Monday, 26 June 2017

Swallowtail Moths

Swallow-tailed Moth (Ourapteryx sambucaria)
The Captain called me out to the balcony last night to see these two Swallowtail moths resting by our light,  They are exquisite.   Jehovah, with Jesus working alongside him as a master worker, made an awe-inspiring world for us to live on and in. The tiniest detail is a masterpiece of artistry and engineering. We have made such a mess of it, but they are coming to our rescue fast.
Swallow-tailed Moths
I was saying to someone on facebook this morning that the procession of tiny tiny egg, to caterpillar, to larva, to butterfly is a miracle in plain sight.  They agreed.

The creation tells us day and night of its Grand Creator. And the Inspired Scriptures tell us his name, ,Jehovah, the God of Abraham.

We had two items of news today. One very sad.  The wife of an old University Friend has just died.   We knew him and his first wife many years ago when we were students at Newcastle University. In fact I shared a room/flat with Diana and Col knew Pete as they had been to school together.  And that is how the Captain and I met - and the rest they say is history.   ("And we know what a miserable business history is" I seem to hear the Captain crabbing from the other side of the table.)

Diana died some years ago. And now his second wife - also a lovely lady - has died.   But we are all in the death zone now.

And we also heard that Paul, a friend from PlanetExpat, has now retired and is back in the UK.

And we had another news bulletin over the weekend.  It seems we are going to become a great aunt and uncle yet again!

A generation is coming, and a generation is going...

It was Dan and Libbys's wedding anniversary party on Saturday.  A special do, as it was their Twentieth.   They chose a lovely venue - a farm with an enchanting rambling garden.  The weather had changed though - it was grey and windy.  Not that I minded.  I am not one for the heat.

We left quite early though - as we were both so tired. The Captain was exhausted after a very difficult day - early start to get to his annual walk - car developed radiator problems...   and I had quite a busy morning - pick up Jean, to group, on the work, then onto the Kingdom Hall for cleaning duties.

And it doesn't take a lot to exhaust me these days.

Jackie is still not well, and I took her in a load of shopping after the meeting yesterday.

Friday, 23 June 2017


Jean and I had a good morning out on Tuesday. We didn't go to the Field Service Meeting at the Kingdom Hall as Jean had a doctor's appointment.  I took her there, and we both had some calls in the locale and got those done.  We finished in time for me to get to Waitrose to do Jackie's shopping for her.

On Wednesday morning I sent a card off to Marcin, in intensive care in Sydney, and also posted Dave's magazine to him. I usually send it at the beginning of the month and was surprised to find I hadn't done so this time.  They both got sent one of the lovely bird cards I got at the launch of The Sussex Butterfly Atlas.

IT IS SO HOT. in the nineties.  Jean and I braved it to Maggie's and found to our relief that the window in her room was open and the door propped open. She doesn't allow that. Ever. But she wasn't there.  We tracked her down to the lounge where she was sitting over a cold drink and she was so pleased to see us.

We had a thunderstorm yesterday.  Which we needed.   Jen and I sheltered in my car until it was over.  So we only managed 15 minutes on the doors but it was quite a productive 15 minutes as we have arranged to see the guy next Friday.

Tomorrow is the annual party at Dan's. It is their twentieth anniversary, which is good going.    I can't say I have done much today - done my study for Sunday, a load of washing, made lunch (soup again), and - well, that is about it...

It is much much COOLER now. Thank goodness.

I have been going through the official version of my Dive Thriller - launch date to be announced any day now. Will anyone buy it?

I think my writers royalty income has been about one hundred pounds so far.   Not exactly J K Rowling.   I would love to be able to make some money for my young publisher though.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The Swallowtail Moth and Pedro Conejo

Swallow-tailed Moth, Ourapteryx sambucaria
Our balcony seems to have become a Moth Hotel, hopefully a good one and well recommended, as more and more keep coming, including this giant fellow.
Peter Rabbit with Adonis Blue, Polyommatus bellargus
Dorothy of South Island left on Monday with her travelling companion, Peter Rabbit, or Pedro Conejo as he is known since his recent travels in Peru.  He sends regular bulletins and photos back to Dorothy's little granddaughter.   He recently appeared in Kithurst Meadow, helping Captain Butterfly with his transect.

We had a bit of an Aramco reunion on Saturday night, with both Dorothy and Linda there.  Jackie joined us, although she didn't eat much.  But still, it was a start.  We had lasagne, salad, garlic bread, a set custard with raspberries and blueberries, champagne, wine and coffee.   I Cooksed it, rather than cooked it.   And on Sunday we had lunch at The Steam Packet. It was good.   Roast pork for them - fish and chips for me.

I did get to the meeting on Sunday - and this morning I have to take Jean to the doctors and then we might do a few calls in the area.

The talk at Arundel last night - the end of the talk season - was great - on Madagascar - but sad as the flora and fauna there is unique - and so threatened, so beleaguered.  It needs all the eco-tourism it can get to keep the small reserves going.

And it was so hot.  Terry came with us.  And we all got very very hot.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

A Towering Inferno

The fire at Grenfell Towers in West London has killed who knows how many people.  Will we ever really know?    There will be so many enquiries and post mortems, but at the moment who can really say why it went up like a Roman Candle, leaving no time for those trapped on the top floors to escape.

They were going about their business, in their homes, and were suddenly engulfed by a nightmare.

As the Christian Greek Scriptures say "all creation keeps on groaning together and being in pain together".  But when the rescue comes, the dead will not be forgotten.   So I hope all those killed in the fire are held safe in "the everlasting arms" and have a wonderful awakening ahead of them. They fell asleep in a nightmare, but will wake up in the restored earthly paradise.

I was out this afternoon with one of the young pioneer sisters, trying to tell all who will listen about the incoming Kingdom of God. And Jean and I spent the afternoon with Maggie yesterday.  It was very hot.

Dorothy of South Island arrives tomorrow, so much of today was taken up with dusting, polishing, and getting the washing done.

