Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Holding Hands With Colin Firth

For our culture and community class we have to go on walks around the city throughout the semester. This assignment is to help us get better acquainted with the city and all it has to offer.One Saturday Brittany, Ashael, Jenny, Haley, and I all headed out and went on the Theatre Walk. The first thing we saw was the Thames River and from there we saw the Oxo Tower that was built in 1928. We can also see Big Ben from here.Then we went to Cleopatra's Needle- this is one of a pair the other is in Central Park. This was recovered in Alexandria in the early 1800s. It was really cool to see this in the center of London.

Then we had a walk around Victoria Embankment Gardens and saw the statues of Arthur Sullivan, Robert Raikes, and Robert Burns. In the park my favorite statue was the one called Imperial Camel Corps for the troops who saw action in Egypt, Sinai, and Palestine in WWI.

Then of course we walked along Drury Lane- where sadly I did not see any muffin men but it was still great to go! Drury Lane is now part of the theatre district but it was named after Sir Robert Drury and was one of the worst slums of London.

Of course along the way we went into Covent Garden. This Saturday they had all these booths in the square that were from shops around the square. In the square there is also a St. Paul's church that you can go in and look around. Since it was a Saturday there were so many people in the square shopping around and there were a lot of buskers.

Another really important stop and my favorite part of the walk was Leicester Square. You can go here for half price tickets! This was once the property of the second Earl of Leicester. Today there are many statues of important people in the square like Shakespeare, Joshua Reynolds, William Hogarth, Sir Isaac Newton, and Charlie Chaplin. In the late 1700s this was a favorite gathering place of artists.

But my favorite part was putting my hands in the hand print of Colin Firth my all time love. Since I have come to terms that I will not actually meet Colin I think that 'holding hands' with him will have to be good enough!

Then we went through Trafalgar Square and I stood in the middle of London. Trafalgar is named to honor the Battle of Trafalgar in Spain. When I came here in the 8th grade there were so many pigeons around, but now there have been manor reforms and it is illegal to feed the pigeons in the area.

One of the last few stops was through Piccadilly Circus which is called the 'navel of London.' Then we ended in China Town- which I was so excited cause I love everything Chinese!

It was fun to walk around the town and see all that the Theatre district has to offer. I would like to credit a lot of the information I put in here to the "Walking Through London's History" by Arthur R. Bassett.

What to do When the Forcast Says 90% Chance of Rain? Go on a Walk in the British Countryside!

On Wednesday Oct 7th our group got on a train and went into the English countryside to take a nice little 9 mile hike. Now for those of you that know me you might find yourselves a little surprised that I would go on such a hike but alas it was required for two of my classes! Even thought it was rainy and cold I was really glad I went and saw the countryside in a new way. We walked mostly in the Darent Valley Path. The landscape was really beautiful and I think the rain and clouds actually made it more beautiful. We went with Brother Chittock and his two brothers. Br. Chittock is in the presidency for the Wandsworth Stake and mind you he is I am guessing in his 70s and one of his brothers I swear was in his 80s and yet they were hiking like a bunch of young men! It really was amazing and Br. Chittock said he has been doing this hike for the last 20 years or so. And I am not going to lie to you but all three of the brothers were in way better shape hiking around than I was! It was also cool because we saw and Anderson Shelter. This was a shelter that was built during WWII that people would get into for a little bit of protection during the nightly bombings. They were very cold and wet, but were a little bit of protection from shelling.
Along our walk we saw hop fields and saw how they were harvested. We even stopped at a little shop by the hop farm- they had a few drinks and snacks- a few of the group purchased a bottle of ginger beer. To the amusement of the ones around them they found that it was not as good as they thought and looked quite funny drinking it! Of course I had to try it and it did have a little kick to it! It was not until after everyone had tried some that we saw it had a small percentage of alcohol (not even enough to be a problem) but it was funny to see everyone freak out!
Anyway we also walked through Lullingstone Country Park. This park is maintained by the Kent County Council. In this park there are footpaths throughout the land that are open to the public at all times. Along this path we saw the Lullingstone Castle. We did not stop in, but it was nice to get a few photos of it.
We stopped at another castle ruin for lunch and climbed around the grounds (some of us climbing a little more than others) . Around these ruins are other houses that people live in and I was thinking how wonderful it would be to have a view of an old castle looking out into my backyard.
After lunch a few of us headed back to the centre, but suprise suprise I stuck with hike and finished the whole 9 miles. Of course, this is when it started pouring and we really had to start hiking. There were some touch and go moments going down this really steep slippery part. Our guides took us a different way and instead of a nice rainy path we got a steep uncleared forest to make our way down in the rain! Needless to say I fell multiple times! But at the bottom of this death trap the end was in site and we all made it back to the train station in one piece- if not just a little bit soaked. The worst part was sitting on the train for a good hour in our soaking clothes.
But I am really glad that I went on the hike and stuck with it till the end, it was nice to get out of the city! This is what the uncleared path looked like!

