Sunday, May 19, 2013

Week ending 19 May 2013

Another week and another transfer, departure/arrivals and it went smoothly.  We only sent five home and received 23.  We ended up having a place for all of them to live although it was  down to the wire with the last one and we had two that we ended up not needing that wouldn’t have been ready.  It always amazes me how the Lord knows and arranges for things to work out just right.  I had two places that I was on the Branch President and Bishop to have someone find a flat for me in their area and it just wasn’t happening after numerous phone calls and emails.  Well after two went home early because of illness and a fall down the bus stairs that fractured a hip and ankle, those two flats were not needed at until the next transfer or two. Miracles do happen in all phases of Missionary work.

We were very tired at the end of the week and so Friday evening we headed to the Royal Botanical Garden for a picnic and a very quick tour since it closed at 6:00 and was a half hour bus ride away.  Our leaving at 4:00 turned into 4:30 and so we didn’t see much.  We will have to go at least one more time.


Saturday was a very rainy day and so we just went charity shop shopping.  I am going to miss all of the charity shops they have here.  They are very nice for the most part and I have got some wonderful bargains here.

We had stake conference adult session Saturday night and the missionaries from this zone were invited to sing for it.  We sang the EFY version of “As Sisters in Zion/Army of Helaman”.  We have some very talented missionaries and the number was beautiful.  The conference was on every member a Missionary and was wonderful.  Today the session will be a broadcast for all of the UK and Ireland.

Our flight plans have arrived.  We will be traveling home on July 6th.  We will land in Salt Lake City at approximately 4:10 in the afternoon and leave for Pocatello at 9:57 arriving there at 10:48 P.M.  It doesn’t seem real and is coming up quickly.  We will be glad to see all of you again but will certainly miss this wonderful land and people.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Another week has flown by and was it ever a stressful week.  First we will start out with the miracles and then the rest of the week.  I have nine areas this time to move missionaries to. Two of the areas were easy, because they are moving into a flat vacated by a couple who moved to Ireland and the other we are moving two more missionaries in with two others.  So that left seven.  I started as soon as I got the information right after April 10th which was the last moves period.  I contacted one senior couple and the Branch Presidents or Bishops for help.  Long story short, last Friday it looked like I would have four of them in place by the 15th.  One I was having trouble getting them to get the lease right, and two had not even found a place yet.  So this last week was sending them ideas off the internet, and encouraging them to hurry.  And some nights with little sleep when I would wake up and not be able to fall back to sleep because of worrying.  On Friday morning I still had four leases to finish up, but for some reason I felt I would make it.  Then I received the news from the Mission President that we would not need two of the flats and that was the two that nothing had been happening, so it all worked out.

What happened was we had two missionaries that went home unexpectedly.  One has had medical issues of not being able to hold any food down and another had fallen down the bus steps when the driver stopped suddenly and she ended up having a fractured hip and is going home to recuperate and have physical therapy.  No wonder we hadn’t found those flats yet.  Heavenly Father knew we would not need them.  So miracles happened and I think they will all be ready for the missionaries with one more day’s work.

The new missionaries will arrive on Wednesday of this coming week and will be going to their areas that night and the next day, and they all have places to stay.  The next transfer is in June and they have already given me the list and I have seven to get.  September I know will be 10 new flats but haven’t been given the locations yet and doubt I get them all finished before I come home.  That was the stressful part of the week, but where miracles happen.

Now let’s move on to the fun part of the week.  Monday we had a surprise party with the districts in Edinburgh and President and Sister Brown, Sister Vance and Sister Price. The missionaries got to wear a silly hat from a hat collection Sister Brown provided.

