Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Shoals of Snails at Woods Mill

White-lipped Snail, Cepaea hortensis
We spent yesterday at Woods Mill - snails on every other nettle leaf - how beautifully they are crafted. Captain B took some pics for my blog - and some pics of the waterlilies. We had our sandwiches on the bench overlooking the lake - Duchy ham and chutney for him, and cucumber for her - plus I used up the last 2 small pieces of carrot cake from the freezer.

The robin that joined us last time didn't turn up, but I left him some crumbs.

There were quite a few Meadow Browns, in the meadow (appropriately), and I also saw a small Skipper - well a sort of Skipper anyway - only a momentary glimpse before it hurtled off.  The damsel flies were darting about like jewelled flying needles, and the dragonflies were on patrol across the lake.
Once again, a helicopter flew overhead as the dragonflies patrolled, and I wished that Richard Dawkins, the guru of Evolution, had been sitting beside me sharing a sandwich.  I would have loved to have asked him, politely of course, how it is he wants me to believe that a helicopter was designed and created, that it had both maker and designer, but that I must not believe the same thing about a dragonfly, which is so much more beautiful - so much better engineered?

The creation is telling us and telling us of its Grand Creator - and the Bible spells out for us exactly who He is - Jehovah, the God of Abraham.

It was high Summer at Woods Mill.  A lovely lovely day.

Still endless talk and argument about the Brexit - but given that it seems we are Brexiting, it would probably be better just to get on with it and stop worrying.

Jehovah's wonderful purposes for the earth carry on irrespective of any referendums.  He truly is the God of all comfort.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Votey McVoteface

The Referendum seems to have been a Boaty McBoatface moment, in that it did not give the powers-that-be the result they wanted. Can it now be changed, or overridden?  Hard to tell, No-one seems to know for sure.

A divisive mess.

We had supper at Jack's last night - Thai chicken curry, rice, salad, strawberries, ice-cream and cheese and coffee (tea in my case).  Lots of laughs, and talk about the Referendum, and how no-one seems to know what happens next.

We are being told that this shows a big divide between old and young - the young feeling European and all being Bremainers, and us oldies all Brexiters -  but not in my local experience.  We either didn't vote, or voted for Remain - apart from one local friend.    The older you get, the more hard change is to cope with.

Friday, 24 June 2016


My blog does not usually touch on political issues.  I am to be "no part" of the world, and stay neutral even in my heart.  Which is not nearly as easy as it looks. I thought I was genuinely neutral about the EU vote, as I could see plus and minus points in both the Brexit and Bremain campaign.

But waking up this morning to find we have Brexited has made me feel that I was not as neutral as I thought, though I certainly did not vote and have no wish to have done so. But it is worrying how divisive this is.  Whichever way the vote had gone, it surely would have been so much better to have made it an overwhelming vote.

Plus I am conservative - not politically, note the small "c" - but in the sense that I love routine and order, and find change frightening.

And, importantly, Captain B was a Bremainer, and is upset this morning.   As is Jackie, as is Bea, as are all my family.   Hopefully he will get out on his butterfly transect soon, and once out there, in the beautiful Downland, wading through lakes of moths and butterflies and creepy crawlies he will be refreshed.

We have a wonderful Watchtower study in the worldwide congregations this  Sunday. So timely and relevant.. And all are welcome at our meetings.

You can also read it online, if you wish:[search_id]=232a0472-e59a-417a-ad2

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Hunting the Lego Herds in Arundel

Lego Red-breasted Goose
We - the Captain, Jacks and me - lunched at the Arundel Wetland Trust yesterday.  Pork casserole for the Captain, macaroni cheese and salad for Jackie and me.  What a view their restaurant has- always provided there are no gulls slaughtering baby chicks in centre frame.   And yesterday lunchtime there were not.
Lego Nēnē (Hawaiian Goose)
Lego Flamingo
Lego Spoon-billed sandpiper
Lego Otter
We walked round the Wetland afterwards - me and Jacks resting on every bench, while Col worked at the camera-face - see pics above.   I was still in such a lot of pain, but, mercifully, it hasn't turned into the full-blown crippling arthritis flare-up that leaves me unable even to get dressed and not knowing what to do with myself for the pain.

