Tuesday, October 28, 2008


It's SNOWING in London!

What a great break from paper writing!



Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Love's Labors Lost

This past week we visited Stratford-upon-Avon to visit a few Shakespeare sites and see a production of Love's Labors Lost by the Royal Shakespeare Company. We read Love's Labors Lost recently for our Shakespeare class and let me tell you it's a difficult one! I read it and still was a little confused, so I read the sparknotes on it and it still was over my head . . . so I went to class and Dr. Benfell talked about it and it STILL went over my head! So my goal at the performance was to connect somehow to the play.

I absolutely loved it!

Okay, so it's not my favorite Shakespeare play. But still, to see it performed by the best Shakespeare actors in the world . . . who make their lines sound like natural English you would use everyday . . . it was incredible. And as always it was hilarious! It is so much easier to understand the humor when you are actually watching the play rather than reading it.

One of the most impressive actors was Zoe Thorne who played the page boy of one of the characters. She is young but so amazing, I wouldn't be surprised if I start hearing a lot more about her in the coming years.

But the star by far was the fabulous David Tennant. Most of you will probably know him best as "Barty Crouch Jr." in the Harry Potter films. You know the guy who does the freaky tounge flick? Yep that's him.

Tennant in Harry Potter.

In Love's Labors Lost he was great as well. The acting was phenomenal!

Tennant relaxing in a tree during the performance . . . it totally suits his character.
If you are ever in London you must see a performance by the RSC.

Haworth and Chatsworth

On 10 October we left Ambleside hostel (it was so nice to spend two nights in one place and not have to pack up and move) to head home. On the way home we stopped at Haworth Parsonage, the home of the Bronte sisters. Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights are currently on my top three favorite classics list so I was so excited to actually see where they lived.
After seeing this picture you might imagine why some of their stories are a little strange. Their front yard is a cemetery!!! The house you can see on the far left of the picture is theirs. Their father was the clergyman of the parrish and so, as you can imagine, they had to live close to the church.
I found this sign on a little walk I took to view the famous "moors" of Bronte country. "Heathcliff, it's me, your Cathy!"

The beautiful and wild moors with are so famous in the Bronte stories, especially Wuthering Heights! Haworth was so charming and a lot of fun . . . although the professors often give us too much time, this time we didn't have enough!

After we were forced back on the coach we headed to Chatsworth House, which has been on my list of places to go since before this whole adventure even began. It was so nice to just be dropped off at the doors instead of trying to find transportation to visit on my own.

A view of Chatsworth.

Chatsworth has been used in many films, including Pride and Prejudice where it was the interior of Pemberly, and the new British film The Dutchess that I would love to see when I get home! The picture above is a little dark but it is a view of the famous grand staircase.

One thing I really loved about Chatsworth is that the current Duke and Dutchess love the arts and they are striving to keep the house connected to the past as well as to the present. While many of the famous manor houses in England are kept like "museums" of the past Chatsworth has a fun mix of the old and the new. The picture above is a view of the gardens from one of the windows. There was a modern sculpture exhibition when we visited so the gardens were full of amazing pieces of art as you can see.

And then there was of course the famous sculpture room within the house which has also been used in films. This Raffaele Monti sculpture, "Veiled Vestal," is one of my favorite sculptures that I have seen. But the highlight for many, Billy Fury step aside, was Mr. Darcy . . .

Me and my new, new (sorry Billy) boyfriend, Mr. Darcy.

It was a great trip full of adventures!

Windermere: I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud

When we finished our tour of Preston we were once again on the coach and on our way to the infamous Lake District of England. I can't tell you how excited I was to get there! We pulled up to our hostel on the shore of Windermere just in time for dinner. We couldn't resist a little midnight, okay maybe 10 pm, swim in the lake either. It was a little chilly!

The Ambleside hostel right on the shore of Lake Windermere . . . how lucky were we?

View of Windermere around sunset.

View from our window in the hostel, I loved falling asleep to the sound of water on the little dock outside.

The next day our group was headed to Dove Cottage, the home of the poet William Wordsworth. Most of us decided to hike to the little village where the cottage is located, so we woke up a little earlier than the rest of the group and began our journey across the amazing countryside. It was a kind of misty, foggy day but it made the scene all the more surreal.