Captain B drove Jacks to her hospital visit, and she came back here for tea and a biscuit and to pick up the soup I had made for her - leek, potato and basil.  At last she seems to be getting better - and may even join the Captain, me, Dorothy of the South, and Linda on Saturday night.

I must think what to cook - or, more probably, what to Cook (what to buy from Cooks.

Some wonderful news from the Brighton Branch of the family.  Amy has got a First!!  

Monday, 12 June 2017

The Norfolk Swallowtail

Swallowtail, Papilio machaon britannicus
We - that is to say Jean and I - managed to get it into our heads on Saturday morning that the Field Service Group was cancelled because the children of the household were ill.   So we set off, on our own, early,  and started on our calls.   We always have lots of calls to do.  Return visits, magazine route calls, we never catch up. I doubt that any of us do.

Anyway, as we drove along - stopping, starting, in and out of cul-de-sacs -we kept meeting our brothers and sisters who were also out on the preaching work. Which was lovely  - and also informative, as we found out there was no problem with the group at all.   Something had gone wrong with the grapevine.  Or, more likely, Jean and I had simply forgotten to activate our shared brain cell that morning.

Then I ran Jean back home, rushed back had some lunch and picked her up again and we went to the Hall for the Broadcast.

We had tea and cakes and then stopped afterwards for Hall cleaning.  It was such a hot day - and I had a headache by the evening.

Captain Butterfly is back from his butterfly weekend in Norfolk. They had a wonderful time.   Swallowtails galore.  One of these Swallowtails will surely be appearing on next year's calendar.

I have poached one of his lovely photos for my blog.  What a beautiful world Jehovah has made for us. And what a lovely thought to fill it with flying flowers.

A mountain of butterfly paperwork has arrived - there has been a Membership Drive, clearly successful.  Everyone will be rejoicing except the poor beleaguered membership secretary - myself.

So that is today taken care of. But first I must get to Waitrose to do Jackie's shopping.  She is still not at all well.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Stormy Weather

It was so wild and wet on Tuesday that Jean and I did not go out on the work - though we both did go out, separately, in the afternoon.  It is still windy, and we have had some wonderful seas.   We visited Maggie on Wednesday and got our usual warm welcome.  We are quite good at getting ourselves in and out through all the locks now.

Sunny today, though still quite a wind.    We - Jennifer et moi - plan to visit the young man we have been calling on - hoping he will be at home.   I said we would leave him a fortnight to read and digest the Trinity Brochure.

I was just leaving the Kingdom Hall this morning when I was caught in a very short, very localised, downpour.  Heard thunder, saw no lightning.It has been sunny since, but breezy.   Some brothers and sisters had come over from Worthing to help us reach the deaf people in our area.  Clearly they know how to sign.

We had a very interesting talk at the door and have left some more information with our householder - this time about God's name.    Jesus taught us to pray that his Father's name be hallowed, or sanctified, be made holy. And he said that he had made his Father's name known.

At John 17:26 Jesus said:  "I have made your name known to them and will make it known, so that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in union with them."

So we feel that, as Christians, we too must make Jehovah's name known.

Anyway, I hope that we have planted some seeds.   He did think for quite a long time about God's name and why it was never mentioned in the church he attends.

And of course I now have yet another chapter for my interminable series "I Drove to Angmeriing". The thrill is wearing off even for me, never mind my poor readers.  And of course for those driving behind me as I never get out of third gear these days.

Jackie is no better... I hope to do some shopping for her over the weekend, but it won't be till Sunday as I have a very busy day coming up tomorrow, if all goes to plan.

Captain Butterfly is off on a Butterfly expedition with Dan.

And I chose the cover for my about to be published thriller!   I had a choice of two - both of which I liked.  Title to be revealed soon - it will have a blog of its own.

Monday, 5 June 2017

The Troubles

We woke up Sunday morning to news of another terrorist attack in London - 6 killed and counting,  many injured, many traumatised.  Once it was the IRA killing us and now its Islamic fundamentalists.

Who will it be next?   IF the present system of things on the earth continues long enough for the next terror group to arrive.  Hopefully it won't.

Once again I have to ask what have the world's religions been teaching their people down the ages they have had such power and influence.

The talk at the Sunday meeting could hardly have been more timely as it was all about how we do not need to fear the future, IF we trust in Jehovah with all our heart.

Monday... the terror attack is still all over the News.  Are we building up to something... I keep thinking about what the Book of Revelation says will happen next.

On a more mundane level, I did some routine housework - and went to clinic and pharmacy to get Jack's latest medicine, which I delivered in the afternoon.  Stayed for tea and a chat and we both hope hope hope that the new med is finally going to do the trick.   The Siren voice of Butterfly Mark was heard over the phone in the morning and Captain Butterfly flew off, laden with cameras and cakes and sandwiches to look for the emergent Meadow Browns.  

That made me realise that one job for this week is cake-making.

I have done my studying for the day, and did my Expenses Form.  I hate doing it and got rather bad-tempered.  Captain B asked when the next meeting at the Kingdom Hall is.   "Thursday" I snapped.  "Not soon enough!" he barked.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

The Return of the Hilary Step?

It may not have gone away at all according to this article from the Guardian:

So who knows?  I won't be going up to have a look myself. I will have to wait for the next Sofa Expedition before I can suss it out.

Thanks to Bea's kind thought of getting Jack's some flowers to cheer her up, I now have a vase full of beautiful lilies, as Captain B bought us both some.  

Jean and I were out yesterday morning with some of our brothers and sisters. We finished our territory and did a couple of Jean's calls.    The next glamorous undertaking was that I cleaned out the fridge and made supper - salmon salad.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

The Launch of the Sussex Butterfly Atlas - by Blencowe and Hulme

The Butterflies of Sussex launch poster by Mark Avery
The Good Ship "The Butterflies of Sussex, a Twenty First Century Atlas" by Michael Blencowe and Neil Hulme had a very successful launch on Thursday the 25th of May. Which is suddenly last month, as we have rushed headlong into June.

It was held at the Booth Museum in Worthing - an incredible place, and the perfect venue.
Michael gave us a talk with slides and music - and it was the best show in town.

