Week 79: Birth of my new grandson, New places close by, I’m living in the mission home

Well, here we are!!  My second to the last post.  I don’t know what I’ll do on Saturday’s if I don’t stop to write in my blog.  Last Sunday I gave a talk in church on the Blessings of Paying a Fast Offering.  It went just fine.  I’m glad that I got a chance to speak in our ward.  After church and dinner I started packing up my room.  I came with two big suitcases and a bag that I carried but there is no way what I’m taking home is going to fit in those two suitcases.  So I packed a box with a few things in to send home and got one big suitcase completely full of things I won’t need the next two weeks and on Monday I ran and mailed those off to Lacey.  She called on Thursday to say she got the box and the suitcase got there on Friday.  So far so good.  Of course on Tuesday I filled another very large box and sent it off on Wednesday so we will see when that gets there.  I hope there is no problem with that.  It has a few souvenirs in it plus grandkid presents.

Best news on Sunday…Landon and Ashley finally got their little guy here.  All my kids got together on Saturday and cleaned my garage, which was so great of them.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  I thought to myself as I peeked at them from time to time on my camera that Ashley was going to work herself into labor and she did!!  So Sunday just as I was getting out of church Landon called to say they were at the hospital and just a couple hours later he called again to say that Riker Landon Call had been born and was doing well, as was Ashley.  He looks just like Landon.  So cute!!  I can’t believe I have to wait two whole weeks to hold that little bundle of joy but he was little, 6 lbs 13 oz, so he will still be little when I get there.

Monday the Miller’s made dinner for all the Edinburgh missionaries and included Sister Gifford and I.  It was so nice to have a warm home-cooked meal.  And the company was wonderful.  The Miller’s feed the missionaries.  They are always feeding someone.  We love it.  Thanks Elder and Sister Miller.

On Wednesday I was putting some things on President’s calendar and I came across where I had put that I was leaving.  He added Nooo to the end of it!!  I thought that was cute.  I wanted to save it.  So here it is.

Also on Wednesday Sister Smith arrived from the Preston MTC.  She is the missionary replacing me but training with Sister Gifford to learn housing since President has a secretary coming from home the end of October.  She is going to fit in nicely here.  She already has great office skills and is handling everything very well.  Sister Gifford is already sighing a sigh of relief.  So here is Sister Smith and Sister Gifford, new companions as I have now moved out of my flat and I am living in the great, famous Scotland Mission Home.  

So, the mission home…  It’s a beautiful old home that the office is attached to, as I’ve said before.  Also above the office is a conference room and an apartment for the APs, along with a bunk room for visiting Elders.  There is a similar (but nicer) bunk room in the mission home for visiting Sisters.  Anyway, I’m staying in the room that must have been for the maid because there is a secret stairway leading from my room directly to the kitchen.  I’ve been using that so I don’t feel like I’m intruding on the Macdonald’s personal space.  Although they have been totally gracious and happy to have me here.   I am realizing I don’t have a good picture of the front of the mission home.  I guess I better wander around tomorrow and take a few pictures.

Friday night I went over to the church and sat in on a family history evening.  I used to be in charge of these but now Michael Gould, who was baptized while I was here handles family history.  He had the room all ready with a few laptops and the computers up and running.  Only one girl showed up but I was so proud of him.  He has come a long way and loves family history.  He is going to make a difference for the new converts as they discover family history.  He is excited and he is learning lots.  

Well Saturday has rolled around and as I was looking over my weekend calendar activities that I’ve been keeping for months I really felt we had done just about everything.  But it was Sister Gifford’s birthday on Friday and I have been wanting to take her to the village of Gifford here in Scotland so I planned a day centered around that and it didn’t disappoint.  We saw a lot of things we had never seen before and had a wonderful lunch in Gifford.  So here goes…

First stop was Newhailes House and Gardens.  You had to pay for parking and to enter the grounds here.  We didn’t really want to take a tour, just grab a picture so when we got to the parking lot I asked the attendant what our options were.  He asked what we wanted to do and I said just take a picture.  He said we could come in for free if we thought we would be less than 10 minutes.  So off we went to find the house.  It was very pretty but we got all we wanted in the ten minutes.This house is supposed to be absolutely beautiful inside but we didn’t want to stick around for a tour today.  We had too much to see and do.  I decided long ago I wasn’t going to get to do every little thing that came along and if I could at least get a picture and walk the grounds a bit that was more than enough.

