Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Posting "Waiting"

Monday morning - while we were waiting for Hurricane Ophelia to arrive (hopefully just as a storm) - I got the first copies of "Waiting for Gordo" posted.  One to each aunt - Bea and Jo - one to the Oz Branch of the family - one to Julia who, many years ago, helped me with the first chapter (she advised me to ditch it, I did), one to Lilian whose lovely and unusual (and unused by her) first name I have borrowed for a character (one I get safely off the island), and one to young Amy, who did such a positive and intelligent review of "Till".

I have asked David in Oz to let me know his new address if he wants a copy too.  And I must also get a copy despatched to the Bavarian branch of the family.  I ran out of envelopes.

Jackie has her copy and says she has already started and has four chapters under her belt. And Jean has her copy too - she said she loved the cover - "a work of art".  I can take no credit for it, as the publisher decides, but it was based on a photo that Col took on one of our dive trips. so it conveys the tropical paradise well.

I can only hope people will find it a good read - and both scary and funny.  I have one review on my Amazon page, a positive one.  Hurrah.

At 2.30 in the afternoon the sky was full of darkness and there was a wonderfully ominous light from the West. The wind was starting to blow and there were white horses on a previously calm Channel. It was very dark to the back of the flat, inland.

However, the storm blew away quickly without really touching down here. It has caused some devastation elsewhere though.

Monday night the talk season at the Arundel Westland started.  The first was about birds - their feeding habits.    We - the Captain, Terry and me - went.  Terry bought us all a tea, and he won a nice sturdy shopping bag in the raffle, which he gave me - and I am grateful for the addition to my shopping bag hoard - valuable things nowadays.  Jacks, sadly, was not well enough to come.  Jean and I went out yesterday morning, but not to the Field Service group. We did calls - a cluster of Jean's calls and four of mine too. I am getting further and further behind, so that was a help.

Now Captain B is off for his hairdressing appointment, so he will take a copy of "Waiting" to Malcolm, who said he would like one when I told him about it.

I just hope people will enjoy reading it. I have lost all confidence in it now. But I have to agree that the cover is a work of art.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

My Talk

I had my first talk for ages in the Kingdom Ministry school on Thursday night. This was the talk I was doing:  

Return Visit: (4 min. or less) g17.5 cover—The magazine was featured on the preceding visit. Continue the conversation, and lay the groundwork for the next visit.

 And this is the current magazine (g17.5):  

And this is the talk:

Sue:  Hello A.M. nice to find you in. I'm Sue from your local congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses.   If you remember, I called earlier this month and I found you in the middle of decorating  - painting.  How is it going?

AM:   Oh, it's never ending.  But I've got the day off as I have a friend coming over.  In fact, I thought you were her when I heard the door bell.

Sue:   You are a busy lady - so I will get straight to the point. I just wanted to ask if you had found a moment to read the magazine I left with you.

AM:   Yes...  I did... but I wasn't interested in that article about disasters - too much gloom and doom on the news as it is. But there was an article about shells I found quite interesting. I used to collect them when I was a little girl.

Sue.  That was this one on the back page. Yes, they are so lovely. Do you see why we included that article?

AM:   Yes - clearly you are saying that the beauty of shells, the way they are made, says they must have a maker, a creator.

Sue. That's it!  When we see such perfect design and engineering and artistry what does it tell us about their Grand Creator, Jehovah?

AM:   But you see really your magazine contradicts itself because when you look at that article about all the disasters that can happen, that are happening, doesn't that tell us that, if there is a Creator, he does not care for us?

Sue: That really is the question. All this beauty and all the tragedy. (I gave a short illustration about how a parent making a lovely garden for a child would not include lots of dangerous animals, poisonous plants, open wells for it to fall down, etc)  And I do wonder why more people don't ask it.  But I would love to show you how the Bible answers it.   I then read her this para from the article:  Disasters assault our very sense of justice. In response, some people mistakenly blame God. Many, like Joshua, experience “survivor’s guilt.” “I still wonder if I could have saved more people,” he says. “I am comforted by my belief that God will soon bring complete justice to the earth and will right all wrongs. In the meantime, I cherish each day of life and do what I reasonably can to preserve it.”​—Revelation 21:4, 5.

