Day 20: Church Service and Return to Oxford

It was an early morning, but we got up and dressed. Erin put up Micah’s hair in pigtails.

James had planned on taking the students on a hike up to Kinder Scout (tallest peak in the Peaks District) and having church there, but it was raining, so we weren’t able to do that. Instead, after breakfast we found a large room in the hostel and had our service.

James organized the students into leading the service. Multiple students led songs, read scripture, and prayed.

We also shared Communion together. The hostel sold some juice that contained grape juice, amongst other juices from concentrate. It worked.

The scriptures that James picked out for the students to read were all Psalms about God’s creation, especially the mountains and, of course, Psalm 23. The idea was that as they explored after the service, they would think about those things. Speaking of sheep and shepherds, we hiked down to the bus to put our stuff into it (had to be out of our rooms by 11:00). On the way, the sheep were just chilling out by the road.

It was cool, wet, and rainy outside.

After we put our stuff in the bus, we hiked BACK up to the hostel. Due to the weather, most of the students decided to relax inside.

Holly shared part of her Twix candy bar with Micah.

Erin played spades with the students and had a lot of fun.

Zeke and Micah played with various students and also John.

After a few hours, we packed up what was left and headed down the hill one last time to get on the bus.

On the bus, Zeke asked if he could close his curtain so he could take a nap. That’s pretty rare for him, but I guess he was just that tired. He slept for about two hours.

Micah fell asleep too. You can see in the background that we were watching The Fellowship of the Ring. It was the perfect movie for an Oxford trip, especially a bus ride that would take about 4 hours. We got through the entire movie and then watched the first 45 minutes of The Two Towers.

When Micah woke up, about two hours later, she had fun giving her stuffed animal – a wooly mammoth – a bath with a wet wipe.

Back at home, it was bedtime, so Aunt Shelley read a bedtime story to Zeke from his new book about dinosaurs.

It was quite an exhausting day.


Day 19: Traveling to Peaks District and Chatsworth House

We all got up early, got on the bus, and headed for the Peaks District, a British National Park. It was early, but everyone was in good spirits.

It took about 4 hours to drive there in the bus.

Along the way, we stopped at Chatsworth House.

Chatsworth House

The traditional home of the Duke of Devonshire, the home has been featured in various films about British life, such as Pride and Prejudice and Downton Abbey. Here we are getting off the bus and waiting for our tickets.


The inside of the house was amazing.

Here you can see what the Duchess of Devonshire wore to Queen Elizabeth’s II coronation, also worn to Queen Victoria’s Coronation in 1837.

Here’s the library with over 20,000 books!

And the dining room:

And some other pictures of us touring the house. It was incredible.


Near the end, there were some hats to put on and take your picture. Micah was done with it all and decided to lay on the ground and throw a fit.

But then she decided to be playful.

Zeke wanted to put on the polo helmet.


In the gift shop, there was a bust of Mr. Darcy, one of the main characters from Pride and Prejudice. Note the sign under it that says “Please do not kiss!” Apparently a lot of women kissed the statue.


We ate lunch at the restaurants at the stables. There was a fountain and Zeke wanted a picture in front of it.

Outside the house, we ate lunch and strolled the massive garden grounds. Here’s an outside shot of the house.

There was a hedge maze!

James went inside the hedge maze with the students.

The fountains were beautiful. We decided to take a family photo.

After that we had to go. Here’s a video of Zeke back on the bus, recalling his visit to Chatsworth House. You can see it didn’t seem to make much of an impression. Haha!

Peaks District

We got back in the bus and continued on another 45 minutes to the youth hostel where we would stay in the Peaks District. The kids fell asleep on the way there.

Zeke woke up when we got off the bus, but was unhappy about it. We had to hike about 15 minutes up the hill to get to the hostel. The road was too small for busses.

Meanwhile, Micah stayed asleep the whole walk up while two students carried her.

You can see the students proudly around Micah with the youth hostel behind them. She’s still asleep.

Once we got our keys, the group went to their rooms and scattered.

We had a couple of hours to go hiking before dinner, so we decided to go and explore.

We decided to try hiking up Kinder Scout, the highest peak in the whole Peaks District.

Micah was constantly

The beauty of the Peaks District was overwhelming. We didn’t make it up to the top of Kinder Scout, but it was still great.

After stopping here, we hiked back down to the hostel to have dinner with the students. On they way down, we found John and Laura (the other faculty sponsor family). John decided it would be funny to convince Zeke that he could lift John off the ground.

Dinner was good with good company.

And after dinner we took the kids to bed. Erin and Shelley went to bed, too. James went downstairs to play cards with the students. Downstairs they played Hearts and Spades.

It was a rough night with Micah waking up and crying unconsolably for ten minutes in the middle of the night. The students were nice and said that it didn’t bother them in the next room and across the hall. But even with that, it was a great day.