Saturday, July 29, 2006

Back to our regularly scheduled program

I think I can stop whining about unpacking now. Well, I'll be unpacking and rearranging for some time, but I'll try to talk about something else! And I really don't want to complain about the heat and humidity, but it's hard... My forearms are sweating, something that doesn't happen just anywhere. Yesterday a bunch of parents went to watch 6-year-old gymnastics camp in a gym, and my, talk about hot! The kids had fans on them, but we grown-ups were just sweltering. It's too hot to do anything, except perhaps go to an air-conditioned shopping mall!

Okay, let's see about some knitting. I did make it to Romni the other day, during their 20% off sale, and I got some stuff. Cheap dishcloth cotton (and really, with these colours, who would pay more?), some garish striping sock yarn for Arthur, and a few balls for the big old wool sweater.

I'm not finding this dishcloth as engrossing as some people do. It's okay, but I'm not going to make a million of them. Perhaps if I had a better colourway, it'd be more fun! I did unearth some more of this cotton in some good greens, but it's too hot to sort stash right now...

I will one day work on the unfinished sock pairs. I have 2 socks done, but different patterns. And another started, but it doesn't match either finished one! These turned out quite odd. The pooling on the leg is on 68 stitches, and the foot, where the colour pattern is much different, is 66 stitches. I toyed with ripping the whole thing out and redoing it with 66 on the leg, but Arthur likes the lightning-bolt look, so we'll stick with it. Just need to graft this toe, then I can use the needles to make sock #2.

And, I know some of you are wondering about the post box situation. Indeed, I shudder when I think of it myself. Look at this, a typical downtown Canadian mail box. Graffiti'd, postered, but at least upright. This is not always the case, as, despite the large weight in the grey base, these can get tipped over. Victoria would never allow her boxes to be tipped over. I think this may be the last postal pic for a while!

On the new-name front: Stephen tells me he will make my life more wonderful with some Mac thingy that he will get. It'll practically write the blog, it'll be more beautiful and easy and all that. But we don't have it just yet. So, instead of setting up new blog #1 and then having to switch again, we'll just all pretend we are still on the Cam for a while longer.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Not cleaning anything

I'll just sit here on the porch, catching the neighbours' wireless and taking a break from cleaning. I just washed all the cutlery, and the drawer, and soon I'll go back in and rearrange it all. Since I try not to gripe on the blog, I'll not go into all the grrrrrs and arggggggs about moving back into the house. But really, worse words than that were flying around the place as we discovered the extent of the carelessness of our tenants....

I have rediscovered some stash. I have some lovely felting projects in mind for my Patons Classic Merino, and I found some nice pinky cotton for a top for Elaine, and I found my one poor ball of Kidsilk Haze -- I was making a lace scarf with it, and making too many mistakes, so I tried to rip it out. It wasn't quite in a tangled mess, but somewhere along the line the yarn got broken and it looks forlorn, a few inches of lace off the needles.

Sometime next week I plan a trip to Romni Wools, a giant shop with everything a girl could want. I need more colours for my many coloured Lopi sweater. I know I said I'd finish it in England, but I didn't manage. It's destined to be a gift, but the grand occasion isn't coming up any time soon, so I'm not really in a rush.

Okay, must go dry dishes and put things away. Next time, perhaps some pictures!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Some choice pictures

Here are the kids on the platform at King's Cross. You can see how thrilled they are to be sitting on a pile of luggage.

And here's the chopsticks and knitting. I got Elaine to take a picture or two of me in the airport getting started, but I had bad hair and looked too fat. This happened when we got to the Ed VIII post box, too -- I looked at a picture Arthur had taken and then asked him to take another, with me looking more fit and trim, and he still had me looking fat! These kids... Anyways, my new get thin regime involves moving from a two-storey house to a 4-storey house. All the junk is in the basement or main floor, and has to get to the bedrooms on the top floor! So, thin thighs in 30 days, for sure....

And while we were in London we went to the Geffrye Museum and took this picture in the garden.

Wow, three pictures and a link! Soon I'll have my own network connection, and a mouse would be nice, too. Hmm, a desk?? But from a laptop actually on my lap, I think I'm doing okay!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Home again, at last

We've arrived... We spent most of yesterday sitting at Heathrow, glad to be rid of our huge amount of luggage, and fretting about how we would deal with it all at the Toronto end. Flight was uneventful. Terrible Harrison Ford movie -- I hope that he was supposed to look miserable, because he sure did. Of course, it might have been better if I'd listened to the sound.... I asked the woman at the check-in about knitting, and she said I could take wooden needles. But I didn't have any wooden needles, so I stuck with plan A, which was Rowan Chunky Print on chopsticks. I made a narrow but long scarf, but finished it over the middle of the Atlantic.

