Thanks to Kym . . . finally! and mittens, tea and blankets

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This is mostly a long-overdue Thank You to Kym. I promised her (some years ago, I have to admit) that I was going to use her pattern to make myself a tea cosy. And then life happened and I never … Continue reading

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Hello, my friends. The latter part of the summer was quite stressful and I didn’t get back here as planned. But things are better now (not as I’d have liked, but still, it’s all good).

My cousins turned the new sewing/computer room back into a spare room for me, and without asking me (I would have turned it down if they’d asked; she deserves the long-awaited room of her own), so I am back in the house again for the winter. I was up to eight layers of bedding in the MH by the beginning of October, as it was slowly growing cooler. I’m hoping to create a better solution for next winter, though.

In the meantime, we have gotten back to our former routines and it’s all good.

I did finish the scarf. I couldn’t locate my yarn needles and refused to buy more, so I used my crochet hook and followed the instructions for Kitchener Stitch, only backwards, if that makes any sense. I was dragging the yarn through,not pushing it, as with a needle. But it worked!

This is the two halves of the scarf. I still have to decide what to do with the points once I weave in the bit of yarn that you see dangling here: leave as is, add tassels, or ???

I was deeply saddened to learn that Pauline, of The Contented Crafter, had passed away suddenly on her birthday, just a few days before mine. One of her friends, Alys, gently informed all of us, but it was still such a shock. Somehow, I always expect my world to go on, unchanged . . . Alys wrote a lovely tribute and you can read it here.

Creative Pursuits

I’ve mentioned above that I finished the scarf. I sort of finished the blanket, too, but then decided to add some more at each end before creating the border. I attached the yarn, hooked for a couple of days, then got busy and put it aside. It’s under my bed now (in a bag), waiting for me to complete it.

  

 

I used three of the flower stitches from Attic24, the Dahlia, the Sweet Pea / Trellis, and the Hydrangea. All these patterns are on the blog forever and you will find them listed on the left side of the page, down below the blogs she loves. You can see the detail in the close-up above.

Also under the bed is my much-loved and also much-neglected ‘Barn Cardi’. I’ll be knitting again soon . . . but first . . .

I posted this photo back in August of 2014; hard to believe it’s been that long . . . I’ve done a little work on the sleeves since then, but not much. That’s one of my beloved Aunties modelling it for me up at Mum’s apartment. She was under five foot tall, so it came almost to her ankles; on me it’s just above my knees.

You may remember that I call the ‘blogoverse’ my Virtual Village (partly because I dislike the word ‘blog’; it doesn’t sound friendly somehow). Most of my closest friends I’ve met here in the Village. But I’ve also met a few in other online places. Facebook brought me a special friendship. We both belong to Winwick Mum’s Knit and Natter group. One day I noticed that someone had posted about her new loom and I commented, offering to help if needed, as I have some weaving experience. We began replying to each other, discovering a host of shared interests besides knitting and other yarnwork. So I created a private page and we have met there happily most days ever since. Sometimes, when things are challenging, we don’t need someone to fix things, or us. We just need a listening ear and an understanding heart. And that is what we both have discovered. I haven’t posted much since my Mum died, as my life changed overnight and then continued changing. My friend’s support has meant a lot to me. She was going through various challenges herself and she has told me that my support was helpfut to her, too.

Anyway, when I was trying to figure out a solution to my housing situation, I slowly became more discouraged and ‘down’, even though I know that staying positive is far more helpful. I felt I couldn’t post because it would just sound like whining and complaining. And I couldn’t seem to write with hope and positivity at the time. That seemed fake. Ah, well . . .

