Missions are Fun

Preston Temple photo taken 21 Nov. 2010

A missionary is someone who leaves his or her home for a little while so others can have their families forever.

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Note: The Blain's England Manchester Mission blog is a personal blog that is not endorsed, approved, or sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Our Mission Scriptures

Our Mission Scriptures:

"Oh, that I were an angel, and could have the wish of mine heart . . . Yea, I would declare unto every soul, as with the voice of thunder, repentance and the plan of redemption, that they should repent and come unto our God, that there might not be more sorrow upon all the face of the earth." Alma 29:1-2 (Book of Mormon)

" . . . be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." 1 Corinthians 15:58 (Bible)

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Toe in the Irish Sea!

Cease from anger, and forsake wrath:  fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.  Psalms 37:8

I chose this scripture because of the anger and frustration I felt these past two days.  I must repent, but I would argue first that I was justified, so I may not be ready to repent.

Since October, when we got the assignment to travel throughout the mission and find flats for the missionaries, I have dreamed of putting my toe in the Irish Sea.  The first time we were to the coast, we had no time.  The second time it was storming and extremely cold, so I put it off for the next time.  The next time, we again had no time and it was colder.  THIS time, by heck or high water, I not only got my toe in, but my whole foot!!  There's a story to the high water bit, though, and it was not a good thing even if it did turn out okay.

Okay, so here's the big toe accomplishing the goal
The whole foot diving in to the Irish Sea!!  I know it isn't all that exciting for you to see a picture of my foot, but it was a special moment for me.
The foot is totally baptized on the shores of the Irish Sea in Rhos-on-Sea, Wales.
Now, you'd think since I accomplished this great goal that I'd be ecstatic.  Ha!  Wait until you hear the rest of the story.  The last two days have been one big pout on my part.  I do not deal with disappointment well.  Elder Blain deserves some kind of medal for not dropping me into the Irish Sea.  Let me recount the shattering of a dream for a day of castle seeing and a little down time planned in Wales.

This week we knew we had to find an apartment in Rhyl, off the coast in Wales.  The area has castles everywhere and we promised ourselves we'd go back to see them when we had a more leisurely pace.  We thought this week it would be that way.  There were only three flats to see in Rhyl.  We booked a room at a bed and breakfast in Rhos-on-Sea in hopes of a little time to relax and enjoy the surroundings.

It rained, sleeted, hailed, and snowed as we drove to our destination.  We tried to bundle up against the bitter, freezing wind that was blowing as we trudged up and down the road in Rhyl trying to find the first flat.  The Sat Nav was no help as the letting agents didn't give us proper instructions for the first two places.  We were wet, cold and frustrated by the time we viewed the second place that we also had trouble finding.  The phone kept dropping the calls and we got wet walking the streets, trying to find the places and dialing at the same time to get better directions.  The first place smelled like mold.  The second promised a "shower room" and there was no shower, no cooker, no fridge, no nothing except a front lawn to mow that the missionaries cannot mess with.  The third place was perfect except it had a meter for the utilities and we didn't know how good the bus service was.

We went to the missionaries' current flat in Rhyl, which is up six flights of stairs and overlooking the ocean.  It is a gorgeous flat!  The mission president wants them moved because it is not the kind of flat missionaries should have, even though it doesn't cost more than many of the other flats.  They are not excited about moving into something small and away from the center of action there on the promenade near the arcades and beach.        Of course, they tell us they think if we get the meter thing worked out the third place we liked would be too far from where they need to be.

Looking out of the missionary "penthouse" in Rhyl
Elders looking at the map of places that are good
Looking out the Elder's flat over Colwyn Bay with the windmills in the distance
After we left them, we drove to Colwyn Bay and Rhos-on-Sea, which are right next to one another.

 We wanted to stay there for the night so we'd be close to the flat the other missionaries are moving into today.  We also had a cooker (stove) with us that needed to be dropped off at the new place.  We had to get the key for the new place, drop off the stove so the electrician could wire it in (you cannot just plug it in).

