Happy Valentine's Day to everyone.
This week was a very rewarding one. Since our last post we have gone to London and back. We tried to visit the queen but she wouldn't even come out to play. We did however see two helicopters land and take off from Buckingham Palace while we were walking there.
Just before you get to the ferry dock there is a large refugee camp. Apparently there are about 4,000 refugees in Calais trying desperately to get to England. Their camp is made up of shacks and tents made of blue tarps, plastic and some wood. It is all very makeshift. Around the camp, blocking the way to the ferry is a double fence about 15 feet high covered with razor wire. This is an intentional barrier to keep migrants from accessing any transportation to the UK. These are desperate people who would stop at nothing to get to England. The town is full of soldiers and police monitoring the situation. The townspeople feel like they are being held hostage in what used to be a friendly little town. It is not safe to go anywhere one wants to. Business have dropped by about 80% and sales of those remaining have also dropped by about the same percentage. It's sad all the way around and looks somewhat like a war zone.
We got to the ferry dock early which allowed us to take an earlier ferry. Good thing for us. As it turned out the sea was quite agitated. The boat was late leaving and when we got across the Channel we were not able to dock as all the piers were full. So we waited. It took 2 tug boats to stabilise the ferry while we docked. Boats were waiting out the storm but eventually a berth opened up. A trip that was supposed to take 90 minutes took twice that. However, we did make it.
After we got off the ferry the drive was great on the wrong side of the road. We had the same room at the temple as we did last time. It was great. We headed to the nearest village to buy supplies. This was only 5 minutes from the temple.
Each morning Ed got up and went for a run. He ran along the little highways in West Sussex and took advantage of the lovely scenery and the peaceful country setting. It was dark at first but lightened up as he ran. He did have to use a head lamp for the first half hour each morning.
On Tuesday our temple work began. We began each day with a spiritual thought with the members of our Branch that got us going on the right foot each day. Every day we did endowment sessions, confirmations and/or baptisms. We loved doing this. We could feel the spirit all week long. We also took advantage of the Visitors' Centre on the temple grounds. We were able to watch a film on Joseph Smith there and to attend a fireside with members of our Stake and a member of the Temple Presidency. There is a lot to be said to having a week long temple trip. You bond with your Branch and Stake members. You have a prolonged spiritual experience and you are able to take advantage of the longer stay at the temple to reflect and be uplifted.
On Tuesday afternoon we headed to London right after one of our sessions. We took a train from a little village close to the temple and after a 50 minute trip we arrived at Victoria Station. We tried to visit Lynn's grandmother's house but could not find it. We did, however, walk the streets of the neighbourhood in which she had lived many years ago. We then headed off to see some sights. We saw the Tower bridge, Picadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, the houses of Parliament and Big Ben. We didn't visit these places. We just saw them. This is all we could fit in during a short afternoon visit to London.
|Cute little taxi's and double decker buses were everywhere. This is on Piccadilly|
|This is the Canadian Embassy at Trafalgar Square|
|Prime Ministers residence.|
|Cool phone booths were everywhere.|
|Big Ben and Parliament Buildings.|
We got back from London at about 7:00 p.m, just in time for Laurent and I to go and pick up his son, Émeric, from the train station at Gatwick. Laurent and I had trouble connecting with Émeric but eventually found him and got him back to our temporary home at the temple housing complex. Émeric works in Oxford a relatively short train ride away. Émeric stayed with us for a day and took part in temple sessions along with us. Laurent and I took him back again on Wednesday.
After two temple sessions on Thursday we went in to East Grinstead, a town about 5 minutes from the temple. We did some food shopping and looked at some "charity shops" or second hand stores. I bought a book about a teacher in a small English village and Lynn bought two tops. One of the charity shops was run by Barnardo's children society. This is the same society that supported Ed's grandfather when he went to Canada from England when he was 14.
On Friday we headed home at 9:30. We got to the ferry and found out we could take an earlier boat than our 2:45 scheduled boat. However, we would have to pay £54.00 to do so. We decided to do just that. It would mean getting home 3 hours earlier. Imagine our surprise when we met members of the other car from our Branch on the ferry and they told us they only had to pay £11.00 extra. Rats!!!
But, we did get home at 7:30 p.m. instead of 10:30. I guess we have to count our blessings.
|Saying good-bye to the White Cliff's of Dover|
We have to write about the saga of Ed's pants. Shortly after Christmas we bought Ed a new pair of pants to go with his suit because he had torn a pair while waiting for a metro in Paris. After about a month this new pair tore along the seam of the rear end. Please note that neither of these torn pants had anything to do with an over abundance of girth on Ed's part. His rear end is actually of average size. The tear in the first pair was the result of catching it on some metal and the second tear was due to a fault in the pants. Anyway, Ed took the second pair back and they agreed to exchange it. However, they had to send a way for a pair of the same pants as they were out of stock. This would take a week. As it turns out they did not come in the following week, nor the week after. The following week the lady who was in charge of ordering them was on holidays for two weeks. When she came back she discovered that there had been a problem with her e-mail and, in fact, the new pants had not been ordered. She ordered them promptly and Ed told her that he would pick them up when he got back from London. On Saturday he went to get his new pants and they were in. When we bought the initial pants we paid to have them hemmed. So they agreed to hem these ones, as well. So Ed could not pick them up until this was done. However, the lady who does the hemming just started her holidays on Saturday and would not be back until Monday, February 22. She could have them done by Thursday, February 26. There is not much we could do about this situation. Oh well, as we say in France "C'est la vie!"
We started a self-reliance group here this week with our first meeting being today, Sunday. This particular group is for finding a job. There were 6 participants so far. It is an incredible program. The meetings are two hours long and held once a week. Yup, we are keeping busy.
|Our little enclosed garden outside of our church window was re-done while we were away.|
Au revoir de la France,
Lyndi-lou and Eddie, too.