Saturday, 30 June 2012


Its day 2 of the "Guard Your Hearts" Convention in Brighton - and I am going to get there late. The new meds (or something) is having a dreadful effect on me and I could not make it to the Coach. The Gallant Captain Butterfly has agreed to take me over there now I feel a bit better, and I can get the congregation bus back.

Growing older would be wonderful if it weren't for the fact that, at the moment, "death reigns as king over us".

We had two new releases yesterday.  And the theme was : "As for Jehovah, He sees what the heart is." -
1 Samuel 16:7

And today its : "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." - Matthew 12:34  

I think we will note yet again the contrast with "the world" which says that "Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me"; and our Creator, Jehovah, who warns us that the wrong word can do incalculable damage.

Clearly we will be reminded how important it is to tell others about God's Kingdom.  And that our love for that Kingdom will be reflected in how we speak to others about it.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

The Convention Approaches

A muggy day today, but Captain B has got some good photos.  The Brighton Convention starts Friday, so no meeting tonight.  We had a lovely evening at Jackie's yesterday - a roast chicken dinner with apple pie.  Audrey and I only managed 30 minutes on the doors - my fault - not at all well - don't know if its the new medicine or what...

The balcony geraniums are lovely,

But the news is dreadful. The Bible's warning about "the increasing of lawlessness" world wide is truer by the day.

At least I managed to get all the Convention invites I had delivered.  I wonder if anyone will come?  It is the best teaching in the world, freely offered.  As Jesus said, he gave us the teaching free, we must teach it freely to others.

Monday, 25 June 2012


view from Mill Hill
 by me
The landscape to the East
 Is tilting fast towards the sun
 Clouds are being edged with pink
 Runway lights grow pale and wan.

That was one of those interminable waits in airports through the early hours - when every hour feels like three.

What I was thinking is how my travelling days are behind me.  Today I am shattered by two trips to two local hospitals, one shopping trip, and having to climb the flat stairs (lift still out).  However, this is what happens as you get older.

And I did do my fair share in my time.  Captain Butterfly's powerful wings still zoom him about the world though.

I joined him on his Butterfly transect, though I had to sit in a bench by the car park - a memorial bench to someone who also loved sitting there.  I did my studying, looking out over the beautiful downland to the English Channel - and met a lovely sheepdog and his owner.

Wimbledon has started. I think Jacks was up there today.  We used to love to watch it. I can remember when I was a schoolgirl - "You've got a good memory!" - that was Captain Butterfly (where is that fly swat?) - coming in from school, grabbing a bowl of strawberries from the kitchen and watching every moment of every match with my mother.   Remember the doubles team of Osuna and Palafox?   And Ann Jones?  And all of them?   I don't know if the glory has departed (for me) because i am old, or because there is now so much money in the game, or a bit of both. 

Saturday, 23 June 2012

The Adventures of a Chocolate Teapot

I hope I have been of slightly more use than a chocolate teapot this week - but its touch and go.  Maggie and I managed  50 minutes on the doors this morning - clinging on to each other for dear life.  But we had a lovely morning - lots of conversations, we placed lots of invitations (to the Brighton Convention), and only met one nasty person.  And the young brother in charge of the maps is very kind and thoughtful and put four of us crumblies into a gentle bit of territory and then called by to see how we were getting on.

The lift in our flats is seriously broken at the moment and its not helping my knees.  After Captain Butterfly roared off on his powerful wings, packed lunch in tow, I tackled the stairs.  Then, having reached base camp safely enough, I set off and was found some time later wandering round our little seaside town.  A brother and sister driving by effected a rescue and delivered me safely to the house we were meeting for the Field Service. I had been heading in the wrong direction. Everything is at sixes and sevens at the moment as we are without our Hall and so many of us are working on the site or at the village.

But not me - on a building site I would be about as much use as...