One thing we share a love of is Attic24 and Lucy’s designs, which are free and will remain available on her blog forever. I was so lucky to actually meet Lucy when I went to Yarndale at the end of September, 2018 and later, in early November when I was able to join her crochet group twice in Skipton, Yorkshire. Lucy is a quiet, unassuming and thoroughly delightful person and I shall always remember my time there and our short chats. So I was delighted when my friend began crocheting and then bought some of Lucy’s kits. I was excited to see her blankets develop, even as I was working on my own black, white, grey and red one. If you remember, the stitches I chose were all from Lucy’s patterns.

So . . . one day, my friend asked which kit I would choose if I were to buy one. And I told her The Summer Harmony. The next day I had a message saying that she’d be pleased if I would accept that kit as a gift. I knew she meant it and I was overjoyed to accept. As it turned out, there is no specific kit for the Summer Harmony; the kit that was ordered is the original Harmony blanket, which I think of as the Spring Harmony, as the colours remind me of Easter eggs, spring flowers, etc. They are beautiful, colourful but not overbearing, and the joining yarn is three skeins of a pale grey with a tinge of violet, appropriately named Parma Violet.

The kit arrived on 23 September, but I didn’t begin for a few days. We also both belong to the Fans of Attic24 group on facebook. Someone in the group had posted about organizing the yarns for the granny square blankets. So this is what I did:

I purchased some Large size ziplok bags and labelled them. I snipped a tiny bit off one corner to aloow yarn to pass through. I put one bag of yarn into its ziplok bag. I have a special cloth bag from Yarndale; it pays homage to the film, Babe, with the quote on the front: Baa, Ram, Ewe. (really, you have to watch this film to appreciate the bag. Itfourteen colourss often billed as a children’s film, but, like Charlotte’s Web, there’s a lot in it for adults, too. And I fell in love with the farmer from the beginning.) But back to the kit:

Lucy has included in the pattern a chart of all the squares and their placement in the finished blanket. There is also a list of the fourteen squares and the colours to use for each. So I chose the bags containing the colours needed for the A Squares and proceded to make all nine of them, round by round. When I finished a round, if I had to put the work aside for some time, the squares went into the bag containing the next colour, along with two hooks and a small pair of embrouidery scissors.

Eventually I had 126 squares, all in neat piles nine high.

I laid the piles in order, A to N, on a whiteboard covered with a small towel to keep them from slipping. Above you can see the final squares just waiting to form the last row.

Then came the joining. I’d heard that Lucy’s Join As You Go (JAYG) method had caused trouble for some people, so decided to try it and, if it was not working out, to use a different method. The only trouble it caused for me was that sometimes my mind would wander off and begin thinking about some issue or other and my hands don’t do so well without a certain amount of supervision . . . but crochet is fairly easy to frog back and re-do, thank heaven. I had to do that on a few of the squares, too, including one that was frogged back two rounds, as I’d completely messed up a corner and forgotten to do the usual visual check before proceeding.

A close-up of the JAYG . . .

Above is the first row, joined and laid out along the back of the futon couch which is also my bed at night.

I figured out another trick to make the joining go more smoothly (and to prevent me from getting the fourteen squares in a strip mixed up). I have the piles of squares laid out on a small whiteboard now, in order from A to N. I choose the squares for a strip, beginning with the final one and with the first one on top. Then I use a folded piece of scrap yarn, drawing it up through the centre holes with my hook. This way I know that the top of the pile, with the next squate on top, is the right one (just in case the pile gets joggled and turns topsy-turvey). If I have to put the work aside, I tie the tails and the loop into a neat bow and then I can put the stack on top of the loose squares.

The other day I passed the exact half-way mark of the joining. I’ve completed six strips now and have only three to do.

Then it will be on to the eight rows of border . . . and after that I intend to work on the blanket I created this summer, as well as completing the sleeves for the Barn Cardi and adding the button and buttonhole bands to the front. I shall have to choose suitable buttons for it, too. I have such fond memories of showing this work to my Mum as it progressed and of my Aunty modelling it for me. It will be a joy to wear . . .