The bed and breakfast was quaint and just a five minute directly down to the sea.  It was decorated for Christmas and very cozy.  We could actually look out of one window over the roof tops and sorta see the ocean (so much for the advertised sea view).  Elder Blain got into the shower and it was cold!  That isn't what anyone wants on a freezing day.  We reported it to the proprietor and asked where they recommended we eat.

In the attempt to find the places we'd been referred to in town, we turned into Popsicles as we walked from place to place only to find them closed or opening for tea in a a couple hours.  One pub looked warm and inviting as we chose a table and I sat down.  Elder Blain tried to find someone to take our order.  They said they weren't serving food that evening. 
In the pub with no food (the beginning of our two hour quest for food)
Okay, off we trudged up the hill to get the car as there was obviously no food in this town.  Going to the next town over wasn't much more fruitful.  An enclosed mall had a grocery store, so we stared at the food there, chose a few items and our stomachs told us that wasn't what we needed, so we put everything back on the shelf and walked out into the storm looking for a warm meal.  Nothing.  Elder Blain was not feeling well and needed some decent food fast! 

Getting back into the car, we drove to another area of town where there was a pub we'd seen when we first arrived earlier in the day.  We sat down in the dining area and no one came, so we moved to the bar area and were told the cook was out shopping and would be back in a half hour.  Two hours later we did get food.  Of course, what I wanted had been served at lunch and I settled for something that wasn't very good.  At least we got warmed up and no longer starving!

At 7:30 p.m., (we'd been out searching for food since 4 p.m.) we got back to our accommodation to discover they had changed our room because the shower couldn't be fixed.  I hurt my back moving stuff into the room.  That is why Elder Blain always says he'll carry things.  He worries about me throwing my arms, back, neck, or whatever out.  I'm too stubborn to comply and pick up heavy stuff anyway.  Stupid me.

The new room had two bunk beds and a double bed in it with a bath about big enough to turn around in.  It had a sliding door that wasn't hooked at the bottom and I kept accidentally pushing it out as it was only hanging from the top.  At this point, I was soooooo angry that they'd advertised this nice room on the Internet and we got this ugly, cramped room instead with a TV about the size of the laptop screen.  Elder Blain turned on the TV really loud so he could hear some mindless game show.  A least it drowned out the other TV playing in another room.  The shower in this room had black mold, so I refused to take a shower in it (stubborn brat).  That is when I went into full pout mode.  Nothing was turning out like I'd dreamed!  That is why "they" always warn us against expectations--we set ourselves up for disappointment.  Christmas is a time of expectations of things being as wonderful as our memories say they were.

There were cute pictures in the lounge.  This one says, O.K., Fluffy, where's the Gerbil?
To cope with the disillusion of things as they really are, I put ear plugs in, covered my head to block out the light, and tried to get comfortable on a bed that felt like concrete.  I was really angry the people didn't refund part of our money, but Elder Blain happened to like the place because he'd gotten attached to the owners and he wasn't going to ask for any money back because he wanted to support their business.  Just like him to have a soft, kind, generous heart.  With a murderous heart, I threw the electric clock into the garbage to shut up its whirring electrical sound that was probably messing with my messed up brain and tried to go to sleep.  My dear husband said not a word as he was totally oblivious there was a problem, or he chose to ignore all my slamming things around, sighing heavily, and muttering under my breath.

