Monday, 29 November 2010

An expensive trip to Harrogate!!

It was the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching show this weekend. This is the highlight of the year for all stitchers in the North - and elsewhere apparently as I saw a coach that had come up from Shropshire! - so although there was snow on the ground J and I decided to have an afternoon out  - after all, it is only 15 miles or so between Leeds and Harrogate. What could possibly go wrong? The forecast was quite clear - there would be snow but only late in the day and we would easily be home by then.

The photo above is the Exhibition Hall in glorious sunshine as I arrived. J and I agreed to meet outside the hall at around 4 for tea at Bettys  (here)  and I went off to have a wander around the exhibition and sales stands while he went for a wander round Harrogate itself.

 There was a wonderful display of the late Julia Caprara's work which I had only seen in books before and the real work was moving especially her hangings embroidered on scrim - so I had to go and buy some. Then I talked to Jean Greenhow and admired her lovely sampler, and decided to buy a metre of linen so that I could try to do something similar.  And finally I found a kit I had been wanting for a few years at a reasonable price.  At that point I found myself near an external door and could hear other women talking about the SNOW (what snow??) and when I looked out, sure enough - it was snowing. I called J in a panic and he came to pick me up and we set off home.....

At this point it doesn't look bad - but within about five minutes the snow started falling heavily, the light started failing, and the traffic built up very suddenly - people panicking and leaving Harrogate in a hurry as we were doing.

This is a photo of one of the trees on the Stray wearing its blue lights, with the snow blurring the trees behind . It took us two hours to travel two miles - we crawled onto Leeds Road, struggled to find the road leading to the by-pass and then I said "Let's go back to Harrogate..." and we did. That took another half hour or so. We pulled in to park, and found ourselves outside a hotel (the Cedar Court) and decided there and then to book in for the night. After a consultation with the desk clerks (and the offer of a bed for the night for MarthaDog at the home of the chef, which was not needed as we were allowed to keep her in our room!) we settled in for the night, had a bar meal, took Martha for a walk, talked to others who were stranded there and finally went to bed.
Strangely enough one of the people I spoke to was a woman who had been at school with my brother Yossi and who knew his wife Sarah before she became an Orthodox Jewess as Yossi's wife.

I had no medication with me so I didn't sleep at all, but the alternative would have been a three or four hour wait in a freezing car....we were very relieved to be off the road last night.

So here is the result of my shopping trip - a metre of scrim, a metre of linen, and a kit......What an expensive day out!! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Early Winter

Well, I am sitting here warm and contented, and outside the world is covered in a layer of ice. And the date is 27th November! Apparently the jet stream has gone north and is now feeding us snow and cold weather.  It promises to be a long winter this year. On the upside, the sun shone today and there was a glorious sunset, so perhaps its not all bad news.

I am wondering about taking a Philisophy Pathways course. I am intrigued by the idea of studying philosophy in a more formal way - rather than my reading around the subject and enjoying what I understand without necessarily having to try and argue my way out of tight corners. On the other hand, I would like to excercise my mind and can think of no better way. Also, doing the course, having to set my thoughts down and send them off, might serve as a catalyst for other writing. I do suffer from commitment phobia - the fear of having do have something to do for a specific time and date, and this might be a way of dealing with this, or realising that it is permanent and uncurable! Oh dear.....shall I shan;t I? And this isn;t even a philosophical arguement.

I had a phone call today from Cris who was in Istanbul, in short sleeved shirt and shorts. Hmm. He was phoning from a tram! What can I say? His calls are from the ship as it sails from England, from cafes, from bus stops, and are all time constrained! He will be in the UK from Dec 14th for a short while.