We had all been at the Trust on Monday night, picking up Terry en route.   And, as it was the end of the Talk season, they gave us Pimms with strawberries and cream and shortbread instead of the usual tea and biscuits.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

The Team of Jean and Sue Rides out Again

River Arun 3.8km swim
Well, it was more sort of tottered out - for a long walk along the seafront, stopping at every bench. But, following Jean's  example, I offered little tracts to people passing by and every one was lovely about it and took them with a smile.  One young girl with children - she was perhaps Portuguese/Romanian? no English anyway - smiled said "Jehowah?" and when we said yes, happily took the publication.

The problem was that it took us so long to get to the road we were working that we could not find our siblings. So we gave up and had a cup of coffee and shared a lemon drizzle cake at the riverside cafe. Then we both tottered off home, feeling tired but happy.

Anyway, it felt like the first tiny step to going back to work. And Jennifer will take me out after the meeting today.

The Captain was at the river too yesterday. He was a marshall at the River Arun 3.8km swim. Marshalling sports events is one way that the charity Sussex Search & Rescue raises funds to operate. He is a volunteer with SusSAR, and when not called out by Sussex Police to search for missing, vulnerable people, they fund raise and attend training sessions.

Jackie came over for the delayed curry supper last night.   Madras Chicken and a Lamb curry courtesy of the Waitrose chill cabinet, two veggie curries and rice courtesy of me, and pudding courtesy of Lidl.  And chocolates and a cheeseboard.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Till They Dropped - the audio version

The audio version of my novelette "Till They Dropped" has been published! Very exciting.

I have emailed the reader, actress Penelope McDonald, and thanked her and Fantastic Books Publishing, my publisher, for doing such a fantastic job!

It was strange and a bit worrying to hear it read, as I had no idea what I would feel about it.  I was surprised at how much Emily rushed about. But then it is a chase, a very urgent situation, as she tries to outrun something.

And her reading really enthralled. It couldn't have been done better.  Which is what I said in my Thank you email.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

The Sunday Blues

Not that Sunday was a sad day, not at all.  The meeting at the Hall was full of comfort and help - and my sister took me out in her car afterwards.  I brought sandwiches - marmite and cucumber - and she bought a flask of ginger tea - and then we furthered my magazine route calls and did a call of hers as well.

What was sad about it was that it underlined for me how much I have gone downhill. Even an hour in the car is a strain now - the getting in and out, having to push and pull with my "good" shoulder is so painful, and I worry about the stress on it...    But I was thinking how my Sundays would feel if I did not know the truth - Christianity being called "the way of the truth".  They would be beyond depressing.

I can remember childhood days in term time, when the whole of Sunday afternoon and evening was blighted by the thought of school tomorrow.

We didn't see Jackie on Saturday night - we have postponed our curry evening till next Saturday, as Col has come down with a cold-type thing - mild, but after her recent problems Jackie doesn't want to risk catching anything.   Anyway, it meant  I had enough food in for the weekend, and we dined off the last of the veggie curries (turned into a soup) last night.

The Channel - early evening - is a sparkling turquoise jewel, with flashes and splashes of brilliant white. And there is a kite in bright seaside colours being flown just outside our window.

Saturday, 11 June 2016


Yellow Horned Poppy, Glaucium flavum
Yesterday afternoon we walked on the beach and the yellow poppies were out - and so were the ringed plovers with their whirling clockwork walk.  And it felt like full summer as I walked back from the Hall on Thursday night.  Flowers everywhere. Walking past foxgloves made me think of my dear aged father - he always had foxgloves in his garden. They are a forest flower - and he was a child of the fields and forests of Belarus.
Ringed Plover, Charadrius hiaticula
Jackie for supper tonight.  I am keeping it simple as I want to go to the broadcast at the Hall this afternoon.  So its a couple of mains from the Waitrose curry selection and a couple of sides made by me: a hot tomato chutney and stir fried cabbage, carrot, coriander and chiles. Lidl has kindly supplied the custards, and I have some fresh raspberries to go with them.