Thursday and Friday I had my Butterfly Bureaucrat hat on and got the second batch of newly-hatched members all entered up, and filed, and despatched their membership packages to them.  Plus I made more cake and delivered it.  No more needed now till after the Brighton Convention.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

More privacy for butterflies (courtesy of the Olympics)

The Torch and its Runner keep turning up on the News, so the start of the Olympics is getting closer.  I do quite enjoy watching the Athletics with Captain Butterfly - though I have to be very careful not to move across the tv screen (on my way to the kitchen for another cup of tea) just as the 100mm race is on. Its that one that is over in half a second and is always won by someone called Usain Bolt.  One ill-timed tea trip can block the whole thing from the Captain's eyes.  Or a blink at the wrong moment.

The local butterflies will be able to get on with their courting unphotographed for the duration.   Relief is on the way chaps.  I would simply hate a butterfly with its camera to turn up when... anyway, I am not going to go there.

The bricklaying brother is back with us for the next two or three nights as he has kindly donated more of his time to the Hall.

Yesterday was quite busy. A long overdue trip to Malcolm for my hair.  Its only this week that i would have been able to get into and out of the chairs there without a crane on standby.  I don't seem to have any hair left now, but at least what there is is looking neat for the Convention in Brighton next week.

I like long hair - its something to hide behind. But its not acceptable once you get into your sixties.  Not to other ladies anyway.

Also there was shopping - return visits - nobody at home - cake baking  - and the Meeting.

Today I must deliver said cake.  Sadly, we have had to cancel our study. The brother who conducts it is ill with a serious chest infection and everyone is so busy down at the new Hall or the Field Kitchen that I can't find anyone else to go with me.  As  the Bible student is male, I can't take it on my own.  So I rang to cancel and we will hope to start again next week

Its a damp grey morning, but the Channel is calm..

Monday, 18 June 2012

Farewell then Jacaranda Tree

My marmalade pot, the Jacaranda Tree of our childhood plays, got broken today. So I want to say goodbye to it.  It has lived a long and useful life.  I bought it for sixpence at a school jumble sale when I was a little girl.  It featured in the plays we used to put on with our china animals when we were children.

It played a jacaranda tree, and my hero Prince Belgy (a china dog daddy bought back from Belgium) would rest beside it, but it would lift its lid and pop him inside, and kidnap him.  Sometimes I think it was a goodie, and hid him from whoever the villain was.

It was part of our kitchen when we were young marrieds and it flew out to Saudi Arabia with us.  It then became the pot for the Sheik's home-made date chutney. Freshly picked date chutney.

It flew back and joined us in retirement, and was the chutney pot here. The Sheik, or Captain B as he now is, still makes his chutney but without the freshly picked dates.  Then suddenly it came to grief in the kitchen this evening.  If Captain B can reconstruct enough of it, there will be a Farewell photo with this blog.

Paul, a young brother who is a bricklayer, stayed with us on Saturday night - as did The Roger.  We didn't even know he was in England!  Anyway, he came too, we all had a lovely evening, and Roger slept in the lounge.

A busy day today cakemaking and getting all the sheets and towels washed and ironed in case any more brothers from the Build teams need a bed for the night.

Oh and I did finally see a real jacaranda tree when visiting the Oz  branch of the family in Summer.  The Northern beaches were ablaze with blue blossom.

If and when the photo appears you will see that my sixpenny pot was a very good actor indeed, as there was nothing blue about it.

Saturday, 16 June 2012


I thought it was time for a poem.


 by me

Who makes fantasies
In clay
Jars, bells and chimes
Seems to have a knack
That I lack
All mine
Turn into ashtrays
Useful at least, I thought
(and I’m not joking)
when I bought
my five thousand wobbly ashtrays
I found that the Sheik
Had given up smoking.

Years ago, in the Land of Expat, I took up pottery. And made some sturdy things that we still use today.  But the first things I made on the wheel all shrank back into ashtrays - even if I was trying to make a Grecian urn.  And, yes, Captain Health had just given up smoking.

I am so glad he did though.

He has had a busy morning, collecting for SUSSAR outside the Supermarket - back for a quick salad lunch - and off again on butterfly business.  Its a sunny day here, with a strong wind.  I was out on the field service with Audrey. We were delivering invitations to the Brighton Convention - at the new Community Stadium on the 29th June to the 1st of July.