My birthday was just a few days after Pauline’s, so my friend and I considered the kit to be a birthday gift. A few days ago, inspired by my progress and wanting to share the joy she’s having working on her own blankets, my friend informed me that she and her husband wanted to send me another kit, this one for Christmas! Again, she asked me my preference and again I chose the Summer Harmony. This time I looked up the pattern and discovered that the yarn is sold in a set named the Original Pack. The pattern is the same as what I have already; only the colours are different. It should go even faster, as now I have this down. I am so, so grateful to have these lovely blankets to work on! But I did tell my friend they should be the last, as she doesn’t need to keep feeding my yarn habit. Besides, I have another black, white, grey and red blanket to make, along with all the other projects waiting for my attention.

Almost finished . . .

Ta-Dah!! Now only the border to add. 

The border called for eight rows, each a different colour. I did that (and for once, I had followed the instructions throughout the project! A rare thing, if you recall . . .) But somehow it did not look quite finished to me. There was yarn left in all the skeins, so I chose three more colours and added those. You can see the results above. These colours give me so much joy! I sit at the laptop and turn my head ot the left and there they are . . .

It can be very easy to give; it’s not so easy to receive. It’s a lesson I’ve learned over my lifetime. I remember reading a story once, written by a young woman. She said that her mother was the kindest, most generous woman, not only to her, but to all she encountered. The Mum was the sort, that, if you came to visit and admired something of hers, would thrust it into your hands as you were leaving. But she wouldn’t accept anything from others. Finally one day, frustrated, her daughter told her she was being selfish. The Mum was astounded, as she gave without reserve. But her daughter told her that she (the mum) received so much joy and satisfaction from giving, yet denied others the chance to experience the same by giving to her. I was happy to read that the Mum ‘got it’ and changed her ways and I began adopting the same attitude.

I still find it easier to give, but I’ve also learned to receive with gratitude and joy. I think that receiving gracefully is a gift we give to others when they seek to bless us. So soon I shall have two of Lucy’s blankets adorning the back of the futon couch where I sleep. Spring and Summer, so delightful! And if my friend and I ever manage to meet in person, we can wrapup in our ‘virtual hugs’ as we sit together, chatting over handwork and a cuppa. And surely some biscuits and chocolate . . .

Here is the Summer Harmony makings on the day the package arrived. It still looks the same, but now it lives under my desk. I’ve been very good about not peeking at all; I will open it on Christmas Day, when my friend and I plan to do a Zoom or Skype call so we can share the excitement. I’ll be sharing photos with you all here, too, as I go along. I did get the additional ziplok bags ready to hold the new colours (some are the same as the first blanket, so those bags will be used again), but this time it will take longer to finish; I have a very exciting new project, just begun, which is a thank-you to my friend and her husband (she knows about it, but I won’t be sharing photos until they have received the gift).

And, in honour of the blanket being a ‘Harmony’, I’ve been listening to plenty of music as I hook . . . from nine year old Amira singing “O Mio Babbino Caro” (conducted by Andre Rieu), to Bach (the 1/4 Goldberg Variations by Canadian pianist Glen Gould) to music from my childhood and youth (too many to name) to, of course, a wide variety of Runrig concerts and singles. No surprise there, eh? So this blanket will be infused, not only with the harmonies of a lasting friendship, but also a variety of the musical harmonies from my life.

Sorry this has taken me so long to complete; I still haven’t solved the issues of uploading photos, but did find a workaround at least. 

Hope you are all doing well and staying busy and creative as we head into winter.

More to come soon . . . 

She’s back for Christmas again!

Hi, friends; I have a long post that’s been ready for a bit now, but still doesn’t have any photos added to it. Soon, I hope. In the meantime, those of you who’ve followed Eclectic Home and Life in the past will be excited to learn that Selma is once again posting in December! So here you go . . . I expect the first post will be on Tuesday, but this is her lead-up to that:

https://eclectichomelife.blogspot.com/

Enjoy! I’ll see you over there . . .

