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Betsy visits the UK

October 14, 2008

We’ve actually been home for nearly two weeks now. But I’ve been laying low. Hibernation / recuperation has never been so welcome. I’ve slept, done domestic things like cooking, cleaning, organizing and grocery shopping (things I didn’t really do for the year I was at West Dean… it’s SO nice to be eating what I want when I want again–my amazing-cook-brother and I have been sharing the cooking and it’s been nummy), sleeping, just enough exercise not to atrophy, and watching Foyles War with–and taking care of–my injured mama.

Yep. My mommy was injured on our trip. The Sunday before we were scheduled to come home, right outside church on Exhibition Road, all in an instant she lost her footing and went down: breaking her fall by putting out her right arm. The force jarred the top of her humerus (the ball of the shoulder), and broke it in three places. She was embarrassed, devastated, apologetic, in pain… you name it. Luckily, it was right outside church, and kind people (both from church as well as passers-by) were instantly there to help. The NHS took excellent care of her (and it was free)…that night we left London and drove back to the south, where we stayed with wonderful and beloved friends. Mama laid low for a few days while I tied up loose ends at West Dean and packed our 4 bags (200 lbs of luggage = ugh! Remember how I’d lived in the UK for a year and had accumulated a lot of stuff and had to get it all home?). Driving in the UK was also way stressful for me: navigation much more so than the actual driving. We flew home 2 days earlier than originally planned, and the trip was looong and miserable (picture it, a broken-shouldered mommy in major discomfort and pain needing transport between departures and arrivals via wheelchairs and skycap, and me, pushing a cart piled with 4 heavy suitcases, a paper tube, a backpack and 2 purses…plane changes, customs…you get the picture, right?) But now we’re home, the aubergine bruises finally subsiding, and mom is mending nicely.

So that’s the negative stuff from my mom’s trip. Luckily I’d taken enough pictures before the premature end to the holiday, that she was able to look at them and remember that we had a good time. I’ve been frustrated with trips that turned out to be whirlwinds (my trip to Italy went too fast and I didn’t get to go/see/do enough…for example I only had one day in Rome, which was an awesome day but also a form of torture, so much to see so little time). And I know my mom feels similarly to this trip. We did a lot in a relatively little amount of time. But what we did do was great. So! Some photos:

THE GOOD STUFF:

In Scotland, we stayed with my good friends the Blacks. Pictured are me, Michael and Sarah. Sarah and I were mission companions in Ireland. I’m afraid I didn’t take any photos at Hillhouse or the Falkirk wheel (internet images below)

or in Glasgow, and very few in Edinburgh. But the whole album of the trip can be seen here.

THE LAKE DISTRICT:

Ullswater:

Kirkstone Pass:

Hawkshead:

Lake Windermere:

STRATFORD-UPON-AVON:

Public library

Shakespeare’s birthplace:

Lady Macbeth and cobwebs:

Gardens at Anne Hathaway’s cottage

Anne Hathaway’s cottage

MERTHYR TYDFIL (WALES):

Public Library. The interior was very familiar to mom, since it’s a Carnegie Library–the same as her library in Bermerton, WA, where she spent part of her childhood.

Our stop in Merthr was out of family history interest. While most of my Welsh Ancestors came from further west, many of them lived in Merthyr during part of their lives. This city has a rich LDS legacy–500 saints left for America in one day in the 1860s. While the city’s seen better days (not exactly a tourist stop), it’s always interesting to see where “real” people live. Mom really liked Merthyr Tydfil. I liked it b/c it was reminiscent of certain areas in my mission. I especially enjoyed how this downtown building was sprouting trees (below).

OXFORD:

Being a grandma, it was nice for mom to be able to tell the grandkids that she saw Harry Potter’s dining hall. (We also visited the Divinity School at the Bodleian Library–the hospital wing in the HP films. I wanted to show my mom Duke Humphrey’s Library (Hogwart’s Library), since I interned at the Bodleian in January this year, but alas. the Security guard for that day would’nt let us go up. Sigh.

Christchurch

Christchurch Cathedral

LONDON:

The earrings at the fantastic jewelry shop on Portabello Road (where I got mom’s green earrings in 2005) that mom adored and would have bought if she’d had a spare $200. We took a picture instead.

From atop a London tour bus.

Trafalgar Square. This one was taken the day before the dreaded shoulder incident.

We’d planned to visit Westminster and St Pauls, Stonehenge, and to take a ferry boat to the Isle of Wight… but came home instead. We’ll just have to do those things next time. ;)

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. October 15, 2008 1:30 am

    I love the close up of you and your momma. I think you are both so beautiful! I love joyful faces! Sounds like a bittersweet trip–sad to leave, sad for hurt momma, but amazing sites (and visits with friends). What an experience!

  2. October 17, 2008 10:00 pm

    Aunt Betsy, falling down and breaking your arm is NOT ALLOWED!

    I’m sorry to hear about that – but wow, what awesome pictures.

  3. October 17, 2008 10:01 pm

    Oh, and Ann Hathaway’s cottage looks amazing. If I show these pics to Diane, she’s going to want to go there.

  4. CARLI permalink
    October 19, 2008 1:08 am

    Lili, These pictures are amazing! I cannot believe how green the grass and fields are in some of them. I am so sad that your mom was hurt. I sure hope that she is feeling much better now!

  5. October 21, 2008 10:23 pm

    Betsy, I did NOT know that you broke your shoulder. Barry can commiserate with how painful an experience that can be!

    I’m jealous that you got to go to Scotland! I hope to make it there again next year with Barry in tow. It’s been 26 years since we were in England, Scotland, Switzerland, France, Germany and Italy. It’s time for another trip!

    Love to all!

    Ginger

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