Saturday, November 30, 2019

Done and done

Well, another NaBloPoMo finished, kind of successfully.

And a scarf finished, as well.

I have now sewn the ends in and it is ready to go. I thought the middle part was not quite symmetric, and thought I had to use my yarn up in the second half or I would {gasp} have leftover yarn! Alas, I over-compensated, and finished the yarn before actually finishing the scarf! Oh well, it will be fine tucked around a chilly neck, and I think the colours look great together. This picture was taken indoors early this morning, while outside was mist and frost!

We have another week here. I have another museum date on Tuesday, might have a friend visiting on Wednesday and we're bugging out on Saturday. I'm sure I'll pop in here before we leave.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Edinburgh museum

On our last full day in Edinburgh, we went to the National Museum of Scotland, a real delight!

We started in the ancient Scottish part, where these three guys caught my eye. (Click to embiggen any photo.)

I had heard that they had a fashion exhibit, so left old Celts behind and went off to see the textiles. A jacket by Tommy Nutter.

This dress folds up to the size of an envelope.

This sweater is by Massimo Nicosia for Pringle of Scotland, for the 2014-5 winter season. (I know that because I did stop to take a photo of the label for this!) The sweater is machine-knit, with 3D-printed bits! I don't know what it would have felt like, how stiff or heavy the bits would be. Interesting, for sure.

A handkerchief from the first world war. Canada provides soldiers and grain, I see!

Not at all textile... a cameo carved in a huge shell.

This was called the world's largest scrimshaw: jawbones of a sperm whale decorated with pictures and words about the hunting of the whale.

Ah, cream tea in the cafe! I don't have any pictures of the museum building, but the centre is all open, the roof is glass, and the structure is ironwork. So it is a pretty impressive sight on its own, and the cafe is on the second floor, overlooking the central court.

It was wet and dark and rainy, so we caught a bus, and were lucky enough to be in the front of the top deck. But since it was wet and dark and rainy, our view was sort of distorted!

And now I am happy to say we are back in Cambridge. For only another 10 days or so! We'll wind up NaBloPoMo and our 77 days in Cambridge, and get back to "normal" for a month or so in Toronto, before beginning another adventure in the new year.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

A few days in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is quite far away from Cambridge! It takes about 5 or 6 hours on the train. Since it is winter, the sun sets in Edinburgh before 4 pm, so we arrived in the dark. Close to the train station they now have a Christmas market and fair, with rides and food and a million LED lights.

We are familiar with Georgian architecture by now, but were still astounded by the number of chimney pots on these New Town houses. The landlady at our B&B explained that even the bathrooms would have had a fireplace, and the elegant high ceilings allowed life to go on below while the coal smoke rose to the heights.

The geology of the area is interesting, with Castle Rock, Calton Hill and Arthur's Seat being old volcanic plugs. We had to go see some basalt, so we made the trek over to Calton Hill and then walked around the Salisbury Crags, above and below.

It was not sunny, but not rainy either, thank goodness. If you want pictures of basalt, you'll have to consult my husband! I know he took a few... dozen.

Closer to where we were staying was the Water of Leith. We were given the key to a private garden, so we could go through a very well tended ravine to the river.

Someone once thought the waters were beneficial and made this elaborate temple to Hygeia above a well. The water is dark as peat and for many decades in the pre-steam years powered mills all up and down here.

It was a lovely walk along the river, and through the Dean Village. The foliage did provide some colour on the grey, grey day!

Edinburgh is small enough that we kept finding ourselves back where we'd been before, and after the rural-seeming riverside walk, we ended up in the Princes Street Gardens

This fountain was splashing away. In Toronto you don't see a working fountain in November, but apparently the Scots are not worried about anything freezing! 

Very elaborate.

The four women at the top represent various arts and skills.

The mermaids below are just mermaids, I think.

Tomorrow I will show you the treasures of the museum we went to.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019


My last stop on my walk last week was lunch!

Somewhere under there is a baked potato!

I should be coming down the country now, returning from my days in Edinburgh, and I hope all this went off without a hitch. Now the endgame begins, only 10 more days in Cambridge before returning to Toronto.