First they dressed us in our Royal robes (a tartan table cloth and a lace curtain), they gave Bill a scepter (cane), and they gave me the royal orb (a pineapple) and crowns. 
We were then taken to our throne (lawn chairs under a tent shelter). 
They gave us a document proclaiming us King and Queen for the day or an hour or two.  They then entertained us with some wonderful musical numbers provided by our talented missionaries. 
Elder Windhausen
Chicken dance and song
President Brown manned the grill and we had chicken, sausages, and hamburgers, potato salad and seven layer lettuce salad with drink, ice cream and cake for dessert. 
President Brown at the grill
It was a wonderful party and we have clips of the entertainment and pictures to share when we get home.  Sister Brown put together an album of the event for my birthday present along with a dvd.

I had birthday wishes from all of my children and grandchildren from mail, Skype, and calls and lots of messages from friends and family over Skype and Facebook.  It was a wonderful birthday.  Thanks to all of you for making it so special.

Saturday the Sisters decided they wanted a day to do their own thing, so Bill and I got up our normal time and by seven we were on the road north to Aberdeen area, which is about a three hour drive.  It is an area we had not been to yet because of distance.  We were to our first castle though by 10:30.  Our GPS unit took us on some back roads that were one lane in some places but it was a very beautiful  drive.  We are always surprised at how different Scotland can be in such a short distance.  We were up in the highlands with the heather and rolling hills, some sheep, and flowers (mainly daffodils that are considered a wildflower) by the millions and I am not exaggerating.

The first castle that we saw was Crathes Castle, and Garden Estate.  This castle has been in the same family since Robert the Bruce gave them the land and castle in 1323.  They turned it over to the National Trust for Scotland in 1973.  The ceiling in this Castle was different than any we have seen.  It had rounded alcoves by the windows with beautiful paintings.  The Burnett family still gathers there and around the world for reunions.  Craig and Julie one of them was in March in Phoenix at a school for Native Americans and would have been called something like Scottish Highland Games.  Wish we would have known earlier so you could have gone to see it. 
The gardens are beautiful there.  Some of the hedges were planted as early as 1702.  I guess in June they are at their best but I doubt we are back up there to see them then.

The next castle was the Drum Castle and it too was given to William de Irwyn  in 1323 by Robert the Bruce for 20 years of loyal service.  The medieval tower was under repair with a million pound gift given by an American and that still will not be enough to pay for the entire repair.  That was the oldest part of the castle.  Repairs were made earlier using modern day cement and that failed causing more damage over the years than good because it didn’t allow the building to breath like limestone material from bygone ages.  So everything was getting mold and mildew.  Now they are removing the cement and going back to the old ways.

It has been a wonderful week and next week is transfer/ departures/ arrivals and so we know it will be another busy week.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Week ending April 21, 2013

Saturday we picked up the Sisters at 8:30 and headed to Glamis Castle. 
The castle is beautiful and parts of it are some of the oldest still standing and not in ruins.  The family took the middle of the road approach on most issues and so was never attacked.  The same family still own the 40,000 acres it sits on today and some live in the biggest part of the castle and yet we saw lots of rooms.  It is very large.  Hopefully Bill was able to capture the grandeur of the castle from the outside as no photography is allowed inside. 
Outside was a chestnut tree that has been living since the 1700’s that is one of the most unusual trees I have ever seen.  The branches grew down and many were lying on the ground.  The grandchildren would love to play on it and in it.  It really was remarkable.

 We also visited a rural life museum close by showing homes and furnishing from olden times as well as farm equipment.  It was interesting to see how little space you could live in. 
We saw the author of Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie’s birthplace, and found out that he was just like our grandchildren.  When growing up, he was always making up plays for he and his friend to put on for the neighborhood friends to come and see in the public wash house and charging them 2 marbles, a top, or other small toy as an entrance fee.  Which of you will go on to be a great author and play writer some day?

Flat Lily even got in on the action with Captain Hook and Peter Pan

Camera Obscura was the last place we visited.  It was amazing.  It is a room like a kaleidoscope.  It has an opening at the top with a camera lens and mirrors on the side in a triangular shape.  The image from outside is reflected on a round flat wood table painted white that had the appearance of being bowl shaped.  The operator turned a wheel that turned the mirror and we saw the landscape outside.  On a clear day, you could see distances as far away as 77 miles.  We could see the road we drove up on, people out walking in the village we had just been in, and everything else.  There are only 5 in Scotland and maybe only 3 of those still being used.

