Monday, August 22 - HAPPY BIRTHDAY LORI
Woke up after a much need good night's sleep, showered, and had a wonderful breakfast at the college cafeteria. We purchased a small map detailing the bus routes in the City of London and headed out for a day of sightseeing. Our first stop was at Trafalgar Square. It is located in central London and is the most popular square in England. It is guarded by four huge brass lion statues. It was completed in 1845 and is in honor of the Trafalgar Battle in 1805.
From here we walked again to Buckingham Palace. We were hoping to see the Changing of the Guard, but that was not scheduled for today. We did enjoy watching the palace guards standing, and marching occasionally.
But I think the guy below, standing not far from the brightly uniformed guard, was the real palace guard....
Just as we were about to leave a group of about a dozen horses and riders appeared outside the palace gates. They rode by and that was that!
Next we caught the bus to St. Paul's Cathedral. It belongs to the Church of England and is dedicated to St. Paul. The present building dates to the 1600's. It is thought to be the 5th cathedral built on this site since 604 A.D. It is situated on the highest point in the City of London. Diana and Charles were married here.
Next we went to the Tower of London. I expected a "tower" but it is actually a huge stone fort with a castle and community that lived with it's walls. It has an amazing and gory history. It is interesting that the royals were beheaded inside the grounds of the Tower of London, while the common criminal was beheaded outside the walls. It used to be surrounded by a large mote that was actually below the level of the River Thames, so all the sewage flowed into it - a rather considerable deterrent to attempting to swim either in or out.
This building inside the tower houses the royal jewels.
Old chapel in another ancient building within the walls.
The Beefeaters conduct the tours in the Tower of London. They are all retired military personnel. There is no know explanation as to why they are called "Beefeaters".
We stayed as long as we could at St. Paul's and until closing at the Tower of London and still didn't see it all - so much to see! On our bus ride back to Imperial College we decided to stop at Piccadilly Circus and do a little souvenir shopping. We each bought a London hoodie and some postcards to mail home.
Tuesday, August 23
After breakfast we checked out of our room. We had about two hours until we needed to start our journey home, so we checked our luggage into the college luggage storage area and walked a block to the Victoria and Albert Museum of Art and then to the V and A Museum of Science - both free and very interesting. Then we collected our luggage and headed for Birmingham. We were very tired and grateful to arrive "home" safely and without incident - very proud that we didn't get lost even once in London! I must also mention that our senior bus pass is honored all over England, so we didn't pay a cent for any of our many bus rides all over the city.
Wednesday, August 24
We spent the morning doing laundry and getting back into the swing of things here in Birmingham. In the afternoon we went teaching with the sister missionaries from Harborne - a great experience! Our Institute activity was a scavenger hunt at Solihull Ward (about 30 minutes from here). We were not expecting much of a turn out, but were pleasantly surprised with a nice group of YSA that came and had a great time. Some of the YSA had stayed behind at Harborne to help decorate the cultural hall for a YSA wedding this weekend.
Thursday, August 25
Flat checks today were good. We did two flats - Woodsetton and Stourbridge. It is fun to drive to these out lying wards, and it's a great opportunity to talk about the YSA with the missionaries.
Friday, August 26 - HAPPY BIRTHDAY GWEN
We did our final two flat checks for this transfer period - Kidderminister and Redditch. It feels so good to have them done. Transfers are every six weeks and we have to check each flat once each transfer. The Harborne sisters win the prize for cleanest flat this time. It is so hard to pick "the best" one - they all try hard to clean it up for our visit and win the prize for cleanest flat (which is announced at Zone Conference). The Harborne sisters had scrubbed a large moldy area on their extra bedroom wall with bleach - so they won!
Saturday, August 27
Today is the wedding day for two of our favorite YSA couples. Tash and Joe from Birmingham Stake and Neil and Sarah from Lichfield Stake. Tash asked us to take photos at her wedding before Neil and Sarah picked their wedding date, so we spent the day with Tash and Joe. Their civil wedding was at the Solihull Chapel and was beautiful. After pictures the party continued with a reception at Harborne Ward with a full sit down meal for at least 200 people. It, too, was very nice. About 4:30 p.m. we left the reception with the family and wedding party to travel two hours to the Preston Temple for their sealing - again very nice! While we were there we ran into Neil and Sarah and were so glad to get to spend a little time with them. They, too, had a wonderful day! We arrived home about 11:30 p.m. and were very happy to fall into bed!
Tash and Joe
Sarah and Neil
Sunday, August 28
Sunday is always a wonderful day! After being away for two Sunday's it was good to be back in our Harborne Ward. I cooked a yummy roast in the crock pot, thanks to the Lipton Onion Soup Emily sent me from home. We had a chance to Skype with some of our kids and get a little caught up with their lives. Will try to Skype with the others next week.