Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The old rangers hut...

On the weekend, we went to the Great Lakes in the Central Highlands.

The weather had forecast snow but we did not realise how amazing it was going to be. We nearly didn't get there. We left Friday around 7pm as Hallie had her soccer grand final which didn't finish until after 5. (they won!) By the time we had finished packing the car and got underway, it was dark and raining.  We only had to drive just over an hour away but about half way there, the car started slipping on the icy snow which with the elevation and drop in temperature, made the car just slip and slide on the road. It was very scary and it took awhile to turn the car back around. We decided to try and go in the other end from Poatina but the same thing happened. We could do nothing but go home after 3 hours of being in the car to try and get only an hour away. Emerson screamed away as he hates being in the car for too long, echoing all our own sentiments. 

We got home, unpacked the food and went to bed very dejected. The forecast was for snow all Saturday but we decided to give it another go anyway as the temperature was not as cold as the night before. It was very snowy but a grader had moved a bit of the snow off the road, up until Pine Lake anyway. The rest of the trip was pretty much snow on the road but we made it with such a sigh of relief as we knew that we didn't want to miss out on our snow weekend.

 Our car made it about halfway up the driveway before it got stuck but we were only about 50 metres from the house spot we walked everything up. You can see our footprints all over the driveway in the photo below and see how thick the snow was.

It took Simon and Hallie about an hour to get the car up to the house using a spade and pieces of wood to move the car.

The kids wanted to get out straightaway and play in the snow. They loved the novelty of being outside, knowing that at any time they could run back in to the nice warm fire.

Emerson has a bit of a cold and cough so he was happy to watch from inside.

The accommodation is an old ranger's hut owned by parks and Wildlife. It is pretty dated but sleep 13 and only cost us $80 for the night. it has 2 bathrooms and the main thing was the big beautiful wood fire that kept us very toasty.

It has practically everything in the kitchen in the way of utensils, saucepans, toaster, crockery etc and Flynn loved drinking his milk out of the plastic wine goblets he found. 😋

You had to bring your own bedding and towels but other than that and your food, it was pretty much all set up.

The next day was actually quite warm and sunny so we took the opportunity to explore a little in the snow and continue work on the snowman before heading home again.

Simon took the drone up on the way home to get some amazing footage of Tasmania's beautiful wilderness. It never ceases to amaze me at how beautiful our country is and there is nothing like being in nature and getting away from all the day to day responsibilities. It has a way of making you pause and appreciate what is around you.

Toby bird and Theo dog  had a lovely time being babysat. I think they had such a good time, they may not have wanted to come back. Back at home I think the cats loved the peace and quiet they rarely get to enjoy.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Settling In {missionaryMum.5}

A snippet from Mum's emails home as she settled into life in Valencia during April and her first Easter there.

"Well.......what an interesting Sunday. Valencia 2nd Ward is lovely. Many kisses and hugs....when the Spanish people kiss it is always on both cheeks!  I might have understood every twentieth word!!!!maybe. They speak so fast and run their words together....just like us! We have downloaded the scriptures that have English on one side and Spanish on the other which is great if we can understand which scripture they are looking up! Some people speak English and there are a few South Africans in the Ward who do also.

Mum with Sister Plume, Sister Snowden and Sister Cummings

Sister Plume who they met in Madrid, where she just finished a two year mission serving in the temple. She is in their war and invited them for Easter Sunday lunch. Sister Cummings who doesn't have a companion at the moment, came too and acted as translator.

"Monday was a holiday in Valencia for Saint Vincent!!! The young missionaries invited us for a picnic near the beach......only 3 metro stops from us. Maritim Serreria. We had a lovely day the weather was good and the sea looked beautiful. They Provided  the picnic and with five of them and us two we had a good time."

Sisters Carroll, Cummings, Aguilar, Latu and Stanley.

The picnic at Maritim Serrereria. They all look like they deserve a good rest on their day off.

Just a tad windy, Mum said. 😎

Mum and Sister Snowden had been standing up all day on the concrete floors to do the digitising and now they have these great stools to sit on which makes it a little easier on their backs.

