To Boldly Go . . . (another 5-cup tale)

Well, my lovely friends, it’s been exactly four months since I last posted!  Not that I didn’t work on a few drafts in that time, but things kept morphing and I didn’t want to be handing out ‘fake news’ lol. But now I have some ‘real’ news for you . . . so grab a pot of tea or two (or whatever you fancy) and read on . . .

Living with my cousins was never really ‘the plan’ as you know, but when I couldn’t find a place to live back in 2016, I was here for a few weeks and they let me know I’d be welcome if nothing materialized. And I have been well cared for but now it’s been a total of over two years (and counting) out of the past three and a half. So I’ve been looking even more diligently for another solution.

I think I mentioned that I’d joined a couple of handwork clubs that meet on Tuesdays in nearby Enderby; a crochet club that runs year-round and a knitting club that takes a sabbatical in the winter. So I’ve made a few friends and have been planning to settle somewhere close enough to get to those treasured Tuesdays.

Back before I went to the UK I’d asked at my credit union if I were eligible for a mortgage (and, if so, how much). I asked partly as a lark, assuming they would laugh in my face (but ever so politely, of course). And I was told I could borrow up to $60,000. Not enough for property or a house in today’s market, but it did get me thinking, so I narrowed my goals to a mobile home. And I found one, in an Enderby mobile home park. Best of all, it was large enough for me to move all my things from storage immediately so I could both free up the storage fees and begin sorting, using and downsizing. Even better, the owners had bought it from the parents of one of the young women in the crochet club! It had a large side yard and a garden shed, too. So I was planning a good-sized garden and then putting much of the produce up for the winter. All of that right down my alley . . .

But, as always, there were a few bumps on that road. Turns out the federal government changed the rules on borrowing while I was away and even though I am now debt-free (I still had an outstanding loan and a balance on my credit card when I first asked about a mortgage), today I am only eligible for a $20,000 mortgage.

Not great news. Then one of my sisters offered to help with the down payment and my cousins offered to co-sign on the mortgage. So the credit union approved my request. (keep breathing; there’s a lot more to this story!)

I agreed with the owners on an offer of $67,000 (they were asking $71,900) and started the legal ball rolling. I had an inspection and an appraisal done. The appraisal showed it had a market value of only $63,000 and the inspection said it would need a new roof in a couple of years, plus a few other rather minor things.

So CMHC (Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation) turned down my application and the credit union only works with CMHC, so that was it!

However, I learned a long time ago to ask for what I wanted, but to add “this or something better”. So it wasn’t the devastating news you might have expected. Disappointing, though, for sure. But no tears were shed, just a few heavy sighs heaved . . . and back to the drawing board . . .

Since any affordable mobile homes were in the same price range and I would have had to pay for inspections, appraisals and lawyers again, I decided to downsize my search parameters, so to speak. And began looking at motorhomes / recreational vehicles. My cousin was looking, too, and he found one that looked possible (and it had been posted only hours earlier!). The ad said to call between 6 am and 5 pm and it was two minutes to 5! And then I had to look up the phone number. So it was two minutes after 5 when I reached the owner, but he didn’t mind. That was on Monday, 10 June. It’s a motorhome, but I shall call it “the unit” until I have decided on a name for her.

The next day, 11 June, the cousins and I drove to Kamloops and then turned north on #5 highway, which leads to the Yellowhead. But we weren’t going that far this time. Half an hour later we came to Roy’s place, halfway between Kamloops and Barrière.

My cousin checked out the unit, as he has plenty of experience with vehicles and has always kept theirs in tip-top condition. Turns out Roy bought this unit new in 1989 and has maintained it well over the years, so in spite of being well-travelled, it’s in pretty good shape. It did need new tires, though, and a few other things, so the price came down to something I could afford. Roy and his wife took their last trip in 2016, returning in October. She went downtown to pick up supplies for the house and never came back. I’m assuming it was a heart attack. That was so sad to hear. And then, sometime later, Roy had a stroke, so he is no longer driving. Even sadder. He still lives on his own and keeps the place in good shape, even managing the ride-on mower (he has six acres and at least one of that is his yard).

So, after a brief consultation with my cousin, I left a down payment and we went home, stopping for ice cream on the way to celebrate.

That evening I signed up for BCAA (adding the RV package and the level which would cover me if I went to the States or another province), which offers roadside assistance should one run out of gas, lock themselves out of the vehicle, need towing, etc. It would be in effect by 9.30 on Wednesday evening.

Tuesday, we went to Enderby to get a cashier’s cheque for the remainder owing. This time it was only my cousin’s wife and me, so she offered to let me drive! I recently obtained my temporary license, as my Alberta one had lapsed over five years ago and I hadn’t re-applied earlier due to my poor eyesight. So a few more times, plus a refresher on parallel parking (I know how, just haven’t done it for so long), and I’ll be driving on my own again. Oh, did I mention? The driving went great and I couldn’t believe how long it’s been since I was behind the wheel. Honestly, it felt like last week. So that’s another good thing.

Wednesday, we got up very early and were on the road before 8 am. A couple of stops in Kamloops and then we were back at Roy’s place. My cousin got busy getting the unit ready to roll and I began dusting the cab with a damp cloth. Kamloops and the surrounding area is desert country and very, very dusty!

We drove to Barrière next, registration papers in hand, to do the transfer of ownership and buy some insurance. First lady we spoke to was a rather snippy young thing, but I know to be nice to government officials; they can make life rather complicated if they take a dislike to you. She pointed out that Roy hadn’t signed the registration papers (not required until you sell a vehicle and I hadn’t thought to check it). Next, she quibbled because I’d put the cousins’ names down as “Smith, Daniel and Barbara” (not their real names). Turns out it has to read, “Smith, Daniel” then “Smith, Barbara”. I offered to print the surname a second time just above the given name, but apparently that is not acceptable. I have no idea why, as the entire thing is only going to be entered on the computer anyway. And Roy’s signature was required on the transfer papers as well, so off we drove. There was some muttering about beaurocracy, petty officials and the like for a few minutes. Then we turned to the more positive aspects of the motorhome.

Back at Roy’s, we got the papers filled out and signed and double checked, then, back to Barrière. When we walked into the ICBC (Insurance Corporation of British Columbia) this time, the first lady had gone for lunch. And the second lady was all one could ask; happy, jolly and with a way of imparting information I needed without breaking the ‘rules’ about such. She was so awesome to deal with that I told her she should be cloned and every ICBC office should have one of her.

So, back to Roy’s. (The trips to Barrière and back totalled over 2 hours, by the way) My cousin finished the necessary work on the unit. I asked Roy if there was anything in what he’d removed from the unit that he didn’t want and offered to buy it from him. Turns out he only removed it all because he thought he should and had no interest in keeping all the memory-laden items that he won’t be able to use again. So I bought it all (to save him from having to deal with anything I left behind) and we loaded it back into the unit.

Carls Country Market 01

We drove to the corner of McLure Ferry Road and Hwy #5, where Carl’s Country Market was not yet open. But there are picnic tables off to the right behind the small building and we had our lunch there before getting back on the road. And here she is in all her faded glory . . .

Our first stop

We had an uneventful trip home, with a few stops. No over-heating or anything like that. A bit bumpy, though, as the wheels had flattened a bit in the three years she sat.

And here she is inside:

 

I like the main-level bed and the extra storage over the cab (instead of the usual bed). There’s a huge storage compartment under the bed, too, and it’s accessible from outside at the back as well as from inside. If you prop up the mattress with the stick lying there, two hatches are exposed which give even more access to the storage.

