Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Third trip to Ireland

We had a successful CV Writing class.  There were nine in attendance and things went well.  Now we are off to Ireland again.
This has been our our third trip to Ireland.  The leaves are still off the trees, and the weather is cold and wet, but the green in the fields is still amazing.  As usual with these trips, the roads are so narrow there is not much space to stop and take pictures of the countryside…it is again stored in my “brain video”.  Ireland is a beautiful place.


The ferry again is amazing with what it can carry.  I took this picture as we were getting back into the car to unload in Belfast.  The ferry is about 100 yards long and has three lanes for parking cars and trucks on each side, plus another level below for more trucks. 
We drove from Edinburgh to Cairnryan and then took the ferry to Belfast and drove to Dublin.  There we meet with our Supervisor from Birmingham and the Dublin Stake Employment Specialist. 
On Friday we went to Limerick to meet with some individuals there to help with their CVs and then up to Galway for a workshop on Saturday.  We were disappointed on Saturday because no one came to the workshop.  We don’t think there was enough advertising that we would be there.  Since no one came to the workshop, we spent the afternoon in the town of Galway and then stayed over on Sunday to speak in the Galway Sacrament Meeting.  We wandered through the old Galway all afternoon.
Many of the streets in the older part of town are blocked off for pedestrian traffic only.  There was a street market down one street with vendors selling fresh vegetables, bread, gifts, etc.  It was really busy with people.

There was a butcher with his meat stand with really good looking meat.  This market takes place every Saturday and Sunday.

There was a fish monger with lots of fish...all kinds and really fresh.
This is an old section of the wall and an original gate to the city (now blocked up however)

Galway is on the west coast of Ireland and was originally a walled city.  The city was an active trading port with Spain, France, Portugal, and Italy In the 13th and 14th century, and later with America in the 17th century.  Northwest of Galway there are communities where the Irish language is the first language in the home and English is a second language. 
  We learned that the word "F√°ilte" is Irish Gaelic for "Welcome" 
It is pronounced "Faw-cha".  There are only 13 sounds in the Irish language and there is no resemblance to English at all.  There are over 45 sounds in the English language.
This is the old Spanish Gate that still stands by the river

The river was extremely high with runoff from recent heavy rains.

As we headed back to the Hotel we had a beautify sky to watch as we walked.
On Sunday afternoon we drove back to Belfast.  We took Monday to see some of the area near Belfast where many of my relatives lived.  There are many on my Mother’s side of the family who came from Ireland.  Many lived in County Armagh (pronounced Ar-maw). 
We went to the Thomas Ferguson Linen factory in the town of Banbridge, just outside of Belfast.  This factory is the only factory in Ireland that makes the damask linen.  Much of the "Irish linen" is made in China and Portugal.  In fact, even the Ferguson mill uses mills in Portugal.  They will weave the linen and then ship it to Portugal for finishing.  It is then sent back to the Ferguson mill to be made into what ever item they have woven... such as table cloths, napkins, runners, handkerchiefs, etc.  It was interesting to watch the linen be woven.  the above picture is a cloth about 120 inches wide being woven.  you can't see the pattern very well, but there is one there.
Watching the weaving was very interesting.  This side is the threads going into the loom.
This is the other side of the loom with the finished linen cloth coming out.
We then drove to the town of Armagh.  My relatives came from County Armagh and from little towns of Gilford and Newry.  The countryside is beautiful. 

This is the St. Patrick Cathedral of the Roman Catholic Church.  Across town there is a St. Patrick Cathedral of the Church of Ireland.  This cathedral was built in the early 1800s.

A very impressive building.
We took the ferry back to Scotland on Tuesday.  The weather was a wee bit rough crossing the Irish Sea.
Next up...The Burns supper and the haggis!!



Monday, January 13, 2014


We are preparing to teach a CV writing class Monday night for the young single adult Family Home Evening.  The young adult group are those age 18 – 30.  As I sat in church thinking about our presentation, I pondered about how our choice of words convey different messages to those with whom we speak.  In our presentation we are using a video clip from the internet that has been going around on FaceBook...you may have seen it.  It starts with a blind man sitting on the steps begging for money.  He has a sign that says:


A few people toss him a few coins.  A young woman then comes along and notices his situation.  She scribbles something on his sign and walks off.  Now people are dropping lots of coins in front of him.  She later returns and he asks her, “What did ye do to my sign?”.  She replies, “I wrote the same, but different words”.  The sign now reads: 

The end of the video states “Change your words – Change your world”.

Our choice of words and how we speak them make all the difference to those around us.  I have learned that the choice of words, and how they are used in ones CV makes a big difference as to the message given to the reader.  In our CV Writing class we teach how to use power statements in a CV.  These are statements that are not just expressing a skill, (I am effective in negotiating contracts) but giving an example of that skill (I recently renegotiated a three year contract for offsite storage...) and a result of an accomplishment (which resulted in a 18% reduction in costs and an annual savings of $35,000).

