stepped out onto the balcony. It stormed and roared all night, but it was the pain in my leg that kept me awake.

And of course it was nothing at all compared to what those in the Caribbean and America have been going through.

News of my siblings there on today:

BREAKING NEWS | Hurricane Irma Update

Information is becoming available regarding the status of our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean and southeastern United States in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
Sadly, an elderly brother in Florida and one of our sisters in Georgia died while evacuating. Additionally, two of our brothers were injured in Tortola, which is the largest of the British Virgin Islands. Throughout the Caribbean, over 40 homes have sustained major damage and at least 40 of our brothers have been displaced. Assessments are ongoing as the brothers gain access to affected regions.Our prayers are with those who have lost loved ones and the many who are impacted by the storm. We continue to rely on the comfort Jehovah provides through the congregation.—1 Thessalonians 3:7.

Saturday, 9 September 2017


The waiting for "Waiting for Gordo" is over!  It was officially launched at the Fantasticon in Hull this  month, and has even sold some copies.  I'm really sorry we could not be there. Maybe next year?

I started writing it many many years ago - and it was taken by a London Agent briefly (also many years ago), but she then changed her mind and said it did not fit existing thriller categories.

Some years later I submitted it to Fantastic Books as an "eco-thriller" - and voila!  it found a home.

I now hope it will find readers and reviewers. And I would LOVE it to make my young publisher some money...

The inspiration for this book came from the annual dive holidays Captain Butterfly used to organise for the Aramco Shoal.  We went to some lovely tropical islands.   And so I combined that with an Agatha Christie plot - "And Then There Were None" - put my characters on a small island, and then, one by one...

This is one of the many lovely photos he took.

I've just noticed its being marketed as a novella. so while its a lot longer than "Till They Dropped", it is clearly quite a short book.  I have not yet seen it in book form, and am longing to.

So, its short, and I hope it is very readable. I have tried to make it entertaining, while touching on some more serious subjects - tourism (the benefits v the damage), global warming, and the way we are ruining the earth.

It is very much not a political thriller - it takes no sides and has no political solutions to offer.  And given that even I did not know who was doing it (and why) it till I was halfway through writing it, I hope my readers will be surprised when they find out.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

The Young Lady from Hyde

There was a young lady from Hyde
Who ate a green apple and died
The apple fermented
inside the lamented
Now she has cider inside her inside.

One of our calls yesterday morning - a lovely Irish Catholic gentleman - taught us this limerick. Then we had a coffee and talked about Armageddon. He is a very learned man and always gives us an interesting history lesson, this time about The Marshall Plan. And we try to tell him something about the Inspired Scriptures.

We managed two hours, which is good for us.  The elder taking the group gave us a lovely territory, ideal for us, as we could circle back to my little car.  We finished it and did some of our regular calls, including limerick man, who may well be from Limerick of course.

 This afternoon I plan to visit Maggie, sans Jean, who has family visiting.  But another sister who lives locally may come too.  It is hard as Maggie has so few words left now, just a few sentences. But nobody could make us more welcome than she does.

Captain Butterfly has an Old Boys Reunion on this week, including a tour of his own school.  I wouldn't mind a tour of my old school come to think of it.  Of course it will have changed so much, but...

Sad school was such an unpleasant experience - one that so many children hate.   Because what do you want more as a child than to learn things?  Children are always asking questions.  And I can now see that having time just to learn is a privilege.

But... something is fundamentally wrong with the school system.  Not surprising, given that something is fundamentally wrong with the world.

And only the Kingdom of God will put it right. Already millions of us worldwide are experiencing how well, and how kindly, it educates.  Think how kindly and patiently Jesus taught his disciples when he was on the earth. He is teaching us just as kindly and patiently now.

There is another fearsome hurricane approaching the Caribbean and America as I type this.  I hope it won't be as bad as it looks, because it looked terrifying on the News - like something out of that Hollywood movie - The Day Before Yesterday? The Day After Tomorrow?

The Channel looks calm and a pale blue grey. But who knows what the sea will do next?

What we need to remember is that Jesus - the one annointed as King of Jehovah's Kingdom - calmed the sea when he was on the earth, showing us how he has been given the authority to bring the natural forces back into the loving harmony they had in Eden.

Monday, 4 September 2017


I have been banging on again about September, heralding Autumn, being something of a metaphor these days and then reluctantly remembering that I can no longer  be said to be in the Autumn of my days. I am now beginning Winter.

So my metaphorical season has not arrived yet.  Its just round the corner though.

Thursday I was out on the door to door work. Our young householder cancelled his regular Thursday call, but we hope to see him this Thursday.  Jean and I were out as usual on Saturday - to the group, in a new venue, and we worked a very well worked road, but had a couple of interesting calls.

Sunday was the meeting - wonderful. There is no other teaching on the earth like this. And then some of us went for a Waitrose coffee afterwards. Sat there talking for ages, with three visiting sisters and a Bible student who is now attending the meetings.

And Jackie came over for supper on Saturday night; a shepherds pie (courtesy of Cooks), with cauliflower cheese (cooked by moi), carrots and string beans from our neighbour's allotment. He arrived at breakfast on Saturday morning with a big bag of fresh beans!

Followed by the usual ice-cream- oh and of course a bottle of NZ wine. Marlborough has been our favourite brew for ages - Oyster Bay, all of them.

And Jackie lasted till 9 o clock and felt fine the next morning!  So that is a real positive after all these  months.

And it took me back to one of my layers of expat memory. There was a time when our social life revolved round Wednesday night (which heralded the weekend there) and darts.And I always used to make a big cottage pie, with carrots and cauliflower cheese.  That was what the darts players liked. We probably had ice-cream for dessert then too, or maybe fresh fruit, but I can't remember.

One of the many positives about getting older is the layers and layers of memory that accrue.  Of course, because we are the damaged children of Adam, living in a fallen world, many of those layers involve pain, sadness and regret.

But I can perhaps glimpse how wonderful it will be when all the sad things have faded away and we are building layers and layers of memories of life in the restored earthly Paradise.

The human brain is an astounding machine - and quite a problem for evolutionists.  Why should we "evolve" something so complex if we don't even seem to use half of it.  I think Charles Darwin acknowledged that as a problem (I think, I haven't read his tome), so I wonder what he would think these days when we know so much more about its complexity.

We also understand now that what we choose to think about makes and strengthens connections in the brain, and can better understand how we benefit from listening to the Creator of the brain, Jehovah, the God of Abraham, who warns us to be careful of our thoughts, to be careful of what we dwell on, what we allow into our brain.

And, on that brainy note, I will finish my first September blog. Its raining today - and looks beautifully grey and green outside, with a calmish misty Channel blending into a misty sky.

Captain Butterfly has no plans. And its not butterfly weather.  "You will be able to spend the whole day with me", I trilled.  "Yes", he said, looking - well, I'm not a hundred per cent certain that was a thrilled expression.  Not even two per cent.