Friday, 27 May 2022

The Shining Mountain

The Shining Mountain is the beautiful Changabang in the Himalayas. And it is also the title of a book by Peter Boardman, who, together with Joe Tasker, made the first ascent of the West Wall of Changabang in 1976.  It is a good read, puts me right there up with them, but safely, on my couch, with a cup of tea at my side.

Tragically both Peter and Joe disappeared on the N.E.Ridge of Everest in 1982.  It was at that time unclimbed. And has hardly been climbed since, so no-one knows what happened.  They were both young and had so much to live for.  I do sometimes think about them, and hope that when the time comes God will wake them from the dreamless sleep of death and they will see this lovely earth again.  

If - IF - I am there, in the restored earthly paradise, would it be ill-mannered or unkind to ask them what happened? 

Interestingly, Peter says this in the book, in the last chapter:

"Many tales and legends, linked through all cultures, carry poignantly within them a sense of loss, of a glory that has gone; an Eden unrecovered and yet also convey the implicit promise of renewal, return, recovery, the Eden which will again be found."

Yes.  I don't think that we, the children of Adam, have ever forgotten the paradise that was lost.  Do you remember in Alice in Wonderland when Alice sees this beautiful garden through a keyhole - but she cannot get in? 

This is what Genesis is telling us: that Paradise was lost, but it will be restored.  And it is that restoration we are praying for 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.

I hope both Peter and Joe will know that one day when they wake up in the restored earthly paradise, in a worldwide Garden of Eden, with more happiness ahead of them, ahead of all of us who are there, than we can now imagine. 

We continue with our routine of Zoom calls and meetings, metal detecting trips and SUSSAR training sessions (the latter two for Captain Moth-Butterfly of course).  The weather has been cold and blowy, but it looks like sunshine today.

And I have embarked on another mountaineering adventure - with Peter Boardman, Joe Tasker and 2 others: Doug Scott, and George Bettembourg.  I find myself wondering about Doug and George - if they have survived.  It is such a risky sport.  

I am now reading Peter's Sacred Summits - and at this moment they are towing me and the sofa up Kangchenjunga, another dangerous mountain in the Himalayas. We were almost blown off the mountain a few night ago, in the jet stream winds.  The lads lost their tent and were lucky not to be blown away with it.  My sofa stood firm though. It's a big sturdy comfy one.  "Tell me about it" they groaned, having had to pull me and it up there, but at least we could all toboggan safely down on it.

I have my uses.

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

How the Wren Earns his Living; How Moon-beholders Rest

                                               Wild Rose


We need to get cards and money off to the two graduates in the Oz Branch of the family, and also get into Worthing to visit a friend who is still in hospital.  I have sent a card and two letters but think now we must get over there.  And we seem to have a window in my many medical appointments - but, having said that, Col is not too well at the moment... and we had to cancel.  Not sure if it was food poisoning or a bug.  The G.P. wasn't sure either, and you cannot risk taking a stomach bug into a hospital ward.

We were watching the opening of the new Elizabeth line on the London underground today, and I thought rather sadly that my days of underground travel are over.  I think I am too shaky on my feet to cope with it now.  But it felt strange after all those years - living in London as a very young child - visiting Aunt Jo who always lived there - us as young marrieds commuting to work on the Tube - and then later in retirement we had our days out - via rail, tube and bus - to visit Exhibitions and Galleries with Jacks and Aunt Bea and sometimes Amy.  Its yet another thing coming to an end.  

Our lives are so short now, but Jehovah is offering all of us back what our first parents lost, everlasting life in the restored earthly paradise.   

Will we accept his offer?  It is entirely up to each one of us.

We were talking to Jacks today - by phone - during a sudden afternoon thunderstorm  

Captain Moth-Butterfly surprised me by suggesting a walk on Monday - and so we had a very short walk to the sea and back  - taking photos of the flowers of May as we went - well, such flowers as will thrive right by the sea. There was a very strong wind blowing and a lovely light. We are both limping a bit at the moment, but we made it.

And hopefully some of the flower photos he took will head this blog.

The natural world, Jehovah's creation, is such a source of inspiration and creativity.   Here are two lovely Haiku, the first by Kobayahsi Issa, the second by Matsuo Basho.  I wish I could be as inspired to something similar by our valiant and beautiful seaside flowers.

The wren
Earns his living

- Kobayahsi Issa

From time to time
The clouds give rest
To the moon-beholders.

- Matsuo Bashō

Sunday, 22 May 2022

I Used to Live Here Once

                                              Brassy Twist

I caught most of the 2018 series of Masterchef Australia.  Its great.  It seems to combine the best of Masterchef UK and Masterchef USA.  The contestants really help and support each other rather than being brutally competitive and the judges are kind and supportive too (as in the UK version), but the challenges are more varied and interesting (as they are in the US version).