Week ending April 14

This week we welcomed our first group of missionaries with more sisters than elders on Wednesday.  We had 14 sisters and 6 elders.  This is also our only group that comes from the Provo MTC and so they come very tired.  We sent them to the castle for the afternoon to keep them awake.  It mostly works although some were caught sleeping in the cafĂ© at the castle where they had gone in to get a drink.

Thursday was a busy day. Trainers arrived, doubling our numbers. The President interviews all the new ones to get acquainted with them and at 15 minutes for each it takes several hours.  They also go up Pratt’s hill to set their goals for their mission.  We each take a turn visiting with them about our area we deal with.  My responsibility is to visit with them about their flat and keeping it clean and what they can be reimbursed for.

 At about 6:00 the decisions have been made and the President announces the companionship and where they will be serving.  They receive their ties, scarves, and CD with the mission song on it.  Pictures are then taken of them with their companion, with the Mission President and Sister Brown, and as a whole group. They are given a sack lunch and those that are near enough are sent to their areas.  The others stay the night at the mission home.  We finish up about 7:30 and were able to come home.

 Friday was then the day we have lots to do.  We send letters to the Bishops, and Stake Presidents introducing the ones that will be serving in their area.  We update all of our records moving people around and lots of other things.  It was 8:00 before we got away Friday Night.

 Saturday was fun though.  Sister Price and Bill and I took off for Scone Palace which is the place where Kings of Scotland have been crowned.  At least 42 Kings have walked on that ground and many of them crowned there. 
Scone breathes history like nowhere else in Scotland.  It is the family home of the Earls of Mansfield.  It was the capital of Pictavia in the 5th Century onwards.  Medieval Parliaments were held at Scone and it was immortalized in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. We sat on the stone that is a replica of the one they still use today to crown their kings and queens. I ate a scone at Scone Palace.


From there we traveled further north to Blair Castle which is another beautiful castle.  It is still in use today with the family living in one wing of it.  There was a wedding scheduled there and so we got to see the bride and some of the bridal party, the dining room decorated for the wedding and the area they were using to serve the luncheon after the wedding.  We also explored Hercules garden that would be really beautiful in summer.

We stopped at the Hermitage on the way home.  You are in a building with an outside ledge that looks out over the waterfall and is so beautiful. 


There are also Douglas Firs which seeds were brought over from America and planted and they are now some of the largest trees in Scotland.  They had a unique "bed" you could lie on and look up at the trees.

Week ending April 7, 3013

We had spring/summer weather yesterday.  The sun was shining brightly and it got up to 10 degrees Celsius. The sisters had a repairman coming to fix their washing machine and so we took off by ourselves and headed up the eastern coastline. 
We stopped along the way to take pictures of Lily (Arianna’s flat Stanley)as we walked along the beach,
visited castles,
 saw beautiful flowers,
 and the neatest playground for children. 
Then had a wonderful fish and chip lunch where there was a long queue for takeout and another queue for sit down.  We chose the takeout and went out and sat by the harbor to eat.  Then we went back for ice cream that was wonderful. I had raspberry and mango.


We got back in time to watch the morning session of conference on our laptop.  What a wonderful session.  I found many messages just for me and now have direction for my life for the next six months.  I am sure I will receive more with the next three sessions. 