Monday, 6 June 2016

The Glow Worm

Glow-worm larva, Lampyris noctiluca
Here is another of Jehovah's marvelous creations. Maybe, when the earth is Paradise again, the night will be full of glow worms.  Many years ago we sailed quietly (noise can make them turn their lights off) through the Glow Worm caves on North Island New Zealand.  It was one of those occasions when you feel the holiness of the world so strongly, and I thought then that if I didn't already know about our Grand Creator, Jehovah, maybe that is what would have woken me up and started me looking.

They are little predators though. Which, presumably, they will not be when the earth is Paradise again.

Saw my Arthritis doctor on Friday. He confirmed that my inflammation levels are up - which I know as the arthritis has been bad - but that given the physical trauma, its understandable and not to worry. The medicine is still working well.  He also stressed that, while I will not get all that much more function back, there is still more to come IF I keep at the physio, but it will take months and months.

Anyway, that is the incentive to keep trying.

We spent Saturday at Jacks - the usually lovely evening - lots of laughing and a lasagne.

Jennifer and I went out after the meeting yesterday - which was lovely, but with a very guilt-making Watchtower (my fault, for wasting precious time which is dedicated to Jehovah) - she took me round some of my calls and return visits.   And I found out that the wife of one of my longstanding route calls had a bad fall in November and smashed her shoulder! And she too is very far from recovering.

Which at least confirms that this is something that does take time, and not to lose hope.   He says he will bring her to the door for a chat next time.  She is a lovely lady.  So we will be able to tell each other what the doctor said to us when we had our tubes tilted - while her husband pales and rushes for the door marked Exit.  I can't wait!

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Ian Duhig

This was the poem of the week in The Guardian.  I was delighted to find it as I love Ian Duhig's "The Lammas Hireling", which got first prize in The National Poetry Competition of 2000.  And deservedly so.

‘Combat Gnosticism’
by Ian Duhig

Campbell’s term for war writing born
of a gnosis only being there can earn:
I witnessed it once from old soldiers
in a poetry workshop at Age Concern.
They’d lost that battle with the word,
believing too much better left unsaid
to the likes of me and not those pals
now threescore and ten years dead.
How many old soldiers does it take
to change a lightbulb? asked one.
You can’t know if you weren’t there!
They all fell about. Now they’d won.
Relaxed, they began letting it out
into grey shades of afternoon light,
into words they feared betrayed it.
And I learned why they were right.

So you really DID have to be there.

They were such a stoical generation - coming back traumatised, shellshocked, and left to get on with it as best they could.  They must wonder about the generations since, and what all the slaughter and suffering was for.  The horrors of war stayed with my father till he died - though he never said all that much about them.

A rescue is on the way. Here is the promise from Jehovah, whose promises never fail to come true:

"Come and witness the activities of Jehovah, How he has done astonishing things on the earth.   He is bringing an end to wars throughout the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; He burns the military wagons with fire." -  Psalm 46:8,9

Astonishing events.  Something we have never achieved for ourselves, and in fact, we seem further off from peace on earth than ever before.   Yet already Jehovah has gathered over 8 million people, from "every tribe and nation and tongue", and is teaching us "to study war no more".   That is surely a miracle in itself!

But much greater things are imminent.

I seem to be in the doldrums this week - not doing much of anything. Studying, routine housework, trying to help an internet friend who is in desperate trouble in America - genuinely.   Its the meeting at the Hall tonight, which I need.

Something has eaten all the chili plants on our balcony.  We will need to get a new indoor one from Waitrose.  I record that earth-shaking fact in case it is of use to naturalists anywhere.  But it probably does not make me the new Gilbert White.