I am looking forward to reading our copy of the Atlas - not only informative but entertaining. With some great photos - some by Captain Butterfly himself!

Jean and I visited Maggie yesterday afternoon - her room was baking, but she was lying under the covers and wearing her big woolly cardigan.  Jennifer joined us and we all sat in the lounge for while, which was cooler, and a lovely young Polish nurse bought us a jug of lemonade.

What is going to happen after Brexit?  Will she still be there?  And if not, how will they replace her? And with who?  Will it be with someone as kind and patient as she is?

And Jean and I had a good morning on the work on Tuesday. We covered our territory with the others and then did a couple of calls.

Jackie is still not well...  we did some more shopping and I made her some leek and potato soup, keeping it as bland as possible.

I am now trying to make myself go to the Field Service Group this morning...   all I really want to do is to go back to bed.  Yet I had a good night's sleep.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Moth City

Figure of Eighty, Tethea ocularis
Captain Butterfly assures me that our balcony was Moth City last night.    It is strange thunderstormy weather at the moment. Did that have something to do with it?  Anyway, I am glad we provided them with a bed for the night.
Maiden's Blush, Cyclophora punctaria
Heart and Dart, Agrotis exclamationis

Mottled Pug, Eupithecia exiguata

Jean and I had a lovely morning on the doors yesterday, driving round, doing our calls.  We seemed to plan it out well (for a change), and we both found one of our callees who we hadn't seen for a long time at home and got a good welcome.

The article about The Four Horsemen is proving popular and there are no more magazines left. I still have 3 route calls to do this month, but have magazines saved for them.

Jen and I called on the young minister on Friday morning and spent half an hour with him.  He had set out chairs in the garden for us, so I was in the sun, which was difficult for me.  But we had a good talk and we left him with the Trinity Brochure.  He has gone straight to the heart of the matter, in that the central doctrine of Christendom is the Trinity, which we believe is not only not Biblical, but contradicts what the Inspired Scriptures tells us about God.

He is a lovely genuine guy - with a great family.   And he heroically rescued us by throwing himself in front of the shed under construction just as it began to topple on us.  It suddenly blew down in the high wind.

There are many who would have left us to our fate!

Poor Jackie still not well...   Col did her shopping for her yesterday morning as I was out with Jean.  And we are hoping she might feel well enough to join us for a glass of wine over the next few days.

Thing seem to be happening re my Eco-thriller "Small Island" - now re-named, Name to be revealed later.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

The Poison

Terrible terrible stories on the news.  A family concert in Manchester was attacked by a suicide bomber.  22 dead and counting.  Many injured. Many traumatised.  Children left without parents, parents without children.  

And an awful account of the torture and murder of Paul Pass. I could not read beyond the trial headlines, but he had to go through it.

The spirit of destruction and cruelty is flourishing.

And yesterday when sorting through old files, I found this poem by William Wantling


now, upon this awkward
ball of Mud
at certain times I see
despite the poison raging through my blood
all is ecstasy

It seems strangely appropriate.   What is the poison raging through our blood - and through our whole society?

The Inspired Scriptures explain it - teach us how to deal with it, without becoming poisoned or poisonous ourselves, and they assure us of a rescue.  Has the perfect advice in Psalm 37 ever been more timely?

And it also promises us this, that  "the meek will possess the earth, And they will find exquisite delight in the abundance of peace."

Exquisite delight in the abundance of peace - right here on the earth - for those of us who are meek towards our Creator, who will listen to him and obey him.

And the dead will not be forgotten at that time.

So the poet is right.  Even though he was (I assume) sick and dying, he could see there is ecstasy - not only in the breathtaking beauty of the world and the awe-inspiring universe we live in, but in the promise of more happiness ahead for us than we can now imagine.

I hope so much the bereaved families know this, or will come to know it. And that they know they will see their loved ones again.

Jean and I spent yesterday afternoon with Maggie, and Jennifer joined us.   And Jean and I had a good morning on the doors on Tuesday.   I am now trying to make myself get out to the Thursday field service group... I feel so tired, but the message is so urgent.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

YET ANOTHER Arthritis Flare up

What is happening?  I have just rung Jean to say I won't make it to the meeting today, my right leg is so painful - not the knee this time, more the thigh...   it is going to get a lot worse, so even if I could drive to the Hall, which is doubtful, I would not be able to drive back.

Is my medicine no  longer working?  If so, what happens next?  I think I am state of the art as far as the NHS can provide it.

Jean and I did manage two hours on the doors yesterday morning, but it was a balanced 2 hours in that we were doing calls. We drove and walked and drove and walked, not doing too much of either.

We started by turning up at the wrong door for the field service.   Which is our Special Skill.  But as we had planned to do calls anyway, and were starting in the same road with 3 of Jean's calls, it just meant that we got an earlier start than usual.

We had some good conversations.   The current Watchtower article about the Four Horsemen of Revelation is interesting people.  

I read today that the Hilary Step on Everest is no more!   It has gone - perhaps was damaged in that earthquake that hit the mountain,    Will it make the most popular route safer, or more dangerous?

This is of great interest to a keen armchair climber like myself.   I can't tell you many times me, my couch and a nice cup of tea have been up and down that Step.   But - no more.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Bye Baby Bunting - the Politically Correct Version

To my amazement I just found myself reading the PC version of Baby Bunting!

It happened this way.  It was a dark and stormy night... well, a bright and sunny morning actually, and I took myself off to the Post Office as Amy has requested a copy of "Till They Dropped" - she wants to review it for her blog, bless her.  How lovely is that?

And if and when that review appears, it will also appear on my blog. Anyway, I did the posting and went in to Oxfam to check out the books, and found a  Mary Higgins Clark I hadn't yet read "Daddy's Gone a-Hunting". She is an efficient thriller writer, her books are very readable. But, on the first page, she introduces her theme with a verse from the nursery rhyme, but a Bowdlerised version:

Bye baby bunting,
Daddy's gone a-hunting,
A rosy wisp of cloud to win,
To wrap his baby bunting in.

Now, am I dreaming, or in the brutal realistic days of the 1950s didn't daddy used to go a-hunting for something else?    Hadn't he gone to get a rabbit skin to wrap his baby bunting in?

