We have been called to serve a CES (Church Education System) mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the England Birmingham Mission. Our assignment is to work with the Young Single Adults - ages 18 to 30 years - teaching religion classes, supporting their activities, assisting in the day to day running of the institute, and anything else as directed by our Mission President. Our 18 month mission begins on December 27, 2010.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

JOURNAL - May 16 - 22

Wednesday - May 18

Quiet week so far, but that is about to change. Today we went to Coscto and bought supplies for the Institute BBQ tonight at Birmingham. We had about 60 kids come to eat burgers, sausages, and chicken kabobs. The sausages are a different BBQ item for us. Here they eat them on buns like hot dogs. They are pretty tasty. The BBQ was held in a nice grassy area in back of the meetinghouse.
Back row: Leanne, Samantha (from USA). Front row: Kezia, Kendel. Side: Gabriella
 After the BBQ, Institute choir practice, and clean up, we finally arrived home after 11:00 p.m. 

Thursday, May 19

No Institute at Lichfield tonight - they had an end of term party last week after class. So we decided to go see the Cotswolds. It is a beautiful, old, rural area about 1 1/2 hours from our flat that is famous for small quaint villages along old narrow country roads. There are two recommended routes. We decided to drive the 70 mile northern route called "The Romantic Route." So with map in hand we headed out. Our first stop was in the village of Winchcombe. There we visited Sudeley Castle and Gardens. The castle dates back 1000 years and has been owned by about a dozen different people. It has played host to at least 6 kings and queens of England, and is best known as the home of the King Henry VIII's last and only surviving wife, Katherine Parr. She is buried in the chapel on the grounds. It is currently owned by a private family who lives there and continues to restore it. We did tour part of the interior, but were not allowed to take any pictures inside.
Sudeley Castle
Church on grounds where Queen Katherine Parr is entombed.
Queen Katherine Parr - died in the 1500's.
Grounds of Sudeley Castle
 Knot Garden and ruins at Sudeley Castle.
Private residence outside Sudeley Castle grounds. Notice the satellite dish.
Houses along street in Winchcombe.
 Yum! Lunch! Lots of sheep everywhere!
Our next stop was in Toddington where we took a short ride on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway - a small steam engine. Then we went to the village of Broadway. We got there just as the shops were closing. After dinner we headed to Lowerfield Farm Bed and Breakfast about 2 miles from Broadway and about half way around "The Romantic Road."
What you see is the front, and newer section, of the B&B. It dates to the Victorian Era. Our room was the upper right room - very comfortable with it's own bathroom, TV, wifi, and - the best part - a king size bed! The original part of the house can be seen extending from the back, left side of the house. It dates to the 1700's. The plumbing that has been added is evidenced by the black PVC pipe on the outside of the building. Our stay here was absolutely wonderful! It is a small farm owned and operated by a very nice couple with two children. It has pigs, goats, sheep, chickens, and ducks. Our breakfast was a traditional English breakfast with eggs, slab bacon (ham slice), sausage from the farm, grilled mushrooms and tomatoes, baked beans, toast from homemade bread, homemade preserves, canned plums from the farm, and juice - Yummy!!! 


After checking out of Lowerfield Farm, we drove back to the village of Broadway where we spent about two hours checking out all the cute little shops - clothing, books, candy, knitting, dishes, and general touristy stuff.
People live in the apartments above the stores. Broadway is a very well kept village. It would be a great place to live!
Home in downtown Broadway. All the homes in the Cotswolds are made out of this colored brick.
The country road passes directly next to this old thatched roof house.Notice the black PVC pipe going down the side of the house. I would love to tour some of these old homes.

Saturday, May 21
Got home last evening feeling rested. I mixed up a batch of dough to make cinnamon rolls and did some laundry - a constant process as our washer/dryer combo is so small I can only do small loads. This morning I got up, rolled out the dough, and made cinnamon rolls to take as treats to the YSA service project cleaning the meetinghouse. I baked the cinnamon rolls in the oven at the church. They were a big hit fresh out of the oven - that's when they are the best! We had about 8-9 YSA show up to help clean, along with another couple from the ward - so it was done in about 2 hours.

Sunday, May 22

Nice Sunday in our home ward. Devon had High Council in the morning and they raved about how nice the building looked after our service project. We enjoyed Skype conversations with some of our family today. It was our first Skype call with Stephen's family. Cute little Annily showed us all her karate moves - so fun. We got another look at little Gracie - can't believe how much she has grown in a week! Love Skype! Everyone is well at home and we are well here in England - life is good!