The tub has a moulded-in seat so you can sit and soak your feet if you want. I’ll like that, too.

The kitchen has a stove has four burners and an oven and a microwave above, a double sink, a good-sized refrigerator with a freezer above. Also a pull-out ‘pantry’ rack meant to hold canned goods. I’ll probably use it for bags of beans and the like.

Roy left a charcoal briquette BBQ, a Coleman propane stove and a Coleman camp lantern in the unit as well as a few small tools, like a lovely sharp hatchet with a leather cover, a hammer and more.

In case you can’t tell, I’m pretty excited to finally own a ‘home’. I’m thinking of it as a form of Gypsy caravan, so in that sense it really will be my home.

Well, you must be thinking, that wasn’t much of a five-cup post! Oh, but wait (as they say on tv), there’s more . . .

Something very interesting has been going on in my life, but I can’t explain it, really.

A couple of months ago a lady from my crochet group invited me to join a Gratitude Group she and a few friends had created on facebook, where every day each member posts 10 things they are grateful for. I got back into keeping a Gratitude Book while I was in Yorkshire, but had filled it shortly before I was invited to join the online group. Perfect timing!

In May another of the ladies from my crochet group (who is also part of the Gratitude Group) offered to treat me to a workshop in Vernon. Three of the ladies and one of their friends were going. (this isn’t related to the crochet group in any way; it’s just that our friendships began there) Of course, I accepted. The workshop was one a couple of them had done before and I’d been finding their references to it quite intriguing.

So . . . the workshop . . . there were the five of us and two leaders who are professional therapists. We began with a guided meditation. We were told we would see stairs and be asked to go up them, then look around at the view from the top. The venue had changed from a yoga studio to the therapist’s office, so space was a bit limited. I was in a reclining chair, which freed up the floor space for four people on yoga mats. But the leader was around a corner from me in the next room and her voice was very quiet, so I didn’t hear much of what she said. But I’ve done this before, so after a while to get attuned, I remembered about the stairs and going up them. (there were more detailed instructions, which I missed) I ‘saw’ the stairs and then pictured being at the top and beginning to look around at the view. This is where it got interesting!

Flying toward me was a giant golden eagle, bearing something in its talons that I instinctively ‘knew’ was a gift. I had a brief impression of green and gold. Then it swooped down a little, as they do, then rose to settle gently right in front of me, looking into my eyes, and slowly folded its wings. It’s wingspread must have been about 20 feet wide; it reminded me instantly of the giant eagles in The Hobbit who rescue the hobbits from the treetops when they are under attack. I could have easily ridden on the back of this one.

It had the usual fierce appearance of any eagle, but it felt gentle and kind, with wisdom in its expression, especially the eyes.

I wish I’d had more time to explore this, but just then we were called back into the present. We shared about what we’d experienced, then the two therapists offered some insights to each of us. I wish I’d had a pen handy and written some of it down.

A short break and then we filled out a couple of questionnaires before each creating a Vision Board. I’d thought about it on the drive down and felt I ‘should’ focus on either finding a home (the deal with the mobile had just fallen through) or else on increasing my financial abundance (so that I could more easily afford a home). In the end, though, I went with my gut feeling and simply leafed through whichever magazines drew my attention, cutting out words and pictures as they spoke to me. I deliberately didn’t look for anything specific. I just made two piles, images and words. We didn’t have much time, so I glued the pieces onto my board fairly rapidly, not trying for a ‘perfect’ arrangement as I usually do. Then the boards were put aside to dry.

Another short break and back to the floor and the chair. This time it was a hypnotherapy session. I went very deep immediately and have no recall of anything that was said, except that I clearly heard the leader say the word ‘eagle’, which caught my attention, of course. Then, all too soon, we were being called back to the present place and time.

We gathered our things. I rolled up my vision board and fastened it with paper clips to make it easier to transport. I was given a ride home, where I set the vision board on end under my small desk and didn’t touch it again.

A few days later, I was talking with my youngest sister on the phone (she’s the one who was helping me with the mobile purchase) and she mentioned that she was going on another cruise with one of her close friends and that they were going to invite our RN sister to go with them. Sounded interesting.

The next day she called again to say the friend wasn’t interested, having taken this cruise before and our sister couldn’t get away. So . . . would I like to go as her guest?

Well, yes! Peace Pilgrim had a practise that I’ve done my best to emulate; she asked for nothing from people, but accepted gratefully whatever was offered. She lived like that, walking the roads of North America, for 24 years, covering over 100,000 miles and without a penny even from the first day. So, I gratefully accepted the invitation.

It’s a 26 day cruise (although we may spend a couple more days at the end before flying home) that begins in Puerto Rico, goes up and back down the Amazon river, then to Rio de Janeiro and Montevideo, ending in Buenos Aires in Argentina. The ship is one of the Viking fleet, so there are plenty of Norwegian touches and I’ll enjoy that so much.

So, for a week or more, I felt like a giant yo-yo, bouncing from my ‘homeless’ situation to my ‘going on a luxury cruise’ situation. A bit of a disconnect, that . . .

After a few days, I opened my vision board and saw this . . .

VB opened 30 May 2019 - 01

Notice the ocean images and the ship; the motorhome is a Ford Corsair Medallion and ‘corsair’ originally was word for a pirate or privateer from back in the 16th to 18th centuries. It also means a pirate ship from those times.

So here I am, about to live in a Corsair and also about to go on an ocean cruise!

The photo is the centre is of a croft on the Isle of Harris, Scotland, where Harris Tweed comes from. The picture (top right) that looks like a rock thrusting up from the sea is actually a detail of a painting. The loom is on my wish list, but it also stands for our lives; the warp is the parts of our life that are set and the weft is the part we control through our thoughts and actions. The colours in the ‘Joy at Home’ picture are colours I want to bring into my home, in this case the unit. (I really have to give her a proper name, don’t I?) The acorn spoke to me because it’s a seed, but also because my last name is Oakes. The words, or some of them, puzzled me at the time, but are now self-explanatory.

Something is afoot, isn’t it?

I’m still not sure where I will be spending the summer (or the winter, now). I’m here at the cousins’ until the new tires are on and the engine has had a tune-up. Staying in an RV park during the summer runs about $38 per night, more or less, so I’m looking for something affordable on private land. The original plan (famous last words) was to do that for the summer, then move to an RV park at the end of October. Mid-November, actually, as I’ll be away from mid-October to mid-November and the unit will stay at my cousins while I’m away.

But I learned this week that the park may be closed this winter for landscaping.And it’s a bit pricey, almost twice what a pad rental in the MHPark costs.

So, obviously, more adventures await me . . .

I hope you are all doing well; even though I haven’t been posting for so long, every one of you has been remembered often. Love and Light to each one of you!

Here’s some music for you, if you are so inclined . . .

I love the video as much as The Water Song. Not what you are expecting, I’m sure. It’s such a strong idea . . . blessing water and being grateful for it.

And, of course, Runrig’s Oran (Song) The lyrics are on the screen and also below. this is one of my favourites.

I wish you all a wonderful week and a restful weekend . . .

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My Days and Anniversaries

Hi, out there! I’ve been a tad busy and somehow the days just flew by and here we are, a month on from my last post. This after I promised myself to do better . . . oh, well . . .

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Sometimes the cat knows best . . .

