Sunday, January 29, 2017

Happy New Year 2017

Report from London- Happy New Year- 2017!
 Hello family and friends,
      We have had a great couple of weeks and are excited to share our adventures with you!
Starting with Tuesday, Dec. 27th was Piper’s Birthday!  We had a chance to Skype with her.  It was awesome to see such a cute granddaughter!
     Wednesday, we decided to go explore Greenwich.  We toured the ship, Cutty Sark, visited the National Maritime Museum and National Observatory at Greenwich.  We took a last look at a great art exhibit at the Royal Academy on the way home.  We learned a lot about sailors calculating their positions around the world relative to the observatory at Greenwich.  We stood on the Greenwich line which is used as a reference point for longitude measurements.  Very interesting and fun (and lots of Physics!).

    Friday at 1am London time we got a call from Camie that our home in Provo had some water in the basement as reported by our cleaners.  Our renters, the Taggs, were on vacation in Mexico.  Our wonderful daughters, Jennifer and Camie packed their car and drove to Provo. A pipe had frozen but the girls got the water turned off and called our Insurance agent.  Luckily they were so quick that only one bedroom floor was wet!  It is a blessing that there was not more damage.
   Later, we traveled to Oxford Street where we found two new suits for Dad at John Lewis for 50% off!  There were some great sales and it was crazy busy.  In England, you buy suits a piece at a time.  You find a coat that fits, then you look at all the trousers that match and find your size, and finally you look for a vest or waistcoat if you want one.  We found many nice suit coats but often they would not have the trousers to match in Dad’s size.  One suit is a nice solid blue and the other a darker rich brown with a little texture.  They both look great on him!
     Friday evening, we drove to Luton Airport to pick up our son, Tyler!  We were so excited.  The airport was not far from our home but it was under construction.  They had NO PLACE to park and pick up someone.  We finally met Tyler in the short term parking lot!  It was SO GOOD to see him and give him a Hug!!
    Saturday, New Year’s Eve with Tyler!   Tyler had purchased tickets for the London NYE fireworks celebration on the Thames!  We took the tube to London’s Hyde Park to visit the Christmas Festival!  We did some shopping, tried some fun food and hot chocolate, went in the “Fun House” and had a great time!  We then walked to Covent Garden passing through Bond Street, Oxford Street, Regent Street and other Christmas Markets on the way.  We relaxed at an Indian Restaurant (we tried the sampler menu) for a while before making our way to the River Thames by Embankment.  The entire section of London was barricaded off.  We went through security, showed our tickets, and went to the river walk to find a place with thousands of others.  We visited, watched all the crazy people, listened to the loud music, and waited for the fireworks at midnight!  Mom met an LDS church member who recognized our name tags and came over to talk to us.  She was there with her boyfriend. There were reportedly 250,000 people there! Our new friends were concerned that the Tube stations would be crowded after the show so he had a plan to walk around St. Paul’s Cathedral to find an uncrowded tube station.

     The fireworks were amazing with many attached to the large London Eye.  It was a beautiful sight and a fun event!  As soon as it was over, the crowds starting moving toward the Tube stations.  We followed our new friend, zig zagging through the crowds until we wandered off through alleys and back streets.  After a fast one hour march we reached the tube station where they delivered us to our train for home.  It was a fun adventure!  We got back home very late (3am) tired but happy.
    Sunday, we attended church and returned home for breakfast with Tyler.  We then drove out into the country to the Hell-Fire Caves.  What a unique weird place.  In the 1700’s they had a secret society which met there which included Benjamin Franklin.  It was a very strange place!
   Next we drove on to the Waddesdon Manor by Aylesbury.  We had visited previously and had really enjoyed the grounds and manor and hot chocolate! We visited the home decorated in Christmas decorations and the manor and grounds were lit with colored washes that changed with music.  Very Nice! It was fun to spend the day with Tyler!
   On Monday we visited the ancient city of St. Albans not far from our home.  The Romans conquered the area years ago and built an amazing city with city walls, streets and homes with beautiful floor mosaics.  Most of the Roman walls have been removed by later residents but the Roman things that they found were amazing! Coins, graves, mosaic floors, tools, decorations, etc. etc.