Another lake we spotted through the mist from the tops of the hills we were crossing.

Wordsworth's home where he wrote his most famous works. Such as "I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud:"

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they

Out - did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed - and gazed - but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

After our tour of Dove Cottage we visited Hilltop Farm . . . the home of Beatrix Potter, who wrote the Peter Rabbit books. It was a lot of fun to go through her house because it had so much character. They had books open at different places throughout the house and you could see the illustrations really came from places in the house.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


After our allotted time at the emigration gallery we jumped on the coach and headed towards the Preston Temple. It felt amazing to just have a little quiet time as we sat on the grounds and enjoyed the sunny weather.

The Preston Temple.

Colorful lily pads in the sunlight.

The temple and some roses.

After we spent some time at the temple we picked up our tour guide and headed to the lovely town of Preston where the first missionaries from the Church preached the gospel for the first time.

It was under this post that the Gospel was first preached in the British Isles. It was also in this place that President Gordon B. Hinckley first preached the Gospel as well, not far from here he read the famous words from his father: "Forget yourself and go to work." From here our guide took us the the place the first group of missionaries lived in Preston.

Okay, so I didn't quite know what to expect, actually, I didn't really think that it would still be standing (though I don't know why . . . there are much older buildings all over Britain). Anyways, it was quite funny to turn the corner and find a small alley full of garbage. In the picture above you can see a bricked up doorway, just to the left of the window. This was the door that the missionaries would enter the building.

The missionaries lived in the top two floors and it was here that they saw the legions of evil spirits rushing towards them. We didn't see any for ourselves but we could imagine.

Here is some of our group squished into the alley. Our tour guide is in the front and I am the one holding the notebook against the wall on the right. It must have been a sight to see, 50 people gathering in and around this alley, we had many strange looks from passers by. As we wandered through the city we learned a lot about the history of the Church in England and the first missionaries. We also saw the "Missionary Oak," the Oak tree to commemorate all the missionaries who have served in Britain and I thought about my daddy.

One of our last stops was the River Ribble where the first baptisms look place.

If you look hard you can see the spot where they performed the baptisms, on the other side of the river just to the right of the bridge. The story goes that there was a race across the bridge to determine the first person to be baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Britain.

It was an amazing day! I really enjoyed learning all that I could about such an integral part of the Church that we know today.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Come, Come Ye Saints . . . Across the Universe

We spent the night of 7 October in Liverpool, just a couple of blocks from Albert Docks. It was late enough when we got in that we just had time to eat dinner and then we headed to the docks, everything was closed but we did find a few friends.
This is a statue of a emigrant family donated by the LDS Church. It looks out to the open sea, towards a new home. Lindsey, Megan, Sabrina, Talyn, Tracy, and Rebecca.
I also found my new boyfriend, Billy Fury! (Okay, so we had no idea who he was, he looks like the Elvis of England). He and I hit it off right away.
The next morning we had a little time for ourselves to explore before we had to meet the group. Most of us headed to the Beatles Museum . . . I didn't go in because it cost 8 pounds, or $16 dollars to get in and I'm not a huge Beatles fan in the first place. We did stop by the gift shop and snapped a couple pictures though. HELP! Me, Emilee, Kaitlyn, and Kayla.
We met the rest of the group at Albert Dock, the place where most of our ancestors left their homeland and came to America. Even though it was a chilly day we took a group picture by the Mormon Family statue and then had a little devotional. At the close of our devotional we sang "Come, Come Ye Saints" and there were very few dry eyes at the end of the song, including our coach driver. We all realized the significance of the place and the sacrifice of our ancestors which has blessed our lives so much.

Looking towards the open sea on Albert Dock. After our devotional we visited the Maritime Museum's exhibit on emigration. My favorite part was the life-sized example of a ships living quarters. The bunks didn't look comfortable at all . . . being stuffed in there with a bunch of people, on those hard bunks, in the heaving sea sounds miserable! Overall the gallery was great and I was reminded of the difficulties of the journey across the ocean.

