We attended the Gold and Green Ball which is an annual institution here, even though to us it seems so old school from the forties! The decorations were beautiful with mist and moving lights. We left when the live band started however, they always want to be so loud! Then Thursday evening we went on a night ghost tour of London. Yes, I know that doesn’t sound at all like us, but one of the senior missionary couples had bought tickets when their son and daughter-in-law were here but they weren’t able to fit it into their itinerary. So they invited us. It was a 2.5 hour walking tour, and we sure got sore feet. Partway through we took a tube ride, and at the end there was a very short boat ride down the Thames from Big Ben to the Tower of London. That was the very best part! It was so beautiful at night, all lit up with various colors. The London Eye was going and the most beautiful thing of all was the Tower Bridge. We need to go back and see all these things during the day and do some tours, but I am so glad we got to see them at night first.
We went to dinner before the tour at a nearby restaurant offering 2 for 1 steak dinners. The chateau briand steak was the best I have eaten, and the “chips” or french fries were fantastic and they kept bringing fresh hot ones! And right outside the restaurant we found this car that all the men passing by were drooling over and taking pictures of:
and you could see the engine through the back window!
The London Eye and waterfront area
Tower Bridge from the boat
A lot of the pictures didn’t turn out because it was so dark, so we will post more when we go back in the day time! We spoke in church yesterday at Royal Tunbridge Wells, a city south of us that is the most expensive part of this area. We went to lunch to a member’s home and learned more about the education system over here, which has been quite confusing to us, especially with some of the recent changes. The traditional A level exams have been replaced with modular exams (although they are thinking about going back to A levels) and as of this year students have to pay £9,000 per year in tuition, where it used to be free. That has really hurt some of our students here who do not have that kind of money to attend. In the past, if you had the grades you could attend any school of your choice and study for free. That is no longer the case.
We have broken down and purchased a large dining room table. The main purpose it will be used for is a desk, we have it pushed up against the wall and both can study there. When we have guests we can pull it out into the middle of the room and bring in the extra chairs from the little garage we have and actually feed people! I think we finally have the flat laid out the best way for us, we have moved furniture around several times trying to get it the most functional for us.
The weather cooled off and was rainy for a while, then it warmed up this last week, sort of an Indian summer. We are getting morning temperatures in the high 50s and afternoons in the low 60s, so it is still pleasant but we have had to start wearing sweaters (they call them jumpers over here) and jackets. We haven’t had a really cold day yet, so we are very much enjoying it!