Week 11 – Senior Couple’s Conference, Pitlochry, Blair Castle

This week was our Senior Couple’s Conference.  All the senior missionaries came into Edinburgh on Tuesday and we got together for some fun and learning.  I have spoken on the phone with all of these people, some quite a bit and feel like some are already friends but I have only met the Pohlman’s who came on their mission after I got here and the Walker’s who I’ve spoken about before.  They moved into Woodland Hills not long after I moved from there and actually lived on the same street as us, just on the other end but we have lots of common friends.  So having a couple days together was a real treat, it will sure make those phone calls better now that we have faces to the voices on the other end.

Tuesday we gathered at 2:00 in the lounge in the mission home and held introductions and shared a mission miracle.  It was fun to hear what some of these missionaries are doing in the branches they are serving in or with people they are finding or re-activating.  There is a special need for senior couples on missions, that is apparent by the stories I heard.  They are a great support for the young missionaries in their areas as well as to the bishops and branch presidents.  One is actually serving as the branch president in his area.  After introductions we went up to the conference room and had a lesson by President Thompson, on the miracle of conversion. It was a great topic and I enjoyed listening to him.  He is a great man and we don’t get to hear from him as much up here in Scotland since he is in Ireland usually.

After a delicious dinner cooked by Wendy and her parent’s we had a fireside.  The first part was a little awkward as Sister Donaldson talked about the 3 Stages of Love and had everyone talk to their spouse about memories in each of these categories.  It was fine but a bit awkward, as I said.  Then President Donaldson gave a great message that I hope I won’t forget. He really is a great man.

Wednesday we had an adventure.  We first went to Hopetoun House in Queensferry.  It sits on the shores of the Firth of Forth and is beautiful.  It is the home of the Marquess of Linlithgow, however he lives in his 8-bedroom cottage on the grounds and his son, the Earl, and his family currently live in the house.  They have four children ranging from 18 – 15.  The 15-year-0lds are twin boys and the oldest twin has the title of Duke of Linlithgow. When he was 12 he was a page for the Queen Mother.  I learned today that the boys who act as her pages usually seen carrying the train of her cloak as she walks have to be shorter than her so they are usually between the ages of 12 and 15, seeing as she is only 5’2″.

This is the stroll from the parking area to the house.  So beautiful.

And here is the house.  This is so tucked away, I never would have known this was here.  So glad we came. And I found out that they do a Christmas market here in December so I will probably check that out this December.

I learned something new about the carvings found in these type of places.  If the carpenter is happy with his job – meaning he was treated and paid well then he would carve a pea pod that was open showing the peas.  If he was not happy he would carve a pea pod closed.  So I guess I’m going to have to watch for pea pods after this.

Here are two more fun pictures.  The first was found in the kitchen area. The servants could recognize the sound of the bells and know who was ringing them.

The other picture is part of the large library.  I liked seeing all the books – over 3000 in this room.

After Hopetoun House we went back to Roslyn Chapel and I enjoyed it just as much the second time.  It really is a stunning place.  I only took one picture this time since I took so many last time.  If you look you can see the green man.  He is just about in the center of the picture.  The Green Man is a round faced man with foliage coming out of his mouth.  They symbolize rebirth, nature etc. and are found throughout the ages in churches and other places.  This chapel has a few hundred green men carved in and outside of it.

Wednesday night was the baptism of Kirsty Nelson.  She is a sister to Amy who was baptised a few weeks ago.  Amy is so excited about the gospel that she tells everyone she knows and here tonight was the results of her efforts as her sister was baptised. The feelings were strong and I’m glad we went.  Pictured below are Sonju who got to baptize her and a little boy named Holden who came to watch.







Elder Grant, Kirsty Nelson, Sanju, Elder Wright


Even though we had a very fun week already we didn’t want to not take advantage of a weekend so we went on a drive to Pitlochry.  Pitlochry is just past Perth on the way to Inverness.  It’s a quaint little town that is known for its distilleries if you look it up but it is also known for it’s jewelry made from heather. The stones are actually dyed and compressed stalks of heather twigs worked together and then lacquered so it looks like a stone.  I bought a bracelet that I really like.

We wandered through the town going in all the little shops.  I only bought some hard candies and a deck of playing cards with the Scotland Flag on the backs.  We had lunch at a place named Victoria’s and they had Chicken Quesadillas.  They were great.  Then we walked back up to the other side of town and found this barbershop along a side street and someone was actually getting their haircut.  I had to take a picture.  We also came across this little guy wishing he was home on his pillow basking in some sunlight but he was patiently waiting for his owners who were shopping somewhere nearby.

We grabbed an ice cream cone then walked over to the dam and tried to see some salmon swimming upstream but no luck.  It was really peaceful and beautiful though so I’m so glad we did it.


After Pitlochry we got back in the car and drove to Athol to see Blair’s Castle.  There is a price to go in the castle, and a price to see the gardens. Since we had already been to Hopetoun House this week we opted for the gardens which were cheaper as well.

We walked up and saw the Red Deer Park on the side of the castle (really more of a mansion).  Then we walked through Hercules Gardens but living next to Thanksgiving Point kind of spoils gardens and I wasn’t that impressed.  (At all really).  But it was a nice walk with a misty rain going the whole time.  This whole week has been very rainy.  Well we thought we better find a restroom before driving on so we asked where the gift shop was and because their was a big wedding going on in the castle they let us go in the castle and walk down a few halls and through a few rooms to the restroom.  Really no one was with us or would have even known we hadn’t bought a ticket but we were good and just followed the path we were given but it did take us through the China Room so I had to take a few really quick pictures for my mom!!

I had also read about a nice memorial to the 51st Infantry in Perth and wanted to go see that on the way home so we headed over there.  We weren’t sure where it was exactly so we just drove around a bit and ran into another “castle” called Black Watch Castle.  It was very pretty but wasn’t really a castle in my opinion either.

We stopped a lady walking her dog and she told us how to find the monument so we parked again and walked through North Inch Park and found the monument at the end along side the River Tay.  It was worth the walk.

Well this has been an eventful week and I can promise you we actually did our office work as well.  We got lots done this week.

I love each one of you.  Have a great week.

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