And then I read the quoted verses, stressing the "faithful and true":

"And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”  And the One seated on the throne said: “Look! I am making all things new.” Also he says: “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” - Revelation 21:4,5

AM:   Of course I would love that to be true, but how can I believe it?

Sue:  If you could spare me a bit of time - would next Thursday morning be good - I would love to show you how the Bible reassures us. 

It seemed to go down very well - thank God.  In fact, a Bible student who regularly attends the meetings said that he wished it could have been longer!

Now I am not sure if that was due to my brilliant script, my dazzling stage presence, or the fact that my householder was a particularly lovely young sister.    I asked Captain B, who had watched our rehearsal, but he pleaded the Fifth Amendment and remained silent.

So I shall accept it as a tribute to the power of Jehovah's inspired word to reach peoples' hearts, and the excellent teaching we get in the Kingdom Ministry School, week after week, which has enabled even me to get up on the big stage and speak effectively.

And as I was watching Winter Wipeout yesterday (people falling off things into water, marvelous stuff), and watching the fake snowflakes fall, I thought of the beauty and complexity of Jehovah's creation.  Apparently every snowflake is different...  yet there are countless billions of them.

So I was thinking about Thursday night, when, in congregations worldwide, the same little talks would be given - so many brothers and sisters with exactly the same brief, yet each talk would have been different.

The creation is wonderful now.  What is to come in the restored earthly Paradise?

I hope we are all there to find out.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

The Chase - and the Waiting is over

It was a very slow chase, involving my artificial knees (taking me with them) and a very elderly gentleman in his pyjamas. We were chasing a beautiful fluffy Siamese cat, not each other.

The gentleman is a regular call and we found him in, but he had forgotten to shut his cat - who is not allowed outdoors - in the bedroom, and the cat made a dash for freedom.  It shot under hedges, into gardens, under vans, with his owner and myself creaking along miles behind. Jean guarded the front door keeping it open as she felt that the householder did not have his keys with him (being in his jim jams).

Three young men joined in to help us, but no use... the cat had innumerable gardens to go into, hedges to get through and cars to go under.

Then Jean shouted to us that the cat had gone down one of the alleys close to the house - the elderly gent tottered down one, I tottered down another.  As I was doing so I realised there was no way we were going to catch this cat unless Jehovah intervened. So I quickly asked for his help.

I went into the next garden and there was Fluffykins sitting in the middle of the lawn.  I went up gently talking to him, and praying and he let me pick him up and carry him home!

It reminded me of Daniel in the lions den, to be honest.    Jehovah spoke to those lions and I have to believe that he spoke to that cat.

The elderly gentleman was so overcome with gratitude that he kissed me.  But it took it out of both of us.

Then I got stuck in the car park.  I took Jean to Sainsbury's on the way back so she wouldn't have to go out again. But the parking spaces are so narrow there that it took a whole load of backing and fillings for get out when our shopping was done.  In the end poor Jean had to get out and try to guide me, and I think we both asked Jehovah for help again. 

What would we do without Him?

The waiting for "Waiting for Gordo" is over. The books arrived yesterday.  It looks lovely, but now that it comes to sending it to people, which I have been longing to do, I have lost confidence and am wondering why would anybody want to read it...

oh dear

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Still Waiting for "Waiting for Gordo"

Back into our routine on Saturday - Jean and I went out together - walking to local calls - but it does mean I have to cope with driving out of the block of flats.  The parking on the road is so intense that you come out blind. There is no way of seeing what is coming either way.  I do a lot of praying.

She hurtled about on her walker, leaving me breathless in her wake. Amazing.