Friday, October 16, 2009

When In Doubt Go To A Museum

This is the side of the museum showing the damage done by the air raiding in WWII.

Tuesdays here at the centre are free days for those of us lucky enough to be in Biology! The last few weeks I have taken the time to go around to different museums and see what London has to offer. One Tuesday my roommates and I decided to go to the Victorian and Albert that was just across the park.We did not have a lot time but we went through the fashion part of the museum. It was so much fun to see how fashion has changed over the years. I really liked seeing the shoes and the dresses from the 1800s up to the present!
This was a Woman's Riding Jacket from the 1750-60s. These were usually very masculine in the 18th century, but this shows how a jacket could show off a woman's small waist. The silver braid with its curves showed off the Rococo style that was popular at the time. I liked seeing this because in my humanities class we learned about the Rococo period.

We then went over to the theatre part of the museum and see different sets that have been used for productions and learned a little more about putting on a show. What is really cool about the this part is they have dress up section where everyone can put on costumes and have some fun! So of course the 6 of us did!The 6 of us goofing around in our costumes!To No One's Surprise I Put On Tweedledum's Costume!

Jenny, Me, and Sarah in front of this amazing glass chandelier

Sunday, October 11, 2009

"This is like Shakespeare Disneyland!" Sara Watkins

On the 3rd of October our group got back on the coach and headed to see a few places about Shakespeare. The first was Mary Arden's farm. This was his mother's home. While we were there we got to see how people living in the Tudor times ate their meals. There were also some pigs and goats around the area- it really was farm life!
Playing around in the leaves!Milking the cow!
We then got back onto the coach and headed towards Anne Hathaway's home. Anne was the wife of Shakespeare. When they were married he was just 18 and she was 26! And at the time was pregnant with their first child- what a scandal! As you can see in the picture of the house she had a thactched roof. These were really common during these times, but today they are really expensive so not many people have them. We also saw Shakespeare's 'second best bed' which he gave to Anne in his will. The first best bed is to show off and no one really uses it, so the second best bed was the marriage one. Then we went to Stranton-Upon-Avon and saw where Shakespeare grew up. Before we entered we had to go through a museum that was actually pretty cool. While we were there Sara said, "This is like Shakespeare Disneyland!" At the house there were even actors in some of the window ledges reciting Shakespeare- it was funny but a little strange. I have realized here that a lot of these historic places not only give you a tour, but there are actors that have dressed up in the clothing of the times and put on a little show- it is so funny cause they remain in character the whole time. The Gingerbread Shakespeare Cookie

By the time we got done with this house we were all a little Shakespeared out so we found a great Christmas shop and spent some time in there. Sara loves Christmas and so of course she had a lot of fun! The town of Straton-Upon-Avon was really nice and I enjoyed walking around and seeing the town.

Westminster Abbey

On October 2 our professors gave us all 12 pounds to go take a tour of Westminster Abbey. The church that now stands is the third one on this site. The ground was consecrated in 1523. In 1614 it became the church for the House of Commons. Westminster Abbey also continued to be the state church after the split between the Church of England and the Catholic church. This is the burial ground for many famous people from monarchs to poets to musicians. Although hundreds of tourists come every day to see the abbey the main purpose is to worship- every hour for one minute the abbey has a silent time for prayer and reflection.One thing I loved seeing was The High Altar where The Queen had her coronation in 1953. There have been 38 coronations here since 1066 This is also where Prince Diana's funeral was. On the floor of the High Altar was this tile mosaic called Cosmati Pavement from 1268.

