London and Paris, 1985 Part 3

Monday, January 7, 1985

Happy Birthday to Mrs. Madara! The day began about 7:30 AM when I went to room 266 to borrow Lynn's converter. No one answered and there were no sounds coming from the room. After three tries, someone finally answered. Lynn just handed me the regular white plug. She said that was all they used. We had tried everything to make that thing work with the brown converter! So, I thanked her, told her we already had the white plug. We tried it in our room. It worked without the converter. We were hoping it would also work in Paris. Anyway, I finally sterilized my contact lenses.

After showering and eating breakfast, we headed out. We walked to King's Cross, stopping at the National Westminster Bank on the way to cash traveler's checks. We also stopped at the post office so I could mail postcards. We stood there for a while licking stamps and air mail labels. A lot of trouble to send a little message! We finally headed toward the tube station and tried to remember how we got there so we could get back. Of course, there are no street signs, only some addresses written on the buildings. Big help! Anyway, we got on the tube for Westminster for our regular 40 pence. We couldn't believe how easy it was. The sisters make everything complicated!

We arrived at Westminster Abbey about 1:00. We were able to walk around inside this time! The place is incredible! Magnificent! Overwhelming! We only paid the student rate, 65 pence, to look around. We didn't have our I.D. cards from Immaculata, but the gentleman believed us. We saw so many famous people memorialized there. We were getting goose bumps! Some of the names included:
composers Purcell and Blow, Elizabeth I, Mary I, Edward VI, Henry VII, Elizabeth of York, James I, Oliver Cromwell, Elizabeth Tudor, Mary Queen of Scots, Lady Mary Beaufort (mother of Henry VII), Saint Edward (founder of the Abbey), Margaret of York, King Edward III, King Richard, Queen Anne of Bohemia plus the coronation chair and state sword. There were chapels for Saint Nicholas, Saint Paul, and Saint John the Baptist. The Poet's Corner included: Robert Browning, Lord Tennyson, Lord Byron, Barton Booth, Ben Johnson, Milton, Mason, Keats, Shelley, Shakespeare, the Bronte sisters (Jane, Charlotte, and Anne), Kipling, Hardy, Dickens, and the great composer, George Frederick Handel. In the basement, we saw the marker for another composer, Clementi. We bought souvenir booklets and headed out into the arctic again.

Margaret at St. Margaret’s Church on the grounds of Westminster Abbey

We asked a man outside throwing dirt on the ground to point us to the nearest restaurant. We decided to forget lunch since we couldn't find anything interesting. Then it was back to the tube. We got off at Tower Hill to see the Tower of London, the Tower Bridge, and the crown jewels. We walked and walked for about 20 minutes which seemed like 20 hours. We paid 2 pounds to tour the buildings.

The Bloody Tower was first on our list. It is named "bloody" because people stayed there before having their heads chopped off. Ugh! The tower had a winding staircase that we thought would never end. The rooms were really beautiful, though. Next was the Jewel Tower where the crown jewels are kept, of course. We paid eighty pence to see them. They are gorgeous! On the first floor there were display cases containing robes, jewels of earlier times, swords of state, and royal trumpets. The jewels were down in the basement. They were set up in a circular showcase that we walked around. You had to step back into the second row to stop and take a longer look. The jewels are gorgeous to say the least! We'd both be afraid to wear them. Royalty is probably guarded extra carefully when they're wearing them. Finally, we went through the White Tower which I especially enjoyed. It contained weapons of all types and the armor the knights used to wear. Some of the displays included horses and their armor along with the knights.

We had a hard time finding our way out. A descending spiral staircase provided the way. We saw the guards at the Waterloo Barracks and took some pictures. Then we tried getting out of the complex. No easy task. One of the employees, dressed as a Beefeater, helped us out.