Though the pain in my knee was fierce yesterday morning and it seemed to take me all my strength to hobble round the flat, I was pretty much OK by the evening which was a good thing, as it was pouring with rain, and Anne-Marie rang up for a lift to the meeting.  And I was able to drive.

It was a wonderful meeting of course. Jehovah teaches us so carefully and so gently.

Aunt Jo rang today to say that the card I had sent had arrived and she loved it. I had chosen it from the shop at the Pallant Gallery, for her.    She is so frail now though...   old age is distressing.  I can remember her and my young mother, both so young and pretty in the 1940s manner.   In one way, it seems like yesterday, in another way, eons ago.

Jackie seems a lot better, thank goodness.

But I am now worrying about poor baby bunting.  A rosy wisp of cloud is not going to keep the poor child warm, not in an English climate.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

ANOTHER Arthritis Flare up

The second one this week - the last one started Sunday night and was gone by Tuesday morning.   But now my right knee  - the artificial one! - feels like someone is slamming it in a car door.  How can that be?  There is no real knee there.   What is feeling this pain? And why?

Anyway, after a lot of praying, I did manage to pick up Jean and we visited Maggie, who was expecting us. We got such a warm welcome.   We chatted and laughed for an hour, Maggie doing her best to listen and join in, and telling us often how much she loves us to come.

A boost for all of us I hope.

And  Jean and me tottered out on Tuesday morning to do calls with the powerful article in the May Watchtower.

The Four Horsemen of Revelation are riding now - have been riding since 1914.

Revelation 1:3 says:  "Happy is the one who reads aloud and those who hear the words of this prophecy and who observe the things written in it, for the appointed time is near."

We can be happy if we do read and observe the things written, because of the Rider on the White Horse, Jesus Christ.  He is riding out to complete his conquest, and put an end to warfare and sickness and cruelty and wickedness.   So this is the darkest hour before the dawn.

As Revelation tells us:    "With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his people. And God himself will be with them.  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.” "

Isn't that exactly what we need, all this suffering and sadness gone?  But can we believe it?   Revelation goes on to assure us:  "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.” - Rev.21:3-5

Faithful and true. Everything Jehovah purposes always comes about.  Isn't that the very meaning of his name?

Jehovah wants everyone to know this.  And so the good news of the Kingdom is being preached in every nation.   It is an honour to have a part in doing this. It is a work that will never be done again. Though there will be a great teaching work to be done during the Thousand Years, as surely many of the resurrected dead will know nothing of the truth.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Philip Jackson Open Day

Today - we, Captain B, Bea, and me - met Linda and John at the Philip Jackson open day.  He opens his lovely gardens with their elegant statuary once a year on behalf of the Murray Downland Trust.

Once again, he had a sunny day for it.   Though we nearly didn't make it, as our Chauffeur Captain Butterfly was on a SusSAR call out in the early hours.

Thank God the Misper was found alive and well on the beach.  So we drove off through the lovely Sussex countryside. What a beautiful month May is!

The Jackson garden is looking lovelier than ever - the garden statuary seemed taller than ever, and (to really get to the aesthetics) the hot dogs were the best ever. And the tea and cakes.

So a good day all round. And we we were all a lot rounder by the time we got outside those cakes.

Captain B then hurtled off on urgent Butterfly business - and Bea and I recovered at home.  My leg is really hurting and I hope that the Jackson Annual Garden Do isn't going to be a bridge too far from now on.

Jacks is still not well, or she would have been there with us.  I missed my companion, as she is always ready for a sit down.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

The House of Three Milks goes to the Pallant

The House of Three Milks visited the Pallant Gallery yesterday.   And I (goat's milk) fell in love with an exhibition of embroidered pictures by James Gladwell.

I even signed the book to say how much I liked them - a first for me.  My favourites were a mother peacock with her chicks, and a puffball.

Bea (soya milk) treated us to lunch in the Coffee Bar - a delicious lunch too.  It was scampi and chips for her, Catch of the Day on Bruschetta for the Captain  ("real milk"), and a salad of halloumi, rocket, orange, roast beetroot, with a raita dressing for me.  I am going to try and re-create it if I can, it was so good.

Today I shopped - for Jacks too, as she is still not well... made us lunch, which was only cheese sandwiches, and then Jean and I visited Maggie, who gave us the usual warm welcome.

We had baked potato with salad this evening and all feel rather tired.

The Captain spent the afternoon at a local meadow where an exotic snake has been seen. There were some wardens out looking for it too. It needs a rescue!   He found no snake, but saw loads of butterflies and moths, so he is happy.   We are now watching Aliens.

Bea and I had a lot of laughs today thinking about old times - especially with Grandad and Delia,, who really should have been given a comedy series of their own.   How long they have all been gone.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Missing: Two Brain Cells

I am thinking of offering a reward to anyone who can find my missing brain cells - either of them.
I began Thursday night's meeting in classic style by being so busy talking to one of my sisters that I put my contribution for the world-wide work into the field service slips box.  I had to tell a couple of elders so they will know what to do with the money they find it, as we also have a box for our contributions towards keeping our Kingdom Hall up and running.

All contributions voluntary by the way.  We support ourselves by our voluntary donations, and are always grateful when those who take our literature contribute something, though we never ask. And I think everything can be downloaded free from our excellent website now anyway.

We trust in Jehovah to keep this vast preaching work going, as it was prophesied in his word.

And just before that I got in a panic as it turns out I had got my dates muddled (along with everything else) and had thought that we were entertaining the Corfu Butterfliers next Sunday.  However, they were coming this weekend, the day after the Brighton Branch.

So the Brighton Branch came for lunch on Saturday - pasta, salad, garlic bread, ice-cream and lemon drizzle cake.

More muddle occurred on Sunday,  in that one of our number (not me for once) got both time and flat wrong.   However, we did all manage to get together for a second Cooks lasagne lunch - with salad and garlic bread - a cheeseboard and many desserts,including the ice-creams from the day before.