You Know It's Time to Go When Your College Students are All in the Children's Playroom

After visiting Quarry Bank Mill we headed towards Liverpool. On the way we stopped in a little city called Port Sunlight to visit the Lady Lever Gallery (yes, Lever as in soap, their family collected a lot of artwork). The gallery was beautiful, but it was not very big and the professors had given us 2 1/2 hours to wander the gallery. Needless to say we were done way before it was time to go . . . me especially. I tried to drag out the time, looking at pictures longer than I usually would, but the gallery was so cold and I didn't last more than 45 minutes.

We had been told that the gift shop was a cool one, so, in the hope of somewhere a little warmer Emilee and I wandered downstairs to look at the gift shop. But the gift shop held little sway compared to . . . the children's playroom. There were already a couple girls sitting at the little table and chairs coloring pictures and just behind them . . . were dress ups!
Emilee and I quickly put the dresses on, as best we could. Just then our religion professor, Dr. Wimmer walked in and we convinced Sister Wimmer to dress up with us while Dr. Wimmer took our picture.
I was pretty excited that I fit into this little boy jacket and pants, well ok, they are a little short but still. I may have to find myself a real leather jacket!
Hillary and I re-enacting one of the most famous pictures from the gallery, we should definately become professional models.

This was the scene by the end . . . a bunch of college girls in the children's playroom coloring pictures and dressing up. I think it's time to go.

I Believe I've Seen Hell and it's White, it's Snow White

On 7 October we headed North for the much anticipated "North Trip." Our first stop was a place called Quarry Bank Mill, a cotton mill from the late 18th Century.

Here is the exterior of the mill. I was interested to visit, especially after reading North and South and The Mill on the Floss, which both feature mills. The tour of the mill took us through the process of making fabric, both in the days before it was industrialized (like the use of a spinning wheel . . . "Rose! Don't touch anything!") and during the Industrial Revolution.

Pictures weren't allowed within the mill . . . but luckily Michael snapped a few shots, the picture above is the creation of thread.

These machines (I sadly don't remember the name) are weaving actual fabric. When the factory was a real working mill there were over 100 of these machines running at once. Because of safety regulations today they were only able to run four at a time for a short while. With four machines running the noise was incredibly loud, we had to shout to hear each other, so I can't even imagine how loud and dangerous the factory would be with 100+ machines running.

The tour of Quarry Bank Mill focused quite a bit on the good conditions of the mill. It is true that Quarry Bank Mill had better conditions, both within the mill as well as the living conditions, than other mills in the larger industrial cities, but life wasn't easy either. To me it seemed that they were trying so hard to portray the mill in a good light that they missed out on some important, but true information. In the movie version of North and South, for example, they depict what a cotton mill would have been like, noisy and filled with cotton "fluff" which the workers would breath in and out all day long and ruin their lungs, etc. The mill owners needed to run a business and the workers needed work, that's how life was. After going into a cotton mill for the first time, the main character of the work, Margaret Hale, states: "I believe I've seen hell and it's white, it's snow white." That pretty much sums up what I think the mills would have been like at the time.

I also found it intriguing that the mill also emphasized their unpaid "child apprentices." Pretty much, that's just a good name for child slaves. I had a hard time grasping why they were so proud of the fact that they had these "child apprentices" at the mill, they were children working on empty stomachs, for no money, in dangerous situations. Oh, well . . . some things in this world are just a mystery to me.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Awh . . . Midterms

(Read in a monotone voice, just because I'm done studying for the night and don't want to do school work):

I am back . . .

I'm alive . . .

We went to the north and it was cool (no really it was awesome) . . .

I am studying for midterms now . . .

This is no fun . . .

We went to Speaker's Corner today . . .

I'll write after midterms and when I get a minute.

Love You All!!!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Seats of Power: Whitehall and the Mall

This week I was able to complete a walk among the administrative center of London. Although I'm not all that into politics, I really enjoyed the walk because I learned a lot from it. Throughout this area of London are many statues and monuments dedicated to military heroes and important historical events that seem to be common knowledge for the British, but they were all new for me. I found myself stopping at each monument just to see what each one was about.

I loved this one, dedicated to the Fleet Air Arm's, mostly because it was unique and caught my eye. Most of the memorials were pretty traditional but this one was great!

This statue is dedicated to William Tyndale, who was a major figure in the British Reformation. He began the translation of the Bible into English and smuggled it into England page by page, he was eventually caught and forced to flee to the continent. What an inspired man.

