Friday, 4 March 2016

A long absence......

I started to write this post several months ago and for some reason just left it half finished. Being determined that I would complete and post it, I started to make amendments so that it was more up to date (see the first sentence).That was a big mistake because it just doesn't work without rehashing the entire thing; although I have time on my hands, I don't have that much, so here's the plan. If you care to read this, I am going to pretend that it is written in the present (which it was when I started it) and then I will mention when I am really up to date and hopefully it will still be a rather boring read, but will make much more sense. Read on if you dare.... 

Can you believe that I have been away from a computer for more than a year and that my blog has been ignored for nearly two?  Have you actually missed me? My last blog post was rather prophetic, I think, inasmuch that I wrote saying that I might not even be able to use a computer whilst living at the temple - and sadly I was completely correct.  However, I am now back and raring to go so I guess I need to update you all on what has been happening.  Nothing very exciting, but I'm sure that I can find a few things to talk about and while away a few minutes of your time.

First, I came to the temple fully expecting to be able to access the Wi-Fi from my room. This was not the case and although I could use the reading room in the Accommodation Centre I did not have my phone up and running properly.  For several weeks I had minimal contact with the outside world (namely Facebook and my emails) and I spent many an hour trying to work out how to get the internet on my phone.  Perseverance paid off in the end and I finally felt human (and contactable) again.  This did give me cause for concern as I wondered how I ever lived before the technical gadgetry that is the internet and computers.  The down side to all this wizardry was simply that, not only could I not get half the things I needed, but I discovered (to my chagrin) that I just cannot type on a keyboard that is the size of a postage stamp!  Even worse than not being able to type, I was finding that I couldn't send an email more than a couple of lines long.  How could I possibly live without writing a screed of some sort?  My life was joyous in so many other ways, but my ability to communicate was severely curtailed and I felt the loss immensely.  Fast forward one year and I have finally been given some sort of modem or hub (or maybe even both - who knows?) thing that allows me to have Wi-Fi in my room.  Hip, Hip, Hooray!! As you can see, my technical know-how is extremely limited, but I get by and now I am very happy.

I would love to tell you all about my temple experiences, but sadly I cannot. The temple ordinances are sacred (rather than secret), so although I work five days a week doing something that I absolutely love, I can't tell you much about it. However, I can say that I have grown stronger in a spiritual sense as I have opportunities to help members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who come to the temple and perform vicarious work for their families. 

Changing the subject (as I usually do), I have had some wonderful days out with other temple workers. We don't work Mondays as the temple is closed, so twice a month we can, should the desire take us, go out to visit places in and around Surrey (and a bit further afield).  I think that this day out was originally intended for the foreign (mainly American) workers who come to serve a mission here.  We English tag along for the ride and have a great time.  Now these experiences I can tell you about, along with the friends that I have made whilst being here.

I haven't been to many historic places simply because I don't have a National Trust or English heritage card (which means you get in free). Most of the missionaries have one, but then again, most (but not all) are couples and it has always been cheaper to buy a couples ticket rather than a single one.  Do those trusts think that we can easily afford to pay more?  Very unfair, but not a lot I can do about it other than not go. I did go to one Palace (because it was free) but it was so unforgettable that I have forgotten the name of it! It wasn't even a palace either, not after the Courtauld family had got hold of it. That's no slur, simply my opinion - my friend loved it all.  To me, the d├ęcor was a mish-mash of beautiful old and art deco/art nouveau (which is not my favourite era in respect of furnishing etc.). It ruined what could have been a beautiful building.  One of the funniest things I saw was a "secret door" that went from the husbands bedroom, to the wife's. Their bedrooms were next door to each other and if he wanted to be with his wife, why didn't they share a room? Bizarre and stupid, but hey, each to their own.

During the summer months (remember how beautiful it was last year), we have been to various coastal places.  I love the seaside and have made most trips.  Lewes (although not on the coast) was very hilly as I recall but pretty nevertheless. Hastings has changed so much since I was last there but at least the fishermen's huts are still around.  They have a lot more now for children to play on, including trampolines at the cost of over a pound for ten minutes. The sad part is that children hold their parents to ransom over these things and in order to keep the peace, are forced to hand over exorbitant amounts of money.  Even an ice cream in most seaside towns is over two pounds. 

