Tuesday, 16 January 2018

A Taxing Day

Yesterday was the beginning of doing the tax returns.  I keep a lot of info in a card system during the year and spent the morning collating it, to hand over to Captain Gallant who does the on-line stuff.  Its a lot of hassle, but it has to be done.

We went to the talk at Arundel Monday night with Terry, Jackie is not too well at the moment.   Tom was there, for the first time! Don't know what he thought about it all though - but will probably find out tomorrow.   Good talk - on the Pembrokeshire Coast - but the questions at the end went on a bit too long. We are all tired these days.

Saturday was the first of our new special days at the Kingdom Hall.  The elders plan one a month, when we all meet for the field service, come back from a cup of tea, sandwich and cake, and watch the broadcast.

It went very well, so I hope this new arrangement continues,  I picked up Jean and a young sister, drove them to the Hall, parked (which does not get any easier, more and more cars on the road), went to the group, then Jean and I did calls, had some good ones, back to the Hall at 11.45 to find lunch in full swing, and then the broadcast, and I drove my passengers home.   I even managed a small Lidl shop on the way back.

Jacks came round for supper - chicken and mushroom, rice, spring rolls, trifle (Lidl), - but as she wasn't feeling too well she stayed the night with us, just in case. 

Jean and I were out this morning, doing calls.  It is a lovely sunny morning, but very cold. We are in another cold spell apparently.

Hopefully I now have a quiet day ahead of me.   A bit of housework, some studying, a bit of daytime TV - I am very fond of The Chase - and some relaxation.  I feel old and tired, but also busy and useful.  And above all I know that a  rescue is on the way.  I only wish I could get that across to others.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Poems for Ken

I posted these poems to Ken on Monday morning, following a discussion we had during the hols.

The Pity of it by Thomas Hardy

I walked in loamy Wessex lanes, afar 
From rail-track and from highway, and I heard 
In field and farmstead many an ancient word 
Of local lineage like 'Thu bist,' 'Er war,' 

'Ich woll', 'Er sholl', and by-talk similar, 
Nigh as they speak who in this month's moon gird 
At England's very loins, thereunto spurred 
By gangs whose glory threats and slaughters are. 

Then seemed a Heart crying: 'Whosoever they be 
At root and bottom of this, who flung this flame 
Between kin folk kin tongued even as are we, 

'Sinister, ugly, lurid, be their fame; 
May their familiars grow to shun their name, 
And their brood perish everlastingly.'

        Thomas Hardy

They throw in Drummer Hodge to rest
Uncoffined -- just as found:
His landmark is a kopje-crest
That breaks the veldt around:
And foreign constellations west
Each night above his mound.

Young Hodge the drummer never knew --
Fresh from his Wessex home --
The meaning of the broad Karoo,
The Bush, the dusty loam,
And why uprose to nightly view
Strange stars amid the gloam.

Yet portion of that unknown plain
Will Hodge for ever be;
His homely Northern breast and brain
Grow to some Southern tree,
And strange-eyed constellations reign
His stars eternally. 

Embarkation (Southampton Docks: October, 1899)

By Thomas Hardy


Here, where Vespasian's legions struck the sands, 
And Cerdic with his Saxons entered in, 
And Henry's army leapt afloat to win 
Convincing triumphs over neighbour lands, 

Vaster battalions press for further strands, 
To argue in the self-same bloody mode 
Which this late age of thought, and pact, and code, 
Still fails to mend.--Now deckward tramp the bands, 
Yellow as autumn leaves, alive as spring; 
And as each host draws out upon the sea 
Beyond which lies the tragical To-be, 
None dubious of the cause, none murmuring, 

Wives, sisters, parents, wave white hands and smile, 
As if they knew not that they weep the while. 

Thomas Hardy did not believe in God, but he seemed to perceive clearly the destructive hand of the one the Bible calls "the god of this system of things" - Satan the devil - at work.   When Jehovah wakes the poet from the dreamless sleep of death, as I hope He will, Thomas Hardy will open his eyes in such a different earth - an earth truly at peace. 

Monday was a bit of a Post Office day.  I posted the mail collected from my climb on Paperwork Mountain: 1 Butterfly Membership; 1 "Waiting for Gordo" to my Aussie fb friend David; a thank you card to Julia (for her lovely pressies); and 2 magazines and letters to two of my route calls who I have not seen for months.  I also bought and wrote out a card to the Chinese Branch of the family who have just relocated and become the Belgian Branch.  That one awaits my next trip to the Post Office.

Tuesday Jean and I did first call work - and had some good calls, including a return visit to a lady I met while we were walking past her garden.  She says we may call again.    Wednesday, Jean and I visited Maggie, and got such a warm welcome though she has so few words left now.  And Thursday I did return visits with another sister.  We didn't find many at home, but at least we tried.

Today, Friday, is a shopping and cooking day, as tomorrow will be busy - new arrangement at the Kingdom Hall - and Jackie is coming for supper.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

"Wating for Gordo" - in eBook

Got the news today from my young publisher that "Waiting for Gordo" is now out as an eBook.

Bandos Island Resort
I hope hope hope it will make some money for him.
Bandos Island Resort
And I got a lovely review from an old Uni friend this morning, in which she called it a "wonderful book".  And said why she thought so.  It is so lovely to hear that people enjoy reading it. That is what I hoped for - that I could write a "good read" -  and I wanted to try to do justice to the beauty of Jehovah's creation - while also acknowledging that, at the moment, the earth is a spoilt paradise. The "original serpent" is still in the garden - in charge of it in fact.

