Last weeks blog got left off in a spot and then I couldn’t really wrap it up so I’ll make up for that now.
Lacey and Jake and the boys got here Thursday night from France and we went out to dinner to Five Guys. Now that there is one really close to my flat it makes it easy to go there. Afterwards they went to find their hotel and get some sleep and I went back to my flat and spent the night. Friday morning Blaze and Kelsey flew in and they took a taxi from the airport to the mission office. Lacey had called to say the place they were staying actually had two bedrooms and it was too late to cancel Blaze’s room so I packed my bag a day early and spent Friday night at the hotel with Lacey’s family.
I had to work on Friday so Lacey and Blaze’s families spent the day walking around Edinburgh and finding all kinds of fun things like the Elephant Cafe and Greyfriar’s Bobby and the cemetery where the dog is now buried. They had a great time and the little kids did very well. As soon as I could I got off work and we all went out to dinner to Zizzi’s. Sister Gifford joined us and everyone loved Zizzi’s. Blaze was the one who realized we had Zizzi’s here to begin with since that is a place in London that both he and Lacey have eaten at and loved.
Saturday we headed out for Stirling. We stopped at the Kelpies in Falkirk along the way and enjoyed seeing the beautiful big horses made out of metal. It was a bit rainy but not bad. All the visitor centers around Scotland really cater to children and so of course we spent some time in the Kelpie’s center playing with Lego’s and coloring pictures.
We drove on to Stirling and went right to the castle. Again the weather was a bit rainy but warm and it really seemed to clear up while we were there. This was my third time to this castle and once again I saw things that I had never seen before. Cal loves the castles and when you ask him what his favorite thing about Scotland is he will tell you the castles. But in his mind all of the castles were not real because there was no king there. But in Stirling we happened along a man all dressed up (not as a king) but it worked for Cal. Stirling is now a “real” castle. I sat awhile in the chapel and just let Everett run up and down the room and climb up and down the stairs to get some of his energy unleashed while the others went up to some museum type rooms in the castle that I had already seen. I could just sit and watch my grandsons all day. They are so fun and I have really missed them and my other grandkids. There is nothing quite like grandkids.
We wandered down to the old town area in Stirling afterwards and found lunch at a tavern and then did a bit of shopping at my favorite Tinkerbell store and as we were walking out of the store we ran into two of our missionaries out working the streets. Elder Pelham and Elder Burgess are our missionaries in Stirling and Alloa area. Elder Pelham is from Brighton, England and Elder Burgess is from Australia. Then we were off to find our hotel for the night.
Sunday we woke up and had breakfast at the hotel then drove to Alloa for church. It was fun to watch my kids trying to understand what the people were saying as they were bearing their testimonies. I had such a hard time my first couple times at church. Now I understand most everyone but it was almost impossible at first. After church we headed out to see if we could spot a Highland Cow (or better known as a Hein Coo). We found some at the base of Stirling Castle but they were not very close to the fence so after a few pictures we headed on down the road to find Doane Castle.
Doane Castle is a great little castle. This is where parts of Holy Grail were filmed and it was a good place to wander through. Then we just drove around looking for other neat places to stop and walk around and take pictures. We stopped at an old cathedral, Dunblane Cathedral, and walked through the cemetery there. It was nice to just be outside and walking around. Then we went back to our hotel and fell asleep pretty early.
Monday we were up and on the road to Inverness. First on the bucket list though was to find Finnich Glen and the Devil’s Pulpit. I saw a picture of this place when we were in Culross several weeks ago and it was the most beautiful picture. I had to know where it was and I asked the photographer. He told me what it was but said it is impossible to find. Well, about the same time Lacey was researching what she wanted to do in Scotland and came across this same place. She was determined to figure it out and read a lot of advice about how to find it. So with me in my missionary dress and a rainy, muddy trek to find the spot I decided to stay in the car with the little kids and the four headed out in search of Finnich Glen. Lacey’s research paid off and they were able to find it. Luckily I sent my camera with them so here are a few beautiful shots of their achievements.
We stopped in a town for a break and I saw a sign that said Scone Palace so we decided to go check that out. When we drove up there was three coos right up next to the fence. We had no idea we were going to find coos (cows) and were so delighted we forgot all about the Palace and just spent our time taking pictures of the cows. They actually came right up to us at the fence and let us pet them and the kids loved it. So did I. That has been my number 1 item on my bucket list for a few months now and I still wasn’t sure where I was going to find them. You would never think a cow could be so exciting but I find myself slowing at every herd of cows I see trying to see if they are the shaggy cows or not. It’s silly.
Well, I’m so glad we decided to include Inverness as part of our week together. My first experience with Inverness when I first got here and went with Sister Dent was not a good day. I thought Inverness was old and dirty and I had no desire to go back but I realize now that we were not really into the town when we were there before. We stayed in a suite right across from Inverness Castle. The road right in front of our place ends and the rest of the street is just for walking and there are shops all around. We were right across from a McDonald’s that was about 30 steps away and our favorite, Zizzi’s was three doors down so guess what we had for dinner Monday and Tuesday night!! Yep, we ate at the same place two nights in a row and everyone was totally happy. I have decided we don’t really have a good Italian restaurant in Utah County. We need a good one. One more great thing about the place we stayed in Inverness – it had a washer and a dryer. I haven’t seen a dryer in six months. I ended up washing all the clothes I had with me and Lacey did all her laundry too. It was great. Funny to say but that was a major perk for us. We loved that we could do our laundry.
