On Sunday 11th January, Scott went to the chapel early for a meeting before church, and I made some soup to take in flasks for our day out. We went to church, and for about the first time ever, Scott and I sat in Sacrament Meeting on our own together! Harry was in Nottingham, Jack was still pretty ill in bed, Tom was passing the sacrament (the first time I have seen him do it! He did very well!), and Lucy sat on the stand, as she was reading out the talk which Jack had prepared and was supposed to be giving! The talk was pretty good, and I was proud of them both.
I felt absolutely shattered throughout church - too many late nights and fighting a cold. After church I rang Jack to see if he wanted me to go back home, or if it was OK for me to go with the others to London. He was fine with me going.
Our family, Luke and Stephen Amos, Andy Collings and some other kids he was taking, all had lunch (Pot Noodles in our case!) at church before heading down to London. There was a Devotional being held in the evening at Hyde Park Chapel by Brad Wilcox from BYU, for youth and YSA.
A few of us had decided to go down early so we could walk round London a bit beforehand.
Stephen, Luke, Tom and Lucy.
Love driving through London! You see so much, including the rich and poor sides of life.
We parked in the Imperial College car park directly opposite Hyde Park Chapel.
While we were waiting for Andy's car to arrive, we went upstairs into the overflow room, which looks out over the Science Museum. Scott reminisced about old times here.
Lucy coming back from the car...
Tom and I went for an explore, higher up the building. We went right to the top as far as we could. On the way down, Tom had gone off, and a man I haven't met before walked down with me. We had a bit of a bizarre conversation, with him trying to chat me up. When I said I was just here for the Devotional (and not the Young Single Adult Ward), he asked me if I was Sister Wilcox (the main speaker's wife!) Um, no!! He did offer me chocolate though!
While we were still waiting for Andy, we decided to have a quick look in the Science Museum.
I got a bit confused, and (rather embarrassingly) in a loud voice asked where the dinosaur was??! (Wrong museum!)
We met up with Andy's lot in the Victoria and Albert Museum. It has a beautiful courtyard.
We then headed round to the Natural History Museum.
We all split up, and met back later. I took these photos of some of the kids on the bridge in the main hall.
I just love the main hall!
Tom, Scott, Andy and I spent quite a bit if time in the whale hall. Brilliant!
Tom was a lot smaller the last time he came here!
We the headed back to the chapel, wanting to get there half an hour early, at 5.30pm, so we could get decent seats.
When we arrived, it was wonderful, because the place was about a third filled, and mainly with people from Northampton Stake! It was so lovely to go round and greet all the youth, parents and leaders! More and more people kept arriving from our Stake, and I was so happy! In the end, the place was packed, including most of the cultural hall, off to the side of the chapel, with people from several Stakes.
There was a lovely musical item first, then Sister Wilcox spoke briefly, then Brother Wilcox took the rest of the time. I was excited, because he has written a book called 'The Continuous Atonement', which was an incredibly useful and important book for me. President Hirst had lent me the book the year before last, and I got my own copy last year so that I could go over it again. It's helped me understand so much better what the Atonement of Jesus Christ really means.
Brother Wilcox works for BYU, and has been on the General Sunday School Presidency, plus had a lot to do with the Especially For Youth programme. He's good at speaking to youth! I think everyone enjoyed his talk - he was pretty blunt, and taught the Gospel with the Spirit, and also with humour.
He had finished by 7pm, and there were milk and cookies afterwards, and we all stayed for at least another hour chatting with loads of people.
Lots of people wanted to speak to Brad afterwards, and I wanted to, but felt awkward about it. Not long before we left though, I ended up being near him when he wasn't too busy, so had a chat with him, and got to thank him and tell him how meaningful his book has been to me. He was lovely, and gave me the biggest, longest hug, and we talked some more. I also had a good chat with President Hirst, which was nice because I haven't spoken to him in months.
When we had finally gathered everyone up, we went back to the car and had a load of food, then drove home. I was kept very entertained by Luke and Stephen Amos talking to me about their love lives the whole way!
We dropped the Amoses home, and got back to ours at about 10pm, As soon as we pulled in the driveway, we realised we had forgotten to collect the Rover from church, so Scott and I had to go back and get it. What a pain!
The next day (Monday 12th) Jack missed Seminary, but he dragged himself to school (still ill) because he had some assessments. Lucy made it to Seminary, but stayed off school because she felt like she was going to be sick. At lunchtime I set off to Nottingham to go and collect Harry. I didn't feel the least bit bad having him miss a day of school! I'd contacted his school in the morning, and was truthful about why he was absent.
Harry had had a great time with my Mum and Dad, playing with Adam, going to church, having a tea party on the Sunday afternoon with Niki's family, and going on the school run with Niki on Monday morning. Unfortunately though, later that morning, Harry had gone with Dad to pick up a new fridge-freezer, and on the way Dad had gone full tilt over a hump-backed bridge (to be exciting for Harry!), and the car bottom had crunched, and the car just died. They came home via two buses (Harry wearing Dad's coat), and then Dad had gone back again, and tried to fix the car by the roadside in the pouring rain. It wasn't what he thought it was though, so the car's still broken, and he came back by bus again, soaking wet, and not very happy! I wasn't there at that point, so couldn't help out with lifts.
While I was there, Mum gave me a lesson in researching Family History using the church's Family Tree website, and Ancestry.com. I finally feel like I understand some of the key concepts now!!
Harry and I got home by about 5pm, and we all had a pretty quiet evening.
Yesterday (13th January) after the morning school run I picked up Jo Blackhurst on the way to Dunelm, as I needed to get curtain poles for the cabin. They had a 20% sale on, so I also got replacements for all our bedding, which I had planned to do later in the year. We met up with Jo's sister-in-law and her friend in the cafe, and had a pleasant time. I dropped Jo back home, and came in to try and fix her computer, which I just about managed to do. Had a chat with Richard her husband who was writing an essay for his last year of a Theology degree at Spurgeon's College.
In the evening, I took all the kids into town to get Jack some new school shoes (his had fallen completely apart on Monday!) and new football boots, plus we got some tea stuff in Sainsbury's. Lucy and Harry had stayed in the car, and Lucy had been teaching him her A Level Politics stuff - he explained what a referendum was when we got back to the car, and gave us some examples!! We then went straight to church for Activity Night (Harry), Seminary (Lucy and Jack) and youth (Tom and Jack - Lucy came back with me and Harry, so she could get on with some revision for her mocks.)