Monday, June 29, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
If you drive into London, you get an automatic $14 pound traffic ticket. If you don't pay it within 24 or 48 hours, it doubles or triples. So a $14 pound ticket (which would be about $20 U.S.) could conceivably wind up being $40 or $80 if not paid efficiently.
They have these cool chip embedded credit cards in Europe now. When you pay for a purchase, the credit card goes into a special chip reading slot on the card reader where the owner of the card then puts in a pin number. No signature is required. This is so much safer than our system with signature required. No one can fake your signature and there would be much less credit card fraud. Why hasn't the U.S. adopted this very sensible system?
I know I thought of a couple more things but can't think of them right now. I'll get back with you later . . .
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Beverley also arranged for the two of us to have lunch at a guild member's house who is a fiber artist who was participating in their local open studios. She made a lovely lunch for us and gave us a tour of her studio. I was so impressed. What a nice lady. How many of us would go to that much trouble for someone they had never met from another country?
Beverley also put me in touch with a local farmer who raised Ryland and Black Welsh Mountain sheep. He was quite willing to allow me to buy a fleece from him although he had to go to some amount of trouble to do so. He had his fleeces all wrapped up to sell and had to break into the bundle to pull out the wool. What a nice man: Alec Moir. He gave us a tour of his farm and introduced us to the two sheep he had on premises. He had about 100 more head of sheep located on a remote piece of property nearby. So, I took the sheep back to my daughter's house and over the next few days, began to wash it. It was lots of fun. I gave most of the fleece to the spinning guild over there. The Ryland fleece is a bit coarse and I don't think I will have a use for it but it was a lot of fun cleaning it and giving it to the guild. He did give me some of the Black Welsh Mountain fleece as well but it was very short and seemed quite soft. I think it may have
already been felted as it felt quite solid. I should have tried to take some of it out and spin with it before cleaning it to see if it was felted. But when I washed and dried it, I could see that it was hopelessly felted. I, unfortunately, had to just toss it. Such a shame. I would loved to have brought back a sample of it.
Beverley also sent to my daughter's house a largish package of samples of spun wool on several cones from Jamieson & Smith and lots of bits of different kinds of top to play with. She also arranged for a store called Colourmart to send me samples of their yarns.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Wicked was fabulous! I loved it. One little hitch was we got tickets in row E but there were two row E's. One row E in the nosebleed section in the balcony and a row in in orchestra. Our's was in the nosebleed E. So we went to the box office and asked if we could upgrade our tickets. Long story short, they allowed us to buy cheap tickets in row H orchestra sheets for cheap. cool! We were in the 8th row center! The best theater tickets I've ever had.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
1. Aga. An aga is this great big heavy kitchen stove. The right side of it stays hot all the time. Not the outside part of the doors or the top of the stove but the two grills on top and 3 ovens. Anytime you want to cook something, you really don't need anything but the aga. But for those periods that are too warm seasonally, the aga gets turned off and the family uses the left side which is a traditional stove top and two independently controlled ovens. The aga tends to keep the entire lower floor warm because it constantly emits heat. Each one of the aga ovens on the right side has a specific heat range from not very hot, to med hot, to very hot. Hotest on the top right. The two round grills on the top right are heat sources to be used like burners. The left one is super hot and the right one is medium hot.
2. Tube Station Escalators. These steep escalators are amazing to ride on. They are like a very steep, moving tunnel. The signs on the right side say to stand on the right if not moving. That leaves the left side for people in a hurry who want to pass.
3. Narrow door ways. I've seen this phenomenen in many places around Europe. The first place I saw it was in Amsterdam. Someone told us in Amsterdam that hundreds of years ago, when the buildings were built, the government taxed according to how large the doorways were. So people built houses with extremely small doors. I saw one of these doors in London and took a photo of it. This door looks to be about 18" wide (maybe 24" but not more). Keep in mind that this is not common.
4. Medievel castles. It's amazing to walk into a building that is over 1000 years old. Many are even older.
5. Beautiful gardens. The English take exceptional pride in their gardens. And they have absolutely lovely gardens. But let's be fair here. It rains ALOT and it's incredibly green here, everywhere you look. I could even be a good gardener here. I live in a semi-desert area which is in a drought right now. I have to go out and hand water every day in the summer to keep the plants alive.
6. Georgeous train stations. Look at this lovely glassed in train station.
7. Old churches and grave yards. I'm just facinated by them. I love walking around looking at the ancient headstones from the 17 & 1800s.
10. Victoria & Albert Museum. This museum focuses on textiles but there are so many other amazing things here. They have a cast room where copies of famous sculptures reside. Michaelangelo's 'David' in it's exact replica, including size, is there. The most famous Persian rug in the world is residing in the museum right now (in the Islamic gallery) in a ginormous glass case. It's only lit for 10 minutes on the hour and half hour to retain the brightness of it's colors. Rafael's cartoon's have their own very large room. Cartoon's by definition were drawings or paintings of a rug or tapestries to be woven from. So these are huge paintings that were painted onto strips of cloth or paper that were glued together. You could get lost in the marble sculpture area. The V&A has a room full of samples of textiles. Unfortunately, the room is dimly lit to retain the colors of the fabrics and it's a bit hard to see the colors very well. But there must be absolutely thousands of pull out drawers.