Friday, 16 February 2018

Hurray for the Half Pipe!

It has been a plumbing and a Winter Olympics week. So its been half pipes all round.

Our flat is now getting old, as we are. And suddenly all its radiators started to leak - well most of them.  The plumbers - two nice young lads - were here all day Tuesday - and then again on Wednesday morning.

Now the plaster has to dry out  - we have to get everything back in place - then poor old Captain Butterfly will have to put his painting wings on. He will become a Painted Gentleman.

But the Half Pipe - in the Olympics.  Wow!  Wow!!  and Wow again!!!

The young snowboarder had to stand upright - on a snowboard - on a big big slope.  He succeeded beautifully and I was expecting a judge to rush our with a Gold medal at that point.   But no.   Because he then has to career down to the horrendous slopes of the Half Pipe and throw himself (and his board) off them.

He hurtles to the other side, sails into the air, whirling and twirling.  Then he lands, without falling off his board, and gathers up speed for the next twirl. He stays in the air for ages, doing things.  Is this the Mad Hatters Tea Party Twirl in which he makes a cup of tea at one end of his snowboard, hurtles down again, and lands without spilling a drop?

Then he hurtles up the next slope and up and up and up - waving a hello to the current set of climbers at the summit of Mount Everest and dodging passenger jets.  At this point the commentator usually says, in a worried voice. "He's lost some speed there".

But, not to worry, because he hurtles up the next slope even faster, takes off into the stratosphere, and returns, after a light year or two. clutching a fistful of Red Dust from Mars.

And even then he may not get that Gold.

My heart was with each snowboarder. I was with them every step of the way.  In fact, I was a bit of a nuisance on the Mad Hatters Tea Party Twirl as they had to make me a cup of tea too. But I tried not to spill a drop. 

And Mars is nice - well worth a visit.

Jean and I finally got out on the preaching work this morning - for the first time this week. The weather cleared up and we both felt just about equal to it. We had an interesting morning.   A quiet night in I hope - and its the Recorders Conference tomorrow.  And Jacks is coming for supper after.

What i need to do now is to make the cauliflower cheese to go with the pie (I nearly typed "pipe") we are having tomorrow night, and do my studying for the Sunday meeting.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

A Feederful of Goldfinches

Goldfinches, Carduelis carduelis
Captain B took me to Arundel for lunch Monday - chicken stew and mash for him, cheese sarnie and crisps for me.  Such a beautiful day - sky so blue, clouds so big and white and fluffy - and everything shining and glinting in the sun.   And we went to my current favourite hide and saw a feeder full of Goldfinches - exquisite little things, squabbling in a fierce yet dainty manner over the perches.

They are like woodland fairies.
We hadn't realised it was half term though!  And while it is wonderful to see all these children being taken round, we do prefer it a bit quieter. 

Its Tuesday morning and its blowing a gale. There was a wonderful red sunrise, reminding me of that rhyme from my childhood:

Red sky at night
Shepherd's delight
Red sky in the morning
Shepherd's warning.

So I am not sure what this sky portends.  A fall in wool prices maybe?   Anyway as long as it doesn't portend a monsoon, Jean and I hope to be out this morning, telling people about the One who is the source of all this power and splendour.

The Channel is fantastic - great waves - all the power and energy, right outside the window  - SPLASH, AAARRRGGHH, GLUG, glug, glu

Saturday, 10 February 2018


A sad day Friday.   I now own a pair of hearing aids. They are so technological that I don't feel I will ever be able to use them though.    The Hearing Trumpet has moved on, and now has lots of buttons and gizmos...

I have to break them in gently apparently - an hour to two a week, at home, and then increase the usage. My poor old brain has to get to understand this new way of hearing.

I hope to be out on the work today though - as my hearing has come back  - not wonderful - but for 2 days I could hear very little.  No explanation yet as to why it comes and goes like this - Specsavers could find no obvious cause - but they say the hospital may be able to.

It is all very depressing - and also makes me feel increasingly guilty about what I am costing  the NHS.  Can I really be worth it?

I managed to get out on the door to door work on Thursday, but only because the sister I was with did the talking and listening for me.   And I also got to the meeting. I could hear some of the Speakers from the platform, but none of the comments, though we are all microphoned.

And today is a full day - pick up Jean - take her to the Hall - find somewhere to park - get to Field Service group (will I be able to hear anything) - go out on work - back for a sandwich lunch at the Hall - and then the Broadcast.

Himself and Terry are off for a day out bird watching in Rye Harbour.  He has already left, sandwiches and flask in hand, and a camera at every corner.

Its pretty frosty out there.  I hope we will all keep safe.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Goldfinch Redux

Goldfinch, Carduelis cardueli
After our visit to the Wetland Trust on Monday, I thought I had to repost this poem:

Gerry Cambridge

That finch which sings above my head
last year's speckled egg, is now
a partner to some nest instead,
that finch which sings above my head,
buff-gold dandy masked with red,
and hen on eggs above some swaying bough
that finch which sings. Above my head
last year's speckled egg, is now.

One of the feeders was covered in goldfinches - exquisite creatures - "buff-gold dandies masked in red".  I wish I had written that line.
It was cold and sunny - a beautiful day.    We had lunch at the Trust: sausages and mash for himself, and frittata and salad for me.    Jean is back, but not yet up and running.   She may be able to come on Wednesday to Maggie.  Tuesday morning I did get myself out on the preaching work - though not to the group.   I was inspired by some nastiness on the internet, and wanted to show Jehovah that I really am grateful for his word and for his loving congregation.