By the way, if you are curious about where I am living, go here:

https://www.google.ca/maps/@49.8829593,-120.7609463,7.3z?hl=en

That link should show you the bottom west part of British Columbia, with Vancouver (BC) in the lower left-hand corner and Salmon Arm near the top and east of Kamloops. That will give you the general idea. If you zoom out you can see where we are in relation to the entire province.

And this link is a close-up of our area:

https://www.google.ca/maps/@50.6861583,-119.2831572,10z?hl=en

We live just west of the words ‘Grandview Bench’ and slightly east of the 97B Highway.

And for comparison, this shows the size of our province compared to the UK:

UK-BC Map 01

. . . and where I live should be somewhere along the French coast north-west of Paris and south of London. (now that I think about it, I should live there!)

I thought I’d throw those in here because I’ve had numerous remarks from people who don’t know my province. The towns where I live or have lived are generally quite small and not shown on average maps.

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Hoarfrost on the trees in the mornings was lovelier than this photo can show . . .

Back to what I was saying . . . The days have been cold here, as you can see from the photo, especially the last couple of weeks, but with some nice bits, too. I’ve begun attending a couple of handwork groups in Enderby, a smaller town than Salmon Arm (also fairly small, though) and about 15 minutes drive south and eastish (Is eastish a word? Guess it is now!) from here. And now you can see where those towns are 🙂

My cousin’s wife S and I were out shopping for Christmas and stopped in a lovely wee coffee shop in Enderby. It’s called Country Coffee House and it’s too bad all you lovely people live so far away . . . I bet you’d like it as much as I do. Awesome home-made soups and equally delicious lattés, too. A super-friendly owner/operator and so is the group of crocheters; they call themselves the Happy Hookers and they are, too. I’ve been twice so far and there has been a small baby both times, not in the group, but the mums are friends with the group members, so I got to see them close up. Hard to look and not touch sometimes.

I finally began using one of the balls of yarn I bought on Leka Island in Norway (I was quite disappointed because it was spun in China, of all places, so not actually the Norwegian yarn I’d hoped for. But I never had the chance to shop at an actual Norwegian wool yarn shop, and at least this carries the memories of the little convenience store on Leka and of my time there. I have begun a free-form cushion cover (free-form because I am making it up as I go along; I’ve already had to frog it a couple of times when it wasn’t working out the way I wanted. Price you pay for not following directions . . .) The right photo shows just a bit of the latté I was drinking as I worked. I felt so reminded of Cooper’s Cafe in Skipton, where I met with Lucy’s Knit n Natter group at the beginning of November.

So . . . when S and I stopped in that day in December, I saw the sign about the Happy Hookers and realized they meet the same day as the Sit n Knit group meets at the library, which is a very short block up the street. Crochet in the morning and Knitting in the afternoon! How lucky is that? So three weeks ago cousin M drove me to Enderby in the morning. I had a great time with the group, then had soup and a bun, and left, second latté in hand, in time to join the knitters at the library. I was first there that day, so got to sit in a wing-back chair right next to the electric fireplace!  I’ll have to take a photo of the fireplace and the chairs to share next time I go.

wingback chair 01

I love wing-back chairs!

Members of both groups were SO friendly and welcoming! And the groups are open as to what one brings to work on, so I saw both knitting and crochet there, and I think there was a piece of cross-stitching at the knitting group.

My cousin was great about coming to pick me up again when the group was over. Both groups meet for about two hours each, so it makes for a good day out. And the cousins get a day at home without me. We get along fine, but I’m still a visitor . . .

Two weeks later, I spent the day in Enderby again and I’ll go next Tuesday, as well, barring blizzards and/or freezing weather. We’ve not had a real blizzard, but I got up today to a gentle snow falling and I think it’s still coming down . . . still, this winter will be very short compared to winters in Edmonton, and it’s been surprisingly warm for the season, with not much snow until after Christmas. I don’t mind, really. We will need the moisture in the ground this summer when we are back on forest-fire alert. Not looking forward to that, I can tell you!

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This was taken shortly before Christmas! Not the usual here; last year we had about six feet of snow over the winter. This year it only started in January, really.

In other Crafty News lately:

The black and white Did I mention that I bought fabric at some point in January? And then some more . . . no idea what got into me 🙂

The photo in the bottom right corner is what I bought when I was first back here. I’d borrowed a book about making “Inchies” and felt inspired. Inchies are tiny quilts an inch on each side (2.5 cm for you youngsters). Then my cousins gave me a gift certificate for Fabricland for Christmas. And by then I’d borrowed another book, this one on making cloth bags, “The Bag Making Bible”. I fell in love with the bag on the cover, decided to buy fabric to make it, then fell in love with more . . . and the post-Christmas sales were on, from 70% off to “buy one metre, get two free”. The poppies on a dark background really wanted to go home with me and then I saw the black and white with poppies, ladybugs and more . . .

The black and white fabrics are actually going to become bags, but the first fabric I chose pulled at me to make it into a summer dress, and when I couldn’t find more of it in our store here, Cousin M drove me all the way back to Vernon (a half hour or so each way), where I bought the first length, so I could buy more. And while in the store the second time . . . I saw the same pattern, Queen Anne’s Lace, on a blue background (the first, in the larger photo above, has a background of deep red)! And I saw another lovely floral, too, the one on the left of the top small picture. I’ve had my eye open for large florals for some time now, and this is the first I’ve seen of any. The fabrics in the bottom right photo are likely to end up in bags.

I have my patterns traced and ready to use now. And the fabrics have all been ironed (I really, really love ironing, especially fabrics!) But I hit a snag when I tried to decide what dress pattern I wanted to use. At first I was thinking of one of my patterns from Sense & Sensibility, especially the Romantic jumper (see the link) or the Edwardian dress, but somehow I don’t see those as suited to large florals. But I did like the idea of making a sort of sundress that I could wear over a long-sleeved white blouse, partly because I bought a cotton blouse that I really like in Oslo while shopping with my cousin Tove and it would be perfect under a jumper. (In Canada a jumper is a sleeveless dress worn over a blouse, not what we call a sweater, which is a jumper in other countries).

Still in Crafty territory:

I don’t know if any of you will remember the Fair Isle style socks I started before I went away last spring. I was using the recommended size of needles and they were looking all right, with only a few errors in the patterns. (I started these before I had my cataracts fixed and actually thought that chocolate brown yarn was black!) Anyway . . . after reading what Dr. Snail recommended on her blog, The Snail of Happiness, where she said that using the smallest possible needles would result in a thicker, longer-wearing fabric, I decided to frog all five of my partly-completed socks. So far I have only found three of them and above you can see what they looked like and the beginning of wee balls of yarn after the frogging began . . .

I have begun another pair of socks, well, one sock so far, and am still working on the toe. This time I’m making another change: I’m using two strands even for the toe and heel, partly to keep the sock consistent in thickness but mostly to give me the extra cushioning. I love comfy socks, especially in the winter!

I’m so glad I knitted some mitts for myself while I was in Yorkshire, too. I’ll share the story behind those in another post, though. They are wonderful to wear right now, but not quite as warm as I’d like, due to the fineness of the yarn. So I’m planning on making some larger ones to wear over them next year if we get another really cold spell . . .

The last photos today are of my trip up to Stirling, the campsite (with the blue tent I borrowed from my housemate of three days), my wee sheep companions  Flora and Anastasia seen here peeking out of my sandals, where they stowed away so they could see Runrig for themselves (another story that will have to wait) and a couple of shots from Friday and the first night’s concert. I have no photos of the Saturday at all. I’d misplaced my iphone (thought I’d lost it) and used only the camera. Those are among the photos I accidentally deleted in late September. I’ve been afraid to look at my iphone photos until today, worried I might not have any from the gig. So I’m quite happy to have these, at least.

