Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Snowfall to Snowdrops!

Judy and Barbara

Beautiful bulbs in bloom

Snowdrops in the Cotswolds

Winter is quickly fading away. We now have almost 12 hours of daylight and that is a nice change from the 8 hours we had in December. The snow has completely melted, even the remains of the large snowman made by the office elders is now melted and gone.

This past week was half term week and all of the kids were out of school, so everyone came to the Temple and it was one busy place. We had between 100-200 visitors each day at the Visitors' Centre until Saturday when we had almost 300. We felt like zombies after that day was finished. As soon as we closed up shop on Saturday at 5:00 pm we caught the train into Victoria Station in London and then ran to catch the bus to Oxford and my cousin Judy's home in Lechlade on Thames. It was about a 4 1/2 hour trip, but very pleasant on both the nice train and coach.

We had a delightful weekend with cousins Donald and Judy. We ate delicious English cuisine, watched weepy World War II movies, went for long walks in the English countryside, introduced Judy to genealogy on line, visited a lovely garden centre, and spent some valuable time relaxing and even napping a little. It was great! We drove along the beauiful narrow little roads of the Cotswolds to a lovely country estate called Colesbourne Park. It is an amazing place renowned for its collection of snowdrops (a delicate bulb). The snowdrop collection at Colesbourne Park was started by Henry John Elwes (1846-1922), a traveller-naturalist who in the course of an adventurous life introduced many plants from all over the world into cultivation here. After his death, the collection lay more or less undisturbed for 60 years until his great grandson Henry Elwes began to identify the plants and spread them out through regular division. These delicate white flowers are planted in masses through the arboretum and lakeside landscapes, and in smaller groups in the garden. Snowdrops are found across Europe and the Near East, from the Pyrenees to Iran, but are not native to Britain. Turkey has the greatest diversity of wild species. The large estate was a beautiful site, acres and acres of white, yellow, purple, and blue bulbs blooming with intensity. The large stately homes and estates here are so fascinating to see. I love to imagine what life must have been like and is still like for these families of royal or moneyed birth.

We also were given our release date this week by our mission president who is going home at the same time as we are. We understand that the new mission president will be Lyle Shamo, who I went to Hurricane High School with a FEW years ago. Our release date is coming up quickly and is the 17th of June. Some of our children are coming over to pick us up and do a little touring around the UK before returning back to the good old USA on July 2. We are excited to be coming home. This has been a fantastic experience, but we are ready to see the grandkids and hug them all over and over again and get back to our lives once more. We look forward to lots of adventure once we return home. We will be chomping at the bit to go four wheeling with all of our buddies come the middle of July. What fun!!!

Life here is good. We have all of the French people here this week to the temple so it will be another busy week. My two sisters, Carol and Sheila and their husbands are coming to visit next week. We are excited to see them. Hope all is well with all of you. We love you and value the friendship that we have shared through the years.


park said...

Wonderful way to describe the natural scene. It will be helpful to understand Bulbs Lechlade. I love such type of good content.