Hopefully everyone enjoyed themselves, and I now have a house full of flowers - including some beautiful tulips - and a fridge full of chocolates and leftovers.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

The Waiting Game

Brimstone Moth, Opisthograptis luteolata
I took Jacks to the doctors on Tuesday - and we had such a long wait. We were there a couple of hours and we got to know everyone else there very well by the time it was Jackie's turn.  It's so worrying that the NHS seems to be stretched almost to breaking point.

I also got her some Waitrose shopping.  Not that she feels much like eating at the moment, but at least its there if she does.

And Jean and I had a lovely morning on the doors.  We couldn't work on the assigned territory as it turned out to be one of  those long long private roads - no public parking - so it would have been a long walk from where we could park the car to the territory - and Jean was tired even before we began. So we did calls instead.  Back to Angmering.

This is really taking all the thrill out my planned blockbusting adventure book: "I Drove to Angmering", as I seem to be doing it every day now.   If we all strolled up and down Everest every day, who would want to read books about it?

In fact, if all goes to plan, I am back to Angmering this morning - at which point my audience falls asleep - to do a couple of return visits.  But I don't want to be out too long as Bea arrives tomorrow and I still have some organising to do.  Plus it is the meeting tonight.

And having said all that I must remember to ask Jehovah in prayer that while driving to and from Mount Angmering this morning, nothing happens that would be at all worthy of inclusion in an adventure book. But it would be lovely if we could reach some hearts with the truth.

Christianity being called "the way of the truth".

The photo is of one of our mothy visitors who spend the night on our balcony.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Supper without Jackie

Jackie was not well on Sunday so we had our chile evening without her...  not the same at all.   We watched the snooker, the first part of the final, between Selby and Higgins.  Against form, Higgins is in the lead.

Now I am trying to cast my mind back over the vast reaches of a whole weekend and think what we did.

Captain B, with his Detectorist hat on, had a couple of interesting finds at the dig on Sunday. He is at the computer next to me researching them at the moment. They will appear on his blog in time.  And we went to the wedding reception of one of his colleagues in SUSSAR on Saturday night.

It was held at the Crowne Plaza Felbridge Hotel, East Grinstead,  Nice venue, the bride looked every bit as lovely as the bride should,  and they put on a very good do.  In fact the buffet was so good, I was just hobbling back to get another plateload when Captain Butterfly came surging along saying it was time to go and swept me off to the carpark. He had an early start in the morning.

I sulked all the way home.  Or at least I would have, but, wisely, Captain Butterfly pays no attention to that sort of thing, so there is no point.

I posted a poem on facebook, as there was rather a good cartoon doing the rounds about a lady drying her washing the trendy new low tech solar and windpowered way, i.e. hanging it on the washing line.  And that reminded me of my mother, and the mothers of her generation, who hung out their clothes to dry in all weathers.  And it also reminded me of a moment, an icy windswept New Year's day, when I must have been staying at the bungalow, that would have vanished in time if I hadn't memorialised it in a poem.

A Winter Washing Line
by me

Black trees rattle in the icy wind
Through gale-smashed panes, the greenhouse sings
Tights, shirts, tea-towels, bras and knicks
Dance to welcome Eighty-Six.

That must have been the winter my father's dilapidated greenhouse finally collapsed.

Jean and I had a great morning out in Angmering on Saturday.   We found some lovely people, and have quite a few return visits to make.   And I have the material for yet another in my daring adventure saga:  "I Drove to Angmering".   Though its almost getting routine now.  Amazing what we can do, when we do it for Jehovah.  Which is simply because he always helps us.

The meeting on Sunday was special, as we had an extra half hour watching this broadcast:

The Russian Courts have decided against us and the video takes us into the trial.  If you watch the video you can decide for yourself if it was a fair trial or a show trial.  We have been prosecuted under the new Religious Extremism laws.

Our Russian brothers and sisters were already having a hard time, but it will now get much worse. The State will take all our property there  - all our Kingdom Halls, our new Headquarters - and, as far as I can see, it will be illegal for us even to meet to talk about the Bible.

But the Society is appealing this decision.  And in the meantime, we can all see that a great witness is being given to Jehovah's name.

When he was on earth, Jesus said, of his Father, Jehovah:  "I have made your name known to them and will make it known,” - John 17:26

And, as the head of the Christian congregation, Jesus is still making his Father's name known.

It should be a quiet, yet busy, day today. With study and housework.

Friday, 28 April 2017

A Visit from a Movie Star- and an Orchid from Captain B

Green-winged Orchid, Anacamptis morio
On Wednesday we entertained a movie star and her husband!   Fish and chips at the Arun View and ice cream and coffee back here.

Dave and Maggie were with us on Planet Expat for many years, and retired to the Far East early - a long time ago.  But we keep in touch and they come and see us when they are in the UK.   Maggie, who worked in our local hospital in Expat World, has a new career.  She began by featuring in rock videos, and in adverts and suchlike.  Then both she and Dave were bit part players in a Nicole Kidman movie about the fall of Singapore.

And now she has a supporting actress role in a movie - and has even won an award.    Sadly I can't link to it, as Captain Butterfly showed me the trailer which is on Youtube, and it seems to be what they call a Slasher movie... aaarrgghh - which is probably pretty much the dialogue, given the picture of Maggie screaming away (very competently) on the poster.

But if I ever had wanted to watch Slasher movies - and I never did - then as a JW I certainly can't watch them, or encourage others to.

Psalm 11:5 tells us that: "Jehovah examines the righteous one as well as the wicked one; He hates anyone who loves violence."

And sadly so many movies these days are encouraging us to love - to be entertained by - the things that God hates.

Anyway, I hope that Maggie's next movie is one I can link to - and watch. That would be wonderful.

But on the doubleplusgood side, we would all say that retirement can be a wonderful time. We keep ourselves busy - and mostly happy (its mainly the health issues connected with ageing that are the problem) - and Maggie now has a career in showbiz.

And I have found myself doing the most important work of my life in retirement.