Music is still a major part of my day, as you likely expect. Runrig are having the most fabulous “Poll of Polls” on Twitter right now. I missed the first couple of days, but have taken part every day since then. Each day they take the songs from one of their fourteen studio albums, divide them into three or four groups and have us vote for the one we like best in each group. The winners move up to Round Two and eventually we will know which song is the all-time favourite of Riggies around the world. It’s been lovely, revisiting the music itself and also remembering those two nights last August. It was exactly six months ago on the 17th and 18th of this month, only a couple of days ago. That was the first anniversary I had in mind when I began writing this post.

The others are what would have been my Mum’s 96th birthday tomorrow (Wednesday) and my Aunty’s 99th birthday on the following Sunday. It’s hard to believe they will have been gone three years and four years, respectively, this April. interesting that they were born four days apart and died two weeks apart. Bittersweet days, for sure, as I remember the companionship we shared for so long. I miss them both so much. April is also the first anniversary of my last Auntie’s death and she would have been 94 this coming May. I was lucky to have as much time with each of them as I did, though, and that is what I shall focus on this year.

Here’s a Canadian song for you, sung by Bruce Guthro of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, who was lead singer for Runrig for the past twenty years. He has a lovely voice and this is an old favourite song of mine in any case. Farewell to Nova Scotia

Another of my Canadian favourites: Lucille Starr (born in Manitoba, but grew up in BC. Quand le Soleil dit Bonjour aux Montagnes, also known as The French Song back then.

More Canadians:

Kate and Anna McGarrigle singing Dancer With Bruised Knees

One of Kashtin’s most beautiful songs, Ishkuess

And, of course, Buffy Sainte-Marie. This is No No Keshagesh  and

Darling, Don’t Cry

I’ll leave you with Judy Collins and Cook With Honey

And I’m off to listen to more Runrig and then vote . . .

All the best to each of you. See you soon!

Just jumping in again . . .

Hello, my friends. Did you think I’d gone into retirement? Nope, still getting adjusted to being home again and also working on plans for this coming year.

I hope you all had a good Christmas or Solstice or whatever you celebrate in December. And I wish you all the very best in this coming year.

I still have not faced up to downloading the photos that remain on the camera, although I did get all the pictures off my old iphone. My youngest sister was going to send me her ‘old’ phone, but there have been glitches. (trying to get a new sim to work in the old phone so I’d have something until the new one arrives. Oh, well . . .)  I love techy stuff when it works and the rest of the time . . .   I think now she is planning to send me something else.

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Above is a photo of the Yarndale bus that ran between the train station and the exhibition site. (This year Yarndale was on the 29th and 30th of September and I had a ticket for both days. The first day I walked up through the park – you can see some photos of that walk on Lucy’s Attic24 site. The second day I took this bus, as I was on my feet the entire day both times, except for one short sit-down in the afternoon on the Saturday. There was just SO MUCH to see!) I think the bus picked people up from other locations, too. I loved the bunting on the front and inside there were small mandalas as well, making it all very festive.

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You can’t tell from this selfie, but I wore my Runrig Tshirt and jacket to Yarndale. That’s a small crocheted butterfly pinned to the inside of the collar. They were this year’s donations, made by volunteers around the world, and were sold to raise money for this year’s charity, Pioneer Projects. They raised 2,339.94 from selling these! BTW, did you know that the collective noun for a butterflies is a Kaleidoscope of Butterflies? I love that! I chose a green one made in the same way my Mum used to make them (for fridge magnets, in her case) and partly because green was her favourite colour, as it is mine. If you’d like to see the amazing number and variety of butterflies, go to Lucy’s post about Celebrating Yarndale 2018 and scroll down.

I mentioned the Runrig jacket and Tshirt because at least four women stopped me to say they had been at Stirling on that historic weekend, too! It was wonderful to stop for a minute and reminisce with others who felt as I do about the band and their music.

Now I’m going to pick up where I left off in October, more or less . . .  I did make it to Skipton twice more to join in with Lucy’s Knit n Natter group. Such fun! Everyone was lovely to me and the staff at the cafe were, too. In the afternoon, both days, I wandered around Skipton, just drinking things in, then went back to Cooper’s Cafe for a snack and coffee or tea before heading for the train and Heaton. Yummy food they have!!

The first afternoon (02 November 2018) I wandered in and out of a variety of shops, mostly the charity shops, looking for souvenirs. I found Wooleys and had a great chat with the lady there, but they didn’t have what I was looking for; English wool! The wool was all spun in Italy, as I recall. But it was fun connecting.

Then further up the High Street, I found the ginnel (Yorkshire for a passageway with a roof) leading to the Purl & Jane shop! I can highly recommend P&J; Jane has created over 2,000 designs  in the past 20 years, by the way (read her About page for more information) and she carries a gorgeous selection of yarns. I was so happy to finally see some English wools!! (She is an official supporter of The Campaign for Wool) So I bought three balls of variegated green, needles and one of her patterns. And some buttons. The design only calls for one, but I could never have too many buttons!! I got to pet the dog, too  🙂 This yarn is for a special project and I’ll post about that soon, with photos of the buttons. (Anticipation 101, remember . . .)

On my way back to the ginnel, I noticed a small shop that looked interesting; it had some unique items of clothing hanging on a line along the wall. I was SO tempted, but I resisted and went on my way.

Next week, on Friday 09 November, I spent the afternoon a little differently. I made my way back to Purl & Jane to show Jane my progress on the green project. I was so thrilled with her design, I bought some lovely deep rose (close to magenta) in the same yarn. And more buttons! I had my project about half done by then and was very happy with it.

After another chat with Jane, I walked back toward the ginnel and this time I decided to go into the wee shop I’d resisted the week before . . . just to have a quick look, you understand. I have a card somewhere, but can’t locate it just now. I’ve looked up the address and it says now that the shop called “Sophie’s Handbags and Accessories” is permanently closed. However, I don’t know if that’s the shop I was in or an earlier one. I hope it’s an earlier one . . .

Another lovely lady to chat with, and some very unique clothes, handbags and other things, like jewellery . . .  I continued to resist, although I did stop to admire two ivory lace dresses, each with a matching jacket and fully lined, to boot. Luckily, they were a Small and a Medium. I held the medium up and it appeared to be likely to fit, although I haven’t worn a medium for a few years now. It was midi length, too, which I prefer. Resolutely, I put it back . . . and left the store . . . and got through the ginnel . . . all the time thinking of how lovely it was and how much it was my dream dress (I’m not easy to please when it comes to clothing and my life is more suited to jeans and Tshirts in any case). And then I found myself thinking that I’d never have another chance to buy it and I did a quick U-turn and returned to the shop! I’m pretty sure none of you do such things, right? I held it up to myself again and it still seemed like a close enough fit. And it was only £10, which is about $17 Canadian. And I succumbed to temptation then and there!

I noticed a stack of sheer scarves, too, and bought a couple of those as well. Oh, I was happy as I walked away! More on the dress in a bit . . .

I walked up the High Street further and stopped at the Holy Trinity Church of England. I happen to love historical buildings and churches and cathedrals in particular. I found some small items in the gift shop from another lovely woman and had time to light candles for several people, including all my blogging friends. This church was founded in the early 1100s and it was an amazing feeling just to sit in it. The stonework and stained glass were marvellous to view.

After my time in the church I found my way to Skipton Castle next door.

