Monday, 30 December 2013

Provo Church

The church we all attended growing up is located just a few blocks from our house. It was built in the 1920s, and is a beautiful building. I don't think I appreciated this until I moved from home and had to attend church in newer, less beautiful church buildings. I love my church, and I love attending church, but I will readily admit that Mormon architecture, at least where it concerns meeting houses, is not the most exciting. So it was a joy to have my father's funeral in this beautiful exception, and to have lunch there after the graveside service. It gave us all a chance to explore it - something I haven't done in many years! 

The ceiling in the foyer has a star of David on it. It was impossible to capture the whole thing in one photo, and I wasn't brave enough to lay down on the floor to see if that would work! 

Stunning! Look at those two staircases. And look at all that natural light pouring in.

How many LDS church buildings can boast a spiral staircase?!

The back staircase.

At the top of those curving staircases.

An old familiar painting which hangs in the Relief Society room.

Painted detail on the Star of David.

The chapel.

Heather & Michael in the balcony at the back of the chapel.

I wandered around the church three times - once by myself, once with Reagan, my nephew, and the third time with Heather & Michael. Heather was thrilled to find these primary chairs - the same ones she used when she was a child!

Heather and I were both thrilled to discover this old cupboard - with hand-grained wood! For hundreds of years, people would fancy-up cheap wood by painting grains on it by hand. I think it is so beautiful and creative. 

Another view of the Relief Society picture - with a fireplace beneath it!

Tillie on the steps that lead up to the stage.

Tillie & Lexi playing in the chapel.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Calling Hours and funeral

When I was in New York, I got used to the fact that a viewing prior to a funeral was called "Calling Hours". It stuck, somehow. The day of the calling hours was beautiful - in fact, the whole time I was in Utah the weather was astonishingly lovely. I walked down to the funeral home (why on earth drive?) and was able to watch the mountains glow with the setting sun. There is magic in the way they glow - as though its from the inside out.

The sunset reflected on the mountains.

My dear friend Peter and his wife (from Australia) sent us flowers! 

The display table we arranged. Some awesome pictures of my dad! 

My nephew Dylan and his fiance Natalie.

The next day was the funeral, and it was a beautiful day. The sun was shining - far more than it does in Glasgow, that's for sure! The service at our church was really excellent. My uncle Don, my dad's youngest brother, spoke some beautiful words. The service at the graveside was also really beautiful. Jared my brother played the bagpipes, I sang Gaelic songs and Dylan blessed the grave.

Jared playing the pipes.

We discovered my dad would be in good company - a woman born in Scotland!

Tillie collecting flowers.

Jared, Lexi & April


Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Back in Utah - after FOUR years!

I was blessed by having an event-free journey from Glasgow to London, and from London to Texas, and from Texas to Utah. It was a little amusing, that having been away from the states for so long (the last time I went was two and a half years ago, when I visited upstate NY when my nephew Dylan got off his mission), the first place I go to is Texas, where they have a strong, twangy accent.
Jared & Katie picked me up. After we got back to Jared's, Beccah arrived with Tillie & Lexi. Here she is with Jared & April's dog Gracie. 

Sleepy girls Tillie & Lexi. 

When we got down to Provo, our good friend Edie came by with wee gift bags for my mother, my sisters and me. 

One of the biggest thrills: getting to meet my niece Hermione in the flesh! Such an enchanting, beautiful thing, she won my heart!

Lexi & Tillie playing in the leaves in the neighbours house.


The street where I used to live, and a view of the mountains. 

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

First leg of the Journey: Edinburgh

On Calton Hill in Edinburgh.

Well, Halloween/ All Soul's Day was certainly more memorable this year than it ever was, and, I hope, ever will be. I found out on the 1st of November that my father had died, late on Halloween night (technically early in the morning on the 1st). To say that this came as a shock would be an understatement. He wasn't ill, we none of us were expecting this at all. His father and grandfathers were all very long-lived, and for him to die at the age of 72 wasn't something my family thought would happen.

Of course, everyone wanted me to come home. I wanted to come home too, but didn't think I could, since the UK Border Agency still had my passport and visa (I don't think I've mentioned that fiasco on this blog - just that I had to apply for an extra year as the UKBA made a mistake and only gave me a visa for 3 years instead of the 4 that I need). My friends Janet and Lorie were inestimably helpful in getting ahold of the US consulate in Edinburgh, and helping me to fill out things I needed to fill out, etc. etc. I made an appointment with the US consulate and I persuaded Rachel to accompany me. I should briefly mention that the international student services at my uni had been no help at all! I would have despaired indeed without my Americans-from-home friends.

The people at the consulate were lovely. They issued me with a temporary/ emergency passport and the caveat that the UK might not let me back into the country. At this point I didn't care! I just wanted to get home!

After I had my temporary passport (in record time as well - under an hour!) I felt so relieved, and Rachel and I did a bit of celebrating - ie brunch and sight seeing - in Edinburgh.

Even though we ate brunch, we still got pudding - this is a sticky toffee pudding! Yum!

This is the Old Calton Cemetery

A unique statue of Abraham Lincoln, dedicated to the memory of Scottish-American soldiers! 

Sort-of opposite Old Calton Cemetery is Calton Hill. There are some interesting buildings and structures up on the hill, and we went for a wee wander. The real reason I wanted to go there, however, was because it was used as a filming location for the BBC "North & South" that came out a few years ago.

On Calton Hill.

Luckily I had a hat on, so I felt pretty old-fashioned, just like Margaret Hale in "North & South".

I apologise for the crummy quality of this photo, but it's the best I could find. This is a scene from the film. They've added in the angel and the headstones, but that is the same hill! 
We also took a tour down Mary King's Close, which was thrilling. Unfortunately they didn't allow photography, but here is another (open) close. Edinburgh is full of them. 

Rachel & I passed this statue. We think that rubbing the toe brings good luck!