Tuesday we headed over to Jacobite Cruises and sailed off onto Loch Ness in search of Nessie. We got little binoculars at the gift shop for Cal and Everett to use in their search for Nessie but we didn’t find her. It was a nice boat ride though and coming up to Urquhart Castle from the water side was very pretty. We got dropped off right at the base of the castle and we spent an hour roaming around the castle grounds. Urquhart is not my favorite castle at all but it was still a really fun time to be outside and enjoying all the beautiful sights of Scotland.
Of course we got back and all my kids want to do is shop. So they took off for their third Primark (since it was right down the street from us). Primark is a great place to buy children’s clothing although I have discovered they are much better for boys than girls. They didn’t really have anything unique for girls but Lacey stocked up on boys clothes to last her kids for the next two years. Good thing she brought a suitcase full of things for me so she could fill it with her Primark finds. While shopping they ran into our Inverness missionaries. Cal thought that was really neat. After our 3rd Zizzi’s dinner we were tired and had no problem falling asleep on our last night in Inverness.
Wednesday was just a drive day as I had to be back to the office to catch up on the few things I missed and it was good to be back even though I would choose spending more time with my kids if I could. My kids spent the day exploring the Edinburgh Castle and then checked in at The Royal Ettrick which is just down the street from the mission office. This is the place we use all the time for people who come to Edinburgh or for Senior Couples on their first night. It’s been a really handy place but unfortunately they are closing their doors at the end of this month. I had only seen one room there when Sister Dent moved in for her last night and it wasn’t very nice so I prepared my kids that these rooms might not be very good. But to our surprise their room was incredible. So nice I decided to spend the night once again with them. That worked out nicely since the grown-ups wanted to go on the Edinburgh Ghost Tours which didn’t get over until 11:00 PM. I was able to just crawl in bed with the Littles and sleep while they were gone.
Oh, we also tried Nandos. Everyone has kept asking us if we have tried Nandos yet and we never think about it when we are hungry. It was so good. It’s a restaurant that actually started in South Africa and they serve mostly chicken. The chicken and everything else had a great spicy flavor and we loved it. Also, bottomless soda which we have not seen anywhere else. Usually we get a tiny little bottle of Diet Coke. So great dinner. I will go back.
Friday I had the opportunity to go with Sister Six and Sister Hill to teach a new investigator from University. His name is Bowen and he is from China. His friend Fraser saw him coming into the church and he stuck around and helped teach as well. What is special about that is Fraser is also an investigator who is getting baptized this next Wednesday. But he was so happy to see his childhood friend Bowen that he wanted to share the feelings he was feeling about his own baptism. They are both students at the Uni and are both from China.
Friday evening I met with Stephanie, a new convert of a few weeks to work on her family history. I was a bit nervous about this assignment the bishop has given me to work with our new converts and help them find a name to take to the temple for baptism. I gladly accepted the assignment because that’s what I do. I figured even though my knowledge is limited on how to do family history, it is a good cause and obviously it is something Heavenly Father wants for these new converts so it shouldn’t be that big of a problem. Boy was I wrong. The first person I tried to work with is from England and I didn’t get a name for her on our first try. Thanks to my friend Lorrie Stout at home, I think I can make progress with her next time. But now Stephanie is from Colombia and I have no idea again how to help her. She actually has more dates and names so we were able to plug those in but Family Search didn’t just grab those names and take off like I was hoping. She does have an auntie that she would like to get baptised for next week when the ward goes again but I couldn’t get the temple ordinances to come up so we could request and print a card. After sleeping on it I realized she hasn’t been dead for a year and that is probably the problem there. Temple trip is 21 October and she died 28 October last year. Of course. Well, I’m not giving up and I am going to get this figured out. Still accepting any help from home if you know how to help me. I’m an indexer not a family researcher. But I think I’m going to become a family researcher by the time I get home.
Today was Saturday and of course I got called into the office this morning. Another missionary going home early that I had to arrange travel for and put together his going home packet. It is so sad to see these missionaries leave early. Life is hard and I get it but I wish I could just sit and talk with them and give them a big hug. Problem of being a missionary. No hugging all these young missionaries that I love. I get to hug the Sisters at least. We decided that today was just going to be a lazy Saturday so we drove to Dalkeith to check out a different grocery store and got pizza at our favorite Pizzaria and Fish Bar. We drove over to Dalkeith Country Park which is actually a pretty incredible park and sat and ate our pizza and watched some cows grazing in the distance. And now I need to put together a small lesson that I’m giving part of second hour tomorrow on Family History (sigh). And I still need to find someone to lead the singing in sacrament meeting tomorrow so I’m off.
I hope everyone has a great week. I am glad all my travellers made it home safely. I hope you recover quickly. Love to all.
Oops, I forgot something very important. A week ago Saturday when I was at Stirling with my kids we had a very special baptism here. Of course it would happen while I was gone but I have to make mention of it here anyway. Sister Gifford and I have gone with Elder Peacock and Elder Gibb four times to Nicky’s flat to teach lessons and I have mentioned her a few times in past blogs. She got baptised!! I am so happy for her. It is great to watch her participate in Relief Society lessons and to talk about what she has learned as she reads the scriptures when we are with her in lessons at her flat. She truly was ready for baptism.
Also Bahadir who is our French speaking investigator that Sister Kim and Sister Irvine have been teaching. They have had me sit with them numerous times as they skyped with another missionary (Sister Brodien) who is from French Polynesia. He was baptised as well. It has been fun to watch him as well. Such a nice man. And he has made a friend at church of Nicholas who was baptised the same day Stephanie was. Nicholas speaks French. So it is nice to have found him.Well, there you have the full week now. I’m happy for these two and the missionaries who had the pleasure of bringing them to Christ.