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The castle seen from the air. You can see the church just above it and off to the left a bit is the High Street with the Market set up.

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I had been told it was free to visit the castle, but it isn’t anymore. As I’d splurged on the dress, I didn’t want to buy a ticket. I was able to walk into the front bit (where you can see people in the shadows), almost up to the courtyard. And I did get to see some amazing details inside the small room where they sell the tickets, postcards and so on.

I really do have to get on with downloading the photos from my camera, don’t I? I’ll make that a priority this coming week.

In the meantime, once I arrived back at my room in Heaton, I took out the dress and tried it on . . . and it fit! I am still a bit in shock at that, really.

(I was walking so much and eating as well as I do here in BC, but not snacking and it made a big difference. I did put a few pounds back on over Christmas, as I do like the Christmas treats, but it’s coming off again now that life is back to normal and my cousin’s wife and I are walking four or five times a week at the local arena.)

I don’t have a photo of me where you can see the entire dress, but this selfie will give you the basic idea (please forgive the poor quality; it was night and the lighting was a bit dim. Also my hair, as it was the end of a day spent outdoors in the wind):

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This is the prettiest dress I have ever owned and I’m looking forward to wearing it this coming summer. And I found a website that carries the exact shoes I’ve been thinking would suit it, too: Pompadour French Court Shoes! The heel height and shape are what I like best in a heel and the lace seems like the perfect finishing touch. The shoes won’t be in the budget for a while, but one day . . .

Well, I’d best stop here and get this posted. I’ll see you again soon . . .

And here’s some music for you:

Mingulay Boat Song by The Corries, who were my favourite group up ’til I came across Runrig. Now first place is shared between them.

Somewhere, featuring Canadian Bruce Guthro (lead singer) and Scottish Julie Fowlis (special guest) on the vocals. The video is beautiful, and the words, too.

 

No photos with this post, sorry. Just a catch-up . . .

Hello everyone; I’m quite frustrated with trying to use a tablet that’s a combination of touchscreen and keyboard. It’s a great idea, but the technology sure needs a lot of work.

Anyway, I thought I’d touch base here, at least, as it’s been so long since I posted. Uploading photos is very challenging, so I finally decided to just write and to post photos once I’m back in BC and can use the laptop.

This trip has been pretty amazing, although I’ve done little in the way of ‘touristy’ things. Instead, I opted to save up and visit Norway for three weeks. Definitely worth it, as I was able to stand in front of the house where my Mum’s grandfather was born and spent a couple of nights in a bed and breakfast that was the old Priest’s House at that time. He was likely baptized there, as the church burnt down the year before he was born.

In August I moved north from Surrey to a room in Heaton (part of Bradford, Yorkshire) and have been quite happy there ever since. The woman who manages the renting of rooms loves to cook the way I do (meaning that we use recipes as general suggestions and then just ‘wing it’ ) so we take turns cooking and share the meals. We both like spicy middle Eastern flavours, too, so there is often a lot of that going on. I’ll be sharing some of the ‘recipes’ I’ve concocted and some of Karen’s, too, later on. And I’ve adapted a vegan recipe for almond flour chocolate fudgy brownies that are possibly the best I’ve ever made. And a frittata and a couple of varieties of houmous, too.

Just a few days after I arrived here, Karen loaned me a tent and sleeping  bag and one of the owners of the house loaned me a sleeping mat and an emergency blanket (just in case) and I returned to Scotland to see Runrig for the first and last times. Yes, I said ‘times’!! I had a standing/camping ticket that included a campsite and free entry to a Ceilidh on the Friday night plus entry to the last-ever concert on the Saturday night.

My camping neighbours helped me figure out how to set up the tent (no time or space for a trial run beforehand) and then we helped other campers and made new friends as we did so. Then one of their friends came along and they brought him over to meet me. Colin had an extra ticket for the Friday night that he said someone had given him and he was looking to give it away. So yes, he gave it to me!! I gave him a donation for a cancer charity he supports, as I didn’t feel right about having a ticket for free when others had paid so much to be there. And it was worth every minute! So I missed the Ceilidh, which I heard was fabulous, but I got to see Runrig twice!! Something that’s been on my ‘bucket list’ since I first heard them perform on youtube.

The final concert was exactly eleven years previous, to the day, and I’m happy to say that while it did rain a bit, it was nothing like 2007, when it rained all day the day before, all night and then through the day of the concert. People were up to their ankles in mud, although no one left . . .

Anyway, it was all my heart desired it to be. I took photos on the first night with both my ancient iphone (4S, I think, and now they are up to 10 or 12 or something like that); the second night I couldn’t find the iphone, so only used the camera. I found the phone on Sunday when I was packing up, though, luckily for me.

I mention this because at the end of September, I went to Yarndale in Skipton, Yorkshire. I took plenty of photos the first day with the same camera. On Sunday, as I was sitting on the train heading back again, I was trying to reset the time so it would be accurate. I have no idea what I did wrong, but suddenly  the camera ‘ate’ all the photos on it; over three thousand! Shocking, at the time, as I’m sure you will understand. I had copied some of my photos onto a data stick (the terabyte sized external drive that I brought with me for storage worked perfectly in BC with the laptop, but refuses to talk to the tablet. So I bought a data stick. Downloading three days worth of photos took me nearly ten hours, tying up both the device and the tablet for that time, so I’d been putting off downloading more. Lesson learned, I tell you!

Now at first I was a bit down, to say the least, but then I heard that our friend Wendy’s grand-daughter had passed away and that’s a real loss. I have not felt down about my photos since. I figure that I have my memories and also whatever is on the iphone and that is more than I ever expected to have in this life, so I’m not going to be whinging on about losing my photos. I have felt quite wary ever since, though.

Well, Yarndale, too, was more than I’d hoped for. I met a couple of the bloggers I follow and that was a huge thrill for me. Christine from Winwick Mum and Lucy from Attic 24. Both were beyond kind and took time to chat a bit. I was lucky to meet them at the end of the second day, when the crowds had thinned out. Lucy invited me to attend some of the coffee and handwork meetings that occur at Cooper’s Cafe in Skipton and I will be doing that during the first two weeks of November.

I will post about some of the exhibitors I met (and a couple more bloggers, too) once I’m back in BC. I was very much looking forward to meeting the folks from River Knits UK, but although I visited the booths beside them and across from them, somehow I missed them. I was quite disappointed about that. They are a small family that hand dyes British wool yarns and until recently lived on a narrowboat. Now they have a house and the narrowboat has become the dye studio. I’ve been following them on Instagram for a while and wanted especially to see a couple of delicious-looking green yarns.

I’m having a hard time believing that it’s mid-October already and that I have just over three weeks left of this amazing adventure! I will have been here six months less a day when I get back. It hasn’t always been easy and there was a long list of things I’d hoped to do that didn’t materialize, but that’s because I chose to do the things that mattered most to me, which certainly included the time in Norway with my cousin and on the island of Leka (where my great-grandfather and one of his sisters were born). I rather think there will always be items left undone on a list like that and the positives have been so wonderful that I really have few regrets.

I shall be returning to my cousins’ for the rest of the winter and looking for a place of my own, hopefully by late spring or early summer. I hope to buy a second-hand caravan but failing that, to rent something affordable where my storage items can be brought and then gone through. I won’t be keeping most of it, but I do want to enjoy the things I collected for my retirement, at least for a while. And there is plenty of crafting supplies, so life will not be the least bit boring.

