Monday, November 16, 2009

My knitting

So I have been doing a good amount of knitting lately, at least for a student.

I finished the wash clothes for my boss's boss. Did I explain this? I went to a party at her house and discovered her bathroom is done in black and white and skeletons. So I decided to make her some wash cloths with skulls on them for her bathroom for Christmas. I am probably going to make a little basket with the wash cloths and some nice soap. Here are the wash cloths.




I finished my mom's christmas present...it shall not be spoken of again until after Christmas.

I also finished some wrist warmers for a Doctor Who friend. The ones you all may or may not remember come from a Doctor Who episode. I found out that the costume designer for Doctor Who is going to be at the Doctor Who convention I am going to in February. I am totally going to ask her questions about the knitwear on the show.



I also finished a hat I was making for another Doctor Who friend. I made her the same wrist warmers and I made this hat out of the same yarn to go with them.



Right now, I am working on finishing the blanket for L_. I have a scarf I am giving as a gift AND I am popping out dish cloths to give as gifts around the place I work.

I think that's about it? Except...

DAILY DAVID

Friday, October 23, 2009

I feel dirty

So, I was finally able to step outside my apartment for the first time since, Monday? I had a dermatologist appointment, not too mention the fact that I was on my last roll of toilet paper and 2 cans of Diet Coke...

Anyway, as part of my errands today...I had to go to...another yarn store. Ugh, I even hate to admit it, makes me feel dirty. But Christmas is coming and I need this yarn now to get my projects rolling. I felt like I was cheating on my favorite local yarn store. Maybe that's why I was sweating so badly while I was in there...or it might have been the skeins of Lamb's Pride bulky wool/mohair I had in my arms. I now have all the yarn I need for ALL the fauxhawks I have been asked to make.

It does make me appreciate my favorite store so much more. I have no rapport with the people working at this store today and I was trying to explain my projects and see what the difference is between Malabrigo sock and lace yarn. I just wanted to know the yardage on a skein of lace weight so if I could see if the sock yarn matched the yardage. I felt like I was being treated like an idiot trying to substitute sock for lace on the Wisp shawl. Granted this woman has no idea what pattern I am talking about, and has no idea my knitting skill level. However, to immediately be presumed I don't know what I am doing, doesn't give one the warm fuzzies.

Anyway, I bought some Malabrigo sock yarn in a colorway from deep red to dark brown to make a Wisp shawl for my boss for Christmas. She is awesome and definitely "stitch worthy".

Now if I could just grow some more arms so I can knit more than one project at a time before Christmas...I might get everything done.

PS. I did not go to my usual Friday knit group at my favorite yarn store because I want to make sure I don't make any of them sick. Damn the rest of the population!

DAILY DAVID

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Suck-o-rama

So I have been sick since, what last Saturday night? I got to the doctor on Monday only to be told I had some type of cold or flu virus...take some Mucinex DM and "I hope you feel better soon". Thanks for nothing, might as well have thrown the $30 dollar co-pay on the pavement and walked away...same basic effect.

Once again, too sick to do a lot of knitting most of the time. I did start knitting again some time yesterday. I have now finished one set of wristwarmers, started another and have completed a hat all but the pom pons for someone. I was hoping to get help on Friday to make them...I can never remember all the details on how to make a perfect pom pon. However, I think I will still be on virus lockdown on Friday and I won't be leaving the house quite yet.

I keep thinking I am feeling better and then you get that nighttime backslide where you feel worse than you did during the day. I am hoping one more day and I will feel good for Friday, but I DO NOT want to pass this on to anyone.

That's about it really. Slowly pecking away at my list of commissions while I also continue to add to it (dumbass alert!) two more scarves had been added to the list...

I am glad I am at least feeling "good" enough to knit..

DAILY DAVID

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fauxhawk-o-rama!

Knitting is a truly crazy thing and my commissions seem to come in almost overwhelming waves! I have now been asked to make 6 fauxhawks for various people...yeah, you can say it...HOLY COW! Not that I mind, it's just a lot of fauxhawkness.

I am also bombarded with wristwarmers right now. Almost done with the first pair, I WILL get them in the mail this week. I have to remember that it is, in fact, cold in other parts of the country and people might be wanting their winter knitwear.

So, bought them and they came in the mail today and I wore them...what, you say? Well, my local knitting friends have heard the tails of the clear plastic Converse. Non-knitters right now are saying, why the hell would you want those? Knitters are nodding "yes". You see, with clear Converse I can show off my hand knit socks, of course. I have no idea why Converse decided to make clear shoes and why anyone who doesn't knit socks would wear them, but I am sure glad they do. I had been thinking of buying them, but then when I saw they were on sale, I had to do it.



I have put my beaded shawl aside to work on my commissions. I fear they will not all get done on time...

Keep your fingers crossed.

DAILY DAVID

Friday, October 2, 2009

I AM a geek and I am PROUD

OK, so I was sitting in class yesterday and I realized, I really need to make a list to look at the priorities of my various knitting projects. I decided, what better way to make a completely anal retentive list than to make a spreadsheet in Excel? Oh yeah, I did... Those of you on the Ravelry website might be confused as to why I don't just use Raverly? I needed a list that could contain projects I hadn't started yet and a "due" date for each project.

