Sunday, August 11, 2013

UK 2013 - day 2: Church and Family search

Today is Sunday, so we went to church. We went to the Presbyterian church in Pomeroy, the church we believed Dean's ancestors might have gone to.

Irish Breakfast!
We had a delicious Irish breakfast at around 8 am, the time we told our hosts we would be having breakfast.

8 AM???? Am I crazy? Well, this is my vacation, ok! I don't want to waste a single second of it. I like early starts on non-working days, because sleeping-in is not part of my Activities to Enjoy the Day booklet. You can sleep in when you're dead

According to our host, there was a birthday party last night, hence the noisy night. So, maybe it is not as noisy on other days? H'm... I can't say yes or no, but there would plenty of noise on the next 2 days. Since once I'm out, I'm out - it really doesn't matter how much noise they make. I could sleep through world war 3.

Sleeping beauty
But after breakfast I threw my Activities to Enjoy the Day booklet out the window. We went up to the room and lay down to relax. Since church wasn't till 11 we had a few minutes to spare. Then guess what - we fell back asleep and a few minutes turned into a couple of hours. I guess we were just so worn out from the day before that any horizontal surface would put us right to sleep. Dean was dead from driving on the wrong side of the road all day after having had close to no sleep in the plane. I was tired from writing till 1AM - heavily caffeinated. Put all of these together with a cozy bed and you have two sleeping beauties that don't get up till 10AM.

Maybe we needed the rest, but now that meant that we had 1 hour to be inside the church building. Have you ever seen two crazy people running around the room trying to get ready for something.

Presbyterian Church of Pomeroy
We made it to church. A little bit late, but we made it. We didn't come all the way from America to go to that church just so we could miss it for a couple of minutes of oversleeping.

The service surprised us. The message was refreshingly covenantal. We tend to think that Christianity is dead in Europe, but, hey, I heard a very much reformed message being preached.

Dean noticed something interesting - during the message the pastor mentioned the hardships that their people have been dealing with. One of the things he mentioned was their failing health care system, "the same system our president and congress want to implement in the US," Dean told me. H'm... Ok.

As for me, I was just glad I was able to understand the words at all. My English has been getting better and better.

Watt family search
That's what we came on this vacation for. As we exited the church building, we were greeted - as usually happens when you visit any church - and, as we explained our purpose for being there, we were introduced to a men named Stanley Watt.

Stanley does genealogy research and explained a lot to us about Dean's family.

How crazy is that? He seems to belong to the same Watt family we are related to.

We scheduled to meet him again the next day - Monday evening - so that he could helps us more with our research. But for the remainder of that afternoon, he took us to the church some of the Watts had switched to a long time ago. It is a Church of Ireland - parish of Crossdernot. Not sure how to pronounce this either.

But, hey! We thought they were Presbyterians! What's up with that?

Well, originally, yes, they were all Presbyterians, having migrated from Scotland, where they belonged to the Church of Scotland - which was Presbyterian.

However, if I understood this correctly, in Ireland there was something called Penal Laws, by which if you were a Presbyterian - or anything that was not Church of Ireland, there was a lot of stuff you were not allowed to do.

You couldn't for instance hold any high level jobs, or sell any of your possessions for more than £5.00 - no matter what their worth.

So what did a bunch of Watt Presbyterians did? They switched for the Church of Ireland. And that is why our new friend Stanley was about to have us follow him to the Church of Ireland - parish of Crossdernot.

That following part was a bit of a challenge. Apparently here in Ireland when you tell someone "follow me," you drive a mile down the road and hope your followers guess which way you went.

By the time Dean and I got into our car and looked ahead of us, we looked at each other and went, "Where did he go?"

Since we thought  we had been to that church on our first trip, we figured we knew which ways to turn. And there we went - guessing which turns to take and not to take until we found his car waiting for us at a corner.

At the church we took pictures of graves that could be our relatives. The pictures were meant to be records of our family history. Dean's aunt is doing the whole research, so we were going to get those for her. But I end up taking pictures of anything that touches me.

That is why I don't really like graveyards. They make me cry. I cry every time I see children graves, or graves of spouses that left this life many years before the other. Or even those that have become impossible to read. Someone someday buried that person there - and no one knows who they were anymore.

Enough of grave yards. Stanley took us to Dean's ancestors' first farm site, which today is owned by another Watt - a relative (of some degree) named Denver. He happened to to be there, so we walked around and chatted a little.

Finally we scheduled to meet at the Crossdernot church the next day. We were going to meet a man who would open up the church baptism and funeral records for us to look at.

SIM card - first troubles

It was 3:30 by the time we said goodbye and went for lunch. We figured, because of the time, we should get something light, so we could get pub grub by dinner time. So we ate a chicken wrap at the McDonald's on the ASDA parking lot, right after buying an EE phone card at ASDA.

The phone card apparently was not working. We did everything the directions told us to. We figured we would call their costumer service after we found our dinner place - our next mission mission.

McCartney's bar
We left McDonald's to go look for our (hopefully) dining place - this bar called McCartney's that we had seen 2 years ago, while lost in the area and never saw it again. We drove and drove and drove randomly. We had asked around the night before, but no one knew of that place, so we drove further away, to places we thought we had been to 2 years ago.

Eventually we gave up. Apparently this place doesn't exist. No one knows of it. It is not on the internet. It is not anywhere. It was past dinner time. So we figured we should look for another pub.

There is nothing open on Sundays!
Every town around us had nothing open but bars.We finally found a couple of take-away diners. A fish and chip place called Dolphin in downtown Dungannon. We bought fish and chips, but when we got to our tavern we realized we had neither forks nor tartar sauce. The fish was a flavorless oily mess, the chips were clumped together in a bag.

So I decided to go to bed hungry. Dean tried to find me food somewhere down the road. He didn't, and by the time he got back his food was cold... we both were going to bed hungry.

So we went to the phone booth to call the SIM card costumer service. Guess what! They are not open on Sundays!!!

But at 10 PM ... guess what! oh! I hear the movement starting outside. Life comes to town once more in the dead of the night.  At the bars of, course. That is hysterical.

Today's expenses
ASDA - £14.46 (cash)
McDonald's - £6.00(cash)
Dolphin - £ 13.10(cash) dinner - which I didn't eat

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