Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Lake District: Coniston

Eliza and I took the train up to the Lake District, staying the first 3 days at a country house hotel by Lake Coniston. Monk Coniston turns out to be a National Trust property let and managed by a vacation company that organizes group holidays around different activities. We arrived on a Friday afternoon as the odd chicks out amidst the ballroom dancers, the digital scrapbookers, and the afficionados of the Scenic Railways of the Lake District (yes, apparently there are multiple railways, and yes, many are tres scenic). It proved to be a colorful weekend.

Here are the grounds:

Swatchy c at monk coniston

And looking out towards the lake:

view from monk part 1

We went to the Lake District to hike and researched the Ordinance Survey maps to select hikes. Eliza and I decided to do a challenging hike first: the Old Man of Coniston, an 800-meter climb above Lake Coniston, with 360-degree views around the lakes, south to Morecambe Bay. Like several of the days in the lakes, it began sunny and then gradually clouded over. We hiked up through farms:

on the way up

Up where the real climb started, we encountered a small group of school kids on some sort of outing (on a Saturday). About a dozen 11-12 year olds, a teacher, and a professional guide. The teacher and guide were clearly Very Brave Men. And it turns out Eliza has the stamina of a 12-year-old--which is either a very good thing or a very bad thing. It was a Slow Climb. But we made it:

atop the old man 5-16-08

At the top, we asked one of the students for a photo--she wasn't too thrilled, but she complied:

student and swatchy c on old man of coniston 5-16-08

Here's the valley below:

down in the valley

And another:

swatchy c on the mt

This is one of many abandoned slate quarries in the area. We couldn't figure out what the tunnel/cave was for:

abandoned slate quarry

And then we stumbled down the mountain. A good first day: dramatic scenery, good weather, no falls!

Friday, June 27, 2008

It's a Purl Man Podcast!

Not So Swatchy was interviewed on the It's a Purl Man Podcast during World Wide Knit in Public Day in Boston! Vicki translated, although it sounds like Not So Swatchy made a grab for the microphone. There's also an unfortunate story about bird, erm, droppings. Anyway, check out our fabulous podcast debut on Episode 52!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Sunny London Part 2

Hi Knittah!

I begged and pleaded with Eliza, so we had lunch at the Tate Modern (lovely restaurant--and got to watch the graffiti artist paint the glass--from inside the glass) before proceeding.

We caught the "Tate Boat" down the river--it runs between the Tate Modern and Tate Britain (think JMW Turner!!), stopping at the London Eye en route. So of course, we stopped off. Daunted by the long line, we sat in the park and watched people until a later boat arrived.

Here's the Eye:

london eye

And the park alongside:

London greets the sun part 2

The ride along the river was gorgeous. I wish we'd had time for a longer one, like up to Greenwich or something. As it was, we saw some pretty and funny sights.

Eliza liked the Lifeboat Pier: she could picture someone like John Cleese running up to it in a panic to rent (let?) a lifeboat for some crisis. It just seemed very...English and orderly...

lifeboat pier

Here's the King's Reach. (don't ask me--that's what it says)

kings reach

I love all the bridges:

London bridges

and more:

more bridges

Lots of development along the river. Here's a quasi-Dubai-on-Thames:

development on the thames

The boat arrived at Tate Britain at about closing time, unfortunately, so no Turner this visit. (I know--it's like sacriledge or something.) So then we walked. And walked some more. Around Westminster. Buckingham. Green Park and St James' Park and White Hall.

So I saw the sights. And the pigeons. And the results of the pigeons:

damn pigeons

Damn pigeons.

But then we got to Buckingham Palace...

swatchy c visits buckingham palace

and the lovely Queen Victoria's Memorial: (well, the Memorial, at least)

Victorias memorial

But then we got to Parliament:

swatchy c goes to parliament

And here I am with beloved Big Ben:

swatchy c and big ben

At this point, we were pretty much on fumes, looking for a) a Waterstone's (bookstore) and b) a restaurant. Please. And as we wandered almost deliriously, we saw this stunning bus:

cool bus

Then we stumbled across this memorial:

women in wwii memorial

...which I'm not really sure what to make of, as the women of WWII are all apparently disembodied uniforms...?

and tripped down the street and had a fright:

no escape

Is there no escape???

I was sort of relieved when I realized it's just (?) a restaurant.

And then we found a thai restaurant. And there was much rejoicing.

Meanwhile, back at the hotel, the main lifts weren't working properly, and we noticed this on our way up and down the stairs:

fire fighting lift

Isn't that backwards? I mean, the opposite of how it works here? One of the fascinating things about travel is all the opposites. Like, going through security at Heathrow, your laptop must be left INSIDE the case, not outside like here (they have better equipment). In Norway, the dial telephones start with 0 and work their way counterclockwise around the dial down to 1, the opposite of the US. And in the UK, apparently, some lifts only work in fires--again, the opposite of the US. I think a time-motion study is required. Or something. Maybe they're on to something and this would account for the weakness of the dollar...?