I hope to be doing a bit this morning as one of my neighbours is coming round for a cup of tea and to collect her magazine.  I usually go to her, but thought I should entertain her this time.   And I have one more route call to do before the end of the month, so am catching up, as much as one ever does.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Thought for the Day

Thought for the Day - on the radio yesterday morning - had a moving and powerful item about the persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia.  They pointed out how persecuted our Russian brothers and sisters already are, and noted that it is now being taken to a new level,  The programme even went on to make a comparison with Hitler's Germany, when our German brothers and sisters were severely persecuted for their refusal, as Christians, to join Hitler's Nazi party, his army, or even to Heil him.

The Speaker also pointed out that we are not extremists in the usual sense of the word - we do not go around killing or hurting people. We simply believe that the Bible is God's word and try to tell all who will listen to us what it actually says.   That is considered extreme nowadays, I guess. But no-one has to listen to us if they don't want to. And we take no part in politics or the military, so we can never force our beliefs on anyone.

Why would we want to anyway.  Jehovah could force everyone in an instant, if he wanted to. But he wants us to turn back to him out of love for him, for his law and for his creation.

The Watchtower Society will do all it can to help the Russian brothers through whatever legal processes there are, but above all we must trust in Jehovah with all our hearts.   He has told us that he can and will keep hold of us through whatever comes.

Jean and I managed to meet up on time on Saturday and work out a viable route, and got a lot of our calls done. With no getting lost and no misunderstandings...

Ir was supper with Jacks on Saturday night: Beef Stroganoff with rice and veggies, a cheese platter and a choc ice.   It was a happy evening, as it always is.

Its quite cold, but sunny.  Lovely walking weather, if only I could walk.

We had our upbuilding Sunday meeting  and afterwards I did a couple of magazine route calls and did the shopping.   And I did a load of washing and got supper ready for the Captain's return.  But that was about it.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Bluebells on the Angmering Estate

Bluebell Wood, Hyacinthoides non-scripta
We - the Captain, Jackie et moi - had our annual bluebell walk yesterday morning. The light was beautiful, the bluebells wonderfully blue, the anemones and stitchwort shining white, and there was an orange-tip flitting around.

Captain B kept quizzing us about the names of wildflowers, and we kept getting them wrong.  Much to his annoyance. Apart from that it was a relaxing morning. We had a coffee at Jack's afterwards and admired the cherry blossom - at its peak.
The scent of blossom was everywhere. I am sure that smelling it and seeing the blossom is quite healing.

In the afternoon His Butterflyship went off to Rewell Wood, and I met up with one of the young pioneer sisters and we did some calls. Then it was the meeting in the evening.

We shared the experience, via a little video clip, of one our German brothers, who along with many of the JW family, were in Hitler's concentration camps.    I see the the ban on Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia is going ahead, though we will appeal.   Our Russian brothers and sisters suffered so much at the hands of both Hitler and Stalin in the last century.  I hope they are not about to suffer like that again.   This is where we have to trust  in Jehovah with all our heart, and pray constantly.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Butterfly Debates

Holly Blue, Celastrina argiolus
There is a lot of debate on fb (by the inhabitants of Planet Butterfly Conservation) re the exact identity of some of the butterflies they saw on their Corfu trip.  Its quite a complex business.

I have a couple of useful catch-all titles for any pretty flying thing I can't identify.

a)  A Duke of Fritillary (if its multi-coloured)
b)  A Cabbage White/Blue/Yellow/Purple* (if it isn't).
(*strike out colours which do not apply.)

So, wisely, I have stayed out of the debate.

Yesterday we had an interesting, if a bit of a confusing morning, on the Field Service.   I ended up with Jen at the house of a Minister who had come to the Memorial this year.  And Jean was off somewhere else. It was quite a lot of complex driving - for me.

Jean and I hope to get back together again today to visit Maggie.  And tomorrow Captain Butterfly, Jacks and me hope to do our annual Bluebell Walk in the morning, then I shall be out with one of the young Pioneers in the afternoon, and it will be the meeting in the evening.

A busy day, so I hope to finish my studying for Thursday night today.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Dreaming of Caesar

Swallowtail, Papilio machaon
His Butterflyship flew back yesterday afternoon, (via Easyjet)  having had a great time.   Jacks came round to join us for a welcome back glass of wine later. He has brought back a treasury of wonderful photos from Corfu, pressies (olive wood bracelet, olive wood lemon squeezer, and embroidered tablecloth) and a lovely tan.  And he is coming to the Special Talk at the Hall today!

It is titled: "How to Cultivate Peace in an Angry World", and will be given worldwide.

It could hardly be more timely or more needed, looking at the headlines.   I hope millions will join us today in hearing it, listening, taking it into mind and heart, and applying.

Yesterday morning as I had Jean riding shotgun (metaphorically speaking - the thought of Jean, me and our one braincell being anywhere near a loaded weapon...) I felt confident enough to drive us to Cuff Miller en route to the Field Service Group.  I was in desperate need of more petrol, but, I am embarrassed to admit, I rely on Captain B to fill my car.  For one thing, he travels about so much he always knows where the cheapest petrol is. And for another, while I understood the system on Planet Expat, and could do my own petrol-getting there,  I have never found out how it works here.

However...   I parked up at what I hoped would be the right pump, with my car on the right side of it and tiptoed in to the garage and found a guy at a computer in a little office.  "Er, can you help me?" I twittered hopefully "I need to fill my car with petrol."

"Of course" he said, springing up from his computer "What does your car take?"   "Er, not diesel" (I was confident about that.)

He was so lovely, came straight out, filled it up with the right stuff and gave  me a careful lesson about how to do it next time, and Voila!  I was all set up again.  Cuff Miller has my petrol business from now on.  I don't care what their prices are.

Jean and I were well on time to the group - a small one this Saturday - and did some calls, just about an hour, then got back to be ready to welcome Captain Butterfly.

We had a chicken salad tea (with new potatoes).   Which I hoped would not be a bit of an anti-climax after all his restaurant and taverna outings in Corfu.

And I think he will be flying off this morning after the Special Talk, as there is news of a Large Tortoiseshell.   Clearly he is not yet butterflied out.  Judging by yesterday, I will fall asleep in the afternoon.