Week ending March 25, 2013

On Friday, we left the mission office about 1:00 to start our trip.  We headed north on our way to the Isle of Skye.  On the way north we were stopped because we were told two Lorries (trucks ) had tipped over because of snow on the roads and it would be up to two hours before they were cleared up.  We were close to a turning point and so we decided to retrace our steps and go west by another route.  We ended up on some very narrow roads and had the sisters scared that we would get stuck up on top of the mountain and never be found.  We made it though and ended up in the very same place that we had been stopped.  We had made a complete circle in about two hours.  When we went to ask when they thought the road would open they thought it might be soon.  It did, and we were on our way again.  We arrived at the hotel about 9:20 which was three hours later than we thought we would.  Bill was tired but by the next morning we were up and going again.
Our hotel on the Isle of Sky

We were on the hunt for sea shells and we found lots in the exact same spot that Lee, Adell and I found them last year.  From there we were going to see Eilean Donan Castle.  We got there and it was closed for the day because of a power outage. 

We went into Ft. Williams and wandered around their main street and into a museum telling the history of the Jacobite Rebellion. I learned that we do not want to claim our Campbell history.  They were not very nice.  They were invited into the homes and were fed and given a bed and then in the middle of the night murdered their hosts.

Whipping table-a person was laid out on the table and then punished for breaking the law

We arrived in Oban where we were spending the night.  They are the seafood capital and we had a wonderful dinner on the pier.  I had salmon mouse as an appetizer and then haddock Moray dinner.

Our hotel in Oban
Sunday we had let the Oban Branch know that we were coming and would be willing to help in any way they could use us.  They meet at the Oban High School and have between 5-32 people come as an average.  Thirty two is in the summer when all the visitors come. 

High School in Oban

They had the Branch President and his wife show up and the High Councilman and his wife from Glasgow, all the members called in their excuses.  So we had Sunday School, taught by the Branch President, music was lead by his wife and music was a CD.  The Sacrament was blessed by the Branch President and passed by the High Councilman.  Then we four from the office spoke as well as the couple from Glasgow.  So everyone there participated.  It was a wonderful experience with eight of us there and six were visitors.

We got back home about 5:30 and had a wonderful weekend.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Week ending 17 February 2013

This has been a good week.  We did all those things I mentioned last week except eating pancakes on Tuesday. We save those kind of breakfasts for the weekend when we have more time.
We bought Krispie Kreme doughnuts for the office on Valentine’s Day.  They were wonderful as always. 
We went and saw an Agatha Christie play entitled “Back for Murder” for Valentine’s day and loved it.

Friday night we finally went back to Spylaw Tavern and took the sisters.  They had never been there yet.  We had planned it many times but something always came up to keep us from going.  We think they were not as impressed with it as we are but at least they have been now.

 Saturday morning I had a meeting with our legal advisor who is serving in Sulihull, England.  They are from Los Angeles, California and go home in 4 months.  So he is going around the various missions making sure we are trained because their replacements will not be here until September or October and so the President will probably take on more of the responsibility and they want us to do more so the President does less.

 It was a good meeting and I found out that I have come a long way in reading and changing leases.  I could answer all the questions he and his wife asked and was able to provide them with the charts and answers they asked for.

 I have 12 leases to finish up or start and finish between now and April 10th.  I was in contact with the Crabbs this week and let them have a part in choosing the flat that they thought they would enjoy.  These are friends and work associates of Lee’s from his school days.  They will be going to Ireland on the 19th of March and so I will not see them.  We will have to meet up someday though.

 Saturday, we had the meeting and then I worked on Primary for a while. 
Then we met the Hambelton’s at Edinburgh Castle to attend some events they were doing in celebration of renaissance  days.  We attended one on musical instruments and music by a man dressed in costume.  He was wonderful.  He played six or seven different instruments that I had never seen before.  He was very entertaining.


 The next one was a man who is a journalist and author of books.  He told us about how we got the saying Thin Red line from the Crimean War when the Scottish infantry line stretched out across a valley only two men deep to deceive the enemy into thinking they had a lot of others behind them below the crest of the hill and the enemy turned and left.  They were wearing red jackets with white stripes and their kilts or "man skirts" as the author called them.


We then went out to dinner to a Mexican place to finish our day with the Hambelton’s.  They go home in May and we will miss them.  They live in Meridian though and so we will get to see them again when we get home.

It was a wonderful week.