Anyway. Stay tuned.

Love, Swatchy C

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sunshine in London

Really. I know. But there was lots to be had.

On the first night we went to Kensington to Mr. Tumblyday's favorite Persian restaurant. We sat outside next to this lovely family:

swatchy c at yas

The next day, Eliza and I walked for hours. Really. My feet were killing me. First we walked from the City to the Tower of London. Here's me:

swatchy c at the Tower

And me again, a different angle:

swatchy c at the Tower 2

One of the many great things about London is the juxtaposition of new with Olde (the official term) development. Look what's on either side of the Tower:

Tower and modernity north

Tower and modernity east

I made Eliza take this photo of the weather vane. I particularly like the fish gargoyles... ??

fish wind vane

We continued down the Thames and crossed the Millenium Bridge, with a view back towards St. Paul's:

swatchy c st pauls and the millenium bridge

The Bridge crosses the Thames to the Tate Modern, which was the scene of some fairly, erm, large graffiti-in-progress:

approaching the tate modern

approaching the tate part 2

I love that they have their priorities straight:


The artist at work:

grafitti in the making part 2

And the resulting foot:

grafitti part 3

And it's not even lunch-time yet...Phew. Stay tuned...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Tower of Love

I promised a picture of all the Botswana gifts piled together, but I could barely fit it all together! So here's our final tally:

Three pairs mittens, 2 pairs socks, 1 pair slippers and 5 washcloths (last two not pictured).

Twelve scarves.

Four baby sweaters.

Hats? Oh yeah, we got hats. Twenty baby hats and eleven large hats.

An amazing twenty-six blankets. TWENTY-SIX!

This picture does not do it justice. I crammed everything together in this massive stack, all EIGHTY-FOUR gifts that you have entrusted to me. This is a big ol' pile of love, and I will be taking it to Dr. G on June 23rd. I think he'll be surprised!

I am deeply grateful to each one of you for sharing some of your precious knitting time with the children in Botswana. Each of your gifts will be cherished.

Thank you.

Swatchy's WWKIP Day

Dear Knittah,

I can't write much, since it's past my bedtime, but I wanted to say we had a great time at the local WWKIP Day event. Here are some photos:

We even taught a nice student to knit:
Brand New Knitter (and Swatchy)

Noricum got to bring home some yummy new yarn, too, but I don't have a photo of it yet.

Noricum wrote a bit more at her blog, here.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

I Spy

I spy iSwatchy in my brother's "vacation dump" photos.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Knitting in Public!

Howdy Knittah!

So today was World Wide Knit in Public day! We met up with a bunch of Boston area fiber enthusiasts and enjoyed the lovely weather.

Though I am well dressed in my fancy knitted attire, the lack of arms means that I cannot join in the knitting fun. I made a new friend today, and he more than makes up for my lack of limbs.

Check out those arms! (Legs?) And that cape! Amazing! We meant to take more pictures, were having such a good time meeting people that we forgot all about the camera.


Sunday, June 08, 2008

iSwatchy Update

Hello Knittah,

My family needs more training in blogging. Yesterday I received the following in an e-mail from my brother:
Mom, Bob and I had lots of fun driving around the hills and down the coast to Monterey to see the Aquarium there.
I responded that I looked forward to seeing photos. His response?
I took iSwatchy but not my camera, so Mom and Bob have all the photos.
Well, at least *someone* had a camera! (And it's cool that he remembered iSwatchy. I suppose I shouldn't be too hard on him.)

My mom sent the photos today. Now, normally when she sends trip photos, she sends great, blog-quality descriptions of their travels. The photos she sent to my brother came with the message:
Here are some photos to send.
The e-mail was sent to both me and my brother, so I responded to all, asking for something descriptive, saying I could put together the post if someone sent the pieces to me. I got:
iSwatchy was at the Monterey Aquarium. That is the only descriptor.

Well, here are the photos:

(From the other e-mail they sent, this is part way up the 8 mile long hill my brother cycles up - a 2000 ft rise. It takes him 1 3/4 hr to ride up and 30 minutes to ride down.)

147CANON-IMG_3042_JPG.jpg 147CANON-IMG_3044_JPG.jpg 147CANON-IMG_3045_JPG.jpg 147CANON-IMG_3055_JPG.jpg 147CANON-IMG_3097_JPG.jpg 147CANON-IMG_3105_JPG.jpg 147CANON-IMG_3159_JPG.jpg

Perhaps my brother will feel inspired to write something more exciting to go with the photos?