"Tuesday Alejandro, Silvias husband came and went with us to pick up the stools from El Corte Ingles. It was good to sit for a while and work. He doesn't speak any English but we managed okay, he is a lovely man."

"When we get to work each morning we have to set up the camera....calibration, focus, height of camera, we have to open the book and find a sample area and make sure all is right. Then we start clicking!!!!! The book must remain level so depending on where you are in the book we use black covered boards to build up either side. Black card is used under the pages so that all surrounds are black and just the page shows up. The image must appear straight and clean. No bits hanging off the edges or no dirt or dust. We try and flatten out the pages with gloved hands then just click on the switch....this is a bit like a flat mouse and is very sensitive. We must make sure we have no fingers or anything else in the image. The first book I did I had to redo as I had lots of fingers in it. So I have learned to check every image carefully as some books have thousands of pages and no page numbers, so finding the page to retake is very hard. The retake button is great as we can do that if it isn't right as we go. We do have a mask to wear but they are very hot and a bit claustrophobic so we don't usually wear them. We also bought an apron as it is quite dusty and the books can be full of insect droppings. Some are better than others but most have the edges eaten away or holes through the middle. At the moment we stand to do the work but we are going to get a high stool to sit on and that may help the legs and backs a little. The records are civil but are housed in the monastery of the Corpus Christi church. The archives seem to go on forever with the books piled high on top of each other. Salvador is the archivist and luckily he is young and fit. He brings the books to us and takes them back when they are done and we have evaluated our work. The books are uploaded onto the hard drive and each Friday they go to Frankfurt and they check them again and if they are okay they go onto SLC for uploading onto Familysearch. If they are not okay we have to redo!!!! They are very old and some of the writing is faint, or has come through from the other side. The writing is beautiful though. At the moment we are doing wills and deeds."

Mum's first full week working, she did 17 books and 14,000 images.

At the end of April, Mum and Sister Snowden invited 7 young sister missionaries to tea, from 4 wards.

Sisters Latu, Carroll, Aguilar, Stanley, Cummings, Doezie and Brudnicki

 They have set up a Spanish shelf in their apartment. It looks very cute and I'm sure will get very full over the next 18 months. 

At the end of April, Mum also had to go up to Barcelona to organise her residency card to stay longer in Spain. It only lasts one year before it needs renewal, but the one she arrived on, is only a temporary one. The train took 5 hours from Valencia.

 "Arrived in Barcelona at 9.15 to rain and cold. I stayed the night with Elder and Sister Berrett who live not far from the mission office, their calling is YSA/ institute. They were due to go into the MTC on the Monday and the Friday before Elder Oaks called them in and they were called to be Mission President in Mexico.  They are doing three months in Barcelona and then will leave on June 1st to take up that calling. Thursday was a wet and horrible day again. Had my photo taken and then to the Government offices for the finger printing ready for the residency card. Took two hours!!!!  I have to go back in three weeks to have fingerprints done again and pick it up......and it only lasts for one year. I caught the 2.30 train back to Valencia."

Monday, May 15, 2017

Valencia {missionaryMum.4}

Since the last post, Mum and Sister Snowden have settled into their apartment. It's the one with the curtain open below the sign. (Number 48 apartment one-second floor).

It takes them 25 minutes to get to work via walking and catching the train.

Finding an apartment to rent in Spain was a little different.

"Trying to find an apartment was a nightmare. No one answers their phone, they do not have real estate offices it all has to be done on the internet. They don't work Saturday either. We finally found one two blocks from the church and two blocks from the metro station. We only have two stations to get to work. We picked the keys up Friday. The realtor speaks a little English and is very friendly so we are going to ask her over when we get settled."

Inside the apartment.

"We moved into our Piso (apartment) on Saturday morning. Sister Brudnicki and Sister Doeze brought us around crockery and cutlery for two. We caught a taxi to IKEA, which was expensive but it is a long way out. We were there about four hours. Bought linen and knives and bits and pieces. There is a supermarket within walking distance but we will need to get a trolley of some sort."