I went through my various knitting baskets and I have removed and PUT AWAY almost every project I was doing for myself. I absolutely can not be tempted into knitting for myself right now, as I have so many things to do for others. I left out two projects the Wisp shawl/scarf I was doing as part of a knit along in my local store. I am knitting it with a gorgeous blue Malabrigo lace weight yarn. I have no idea if this is mine or a gift.

I also kept out a new project I just started...a beaded shawl. So I am now combining 2 of my favorite crafts...TOGETHER. Scary, yes...fun...HELL YES! It is the Mockingbird Shrug in the December 2009 issue of Knit 'N Style. This thing is so new I can't find any pictures of it. I am messing with the pattern, I didn't want a shrug with sleeves, I wanted a shawl so I changed the pattern there, and then I have also added more repeats of the pattern to make it wider.

I have kept these two out so that I have something to knit at the store. Most of the projects I am doing for others is yarn they have bought and given me from other stores. It isn't really cool to bring in yarn you've gotten somewhere else to knit at a yarn store...at least I think so and hey, I get to work on my beaded shawl that way.

Maybe some pictures will be coming soon?! Let's see if I can get all my knitting done on time!

DAILY DAVID

Monday, September 14, 2009

Lost the will to knit?

I really haven't been knitting very much since I got back from England and I am not sure why? Maybe because I have a number of projects that are just hovering somewhere in the middle and I haven't felt like doing them...it could be school/work?

I really haven't touched the Better Be Easy shawl much since I got back from England. My theory is that this is because it is the only thing I worked on while I was there? I look at it, sitting there in the basket, and I know it is looking at me but I always find something else to do.

I finally finished the thumbs on the Knit for the Cure wrist warmers. They look a little anemic in the picture, but that is because they are a ribbed pattern. When they are on someone, I think they look really good.



I also found some yarn in the sale room at my local yarn store to make a scarf. I got inspired and decided I wanted to do another scarf in the My So Called Scarf pattern. I found this neat light pink/dark pink ribbon yarn, Katia Pinta, to make this scarf. Here is what it looks like so far:



This coming Wednesday I will be joining in on a Knit-a-long (KAL) at my local yarn store. For my non-knitters, a KAL is where a bunch of people knit the same pattern at the same time. I'll be doing this the next 3 Wednesdays. It is a shawl called Wisp. I am using an awesome royal blue colored Malabrigo lace weight yarn. I admit, I have started it, but I wanted to see about the needle size and well, whether or not I am going to be able to do this lace pattern. I haven't decided if it will be a gift or for me.

I have been working on these socks as well...



I have finished the first sock and I am at the heel of the second sock. This yarn is SO fabulous feeling, it is called Regia Silk Color...It is actually a wool silk blend...oh yea, I said silk! I can't wait to wear them!

DAILY DAVID

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Not a long yarn

So I haven't been doing much knitting lately. The TV and computer have kept my attention lately. Even though I usually enjoy knitting and watching TV at the same time, I've just been sitting and watching.

I am still working on the scarf I started using the yarn I bought in England.

I am still working on the Better-be-easy shawl.

I am still working on a little mat for my tea pot out of the same yarn I made the cozy out of.

I have almost completely finished the pink wristwarmers For the Cure. I just need to knit the thumbs. I don't know what i am avoiding it.

Last night for my knitting book club I decided I wanted to knit on something different. So I dug through my knitting and found a pair of socks, I don't even know how long it has been since I worked on them. I was even surprised to realize I had completed one of the socks. After finally tracking down the pattern I started the second sock. It is very easy, just knitting...the pattern is in the yarn. Simple, mindless and I seem to be motivated to work on it.

I have L_'s blankie to finish. I have about 2/3's of it done, but it is WAY too hot to be having a big ole blankie on your lap.

Let's not forget all the knitting I have been commissioned to do by friends...Pammie is a bad friend!

Anyway, I feel the urge to knit!

DAILY DAVID

Friday, August 7, 2009

Pictures!

I have taken lots of pictures of what I am knitting on...

I am knitting a pair of wrist warmers For the Cure, which I will donate, and then they will be sold at Race for the Cure for cancer research. I have almost finished the first one, I just need to finish the thumb.



Then I have the blanket for L_ I have been working on:



I finished my tea cozy! I am making a little mat, same yarn and pattern as the tea cozy for my tea post to sit on.



I have dipped into the yarn I bought in England and began my English Memories scarf based on THIS PATTERN. I really like how it is turning out.



Last but not least, the It Better Be Easy shawl...



So, there it is!

DAILY DAVID

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tea for ME

Like I said earlier in the blog entries about my trip to England, I wanted to get more serious about my tea drinking...and I have.

I went to Walmart the other day and found the one lonely electric kettle amongst the coffee makers and espresso machines and bought that (it was total luck that the kettle is stainless steel, which matched my other appliances). I knew I had an ice cubes chance in hell of finding a tea pot at a "normal" store in California, so I headed to my British supply store, "Bit O' Britain" in Carlsbad. Did they have teapots!? Oh YES!

So I came away with a forest green colored ceramic tea pot which could hold as much as 6 cups of tea! I love my tea pot. You know what needs to happen next of course, me being a knitter...yeah, that's right...a tea cozy! I was already planning to knit one before I had even bought my tea pot.

When I got home from the store, I immediately hopped on the internet and the Ravelry website to find a tea cozy pattern. I found one I really liked which would use yarn I already have. It is a tea cozy knit with Lily's Sugar'n Cream yarn. I have a HUGE skein of variegated white to green Sugar'n Cream. DING!

Yeah, so I immediately started that...

I am still working on the not-really-from-hell-anymore shawl that I allowed to come to England with me.

I REALLY need to get my head out of my butt and start working on all the projects I have lined up and even started, for other people. I had a realization tonight added to the other projects (wrist warmers and blanket) I have more daleks to make!

So much yarn, so little time...or maybe not enough hands?! Either way, I am not knitting as much as I want to be!

I have a feeling the tea cozy will be done fairly soon...I will post pictures when it is done.

DAILY DAVID

Monday, July 27, 2009

Day 25 and more

Yesterday was my last day in England... :(

I woke up and had a shower and my friends C_ and B_ made sure I was able to have a bacon sandwich as my last meal. Bye bye British bacon...I love you! Then we headed to the airport. Most of the way in the car I was trying to wrap my head around the fact that the trip I have been looking forward to for over 6 months was over.

I feel like I had packing success. No weight overages. Between the suitcase, small duffel bag, Harrods shopping bag and my backpack I was gold. I checked the suitcase and duffel bag and carried on the shopping bag and backpack. It worked really well.

I was able to get some last minute shopping done, so all my family members are covered with British gifties. Then I was off to the gate. We didn't get the gate assignment until pretty close to take off so we pretty much hopped right on the plane.

The trip wasn't too bad other than the two unsupervised children in front of me. I say "unsupervised" because their mother was across the aisle from them basically trying to sleep through the flight while her two kids (around 8 and 5 fought and kicked the seats in front of them) I felt bad for the one person, she had to actually wake up the mother to ask her to get her kids to stop kicking the seats.

Customs and check in at the Denver airport was very long, but I got through and was able to call my mom via payphone and then I went to my gate. I decided to try my computer back in the USA and was very pleased to find free wi-fi at the Denver airport...HOORAY.

BY the time it was time to board the plane I was really, loopy and disoriented is the best way to describe it. The seats on this plane seemed to be the smallest yet and when the person in front of me put her seat back that was the last straw...I headed for the back of the plane. I'll admit it, I cried, I was SO over the travelling and being uncomfortable, being treated like a piece of cattle. So I stayed in the back of the plane until the seat belt sign came on for landing.

It all went smoothly after that. P_ and M_ met me at the airport...thank you ladies!

Time lag or adrenaline, I didn't just come home and crash I did stay up for awhile. I unpacked most of my stuff and got on the internet. It was almost surreal to be back in my own apartment after so long.

Today, I got up at 8am and was AWAKE. I did more unpacking and putting away of stuff. Then I called mom had lunch and napped for a couple of hours. Watched some TV, called J_ and had to sleep again. I didn't wake up until 8:30 pm. I am so jacked up and tired and feeling weird, and I haven't had dinner and it's 9 pm. I had grand plans of calling people today...sorry...it will have to be tomorrow!

And thus, my trip to England blog is done! ALL my pictures are up, but not necessarily labeled. Check back in...and don't forget my little video clips are up on YouTube.

Back to knitting news

DAILY DAVID

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Day 23 and 24

Friday was fabulously non-eventful. I slept in, having snacks and tea for breakfast. I don't think I took a shower until nearly 11am. For lunch I went to the pub and had fish and chips. It was kinda sad to be there by myself with out my school friends. Almost everyone was headed back to the States. That afternoon I checked out of my room and sat downstairs and puttered around on the internet until my friends, B_ and C_ came to pick me up.

For dinner we went to the Indian restaurant, Blue Monsoon, we went to before. This time I had the Onion bahji as a starter, and the prawn bhuna as my main dish...OH SO GOOD.

Today is my last full day in England, *pouts*. C_, B_ and I went to Coventry to see the Doctor Who Exhibition at the Coventry Transport Museum. The Who exhibit was great...I took an overload of photos and some video too. I even managed to contain my excitement enough while looking at one of David Tennant's costumes to keep myself from licking it...barely.

The rest of the museum was great. Lots of British cars, buses and bicycles.

Then we went and walked around the rest of the town and went to the cathedral that was bombed during WWII. The ruins were amazing and the rebuilt cathedral next door was breath taking.

After that we did some shopping and headed back to the house. Nice day all around.

I have to go because I have to pack.

DAILY DAVID

Friday, July 24, 2009

Days, 20, 21, and 22

On Tuesday the class went to Cambridge as a group. On paper it sounded like a great idea. We met after breakfast around 9 am and caught a bus from campus into the city center of Northampton. Then we took a bus from Northampton into Bedford. We had about 15 minutes to grab a snack, drink or go to the bathroom. Then we got on ANOTHER bus to go from Bedford to Cambridge. About 3 hours later, we arrive in Cambridge. Did I mention the rain? No? It was really raining when we left Northampton but by the time we got to Cambridge it had slowed down.

We all separated into smaller groups to eat lunch and my little group went to a restaurant called Nando’s. A chain restaurant where you can get roasted chicken and then add your own level of spicy sauce to it. I noticed that this was the first place I had eaten at since coming to England that had a place where you could get your own sodas and refills. I’ll admit, I never really appreciated the free refill as much as I do now.

My little group started off toward the Cambridge University campus. We are women and easily distracted by shiny things…most of the girls went into a small clothing store I knew wouldn’t have my size. I was waiting outside, but decided to strike out on my own.

I found a map of Cambridge further down the sidewalk and found out where the information center was. So I headed off to get a map of town. The information center was HUGE and had lots of souvenirs. The ladies in the center were so nice. They helped me find some gifts and gave me a map to head off on my way.

I had noticed a postcard of the strangest looking clock I had ever seen, and one of the women told me it was down the street. It is called the Corpus Clock. You have to check out this video about it:


It was fascinating to watch, and I probably would have stayed longer in front of it except the rain was really beginning to come down again. I decided to continue to walk toward campus when I saw a sign pointing to an archaeology museum…you know I had to go there.

After going around in circles a bit, I finally found the archaeology/anthropology museum on campus. Apparently most of the collection came from the work of Grahame Clark, who wrote a LOT of archaeology related books. The collection wasn’t huge but it was nice and pretty thorough.

After the museum, I basically wandered around town until 3:30pm and then headed for the bus stop. Our bus taking us from Cambridge back through Bedford was leaving at around 4pm. This was, in fact, the bus ride from hell. No one really said anything at the time, but most of us agreed we felt “rather poorly” after that one. It was slow traffic and roundabout after roundabout, stop and go, I don’t know, it just made for a nauseating ride. Then we literally went straight to the bus going to Northampton.

Most of us got off at a stop downtown and decided to eat dinner at an Italian restaurant called Sophia’s. I ate there before with some of the other students…they opened an hour early to let us eat. Anyway, service was wonderful again and so was the food. I had tortellini alfredo, with ham and cheese. YUM! If you are ever in Northampton, you must eat here.

On Wednesday we had class in the morning with Dr. W_. Then after class the rest of the day was ours. We all kind of realized that night would be the last of us all together so we decided to all meet up at the Sunnyside pub and have a last hurrah. Then we broke up for lunch. I ended up going to the convenience store to get the makings of lunch. Unremarkable…

Then I did something truly exciting…I took a nap. After that fun filled event, I could only follow it up by doing my laundry. Being the truly lazy person I am, I could not be bothered to separate colors and whites, there was one washer and I wanted my laundry done. I now have what used to be white socks with a blue/black hue, I think it came off my newest pair of jeans. Everything looked OK.

Then I headed over to the Sunnyside Pub. Most of us had something to eat and then the pints began to flow. While part of the group ended up playing a drinking game, I got together with three other ladies to play Spades. I don’t think I have played that since high school or college? We had so much fun playing, even though me and my partner lost the game. OK, so we did threaten the winning team with the fact that they may wake up with one less eyebrow the next morning, but we didn’t actually do it.

On Thursday morning we had class for the last time. It was a nice wrap up for the trip and a good time to see each other one last time. I made plans to go into town and eat lunch with L_ and J_ . We ended up eating at a fancy looking pub. The food was OK, but at least they had Magners on tap.

This brings up a problem a number of us have had on this trip. Apparently all/most British credit cards have a computer chip on them that can/does make an American in England very frustrated. This pub was just another example of a place that would not take a card if it didn’t have a chip. I had to dash across the street to get money out of the ATM to pay my bill. Pain in the ass…

We then went shopping to get gifts and last minute items. I got some more snacks for my room as well as the latest edition of Doctor Who magazine. My friends had problems with the card/chip thing today in making their purchases.

Even though I am not leaving until Friday evening, I decided to pack most of my stuff. I am pleased with how everything is fitting in my bags, but I fear that my large bag will be over weight. I have no idea if my airline allows two carry ons, or two checked bags. Some of my fellow travelers had tales of the airlines weighing the checked baggage AND the carry on. I am going to check tomorrow to see what the guidelines are for my airline. In a way, I would like to check the second bag so I don’t have to carry all that weight. Keep your fingers crossed!

I ordered Chinese food for dinner with L_ and J_, it was very good! Then I was able to get on the internet and chat with my mom via Facebook.

Yea for technology!

DAILY DAVID

Thursday, July 23, 2009

None For You

OK, so I am a complete slacker/loser...I have not blogged in 2 days and I will not be blogging tonight. I have had some rather busy days the past 3 days? and I just want to go back up to my room, watch Eastenders and go to bed.

However, tomorrow my day is COMPLETELY free and I will be uploading the rest of my photos and catching up my journal...so have no fears. More is coming!

Just not tonight!

DAILY DAVID

Monday, July 20, 2009

Day 18 and 19

Yesterday we went to a small village called Harlestone, very near to Northampton. I took pictures, however, they are on the hard drive on the camera, as I forgot to put the card back into my camera after downloading that last batch of photos. So you won't be seeing those until I get back to the USA.

We had been invited to go to a church service at the St. Andrews, a Church of England congregation. The church was beautiful and the service was nice. It reminded me a lot of the Presbyterian churches I have been to. The hymn books were a bit distressing, I was hoping that at a traditional service I would be able to sing the alto part by looking at the music. No such luck as the hymnals only had the words and no music. They had communion which I did not feel comfortable taking part in. Some where along the line I have gotten it into my head that it is inappropriate to take communion at a church you don't belong to. Also, as many of you know I am struggling with my own religious beliefs right now and I just didn't think I should.

Everyone at the church was SO nice. They seemed genuinely excited to have our little groups of Americans visit the church. The served tea, coffee and biscuits (cookies) after the service and we were able to mingle around with the church members. They seemed very interested in what we had to say and I kept thinking two things, I'm not really that special, I just come from America and that I needed to be a bit of an ambassador for the US and dispel the myths. Hollywood movies and TV shows do NOT do us any favors in the UK, they just seem to give people a false sense of who Americans are, which is a shame. I hope I have been able to change some people's minds about America.

After the service, we walked through some of the village and headed toward the Fox and Hounds pub for lunch. The food was very nice, I had a roasted chicken with garlic and lemon with chips...YUM and I had a new cider called Aspall, LOVED it! Then a group of us decided to go back to campus and not take a longer tour of the village.

Once again, I thought I would be alone for dinner at the pub....ah, nope. Most of my fellow students were there and the professor and his daughter ended up walking in with me. I ordered a chicken Caesar salad as I was over fried food. It was, well, crap. I don't think they believe in using a whole lot of salad dressing. I felt like I was eating a lot of naked lettuce with some grilled chicken. Then the drinking began...

With most of us there we started playing drinking games. Two pints down that way. Then I got into a conversation with another student and J_ and C_, two locals. This conversation lasted through another pint of cider and we closed the pub down. It was interesting basically swapping stereotypes with the locals and seeing how each other thought.

This is also why there was no blog last night.

Today was class all day. We had class in the morning and broke for lunch. I went to the convenience store to buy junk (and I mean junk) for lunch...yea more processed food. Then we had class this afternoon.

I was very interesting hearing about everyone else's experiences they have been having while we have been here. How they have been different, how they have been the same. How we have interpreted the same situations differently.

As I type this it is 5:07 pm and I am hungry for dinner. The idea of going to the pub to eat another meal makes me want to bang my head on the desk repeatedly. I know I do not have enough in the way of snackage in my room to fill me up like a meal would. I am pretty sure the convenience store closed 7 minutes ago and I can't be "arsed", as the Brits would say, to catch a bus to go downtown to eat dinner at a different restaurant. sigh

Finally I will mention the sinus headache I have had for the past, ummm, 4 days? I am really over that. Something in England is really blooming and it is KILLING my allergies. NO, I do not have the swine flu...I brought a thermometer with me and my temperature is fine. I have been dealing with the allergy thing since I got here, but the sinus pain is about to push me over the edge.

I hear tales that they sell Tylenol with codeine in the drug stores without prescription here. I am hoping C_ and B_ can take me to the drug store before I go...oh, and a post office. I have a stack of postcards with no way to mail them. The on campus post office can't do international postcards and once again, I can not be arsed to take the bus to go into town to go to a proper post office.

If you are wondering why you haven't gotten a post card from me, it is one of three reasons...
1. I don't have your address
2. It is among the stack of post cards waiting to be sent
3. It was among the stack of post cards I gave the volunteer working at the TINY post office at Bletchley Park and she never did get around to putting the postage on them (I paid for them and she said she would do them later...

OK...I think I am going to the pub to go get some food. Hope it doesn't suck!

DAILY DAVID

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Day 16 and 17

I spent Friday and Saturday in London, which was good. OK, you have to forgive what could be an extremely scattered blog tonight. I am in the lobby of the place we are staying, it is 10:36pm and they are hosting some sort of party with a rather loud DJ and children doing very bad karaoke. I think my ears might bleed before I can finish typing this. Did I mention the sinus headache I've had since about 3pm? I am going to do this...

So Friday I left Northampton to meet my friend, M_ in London. We decided to meet a Piccadilly circus at the statue of Eros, where apparently everyone else in London decides to meet up...OK not everyone, but a lot of people. M_ and I met up and walked to Leicester Square to find somewhere to eat lunch. We ate at a place called "Hamburger +" where the service was complete crap, but my burger was good. Then we headed to Trafalgar Square where there is a special art installation.

The art installation is called [OH. MY. HOLY. GOD. they are playing the macarena song...please put a bullet in my head] One & Other where someone gets an hour to do anything they want on the top of the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square (PS, you can see better what they are doing on the website than you can live). M_ and I watched a changing of the people on the hour and then we headed into the National Gallery. We actually managed to do quite the whirlwind tour of the museum. It was crowded, but it wasn't completely oppressive...or maybe I am just getting more used to crowds?

M_, also American born, noticed the same thing while we were wondering around the various Tube stations. Not only do the British drive on a different side of the street...they walk on a different side of the side walk. It is hard to explain if you aren't experiencing it. As an American, the natural instinct (at least ours was) to let's say walk down the right side of the hall or stairs, going for the right side hand rail. I think the British instinct the opposite. In some Tube stations the signs even tell the people to "Keep left" of oncoming "traffic". I have been swimming upstream since I got here. I am trying to consciously keep left on the sidewalks and stairs, but it is a lifetime "instinct" to unlearn. I am finally looking the correct way for oncoming traffic before crossing the road, but it is still conscious thought.

M_ and I had a really nice day, despite some rain. Then I took the train out to Aylesbury where C_ picked me up after she finished work. We had a loverly dinner cooked by B_. These seasoned pork chops, carrots, beans, potatoes and lots of gravy...finger lickin! Not too mention the fact that the three of put threw down two bottles of wine!

Today, C_, B_ and I went into London. The goal was to take a Thames River Cruise, Ride the London Eye and go to the Victoria and Albert Museum. Even though the train schedule was complete jacked today, we managed to get to the cruise on time. It was really wonderful...I would highly recommend it. I think I only took a hundred pictures on the cruise...no really...I think I took 100 photos. The buildings and everything are so beautiful, I couldn't help myself!

We cruised from the London Eye/Big Ben/Parliament to the Tower Bridge and back. Today was a gorgeous day, not a cloud in the sky. My pictures ROCK. You might see them tomorrow.

Next we hit the line for the London Eye. It was kinda like what happened in the movie "A Christmas Story", no kids, the line ENDS here, it begins back THERE. Although the line was long, it moved at a pretty good clip. I can't even describe the view from the London Eye and I don't know that my pictures do it justice. In my pictures you will see I am as fascinated with the actual wheel as the wonderful view. If you are going to be in London...EVER...you must do this cruise and London Eye package!

It was about 2pm when we got off the Eye, so we decided to ditch the V & A and get a good meal in London. After some talk we chose to go to Chinatown, which I hadn't been to before and hunt down some authentic Chinese for lunch. In the Time Out book I had they suggested a place called Baozi Inn...you know it's good when they don't even lay out western eating utensils. I had a pork baozi for a starter...it was like a huge dumpling on growth hormone! Then I had a beef in noodles and beef broth. The bowl was massive, it kicked my butt, I got full and couldn't finish it.

Then we just headed back to their place, we didn't even eat dinner, we weren't hungry. They dropped me off back here at 9m and there we are!

Tomorrow is a tour of a village called Harleston. We have been invited to a Church of England service and I am probably going to go to it. I hope I don't get struck by lightning! LOL

DAILY DAVID

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Day 15

Today was even more boring than yesterday, which was great!

I slept in late again, missed breakfast, but had tea and fruit in my room. Thanks, C_ for recommending that Yorkshire tea. I have been enjoying that in the morning and the Rooibos at night before I go to bed.

Anyway, just watched TV today. I tried experimenting around the dial today...and most of you know how much I love British TV shows, but I ended up watching Judge Judy this morning. Sad, I know.

I did go to the convenience store on campus today. I was on the hunt for more snacks and something to eat for lunch. Not only do the British have a dizzying array of crisps (chips), but they also seem to enjoy what we in the US would consider "interesting" combinations for sandwiches. I bought a pre-made chicken and dressing sandwich today, very good. Although, I must say, the pre-made sandwiches are getting old. Then again, I don't want to go to the pub for two meals a day, so there isn't much else to do for lunch other than go to the town center by bus to find a restaurant. I just can't be bothered.

I bought lots of snacks I hadn't tried yet. And, I finally caved and bought some soap opera magazines. As some of you may know I am a fan of the British soap opera EastEnders, so now that I am over here I can read all the dish about what might be coming up!

I had a nice conversation with the couple working at the convenience store. I am wearing my Doctor Who (another British show) t-shirt today and I got to talking to them about the show and its history. It is the first time someone has recognized the shirt and commented on it. No one ever says a thing in the US.

I hung out in my room knitting on my shawl (yes, I did bring it after all and it is going really well) and doing my criss cross puzzles.

Once again, I went to the pub for dinner, this time REALLY expecting to be alone as I thought everyone had gone on day trips. I found two of my fellow students there and had dinner with them. For me it was kind of an awkward dinner as I really didn't have much in common with them and in all honesty I didn't volunteer much information about myself. To me this just makes the experience more interesting. I have come thousands of miles to learn about dealing with different cultures only to realize amazing differences in "American culture."

Tomorrow I meet up with Duran Duran and Doctor Who fan friend, M_. We are meeting at the memorial at the center of Piccadilly Circus in London. We are going to have lunch together and then hang out together for the afternoon. Then I am catching the train back out to Aylesbury where I meet up with C_.

Saturday I am going to the London Eye, Thames Cruise and the Victoria and Albert museum in London with C_ and B_. I am packing light since I will only have my backpack for the weekend...so no computer until late Saturday, if then. Don't be surprised if I don't update my blog/pictures until Sunday!

DAILY DAVID

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day 14

OK...so yesterday was not a shining moment, but today was fabulously boring. I debated on whether or not to wake up in time for breakfast, but I decided to sleep in. I figure I have fruit, tea and snacks in my room, I can sleep in. I slept until after ten and it was fabulous!

Mom and I have been scheduling times to chat on Facebook, so I was able to chat with her for awhile this afternoon. Then I ate a late lunch and did my laundry. Hung around my room and headed for the Sunnyside pub for dinner.

Here I was thinking everyone had already left on their side trips, so I brought a book along, figuring I would be by myself. I get in the pub and there is a group of my fellow students with some locals! Yea! No dinner alone. It was really nice to be able to get to know my classmates better and to be able to talk to some of the locals. We talked about music, what different words mean, all our different accents. It was nice, and I might have gotten a little tipsy on the cider.

When we came back to the Sunley Centre I ran into more fellow classmates. And here I thought everyone was gone!

Tomorrow almost everyone will be gone for the weekend, but that's OK, I'll just relax again tomorrow. I have contemplated a day trip, but I think the days of rest will do me good.

And I am almost caught up with posting my pictures! Check them out!

DAILY DAVID

More Pictures

I have posted some more pictures. These are from Day 7 when I went to Bletchley Park and Claydon House

Day 7

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Day 13

OK, I am now officially over crowds, I'm over it. There I have said it. Today in London was another crazy crowded day. If London didn't have so much cool stuff, I honestly would not want to go back. Maybe I have just gotten used to my country living in Buckinghamshire? I don't know.

I am also VERY over the fact that I must chase the rest of my school group whenever we go anywhere. I don't think I would care as much if I knew where the destination we were going to was. As some of you you know, I have generalized anxiety disorder...big trigger for me is getting lost/left behind. It horrifies me to the point of irrational thought. I know this, I try to avoid this. When my class crosses the street and keeps going while I get stuck at the traffic light...this equals panic mode. This is not cool, and I become a crabby bitch. I feel that this will be the only side of me my fellow classmates and professors will see. I am fat, I have short legs, I will lag behind, this is a fact I can not change. I feel like a burden to my classmates and I therefore break off as soon as possible. Enough of that.

So today we all went as a group to the British museum...did I mention the crowds? We did do a little group exercise where we talked about our observations and how they are important with what we do as counselors. We spent some time in front of a small mural describing our observations and brainstorming. Then we were set free. I headed for the gift shop where I promptly bought a guide/map to London. Thus, hopefully eliminating my fears of getting lost and left behind. Now if I loose the pack I can at least get around London and Northampton by myself.

I visited the Rosetta Stone again and walked around the Egyptian artifacts. I pondered whether or not to got through the rest of the museum, but I did go last time I visited and there was new stuff in London I wanted to see. Did I mention I noticed the CCharles Dickens House/Museum was in walking distance? As my good friends know I think Charles Dickens is THE MAN. So I decided to make the trek to check out the museum. Most of the trip took me by fairly modern buildings and a huge medical complex. But then you hit the street that Dicken's house is on and you are back in the 19th century!

OK, so Dicken's house wasn't mind blowing. But they did have a whole room dedicated to memorabilia from A Tale of Two Cities
my fave Dickens. Several of the rooms were restored to Dickens time with actual Dickens artifacts. Other rooms showcased various collection. I did learn more about Dickens, the man, today...and I got a student discount, which was cool.

My next stop was I Knit yarn store. I have been waiting for this one for MONTHS. Other than the kid puking in the elevator at Leicester Square station (it was all I could do to not think about what was happening) it was a rather uneventful trip. The directions to the shop were great. But let me say, I would not have wanted to be in this area at night...I don't think it was in the best part of town. I bought LOTS of yarn for me and my friends! All different weights, all different colors, all from the UK! I hope you all will like them. I bought about 200-300 yards of each?

Some of the people from class were meeting up in Leicester Square at 6pm to head back to Northampton, but as the Waterloo station I was at took me back to the Euston station where we catch the train, I decided to head straight out of town.

Food today was very UNnoteworthy I am afraid. I ate lunch at the British museum, premade sandwich and chocolate cake. And for dinner I ate at...Burger King in the Euston Station, sad, I know. But I will close the day with a nice cup of Rooibos tea, which C_ has totally gotten me hooked on. Such a nice way to end the night.

Because of this trip, I have decided I need to take my tea drinking to the next level. No more microwaving a tea bag in a cup of water...OH NO, I want a proper kettle and teapot, for which, I might even knit a cozy. I *heart* you tea!

Tomorrow will be VERY unexciting! I am going to...are you ready? Sleep in (most likely missing breakfast (sadness) and then I am going to do my laundry...SHOCKING, I know. I am contemplating a side trip to somewhere on Thursday, but I really need the day off tomorrow. Mental Health day!

DAILY DAVID

Monday, July 13, 2009

More Pictures

Hey all, just posted my pictures from Stratford-Upon-Avon!


Sorry I can't keep up very well. I have some free days coming up, I hope I can catch up!

Day 12

Today we had class in the morning, from 9 to almost noon. Nothing hard, just an ice breaker so we can all get to know each other. Then the whole class headed off in taxis to Althorp estate, where the Spencer family (Princess Diana's family) live.

We ate a light lunch when we got there and then toured the inside of the house. I decided not to get an audio tour or guide book for the house, so I was basically walking around clueless as to what I was really looking at. In some of the rooms they had some very knowledgeable guides who were more than willing to talk about the rooms and the Spencer family.

I kinda got separated from the group during the tour of the house and when I walked around the lake that has the island Princess Diana is buried at. The grounds were beautiful and I can think of a lot worse places be buried.

I met up with the professor and some of the other students when I headed back to the cafe. It weird being the foreigner and having people ask where you are from and how you are liking your visit. Most of the British I have come across seem genuinely interested in talking to an American. I keep thinking that there is nothing really special about me.

Anyway, we caught the bus back into the center of town and I hung out with some of the other ladies. We wandered around the mall in Northampton and then we went to an Italian restaurant called Sophia's. We got there a little bit before 5 and they weren't open yet, but there was a nice guy outside

who let us in early. My meal was fabulous and it was nice getting to know some of the other students.