I could have called this blog: The Sandwich Fairy Asleep on Her Watch as when I was woken by Col's very early Alarm on Thursday morning (4:30 a.m.) I had a feeling that there was no sandwich lunch in the fridge.  I hastily got up and sorted it.  Its odd how having our Waitrose delivery come on Wednesday evening instead of Wednesday morning has thrown me.  I am a creature of routine (and solitude), as befits my Aspergery nature.

Col bought me the latest bio of Jean Rhys: I Used to Live Here Once by Miranda Seymour.   It is absorbing.  The writer David Plante is often criticised for writing a bio of her under the heading "Difficult Women" (the three women in question being Jean Rhys, Sonia Orwell and Germaine Greer), but this bio seems to confirm the description of Jean at least.

I was glad to see the people of the Devon village where she spent her last years being treated with respect by her biographer.  It seems they were kind and helpful to Jean.   She clearly had a quality about her that attracted help, as there was always someone, or several someones - including three husbands -  to look after her.  

But the point that comes out clearly in this bio is that the one thing Jean never needed help with was her writing.  She knew exactly how to do that.

And what a writer she was.  Her words are alive on the page.  She, Shirley Jackson and Penelope Mortimer all have that quality, and its something that inspires me and that I try to emulate in my books (few though they are).   I don't come up to their standards, but it is good to have something to aim for.

The exquisite moth that heads this blog is a Brassy Twist, captured by Captain Moth-Butterfly on his phone on the Saturday expedition.

As Ecclesiastes 3:11 says of its Creator, Jehovah:  "He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has even put eternity in their heart; yet mankind will never find out the work that the true God has made from start to finish."

It is all so lovely. And so interesting. So how lovely and how interesting will it be during the time the whole earth is being restored to paradise, and then living in the restored earthly paradise?  

I hope we are all there to find out.

If you want to learn more, please follow this link, or, hopefully, if I have done it right, click on it:

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

If Faut Souffrir pour etre Belle

If enough of my schoolgirl French remains, then I have spelt out correctly that it is necessary to suffer to be beautiful, which is a thought prompted by yet another session of dental torture on Monday.  It left me exhausted and I slept on the sofa for most of the afternoon.

Of course the aggravating thing is that I am certainly souffriring, but without much hope of becoming beautiful, well not this side of Armageddon anyway.  I will still be an old crone, but a slightly less hideous one.  Hopefully.

By the way, I think the "e" of "etre "should have a little hat on it.  I forget what the hat is called, but I knew once.  A circumflex?

For the moment there is, barring emergencies, a pause in all my medical stuff, my next dental session being a week away. And there is one more to go after that - which will be to crown a broken tooth.

It is a sunny morning - the balcony geraniums are looking splendid, the nemesia is flourishing though its not scented today. The scent comes and goes.  We had some rain last night so at least The Green had a drink.  And poor Col has a problem with his car. I have just picked him up from the garage and will have to run him back up there after they call.  

What with my teeth and his car, it is going to be an expensive month.

I have been trying to decipher the notes I took during Saturday's Assembly.  Not easy.  But I do want to add something from the last talk:  Jehovah Knows who Belongs to Him.

The Speaker pointed out that there are 8 billion people on the earth, and he directed us to 2 Thessalonians 3:2 which reminds us that  "faith is not a possession of all people."  

Sadly most people on the earth are not exercising faith in their Creator. But we hope many many more will, and are trying to reach everyone.

We then turned to 2 Timothy 2:19, which says: "Despite that, the solid foundation of God remains standing, having this seal, “Jehovah knows those who belong to him,” and, “Let everyone calling on the name of Jehovah renounce unrighteousness.”

Jehovah knows who belongs to Him. And He values every one who turns to Him.  He reads every heart, all 8 billion of them, and sees the wonderful potential in each one.

So we, the children of Adam, need to value each other.

Sunday, 15 May 2022

A Corfu Tiger

Col, in his Captain Butterfly persona, has brought back some lovely photos from his Corfu trip. This is a Cream Spot Tiger moth.   I am wondering if some Corfu butterflies and moths will appear on his 2023 calendar - if there is one of course.  We are not as young as we were, to put it mildly.  He actually came home early on Thursday from his detecting  field in darkest Hampshire (here there bee Designer Coffee Shoppes a'plenty - or so it says on the old mappe we found). 

He came back early!   He can usually outlast even the much younger ones.

My lovely young physio asked me how old I was. "Well", she said kindly, "You have still got a life to live."

She is wonderfully unlike the gym teachers of old. She is so kind and patient with me as I creak slowly through my gentle little exercises.