The theme this year is:  SAFEGUARD YOUR HEART  (Proverbs 4:23).  And the talk I am most looking forward to is based on that wonderful promise in Isaiah "The former things... will not come up into the heart" - Isaiah 65:17

This is what we pray for when we say The Lord's Prayer and ask for God's will to be done upon the earth.

One of the bricklaying brothers from the team working on our new Kingdom Hall is staying with us tonight. He will arrive this evening, and everything seems to be ready.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Cakes and Poppies

Yellow horned Poppy
While Captain Beachcomber took some lovely photos on our beach, I was delivering the next batch of cakes for the brothers on the Hall build.  Carrot cake this time, plus some Waitrose cakes for a touch of luxury.  I had intended to do some overdue and very guilt making return visits on the way back, but just as I had got the cakes safely delivered, thank goodness, and set off, the heavens opened up and it was monsoon and I headed for home as fast as I safely could.  However, Col, on the beach, only a few streets away, got nothing but a few drops of rain.

Strange weather.

We have had two talks from our Circuit Overseer so far, and two more to come on Sunday. I haven't got to even one of the groups this week!  Tuesday, Audrey cancelled as it was rained off, and I decided I would use the morning to make... more cakes.  Wednesday I can't remember what happened.  Thursday morning Steve and I were with our Bible student. We were talking this week about what the Bible says about the hope for our dead loved ones.  He now wants to come to the Kingdom Hall for the meetings.

And this morning was devoted to doctors appointments.

However, Audrey and I do plan to be at the field service group tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

The Cakeathon begins

The great cake bake started yesterday.  And apparently the freezers are groaning under the weight of cakes already. But at times there will be up to a hundred brothers on the site, all taking two tea breaks a day, all needing cake. So we must keep baking.  I made marmalade muffins and a carrot cake yesterday - and contributed a load of Mr.Kiplings (which, sadly, probably taste better) and have scheduled myself to make another carrot cake today.

I wish I was a better baker than I am.  My mother was a wonderful cake and pastry cook.  I still haven't come across a better lemon meringue pie than the one she used to make.

Jacks popped in yesterday to bring Col the new thingummy he needed from the Home Brew shop - and I gave her her signed copy of "Old Playgrounds".

It poured with rain all day - apparently a months rain fell in a day. The sea front was flooded - may still be. We made the TV News.  Its been drizzling this morning, on and off.  Captain Butterfly is going stir crazy - no butterfly outings.  He has kindly promised to take me out to do a few return calls this morning as I am nervous of driving on flooded roads.   There was no rain to speak of in Expatland.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

The Captain speaks

Captain Butterfly has just pointed out - with many a smug cry of GOTCHA!! - that when I said:" Once again "the world" is doing all it can to persuade us away from "the strait and narrow road" that leads to life" (in my last blog), I have misquoted Matthew.

And I have had to admit that he is right.

Jesus said:   “Go in through the narrow gate; because broad and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are the ones going in through it; whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are the ones finding it." - Matthew 7:13,14  (New World translation)

The King James translation says:  "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:  Because strait is the gate, and narrow the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."

His Lordship was questioning my use of the word "strait" - which seemed a bit of tautology: "the strait and narrow road".  But as you see, the Bible actually defines the gate as "strait" and the road as "narrow". So they are both difficult to enter and restricting.  And so many prefer the broad easy way "the world" offers - do what you like and believe what suits you - as long as nobody gets hurt.

What is left out of that equation is that people always always get hurt when we ignore Jehovah's law and go our own way.  But it is a free choice, for everyone of us.  Jehovah respect the free will He gave us.

But "the strait gate" and "the narrow road" leads to life - and to "the glorious freedom of the children of God".

The Channel is calm, the sky is a bit overcast with rain forecast for later.  I hope I won't be driving back from the meeting this afternoon in the pouring rain, but it seems likely.

Jacks came round for a Thai takeway last night.  The LemonGrass provided the food, excellent and on time. And I made us an Eton Mess for afters. But I make an arthitis-friendly one, using Greek yoghourt, rather than cream.  

