People of the sun

image

We stayed the night in Spokane, Washington at the Moses’ house, some friends from the production we had participated in in Nauvoo. Barry and his family welcomed us into their beautiful home and had prepared a traditional Native American meal for us to enjoy.

Barry, is a Native American of now what’s referred to as the Spokane tribe, which is lots of tribes now joined as one. They speak Salish and are also known as people of the sun.

They prepared a delicious traditional meal for us. Everything is believed to have a Spirit and so when you prepare traditional food it is important to give thanks and gratitude to the Spirits and connecting with the earth. And so they first took some food from each of the dishes and he then sung a traditional song in his language at which we all joined in. He then prayed in both his language and also in English. The food samples were then taken outside and offered back to the Spirits they had come from, to be enjoyed by the animals. Before eating of the food it is part of the ceremony to first drink some water, which we did. We then ate. The food was incredible and was all traditional to the people and land, we ate Canes root, Salmon, Huckleberries, black moss of the pine trees, potatoes and a few other tasty dishes.

image

The foods took around two days to prepare as you either cook it in the ground for 2/3 days in whats called an earth oven (click here to read Barry Moses’ blog about one), though you can also do it in a slow cooker (that’s a crackpot to my American friends).

image

We felt very privileged to join with them and learn more about this incredible civilisation and to take a moment to be thankful for all we were eating.

We stayed up till the early hours of the morning talking with Barry and learning so much about being a leader and working together to achieve incredible results.

Barry taught us about his beliefs and his history. About the local park which his ancestors like him, would go to gather the traditional foods we had eaten earlier and how he worked with the local community to protect and to ensure it is preserved for future generations to also enjoy.

I wish we had had more time to visit the reserve with them and learn more, but we still had a 12 hour drive to go before we got back to Salt Lake City, where we will shortly being flying back to the UK from.

Advertisements

Dust Storm craziness

On our way back from Canada we drove through Washington state and ended up in this:

image

Apparently its called a Haboob, just saw this article today about it USA Today article

image

We couldn’t get away from it and so ended up having to drive through it. We came off the freeway and pulled up at a cafe. It was lucky as everything suddenly went dark
image

The wind was loud and shook the whole car.

image

image

About half an hour later the dust cleared and we were able to drive on. The crazy thing was that although the dust had cleared, a lightning storm carried on in it’s place. Lots of fire engines sped by us as the lightning had struck the ground and created a huge ‘crater of fire’, is really the only way to describe it. It was a huge hole in the ground filled with fire. It was mental. We all thought we were in a Spielberg movie.

Ps Despite the rumours tumbleweed is infact real and not just in the movies hah, we saw a tonne of it

Whale watching

image

Saturday was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. We had the opportunity to go whale watching here in Cowacha Bay, Vancouver Island (Canada). Our tour guide Lance from OceanEco Adventure, was amazing (we highly recommend them). Lance has been on the sea since the age of 9 when he would go out with his father on the fishing boat, needless to say the ocean is in his blood and so you can imagine he was totally enthusiastic and loves what he does. We went with a small group on a zodiac boat (aka rib) for about 4 hours. On returning to shore the sun was setting so we also got to see a beatiful sunset.

image

I’m not sure yet how to describe my feelings on the experiences of Saturday but it was incredible. We saw two different groups of Orca. The Transient ones, the mammal eaters and more stealthy as the travel in small family groups; and the Resident orca, who travel in big groups and are less concerned about being spotted so tend to be playful with eachother and breach more.

image

image

The Orca were the most masjestic creatures I have ever seen. Apparently they are the closest mammal to us in terms of intelligence. They measure intelligence by the size of the brain to the spinal cord (simplifying it) so humans are 50/1 and then the orca is 45/1, to put it in context cats are 7/1 and dogs 6/1. I cant remember the monkeys but i think they were around 25/1. Studies have shown they have memory and emotions and also each pod has a different language they communicate with. Really fascinating.

We saw the first group of Orca (transient) circling a small island and then hunting on the shore. It was a mum and two sons.

We then went chasing the resident orca, I think there was around 69 of them in the group. They were everywhere and all around the boat. You aren’t allowed to drive closer to them than 100 feet but we turned the engine off and the Orca came right up to us. We didn’t know where to look, they were everywhere. I really cannot describe the wonder if that moment.

We then got word there was a humpback whale spotted 30 mins before…we headed to the area but couldn’t see one. But it’s ok..our whale watching adventures are definately not over.

Can’t believe we are only here for one more day. It really is beautiful here

We also saw the Chemainus town murals..

image

image

And this sweet statue

image

Party in the USA

So roadtrip two begins..Canada here we come!

image

Stopped to buy some essentials.. Bear Lake Raspberries..apparently infamous, and they were pretty good:

image

And Elk Jerky from a sweet man on the side of the road. Funny as I’m not a big meat eater, but it ofcourse was free range and was surprisingly tasty

image

We then drove through Yellow Stone..makig sure we hit some of the best sites as we drove through.

