Friday, July 30, 2010

Dover, England

Our trip to the temple and to London was just great. We got to the coast of France to the Boutoille's home about 7:10 a.m after an over 2 hour drive. We all headed out to Boulogne sur Mer where we put all of our luggage into the Neville's car and we got into the Boutoille's car. We parked our car at a huge parking area there where they have a lovely beach, hotels, an aquarium, water sports etc. We drove to the ferry there and took it across the ocean to Dover, England. The ride over took 1 hour and 45 minutes. It was very, very pleasant. Everyone parks their cars in the hull and then go upstairs where they ride over sitting in the lounges or wandering around the ferry. There is a restaurant, cafe, and shops. It was a very pleasant ride over and we enjoyed a little snack while we watched the ocean and had pleasant conversation. The Boutoilles and the Nevilles are very wonderful. They are soooooo nice and so great to be with.

Here is Patrick Boutoille with 2 of his children, Louise and Charles.
The two ladies are Nathalie Neville with Benedicte Boutoille. They have been best of friends for over 30 years.

Our ride over was very smooth with clear skies. We could see the White Cliffs of Dover so well. At first it seemed like they wouldn't be very tall and big, but the closer we got, the bigger they were. (Of course). The cliffs are actually 351 ft high. The striking facade is composed of chalk (pure, white calcium carbonate. These cliffs are symbolically very important to Britain because they face towards Continental Europe across the narrowest part of the English Channel. They are a symbolic guard against invaders.
Whenever I think of the White Cliffs of Dover, I am reminded of an old and very beautiful film and love story by the same name starring Irene Dunn.

After getting off the ferry, we drove into the city of Dover in the county of Kent and walked around. It was very nice there and very definitely a very different feel than either Belgium or France.

Left to right: Dh, Patrick, Nathan Neville, Benedicte, Nathalie, Phillip and Remi Neville.
Front row: Louise, Virginie, Charles and Theo in front of the sign. The 2 14 yr old boys, one from each family, were at EFY.

We ate a typical English meal at The Eight Bells.
We had a combo plate of several different meats; pork, steak, lamb, chicken, and sausage, along with a side salad and a "potato in a jacket".

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Well, it hardly feels like we're on a mission at the moment, but I promise we really are. When we were in Southern France, we had a lot of gospel centered discussions with Dh's family. In fact Patrick and Dh have had some very serious and very interesting discussions about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.
During the summer months many of our young adults, in fact most of them, leave to go to their homes. Most people in France take vacation either in July or August. The church has much less attendance during these months too. Vacation is very "serious business" here. A funny but true story: A few years ago a General Authority scheduled a visit to France during the month of August. The Mission President was talking to the Stake President to remind him to call all of the Bishops and remind them of the date in August that was scheduled to meet with the General Authority. "Oh, but that is vacance time." said the Stake President "Can we re-schedule?" No, it couldn't be rescheduled. They had to hold the meeting as was convenient for the visiting authority. And so, our activities with the young adults are greatly reduced during July and Aug. Never-the-less, we keep really busy visiting people, proselyting, training, etc. etc.
This coming week is the Lille Stake week at the temple in London. Because of our schedule we were able to accept an invitation from the Stake Presidency to accompany them to London. We are so excited to go. We will leave tomorrow early, early morning and drive to Wimereux not far from Calais. There we will leave our car and go with Pres. Boutoille and his family. We will cross the English channel and go to England. We will spend 4 days there. I think we will do a minimum of 2 or 3 temple sessions a day and then the rest of the time we will be able to explore London.
On Wednesday we will go to the theatre and see Wicked with some friends from Arras, Kaye and Pierre Janda.
I am really looking forward to this time of working for the Lord and having some extra fun thrown in too.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Southern France, Pays Basque, Northern Spain

Dh and I had such a wonderful time with our family. It was so great to have our son and his family visit. It was also great to spend time with Dh's close family who live there.
As much as I love Paris, I love Southern France and the Basque Country even more. It is soooooo beautiful there. It is so green and clean. The houses are all charming and most of them are very clean. I love how the houses in the Basque country all have names and that is how people know where they are and who lives there. I love the white houses with red tile roofs and colorful shutters. I love the sheep, cows and horses in the countryside. I love the smells and the picturesque views. I love the beaches and the mountains. I love the music and the friendly people. I must say, it is a bit of paradise on earth.

Biarritz has one of the most beautiful beaches. I never tire of looking at it. Of course, when you go to Biarritz, you must visit the lighthouse. It is a very important landmark. Then you must also visit the Rocher de la Vierge ( The rock of the Virgin).

The sundial by the lighthouse is very accurate. It showed the time exactly not counting daylight savings time. One stands on the month and the shadow falls on the hour.

We visited a lovely plaza in Saint Jean de Luz.

I love all the flowers that decorate the balconies and street posts all over the country.

Someone in our group wanted a hamburger, so we found this place to eat. The food was really pretty good.

Look at all the hams hanging up.

We drove to San Sebastien and then up to Mounte Igueldo where you have a fantastic view of the ocean.

This is the city hall or Mayrie.

We heard cheering and a distinct sound of a ball. Upon investigation we found a fun game of Pelote (handball). Dh and all of the Frenchies knew right away what it was. Ha!

Esplanade, the piperade ( red pepper) capitol of the Pays Basque. So many of the houses were decorated with hanging peppers.

Right in the middle of the village was a barn with several really nice horses and colts.

Saint Jean Pied de Port was another picturesque village where we took a little train up the mountain to an old fortification.

Some people walked up the huge mountain while others rode on the little train. The ride was 45 minutes long there and back. K did not like it there because there were quite a few flies and other flying insects. Good thing they weren't moths or I would have been the one freaking out.

It was soooooo hot there. Beber spent time in his wifebeater shirt standing by the window trying to cool off. He never went out in that shirt, but the moment he got home, off went his regular shirt.

A picture of all the guys: Beber, Dh, our son, Laurent (Dh's brother) and Patrick (Dh's nephew and son of Beber (Albert)

The girls: Marilynn (Patrick's wife), Patricia (Laurent's daughter), Nicole (Laurent's wife). me, K (our granddaughter), K's Mom (our daughter-in-law), and Mado (Madeleine Dh's sister).

Of course A had to have a picture with the girls too.
My feet were soo swollen with all the walking and all the heat that the minute we walked into the house I put on my slippers.

Tireless Mado always working. This little gal never stops moving. She is the hardest worker that I've ever seen. Can you believe that she's going to be 80 in one week? Mado climbs mountains, speed walks and she is also a fabulous cook. We should all be like her.

I think ladies stay young in the Pays Basque. Patricia is 50. She sure looks younger to me.

We had an impromptu birthday celebration for Mado. We used dessert that was already there (Gateau Basque) and I found some candles. A and I set things up and we all sang.

Beber was so touched that we sang to his sweet wife. He actually shed a few tears. This couple is soooooo nice and considerate of one another. They are always sweet and tender with one another. I think they are a great example to everyone.

Father and son had fun being together.

I must add that this Mom sure enjoyed seeing her oldest son too. :)