Got to our house. The tenants left a rather large amount of junkola. Recycling in a pile. Spent candles all over the place. Furniture not where we left it. I think they ran out of dishwasher soap shortly before moving, and so ran the dishwasher without soap a few times, so everything is sort of mucky. Nothing devastating, but lots of little cleaning up to do, and of course, we have to unpack our 7 bags, 1 box, 2 carry-ons and whatever, plus the basement pile we left.

Sorry, no pictures. Where is the camera-to-computer cable? Which neighbour's wireless shall I use? And all that jazz. Haven't unpacked the stash yet, but Arthur will help with that!

Oh, and I hope to have a new name for the blog soon! Did you know that "Mary Knits" backwards is "Stinky Ram"? But I don't think I'll use that...

Monday, July 17, 2006

Last day!

Things have calmed down a bit here. We are amazed at the number of tourists... Foolish us! We went to Greenwich Saturday, and yesterday the boys did some exploring and the ladies had a leisurely afternoon in the park and so on. I went to Loop and got some summer knitting magazines for the plane ride. Today, we'll go back to the Diana playground and then pack our last bits up. We have a giant cab booked for tomorrow, so I guess we're all set.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

One step forward

I am here at my friend's kitchen table in London, with a pile of bags in the living room and the rest of the family still snoozing (sort of).

What a day yesterday! We got up, ate the last of the bacon, with a can of creamed corn to use it up, and started the laundry business. When you put all your stuff in a truck and move across town, you can just toss your dirty laundry in the truck, too. But we had to leave all the bedding clean for the next tenants in the house, and there was no truck involved! So, we set to work, and we managed to wash the floors, deliver other bits of leftovers to friends and were ready to go at 1 pm.

Call a cab. "We'll need a van, because we have lots of luggage," we said. They sent a station wagon, which was cheaper, but Arthur and I in the back had a large duffel bag across our legs.

We managed, with teamwork and clever planning, to get all the bags to the platform, get tickets, get a sandwich. Then we had mere seconds to get on the train with 7 million other people, who all had a suitcase as well! We finally just blocked the doorway with our bags, and I got to sit down, with Elaine on my lap, on the one remaining seat, and when we got to London, we just shoveled everything out the doors and made a pile. Stephen went off in search of a baggage cart, and returned half an hour later, with three! Lucky, since they were small! Don't people usually move 7 bags, a box, a car seat, 2 carry-on suitcases, 4 backpacks and lunch?? Sheesh.

Elaine and I settled into a cab, where the luggage was packed in around us, and Arthur and Stephen walked, and we all got to Katherine's house where we had a cuppa tea and settled down a moment. Plain old pasta for supper, watch a movie, all is calm.

Then, Katherine was going to put things away in the garden, and noticed a dead rat on the grass. This distracted her from her job of covering up the patio table, and while she was ducking under an overhanging tree, she banged her head on an open window, and blood poured from her head. Really. Then I used the electric kettle to rinse the blood off the pavement and when I put it back on the base, it blew the power in the house.

Finally, the blood stopped flowing, the rat was disposed of, the power was restored, and we all went to bed. I even got the patio table covered!

I hope today will be uneventful...

Edited later: Kath's husband came home late at night and whisked her off to the emergency, where they glued her head back together. She's fine, but can't wash her hair for a few days!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Full speed ahead

Arthur and Stephen went to the airshow at Duxford last weekend, and saw this. I saw the picture this morning and thought, "That's the kind of power we'll need to get all this stuff outta here!"

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Are we there yet?

We have a houseful of boxes and bags. We have to show the landlady the house tomorrow, and it'd be nice if she could actually see the floor. Stephen and I keep going back and forth about "We can fit it all in, easy" and "Go get more boxes, we'll have to mail a ton of stuff!" Right now, he's on the fit it in side, and I'm on the "we'll never make it" side. I'm sure that'll change several times over the next few hours, as we unearth and sort more stuff...

We had a bash here to say farewell, except I think I'll be seeing most people one more time. Anne blogged it all here. I love it when I can make one dish and have a party with loads of good food!

And since no one wants to see a picture of my house of bags, I'll just show you Arthur, then and now. We've not quite been here a year, but I started fiddling with the blog before we left Toronto, so I've actually passed my blogiversary without noticing. One day in June I thought it was July, and thought then that I'd passed the date, but now, really, I have. Happy belated blogiversary to me.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Hey, I just figured this out

Some pictures of kids, and the occasional adult, on holiday. As you can see, they sometimes try to evade me...

A swift look at Cornwall

I'm going to show a few pictures and tell a couple of tales, but I can't do the full show and tell here, folks. We're having a party tomorrow (haha, welcome to my home, don't trip over anything, and you'll have to wash your own dishes...). Yesterday I did about half the laundry, and it took all day. Jeez Louise...