"We have three bedrooms, two bathrooms, an office, kitchen and dining/lounge. It is on the second floor but only the foyer under us. You have to come in the front door of the building with a key and during working hours there is a doorman. It is 850 euros a month which works out to $700 a month each and this includes utilities. Not too bad."

Mum is working hard in Valencia. As you can see in the photos the books are very old and worn. Lot of the pages are stuck together and prising them apart is painstaking work as they must be careful not to damage them anymore than they already are.

Look at the doodling on one of the pages. I wonder about the story behind that and the person who drew it.

"Cement floors, cold but not dark. Everyone seems pleased to have us here, we work next to a section where the Professors from the University next door come and study. Several of them have welcomed us and mentioned Familysearch. Silvia and Antonio have worked there for a year and they work for the Church. There is also an Archivist and his wife who work for the Spanish government. He gets the books out for us and takes them back (thank goodness)!!!! They are young and very nice, they have a three month old son . The books are dated from the 1500s and are very insect riddled and delicate.  None of them speak much English so it is interesting. The archive opens from 9-1.30, closes for siesta .... media Dias....and then 4.30-8 pm. Everything closes for siesta."

This is Silvia who has been training Mum and Sister Snowden to digitise the government records in the archives.

 "Sunday we visit our new Ward for the first time. It is the second Ward. There are three and we meet at 10 am.   Silvia who we work with is in our Ward and Antonio, the other employee, is the Bishop of the 3rd Ward.  There are six other missionaries in each Ward. No internet at home now so communication could be limited for a while. We do have it at work so I will have to remember to take my IPad."

During their first week in Valencia, Mum visited the famous Valencia cathedral.  It was built between 1252 and 1482.

Human remains in the basement. 😯

The oldest part of the cathedral.

I don't think Mum's iPad photos do it justice. Wow the history of this place is amazing.

"The Spanish people are so laid back it is not funny. A young man stopped us in the street after he saw our badges and is happy to have the missionaries visit him. The week was quite long and it is hard getting used to standing on the cement floor most of the day. Our legs, feet and backs ache a bit. It is also hard getting used to the broken shifts!!!! The last two days in between we took the tourist double decker bus around the city and harbour. 2000 years produces a lot of history...compared to our 200 years."

Over Easter the archives was closed from Thursday to Tuesday so Mum and Sister Snowden did a few day trips.

This is the beach not too far from where they live. The water is of course the Mediterranean Sea.

"Thursday we hopped in the train and went a few stops till we found the beach. Walked for about two hours. Was a bit windy but lots of people were out. We only saw two nice hotel/resort type places. We have not seen a house yet, everyone lives in an apartment and the apartment blocks are old and dirty looking. The area we went today was quite dirty. Everyone smokes whenever, wherever in Spain and the footpaths are littered with butts. We don't realise how lucky we are in Australia and actually how clean it is. All the little restaurants along the beach are very similar really lots of seafood and paella. They all have someone out the front sprooking for business."

On Easter Saturday they went to Alicante which is about 1.5 hrs south of Valencia.

                                               The Spanish Amada. It was defeated in 1588.

While in Alicante, they visited the Santa Barbara castle. You can see it up on top of Benacantil Mountain in the above photo. It is one of the oldest medieval fortresses in Europe. It was built not that long ago.... just the 10th century. 😋

"Saturday was a day trip to Alicante. Quite big and fairly touristy. Millions of dollars in the port with some huge yachts. We did a bus tour around the city and a boat tour around the port. The esplanade was colourful and busy with lots of little tent shops. Food is Paella, fish, or pizza everywhere. In the afternoon we went to the castle Santa Barbara which was an old fort and then a prison before becoming a tourist attraction.
I would recommend Alancante for a visit if you like people!!!! The day was a little overcast."

The views from the castle down to the beaches of Alicante are breathtaking.

I'm glad Mum got a bit of sight-seeing in over the Easter break. Like she said, a 2000 year old history would be mind-boggling compared to our 200 -odd year one.