Last night I dreamt about Caesar the Dalmatian,  I was walking near to my childhood home when, from far off, I saw this large dalmatian hurtling towards me.  I knew it was Caesar, and we were so happy to see each other again.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Early Morning

Its early morning here - 6.30 - and the sun is getting his hat on.   I feel very tired and may go back to bed...   missed Captain Butterfly's Corfu call. Don't know how. Tried to skype him back, but couldn't. Did leave a message though.

I find that the older I get the more anxious I get about separation. The Captain and I have been together since we were students in Newcastle, many eons ago.  And so I will be glad when he gets back here safely.

He is a having a wonderful time though. And it seems the sun's hat is well and truly on now and we are shaping up for a hot one.   Am I the only person in the world who does not want blazing sunshine every day and likes weather?  It does sometimes seem so.

However, I ought to get out on the balcony and get a dose of Vitamin D the way Jehovah planned it.  Or as near as we can get in a fallen and disordered world.

But the Memorial went so well - beautifully organised, with a clear explanation of why the ransom sacrifice is vital, and why millions the world over were gathering in gratitude and respect.

Jackie came with me, and also one of my sisters who needed a lift.  She is young (compared to us) and was wearing the most elegant stiletto heels, which caused Jacks and me, plodding along in our sensible comfy shoes, to reminisce about our shoe-wearing past.

They came back for tea and biscuits afterwards.  And Captain B turned up on Skype to join us!  A lovely evening.

No girly tea for the Captain though, he was brandishing a tankard of Corfu Beer.

I am so thankful to Jehovah for bringing the truth to my door and giving me a life full of hope and meaning.   And I am very grateful for this lovely morning. Its now 10.00 and  I was out on the balcony getting a small dose of sun, and I wish I could find words to describe how lovely it all looked.  The sun was coming through clouds, so the sky was mostly overcast, but it was blue, not grey, so that sky and Channel merged, and the little boat heading for the river seemed to be floating through the sky.

I was thinking about the Thousand Years, during which Paradise will be restored.   We  were talking about it on our visit to Maggie yesterday.  We think it will go really quickly, as we will all be busy with such wonderful things. And what then?   Then I guess we can say that our real lives begin - we will have "the glorious freedom of the children of God".

I hope we will all be there.  There will be new things then, wonderful things. Things we can't even imagine now.

Monday, 10 April 2017

While the Butterfly is away, the mice will play

Well, I have planned some Wild Swapping Parties since Captain Butterfly escaped on his hols.  Last night we all threw our medications, zimmers, hearing aids, and what have you into the ring and pulled one out at random. Then, with our new partners, we swapped details of our arthritis medications and told each other what the doctor said to us when we had our tubes tilted* - and all washed down with tankards of cocoa.

Sizzling stuff.  We like our cocoa nice and hot these days.

At least that is probably what would have happened last night if I hadn't dozed off halfway through a cup of tea and Gardeners Question Time, and had forgotten to arrange it anyway.

Hopefully a quiet day today, beyond studies and housework, as it will be busy busy busy tomorrow if all goes to plan.   I will pick up Jean in the morning, go to the Hall for the Field Service - I have 2 invitations left and would like to deliver them.   Then take Jean back, have lunch, go to the Hall for cleaning, IF I can get myself together.  I usually do, unless I am having one of my hospital/post-op does, but feel so tired these days, there are no guarantees.   And I must, please God, get to the Hall for the Memorial tomorrow night. Jacks is coming with me, if she is OK.  She too is uncertain healthwise these days.

Must just throw in the important and earth shaking news that I spent the morning making a big fruitcake, for the Col and Mark lunches - and the afternoon doing the Butterfly Memberships which flew through the letterbox during the morning.

Talked to Jacks and Terry, and to a happy Captain B who has seen more snakes and a Grecian Copper and a Southern Festoon.

*Thanks to the wonderful and much missed Victoria Wood for the"tilted tubes".

Sunday, 9 April 2017

The Memorial approaches

It is on Tuesday night, at 7.30, at a Kingdom Hall near you.   I hope to be helping with the last bout of Hall cleaning on Tuesday afternoon. I could not make the Saturday as I had to take Jean home, and we have already been out on the work in the morning.

It was also the Broadcast at the Hall on Saturday.

And our sisters had made some wonderful fruitcake for the tea and cakes afterwards.

Which reminded me that I must do some cake making myself this week.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Beauty and the Beast

North Stoke Orange-tip on Cuckoo Flower
How did I know that if I ever got offered a role in Beauty and the Beast it would not be as the Beauty?    Because it turns out that I am the Beast who stopped Captain Butterfly seeing the Beauty (the Large Tortoiseshell) at North Stoke yesterday morning.

I was still crippled by this arthritis attack so I asked him if he could do a Waitrose shop before he went off.  He did, leaving early, but it took quite a time. He went to the bank too.  Then he hurtled off with his sandwiches, his cake, and a camera at every corner, but got there too late.  It had been seen earlier and he phoned to tell me gloomily but had now vanished.Two of them have been seen during the past week, a male and a female. Is there hope for a new colony?

So he has left very early this morning, with the usual accoutrements. Which reminds me - a job for next week is to restock the freezer with cake.   I think it will be back to Marmalade Muffins, made with the Captain's Home Made Marmalade, of which we have vatsful.

I hope hope hope the Beauty will turn up this morning. And I hope that one day Captain B and I will be beautiful and perfect in the restored earthly Paradise with life "to time indefinite" stretching ahead of us.

Obviously I have not been doing much.  Exhausted after severe pain. But yesterday I did manage to give the bedroom a bit of a slow spring clean, and get a couple of loads of washing done.  And I am keeping up to date with my studies. It is very important not to let them go.

Spoke to Bea on the phone - long chat, she even, so kindly, offered to come down and look after me.  And Jacks.  And Jennifer (my sister). And also Lilian who was my Bible student many years ago on Planet Expat.   She is back studying with her local JW congregation and will hopefully get to the Memorial on Tuesday night.