Remembered to show her Bea's beautiful silk painting - not that she could miss it as it has a prominent place in the sitting room, but forgot to show her the paper version of "Old Playgrounds".

Friday, 8 June 2012

That weasel word "adult"

In this Newspeak world in which we live - and thank you to George Orwell for giving us a vocabulary in which to describe it - the word "adult" has taken on a new meaning.  I keep having to delete files with "adult content" from my spam folder.   But what does that mean?  Files with sensible, mature thoughtful content, or some vile sniggering behind the bike shed?

The new meaning of "adult" suggests the latter, which is why I delete the files.  Its clever though, in its suggestion that it would be very childish and immature to object to obscenity.

The apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Ephesus: “Let fornication and uncleanness of every sort or greediness not even be mentioned among you, just as it befits holy people; neither shameful conduct nor foolish talking nor obscene jesting, things which are not becoming.” (Ephesians 5:3, 4) Clearly, obscene language, regardless of its intent, is offensive to God. It is bad. It is speech that injures.

Once again "the world" is doing all it can to persuade us away from "the strait and narrow road" that leads to life.

Its a wonderful stormy day today - rain in the morning - moody sunshine now - and waves on the Channel. Captain Butterfly is going stir crazy as this is not butterfly weather.   We shopped in the morning and he made another batch of chutney.

Circuit Overseer visit next week.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Bea's Painting

This is the  beautiful silk painting that Bea gave us.  It makes me want to re-decorate the whole flat in its glowing colours.

We went to see my Bible student for the first time in weeks - well, first time in weeks for me, his study is being conducted regularly by various brothers and sisters.   He says he finds Thursday mornings a really happy time, which is as it should be as Jehovah is the happy God, and part of the fruitage of his spirit is joy.

I can remember feeling like that when I was doing my study with Wilhellmina and Ruby all those years ago.

We hope he will be coming to our new Kingdom Hall when it opens.

Captain Hospitality has just very kindly agreed that we will put up sundry brothers who need a bed for the night while the Society's building teams are here.  It is all beautifully ordered - or course - so that all they need is a bed. Three hot meals and tea and cakes are provided on site and at the field kitchen.  I am down as a cake making volunteer but haven't yet been called on.

Very rainy at the South Coast today. After lunch we have trip to Tesco's, the post office, and the library.

The heady excitement of it all!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Old Playgrounds

The paper version of "Old Playgrounds" arrived last week.  It looks good with Col's lovely photo of Derbyshire on the front.  The Derbyshire moorlands were our old playgrounds - or one of them - although none of us have written about that. Nor have any of us written about Nabbs, although only us sisters would remember it.  John would have been too young.  The wonderful Grannyworld of Nabbs was our childhood paradise.

I hope to post copies to Aunt Jo, to Janet the Poet, to Pauline (whose dog Scuttle I am walking in one of the poems) and to the Oz Branch of the family today.  They are all parcelled up and ready to go.

I hadn't been paying much attention to the Jubilee, but was caught by the Rolf Harris Jubilee painting programme last night - lots of different artists making a piece of Jubilee artwork, all now on show somewhere in London.  So many different artists with the one theme, and every piece different.  If they had had a million artists on the programme, every artwork would have been different too.  (And they would have needed a very large gallery to show them.)

The Creation is amazing.  And I am so grateful for it, to be alive, to be able to see it all.  But how wonderful will it be when Paradise is restored?

Went out on the work with Audrey yesterday - and managed to get her June magazine route started, and my May magazine route finished.  Apart from the elusive Dave, whose magazines for the two months I will have to post. Hope to do that today too.  And I plan to get back to my Bible study this week and brave those stairs.

Getting older... a flight of stairs looms ahead like the terrifying Bottleneck on K2...

Mind you, apparently the study has been getting on fine without me, so I must let some of the other sisters go instead of me at regular intervals. I am not the best teacher in the world, nor do I have the best personality.  So thanks to Jehovah, the God of Abraham, the true God, I can even find a tiny silver lining to my arthritis.

My student has got a better and more varied witness because of it.

