Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Little Bit of Heaven

We have been very blessed to have some visits from a few of our favorite people in the 4 months we've been here, and we're hoping to see many more. It's a little tricky to arrange our once-a-week P-Days so that we can spend time with those who come. In fact, we've been so busy we often don't even take P-Days -- but we've gotten away from the temple grounds a few times now, and we've seen some amazing sights! It's heaven to spend a little time with our friends and family when we are so far from home. And as we've taken some day trips with our visitors, we've discovered that southern England is truly a little bit of heaven, too. It is so beautiful here.

Waiting for the train to Victoria Station at Lingfield

Janet was the first one to arrive, in February, with her good friend and employee, Erin Roudabush. They ran a booth for Janet and Kim's business, Family Chartmasters, at the "Who Do You Think You Are" Family History Conference in the heart of London.  Poor dears ended up spending about as much time helping us move as they did sight-seeing. They arrived while we were still living in Ardingly and helped us move into the Lodge on the temple grounds. Thanks, Janet and Erin, for helping us get our upside down life organized. We were so grateful for your help!!

Inside the London Eye -- what a view!

A great day in London!

Erin and Janet at the "Who Do You Think You Are"
Family History Conference in London.

While they were here, Janet and Erin rented a car and took a two-day side trip to Taunton, in search of our Carpenter ancestors. Don's grandfather, J. Hatten Carpenter, had researched and written about Taunton and the "Trefusis" farm where his ancestors had lived. We actually have a "Trefusis" sign displayed in our house in Draper. Janet had an amazing opportunity to view land deeds and wills of our Carpenter ancestors. If you want to read more about her experience, go to

Janet in the Somerset Heritage Center in Taunton.
She found her 7th great-grandfather's will from 1721.
That's nearly 300 years ago!

On Sunday, Don and I made arrangements to visit the St. Albans Ward, north of London. Don's niece and her family returned to the U.K. and moved to St. Albans last August. They love raising their girls in England.

While Janet was here, we spent a Sunday with Don's niece Joyce and her
cute family. Thanks for a great time and delicious dinner, Joyce!

Next, our great friends, the Hannans came for a weekend. (So jealous of their free airfare - but so glad to see them!) Such a quick trip, but we managed to find time for another trip into London and also a few hours at Windsor Castle where Queen Elisabeth and the royal family still often spend their weekends.

Downtown London with best buds Pam and Mike Hannan.
Lucky them - free flights on Delta
Windsor Castle - two men in uniform

In March, Bea and Peter Kopp came for a weekend, too. No jet lag for them, though. Their flight was only 1 1/2 hours from Basel, Switzerland. We're so glad to live closer to our friends in Switzerland and Hungary! Even though they only stayed one night, we had a great day on the temple grounds with them on Saturday, then they drove to church with us on Sunday before flying home. What a great time we live in.

We always love to see Bea and Peter Kopp
 - even if they didn't bring all that Swiss chocolate!

The Kopps and the Carpenters at the Christus.

Last, but not least, my sister and brother-in-law spent a little time with us in April while they were touring London. We expect to see them again at Christmastime.

My sister, Marcia, and brother-in-law, Bill, came to see us on a Saturday in
April --  then surprised us and showed up again a week later. Good times.

We've heard that others are planning to stop in and see us while we're here. We sure hope so! After all, we are serving a mission at a Visitors' Centre. Come visit!

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