Castles and cathedrals

Sister Young saw this on Facebook and wanted to spice up the treats after the Institute lesson (can you see the ball in the dolphin’s mouth?). It was surprising that the men were more responsive than the women! Sister Young also cooked Brussel sprouts for the first time (and ATE them!) after learning how to do it right from the sisters in the ward. She has been sharing her food items with them too, including whipped sweet potatoes, lemon bars, and taco soup.

Spring has officially arrived, with daffodils, tulips, cherry blossoms, and more. The gardens are beautiful and the days are warmer. We haven’t dared take our winter coats to the dry cleaners YET, but we will soon!

Last week we asked special permission to visit Dover Castle, which is outside of the mission boundaries, but only one hour away. Another senior couple, the Ottleys (who serve in a nearby ward as MLS missionaries) are going home next month and this was the last thing they had not been able to visit yet. So we drove with them and spent the entire day there.  It is the largest castle in England; founded about 1160 and has been described as the “Key to England” due to its defensive significance throughout history. In the Napoleanic Wars, there was a need to house more soldiers, so tunnels were dug as underground barracks. In WWII the tunnels were converted first into an air-raid shelter and then later into a military command centre, military phone exchange, and underground hospital. The castle is located above the White Cliffs of Dover at the place where it is the shortest crossing to the continent, and have protected England for over 20 centuries. 

King’s bedroom in the Great Tower

St Mary in Castro (Castle) Church was built in 1000 AD and is now within the castle walls. It is still used for services for the Army and local people. Next to it is a Roman lighthouse called a Pharos (in picture), probably built about 130 AD. It is open inside all the way up, and was once used as the church bell tower.

We toured the castle and were able to see two reenactments by actors. Here you see Sister Young discussing an ancient map with King Henry II. The king hosted visiting dignitaries from other countries at this castle.

On the way home, we stopped to visit Canterbury Cathedral. It is one of the oldest and most famous Dhristian structures in England. It is the cathedral of the Archbishop of Canterbury, leader of the Church of England and symbolic leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion. It was founded by Archbishop Augustine in 596 AD and he reused an old Roman church. It is famous for the murder of the archbishop Thomas Becket in 1170 by knights of King Henry II (they used to be friends).

We have officially switched to “British Summer Time” which brought the clock forward an hour. We also had Mothering Sunday, and figured out that Mother’s Day cards would only be available now, and not in May when we would want to purchase them, to we bought some to tuck away for later. We thoroughly enjoyed General Conference and the Women’s General Meeting. We were able to watch two sessions live and recorded the rest to watch later. The last session we watched Monday morning while we fed breakfast to the elders and sisters in our district. This week will be very busy, as we will be transporting sisters between Purley and Hastings and back again for exchanges. With the new Sister Leaders, they go on exchanges with other companionships for training. If we drive them back and forth on both days (6 hours each day) it allows the zoneleaders to attend to missionary work instead of taxi work.

We also have three firesides and a musical program this week. One fireside is our usual YSA one with (local) Elder Herbertson of the Seventy speaking on hope. The next one will be a special treat, as one of the senior missionaries at the Hyde Park Visitors Centre is a professional theatre organist. He will accompany the classic silent film by Cecil B. DeMille, King of Kings. Then Saturday we will attend a musical production put on by the Watford YSAs (one of Rob Gardner’s programs). Sunday evening we will attend a fireside at the London Temple Visitors Centre with a discussion between our own Brother Julian Jones (retired CES) and Savannah Stevenson. Savannah is currently starring as Glinda (the good witch) in Wicked in the West End theatre. She also played Mary in the New Testament church films. We are really excited to have all these opportunities and to visit different places. Our next senior outing will take us to Greenwich, and we will report on that in a future blog. Finally, a shout-out to all the family members with birthdays in April, with special emphasis on our youngest granddaughter Fern, who turns one next week. We will miss her first two birthdays but at least she will remember us on her third one!