But a rescue is on the way. So close now. Jean and I were out with our gallant siblings trying to tell everyone about that rescue this morning.  It is what we are praying for when we say the Lord's prayer, and ask for Gods Kingdom to come and for His will to be done on the earth.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Back to the Field

The Field in my case being the Saturday morning field service group, and its the storm swept beach for Captain Butterfly (with his Captain Detectorist hat on). 

Its hard to get back after even 2 weeks off, but I picked up the gallant Jean, and off we went.

Supper at Jackie's Saturday night - chicken and ham pie, with veggies, followed by our favourite ice-cream (salted caramel) and cheese and biscuits - all washed down with another New Zealand white wine. 

We were a bit thin on the ground at the Kingdom Hall Sunday morning - I think quite a lot of us are sick at the moment.   There is a new strain of flu doing the rounds.  And I can only hope neither of us gets it.

We must remember to take our First Defence (nose drops, seeming quite effective).

We have a new arrangement for the first Saturday of every month. Field Service group to meet at 10 am. at the Kingdom Hall - so not such an early start, hurray.  Then back to the Hall at 11.45 for tea and biscuits, followed by the monthly broadcast at 12.30.   Hopefully that will work well.

See the Captain's Log for any beach finds, which, hopefully will be blogged at some stage. He is so busy now that he is not blogging much.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Storm Eleanor

Storm Eleanor hit last night, and so, after shopping, we took a walk along the seafront to the river mouth.  The waves were splendid and we have never seen the river so high - waves booming and banging under our feet as we walked out along the little pier.

The power of the creation...  the waves are still splendid now, with the wind blowing foam off the tops.   And after I drove back from visiting Maggie, I found myself driving through pebbles on the sea road. The high tide this morning must have come that far up!

Jennifer came along with me to see Maggie, and she was so pleased to see us both.  We could not have asked for a warmer welcome.

Other than that I got the Butterfly Membership packages done, dusted and posted, and made a passable chicken veggie curry which we had this evening with brown rice.  Not as good as a Kencurry though.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

The Birth of a Kenburger

This seems an appropriate title to start a new year's blog.   A few days ago Ken asked me if I wanted to see the birth of a Kenburger.    I followed him into the kitchen, where a clay of lentil slurry lay on a chopping board, and watched as he processed it through a neat plastic device, turning out a row of perfect Kenburgers.

However, handsome is as handsome does, so did they taste as lovely as they looked?

Yes. They did. Fantastic. He could go into business with them.

Not a great end to 2017 as I woke up on Sunday morning even deafer than when I went to bed.  Captain Butterfly's voice was like a tiny distant radio.   Col and I (and half the population of Sheffield) went to Waitrose. Both Pen and Keith arrived just before lunch.  We made a couple of salads, and had Nute's home made quiche (excellent) supplemented by a Waitrose one.   Mince pies and ice-cream to follow.

Awkward lunch for me, as I couldn't hear what anyone was saying even when they shouted.

However, family came to the rescue. Phyllis suggested Vic - applied via cotton wool to the ear and Captain Butterfly had the brilliant idea of using the old fashioned vapour method - head over a bowl of hot water and Vic, towel over head.  I can hear again!  Thank God.  Though I to have an appointment with Audiology coming to find out what is going on.

Well, it is now 2018 - and I hope it will be a good year for all.   And that I am so grateful we are all still here.  We spent the first day of the New Year with old schoolfriends.  Jen gave us all a  lovely veggie lunch - veggie chili with rice and salad, followed by a brilliant bread and butter pudding and cheese and biscuits.  Col and I chauffered Kathryn, and Nute and Ken chauffered Penny.

We travelled back home today - good journey despite the rain - left bungalow 9.05, arrived here 2.40 - now must get unpacked, sorted and re-orientated.   I do feel some homesickness for family and The North, but we are already booked up for supper with Jacks, and its the meeting on Thursday so I think I will soon be absorbed into our life here.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Sunset over The Snake

A road of many memories - from my earliest childhood.  And it was particularly lovely on Wednesday as we drove over to see Aunt Bea and family.   Icy too, and it is not the sort of road you want to skid off.

Thursday we met up with Pete - amazed to realise we had not seen each other for nearly 11 years.   The last time we saw him was at our flat in London when he brought Jill, his wife to be, over to meet us.

Since then they have been married, had a busy, happy life, including setting up a nature reserve, and Jill, so sadly, has died.

Woke up yesterday morning to find a blanket of snow!  It all looked lovely but...   Col took Nute over to the Real Meat Co to collect the joint of lamb for the weekend and then we drove to York through a heavy snowstorm - with me saying "lets turn back" at every other moment.

But we didn't. And we got there and back. And had lunch with Keith, Janet, Tom, Brian and a couple of their friends - cold turkey, ham, roast veggies, cheese and fruitcake.   Their plans for the house have changed now that Brian is living with them, so it might be a very different downstairs the next time we see them.

The Derby Branch is coming over today - for a roast lamb dinner - and Pen of Lilac Tree arrives tomorrow - all weather permitting of course.

And then 2017 will be gone. So quickly.   I hope to survive to write about the new year.  I hope we all do.