   We then walked up to the St. Alban’s Cathedral.  It was so unique with a great history!  It was over 1000 years old. Each time they added a section or remodeled, they used a different style of arches and decorations.  It was very nice and had a good feeling about it.  On the way back to the car we stopped in to Britain’s oldest pub, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks.  The records mentioned a pub at that location in 575AD so it really is one of England’s oldest.  The town was very nice and would be a fun place to explore at a later time.

    Tuesday, we went into London to tour Parliament and check out the Sky Garden.  The tour was very interesting.  We walked over to Tyler’s office building where he worked when he and his family worked there.  We found one of Tyler’s favorite Thai restaurants but it was closed when we arrived.  We found a NatWest bank where both Tyler and Dad have accounts so they went in and signed some paperwork. We then checked out the view from the Tate Modern museum.  Tyler then showed us a neat roof top view of St. Paul’s from a shopping mall a block away. The tube was very crowded on the way home.
   Again, it was so fun to have Tyler here with us!  We had some great discussions, shared memories, received updates on their Colorado move, and made plans for the future.  Tyler had his own room at our home and it worked out very well!  We really hope all of our children will find a way to come and visit us while we are serving.
   Sad Day… We took Tyler to Heathrow Airport in the morning to catch his flight back to the USA.  We made it without difficulty and back home in good time. 
   Soon after we arrived back home, we met two painters who were here to paint our upstairs bedrooms and bathroom.  They informed us that our landlord had approved only painting one bedroom and the bath.  We are unhappy about that.  They promise things and then never deliver.  The bedroom and bath look awesome!  We ran over to Institute and enjoyed the lesson and planning session after.  We brought treats and spent the time working with our young friends.  They had many great ideas for future events including going to the Paris Temple open house in April. We are working on it!
    Friday we met with 24 of our missionaries at Wembley for a Zone Training.  Our missionaries are so good, so friendly, so multicultural, and sometimes so 18 years old!  We love them all!  We ran over to the bakery at Morrison’s before zone meeting to get some fresh bread and filled donuts for lunch.  Sister Carr serving in Aylesbury brought delicious fried chicken and we served bread, clotted cream, grapes, crisps, and the filled donuts (spelled doughnuts in England). Our meetings were good.  In the afternoon, we made a quick run to Ikea in Wembley before driving home.  When we arrived, mom put a turkey breast in the oven, and we straightened the house before our two sets of Watford Missionaries arrived. Sister Wright will be returning to Logan Utah next Wednesday and it is likely that Elder Mecham will be transferred.  We grow so close to our missionaries and miss them when they leave!  They love coming to our home and say it is like coming to their grandparents!  That makes us feel good!  We fed the missionaries turkey, au’ gratin potatoes, salad, berry pie, and ice cream and had a great time together!
   Saturday we went into London to return some items and see an exhibit that will be leaving the National Gallery soon.  We also visited the Tate and saw an excellent exhibit there.  We stopped at the Blackfriar’s Pub for fish and chips before wandering home on the tube.  The pub is located in such a historic wonderful building with elegant 18th century decorations and construction.  Dad enjoyed the food, mom was less excited but enjoyed the building and the service!
    Sunday morning we were up and driving to Enfield ward which is about 40 minutes away.  It is a small, very multicultural ward with wonderful members.  Even the six missionaries assigned to the ward are multicultural with only one elder and one sister coming from the USA.  We heard English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and a Slavic dialect in the chapel before the meeting started.  The ward is about 50% black.  The meetings were wonderful and the spirit was very strong.  These people have strong testimonies, they KNOW their Heavenly Father, they trust the Lord in all their doings, and they are happy and blessed.  It was a real pleasure to meet with them.
    We went with a wonderful black family to their nice home for dinner after church.  They have two special needs children and five others.  What a meal and what wonderful people!  Their oldest special needs son just returned from a three month mission to South London.  Their next oldest son is so articulate and intelligent.  He plans to go on his mission this year. They have two cars (one is a large VW van) and both parents drive.  There are only a few people in the ward who drive. We visited and relaxed in the loving spirit of their home and family.   

         May our Heavenly Father continue to bless you all!  We Love you!   Say your prayers, read your scriptures, keep the commandments, and Love one another.

     Love, Dad n Mum.

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