Wigan, England

It was Sabbath in Wigan.  Therefore, not a whole lot in the way of mention of traveling or exotic places.  However, we did go to church and visit a few people.  A quick couple of thoughts.

Church was great.  Funny how even though I lived here for a couple of years, I still really struggle with some of the accents.  In Sacrament alone, I totally could not understand the second speaker.

The pure Wigan accent is simply unable to be replicated by me.  I don’t think I could even try.

We went to visit a couple of people.  Jim and Julie Monks, Dawn Rhodes, Ceri and Lorraine Jenkins, Charlotte Ainscough, Alan and Rose Aspey, Brian and Sylvia Burtonwood, and Rene Simpkin.  We had a very good visit with the Monks, Jenkins, and Aspeys.  Dawn Rhodes was unable to be found in the location we were given.  We were either given the wrong address or she has moved.  She was the only convert in the mission I felt like I really oversaw the entire thing from finding to baptism and even some of the new investigator discussions.  Alas, she is not active and it seems nobody really knows where she is.  Except for Brother Monks and she either moved or he gave me the wrong address in Aspull.  I was very disappointed.

Sadly, I found out Rene’ Simpkin passed away around Christmas of 2003.  That would explain the stopping of letters.  I am disappointed nobody ever notified me.  I will have to find her birth and death information so I have it for my records.  I really came to love the lady and she the church, but she just couldn’t give up her wine.  The Burtonwoods remembered her.  She was a fine lady.

In visiting with Alan Aspey, he let me know an Aspey from Wigan is definitely related to him.  I will have to let my Aunt Lolane know that her Margaret Aspey who came from Wigan is very likely related to him.  Interestingly, Alan also commented about his Aspeys living in Upholland and Ormskirk.  We told him about Amanda’s Ashton relations in Upholland and he knew the name as having some in his own line.  However, he knows of no relations who joined the Mormon church and moved to America.  This would be a first for him if we could show a link.

I found out from President Monks that Gheorghe Simion, my second to last companion from Romania, now lives in Liverpool.  We will have to try and find some contact information for him so we can meet up while we are near Liverpool.

Charlotte Ainscough still has the little stuffed animal I gave her when we baptized her.  I found out she named him Ross.  How sweet is that?  The Jenkins and Charlotte were very excited to see us.  They gave us their passes for the British Trust sites in England.  We will have to mail them back when we leave the country, but it includes a parking pass.  Meaning we can save well over 200 pounds with the passes for much of our travel throughout the UK in our remaining time.

It was a sweet day in Wigan.  It made me feel good so many people remembered me.  If not my name, at least my face.  They all adored Amanda and commented on how beautiful she was.  Some even recognized her from our wedding announcements.

Preston, England

Another more relaxed day in England.

Today we received word the paperwork and everything has all been signed for our home.  The paperwork is off to Oklahoma City for the official closing on Monday.  I don’t know what could really change now.  By all accounts, we are now the proud owners of a little home in Oklahoma City.  Or at least we have a title to a home with a significant lien for a bank somewhere.  Hopefully everything continues to work out like it has so far.

We ran to the Preston England Temple today.  It is one of my favorite temples.  There is something in the simplistic beauty of it I adore.  Amanda agreed.  It is on par with the Rexburg and Vernal Temples for the simple elegance within.  We snapped a couple of pictures.  We also ran into a member I knew in the Wigan Ward.  He is now in the Temple Presidency and enjoyed a good visit with him.  We were supposed to go over and visit this evening, but our plans crowded it out in the end.  We had to reschedule it for tomorrow sometime.  We are going to work it out in church.

Afterward, Amanda and I ran into Preston.  I showed her the town center where the missionaries preached the gospel for the first time in the British Isles.  It is in Preston that the longest continuing unit of the church operates, the Preston Ward.  We ran out of time to go to the flat where Parley P Pratt and Orson Hyde were attacked by the legions of the devil.  We did not get a chance to see Avenham Park or the beautiful River Ribble where the first baptisms took place outside of North America.  We did not get over to see the apartment where President Hinckley received his famous “Forget yourself and go to work” letter on Wadham Road.  Perhaps sometime in the future.

We came back and were relaxed some more with the McCabes.  They treated us to a fine meal of South African descent.  They lived in South Africa for a number of years.  Later this year they are immigrating to Australia!  How is that for exciting.  When we make it to Australia, we know who we will be calling on!  Amanda and I made a call at Tesco today and purchased a Pavlova.  Boy, was I glad to get my hands on one.  We consumed it after dinner as one of our desserts.  Mmmmm.

I realized yesterday was the anniversary of Joseph Smith’s death.  I wonder specifically what he is doing these days.  What or where is he up to doing work?

Tomorrow we are off to attend the Wigan Ward.  Then we will go visit some of the new converts I helped bring into the church.  Sadly, I don’t think any of them are active.  But we shall find out.  I did find out Jim Monks knows where one of them lives.