Saturday, July 26, 2008

Back, and Gone Again


Swatchy Green made it home from Maryland Sheep & Wool, if a bit delayed. I think he may have made a few side trips. Not surprisingly, he came home with plenty of goodies from MDSW.


Aren't the buttons great? And those Swatchy-sized yarn skeins are from Black Bunny Fibers (the blue) and Artsygal (the yellow). Thank you to both of those friends, and Karen for taking such good care of Swatchy.

Swatchy Green is now off on a secret mission across the pond, but I can't tell you about that. You'll have to wait and see!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fiddlin' Around

Eliza and I met her parents in Tennessee for the 4th of July--the 37th annual Smithville Fiddlers' Jamboree. Eliza's parents stumbled upon it years ago on one of their road trips and wanted to return, so we flew in and met them in Nashville.

The jamboree brings together guitarists and banjo players and mandolin players and cloggers and buck dancers and all sorts of things. There's the stage with the formal competition and then lots going on elsewhee in town, under the shade trees, with the "shade tree pickers".

Clogging is sort of a cross between Irish step dancing and tap dancing. There doesn't appear to be a dress code:

high kicking glam

This guy was an absolute entertainer, such charm:

bluegrass charmer

And here bluegrass meets...punk...?

punk clogging

Meanwhile, the politicians work the crowd offering fans (it was Very Hot and Steamy):

dean sircy buys moms vote

And under the shade trees, musicians and dancers who have been meeting here for years jammed:

shade tree pickers and dancers


Including the dogs:

shade tree sweet doggie

One of the coolest instruments was the washboard and brass thimble:

washboard and thimble

shade tree pickers jam

And Eliza's mom inquired about the boston butt sandwich (apparently it's pulled pork):

mom inquires about boston butt

Meanwhile, back on the main stage, there was the novelty competition. These girls were adorable:

novelty competition 2

And this lady did a rif (sp?) on stereotypical crazy southerners:

novelty competition

And yet again, we don't know what the heck happened with the photos of Moi! Because, of course, it's all about Moi! And Eliza really did take pictures of Moi. Or so she says.... Personally, I think Eliza's technical prowess stinks--although she puts it down to the poor interface and functionality of her new camera (she's all about "interface" and "functionality"...).

Anyone want to play?

So, Swatchy and I will be in southern Ontario for the labour day weekend. We arrive in Toronto Saturday, August 30 at 9:20 am (leaving at a horribly early hour in order to do so... but that's what was available to fly with points). Sunday we'll be in St Catherine's for the wedding, and then we leave Toronto at 4:15 on Tuesday. Other than the wedding, arrival, and departure, I think we're pretty flexible, limited only by what our mooched rides and accommodations dictate. (So if you can provide cat-free and cigarette-free travel and/or couch for sleeping, our flexibility increases beyond what my family will provide.) Anyone interested in hanging out and/or visiting yarn shops with us? Or doing other things with Swatchy so Knittah can travel-by-proxy? I think my dad and his fiancee are planning on spending Monday in Niagara Falls, so get-togethers around there are possible too.

My motivations:
1. I can't stay and/or visit with one branch of the family, because there's apparently a feud going on. (I'm only involved by proxy, but since the wedding is on the other side of the dispute, I'm thinking I should avoid causing the two sides to come into contact.)
2. The side of the family on the wedding side of the feud that is in Toronto has severe mildew problems in the house, so my health dictates that I don't sleep with them, but I can spend time with them.
3. The third option is staying in the camper with my dad and his fiancee... and frankly, the more privacy I can give them, I think, the better. ;)
4. Visiting yarn shops and/or doing other touristy stuff is fun.
5. I imagine my dad and his fiancee would prefer to see "romantic" places like Niagara Falls alone, rather than me hanging on as a third wheel.
6. I imagine my Toronto family that is on the wedding side will have wedding stuff (prep before, or clean-up after) to do, and I'd probably be in the way again.

Anyway, if you think you might be interested, send me an e-mail, and we can discuss details.

PS: I'll be out of e-mail contact (and pretty much any other form of contact) August 9-28, so we should arrange details soon.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Grasmere, Rydal, and Ambleside...and there-abouts

OK, so apparently Eliza did a crappy job on the photography. We don't have much in the way of photos from Days 4 and 5 (we're really not sure what happened there, because we remember taking lots of photos...). On Day 4, we took the bus up from Windermere to Dove Cottage (Wordsworth's former home) outside of Grasmere, and hiked up to the Alcock Tarn, which was a relatively short, somewhat steep climb up to a lovely view west over Grasmere, south across Rydal and down towards Windermere. (Not that you'd know it due to the darth of photos...) We had grand ambitions of climbing back up and continuing on to Great Rigg, further north, but our legs didn't cooperate (literally--right leg kept collapsing). So we opted for a stroll around Grasmere village, and then continued on around Grasmere and down around Rydal Water.

above rydal

So the next day we took the bus up to Ambleside and trekked up to Trout Beck. The cows were a bonus:

stockghyll cows
To our great disappointment, we didn't see a single one. (where were they?!)

But it was a pretty hike up:

down in the valley from Trout Beck

And a nice view down to the valley:

south across lake windermere

at trout beck

We walked through some lovely farms on the way down, passing a couple of wells like this:

st nelgas well

Here's our hotel in Windermere, the very lovely (inside and out) Applegarth Hotel (we recommend it):

applegarth hotel

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Day 3, going to Windermere

On day 3, we were tired. A couple from the hotel (Eliza stupidly didn't get photos...) graciously dropped us in Windermere where we were to stay for the next 3 nights. We opted for a lake cruise and lazy day. It was overcast and threatening but never rained.

across windermere 2

We sailed to the north end of the lake and had lunch at a lakeside pub before catching the boat back. We enjoyed the scenery. A swan:


Ah yes, such graceful creatures.

And a cowboy family:

western girls

Pink cowboy hats and butterfly nets? Must be an English thing.

Walking through Windermere, we passed the local Italian restaurant. Too bad we were going to miss Frank Sinatra night, I was really disappointed:


Windermere boasts its own cross stitch and Christmas shop (ye old shoppe, I should say).

xmas and cross-stitch

We walked out of the hotel to find dinner on the first night and stumbled upon a spectacle in the square. We had to run back to the hotel for the camera but managed to capture the last few minutes of what, it turns out, was a group of Morris (sp?)dancers. With pipe and squeeze organ and fiddle and...lots of bells...

morris dancers 2

morris dancers

But the juxtaposition of the Morris dancers with the Disaffected Youth was priceless:

morris dancers and disaffected youth

Coniston Part 2

On Day 2, we opted for long and flat(ter). We walked the length of the lake and around the hills and farms near the sound end of the lake before making our way back. Another beautiful day in the Lake District.... A perfect day for a lake cruise (which we didn't do):

boat on coniston

At various points we could see down and back up the lake. We could see where we'd hiked yesterday:

the view back yesterday

...and were happy we'd done it, and were happy we were doing something else today.

We found happy, peaceful goats:

happy goats

and sheep of course:

sheep south of coniston

Lovely valleys and farms:

idyllic home

down in the valley

And the view we enjoyed back up the lake:

looking north up coniston