I am quite sad to be leaving the UK; it’s been one of the best summers of my life, and I’ve had quite a few great summers in my 70+ years! Just living an everyday life here has been exactly what I both wanted and needed. Time out from all the stresses of the past couple of decades and nothing familiar to trigger sadness, nostalgia, etc.

I’ve made some new friends here and that has been so good, too. I wore my Runrig jacket to Yarndale and met three different people who had been in Stirling for The Last Dance and who stopped me to talk about Runrig. That was most exciting!!

I’d love to return for another visit and next time I’d plan more and have a larger budget. But really, for me the experience of living in another country and just savouring the days and everyday sights has been the best thing ever! I had a similar experience in Mexico City back in 1987, when I was there for a week on my way back from a work-related trip to Costa Rica (the world’s first all-organic foods and products trade show; my boss and I represented four or five Canadian growers) and so I learned that for me, living like a native of another country is one of the most exciting things I can do.

I haven’t done much here, either, but did go with Karen to Saltaire, a World Heritage Site, and that was lots of fun, too. I particularly enjoyed the David Hockney exhibition at Salts Mill, The Arrival of Spring.  That was especially interesting because the paintings were all created on an ipad, then printed out, five feet tall. There were signs saying it was ok to take photos so long as we didn’t use a flash, and I checked and it was true, so I have pictures of some of the images that most spoke to me.

There are a few sites here to visit still, like Lister Park and the art gallery there. So I shall have plenty to write about once I’m settled in BC again. I’m feeling ready to post regularly again, which I think is a good sign.

The other two things are Guy Fawkes Night, or Bonfire Night, on 05 November and the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day, a very important day for me. When I made Peace Poppies for the installation last year, I kept one for myself and I shall be wearing it this year and attending one of the ceremonies, most likely in Bradford.

I haven’t forgotten my 500 winners, either, although I’m sure they think I have. I started and then scrapped several ideas and now I think I’m going to go for something more simple and just get it done.

I’ve been working on a crocheted string bag for Karen these past weeks, I’ve finished my second pair of socks and have decided I like them so much I shall frog back the two pairs of Fair Isle style socks (three of them are up past the ankle, too). But re-making them on 2mm needles will make them both more attractive and longer-wearing. I like darning socks, but have no intention of making it a weekly event! 🙂

I’m knitting a sort of hat now, mostly because I know the cold weather is on its way; we’ve already had one fire and I’ve been using a hot water bottle for weeks now. And two thick duvets! I’m lovely and toasty warm at night, though. So nice!

I’ve done some rock painting and some watercolours, nothing wonderful but plenty of fun as I can sit at my lovely tall window and enjoy the view as I work. I shall be taking a teacher’s advice from when I lived in Victoria, BC. He said to never throw out a watercolour you are not happy with. Instead, cut it into small squares and sort them by colour into envelopes. Once you have enough, use them in collages. I’ve been doing some writing again, too, but nothing spectacular; just that I enjoy the doing.

I walk up to the allotment every few days, taking the bucket of compost material as a contribution. Karen’s friends have the allotment and during the summer we would find a bag of some delicious treat or other on the front door. And so I made the acquaintance of English runner beans . . . I shall be growing these next summer, even if I have to plant them in pots or buckets! Huge and delicious and wonderful in a frittata as well as on their own. If you’ve never tried them, do!

I bought two fresh mackerel when Karen was in New York for three weeks and the new room-mate hadn’t moved in yet (so the fishy smell wouldn’t be a problem; smells from the kitchen rise to the top of the house and we all know how fish lingers for ages . . . I stuffed them very lightly with chopped garlic and basil and fried them in a cast iron pan. Oh my word!! I would eat them every day if I lived here on my own!! And they were quite large, but only one pound each, so a real bargain. It seemed a shame to live here, where fresh fish abounds and in such variety, too, and not to try some at least once. I’d almost forgotten how much I love fresh fish.

When I was in Surrey, a new friend and I drove to Littlehampton and I bought fresh cod fish and chips and we ate them at a table by the beach. Unforgettable!

When I was a child, Dad and sometimes my brothers would bring home brook trout for supper. And when I was a very young Mum, living on South Pender Island (in the Gulf Islands that lie between Vancouver on the mainland and Vancouver Island, the Big Island), we would fish for rock cod at least twice a week (successfully, too!) and bake them whole in a cast iron frying pan. We dug clams and pried mussels off the rocks, too, and those went into chowders that we would eat three meals a day until they were gone, then we’d make another one. Somehow, I have never tired of any food that I love.

I had some excellent fish and chips at my host’s in Surrey, too, and before I go I plan to try a place in Shipley, where we do our grocery shopping. It was highly recommended to me by one of the lovely taxi drivers.

You know, I was warned several times about Bradford before I moved here, but my experiences have all been most positive. Everyone I’ve met has been friendly and helpful and interesting to chat with. So sometimes I think it’s what we bring to an encounter that defines it most.

Well, it’s late now and I’m tired of fixing the typos that occur in nearly every paragraph. I hope I’ve gotten them all out; if not, please forgive me.

I’ve dropped by the blogs written by many of you, sometimes leaving comments, more often just a ‘like’ to show I’ve been by.

I’d love to tell you about this house and the neighbourhood, and so much more, too, but I’ll leave all that for another post. In the meantime, stay warm (or cool, if you’re on the other side of the world). I’ve missed blogging and am really looking forward to resuming on a more regular basis.

Love and Light to each one of you, my friends. You are in my thoughts every day.  ~ Linne

For music, I have only one piece to offer. This is the Tweed Ceilidh band, who played at the Ceilidh I didn’t attend in Stirling. Everyone who did see them loved them!

On other fronts . . .

Hello, my friends! I am sorry I’ve been so neglectful, but life has been full and happy since I last posted. And busy! I’ll be continuing to post about my creative endeavours and all the usual ‘random harvest’ of thoughts and events and activities.

However, I have finally gotten a travel blog up and running. I had great plans (aren’t plans easy? Compared to executing them . . .) and wanted to have two blogs for my travels, one for family and friends and another for my grandchildren and other young people who might be interested. It’s taken me a while to get used to the tablet, though, and to figure out how to handle getting my photos uploaded without doing so one at a time. The tablet’s storage space is small and the little external drive I bought, which worked well with the laptop at home, just won’t talk to the tablet! Grumpy-making, for sure. But I have settled for only uploading the photos I use in a post and not all the photos. Those I am backing up to a 64gig flash drive. These are memories I really don’t want to lose! Anyway . . .

The new travel blog, which has two contributors, Flora (a mini sheep) and Bestemor (me, because that’s what my grandchildren call me). Feel free to visit when you have time and see what I’ve been up to. I’ve only three posts up so far, but will be adding more as time allows. I’m dating in the titles so you will know when stuff was happening, as the posts are not going to be in sequence by time experienced.

If you are interested, go here:  Gypsies: Flora and Bestemor [Another Great Adventure]

I had a marvellous time in Alba (Scotland) and the wedding was perfect! I wore my Meg shawl, too, although it still doesn’t have the finishing touches added. I absolutely love it!

The wedding was in Edinburgh on 18 May and I was able to watch the Royal Wedding the following day on my tablet at the hostel. Posts about all my adventures in Scotland and since then in England will follow.

I have been busy knitting since I arrived (with a little help from wee Flora):

Remember the Clover Colours socks? Well, here they are today:

Yes, they are done (and the yarn ends neatly darned in, too; I refused to allow myself to wear them until that was taken care of. I’m doing my best to mend some of my errant ways). They are SO comfy and I simply love them! No turning back for me, now.