The lounge was decorated for Christmas and was festive
 In the morning, while Elder Blain was in the yucky shower, I got up and put a many layers of really warm clothing on and walked, rather skidded, to the beach (I left a note on the bed that said, "I have gone to the sea and will be back by breakfast.").  I felt like saying I'd gone to sea forever and not to expect me back--ever.  I was bound and determined to get my foot into that water.  As I slid down the slimy boat ramp, there was a cement step to sit on where I took off my shoe and sock and stuck my foot into the first wave I could catch.  Brr, it was cold but not too bad considering my foot was already frozen.  It was heaven!  The sea at last upon my very skin!  Smiling with a happy heart and feeling quite pleased with myself, I dried my foot with the rag I had brought and got my sock and shoe back on, stood up, and heard a clattering that was the sound of my camera's sun guard hitting the wet pavement just as a wave caught it.  I tried to catch it as each succeeding wave grabbed it and took it a little further into the deep.  My shoes and sweat bottoms got wet and then I was afraid I'd fall down and get sucked under, so I watched it slowly get swallowed up in the sea.  I said a little prayer that it'd get coughed back up, but a voice said to wait until low tide.  I thought that would happen so late in the day that we'd be gone.  I kept checking to see if it had gotten spit back upon the ramp,  but nothing.
This is how low the water was the night before when we arrived in town
The tide is out a long ways.  Compare these to the next pictures with the tide in.
On the other side of the cement is a boat ramp.  I sat on this to dip my toe in the sea.   Notice how much of the wharf is under water.
There is only a small sting of stores like this that amounts to Rhos-on-Sea.  I took this picture standing by the ocean that is just across from these shops.
To make the best of being on the beach, I did go find some shells and a couple rocks, threw a starfish back into the sea, and took more pictures.

It mattered to this one
This is the evil mouth of the sea that took part of my camera!
Why couldn't this seagull get my lost item like another miracle of the gulls?
See the windmills out in the sea?  They are all over in this area.
It doesn't cost a lot to rent flats at the water's edge.  The average age of the population in this town is 47 years of age.  The average in England is 27.
Can you see the evil ramp in the background?  I'd never go to sea in this boat!
It is almost 9 a.m. and the sun is barely coming up
 I managed to get back just in time for breakfast, which turned out to be a full Welsh breakfast--yummy.  At least that went right.
Slurp, munch--gorgeous breakfast as they say in England, even though we're in Wales
Our cook.

As we drove away from the area, I noticed the tide had gone out! 

See how much further the water has receded within an hour?  I had sat on the very end of  the cement on the left where the wharf goes into the water, right at the bottom of this ramp.

This is the loose ring that caused all the anxiety.
 As we were leaving the area to go to the flat, I noticed the tide was out!  It must must have been going out when I was there for my escapade.  I assumed the tide was coming in because it was still quite deep and far up the beach from the night before at low tide.  I asked Elder Blain to pull over and he was probably thinking he'd better humor me considering the mood I was in.  I almost ran to the boat ramp, even if it was icy and slippery, and saw the rocks were exposed.   Joy!

Walking directly out, I saw the plastic sun ring lodged between the rocks with seaweed around it and stuck in the sand on one end.  Amazing!!  I had the biggest smile upon returning to the car, thanking Heavenly Father the whole while for being so kind to care about helping me with such a trivial thing.  To me it was a big thing, but with everything He has to do I couldn't imagine I would have had help with that one even though I had faith it'd be there.  Of course, Elder Blain had a big smile when he saw how happy I was to find it.  A miracle!  I mean, what are the odds of that happening?

At that point, I thought we'd go see castles, but Elder Blain said the weather looked bad and we'd have to see them another time.  We were driving down the motorway when a call came in from the estate agent who had the meter thing worked out.  I thought it was a sign the missionaries needed to be in that flat.  We turned around and saw a castle that we had no time to check out, but I did get a picture.

In Wales, everything is written in Welsh and English.  This is the name of the castle.

Driving back to the flat, we picked up the missionaries and they voted the area down.  I could hardly believe it!  Well, I should have been prepared for that after all the other stuff that went goofy.  So, we left the area and went home to a snow storm.
This is the last thing of interest we saw leaving the area and it is not the leaning tower.  I just took it crooked--sorta reflected how the whole day had gone--a little off kilter you might say.  I can laugh about it now.
I briefly lost the plastic camera ring again, but it was in the car.  It took a while to get all the sand and gravel out of it so I could screw it back onto the camera.  I was never so glad to see an end of a day, but it turned out happy because the Irish Sea was influenced to be kind and return my lost treasure!

1 comment:

  1. As horrible as the whole experience was, look at it this way. You saved a starfish, you accomplished your goal of sticking your toe in the sea, the sea gave you back your camera part, and you have a story that you will probably never forget!! :-) Oh, you also did get to see the outside of a castle. :-) Always a bright side!!