Anyways, let's see how quick and succinct I can be here. First, a complaint: On their web page, Ryanair does not list knitting needles as forbidden items (but no crampons, darts, harpoons or ice picks, please) but the security folks at Stansted won't let them through. A whole hour each way with no knitting. (And then I checked the Air Canada page and they do have a little picture of dangerous knitting needles! A whole flight across the Atlantic with no knitting!? I'll figure something out! Pencils will do!)

But, okay, I'm being succinct. Succinctly, we shoulda taken the train! Flying seems cheap, when the tickets are 14p each, but with all the extra charges, and with the savings of our family railcard, I think it would have worked out about the same. And it seems fast, except that you have to hang around at the airport for hours before the flight and get to the airport and all. When we were leaving Penzance to get back to the Newquay airport, we figured that the train we started out on would get to London at about the time the plane was taking off from Newquay.

Ah well, let's have some pretty pictures...

These are some shells on some beach. I'm all ready for August, when Project Spectrum goes neutrals! Great colours here. The infinite variety of Nature and all that.

We went to lots of beaches, and I believe this is Fistral Beach, the surfing beach in Newquay. (They've been surfing here since "1966" as it says on the van!) There are plenty of beaches on this twisty turny coast. In the morning we did the "swimming beach" which had a mysterious tunnel with a locked door at the end, presumably once used for smuggling barrels of brandy in. Now, judging by the debris found, it is apparently used for drinkin' beer and playin' cards! This was also the beach where a seagull flew right up and snatched a baguette out of Elaine's hand! Practically right out of her mouth! Then, of course, that seagull was pursued by every other seagull on the beach, and who knows what happened to the bread.

But later that first day we went to this other beach covered with surf dudes (please tell me that in California, the surf dudes do not have 3 inches of Calvin Klein underwear sticking up out of their saggy-baggy shorts!) and dudettes. Arthur got wet, and then lay down and made an angel in the sand. Lovely. There were not only stretches of smooth sandy beach, but also some cool rocks to clamber around on, with tide pools and hiding places.

Day 2, Tintagel, birthplace of King Arthur and spectacular rock. Apparently there was a fire on the site about 20 years ago, and then archeologists started looking around more, finding expensive imported wares from Africa, dating back almost to Roman times. So someone big and rich and important lived here. Since the castle now looks like nothing more than a few piled up rocks, Elaine was miffed, to say the least. "It's not a real castle! They say it's a castle but it's nnnnnoootttttt!" It is, however, very steep and high and covered in wildflowers and there's a cave and a great coastline and really, it's very impressive.

Next day, off to Falmouth. The harbour is full of big and small boats. There was a Russian "tall ship" in. We spent the afternoon at the Maritime Museum, which was great. Go there! There were lots of actual boats to admire, both in the water and out, and little toy ones to sail on a windy sea, and a lifeboat to pose in! There was an exhibit about endurance at sea, telling the stories of people who, intentionally or not, found themselves stuck in the Pacific in a dinghy or something!

We managed to plan our Cornwall vacation to take in a friend's wedding. It was in a wee little church, in a wee little town. A bat flew out of the belfry when the bellringers started up!

After the wedding, we headed to Penzance. More beaches, pasties, caves for smugglers. And no report would be complete without a posting box! I took lots of postal pictures on this trip, but I'll spare you most of them.

We went to the Admiral Benbow, the pub which figures in Treasure Island. It was full of nautical stuff, like figureheads, bits of sterns, ships' steering wheels, ropes and pirates and things all over! And good burgers, too.

We spent our last day on a bus trip which took us to Land's End. Really, Land's End is a bit of rock that sticks out a bit farther than all the other bits of rock along that coast. But in case that is not thrilling enough, there's a hotel there, amusements of all sorts, audio-visual displays and tourist traps galore. And "talking telescopes" which tell you all about the lighthouses, shipwrecks, birds and whatever. We could still see part of a ship that ran aground here in 2003, carrying tonnes of scrap plastic from cars. Ick.

I wish we had had more time to hike around, but we had to get the bus in time to get the train to get to Newquay to get a cab to get to the airport to get our plane to Stansted where we got a bus to Cambridge, and a last cab ride home.

But really, I just wanted to show you these flowers!
Not very succinct, but now I've done my duty to my faithful readers. And can return to my real life as a laundress....

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Home again

We are back. I've never had such a huge pile of such filthy laundry... And the house is full of end-of-school papers, unsorted and spreading rapidly. Pictures of kids up to their armpits in sand are being downloaded as I write this. Clean underwear is in the dryer. Stay tuned to see how it all works out....