Thursday, 26 July 2012

The Dangers of Rushing!

          Waiting  at Crewe where we change trains. The swan dive was about 1/2 hour ago.

Yesterday, Gorgeous Husband and I decided to have a day out on the train and go to Liverpool, his home town.  We wanted to see the artist Rolf Harris's exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery before its closing date.

I decided to wear these wide-leg flowing palazzo pants, even though I noticed they were a little long and floppy. "I'll have to watch them," I thought, as I stepped on the hem now and then.

At the train station, we had a few minutes, so I decided to nip into the cafe and get a cappuccino for the journey.  As it turned out, the fellow with the cappuccino was a bit slow, the train arrived sooner than I anticipated, and Gorgeous Husband was saying, "Come on!  The train's in."

So, I rushed, didn't I?  Not a good move.  Just as I went through the cafe door onto the station platform, I tripped myself up with the floppy, flappy pants.  I saw the concrete coming up to meet me, and suddenly, there was cappuccino everywhere, the camera that I had been holding popped open, the batteries rolled out, and I felt my chin smack onto the cement, and I was in a heap.

Because the train was about to depart, we hastily gathered up me and my scattered belongings and boarded.  I realized that I had skinned my right knee, my right elbow, and although there was not much blood, I had given myself a good upper cut on the underside of my jaw as well.   Amazingly, the fabric of the jacket and trousers did not rip, so outwardly, it looked like nothing happened (other than I realized I had cappuccino in my hair.)

Was Gorgeous Husband worried, sympathetic, kind and concerned?  Yes, he was, (bless him)  although I felt a right pratt. 

The conductor came up just then, asked for our tickets and enquired if I was OK.  When I said I was, he said, "That's good, because that was a real gold medal swan dive you took!"

What a start to the journey!  But once onboard, there was nothing to do but settle down, recover and go on to Liverpool.

           Here I am at Lime Street station with a statue of Liverpool comedian Ken Dodds

                                       The exterior of Liverpool Lime Street station

We walked over the Walker Art Gallery and after having a cappuccino (which I actually got to drink this time!) we enjoyed the Rolf Harris exhibiton, which was free.  How good is that?  There were a lot of his paintings and a very informative video in which he is filmed in the process of doing his artwork.  They had a replica of his artist's studio,  his "painting boots" on display, and even a pair of his old painting jeans framed and hanging on the wall.

                    No photos allowed in the exhibition, so I took this photo of his poster.

In the gift area of the exhibition, you could buy his original pencil sketches, books on his life, limited edition prints, and even some original oils.  I checked out the price of one original painting, which had been sold, and said to Goregous Husband, "How much do you think that is?" 

He guessed £3,000.

"Check the label," I suggested.  It was £53,000.  His eyebrows were in his hairline! 

Here I am with the Fab Four statue at the site of the old Cavern Club

Seeing as we were in Liverpool, we had to do the touristy thing and go down Matthew Street to see where the Beatles used to play at the Cavern.  The original location has been made into this little shopping area, with these statues of the four.  Next door, there is a replica of what the Cavern would have looked like.  It was too claustrophobic for my liking, but GH assured me that it was a faithful reproduction of what the original looked like, having been there himself.

So, the moral of the story is: don't rush.  If you think something may trip you up, it probably will.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Adventures in Knitting

I love to knit, but unfortuantely, I normally don't get my project finished.  I'm a great starter.. and have lots of ideas and plans. 

I started this white edging with the intention of sewing it on the bottom of a white skirt, and using it as a petticoat.  It was simple knitting (I made up  the pattern) but it did take quite a while as the skirt was miles and miles around the bottom!  The beige edging is finished, waiting to go on another project, which is underway.

But I did get it finished and wore the white skirt  for Canada Day (1 July, 2012)

Here it is as I intended, worn as a petticoat, under a skirt.  (One of our rare sunny days.)

For anyone who is interested in knitting, and would like a project that doesn't require much of your attention, I have included the pattern.

First, I cast on 13 stitches.  Then from here on, everything is in the knit stitch, which gives a bumpy surface, called garter stitch.

So, cast on 13 stitches.  Then decrease one stitch every second row.  One side of the edging will be the selvedge (don't decrease on that side) and the decreasing slope of the other side will begin to give you the triangle.

After you have decreased down to 5 stitches, cast on another 8, so you are back with 13 again.  Repeat endlessly, or until you have the right amount to sew onto whatever you want. 

You can work this edging in any width you want.  If you want it wider, cast on more.  Narrower, cast on less.  Change it to suit what you want.

It's easy to rip up if you make a mistake, and it grows at a reasonable rate.  I used number 11 needles, or about 3.5mm.  Whatever suits you.  Let me know if you make it.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

It's the 1940s Again!

Can hardly believe a whole week has gone by since my last post.  Been doing a bit of time travelling this past week, in that Gorgeous Husband and I went to the 1940s on Sunday.  Every year they have 40s Days celebrations at Attingham Park in Shropshire, and we usually go. Can't keep us away from an opportunity to dress up!  Amazingly, it was even sunny, which considering the long period of rain we've had, was a bit of a miracle.

It was done quite well, with a singer who belted out such favourites as "There'll be Bluebirds Over the White Cliffs of Dover,"  and "We'll Meet Again, don't know where, don't know when"... which I always find touching.  Also vintage army vehicles, flags, ration displays and wartime propaganda, and having our National Identity cards stamped.  It was definately "pretend" 40s, as we weren't worried about being bombed, we had enough to eat, and best of all, we already knew the outcome of the war.

Here I am, having a look over the wartime provisions.  I could easily eat up a week's rations in a single sitting!  I guess people didn't have to worry about dieting in those days.  How spoilt we are, when you think about it. Can you imagine if we had rationing now?  How would we ever cope?