The Quire in the past was reserved for Monks where they had their psalms 7 times a day, but now it is reserved for the choir of men and boys to sing.

In the North Ambulatory Chapel I saw the tomb of Elizabeth Nightngale from 1731. There are so many tombs here it was neat to see those of Edward I, and Henry III. We also saw Elizabeth I and Mary's (Bloody Mary) tomb. They are buried together and the tomb depicts Elizabeth I with her death mask. I thought that was interesting since they did not get along and wanted different things for their country.

Another interesting thing that I found in Westminster was there was a plaque for Oliver Cromwell who was buried there from 1655-1661, but when the monarchy was restored they dug him up hung his body and decapitated him because of his role in the Civil War.

We also saw the coronation chair that has been used since Edward I- it looked really old- but it was neat to see something that has been used for generations.

Of course we went through Poet's Corner and found out that many people are buried or remembered here. I saw Chaucer, Austin, Shakespeare, Handel, the Bronte Sisters, CS Lewis, Henry Irving, Laurence Olivier, Lord Byron, Wordsworth, Keats, and many more.

We then walked through the cloisters and the chapter house. For this I found a quote that I liked:
"As the rose is the flower of flowers, so this is the house of houses."

It was a great experience to go through and see Westminster and take the tour and see all the history that is in the abbey. I also liked going because I was able to compare it to the other abbeys and ministers I have gone to so far on my study aboard.

When In Doubt Act Like Jane Eyre

As you can imagine drive in a coach for 5 days straight is anything but fun! So here are some pictures to show so funny things that happened that week! And to be cheesy: What happens in the Lake District stays in the Lake District!Ashael, Jenny, and I being Popes at Fountains AbbeyTrying to climb the roof at York Minister while climbing to the tower!
Trying to look like Jane Eyre
Trying to deal with the cold and not doing too well

Day 5: Liverpool

This statue was given by the church to show the ties to Liverpool
So on the last day of the trip we went to Liverpool. We got to see the docks where thousands of Saints emigrated to the states. We learned a little more about how hard it was to travel over and at the end we sang "Come, Come, Ye Saints" and it was so wonderful! Then we went to the Maritime Museum which was really cool-- except for when I got separated from Jenny and went into a mild panic attack which entailed me running around the museum asking others in my group if they had seen Jenny! After about 15 minutes of frantically running around all the exhibits (including a dark depiction of life on a ship) I found her at the elevator! It was good to be reunited. I am sure the video surveillance of me running around was quite funny- I even considered having her paged!Don't mind the gnome hat! The Attic
Me posing as the statue
And of course when in Liverpool... Go see the BEATLES!!! We then went to the Beatles museum and had a great time learning about the history of the band. The museum was pretty great- expect for a few parts where they had scary wax figures!That afternoon we had a treat cause we got to go to Chatsworth which is Mr. Darcy's Pemberly in the most recent Pride and Prejudice! The grounds were so pretty and of course we had fun taking pictures!!!Duke and Duchess Devonshire with an awkward statute in between them

It was a great way to end the week trip!

Day 4: Preston

Creeper picture of Peter Fagg!
On September 24th we took a church tour around Preston with our guide Peter Fagg! We focused on the early missions. It was so cool to see sites that are so important to the history of the church in Great Britain.St. Wilfrid St. is important because this is where the early missionaries saw the evil spirits on the wall for about an hour and a half before they called them off with the Priesthood. When Joseph Smith heard about this his heart leaped with joy because he knew that something good was about to happen here.This is the house the missionaries stayed at while in Preston.

The Ribble River where the first baptisms were! We learned that the first day there were 10 baptisms and that there was a foot race between two men to get baptized first!The Preston Temple!
Brittany, Me, Jenny, Ashael
The Attic: Don't ask why I am linking arms with Elliot!