And we had Jacks round to supper last night - staying till 9.30, which is pretty much the usual time these days.   We had mascarpone chicken, mashed potato, veggies, followed by ice-cream. And we laughed a lot.

Still haven't seen a copy of "Waiting" - which has given me an idea for a follow up:  "Waiting for Waiting for Gordo".  Apparently my copies are on the way from the USA.    Longing to see it.  Have sold two copies so far, and have loads to give away - when they arrive that is.

In the meantime, a great cloud of butterfly memberships arrived. They are done and dusted and are in the hall awaiting their trip to the Post Office - hopefully first thing tomorrow morning.   And me and my lovely young householder practised our talk for Thursday.  I have the return visit in the Main Hall - 4 minutes or less.

And I had a lovely long chat with Nute and Pen - who were both a Lilac Tree - on Skype.  It unsettled me a bit, as there is a part of me that wants to be living back up North near to my sisters and their families...  but we are also very well settled here...   

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Hearts and Minds

The headline news is about the massacre in Las Vegas when, we are told, one gunman has managed to kill nearly 60 people, and wound hundreds.  Motive unknown so far.    But we are being told that his father was a violent criminal... which reminds me of the worst shooting (so far) in the UK, in Dunblane, when the killer targeted a gym full of young schoolchildren. His family background was a very unhappy one. 

Why do some rise above it, but others spectacularly and tragically do not?  In her book "Without a Map" Meredith Hall finds the young child she was forced to give up for adoption - and finds he was handed over to a childhood of severe abuse - his body is covered with scars.

Yet he is the most amazing and loving young man.

There is now a big debate about gun laws in the US.  And, taking no sides in it, it is surely hearts and minds that need to change, not so much laws. The criminally violent will always be able to get guns for as long as this violent system of things goes on on the earth.

And, talking of changing hearts and minds - God's inspired word has unparalleled power to do that.  So it was back to the field  Tuesday morning - and it was surprisingly hard to make myself get out there after a week off. So glad I did, as I knew I would be.   My sister and I did nearly two hours, which is good for me these days - we finished our territory and managed a couple of return visits on our way back home.

But I am so far behind with everything once again.  People sometimes say that if you talk to us, we won't stop calling. But I wonder if anyone thinks how difficult it is to get back to all your calls, and when you do, to find them at home again?

I never gave it a thought. I do now of course.

Sunday, 1 October 2017


Friday morning we met Ian and Sheryl at a new coffee shop that I won't name. We planned to have brunch there.  They are over from Oz, visiting family and friends and they managed a brief stopover, which was lovely.   We haven't seen them since the evening we spent on their lovely yacht in Chichester Harbour some years ago.

They really did look just the same - and seem to be keeping busy and happy.

So - we met at this glamorous new venue we have been watching them build for the last year and were looking forward to trying it out.    It was empty apart from one other couple.   We sat there for ages, then realised we had perhaps better look at the menu.  Which looked good.  There was a lovely veggie brek on that I was going to order - and some other wonderful sounding things for the others. 

The young staff, who never came near us, were having fun at the counter and playing loud jangly music.  Which I don't really want at any time - let alone 9.30 in the morning.   So Captain B asked them politely if they could turn it down.  No, they couldn't.  Or at any rate, they didn't. So we left (as did the other couple) and we went and had breakfast at Waitrose.   Porridge and blueberries for himself, a bacon butty for Ian, bacon and avocado for beautiful Sheryl, and sourdough toast with honey for myself - plus large lattes all round.  It was excellent.

We will not be bothering again with the new place. It is clearly only for young and trendy people - the sort who know what the word "barrista" means.

It has been a real nothing weekend - we are both feeling so tired - most unusual for Captain B, not so unusual for me these days.  I did get myself together for the field service on Saturday, but realised that I would not be able to drive - legs too painful.   I got myself to the meeting this morning though - so they must have been a bit better - and was able to give a lift to the lovely young sister who lives across the road. She usually walks there and I drive her back, but it was raining this morning, so I chauffered her both ways.  Which was something useful at least.

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.