My favourite was sre the Old faithful Gyser…erupts every 90 minutes..and it did not dissapoint!

image

image

On the way out we saw Byson

image

image

Yep thats us waving..haha

image

We finished our Yellow stone adventure with seeing the Yellow stone Grand Canyon’s Lower Falls from the Artist viewpoint..was breathtaking!!

image

Following the yellow brick road…

“And so we walked down Parley street and crossed the Mississippi and with once glance back we turned our wagons west” (Nauvoo Pageant)

image

          The 2014 Core Cast

image

Loren and I in The Nauvoo Pageant

image

Finale of The British Pageant

(Photos courtesy of the Pageant and Jeremy Dick)

Two months, 24 performances, 24 vignette performances, 2 performances of ‘Our Story Goes On’, 3 thunderstorms and a total of 3000 miles and we are back in Utah. It’s hard to believe we have finished. It was a beautiful and crazy whirlwind and we loved it.

It was amazing and totally humbling to be able to be in Nauvoo this summer. We felt privaledged to share these stories and be in the company of some of the most amazing people and families who sacrificed vacation time and money to do it.

image

We roadtripped back from Illinois through Iowa with some friends and stopped in Denver, Colorado for an hour or two before driving on. Really great city with a good vibe

image

image

image

image

Where to next? Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada! We are now en route, following the brick road to Yellow Stone. We are super stoked and excited to continue on our American and Canadian adventures

image

“Rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens”….

Hard to believe we close The British Pageant tonight and tomorrow The Nauvoo Pageant. The last two months have literally flown by..

Before we leave I have to write a post about the incredible skies here..seriously nothing quite like them and definately one of my favourite things..

Here’s a few:

image

image

image

image

image

image

And some of the best signs:

image

“The British are coming” and apparently some guy called  “Trevor has swag”…

image

“Lord of the Onion Rings”…

image

“He who stands in the middle of the road gets run over”….

And the wildlife:

image

image

image

It’s been an incredible summer and it’s still not over..looking forward to two more shows!

We also plan for some more adventures before we fly back to the UK so watch this space…

Strange and beautiful day..

image

So today I had a profound experience and its all connected to the man in this picture, his name is Glen Saunders, but in order for me to tell this story I need to put it in context..well…

During the day we rehearse with the new cast, teaching them the show, which they then perform the following week. One of the other things we do during the day are vignettes. They are short performances, about people who lived here in Nauvoo and are performed at the historical sites. Anyway Loren and I are in several of them. One of which is Trail of Hope.

After the leader of our church, Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum, were martyed in 1844, the persecution intensified and so the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, aka Mormons, were forced to leave their homes here in Nauvoo, Illinois. They walked down Parley Street and crossed the Mississippi and headed West. So the vignette, Trail of Hope takes places on Parley Street. In it we share accounts, letters, journals and articles by those who were either leaving or witnessed those who did leave. Now you might think these accounts could be dramatic and full of self pity, however that couldn’t be further from the truth. The accounts and journals entries show the people as having peace and hope for the future.

So this morning I was performing in it, and an elderly gentleman stopped me as he could tell I was from England. He told me he had served a mission in 1951 in the UK and was in Bristol, and Weston-super-mare; “Wow” I said, “My husband’s family are from Weston-super-Mare”.
“Well” he said “do you know the Jones?”, “Yes, my husband is a Jones”.. turns out he taught the gospel to  Loren’s grandfather, Arthur Jones and “his boys” (one of whom was Loren’s dad). Loren’s grandad and Nan were later baptised by a different missionary, but the church was first introduced to Loren’s family by this man over 60 years ago! Though he lost contact, he still remembered “Arthur Jones and his family”. 

So you know Nauvoo is a small town, on the bend of the Mississippi, it’s a tricky place to get to, yet here I stand 60 years later with this man.

Loren’s grandfather passed away before he was born, and so he never got to meet him and so as you can imagine was excited to hear this, though they have yet to meet (which we are currently working out).

I tenderley realised that Loren and I met at Church in Poole, and if it wasn’t for that man in 1951, his family may not have joined the church and I may never have met Loren. Incredible!

Coincidence? I will let you decide… but for me, moments like this, which are special for me, I think of as tender mercies. As you know we are religious and so something like this, and other experiences I have had, helps remind me that there is a God who loves me and knows me and indeed everyone.

Anyway just wanted to share that fun story.

It’s hard to believe we only have two weeks left!

image

Ps took this picture the other day..Nauvoo really does have the best skies