Tuesday, August 27, 2013

August was a busy month...

Well, the month of August is coming to a close and it is time to send in our report to our supervisor who is located in Birmingham, England.   We have had a busy month but a good month.  We had a very productive trip to Ireland and have received approval to return in October for some follow-up work with the Branches in the Limerick District.  We will be conducting a Career Workshop along with conducting the Work Choice Profiles with the youth and others.  We will be making presentations to the youth to encourage them to get an education and learn some skills.  We have had 12 people come into the Employment Centre during the month and three of our “clients” have found jobs during the month.

We have now passed our four month mark of our mission and are pretty well established in our routine.  The work is very rewarding when we see a change occur with an individual when they come into the Centre looking for work and are often very depressed.  We work with them to build up their confidence and help them realize the skills they have and the things they have accomplished.  We help draft their CV (resume) and teach them interviewing skills.  We have seen individuals leave the Centre now holding their head high and ready to face the world realizing that there is hope.  I would like to share more detail of our work experiences, but we must maintain confidentialities. 

August was also our wedding anniversary.  Forty-seven years and counting!!  We decided to go into Edinburgh last Saturday for our “anniversary dinner”.   We went to a nice restaurant which is part of the Balmoral Hotel.  I had my first traditional Scottish dinner – Haggis, Neeps, & Tatties.  The “neeps” are turnips and “tatties” are potatoes.  They are mashed and mixed together.  I have put a picture below of what the dinner looked like.  If you were to go to the internet and Google Haggis, you will find lots of pictures that would not look as enticing as my picture.  Actually, the dinner tasted quite nice.  I would order it again…for sure in the better restaurants.  The Haggis served in the Pubs may not look as appealing or as appetizing.

Haggis, neeps, & tatties

Today in our planning session we agreed that we will be setting up a Career Workshop for the Glasgow Stake this next month.  It is time for us to expand to the Stakes outside of Edinburgh.  We have had three people this week indicate an interest for us to hold the Self-employment Workshop also.  Today we met with a Ward Employment Specialist from Airdrie (near Glasgow).  We will be working with him to make a presentation to the youth of that Ward and conduct the Work Choice Profile in September. 

This week we met with a fellow who has just graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a law degree.  It was interesting to learn about how the legal system works here.  There is no bar exam as such.   With graduating in law he is now able to find a job as a “trainee solicitor” or a “trainee barrister”.  He must work for other lawyers for a period of time like an apprentice programme.  His degree allows him to work in Scotland but not other parts of the UK.

The beautiful, magnificent Edinburgh Castle
(The view from Princes Street)
We have also faced the challenge this week with convincing some individuals that work is a principle from the Lord.  One of the first commandments given to Adam in the Garden of Eden was to work.  He and Eve were given the garden and were commanded to “dress it and to keep it”.   We have found individuals here that will not work because they get paid more from the government than then can make by working.  We are to work to take care of ourselves and our family and then share what we have with the poor and those in need.  This teaches us to be self-reliant.  We must work to accomplish this goal and not just rely upon the government to take care of our needs.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The best Tattoo is not body art...

Saturday we attended the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo...no, it isn't body art!!  The Tattoo is a festival of military bands from the UK and other parts of the world.  There were also folk dancers - Scotland, Korea, Mexico, and Mongolia.  It is a marvelous event and very moving in a patriotic way.  There were four or five pipe and drum units from the UK.  I recorded a video of a couple of them but the file is huge and I don't know how to post it here.

The event is held on the esplanade leading to the entrance of the Edinburgh Castle.  An opening fanfare is heard from the battlements of the castle as Highland pipers, followed by the massed pipes and drums of military regiments march onto the esplanade.  Highland dancers perform.  This year the tribute was made to Korea as the Korean War ended 60 years ago.  There were military bands and dancers from Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Mongolia with the grand finale being all the bands together on the esplanade.

The pipe and drum band marching in at the beginning of the event.

This was the finale with all the performers "on stage"

At the end of the program the lone piper stood high on the castle battlement and played.  Then the fireworks started and the bands continued to play

The final band to march off was the Black Watch Regiment - pipes and drums - playing familiar Scottish songs and the entire audience - 8,600 people - sang the old Scottish song - "Auld Lang Syne".  This was taken from a Robert Burns poem written in 1788.
Photos from the Brochure

The Royal Edinburgh Tattoo is a great event that highlights the pipes and drums of the military bands and also folk dancers.  It is crazy busy in Edinburgh during the festival, but August is a great time to visit Scotland.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A wee bit more on New Grange...

One of the things we saw on our trip to Ireland was the New Grange area.  My last post reported a bit on that visit.  There are mounds in this area and they have discovered tombs or temples that date back to about 3500 BC.  No one really knows why they were build but it is obvious that they had some relationship to the sun.  The material below is from the brochure from the visitor centre.