Nothing more to write today. It has been cold and I am tired and in pain.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Admiral J at the tiller!! Just an extra photo that didn;t get picked up by Blogger.
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I have been wondering why it has been so difficult to write as of late. Partly it has been a reluctance to write about things in a superficial way, when profound changes have actually been going on. Abigail's marriage, J's voluntary redundancy, having two places to live in (that sounds so awful when there is so much terrible poverty, but as I sold my marital home in another city and had a life there, it seems sensible to acquire a small flat there), and the inability just to settle to the task. I am a homebody although we are out a great deal - I have no complaints about being out mind, as I love being out when the sun is out and taking photos of wherever we are - but it is hard to settle down when we have been out or away or we are moving between locations. I just get comfortable and warm and it seems we are off again.

There has been the small matter of the wedding itself, and trying not to let it upset me too much.

There is always wondering where my son is in the world, and hoping he is solvent and safe. I know he is 26 but going on 18! Oh yes - and he had appendicitis this summer when he was staying with me and that took away my summer in worry, and then trying to contain a situation where he became passive aggressive for some unknown (unknown to me anyway) reason,

Also, the summer blood tests worried me and I began to think that there was not much point in carrying on with anything at all, but then the last results were, miraculously, much better. Living with kidney disease hovering on the borders of kidney failure is not conducive to creative thinking.

Fingers crossed that 2011 will be better on a personal level, in spite of what is happening politically. That also took some adjusting to - having a Tory government again! And feeling helpless in the face of the huge changes they are making, but also the changes that are happening around the world. And this week, there is a threat of war in Korea, there have been police charges at student (shades of the miner's strike) and I have a horrible feeling of dread.

Learning to steer a boat and making a film - at the same time!

J had an invitation to help make a waterways programme - and why not when he is the leading expert on the history of Britain's waterways? - and so we turned up at Nantwich basin one cold morning to meet the film makers - Ian and his trusty team of two, a cameraman and a sound recordist. This is Ian and J standing by the basin on that Thursday morning.
Here is J looking relaxed and "to the manor born." He enjoyed taking the boat out, said it gave him a feeling of being part of the landscape rather something imposed on it as it sometimes can feel when one is motoring.
Poor MarthaDog. She hated the day - it was full of strange and scarey noises and she spent the whole time in fear and trepidation. I had no idea that that was how she would react. Probably the proximity of bonfire night didn't help her.
Posted by PicasaI had a long and cold day, and decided to teach myself how to crochet.....this must have been my tenth attempt to "cast on." Maybe I should stick to two needles? But, I have learnt and am now part way through a scarf.

I wonder how the film will turn out, what will have edited out, what retained? It will be interesting to see...

October in the Lake District

These are just a handful of photos taken during our holiday in the Lake District. We had a wonderful fortnight - the weather wasn't always kind, but we did have a lot of sunshine towards the end. The theme that emerged was Wordsworth and we visited all the places associated with him, including Rydal Mount (shown here), Dove Cottage, his birthplace in Cockermouth and their gardens.
A friendly passer by took this photo of both of us sitting in the sun, getting our Vitamin D fix!
This was an example of the colours that this autumn brought us. It is good to be able to look at beauty in nature and remember that amidst all the doom and gloom of the recent news with its endless predictions of the end of society as we know it, that the world is still beautiful. We do have to look carefully but looking will reward us.
Posted by PicasaThis was the view from the front of the cottage we were staying in. I photographed it every morning, regardless of the weather as I walked MarthaDog down the lane and allowed its beauty and changing nature to inspire me.

Abigail and Eric's wedding in Mauritius.....

The setting is so beautiful, Abigail looks beautiful and Eric very smart and they both look so happy.
I wonder, I really wonder, just who is supposed to be looking at these photos apart from Abigail and Eric themselves? I look at these photos and grieve, silently and endlessly deeply. I cannot believe I was not asked to my own, my only daughter's wedding and I will mourn that in the way that I mourn the loss of her dad - lost chances, missed opportunities, just something else to suffer wordlessly.
They do look happy though and very much in love for which I am really happy, and I am glad that she has found the man who I think is her soulmate - love of music, travel, language, food, and a life together. She's done well and I really hope they are very very happy. He has, of course, done brilliantly!
A nice moment at the wedding ceremony.....
And finally a photo of the bride herself, looking radiant. I do wish I had been there to see them off. Posted by Picasa