Sunday, November 30, 2008


Thanksgiving was a work-day in London ... and we had the late shift in the FHC as well - open until 9pm. But thanks to the modern marvel of Skype and computers we were able to share a few moments of Thanksgiving with family... without the tastes, smells and hugs though.

We made up for it with a full-course Thanksgiving meal yesterday with our mission family -- all the other senior couples. It was a great meal and brought a touch of home to our week. We are thankful for wonderful friends and family without whose support this journey would not be quite as satisfying. We appreciate your emails, blog comments and most of all..... prayers.

We are grateful for blessings that continue to amaze. Most of all we are grateful for our Savior, Jesus Christ, who makes it possible for us to have hope in spite of inadequacy and shortcomings. May you all feel of our love for you and our wishes that you have a wonderful holiday season.

Elder & Sister Watts

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

London Transport

We were talking this morning about how fertile the crop would be to yield a harvest of stories from our experiences riding the bus. Almost... not almost... every day there's another experience to make a part of a tale. For example: Yesterday, as we were seated, near the front, I saw an elderly lady getting on and stood up to give her my seat. Then before I could blink, a rather heavy-set balding man with unruly shoulder-length grey hair slipped by the lady and sat down. I said, "Excuse me, but I was giving my seat to this lady," to which he muttered something I didn't catch. I repeated my plea, and he called me a "x@##" and to bug off that he himself was "75". As a representative of the Savior, I couldn't say or do what I felt like doing, but another seat opened and the lady sat down. As we proceeded along, she finally caught my eye and said, "Thanks for trying", and repeated the thanks as we got off.

Today, as we got on and sat down, there was a black lady in the seat across that was speaking in a bright, animated voice. I glanced her way to see to whom she was speaking... most likely a cell phone, but I soon realized that she was speaking to the 'air'. This went on until she got off two stops along the way.

The most prevalent type of experience relates not to global warming, but air pollution. Yesterday I believe it was garlic and onions for breakfast (not me mind you) and today it was .. oops somebody and I do mean some 'body' forgot to shower last month.

In the absence of TV, which I've come to think is a pretty good thing, I've been reading a book entitled "The Subterranean Railway: How the London Underground was built and how it changed the city forever." It's been very interesting to read about the world's first underground railway.

I'm just sorry that our chauffeur has yet to show up for us and we are left to travel as best we can... but then maybe that's a pretty good thing too. Just think of the stories we would otherwise miss. Proverbs 1:5

These are all God's children, and we have met some wonderful people as we travel to and from and serve in the Family History Centre.

Elder Watts

Sunday, November 16, 2008

P-Day at Hampstead Heath

Saturday was a clear, cool day in London and perfect to explore Hampstead and Hampstead Heath with our friends from the Family History Center. Seated: Elder Ross Richins, Sister Claudia Inskeep, Sister Judy Richins, Sister Barbara Watts. Top: Elder Don Inskeep and Elder Watts. We had a wonderful time.

Hampstead has fun antique shops, pubs and open spaces (Hampstead Heath) with ponds and beautiful views. Today's famous people (film & rock stars) live in the same houses as the famous of previous centuries. We visited Wentworth Place, where John Keats lived when he wrote some of his greatest works. Ian Fleming of 007 fame lived in Hampstead as did a man named Goldfinger, who built a home that Fleming thought was atrocious -- hence Goldfinger became a bad guy in his novel. We had a delightful lunch (squash soup and cremé brulé) on the patio of the Kenwood House, an early 17th century gentleman's country home, and is now a major art gallery with works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Reynolds, Gainsborough and Turner. Some of the movie Notting Hill (Julia Roberts) was filmed here. I was in heaven!!

The Spaniards Inn, built in 1585 as a tollgate inn, still guards the road to a single lane -- which now is a traffic bottleneck-- at the top of the Heath. See the link for pictures.

Sister Watts.....

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

London Life

#1 We thought we'd add a 'secular' note about some of the little things going on in our life here in London. We've come to 'crave' (maybe that's a little strong) Lemon YumYums! --at left. All we can say is that they are soo...good. We make a fairly regular late night run (walk actually) to Waitrose (upscale grocery store) to buy them. They regularly sell for 75p (75 pence or about $1.20) but are discounted just before closing to as low as 5p.

#2 We have a rather curious ... well no way to call a spade but a spade... toilet seat. See the London Life link at the right and judge for yourself.

#3 We have accumulated a fair amount of items that have been left by other senior missionaries and are now pretty comfortable in our flat. However, a couple left for home on Friday, and there were a few items they left behind that we decided we could use. These were a bucket (bright lime green) , some cleaning supplies and a very tall floor lamp (we'll call it VTFL). See the London Life link at right to see how tall. We decided to take these home on Monday. The VTFL was heavy -- and did I say 'tall' -- not very convenient to take on a bus, so we decided to walk (1.3 miles). Oh, and did I mention that it was raining. To protect the halogen globe and business end of the lamp, we put a plastic shopping bag (orange in color) over the top of the lamp and set out for home. So here's a mental picture: Sister Watts carrying a lime green bucket full of cleaning supplies in one hand, bag over her shoulder and umbrella in the other hand -- Elder Watts carrying the VTFL with a shopping bag on the end, attache bag over his shoulder and umbrella in the other hand. It was much easier to carry the VTFL, which was quite heavy on the bottom end, in a close to horizontal position, so it looked like a jousting pole with an orange bag on the end. If you've read this far, suffice it to say the trip was uneventful, but we must have been quite a funny sight.

Best wishes to all, E & S Watts

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Lea Valley Ward

We had a marvelous time at church today. The people are so kind and genuine. Our Bishop, a 32 year old Harvard Law School grad, and his wife are expecting their first child today. As he concluded his testimony in Sacrament meeting -- while he was instructing us for the time available for testimony bearing -- four people were on their way up. He cautioned that we would truly need to stop the bearing of testimonies in a timely manner. It then was a non-stop stream of wonderful testimonies -- brothers and sisters, old and young, from Ghana, Sudan, Nigeria, and ?? and ... England. One black brother simply stood and said, "Moses, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph Smith..... Thomas S. Monson --- all Prophets of God, all spokesmen for Jesus Christ, the same today as yesterday and forever." It was a very spiritual meeting.
We finished the day by being invited to the Mission Presidents flat for dinner with the other senior (bell ringer) couples. Six of us are practicing the Bells for Christmas (much like the Bell Choir on Temple Square.... well not much like, perhaps a very little like). It will be fun to share in helping to provide some Christmas Bell music.
Love Elder & Sister Watts