Catching up a bit . . .

Well, after more than a year, I’m back! Much has happened during that time. I stayed with my cousins until early January 2020, then returned to Edmonton, AB, to stay with my youngest sister. The original plan was to get my last things from the container on my friends’ property and bring it all back to BC to live with the rest of my things (still in storage).

But then came the COVID-19 . . . unlike for many of you, life didn’t change much for me. I began going out only once a month, to shop for basic supplies, wearing a mask, of course. I was lucky that one of the ladies in my crochet group began making them, so I obtained some for me and some for my cousins and a friend of theirs. I never thought I’d see the day, but to me it’s worth it, just a small thing I can do to help others stay safe.

I began a blanket while at my sister’s; unusually for me, it’s black, grey and white. You may remember how much I love colour, but that’s what was available when I was shopping. I only went to the one store, so there weren’t many options. I completed the main body of the blanket, then bought more yarn so I would be sure to have enough to make a wide border. This time, there was a lovely red on offer, so it went home with me! I added a narrow stripe of red on both ends and then began on the border. I’ve not finished that yet, but soon . . . it’s just been too hot here (I returned to BC to my cousins’ in early July) – up to 98.6 F / 37 C on a couple of occasions.

More on the blanket in a bit . . .

When I returned to BC, I drove back with a friend from the crochet group and so was able to bring a few things with me. The rest went into a storage box at the U-Haul in Edmonton for now. And my friends who have been storing my things all this time have offered to store them for a while longer.

I stayed with my friend who brought me back for almost three weeks, just to be on the safe side, and continued wearing a mask when shopping and not doing much of that, either. When living in a ‘tinny home’ as it’s been called, one doesn’t need much; mainly food . . .

I’m living in the motorhome now, since 30 July (MH for now; still haven’t decided on a name for her), which is basically a tin can on wheels, so quite warm, let’s say, at present. And soon to be quite cold, too. The electrical system here won’t support heating on the scale I would need (the breakers blow), so I will be making other plans for the winter. There’s a good chance I’ll be house and pet sitting for at least a couple of months then, possibly more. The same place where I was self-isolating, so the animals know me and it’s truly a lovely home, with a fantastic view of the Enderby Cliffs.

Back to yarny things . . .

I ended up having enough yarn to make a second blanket, which I ought to be working on today. Well, actually, I should be finishing up that border on blanket number one, right?

The blanket uses three of the stitches I love from “Attic24”; Dahlia, Hydrangea and Sweet Pea. The arrangement is all mine.

I began this a couple of weeks ago, then the laptop began acting up after another ‘update’ . . . So, back again, this time typing one-fingered on a tablet. <sigh>

Tomorrow I’ll see if I can add some photos; then I can post this.

Hope you are all doing ok out there and maybe getting stuck into some hobby or other.

Since writing the above, I have almost finished a scarf for the coming winter. I used one skein for each half; last step is to join them with Kitchener Stitch. Once I find my yarn needles . . .

Here’s a photo of the halves:

I’m not fond of artificial fibres, due to their impact on our waterways and the oceans. I really have to get myself a Guppy Friend laundry bag.

The scarf is a simple design (my own) and is over 15″ wide. It will look nice with the new winter jacket and snowpants, both black. The yarn is Lion Brand ‘Scarfie’ and super-soft and snuggly. It’s 20% wool, which I love. I have a third skein and will make a matching touque and possibly a pair of mitts, too.

You know, I like the yarn so much, I’m thinking of making myself a cardi. That would be in the dark green / black mix, though.

Deja vu, all over again . . .

Note: I’ve been writing a post (Aug 2020), but just saw this draft that never got posted.

Well, my friends, if any of you are still dropping by to see what’s up at my end, I’ve been meaning to come and catch you up, but so much has been happening for me. And sometimes I’ve just been sloshing around in the doldrums, too . . .

