4.26.2009

America and England

Seen in America, but not in England:
Big, bold, garish, gaudy billboards along every highway, byway, and little roadway.

(Okay, so I have seen a sign for Taco Time while driving in California or Idaho or Utah, and used it to guide me there. But I love the scenery along the roads here in England and not having to view the gorgeous green between big huge advertisements of food, wine, and furniture stores!)

Seen in England, but not in America:
Names of homes, cottages, apartments, etc by most front doors:

Woodside Manor, Toad Cottage, Yew Tree Cottage, Lakeside Manor

Seen in America, but not in England:
Big, bold pickup trucks and SUVs. It's a good thing they aren't here because they would cause a roadblock on these little teeny roads. The English all drive little cars, and sometimes even littler cars.

Seen in England, but not in America (YET):
This is my personal English favorite:
Funky flavors of crisps (potato chips). The Walkers Company is having a contest to see which flavor is voted on by the public, but first, here are some of their potato chip flavors that are not part of the contest:
Tomato Ketchup

Worcestershire Sauce

Cocktail Prawn


Ham and English Mustard
Now, here is a copy of the official ballot for residents of the UK to vote on for their next favorite flavor of potato chips:


So, while eating your hamburger, you can enjoy chips that taste just like your breakfast! Or you can have chips that have squirrel flavor!

People tell me that the chips taste just like the flavor marked on the package; I'll take their word for it!

4.20.2009

The Downside of Traveling

2 downsides to having so much fun:

#1 - the inevitable public toilets; from disgustingly awful to okay, this is doable. But, lest you think me whiney; I'm glad there is such a thing as public restrooms!

#2 - Information Overload! My head is stuffed with historical highlights, misleading misinformation, fabulous facts, scenic scenes, interesting information, trivial tidbits; ALL of which has sunk into a deep, deep hole in my head never to be brought up again.

Thanks, Allen , for recording at least a portion of our trips!

4.13.2009

Beautiful Easter Sabbath

Easter started in Abbots Bromley with the chimes ringing. It had been a long time since I've heard bells; going back to Rexburg and the carillon bells at Ricks/BYUI. It was a lovely sound early in the morning.

As we headed to church in Lichfield, about 12 miles away, we saw church-goers walking home after their Easter services. I love little towns.

Favorite quote from Sunday School:

Comment from member quoting Neal Maxwell - "Sometimes we find ourselves in the thick of thin things."

Sacrament meeting was about to start - a very tall, dark, and handsome young elder asked if the seat beside me was taken? I asked him where he was from. Then I started to laugh out loud; Elder Bedford is from St. George, Utah. When we compared addresses, we learned that we live only about one mile from each other in the big city of St. George, Utah. I told him I'll contact his mother when I get home.

The other elder, from Sandy, Utah, has a winter home in St. George. He told us he had spent many times in Southern, Utah. He, too, lives a short distance from our home and from the home of his companion. We had a good chuckle over that.


The coincidences (are they really, though) don't stop there. After a wonderful testimony meeting, I thanked a lady for her beautiful and sincere commitment to the gospel. She asked where we were from; when we told her we were from St. George, Utah, she asked us if we knew...Royal Stocking.

(Now, bear in mind, that Allen and I have only been in St. George for a relatively short time.) Ha! Do we know him?!?!? In our former ward, his new wife and I were visiting teaching companions. "In fact," I said somewhat rather unabashedly, "my husband and I are responsbile for his meeting and marrying his new wife after his first wife died."

(Just a side note here: Allen and I are always trying to line people up. It doesn't usually work: but we have had 2 success stories, and one of them was the very person she was asking about!)

It seems that Royal (the man he knew from Utah) and his wife had worked for the church in England many years before, and Brother Manners (the man in England) had worked with him.

I am still amazed at how often we visit wards far from home, and meet someone whom we know or who knows someone we know. It's such a small world in the church! (The farthest I've been from home and met someone I knew was in St. Petersburg, Russia, and met my former babysitter from many, many years beforehand...that was astonishing that she was at the same church meeting I was!)

But, our Easter Sabbath was not complete yet.

We had been invited to dinner by Tony and Patricia Jayes; a lovely couple that are friends of the people whose home we are staying in. Tony and Patricia are classy, elegant, charming; just as you would expect an English couple to be. She couldn't believe that we don't drink tea. She can't live without her several cups of tea a day.

What a delicious and delightful meal she had prepared. Their home is so lovely and filled with china, pottery, knick knacks, etc., that she has collected from her travels all over the world.

A beautiful ending to a beautiful Easter Sabbath. I give thanks for our blessings and this opportunity.

American Saturday

Milk, munchies, and movies. That's what is available at the corner convenience store in Abbots Bromley. Olivia, the clerk, is always cheerful and helpful, but even she can't find canned soup in a store that doesn't sell it!

Which meant it was time for serious shopping; we only had one can of soup left, and a teeny bit of milk.

So, armed with Bunny (our GPS), and a credit card, we set out for a larger city to buy groceries. Bunny misled us twice, so I randomly picked a name from the list: ASDA. We headed there, and saw from the road that it was HUGE, the parking lot was jam packed, and we had to pull round the corner to find a place to park. When we got out of the car and headed to the store, I saw more closely the sign on the side of the gigantic store:

ASDA
Wal*Mart






Unreal!