I am beyond grateful to Ms. Snail for her recommendation of using the smallest dpns (2 mm or size zero are what I used) to achieve a dense, cushiony fabric that will wear well and so require darning further into the future. I’ll let you know when I have to make the first mend, but don’t hold your breath . . . for one thing, I’m wearing my cotton socks to work in t stable or field and even around the house if the days are warm.

Because of her recommendation, and after seeing the lovely results (and comparing the socks with the Fair Isle style ones that are still on the needles, I made the drastic decision to do this . . .

. . . yes, on 11 June I frogged the whole sock (well, half a sock, really, as it was just past the heel). And then I picked up my new favourite dpns and . . .

. . . began again. And now, as you can see, both socks are nearly up to the beginning of the heel. I think I have another ten rows or so to knit. And I am on my way to creating a Sock Drawer of my very own.

Another project that I began some years ago began as one of my ‘make it up as you go along’ creations. I had read about a jumper that was begun at one sleeve cuff and knitted across horizontally to the other cuff, increasing and decreasing and leaving openings as one went along. Sounded like fun to me . . . But I was using the yarn I had and it proved to be a bit heavy, considering that I was also working a Fair Isle style design into the sleeve. So in the end I changed my goal and decided this would make an excellent, if unique, knitted bag. The straps are different, as the less decorative one (small upper picture) is meant to be worn next to the body, with the other strap (large picture) worn facing outward.

The spiral piece is crocheted and was created to fill the hole at the bottom of the bag, once the place for a hand to pass through. Yesterday and today I have been:

joining the circle to the opening, using a crochet hook and slipstitches. It’s worked out rather well, I think. When I created the spiral piece I worked alternately with the pink and blue, switching to only pink for the last two rounds. Those two rounds I did not use any increase stitches, so the spiral took on a very shallow basket shape and its ‘wall’ is what I joined to the cast-on row of the former sleeve. I have yet to work in the yarn ends and I still have to decide if I am going to use a button and loop to fasten the two straps together. And what sort of button. And what colour . . . oh, the decisions . . .

And in the meantime . . .

This is young Cassie, a yearling filly and a miniature Gypsy cob. She looks rather wild with her mane blowing about, but is gentle, yet spirited. She is in a field with an older mare, a Thoroughbred and I am lucky in that I am allowed to feed them every morning (I prepare the food in the evenings unless my friend Veronica has already done it. I also get to groom Cassie as well as the two Gypsy cobs and two rescue donkeys in the adjoining field. When I was twelve or thirteen I was as horse-crazy as any young girl and begged for a horse of my own. Not a practical thing for a large family. My parents were sure I would grow out of it. I wonder when that will happen . . .

I also put out cat food for the feral cat here and it has shown itself to me twice  before today.

There is a big adventure (for me, that is) planned for Monday (tomorrow) and I shall have photos and a story to share. When I put out feed for any animal I always make a distinctive sound so that they come to know me and become friendly. With the horses it’s a two-note low whistle. For the cat it’s more of a ps, ps, psss sound. Today it came just after I filled the dish and called it.  And it allowed me to come quite close before retreating to its den under a thick mass of tree branches and shrubbery. But I got a photo first . . .

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This is one of my favourite colourings for cats and I adore long-hairs . . . I hope I get to pet this one before I have to leave.

I’ll be back soon; there is so much more to share with you all. In the meantime, I wish you a wonderful week from Chota Farm:

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Oh, I forgot to mention . . . I’m on Instagram and have been posting a few photos there, if you are interested. Search for Another_Great_Adventure, ask to follow me and I shall grant you entrance! I had some odd people wanting to follow me, so have kept the account private for now. But any of you, my friends, are more than welcome.

It’s too late to search for music, sorry. Maybe next time.

Instagram: Another_Great_Adventure

Travel blog

The Last Two Weeks (but who’s counting?)

That’s right, my friends; last week was pretty busy, so I scrapped the post I’d begun. And now in less than a week I shall be in the air. The changing time zones have me a bit confused at times (pun intended). I do know that when I land in Glasgow sometime close to 9 am on Monday the 14th of May, it will be close to 1 am here in BC.

I’m going to keep this short; I just want to touch base for a few minutes. There may not be any photos; for one thing, I left the battery charger for the camera I’m borrowing) at home, so it was out of energy before we arrived in Princeton and those photos are all of the landscapes on the way down. For another, the cell phone camera was also worn out. I charged it up, then left it in my sister’s car . . .

Catching up: I’ve begun packing up things that will go into my storage unit for six months, in between the various creative activities. Nearly two weeks ago, Cousin S and I went to Vernon and spent close to three hours shifting boxes and bits of furniture in the medium unit so that I could put most of the items from the small unit into it and free up a bit of money. I do wish I’d been able to do it a year ago, but the fire hazard kept us from wanting to breathe deeply or even be outdoors on the bad days. Still, it’s done now. I was quite pleased not to be sore except for the odd twinge here and there, after a couple of years of a very sedentary life.

The three of us went on Sun, Mon & Tues last week and got the job done; a few things had to come here for storage (lawnmower, garbage can, two large pieces of driftwood . . . all hard to pack in a smallish space). So much relief all around. There isn’t much room left in the medium unit, though, so some boxes may end up staying here. I’d hoped to avoid that.

We were in Princeton, BC, for most of three days for our Auntie’s service. It was good to see family again; some I hadn’t seen for over 50 years and some I had heard so many stories about I feel I know them, but we’d never actually met. I am lucky in that I like my out-laws as much as my in-laws! (and I like my in-laws) Most of us met up at the Brown Bridge Pub on the Friday night. I had a glass of dry white wine in honour of my Auntie and a very good bowl of Pad Thai. My Auntie would have loved that evening; she was so outgoing and family-oriented; I like to think she and maybe her siblings, too, were hovering around us that night.

I stayed with my RN sister in her hotel room, so we sat up until 3.30 the first night catching up and talking about a million subjects. That was great!

There was something else great, too: I finally got to meet one of our second cousins from Norway (that means our parents were cousins; in this case, her Dad and my Mum). We hit it off right away; she is so bubbly and energetic and I am quiet and intense most of the time. If I can get to Norway this summer I will definitely be adding a visit with Tove to my list. Even better, I was telling her about the upcoming Great Adventure and when I mentioned a concert in August, she asked about the band. I was SO surprised (and excited) to learn she knows Runrig and one of her close friends from Germany will be at the same concert! Runrig is huge in Germany and Denmark and their concerts sell out quickly in both countries. Anyway Tove is putting me in touch with her friend and perhaps we will be able to meet up.

The service was held in a very small church and it was nearly full, mostly with family, who came from the coast, from Alberta and Saskatchewan, along with Tove from Norway. A few of Auntie’s friends came, too, including the ladies who ate with her at the assisted living place that was her last home. Lunch was provided by the Church Ladies in the traditional fashion; a great variety of sandwiches followed by a marvellous selection of baked goodies. I do love the old ways!

Later we went up to our cousin L’s place to hang out in the house and backyard and later to enjoy a barbeque. More visiting, of course.

The next morning, we were invited back to cousin L’s place for brunch. There was not only plenty of food left from the barbecue, there was an entire Seven-Layer Salad that had been forgotten in one of the grandson’s travel trailer! I’d forgotten how delicious those are.