Nevertheless I very much look forward to the time we are promised when, right here on the earth, "No resident will say 'I am sick'".

Monday, 4 June 2012

The Talk I Didn't Give

I was supposed to give this talk on Wednesday, but they have had to cancel the second school as too many of our brothers are working on the Kingdom Hall build this month.  However, I feel I should do something with it, given I've written it. And practised it with Bea.   My challenge was to do the talk without this full script, with just a few notes.  And I had condensed it to a few notes and scriptures, but not practised it yet.  But as I have never given a talk without a word for word script before I was nervous, and am quite relieved to have put it off for a month or so.

Bea leaves this afternoon. I have a sandwich and salad lunch planned for us, and we have just watched Captain B's lovely DVD of his Skomer Island shots.

Here is the talk:

(Material from "Reasoning From the Scriptures", p.258 par.4 to p.259 par 1)

Study 25: Use of an Outline

Setting: 18. Explaining your belief to a non-witness relative

Sue. Hello HH, I thought I would drop by and see if you had thought any more about our discussion last week because it was lovely to have someone in the family interested in why I have become a Jehovahs's Witness

HH.Hi Sue, sorry I’m going out in a few minutes.  But I don’t think we’d better talk too much more about it anyway. My mother is so shocked at your becoming a Witness, and she doesn’t want me talking to you about it. She is such a strong churchgoing Catholic you know.  She was telling me that you don’t even believe in the Virgin Mary!

Sue. I wonder why she would have said that?   As you know from our talk last week, we do.  The Bible tells us very clearly that Jesus was born of a virgin, and it tells us why that had to be. You remember we talked about the ransom when we had that chat last week.

HH.Yes, I do remember that and I did try to explain it to mum, but she said that what she meant was that you don’t pray to Mary.

Sue.  Oh, then she was quite right, we don’t.  And of course I do remember from my convent childhood that we prayed to Mary a lot.  We used to say the rosary – 10 Hail Marys to 1 Our Father.   Do Catholics still pray like that?

 HH.Yes.  (I had intended to check this with a Catholic relative before giving the talk)

Sue.  Then may I quickly explain to you why we don’t?  You remember how Jesus taught us to pray?  Reads Matthew 6:9: “You must pray, then, this way: “‘Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified."   Do you notice who Jesus asked us to pray to?

HH.     To God. To his Father.  But the thing is that when we pray to Mary, we are asking God through her.

Sue.  So she is your intercessor, or mediator with God?  I think I remember being taught that in my faraway convent schooldays.  But back then I wasn’t aware of these words of Jesus.  Could you read them for me?

HH.  Reads John 14:6: "Jesus said to him: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

 Sue.  No-one can come to the Father except through me.  What do you think Jesus meant by that?

HH.    Well, it is as if he is saying that we can only approach God through him.

Sue.  Yes – and he underlines that here, when he says: (reads John 14:14): " If you ask anything in my name, I will do it."   So clearly we are to pray to God - to Jehovah - in Jesus name.  And given that is so clear, why do you suppose that Catholics are taught to pray to Mary, or in Mary’s name, as I was once?

HH.    It might be because it seems easier to approach God through Mary, through a mother. Especially for us, we feel that she could understand us more, having been a woman on earth herself.

 Sue.   Yes, I can understand that.   So I wonder if I could read you these beautiful reassuring words about Jesus at Hebrews 4:15,16: "For we have as high priest, not one who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tested in all respects like ourselves, but without sin.  Let us, therefore, approach with freeness of speech to the throne of undeserved kindness, that we may obtain mercy and find undeserved kindness for help at the right time."     Jesus loves us – as he loves all his Father’s creation.  And his experiences on the earth have given him an even deeper understanding and sympathy for us – for all of us.  If we could get together for a cup of tea this week I’d like to show you what a tender caring God Jehovah is.   He wants us to approach Him, to talk to Him.  He wants to help us. But if we want him to listen to us, then mustn’t we also listen to Him?   And listen when he tells us how He wants us to pray to Him?