Last year and this year I have been to Brighton.  As far as I can recollect, I had never been there before.  The first time I went, my friend and I, after having fish and chips in Harry Ramsden's  (a restaurant which is famous for its fish and  chip dinners and the place to go for my non Brit readers who have never heard of it), we walked along the pier and then got a deckchair to sit on the pebble beach with an ice cream.  A seagull (although not really called such, but everyone knows exactly what I am talking about) came and stood by my friends feet and stared at her the whole time she was eating her ice cream.  It was standing sideways so it just had one beady eye on her and her cone, and had its beak open as if it was waiting for a tit bit or an opportunity to help itself. She was terrified and I was in hysterics; I'm sorry to say that I wasn't much help, but this gull obviously took a shine to her.


Having got over my fright of last night, where I went to grab a beaker to fill with water, only to find a HUGE thing with more than two legs lurking in it, I have decided that I really need to finish this blog post.

Today, being our one day off as the temple is closed, I decided that whilst waiting for my washing to finish drying (at the absurdly late hour of gone seven o'clock - in the morning), I would walk around the temple. It was drizzling first thing when I went out, but it had turned into a more heavy shower by the time I was ready to go for the walk. Being very brave (or stupid depending on your point of view) I decided that I could go without my glasses. Having walked the paths for over a year now, I felt confident enough to walk without fear of falling down a hole or over a wayward duck.  The pleasure of walking in the rain was intensified as I didn't have to worry about my street credibility  (who else thinks rain splashes on your glasses looks stupid?) or even anyone likely to see me.   I didn't realise how much I missed it.  It might only be a little thing to some of you, but it felt wonderful to lift my face to the sky and feel the rain splatter on my face, catching my eyelashes and making me almost squeal with delight. Call me whatever you like, but there is nothing better than being able to walk out in the rain without glasses on.  Walking out in the rain however without an umbrella when you hair turns curly (instead of the almost dead straight after I have finished attacking it with my straighteners) is foolish indeed and if I was not, 1) washing it this evening, and 2) planning on seeing anyone for the whole day, I would have never had contemplated it. Why should I care about what I look like to others?  Now there is another blog post all on its own....

I don't know why I can't settle to do one thing for more than five minutes, but barely had I started on the continuation of this, than I was up and out with my gardening gloves, pulling the bindweed that was choking to death one of the plants that I can see out of my window.

I am now back in the real present of March 2016....

I live in the Manor House in the grounds of the temple and my flat actually overlooks a car parking area and the main road rather than the more beautiful temple.  However there are some distinct advantages to being out the back. The Manor House is mock Tudor and used to be the missionary training centre until it was turned into apartments for the ordinance workers. Those living at the front of the building have visitors staring into their windows (thinking they will see beautiful things inside) as the path is so close, whereas I have some small shrubs and conifers in front of my windows to deter them. Not many people venture around the back side of the house either so it is much quieter than the front, notwithstanding that I am that much closer to the main road.

This winter has been so cold compared to 2014/2015 that it's a wonder that I haven't frozen to death. For those of you that know me well, I really don't do cold. But even as I think about that, it has had it moments when it has been mild - mild enough for the daffodils to appear in December on a roundabout on the way to Crawley! Of course when the frosts came (and are still here some nights and even days) the poor daffodils have suffered badly.  I don't suppose that I have mentioned before that I LOVE SPRING!?  Thought not. call me names if you like but when I see daffodils I cry. I am so lucky to be able to walk around the temple and see huge clumps of daffodils under the trees and throughout the grass and the woodlands to the side of the temple. I can cry at the crocus and snowdrops too, but daffs will always hold a special place in my heart.  Silly woman that I am, I am crying even as I write this. Sniff. Sniff. Because the daffodils are all planted at the back of the temple, those living on the front side of the Manor House miss the miniature daffs that are growing in abundance out at the back of it - and right in front of my window.

All through the year I have little birds singing their hearts out in the trees that surround the Manor House and my special favourite is the robin (only because I don't know what the other birds are!). There are blackbirds but I don't see them very often, and of course there are crows and jackdaws in abundance, not to mention a few pigeons. Last summer a heron appeared at the pond, but after eating all the fish, he disappeared. It was lovely to be able to stand there and watch him until he realised that he had company and flew off.

Having served and worked in the temple for almost two years, my time here is almost up.  Almost but not quite as I have decided to extend for at least another year and possibly two (that depending upon whether my health continues to be good and if the temple president still wants me).  I have learnt much but know I still have lots more to learn. "When ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God" is so true here.

Well, I need to bring this post to a conclusion and so without further ado, I hope I can assure you that I will write on a more regular basis although perhaps assure is a bit too strong a word. I love writing, even though others might not get much from it, and it is really beyond my ken to understand why I left it so long. If you have enjoyed this little snapshot of my daily life I am happy for you to comment (I'm not silly and can monitor the comments before they get published! Haha) either here or on my Facebook page.

Stay healthy, stay happy and stay loving life.  Until I write again. :)

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