We left Princeton and Tove came with us as far as Kelowna, where we found a hotel for her not too far from the airport, as she was flying home Sunday morning. the long ride gave us time for more visiting and sharing of stories. Her grandfather Paul was our grandfather’s brother. He and his family also came to Canada, but stayed only a few years; his wife was very homesick and they went back to Norway.

Crafty activities: I’ve been working on the Clover socks every spare chance I’ve had, mostly in the car en route to Vernon or Salmon Arm for shopping. Pictures coming soon (or after I get to Scotland lol). I’m not a fast knitter and now I’m on the ribbing, so that’s even slower. But I’m pretty pleased with them!

Since arriving home on Saturday I have completed the two ends for my moss green Meg shawl, found a pattern for a rectangular panel, made that and joined the three parts. Today I will work on the border for a bit.

There has been much other craftiness going on here, too, but I’ll leave that for another post.

I was very excited to stop in Armstrong on one of our trips to Vernon and pick up some Great Britain Pounds Sterling; I haven’t even taken time to admire them; just packed them up right away. A first for me . . .

I am nearly finished Jon Sayer‘s Batdig and still enjoying it thoroughly. I’ve rationed myself quite strictly, but do want to finish it before I leave. I really need to know how it all turns out! I’ve enjoyed finding an in-joke or two along the way, but I’m not telling you where; you’ll have to read it for yourself. The second book, Kirkenes Blue, will be waiting for me when I return. A side note: my cousin Tove happened to mention Kirkenes during one of our conversations, so I showed her the books.

Well, the last time I began a post and waited to add photos and music, it ended up retiring to my drafts folder, so I am simply going to publish this as is.

I hope to post again before I leave; if not, I shall have time in the evenings, I expect, once I am in Glasgow. All of you are in my thoughts, whether I post or not.

Edit: I just remembered the music I had planned to share once this Auntie was gone. So here it is, as I remember my own Mum, Dad, Aunties and Uncles: Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin singing (in the film A Prairie Home Companion, which I love) Goodbye to my Mama

Have a wonderful May; for many reasons, it’s always been an inspiring month for me.

Gerard Manley Hopkins was one of my earliest favourite poets and I still have the book of his poetry which I bought while I was at Uni back in the mid-60s; it was the first book of poetry I bought for myself. When I think of May, I think of this poem:

Spring

A Sad Day . . .

I haven’t posted much recently; just getting ready for the Great Adventure and all that.

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Taken at lunch during my visit in August, 2017

But this morning I had a phone call from my RN sister to let me know that our last Auntie passed away today at 6.35 am, in the hospital. One of her daughters and one of her sons were with her and it was peaceful, which is good. She went into hospital last Thursday with a bit of pneumonia in the bottom of one lung as well as feeling very tired. She has had a bit of a heart condition for some time. She would have been 93 next month and we are all lucky to have had her in our lives for so long. I spoke with her on the phone nearly every night since I went to Tacoma and the calls were always different. We shared such a variety of interests and life experiences. Plus she had so many stories to tell about her youth, growing up with my Mum and the rest of her family.

All the women in our family did some sort of handcraft; the doily was made by this Auntie, the bit of blue is a detail from a small afghan made for her by my Aunty in Edmonton and the runner on her dresser was woven by my Mum. The wee wooden sign is typical of the humour enjoyed by all our family and especially the women . . .

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This is a photo of a photo. I took the original when she was visiting Mum and me at Mum’s house in Edmonton, so back before 2006. The china cabinet belonged to Mum and Dad and held a few of Mum’s keepsakes. The wooden plant stand to the right was made by my Dad, who could make pretty much anything. The rocking chair is the one that belonged to my Great-Grandmother, mother of my maternal Grandmother who died in her early 40s. My Great-Grandmother, my Mum’s Aunts, my Mum and myself have all rocked in this chair, holding our babies. It was located in one of Mum’s Uncle’s basement in pieces and my Dad lovingly restored it. The tooled leather seat is the original; the only new bit is one arm spindle, which was missing. Dad made a new one that matches so well it’s hard to identify which it is.

IMG_1918This pitcher belonged to that same Great-Grandmother, who helped to raise the younger kids after their mother died. I heard so many stories about her as I was growing up. The girls, especially, would stay with her for a week or so in the summer and if they were very good during the day, the big treat was being allowed to brush Grandma’s hair before she braided it and got ready for bed. It’s hard for me to imagine a child finding that to be a treat these days.

One of my favourite stories from the days when mum and her siblings were growing up was of the time Mum’s next older sister (Mother to the cousin I’m currently living with and married to my Dad’s next older brother), Mum and this Auntie were up on the roof of what was called the bunkhouse. In the summer, the boys slept there and all the kids played there at times. The main house had one bedroom, which was the parents’, a kitchen off the main living room, where the six girls (one had died at age 10) shared two double beds and the three boys slept on a pull-out bed in winter, when the bunkhouse was too cold. Anyway, the three girls were up on the roof hammering some shingles back on (they had blown off in one of the frequent storms of the ’30s). This Auntie was a few years younger and not so obedient as her sisters might have wished. She was sitting there and reading a book, deaf to all entreaties that she help with the job. So the other two worked right up to her, hammered a nail or two through the leg of her shorts and went on to finish the job. Then they climbed down and took away the ladder, with this Auntie seeming oblivious to everything and immersed in her book. Of course, it wasn’t long before she went to get up and discovered her predicament. I gather she raised quite a fuss before they relented, brought back the ladder and set her free again. This was a cross-stitch kit that Mum had. You will see on the roof of the wooden bridge (meant to represent the bunkhouse, of course) that there are two ‘M’s, actually Scorpio signs, I think. Anyway, they were what Mum had to hand and she stitched them on as symbols for herself and this Auntie, as both their names began with ‘M’. This story still makes me smile.

 

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Also taken during my visit in August

This Auntie and one of her brothers went to Norway almost exactly 20 years from when I am going to the UK. They were there for the big 17 May celebration, Constitution Day. They went to Lillehammer and saw the house where their father was born and lived, I think until he and two brothers emigrated when he was nineteen. I have been told that we still have family living in that house, although the cousins my Aunt and Uncle visited are now gone.

They also went to Trondheim. Their Mother was born there or near to there and the family lived in the area until they emigrated in 1900. My Grandmother was only nine at the time. While in Trondheim, my Auntie and Uncle met the minister of the Nidaros Cathedral and got to walk down the aisles and sit in one of the pews. We think the family may have attended church there.

My Auntie was only one year older than I am when she made that trip, which encourages me. She spoke so often of wishing she could make one more trip back and even though we both knew it was not possible, we would pretend it was and talk of where we would go and what we would do. I told her she would have to be prepared to camp out at the rock concert but that there would be a Ceilidh the night before and she could dance at that and then again during the concert (my ticket is for standing, not for a seat). She loved to dance so much and would have had a wonderful time. I told her that I would take her with me in spirit and would visit on my return so she could see my photos and hear my stories. I wish with all my heart that was still possible. We talked sometimes of the fact that she might die while I was away or even before and had an agreement that if so, she would accompany me even though I would not see her. I truly hope that is possible.

I am so glad that the last words we exchanged before she went to hospital and again while she was there (during a short conversation on my cousin’s mobile) were “I love you so much.”

She ‘kidnapped’ me once when I was new and I shall share that story another time. In spite of the inevitability of this day, I still feel sad. But she was ready to go and I am also content. It was the passing she wanted and what more can any of us ask for?

Only a little music for today:

Sissel Kirkjebo of Norway singing Going Home

and Runrig of Scotland singing their own Going Home

Take care of yourselves, my friends. You are in my heart today especially.