My last post was about the motorhome I bought. I still haven’t lived in it and it’s parked at my cousins’ place for now. We put six new tires on, as some of the old ones were down to the cords (the inner ones that were hard to inspect unless you crawled under, which my cousin kindly did for me) and they were all quite tread-worn. Other work was done, too, some by professionals, some by my cousin. But then we had a series of tragedies. Not for me personally, but they affected me nonetheless. Counting a younger than me uncle, who died in January last year, we had six deaths in our family in less than a year. The first in the summer was the youngest daughter of one of my brothers, who died at the end of July. Then, about a month later, there was my cousin’s wife’s (I’ll call her S) oldest son, lost at sea for two weeks after a short after-work kayaking paddle. His body was found, fortunately, but much further up the coast. A month to the day later, S’s brother lost one of his daughters. She had a sudden heart attack at home.

So, as you might expect, even though I wasn’t close to any of these young people (all in their 40s), my life was still impacted. I felt lucky to be living at my cousins’ place. It meant I could take care of the house, garden and cat while they drove to the coast to await the search results and again later for the memorials. He lived on the Sunshine Coast, north of Vancouver, BC, so taking a ferry is necessary and adds to the time to get there.

I won’t say more about all this; it’s not really my story to share. But, in the end, I felt the cousins could use some time to themselves to adapt to the new ‘normal. Not that they would have asked for it, or indicate in any way that they wanted space, but I did feel it was necessary.

I do have a few photos, but can’t figure out how to add them from the tablet, so they will have to wait.

I did go on that cruise in October, returning in mid-November. More about that another time, as I don’t have the photos on the laptop yet. It was good, though, and I can highly recommend Viking in every way, especially when it comes to the food! While on that trip, my sister told me that I could come stay with them at any time and that her husband had told her to tell me that. So I accepted. She’s the one who lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where I spent over 17 years with my parents and then my Mum and one of her older sisters. I hadn’t planned ever to live there again, but life happens . . .

At the cousins’, we kept Thanksgiving very low-key, just having the traditional meal. And Christmas, too, was low-key. We weren’t sure about gifts, so I had decided to leave mine in my room for them for after I left in early January. In the end they decided to put up their small tree and do gifts, so it all went somewhat as usual.

I crocheted two blankets for them back in the late spring, while I was going to my crochet group every Tuesday. So they got those and a few small items as well. And I got chocolates! and a gift certificate to Fabricland (also !!!).

Even before New Year’s Eve, I got busy packing and moving items into the motorhome to free up the bedroom that I’d been using so they could store things from the addition in there while they replaced the flooring with laminate, which they already had on hand. So the motorhome has plenty in it, but I still haven’t spent a night in it. Winter was way too cold, anyway, and we had a LOT of snow, starting early. I would have spent a fortune on propane and because the tanks are built in, would have had to drive to Salmon Arm to refill them as needed. So . . .

On 09 January the cousins drove me to Kelowna and I flew to Edmonton, arriving at midnight. I hadn’t told my sister when I’d arrive, knowing she’d have lost sleep just to pick me up. So I planned to sleep at the airport and that worked out pretty well. In the morning I caught the Airporter bus to downtown Edmonton somewhere and my lovely BIL came with his truck and picked me up.

The day before I left, however, somehow I pulled a muscle in my left thigh and so suddenly was quite inconvenienced and walking like a very old person. Not my favourite thing, I assure you! This was worse after I slept on the benches in one of the waiting areas.

The day I arrived at my sister’s place, the temperature dropped to almost -40 C (oddly enough, that’s about -40 F as well). So my sister took me to walmart and I found a good winter jacket and snow pants (first snow pants I’ve owned since my early teens) as well as three sets of black long johns and some larger T-shirts to wear over the long john shirts. Since then I’ve been quite comfy, thank you! The basement is cool enough that I wear my new jacket when at the laptop for long periods of time and that works well, too. It has a large hood trimmed with faux fur, so I look a bit like an Inuit person (I think so, anyway). They offered to turn up the heat, but this is a three storey house and almost all is open-plan so the heat would just run upstairs anyway. I do have a wee portable heater which is on the floor at nights and blows warm air under the bed. It all works well. I’m so fortunate I come from hardy ancestors on both sides of my heritage and have had plenty of practical survival experience all through my life.