Captain Butterfly took me out on a walk in the afternoon - my favourite one, to the River mouth and back.  Even that tires me now.  But I was reminded how great it is to be able to spend days together during the week, after all those years we were both at work.

He will be off out today, with his box of sandwiches, on his conservation work.

Monday, 5 February 2018

February Fill Dyke

Apparently the Romans used to call February "February Filldyke" because it tended to rain so much. And we have got off to a rainy start.  Though Sunday it was very cold, but sunny with a wonderful sky.  I took Anne Marie shopping and we both stopped to appreciate the blue sky filled with fluffy white clouds. Then we scurried into the warmth of Waitrose.

It was a great meeting on Sunday, of course.  There is no other teaching like it.

Its a beautiful sunny day today - so far - but very cold, with snow in some parts of the UK. I hope to get out on the work this afternoon before the weather changes, but will have to wait till after lunch when the Captain returns with the missing Treasure Chest of King Canute (assuming, that is, that King Canute, had a treasure chest, that he lost it on our beach, and Captain B is detecting it at this very moment!)  I forgot to ask him to help me into my woolly socks before he left.  And some days I can struggle into them on my own - some days I can't.

Jacks came over Saturday for a curry night.  A fun evening, lots of laughter.

And much better news of my nephew. He is now out of Intensive Care and into High Dependency. And he has sent us his love.  I popped another card into the post yesterday.

Friday, 2 February 2018

Moon - Alison Brackenbury and Walter de la Mare

I have been going round singing "Blue Moon" in honour of our recent moon. What a lovely world Jehovah made for us.  Unfortunately I do not have a lovely voice, so Captain B has been suffering. ("Shut up"  "Can I get you the indigestion tablets?" "SHUT UP!" etc.)

And here is a poem - a Walter de la Mare - a favourite of mine since Junior school.   Do they still teach children these lovely poems that praise the beauty of the creation?  I hope so.


Slowly, silently, now the moon
Walks the night in her silver shoon;
This way, and that, she peers, and sees
Silver fruit upon silver trees;
One by one the casements catch
Her beams beneath the silvery thatch;
Couched in his kennel, like a log,
With paws of silver sleeps the dog;
From their shadowy cote the white breasts peep
Of doves in a silver-feathered sleep;
A harvest mouse goes scampering by,
With silver claws and a silver eye;
And moveless fish in the water gleam,
By silver reeds in a silver stream.

Walter de la Mare

And this is another old favourite - though not so old - with a lovely appearance by the moon - and some great language - the doves flight being "astonished", for instance.

Outside the Circle
Alison Brackenbury

I worked through all your tricks, I slit the sleeves,
I tugged fine strings which joined the handkerchiefs.
The disappearing girl was always there
Crammed in compartments false as her dyed hair.
I burned the cards you nicked with hidden signs.

Solid as smoke, the moon walks on the square.
Magician, can you call back half your loves?
Dust, the empty seats await you there.
Light, and the astonished flight of doves.

Saw Maggie on Wednesday afternoon - my Knee calmed down enough for me to drive and has not developed into a full blown attack, for which I am very grateful. The one last week has left me worryingly exhausted.  Jackie comes for supper tomorrow - it will be curry from the Waitrose chill cabinet, as I know I won't have the time or energy to cook.

Am now behind with all my return visits... I hope I can catch up a bit at at the weekend.

My nephew who has been in intensive care in a hospital induced coma is starting to wake up and seems to be himself in the glimpses the family are getting.   Very grateful for that too.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

And I don't feel so well myself

A medical day yesterday - and also a day of pain in one of my Knew Knees - still hurts, so I don't know if this is building up to a full frontal attack, or just a routine-but-worse-than-usual arthritis thingummy.

Thank goodness the gallant Captain was at home to drive me round - for my Annual Review at the doctors in the morning - and to my 6 monthly hospital check up in the afternoon.

It was all very depressing. The only good thing to come out of it is that my cholesterol levels are fine, and that my liver continues to stand up to the intensive medication.  Everything else is going downhill - and I seriously wonder how much longer I will last.  By the evening I was back on my zimmer frame...

Oh dear.

Oh, and I must not forget another good thing. The new system at the hospital is working well.  This was my first Nurse appointment.  I see the doctor himself next time.  She is a very nice lady, very thorough. And we got seen pretty much on time!

Anyway, I don't have to go out today until the afternoon when I visit Maggie, which hopefully I will be able to do. It depends on how the Knee progresses. 

Its another medical day tomorrow in the sense that I have to stay at home until my medicine arrives, as it has to be signed for and refrigerated.

This seems a good moment for a poem - a very appropriate one from an anthology that Pen gave me a couple of years ago - "Poem for the Day,One" with a foreword by Wendy Cope.

On the Vanity of Earthly Greatness
by Arthur Guiterman

The tusks which clashed in mighty brawls
Of mastodons, are billiard balls.
The sword of Charlemagne the Just
Is Ferric Oxide, known as rust.
The grizzly bear, whose potent hug,
Was feared by all, is now a rug.
Great Caesar's bust is on the shelf,
And I don't feel so well myself.