We were in the middle of England shopping at a Wal*Mart! (We bought lots of items, and only 2 were American-known brands; Pringles - Texas barbecue flavor - made in Belgium; and Ritz cheese-flavored crackers, which don't taste anywhere near as good as Goldfish Brand!)

The store was packed with holiday shoppers, (or maybe it's always packed!). A helfpul clerk-"Do you sell hot dogs?" told us that indeed, Wal Mart had purchased the ASDA chain.

The store was absolutely HUGE! It had a 2nd story, which we didn't go to, but it has escalator-like walkways that you can take your carts up to do even MORE shopping!

By now, it was late afternoon, and we were starving, having eaten a small bowl of cereal earlier in the day. Looking at their deli made me quickly realize that I didn't want to eat there: mushy peas are big in England, but I haven't found anyone who can stand them, but there they were - looking totally unappetizing.

Lichfield, the town we were in, is very busy, and has very little parking. Allen didn't want to drive around to find a place to eat since there wouldn't be parking, so we spotted a McDonald's across the street, where we went for lunch/dinner. I had a plain hamburger; it's just like in America; 1/16 tsp of ketchup, and teeny tiny pickle somewhere in there. I was hungry, so it tasted fine.

To complete our American Day, Allen watched a good old-fashioned shoot-em up American Western with Robert Duvall on the telly.

So, I'm not homesick any more!

4.11.2009

Chatsworth


Why keeping up with the Joneses is not too smart:


The Duke of Devonshire wanted to impress the Czar of Russia because the Czar had fountains at his palace in Russia. So the Duke (not sure which number it was), had these fountains built just for the visit of the Czar. Unfortunately, the Czar never came to see them and be impressed.
Ah, well, thousands of tourists to England enjoy them each year....including Allen and Moi!


Views from Abbots Bromley

Sign on the front door of a home on the main street of the little village of Abbots Bromley..most of the homes have names; it's lovely.





Looking through the patio window on a rainy Friday morning.








4.09.2009

Some Pictures from Merry Olde England





This is the front of the home where we are staying...isn't it lovely? It's just as appealing on the inside also.

Essay: What I Appreciate About England

1. I absolutely LOVE how green England is! I guess that living in a desert makes me appreciate it even more. I am awed every day by the beauty of this country.

2. I think their speech is lovely! It is just fun to listen to the people speak...sometimes, truly, I cannot even understand a word they are saying, and it's the same language!

3. I love how they appreciate the OLD; the history of this amazing country. We recently visited a castle that originally started being built in 1066 - imagine 1066! Of course, it had been added onto, and restored, but part of the original was still there.

Contrast this with America. While we were in New York last fall, the original Shea Stadium - home of the New York Mets -was torn down; too old; too outdated...and when was this old stadium originally built - 1964! It had stood for 48 years and was too old.

Allen has told me for years about the English and how they relish the past; it's beautiful, really. In the town where we are staying: Abbots Bromley, if you build something new, it has to reflect the era of all the other buildings in town. There is a very old girls's school in town, and one day, as a joke, some of the girls put a sign in front of a famous very old landmark; the sign read - Future Home of McDonald's. Not knowing it was a joke, some of the residents were - needless to say - incredibly upset! No McDonald's for them in their lovely little farming village; that would be heresy and ruin the quaintness of this centuries' old place. I really appreciate their ties and love of the past.

And those are a few of the reasons I like England!

4.04.2009

By the Numbers

Hours in the Air -10

Number of home exchanges by the couple whose home we are staying in in Abbots Bromley, Staffordshire, England - 34

Number of Hackworth Home Exchanges - this is number 4

Number of Pubs eaten in since arriving Wednesday morning - 2

Number of castles visited - 2

Number of churches - 3 (each amazingly incredible and unique; one very, very small; one very very huge!)

Number of degrees in centigrade here in Abbots Bromley, England - 10; will be 3 degrees centigrade tonite and 4 days of rain next week

Number of LDS conference sessions listened to - 1/4 - President eyring's speech which was the last of the morning session; I'm hoping to listen to all of afternoon session

Time of afternoon session of LDS conference: 9 p.m. British time

Number of gorgeous daffodils seen everywhere - literally hundreds, thousands; they beautify everything - it's indescribable!

Number of times Allen has forgotten to drive on the left-hand side of the road - NONE; good job, Allen

Number of British pastries eaten thus far - 1 (sadly)

Exchange rate value - 1 dollar is worth 1.50£

Number of nights away from home thus far - 3

Number of nights in airplane - 1 (and far too many, at that!)

Number of new words I've adopted - 1; LOVELY; everything is lovely, including the home we are staying in; it is absolutely LOVELY!

Number of roundabouts gone through - 200 or more

Number of new words I've learned - how's this 1: faggots for dinner; that's what Allen had today. I stuck with a beef sandwich with chips (French fries), and biscuits (cookies)

Number of days left - not nearly enough!

Thank you Heavenly Father, for this incredible opportunity. I cannot thank you enough times or numbers!