On the positive side, since some of the trouble with my leg and joints is undoubtedly due to my increasingly sedentary life over the past few years, I have begun an exercise program (and kept to it!) and set a daily walking goal. I had a few false starts, but now I’m being rather rigorous about it and it’s already paying off. So I’m walking better and sleeping better and rarely need a pain pill anymore. It’s been many years since I even took a single pill, so it’s good to get back to normal.

I’ve got a space in the basement here, with a futon couch (been sleeping on those since 2011, so no big deal) and a large tv that’s set up for netflix. A real boon on those nights when I wake and can’t get back to sleep.

Best of all, I have a small table for the laptop and techie stuff, plus some of my daybooks. And at one end of that I’ve set up a folding table with plastic sheeting over it, so that’s where some of the creativity will occur. I have been accumulating supplies, as most of those I already have are in the storage in BC. And I discovered ‘gelli plates’, which most of you are likely familiar with. I took a couple of printmaking courses when I was in my 40s and its been a great love of mine ever since. Finding / making a suitable space in which to work has been the challenge. But now I have one! I confess to spending three hours in a dollarama store here a couple of weeks ago and coming home with paints, wooden things on which to paint, glitter glue and more. That same day I made my way to a nearby walmart and spent two hours there. I found some great deals on pyjama bottoms, T-shirts and other things I needed, plus the paints that dollarama was out of. At home I ordered some textile medium (but forgot to include acrylic extender) and the supplies for making the ‘gelli plates’. Once it came, I set everything up in the kitchen to create the plates, only to discover that we were practically out of white sugar. So I have had to wait until a grocery run was made and the sugar purchased. That happened this week. Now for an afternoon of uninterrupted time in the kitchen . . .

Did I mention that above my worktable I have hung two calendars? One was sent to me by a sweet fellow Riggie in Germany and features Runrig photos on every page. The other was a gift from a new friend in my Enderby crochet group. It’s called ‘Secret Garden’ and the photos of some lovely Europaean gardens brighten every day for me.

I’ll keep you posted on the ‘gelli plates’ and my success (or otherwise) with using them. I’m quite excited about getting back to monoprints . . .

Also on the creative front, I have finished my gold ‘boot socks’ that I made too-large on purpose and am part-way up the feet of another pair, same yarn, that will fit and which I can wear inside the first set. Once in the motorhome, I plan to stay very toasty warm and cosy!

By lovely BIL here has a friend, W. They each bought a pair of heavy-duty boot socks years ago from a lady in Saskatchewan. W’s socks, however, have developed large holes in the soles and the heels. I was able to source some unspun wool yarn from a local (Alberta, anyway) woolen mill and have been using that to mend the holes. It’s been a bit slow, as my knuckles keep cracking from the cold in spite of regular applications of lotion. The yarn is interesting in that it’s made up of five individual strands that are then wound into a large cake-shaped skein. I bought two skeins so that I could knit myself a pair of boot socks, too.

Nothing exciting on the food front to report, but I have been watching an interesting series on netflix called ‘Ugly Delicious’. The host is a well-known restaurateur from New York and I’m loving all the information he shares about foods from many cultures. Often they travel to other countries to learn about the foods first-hand. If bad language bothers you, you may not like it. I could do without it, but the rest of the show is entertaining enough to keep me interested.

Almost forgot . . . I have what I need to make a couple of journal covers, too. And a cushion cover. I’m planning to explore ideas that might eventually lead to a small income stream . . .

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 . . .

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 . . .

GODR5236

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

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