This is a view of Nelson's Column, an identifying landmark in Trafalgar Square. It is dedicated to Admiral Horatio Nelson to commemorate his death at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

One of the traditional looking statues of a Commander-in-Chief of the army atop his noble steed.

This is a statue of Robert, Baron Clive. I thought his story was interesting: at eighteen Clive tried to commit suicide but when his gun failed to fire twice he took it as a sign that he had something to accomplish in this world. He went on to become one of the most important British officers in the 1700s.

Guard's Memorial dedicated to soldiers of WWI. When you examine this memorial carefully you can even find shrapnel scars from air raids of WWII.

The Duke of York's monument.

I couldn't get a great picture of this monument but this is a memorial honoring the soldiers of the Crimean War (one which I had never heard of), between Russia on one side and Britain, France, Turkey, and the Piedmont on the other. In front of the Crimean War memorial is a statue of Florence Nightingale who became famous because of her work in this war.

It was very interesting to have a little British history tour and be able to see many of the British heroes that I hadn't know about before.

Friday, October 3, 2008

"Harry's Wondrous World"

For our day trip this week we were able to travel to the land of the great Oxford University. Our first stop was Blenheim Palace. For the past month the weather has been great, sunny, warm, etc. so we were quite unprepared for the cold that October 1 gave us!!! Although it was a sunny day, it was not warm (as you can see by the faces in the picture below)! I actually enjoyed Blenheim a lot . . . better than Windsor Castle at least.

Kaitlyn, Kayla, Emilee, and I freezing in front of Blenheim Palace. We were able to wander the gardens and park a little bit before our tour and I loved them, though they weren't nearly as spectacular as Stourhead.

Here is a waterfall we found during our brief exploration of the park. Aside from its amazing architecture and design, Blenheim is known as the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. It was also used for many different purposes during World War II . . . I think its colorful history and fun stories is what made it more exciting than Windsor Castle.

After our tour of Blenheim we jumped in the bus and headed to the famous city of Oxford, home to Oxford University. We had the whole afternoon to do whatever we liked so we headed out to explore. The first college that we visited was Magdalen College, pronounced "Mawd-lin" calling it "Mag-da-lin" is a big no-no! It is one of the most beautiful colleges at Oxford and was home to C.S. Lewis as a student!

A view of Magdalen College from the deer park.

The famous gargoyles of Magdalen College are rumored to have inspired the stone statues' in C.S. Lewis' series The Chronicles of Narnia, which I love . . . if you have not read them you should!!!

During our wandering we found The Eagle and Child pub. This is where CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien would meet and discuss whatever was in their brilliant minds at the time.

We also found a Ben's Cookies! There are only 9 located in the UK and 1 outside the UK . . . in Salt Lake City, Utah!!! So if you get a chance stop on by because they are delicious. (Side note: this picture is courtesy of Emilee . . . the big glass of milk, it's not mine!)

The next part of the day was my favorite, because I'm the biggest Harry Potter nerd ever!!! The first two Harry Potter films have many scenes from Oxford and we had fun finding them and recreating them. Scenes of the Hogwarts Library have been filmed in this library, but we couldn't go in because only Oxford students were allowed.

Christ Church College was the major filming area in Oxford for the first two films. Here is Hillary and Laura in one of the courtyards holding up their wands, it looks Harry Potter-ish doesn't it?

Here is another view of the courtyard, Emilee, Hillary, Bethany, and I by the fountain. But here is where the real fun begins.

Professor McGonagall in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone watching the students enter Hogwarts.

I couldn't find the exact picture we recreated but here is my version. This is on the staircase leading to Christ Church's cafeteria . . . better known as "The Great Hall."

The Great Hall in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

Christ Church's "Great Hall." Okay, so its not so "great" without the digital effects (i.e. making it look bigger, longer, and more wizardy) but it still is where they filmed it!!!

Becky, Emilee, Me, and Katie and our wands in the Great Hall.

We had a ton of fun in Oxford and we rapped up the night with Evensong at Christ Church Cathedral, which is like the Anglican version of Mass held at 6 pm. It was a great experience but it made me appreciate our church services even more!!!