Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Summer in Southern England

It's true! We are experiencing some official summer weather here in southern England. I am one happy camper! It seems that Mother Nature decided she should be on her best behavior during the Olympics. Up until then, it was cold and rainy most every day. Sweater weather, for sure. However, the beginning of the Olympics ushered in a string of warmer, sunnier days that we are still enjoying. O.K., it's usually overcast and a little foggy in the mornings, but nearly every day since July 27th that damp beginning has morphed into a warm and beautiful day, complete with a clear blue sky. It has been 70 - 80 degrees every day, and actually hit 85 degrees yesterday. Wow! With humidity anywhere between 65% and 80% every day, that's pretty warm, but you won't hear me complaining. I'm loving every minute of it.

Our work at the Visitors' Centre doesn't leave us much free time. We try to take a day or two with family when they visit, and once in awhile we take off for an afternoon to run errands or take a driving lesson (required before you can take the driving test for your British drivers' license). This summer, one of our favorite places to visit has been Hever Castle. It's only a 20 minute drive east of the temple and the drive is half the fun. We wind around all over the countryside on little roads that are literally paved cow paths from the past. Some are so narrow that if a car comes from the opposite direction one car has to pull over so the other car can scrape by. Nevertheless, the scenery is breathtaking this time of year. Sometimes, on P-Day, we take a picnic lunch to the castle and just spend some time sitting by the picturesque lake for an hour and  feeding the ducks.

Hever Castle was the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, one of King Henry VIII's wives. Henry VIII often visited there and brought his entourage of 250 servants with him when he came. After he had Anne put to death, King Henry gave the castle to one of his later wives. Nice guy....  Regardless of the history, the castle is in a serene setting, with gorgeous gardens. It was purchased and restored and improved by the Waldorf-Astor family during the 1900's.

A few weeks ago, I took some photos. They really don't do justice to the magnificence of the English countryside or the beauty of the castle grounds, but here are a few of the best:

Walking across the bridge at Hever Castle

The moat

Hever Castle in all its glory

Yours truly

One of the ornamental gardens

Don - out standing in his field

Rose Gardens

The private lake

What a view...

Leaving the rose gardens


Walking toward the jousting field

Is there anything more serene than this?

Even though we love to explore this part of England, there are weeks that we don't get off the temple grounds at all, except to do some grocery shopping. We're never bored, though. We are surrounded by beauty everywhere we look. Things are always changing on the temple property. Whether we are taking walks in the early morning, working in the Visitors' Centre, or heading over to the Mission Office for something we need, I am always grabbing my camera to capture a beautiful sight on the grounds. We never get tired of the splendor.

Here are a few photos I've taken on temple property with my trusty little point-and-shoot during the last month:

Always a plane nearby....

Sometimes we wonder if pilots just want their own close-up
view of the Angel Moroni and the temple grounds


Looking heavenward

Near the David O. McKay oak

The view from our living room (here, it's a "lounge")

The Reflecting Pool

Pato and his growing family

Our home away from home.

Last Monday, as we were finishing an activity,
we came outside and were greeted by this full rainbow.

Hooray for summer!                                                    ~Pat~

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