And on Friday we had to go to Brighton for my emergency appointment re my hearing aids.  The young - they are all so young these days, how did that happen? - audiologist serviced them and I can now hear again. Which is good as Saturday was our virtual Assembly at a virtual Haysbridge. But what on ordeal driving through Brighton was, and finding parking - all done by the wonderful Captain B of course.  And the streets were so crowded.  So noisy.

Saturday's Assembly was livestreamed, so we were hearing talks and experiences and interviews from brothers and sisters in our own circuit. There were lots of gems, lots of valuable teaching.

The theme was "Exercise Faith".  And perhaps the overall thing I have taken from it is how important it is that our faith in Jehovah and in his word should shape our lives - all we do and all we say.  And never forget to pray to Jehovah for help.  This is increasingly important as the pressures mount.

As Jesus said (at John 14:1, the theme Scripture for the assembly):

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Exercise faith in God; exercise faith also in me."

We need to exercise faith in our Creator Jehovah, the Father to whom Jesus himself prayed, and in Jesus as the Messiah, the one sent forth by Jehovah.   And the word exercise means exerting effort.

Which reminds me, on a less spiritual level, I must go off and creak through my regular morning exercises.

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Climbing K2 by Sofa

And I am not climbing K2 unsupported either - plenty of cups of tea, and even a hotwater bottle one chilly Spring evening. This is definitely the way to do it.  The expedition currently towing me and my sofa up there is an American one, as I am re-reading Rick Ridgeway's The Last Steps: the American ascent of K2.

It's a good read - absorbing.  But what a dangerous mountain it is.  From my armchair perspective, I guess the only mountain more dangerous is Annapurna.  And I am not saying that anybody should be going up there.  It is effectively to play Russian roulette with a precious life.

Yet I can also understand the fascination.  But I intend to go on understanding it from my sofa.

It has been a very medical week: I have had: a Hospital appointment (Rheumatology) a blood test, ages on phone trying to get results, apparently have Vit.D deficiency - otherwise results all good - I have had a telephone consultation and my next dreadful Dental appointment has been moved forward to this week. So it is hanging over me, but hopefully will be over soon.

Its not the last one though apparently.  Plus I now have a broken tooth... and my hearing aids have suddenly packed up... so the dentist will be even more fun than usual as I will not be able to hear what he is saying.  I have got an emergency audiology appointment but we will have to go to Brighton for it. And that usually incurs a parking nightmare.

Part of "the glorious freedom of the children of God" will be the freedom from all health worries that perfect health will bring.  And what I keep telling myself is that the older and sicker I get in this system of things the more I will appreciate being in the restored earthly paradise - IF that is I am there.

We, the damaged children of Adam, have never yet known what it really is to be alive, in perfection, in the paradise earth. But we can and we will if we pay attention to our Creator, Jehovah, now.

In harmony with that and if I make it back from the dentist in one piece, I must devote some of this afternoon to my witnessing letters, telling people about the Kingdom of God.  I am so grateful that, over 30 years ago now, two JWs came to my door to tell me.

As Col's alarm clock went off at 4:15 this morning, I suspect I will also be devoting some of the afternoon to dozing on the sofa.

Monday, 9 May 2022

The Flight of Captain Butterfly

A weary Captain Butterfly returned in the very early hours after his week in Corfu with the Conservationists.  His flight was delayed. Hopefully he is tired but happy. I haven't had a chance to talk to him yet, but he is definitely there, fast asleep in bed.

Unfortunately we will have to hurtle off for my hospital date with Rheumatology.  And I will then probably spend the rest of the day - after my Zoom chat with the sibs - trying to contact Dermatology as I was supposed to be seeing them this month too and have just realised that the have not sent me an appointment letter.

So that will be Monday taken care of I guess.  If I have a moment, I hope to put at least one lovely Corfuvian butterfly pic from Captain B's camera at the head of this blog.  And here it is - an Eastern Orange Tip.

I am very glad to see him back.  I don't sleep at all well while he is away.  And I had two crises:  one a swarm of the tiny ants that plagued us last summer.  I felt so guilty tackling them.

How I long for the Kingdom of God to be ruling over us so that ants will be doing what they should be doing, in the right time, in the right place, and we can help them - and all creatures - when and as needed, and never have to hurt them.

Then as I switched off the bathroom light the night after he left half the lights in the flat fused...   and, I am embarrassed to admit, even though I am 70 years and the rest, I am still scared of the dark.

Anyway, I did find the key to the fuse cupboard - after a morning call to the Captain - and sorted it.  My bathroom light was still out but I could cope with that.

I treated myself to the May broadcast yesterday - a loving message from the Governing Body of the Watchtower Society to every one of us.   The subject of our 3-day Convention this year is PURSUE PEACE, which could hardly be more timely given the tragedy continuing to unfold in the Ukraine.

There is a preview here, including a discussion about what true peace is, and how we can pursue it right now, even in such a violent world: