Monday, August 1, 2016

the Queen's birthday, an interesting bike parade, and a whole lotta girls

As I mentioned before, we lucked out and got to be in London right smack dab in the middle of the Queen's 90th birthday festivities.

All the main streets looked like this in preparation:
It was pretty magical I must say! 

On the day of the big parade, we met up with my dear friend I met way back when my family lived in England when I was a Freshman in high school.

I've talked about her before and how she has visited us a bunch over the years since she works for British Airways.

So now it was our turn to visit her.

She brought her sister and her niece with her to meet up with us and we sure had a grand morning together.
(She's the one right in the middle above, and she's the best!  Her sister next to Dave and her niece is behind Claire.  Oh, and Sophia was still with us who we all felt like as "one of our own" by you Sophia!)

It was so fun to be in her city with her!  I'm sad Charity and Ian were out of town that day and missed meeting her, but boy we sure had a good time. 

We started the day with breakfast together right at Covent Garden:

Then made a plan...
...and headed to Buckingham palace to battle the crowds to see the Queen, along the most beautiful and picturesque London backdrops.
As we walked up to the main boulevard it was so hushed and quiet, and we realized we got there RIGHT in the nick of time to see the royal family roll by.

First came literally "all the {Queen's} horses and all the {Queen's} men:"

Dave helped the girls get all perched and ready for the royal sighting.
I love that man.

Then along came Prince William and Kate (Kate is in the carriage, not sure where William was, but someone said he was riding a horse).

Excitement back in the peanut gallery:
Then came the Queen...dressed in bright lime-green and waving at us all:
She was followed by a whole slew of MORE horses and guards and marching:
(that's an outtake of a video, but pretty cool to see all those fancy guards.)

I'm going to go ahead and take you with us so you can see that little part of the parade too.  Here we go:

(There are lots of more close-up pictures of this whole event (including lots of stuff we didn't see) over HERE.)
It was pretty exhilarating to be there amidst that throng of people, joining in with the awe and respect of the British Royalty.

They were on their way to Buckingham Palace where they made a royal appearance on the balcony to watch the fly-by.  We didn't see them on the balcony but here's a pic. from BBC:

After they had gone through they opened the main boulevard.

It was pretty funny because as we gathered amidst all those people to watch the plane fly-by coming up next, we ran into SO many people we knew.

First of all, we randomly ran into Steve Young and his family. We knew Steve (he helped a little bit with my Dad's run for Governor way back eons ago) but we hadn't met his family so it was fun to meet them, they are awesome.  Steve's brother is in our ward and another brother lives close-by who's wife helped SO MUCH when we built our house...we love the Youngs!
It is such a small world.

Then we met up with Sophia's whole family who we hadn't been able to find in the crowd before (we were so excited to meet them since they had so graciously taken care of Elle as she adjusted to England last year.

Then along came a few girls who are on study abroad there in London, two of whom we knew separately before they came here (one is a good friend of Max's from BYU who came down for his farewell and another is a good friend of our good friend who we got to know at Lake Powell last year).  So fun that they are now dear friends and brought along some other girls for us to meet too.  What a grand time they are having there!

So there we stood, surrounded by people we know and love in the middle of London at the Queen's birthday.

We were all chatting away a hundred miles a minute when the fly-by started.

It was beautiful.
Plane after plane soaring right over our heads.
And the last ones left a trail of red-white-and-blue filling up the sky.

There were residual guards heading back to wherever they were going when it was done.
...all as proper and wonderful as you would expect in London.

Right on cue, it started to rain as soon as the festivities were over.
We took cover in a local "Pret" (such a great little bakery), and said goodbye to these lovely ladies who had to take off:
 Love them and especially this one so much!
So many memories over the years!

And as they left, we met up with another family we love and adore (this was a planned meeting this time:)

So, Sophia's family was with us (who have one boy who is on a mission and four girls just like we do), and we fell head-over-heels in love with them.  She (the mom) is from Greece and he's from England and they are about the kindest, sweetest people you could meet. They will always have such a special spot in my heart for taking Elle (who they didn't even know) under their wing without batting and eye and making her feel so at home in London last year.

Amy and Rob's family joined us too, who also have FOUR girls.  (so you see a pattern here...there's still another four-girl family coming up in England...)

Amy has been the best of friends with my little sister Saydi ever since I can remember (which means we have claimed her as part of our family) and she and her husband have lived right outside London for a lot of years (I can't remember how many) and we ADORE them.

Rob was the one who hooked us up with the lady who Elle did her design internship for last summer.  So we are forever in their debt.

It was so fun to have all these girls all in one spot.
...right there in Chinatown.

Here are the parents of that gaggle of girls:

They all made such fast friends.

The Deightons (Sophia's family) had to leave by then, so we bid them farewell, and set off on our next adventure with Amy and Rob and their girls.

Much to our surprise, as Rob was helping us make our way to this monument below, along came a naked bike parade:
I'm not just talking just a few naked bikers, I'm talking hundreds and hundreds of them.

They simply just kept coming!  And they were right everywhere in the direction we were going.

I have to admit, our eight girls' expressions cracked us all up.

Too bad I didn't capture them (the expressions, I mean :), but here's our selfie.  Because seriously, when you happen to run into hundreds of naked bikers it must be documented somehow.  HA!

From there we headed to Harrods and talked and talked along the way.
 Lucy was in Heaven in the Lego friend section.
 Grumpy tourist, not so much :)

We had dinner together, our two families filling up a huge table at this really good Mexican restaurant, and we had a hard time letting them go when we were done.  So grateful for this good family and their goodness that rubbed off on our family that night.
I wish I had a recording of my girls' comments as we parted ways.  All joy and love for those girls who they "felt like they had known forever" after our afternoon together.

Now that was a day for the books!


  1. I love Dave and Claire in the naked bike ride selfie :)

  2. Oh I love seeing photos of England! I lived in Oxford for 6 months last year and it was the best 6 months of my life so far. I made many weekend trips to London and fell head over heels with that city as well! There is just something so special about England, thank you for sharing all your pictures with this stranger! :)

  3. Naked bike ride?!?! That is hysterical. Seems like you and Elle have a knack for running into nudists, ha!

  4. Hello, I found your blog looking for ideas for a missionary’s farewell (my youngest brother was called to serve in Chile this month). You have a beautiful family, your photos are wonderful and Lucy overflows love from her eyes. I loved to know a little more about you. Best wishes, Rafaella Guedes.

    1. PS. I'm Brazilian and my English is not so good =)

  5. I have been following your blog for years but never comment. I live In England and I was gutted to see I was in London that day and in the same places. It would have made my day to meet you. Next time you are in England arrange a meet up!. (I was in GAP in Regent street when the naked parade went by!!)Best wishes, Marisa


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