One of the vintage army jeeps

Other folks also dressed up, these two in replica uniforms

A rare appearance for Gorgeous Husband

                              Close up of the fabric of the dress, which has big padded shoulders.
                         It isn't vintage, but the mustard coloured jacket is an original from the 40s.

It was a fine day, polished off with honey and ginger ice cream, sitting in the sun. No air raids, no real danger, just a nice "pretend war."

Thursday, 5 July 2012

The Song of the Immigrant

Happy 4th of July to all my American friends!  Hope you had a good day waving the flag, as did the Canadians just a few days earlier.

All this national patriotism made me think about my own situation, about being an immigrant.  I moved to England in 1996, so I have been here 16 years with only one visit back to Vancouver.  We decided to move here June 21, the first day of summer.

 I vividly remember on arrival the biggest and fullest of my suitcases had popped open when it came down the conveyor belt at the airport and one of my shoes was travelling solo next to the case! 

Our move was a bit of a palava, as most moves are.  I packed and packed and packed.  Gorgeous Husband didn't want to know.  We had 5 yard sales to divest ourselves of our treasures.  The last day, I remember leaving a pile of "good stuff" on the front porch after arranging for a charity to collect it.  I hope they did.

I discovered the thing about packing was that once we had been here for some time and finally got the boxes out of storage, I was aghast at what I had brought across the world.  "Why did I pack THAT? " I said to GH, who very kindly said, "Well, it must have been important at the time."  Talk about diplomacy!

Anyway, about being an immigrant, I got to thinking and realized:
I am an immigrant (Canada to Britain)
Gorgeous Husband was an immigrant (Britain to Canada)
My father was an immigrant (Norway to Canada)
My maternal grandparents were immigrants (Sweden to USA)
Two of my teachers were immigrants (Wales and Ireland to Canada)
My godparents were immigrants (Norway to Canada)

So, there has been a lot of "upping sticks" and moving to pastures new in my background. Maybe that's why I didn't find it to be such an inconceivable thing to do.  Do I regret it?  No, never. 

I had a crazy notion the very first time that I saw England that I wanted to live here.  It was a gut feeling, based on nothing at all.  Maybe that's why it has worked out for me. 

This is what I have found different about living in Britain.  How I see things, using my North American eyes:

In Britain, it is common to have the washing machine in the kitchen.

Not many people have driers, so they hang clothes out on the line.  But interestingly, hardly anybody has a covered area outside where the washing line is, so you hear people at work look at the rain and say, "Oh, no!  I've got washing out!"

British women are obsessed with ironing.  Most of them hate it, but it is a guaranteed topic of conversation.  "Oh, I've got all this ironing to do."  Honestly, they save it up in baskets.  I have even heard of women ironing bath towels.  (I swear this is true.)    I just iron what I need, when I need it (slob that I am!)

I have heard people talk about throwing litter "on the floor" when they mean the ground.  Even in media, I have heard of a jockey being thrown from his horse "onto the floor".  At first I used to wonder what building they were in, until I realized they were talking about the ground.

In real estate, they have what they call "chains".  I had no idea what this was until it was explained to me.  It goes like this:  I will buy your house as soon as I sell mine, and then my buyer will buy mine as soon as his buyer buys his, etc.  Hence a chain of people, each dependent on the other to sell their property.  It's madness!  British people also agree that it is madness, but it comes from people not being willing or able to find a place to rent while the deal goes through.  You often hear that the deal fell through because someone down the chain "lost" their buyer.    I think this needs to be changed, but I don't know how, and I'm not the person to do it.

Houses in Britain are made of brick.  There is a real prejudice against wooden houses, and almost no one has one.  I have heard (not sure if this is still true) that you can't get a mortgage on a wooden house.  To be honest, that is one thing I do miss about North America: the wooden houses.  I guess they are inclined to build things to last for centuries here.

So, all in all, would I ever be an immigrant again?  I don't know.  As I have often said, only if I have a really sweet deal on offer and a guarantee that it will work out.  I must be getting old and unadventurous!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Happy Canada Day

Well, here it is: July 1, which is Canada Day.  So Happy Canada Day to everyone I know in Canada.  Hope you are having a great day doing something fun and waving the flag. 

Gorgeous Husband and I are celebrating in our own small way by wearing red and white today.  It's not really the weather for wearing white, but that can be overlooked.  I don't actually have much in this colour scheme, so had to sort of patch it together.

One lady at church said that I looked very "summery" so I had to explain that I was wearing Canada's national colours in honor of Canada Day and not for what is laughingly called our "summer".

I only had this dinky little flag to wear, but it does the job.  Someday I might get a decent sized maple leaf brooch just for July 1.

These are my charity shop boots that are ridiculously high, but it was really too cold to wear sandals.  I wouldn't say these are comfortable, but they're not too bad.  I just have to walk like a geisha when I've got them on.  Tiny, tiny little footsteps!

I'm quite pleased with the jaggedy edging on the skirt, as I knit that myself.  It was really easy, just miles and miles of it to go round the skirt.  I plan on using the skirt as a petticoat most times, and have the triangle edging peeking out.  The beige edging is more complicated, but once I got onto it, it wasn't too bad.  That edging is destined to join a sleeveless top that I am going to knit.

Gorgeous Husband wore this maple leaf lapel pin to church, along with a red tie.  He is naturalized Canadian, so will always love the country as his adopted home, in the same way I love Britain.

He found this lovely Canada fleece in a charity shop here for only £3.95.  It was for the 2010 Winter Olympics held in Whistler and Vancouver, so goodness knows how it ended up here.  And also who was the exact same size?  Rather neat, considering we are about to have the Olympics here in England in less than a month.  What a small world, eh?