The New Grange mound was discovered a few hundred years ago but it wasn't until in the 1960s that serious research was done.  They found the entrance to the "temple" quite by accident.  The front entrance has a door with a window above.  The entrance is lined up exactly with the East.  The tunnel goes back from the entrance maybe 100 feet or so and there is a wee room.  All year the room is in total darkness.  On December 21 - the Winter solstice - the light from the sun will run down the hallway and a sliver of light will reach the wee room for 17 minutes, then complete darkness again.
The upper picture shows the sun coming down the hallway.  The lower picture is the sliver of light that reaches the back room on December 21st.  There is another entrance that faces directly west and the similar thing happens on June 21st.
There are two more mounds - Knowth and Dowth - that are lined up to have a similar thing happen on the Spring and Summer equinox.  It was quite a fascinating place to visit.
No one knows for sure why they were build or for what purpose.  One thing that was pointed out was that they were built with some sort of plan.  The distance from the floor to the ceiling in all three of these mounds are within inches of each other.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A whirlwind trip…but worth the time

We had a very busy trip to Ireland during the last week.  We met with the Stake Presidents and Stake Employment Specialist in Belfast and Dublin and also with the Branch Presidents in Tralee and Galway.  We also met with the District President for the Limerick District.  Along the way we met with some of the senior missionary couples. 

We left on Wednesday and returned to Scotland the following Wednesday.  In the eight days we drove about 1,200 miles.  So, we saw lots of scenery along the way and we were also able to stop and see a few things of interest.  We have made a list of places we definitely want to see on our next trip.  Right now we are planning to return in mid-September.

I have posted a map of the country so you can see our travels. 

We left Edinburgh early Wednesday and drove to a small port town of Cairnryan on the west coast of Scotland.  We boarded a ferry and traveled to Belfast. It is amazing what these ferries carry in addition to the people - cars, buses, semi-trucks & Trailers The sailing was a little over two hours.  Thursday was a full day of meetings from about 1:30 p.m. until about 10:00 p.m.  Friday we headed to Waterford to meet some senior missionaries.  We had enough time to take a tour of the Waterford Crystal factory.  Most of the everyday Waterford Crystal is now made in the Prague, Poland, and Germany.  The factory in Ireland only makes specialty items such as trophies and special pieces.  It was interesting to note that the green sticker with a seahorse and the Waterford name etched on the edge of a piece is the only way to tell if it is “Waterford”.

The Waterford Crystal showroom

This factory only makes specialty items.  You can have this coach for only about $50,000

This harp was about four feet tall and cost about $75,000

This piece was about five feet tall and was about $180,000

We then drove to Tralee which was suppose to be about 3 ½ hours.  It took almost 5 hours because the roads were so narrow.  Ireland roads are much narrower than the roads in Scotland.  Saturday we headed to Limerick and Sunday morning drove to Galway.  We were planning to drive on Monday to the town of Sligo but decided that it was too far to go there and make it to Belfast at a decent hour.  As I was driving I thought how it would be great to play back my "brain video" on the blog so you could see how beautiful this country really is.  We had a week worth of "Beauty all around"...

This is just north of Dublin at New Grange

From  on top of Knowth looking across the valley

You can tell fall is coming as all the crops are being harvested.  This was rolls of straw ready to be taken in from the fields


On the way to Belfast we stopped at New Grange which is just north of Dublin.  We were planning to see New Grange last October when we visited Ireland on our vacation but didn’t have time.  We stayed in New Grange about 5 hours.  It was fascinating.
This is Knowth.  I will go into more detail on the next post about this area.  It is an archeological wonder that dates back to about 4000 BC.  It was fascinating and I will provide some detail next time.

They think this was a 16 month calendar and the explanation of how to count the days comes out to 364. 

No one is really sure why these mounds were built or what went on within them.  There is one they have found that ties to the Spring equinox and on to the fall equinox.  New Grange is tied to the Summer and Winter solstice

These are "mounds" located near Knowth

This is the entrance into New Grange.  More to come about this area...stay tuned
On the way to Belfast we saw the turnoff for the town of Armagh which is where my ancestors came from.  My Mother’s Grandfather (Joseph Cornwall) was born in Armagh.  He and his father (Alexander) emigrated to America in the early 1860s.  Next time we will stop and see what is in the town.  On Tuesday we went to a Linen museum and learned all about the Irish Linen industry.  Sadly, most “Irish Linen” is only packaged in Ireland.  Most of the flax is grown in Belgium and China and woven other places.  It is interesting to see how they make the flax yarn and how it was woven.  It was a big industry at one time.  Now there are only a couple of small towns that actually weave the linen.

 Wednesday we took the ferry back to Scotland and drove home.  A great trip, a beautiful country…we will be back again next month.