Like me, she is now older and less confident about going out in the evening. But they will arrange a lift for her, door to door, there and back.

I would have liked to offer a lift to one of my calls, but I feel so unreliable at the moment that I just can't.  I keep having these violent surges of arthritis that cripple me - and leave me exhausted in their wake.

Moan moan whinge whinge.   However, I keep sternly reminding myself to think how I would feel now if I did not know the truth - Christianity being called "the way of the truth".   And that reminds me to be very grateful and think about the happiness in store right here on the earth.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Yet Another Arthritis Flare-up

What is happening?  This time it is my left foot - started Sunday afternoon - and got worse and worse.  An awful night - no sleep - and now i can hardly bear touch it to the ground and am back on the zimmer.

Monday night I did sleep, but moving, sitting up and touching the foot to the ground was agonising.   Coming up to midday, it is getting slightly better. Still need the zimmer, but hopefully will be able to retire it in an hour or so.

Spoke to Jean this morning - she was very comforting about it all. She has so many problems too.

We were out Sunday after the meeting - only for half an hour, but we placed quite a lot of Memorial Invites. And one of the sisters we were out with was bitten by a  dog! - a little Yorkie...

Quite a shock.

And we had two lovely talks from the Circuit Overseer on the last day of the visit.

An interesting point, from the Sermon on the Mount.

In my faraway Catholic Convent schooldays, we used to read Matthew 5:3 as "Blessed are the poor in spirit, because theirs is the Kingdom of  heaven."

But the New World translation says:   “Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need, since the Kingdom of the heavens belongs to them."   And the footnote says that an alternative translation would be “those who are beggars for the spirit.”

The Circuit Overseer pointed our the difference between being "poor" and being a "beggar".   You may be poor, may not have much, but can be able to support yourself.  But a beggar has, by definition, to ask for help.

So we will be blessed if we realise just how much we need our Creator, if we realise how lost we, the damaged children of disobedient Adam,  are.  Because then we will seek Him, and we will find Him.

And the Kingdom of the heavens will belong to us, in the sense that for most of us we can live forever in the restored earthly Paradise under its wise and loving rule.  For those few who are "the saints", the "holy ones", they will actually be in heaven, part of "the kingdom of priests and holy nation" ruling over the earth and "making all things new".

Friday, 31 March 2017

The Wild Mushroom - George McCarthy

Magpie Inkcap, Coprinus picaceus
Wednesday night, when we came back home from the talk in Steyning by The Wild Mushroom man, George McCarthy, we saw a fox resting peacefully on the grass by the garages.  On seeing us, it got up and disappeared into the bushes.

As things are now, we keep disturbing and frightening the little creatures. When the earth is Paradise again, it will be able to sleep happily on, sure that we are not going to hurt it.  Not that we would have done anything to hurt it now, let me quickly add, but, with the serpent still in the garden, it can take no risks.

We saw some great photos from George. And there was some valuable info for all those who are trying to sell their photos.  Which is not so easy these days. Jackie came with us, but it wasn't the usual foursome, as Terry is on his hols.

The talk was called The Four Seasons - fours seasons of wonderful wildlife photos - especially of birds in Winter. And we have reached another seasonal landmark in that, on Tuesday, I drove to the evening meeting at the Hall without needing the lights on.  (Our meeting was on the Tuesday as it is the week of the Circuit Overseer visit.)   The next landmark will be when I can drive back in the light...

Did nearly two hours on the field service yesterday - including a load of tricky and stressful driving - came back, fell asleep.    I did manage to use the mushrooms to make two batches of mushroom/veggie soup, but that was about it.

Masterchef has started, which will give rise to the following dialogue:

Captain B:  "Honey, I'm home. What's for supper?"

Mrs Captain B;  "Er... baked beans on toast.  I'll just go and open the tin. Too busy watching Masterchef to cook anything."

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Old Playgrounds - and an Arthritis Flare up

A weekend of self pity - due to yet another arthritis flare up in my right hand - is not an interesting thing to write about, now that I can type again.  The hand is still red and swollen, but the awful pain has gone, just soreness now, and I can use it, pretty much.

I keep thinking about my mother and what she went through in her seventies... she became completely crippled and her heart gave out at 74.

The spring blossom should be especially precious this year, as whether I shall have many more springs to my name lies in the hands of my Creator, Jehovah.  On my own, and in this current damaged system of things,I don't think I will last much longer.

So I think I will add a poem that goes back to the 1950s, to the playgrounds of our childhood, which my youngest sister has written very lyrically about, inspiring the title of my first (of 2) books, a collection of family poems.  We played in the bomb sites, and then in the building sites they became as the brave new world we had hoped to build out of the rubble began to take shape.

                                         OLD PLAYGROUNDS   by Penny Grubb

A place to go. Remember where?
With cold, stone floor and dark, damp air.
Remember? It wasn't always there.

Perched up on the rafters high.
A breath! Dust billows, thick and dry.
The view's not walking feet, but sky.

Childhood's jungles all around.
Disused quarry's eerie sound.
Thistle sentries stand their ground.

The Rose-Bay higher than we knew.
Nettles, brambles, old and new.
And always poppies - just a few.

The juice ran thick and sweet and red
From berries wild as the kids they fed.
Garden's owners - long since dead.

Only the blue delphiniums show
That these were gardens, long ago.
Now mainly weeds. A place we know.

Through tangled growth, a shelter bare.
Relic of war - Like poppies there?
We didn't know, so didn't care.

Were there ghosts deep down below?
The men who had made the gardens grow?
There was no one there we knew, I know.

Now the attic's gone, the shelter's lost
The price of progress, or the cost?
Who thought about delphiniums tossed

Against the bricks of a brand new wall
A monster seventeen storeys tall
Where and when did the flowers fall?

Strangers walk the cold, stone floor
And where there was an old trapdoor.
Fill the space that was ours before

And though it's new, it's said maybe
That there's a ghost that people see.
I daren't go back. It might be me.

The "ghost" refers to the way that the places of our childhood are haunted by memories. The Inspired Scriptures assure us that the dead are "conscious of nothing at all".  We need neither fear them, nor fear for them.