We drove through a few little towns that really are not that far from Edinburgh and for some reason we had never been over that direction before.  Musselburgh and Inveresk were really nice towns and I would have liked to stop a few times for pictures but it isn’t that easy to do.  There are no places to put your car.  So we carried on.  We were heading to to garden places.  The first was a place called Inveresk Lodge Garden but when we got there we weren’t too excited.  It probably is nice during the summer but it was not too great today.  We wandered in and didn’t see anyone so we snapped a few pictures and moved on to the next place.

Shephard House Garden was someone’s house and we could see a door leading to a garden area but it was a private home and we weren’t sure what to do.  But Sister Gifford tried the door and it opened.  So we stepped into the neatest, most magical back garden.  The owner of the home was in the garden working and he was surprised to see us.  We told him we had searched the internet for beautiful places in this area and his garden came up but we would leave if he wanted us to.  He said, no, come in, I’ll show you around.  He has lived in this house that dates back to the 1600’s for just over 60 years.  When they moved there they had one big tree and one apple tree.  The rest he has done on his own.  It was amazing.  He was such a nice man and we enjoyed the time with him.  I’m so glad Sister Gifford opened the door.  It was the highlight of my day.

This little building tucked into one corner was so cute but then we got closer and he opened up the door.  The walls were covered in a shell pattern and there were stain glassed windows with different flowers all around the room.  And the ceiling was painted really pretty.  I noticed there was a staff of music on each section of the ceiling so I said to him that I really liked that he has music staffs along the ceiling.  He said he plays the bagpipes and that is a song he wrote for them.  It was really neat.  I would have loved to hear him play.    He kept apologizing that the garden was all ready for winter and not as beautiful as it usually is but we loved it.  He had every thing labeled.  Every tree and bush and flower.  This last picture is an example of his labeling.  This is in a place where something will come back next year but it is so detailed.  It says what it is and how it is from South Russia and that it is easily recognized by the bright green shiny leaves.  A lot of love has taken place in this garden.  

Next we were heading to a castle named Fa’Side Castle.  We found it but it wasn’t something we could go into.  We had to drive up another road to even get a look at it because it was behind a wall and gate.  But here it is.  We also saw a cute horse and a few cows out in this field.  

From here we move on towards a place called Haddington.  It also was a great little town and I did pull over here and ran back around a corner to get a picture of a church and graveyard.  I couldn’t resist.    Then we drove over to another great house called LennoxLove House.  We were possibly going to take a tour at this house but when we got there we found out they are not open on Saturdays.  So we just got out and wandered along the grass and took some pictures.  This house dates from the 14th century and is supposed to house some beautiful furniture and art.  They have a herd of wild cows that are the only ones like this in Scotland.  It is believed they are descended from the sacrificial cows of the Druids.  I don’t know about wild.  I walked over to where a group of them were laying in the grass and this one stood right up and walked over to check me out.  He posed for me to take several pictures.  

Well, next stop was Gifford and it was a great little village.  We stopped for lunch at a really nice pub/restaurant called The Goblin Ha’.  Apparently they believe there are goblins in that area and that they constructed a gothic chamber below the old Yester Castle (which we couldn’t find) and that it is haunted.  We did try to find Yester Castle but it is so overgrown and there are no roads to drive on so we decided we would leave it a mystery and move on.  Lunch was really good though.  We don’t always hit jackpot when we wander into a place but this was a good place.  I had an Alfredo dish.

Last stop was Preston Mill.  It was just a little place but it was very quaint and worth finding for the pictures.  We loved the atmosphere of the area.  Here are a few pictures from there.  

Well, we ran to the grocery store after this and I got dropped off back at the mission home and here I sit at my desk working on my blog.  It’s now 7:30 pm and I’m wondering what to do with myself for the rest of the evening.  But that’s okay.  One more week!!  I’ll be home!!  I am so excited.

Love you.




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