Monday, June 16, 2008

Laura, George, Ken, Barbara, Steve and Leslie- All invited to Queen Elizabeth's birthday bash!

Ken and Barbara at Buckingham Palace

It is a beautiful Monday morning here, at least for the time being. I have only changed my clothes twice so far today. Once, because I thought it was warm and then once more because I was decidedly cold. Over here you definitely dress in layers because you never know when it might rain, etc. The only trouble with us is that we don't have enough clothing to dress in layers. We have to just make a guess and dress that way and hope that we are right when we get outside. With public transportation there is no turning back once you get somewhere. What an exciting life!!!
We are fine here. We are back into the mission groove now that all the company is gone. We keep busy with activation, church callings, teaching missionary lessons, attending meetings, and still working and cleaning at the chapel. We also had two baptisms this past week which was really exciting. Now we are teaching them the new member lessons and getting them familiar with the church and the members here.
Sister Perry and I decided that we were going to plan a fun Father's Day activity for our husbands since Mother's Day came and went without mention here last month. Mother's Day in England is in March so it was really convenient for our husbands to not celebrate it in March because they were going to celebrate it in May and then that didn't work out either!!! Oh well, what is new. We decided to attend the Queen's Birthday Celebration which was planned for June 14 in Uptown London. President Bush and Laura came, too. We saw the queen and her family on the balcony at Buckingham Palace, but missed the Bushes. Everyone in London, America, and most other Europeon countries was there, too. There was a huge crowd, but we managed to get close enough to get some pretty good pictures. After the Fly-Over with all sorts of massive jets and airplanes, we sat down on the lawn at Buckingham and had a great picnic lunch. After lunch we toured many wonderful old streets of London, ate dinner in the Crypt (the cellar of an old 15th century church), and attended Les Miserables. It was a great day.
A huge amount of the charm of being here in London is the history that is attached to almost everything you see. All of the places that you have heard about in history are right here. The streets are adorned with statues of famous people. There is even one of George Washington outside the National Gallery (the art museum) here. Oliver Cromwell's statue stands outside the Houses of Parliament. He was the one and only non royal to be the head of the government of England. He was the head of the government for about 5 years in the 1600's. He later died of a kidney ailment and three years after his death they decided that he really should have been beheaded for his atrocities so they dug his body up and beheaded it. Then they hung the head outside Parliament on the bridge and it hung there for the next 25 years until the wind blew it down. So much for the common people thinking that they can rule this country.
The city is full of little black cabs, large red double-decker and bendy buses, and people, people, people everywhere. I have never seen a place that has so many international tourists. As you walk down the streets you hear languages from every country imaginable. It truly is a very international city. Leicester Square, Travalgar Square, and the area around Wesminster Cathedral are packed with people it seems almost every hour of the day. I'm not sure that the city ever rests! They must pick up trash sometime in the night so it slows down sometime, I guess. What an experience.
Well, so much for us. We keep busy and happy. We are always so happy to hear from you our friends and family. We miss you all and hope all is well there.