I then thought about all the Scottish words and phrases we hear every day.  It is true that the Scots and the English are two people divided by a common language.  When we were in our training session recently in Birmingham, more than once the people in the class from England expressed sympathy for us having to try and understand the Scottish accents.  Our challenge has been to understand all the different accents we hear.  We hear folks from Dundee, Edinburgh, and Glasgow and they all have a very distinct way of saying words and phrases.  And then there are the Irish.  They are different still from the Scots but most are actually easier to understand than many of the Scots.

Some simple examples of words we hear:
Church – sounds like Chuch
About – sounds like aboot
Clerk – sounds like Clark
Water – sounds like waa’er
It does not matter – sounds like “it does nae maa’er”
I do not know – Is said by many as “I dinna ken” or “I dinna new”
I don’t understand – Is said by many as “I dinna kin”

Hogmanay Celebration...
Last week we got together with other missionaries for our “Hogmanay Party”.  We stayed clear of Edinburgh City Centre as they were expecting thousands down (doon) in the centre of town.  They had bands and performing gourps along Princes Street and up towards the Castle.  As we drove to the flat of the other missionaries, we saw many people walking towards town because they knew there would not be any parking in town…and also they wouldn’t be in any condition to drive home after midnight.

Our party was pretty mild.  We ate and played games, ate some more, and talked, and ate some more…we managed to stay up until midnight to welcome in the new year.  We brought in the New Year singing...

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
Robert Burns

For Auld Lang Syne = “For the (sake of) old times"

"Auld Lang Syne"  is a Scots poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song. It is well known in many countries, especially in the English-speaking world, its traditional use being to celebrate the start of the New Year at the stroke of midnight. By extension, it is also sung at funerals, graduations and as a farewell or ending to other occasions. It is also always sung at the closing of Military Tattoo performance at the Edinburgh Castle.

The song's Scots title may be translated into English literally as "old long since". Consequently "For auld lang syne", as it appears in the first line of the chorus, might be loosely translated as "for (the sake of) old times".

There is some doubt as to whether the melody used today is the same one Burns originally intended, but it is widely used in Scotland and in the rest of the world.

Singing the song on Hogmanay or New Year's Eve very quickly became a Scots custom that soon spread to other parts of the British Isles. As Scots (not to mention English, Welsh and Irish people) emigrated around the world, they took the song with them.

Monday, January 6, 2014

New Lanark – Robert Owen

A couple of weeks ago we visited New Lanark – a historical site of an old cotton spinning mill.  New Lanark is a village on the River Clyde, approximately 2 miles from Lanark, about 20 miles southeast of Glasgow.  The mill, and housing for the workers, had been built on the Clyde to take advantage the water-power afforded by the only falls on the River.  The mill was a very successful social experiment of Robert Owen (1771 – 1858).   Owen purchased the mill from his father-in-law (David Dale) and believed that working and living conditions of the factory workers – especially for the children -  could be improved and the mill would still be profitable.  The old adage - "A happy worker is a productive worker".


This is the view looking down from the car park.  The village was built on the banks of the River Clyde.

The New Lanark mills operated until 1968. After a period of decline, the New Lanark Conservation Trust (NLCT) was founded in 1974 to prevent demolition of the village. By 2006 most of the buildings had been restored and the village has become a major tourist attraction.

These were the houses for the workers.
The River Clyde provided power for the mill.  The Clyde flows west to Glasgow and enters the Firth of Clyde.

About two thousand people had associations with the mills. Five hundred of them were children who were brought at the age of five or six from the poorhouses and charities of Edinburgh and Glasgow to work in the mills. The children had been well treated by Dale, but the general condition of the people was very unsatisfactory. Many of the workers were in the lowest levels of the population; theft, drunkenness, and other vices were common; education and sanitation were neglected; and most families lived in one room. The respectable country people refused to submit to the long hours and demoralising drudgery of the mills.  Owen wanted to change all this by improving working and living conditions.

This is the spinning machine.  It was operating while we were there to show how the spinning process had been automated.  This is one long machine that travels out from the wall about 5-6 feet as it twists the thread and then travels back as it winds the tread onto the bobbin.  Workers would walk along the machine to watch for broken threads.  Their task was to tie the thread to keep production moving.  Young children would crawl along under the moving machines to pick up the balls of cotton that fell off during the twisting process so it could be re-worked into production.

This is the visitor center now but was one of the mill buildings when it was in operation.

More houses, the one on the end was the house of Robert Owen.  Now some of the houses down along the river have been converted into a very nice upscale Hotel.

Owen’s greatest success was in the support of the young, to which he devoted special attention. He was the founder of infant childcare in Great Britain, especially in Scotland. He established schools for the children and would not allow them to work in the mill until they were eight years old.  He insisted that all the children were taught how to read and do math.