HH.  Ok Sue… why not come over for coffee tomorrow and you can explain a bit more.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Summer is a coming in

Its Summer. Where did the first bit of the year go to?  We had heavy rain last night, much needed.  Thankfully it waited until we - Captain B, Bea, Jackie and me - did a tour of Tom and Jill's garden.   We also saw Jackie's beautiful yellow roses.  Lovely evening as always. We had champagne. And Jill made us Coronation chicken and a chocolate mousse.

I practised my talk with Bea today, but when i got to the meeting found they had had to cancel this second school as things at the new build are too hectic at the moment and there aren't enough brothers to go round. One brother has to be there to supervise the school.

There has been a lot of Jubilee-ing on the Beeb today - the Queen travelling down the Thames on a barge, street parties galore, and the lady in Sainsburys wearing Union Jack deeley boppers.  I am staying out of it all.  It seems to me like an attempt to put meaning back into things, which doesn't really work. For the moment, the creation has been "subject to futility".  But, once the Kingdom of God is ruling over us, everything will blaze with meaning once again.

Who ate all the pies?   Us.  We had our last Abel and Cole Chicken pie for dinner - their pie cook has retired or stopped cooking for whatever reason.  Sad, as they were lovely pies.

Its the Final of The Apprentice on later tonight.  And Bea leaves tomorrow afternoon.

As for the news in general, it is so chilling I can't look at more than the headlines.  The worldwide "increasing of lawlessness" is, well, increasing.  As the Inspired Scriptures warn us it will.  They have never been wrong yet, and never will be.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Go, lovely Rosemoor...

GO, lovely Rose—
Tell her that wastes her time and me,
    That now she knows,
When I resemble her to thee,
How sweet and fair she seems to be...

So the poet - Edmund Waller - wrote.  But had he stayed at Rosemoor (Walwyns Castle in Wales), he would have written  "STAY, lovely Rosemoor..."    In other words, it is a great holiday cottage complex.  Beautifully managed by its Dutch owners - everything runs like clockwork.  It has lovely grounds, and a reserve with a lake just down the road.  And a beautiful bit of greensward on which to hang out ones washing. The rocky coast and the splendid hedgerows remind me of my faraway childhood holidays at my granny's house in Praa Sands in Cornwall.

We couldn't use our mobile phones at Rosemoor - however, given that the human race have managed for centuries without such things, we managed our week there without one.

There was enough internet access to be able to check our email a couple of times, which was nice.

Bea has been on her travels for a couple of days and arrives back today for lunch with David. Sandwiches, various, plus a lemon cake and fruit.  Must go and start making them.

Au revoir Roy

It was Roy's funeral yesterday.  Col took me.  Ron conducted the service.  He had us all laughing at times.  Roy had a dry sense of humour, and Ron remembered it nicely.  And he had us crying of course, because we have lost a lovely brother.  And he went over the basis of hope, from the Bible, of our seeing Roy again, right here on the earth.   He endured faithfully to the end, and so the next thing Roy knows will be the wonderful moment when Jehovah wakes him up in Paradise.

It will seem like a beautiful dream at first I suppose - and then he will realise that he is in perfect health - more perfect health than he, or any of us children of Adam has ever known - and he will know that ahead of him lies "exquisite delight in the abundance of peace" forever - "to time indefinite".  Numberless springs in Paradise.

I have headed my blog "au revoir" rather hopefully - in that while surely Roy will be there, in the restored earthly Paradise, as he endured to the end, will I be?  I can only hope so. I must put my faith in the ransom sacrifice given by Jesus, as that paid back the perfect human life that Adam wilfully threw away in Eden.  And I must try to follow the example of Roy, and endure to the end.

I only knew Roy for a few years, but it was a privilege to have him as a brother, and an elder in the congregation.  He looked out for all of us.

My own dreams last night were not Paradise like. I had this anxiety dream about how all my Filippino brothers and sisters had arrived to stay with us - and we were living in something approximating to our holiday cottage in Wales - no shops, no food to speak of.   My night was spent in trying - and constantly failing - to make a platter of cheese and toast to hand round.

I feel exhausted this morning with all that cooking.

Why do I do this to myself?  What is the point?