Monday, November 25, 2019

The Round Church

As I continued my walk the other day, I ended up at the Round Church, one of the oldest buildings in Cambridge. It is free for residents, but I didn't have any way to prove that I was a resident. I waved my hands and told the woman at the desk roughly where I lived, and looked sheepish for not knowing my postal code.

On the floor were many bits of these tiles I love so much.

This square is for Mark,

and this one is for Matthew.

I don't know what the wooden decorations on the ends of pews are called! There must be a word. Finials? There were many, and all different.

The roof, wonderful! Old!

Held up by giant pillars!

I must remember to take pictures of "the whole thing" and not just details. For all this, you might have no idea what the Round Church looks like at all...

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Spot the bird

Walking past my favourite ditch, I saw a bird.

Now then, do you know what kind of a bird this is? I was about to tell you it was a coot, but it is in fact a moorhen, because I watched this video about how to tell the two apart.

I feel like I should put a red circle around the bird! Even though they are blackish, it is hard to pick them out against the green and brown background. Look for the white stripe along the side.

I hope I see lots of black water birds on my holiday, so I can dazzle my husband with my knowledge of what is a coot and what is a moorhen!

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Places to eat

I strolled along the river the other day, and met these two swans. They were very keen to make my acquaintance, but since I had no treats for them, they lost interest quickly enough.

They are so large and kinda scary up close, so you don't get a lovely portrait of their faces or close-ups of their great big feet!

At the end of the common, there is a very fancy restaurant. We have not eaten there.

I was surprised to see that there are now giant stone apples on the pillars outside. Apparently they are quite new. Interesting...

Just down the was is the Fort St George, the pub we used to take the kids to in 2005, and still a lovely place to sit outside in the nice weather, and cosy inside as well. Perhaps we'll have a Festive meal there before we leave, a touch of English Christmas!

Friday, November 22, 2019

Remote blogging again

We are on our way to Scotland!

I went out yesterday and piled up a few photos to get us through the next few days before we get back on Tuesday.

Firstly I will give you the end result of the shawl knitting!

Terrible, indoor, badly lit photos of an unblocked shawl.

Next week I shall sew in the ends, wash it and make it lovely, and take it outside to get some wonderful photos.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Getting closer

My Starflake shawl is getting bound off. I am making little picots along the edge.

It is quite lovely to see the shawl emerge; the outer edge is around 600 stitches, so, um, 120 or 150 inches long, something like that.... and my needle was maybe a meter.

It is taking forever, but it is so enticing to see what it actually looks like!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

A wintry afternoon

Yesterday on my way home from the ceramics show, I passed a school at about 3:15 pm. Instead of the Range Rovers and Mercedes one sees at some school pick-up times, this school was surrounded by bikes with trailers, bikes with front-mounted chariot-like things, tandems. These are probably the "family car" for many!

I walked across Jesus Green, noticing the trees are really mostly finished.  It's hard to catch the rich browns. This is what my brown scarf is supposed to remind us of.

A golden gingko tree overhanging a brick wall.

And the large boulevard of plane trees, all ready for winter.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Christmas shopping

It might be reasonable for me to buy soft things like tea towels or wool scarves to take back to Toronto for Christmas, but today I went looking at a show and sale of ceramics, which are heavy, breakable and just impractical to buy here to carry there. At least I was saved from any tough decisions: no one is getting a lovely mug or bowl!

I didn't get any cards for any of the artists, but let's see if I can find any links. These bowls are by Karen Banks.

Alas, I have no idea whose these are.

Perhaps someone can decipher the name of the gnome-builder. They are quite cute.

The show was in All Saints' Church, which was decorated in the Arts and Crafts style. (There are leventy-million churches in this town, and not all of them are still used just as churches.)

In this picture I believe there is painting, tapestry and wallpaper, not to mention the stonework.

The ceiling is a bit of a marvel.

I do have a list of other Cambridge churches done by the same team of designers and craftspeople, and I must find time to go see some more.