Saturday, August 3, 2013

A wee bit of odds & ends...

I need to catch up on things that have been going on over the last week or so...

Last Saturday was our first Career Workshop.  We were very worried that no one would show up.  We had a number of people indicating that they wanted to come but at the last day or so before Saturday the promises began to evaporate.  Carolyn had a dream Friday night that we has standing room only.  We left it in the Lord's hands as we had done all we could do to prepare and advertise for the event.  Saturday came and we ended up with six participants.  Two of the participants were the Edinburgh Stake Employment Specialists who had never gone through a workshop before, so this was good training for them.  We had three Chinese students attend the workshop.  There is a large population of Chinese students in Edinburgh.  These three young women were all working on their Masters degree from Hariot-Watt University.  They were all in International Business and were very capable individuals.  They all had a good command of the English language and obviously were fluent in Chinese.  They had all graduated with a Bachelors degree in Beijing, China.  The day went very well and we were happy with the one-day format.  We will now be contacting the other Stakes in Scotland and Ireland to present more workshops.

I had posted a wee bit about the All-Scottish Mission Conference that was held a couple of weeks ago.  Below is a picture of all the Scottish Missionaries.  A similar conference was held a few days earlier in Ireland.

One afternoon we were talking with a fellow from Dalkeith who was working in the Family History Center.  Carolyn had asked if there is a "typical Scottish candy" and without hesitation he said, "Moffat Toffee".  Well, we have been looking for Moffat Toffee.  We had driven through the wee town of Moffat a couple of weeks earlier but didn't know it was the town for the famous candy.  We did find some Moffat Toffee sauce when we were at Glamis Castle.  This was sauce we used on ice cream.  Now I have never been big on a caramel sauce on ice cream but this was Great!!  On the jar it gives a list of things to put it on and the last one is "a spoon".  Yes, I could just eat a spoonful on nothing else.  It is that good.

I found a wee Scottish poem today on a card and thought I would copy it here.  It says a lot about Scotland...see if you can understand the Scots!

Hoo Aboot a Braw Day Oot?
Tak the train intae the Captial
An hit the shops oan Princes Street
Then a visit tae the Castle
Or mebbe Arthur's Seat,
Or a boat trip doon the wa'er
Tae Largs or Troon or Ayr
Ye can eat ice cream an paddle
(But avoid the Glesca Fair)
Or a bus trip roon the Hieians
Fur the stunnin' scenery
The hills, the lochs, the glens, the sheep
Sae pleasin' tae the e'e
What e'er it is ye choose tae dae
By bus or boat or train
Just mind that this is Scotland
An it's likely gonnae rain!!
I hope you all understood that poem!!
For the most part we are understanding the Scottish accents...they are numerous and varied.  Some are beautiful and clear and have a lovely ring to them and then there are others that are very difficult to understand.  I still have to answer the phone because Carolyn had a difficult time with many accents on the phone.
The other day I realized that I still had some photos on my camera.  I have included a few more from a trip we took with Paul and Karen to Linlithgow Palace.  This palace is very well preserved for a building that was built in the 1400s.
Two maids of Royalty...This woman on the left was dressed in the costume of the day.  She was the supposed to be the sister to the Mother of Mary Queen of Scots.  Mary was born in the Linlithgow Palace.  Her Father, James V died when she was 9 months old and she was crowned Queen at Stirling Castle.  Linlithgow is about half way between the Stirling Castle and the Edinburgh Castle.  (The beautiful woman on the right is a "royal missionary".) 

The Palace is a square structure with a courtyard in the center with this fountain.  It is really quite impressive and was operating the day we were there.  The rumor is that on certain festivals, the King would have the fountain running with wine...


This is a picture of what the front of the castle probably looked like in the 1450's.  Quite an impressive structure.  Below is the same view today.  It is built on a hill that goes down to a loch so the door opening would come in on the main ground level as the other side entrance.

Well, enough of castles tonight...our next big project is our trip to Ireland.  We are leaving on Wednesday for a whirlwind tour of the country.  We will take the ferry to Belfast, spend time in Dublin with the Stake Employment Specialists and the Stake President, off to Waterford, Tralee, Limerick, Galway, and Sligo to meet with the senior missionary couples and then back to Belfast to meet with the Stake people there.  We will be gone eight days and will have a full report when we return.  It should be a fun trip.  Hopefully we will get some sightseeing in along the way.
BTW, for some who read this blog and may not be familiar with some Church terminology, a Ward (or a Branch) is a geographical area of the Church and the Bishop (or Branch President) is the leader of that congregation.  A Stake (or District) is a larger geographical area made up of a number of Wards and Branches.  The leader of the Stake is a Stake President and the leader of the District is the District President.  All of these leaders are unpaid lay "ministers" and donate their time to their Church assignment.