On the way back to the tube station, a Chinese lady stopped us and asked if we would take her picture. No problem. Another 40 pence took us to South Kensington. Before we had left for the trip, I had read that Mr. and Mrs. Osmond (yes, as in Donny and Marie) were on a mission in London, so we decided to check it out. We walked down Exhibition Road, looking for the Latter Day Saints Church. We passed the Victoria and Albert Museum and walked and walked. We thought we missed it a couple of times. By then, it was about 4:30 and we were giving up hope of finding it. Eventually, we saw it on the right side of the street. Before I lost my nerve, we walked right up the stairs and into the building. Once inside, we said, "Gosh, it's cold out there." A friendly man said, "Are you cold?" We said, "It's freezing out there and we have to defrost." He said, "Go right ahead and get warm." He walked over to make sure the heat was on. We looked at each other and Margaret said, "Is that him?" I said, "I think so." Margaret walked over to look at the man's name tag (he must've thought we were crazy!) and said, "That's him." Then she introduced herself and me. I told him that I've been a fan of the family for many years and I couldn't believe I had to come all the way to London to meet one of them. Then Mr. Osmond said, "I'm glad to meet you. Come and meet another Osmond. Ollie, come out here and meet somebody from Pennsylvania. Oh, she isn't here right now, but she'll be back. Are you getting warm yet?" Margaret told him yes, but her hands were still frozen. "Don't you have gloves?" he asked. We told him about our adventures at Harrod's. He laughed, then introduced us to another fan, from London. He asked us where we were in Pennsylvania, if we were near Allentown. I told him we were only an hour or so away and that we used to go to their shows there every year. We talked about London, the pound.

He was flipping a coin when Mrs. Osmond walked in. She took my hand and said, "Oh, your hands are cold." Then she asked if we had a few minutes to take a small tour. She talked about Mormons and Catholics, how we're alike and different. She showed us the pictures telling the story of man from birth until death. She talked about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and showed us the gold tablets it was printed on. She was very friendly and joked around with us. We told her about our adventures in London, about school and our majors, and why we were in England. She told us that Mr. Osmond's brother, Dale's, wife was Catholic and they helped her to convert. Mr. Osmond came over then with his Russian-style hat and coat and asked if he was dressed warmly enough. Margaret told him to button up his coat. Then he left and Mrs. Osmond finished the tour. She asked us to sign the register. When Mr. Osmond returned, he asked if Ollie was giving us a good tour.

They gave us their autographs and posed for a couple of pictures. They thought we were sweet for asking. Mrs. Osmond asked if we could stay, but we were really hungry. Time to eat. We thanked them for their hospitality and headed on our way. It was really super meeting them.

This is me with George and Olive Osmond. Margaret didn't want to have her picture taken with them. Guess she thought I was weird. LOL They were so friendly and gracious. Funny, a few years later when we met Donny in Florida, Margaret didn't want to have her picture taken with him, either. But when it was our turn, she changed her mind! Guess he won her over.

Back outside, we went in search of a place to eat dinner and ended up at Dion's where we ordered chicken sandwiches. We went into a hamburger place first, but we didn't like the looks of it. Anyway, the sandwiches weren't so great. In fact, they were rotten! Such is life. We took the tube back to King's Cross. There was a really cute guy sitting next to Margaret, but he had been madly kissing his girlfriend good-bye before she got off the tube. They barely came up for air!

Once at King's Cross, we stopped at Burger Delight for burgers and chips. Much better. We were so cold, though, our teeth were chattering! The waiter thought we were really funny. We asked him for directions back to the hotel. We followed those British directions one more time and they failed once again. We ended up going in circles and were right back where we started. It was so funny. We ran past the Burger Delight because we didn't want the waiter to see us. He would've gotten a kick out of that.

After a few more inquiries, we finally made it safely back to the hotel. We defrosted, I wrote in my diary as Margaret reminded me of things we did, and we tried to pack for our departure for Paris. We also watched some television - "Sesame Street," basketball, "Quincy," and "St. Elsewhere." We went to sleep between 1:00 and 1:30 AM. We're turning into real night owls. Ha!