What a fabulous start to a new phase of my life, the last week has been. 16th November was the last day of the past 13 and half years of my 9-5. I am going to undertake temporary work until I sort my ideas out for the next phase of my life.
The first week of my new life began at Kings Cross, on Tuesday 20th - catching the 11:10 train to Leeds, and then the connecting train across to Harrogate. A kind train guard helped me and two bags onto the Harrogate - little did he know he would have been even more useful on the way home... As I tried to retrieve my knitting from my bag - he commented 'No one does that anymore do they?' I explained, and showed the socks I was knitting. he liked the colours - much nicer than the yarn his Mum and Sister used to use.
Walked across The Stray - with my trusty map and directions provided by Wye Sue to the house we were to share for the week. As I got nearer (after having taken a wrong turn and getting hot and bothered) I saw Sue and Yvonne, funny that we all arrived together. It took some time to figure out how the central heating worked, and even longer to figure out the idiosyncracies of the hot water!! Yvonne's first shower, and my first bath a little on the cool side!
WyeSue had arrived, via Coldstream Mill, and we had extra guests... three cones of gorgeous silk (two of which you can see in the picture).
Being tired - we only ventured out (it was also raining and very cold) to the local Sainsbury - where ingredients for Sausage, mash, fried onions and beans were acquired. A yummy first meal in our new home for the next week. I cooked and the others cleaned up, with the help of the dishwasher!
Wednesday morning, down to the Conference centre where I helped WyeSue put up the KCG stand. I really enjoy doing that sort of thing, and the finishing touch was the positioning of 'Sue's Knickers'. You need to go to WyeSue's blog (see link alongside - no I have not yet learnt how to put them into this text) to see about those! Here is a picture of the resulting stand.
Yvonne had made sure that all we needed for the 4 days teaching of Knitting and Crochet, had arrived at the Relax and Knit stand. This year we also had a back board on that stand - which did give us protection from the awful draught from the back door of the hall.
Then to a serious shop at Asda, and the ingredients for a delicious lamb and apricot stew, Chickpea and Potato curry, and Yvonne's delicious Meatball recipe. We also acquired the ingredients for an ice cream dessert both Yvonne and I had seen on Nigella Lawson's TV show; and a packet of chocolate eclairs at the hefty price of £1.
That evening we had Yvonne's delicious meatballs for dinner, plus the ice cream, which we really really wanted to eat, which meant the only way was to microwave for a short time, turn it out onto a plate and using the carving knife and fork... It was incredibly delicious.
You can also see here, my bargain haul of Appleton's Crewel Wool - from the Oxfam Shop in Harrogate - absolutely delighted with that and Yvonne came away with a cone of red yarn.
Further bargains were had at TK Max - where I acquired a new knitting bag, what you might call a 'bling' bag! and Yvonne a beautiful purple cashmere sweater.
Of course we just had to show these delicious dishes:
In the picture collection here you can see the improvised mortar and pestle, (cereal bowl and the sugar bowl!) what you can't see is the black peppercorns jumping out of the bowl! Chickpea and potato curry and delicious bread from Betty's. The last shows, WyeSue, Lindy and Yvonne, sitting down to delicious food. With the small team we were, and a little effort, we all agreed, far preferable to the B&B and eating out every night - which is the usual experience of a show for many of us.
We did of course go to Betty's for supper one evening, and also had a great fish and chip supper with Sarah and David of CraftyNotions, and also, Lindy and two Chris's from KCG. Seriously the best fish and chips for me in many years - the batter on the haddock quite delicious and I ate it all. Here at home I almost always discard it. The fish and chip evening was a hoot, lots of silliness and giggling, more of the ice cream etc.
For more information about this picture, again you will need to go over to WyeSue's blog to see the reason for this and the end result. It was huge fun, even if I had to get up 15 min early, shower and breakfast quickly, so that I could sit and crochet the edges so that we would be ready for the gift giving first thing the next morning.
Of all the fun and the hard work that it can be teaching for 4 days, with shopping breaks - the highlight for me was siting down with Mary of Jamieson's, who helped me to sort out where I was going wrong when knitting the corners of my hap shawl (which corners I have knit and unpicked 3 times now. ie. dealing with knitting and then unpicking back to the central square around 400 stitches, each time!
I knit a small square of Jamieson's Ultra (lambswool & shetland blend) and sat with Mary whilst she guided me through, showed me how to sensibly mark the actual corner stitch, and I knit a few rows so I could see the end result.
Mary was also working on a Hap, which was in several pieces, all partly connected. She showed and talked me through how she knits and constructs the shawl in the traditional fashion, vs the modern fashion I chose to use to knit mine. Isn't it great when you're read but not quite grasped the principles, but someone shows you practically, how to do it, and the missing pieces in your understanding finally slot into place. I could see how it works and will knit my next shawl using this method.
Getting home began rather ominously... We figured we needed to offload the bags and me to the far side of Harrogate station for the train to Leeds. Yvonne went across to the ticket office to buy her ticket. There I sat with three bags of mine, and two of Yvonne's, in my very bright pink, but warm and cosy Land's End coat. I had sat for a few minutes, took out my knitting and then I heard this:
'It is my solemn duty to tell the lady sitting on platform 2, in the pink coat, that if she requires the Leeds train, she is on the wrong platform."
My then vague recollection of last year catching the Leeds train from the same platform that I had arrived on rang true. I calmly began to move the very heavy bags across to the lift (thank goodness there was one) - when he piped up again: "There is no need to rush (I was not rushing) there is 20 minutes til the train."
Then I saw Yvonne appear from the ticket office - obviously laughing hard!! She came back across and we hauled all our bags over to platform 1. I went in search of the gentleman, shook his hand and advised him -"You don't get service like that in London." Thankfully the rest of the journey was uneventful and I even managed to get home from Kings Cross, via Thameslink train and taxi in less than an hour!!
Now life gets serious again - a very messy, overfilled flat to cull, and CV etc to write. A fabulous time had by all and special thank you to Sue, Yvonne ie. the other two founding members of the Jamieson's Fan Club - and to Elaine and Mary of said Jamieson's for the icing on the cake of the week.