This is the second time in my life I have had a restaurant opened for me...the other time was when I was in England the last time, while visiting Bath. I don't know, but I just don't think an American restaurant would do this.

It was a really nice day! Tomorrow we are headed back to London and we are going to the British Museum. Even though I have been before, I think we kinda rushed through it. I want to take my time this time. If it means getting separated from my group, then I will hoof it alone. I may try to make it to the yarn store tomorrow. We shall see.

DAILY DAVID

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Day 11

Today was a day of food and rest. I slept in, probably the latest I have since I got here...8:30 am. Then C_, B_ and I went to Morris of Hoggeston for a traditional cooked breakfast. It was absolutely AMAZING. We had fresh rolls, eggs, bacon, bangers, black pudding, and potatoes. This was my first tasting of black pudding, for those of you who know what is in it, yes I also knew, and for those of you who don't...here is the info Like everything else on my plate it was fantastic and I would so eat it again. C_ and B_ tell me that if I like black pudding I would like haggis, and they have some in the freezer. I think I will be having my first haggis before I leave England this time.

At the farm we went on a little hayride trip around the farm and got to see the cows, sheep (with fleece that sheds instead of needing to be sheered, pigs and chickens. Guess I ate their cousins today.

After that we went to Tescos and I got as much food as I thought I might want, that I could leave out in the room without refrigeration. This, of course, means lots of crisps...oh darn.

Today I basically just sat around on the couch and fiddled with my pictures and as you will note from my previous entry, I got a number of days posted. I still have some I need to edit and there are more on my camera I haven't even loaded onto the computer yet. Now I just have to find a way to post my video clips. I think you all would get a kick out of them.

Tomorrow is class and Althorp, the Spencer estate, where Princess Diana is buried. I don't know what else we will be doing.

DAILY DAVID

Pictures

I have only begun to put my pictures up.



Here is where the photo album is:

England July 2009

DAILY DAVID

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Day 9 & 10

I really hate that I did not journal yesterday, I apologize, I had a goal of journaling everyday, but yesterday was so tiring, I just didn't get on the net.

Yesterday was the first day of us officially as a class together. We met up for breakfast...a nice simple English breakfast. As per usual, I pigged out on the bacon (pun intended) and then we met up in our class room and learned more about each other and the class.

Then we set off on a tour of the Northampton University campus. I lagged behind horribly, I get so frustrated...I am just too fat and my legs are too short to be able to keep up with people walking at a normal pace. We learned where the IT area is, along with the library, laundry and convenience store.

Then we caught the bus to the center of Northampton. The professor gave us a quick tour of the mall, historic sites and the local museum. I have gotten along really well with L_ and J_ and the three of us headed off together to get lunch and to do some shopping.

We ate a street vendor, burgers and chips for me and then we walked through the local market. I decided I wanted to set off on my own pick up some things I needed, I really didn't want to be slowing anyone else down. I had a nice peaceful day of wandering around the town center. I managed to find a store that sold Radley bags and accessories which my friend C_ had some of their stuff and I vowed to pick some up. I got a change purse that was on sale. I also got some more postcards.

The whole class met up again at 4:30pm and most of us took the bus back to campus and then headed off to the Sunnyside pub to get dinner. Sadly, it was an hour wait to get dinner and I needed to meet up with C_ and B_ so I didn't eat dinner there.

C_ and B_ picked me up and they stopped so I could get some Chinese take-away for dinner. Very Good. It was an early night because the next day would be London!

Day 10

Got up early today so we could get a head start on London. We got on the train in Aylesbury and had about an hour trip to the Marylebone station to hop on the Tube to get off at the Oxford Circus Station. We arrived at Liberty at a quarter til 10am, yeah they didn't open until 10. So we walked down to Hamley's toy store...5 floors of toy madness. They had a little statue of Dobby from the Harry Potter stories out front, we had our picture taken together! I got a this stuffed animal for my niece there. Nothing form my nephew yet, I am not sure what he likes...mom, help?

Then we got to Liberty. This store is utterly gorgeous. The place was so swank C_ and I had a hard time finding the elevator because it was so fancy it fit into the architecture. B_ got you some handkerchiefs girlie. I also got some other gifts AND I fondled the yarn they had there, but I decided I wanted to save myself for I Knit.

We then trekked off to Harrod's, let me just say, if I knew David Tennant would be naked and dipped in chocolate somewhere in that store I still wouldn't ever set foot in that store again! It was a clusterf&*k of tourists from all over the world. I think the only true Brits in there were the store employees and C_! I did manage to get some gifties there for people and I bought myself some chocolate flavored tea.

C_ and I ended up eating lunch at a McDonald's which I had really wanted to avoid. But there was no where else near Harrods that was cheap. Oh well.

After Harrods we headed to Covent Garden and damn if there wasn't a Radley store...as painful as it was, I had to buy a matching wallet for my change purse...like duh. I love them.

By that point I was completely crippled up from two days of walking, a blister on the ball of my right foot and having nearly fallen when entering the Apple store earlier today. We got the Tube and train back out of London.

I must admit, I had way too much of crowds today and the bloom was off the rose of London for me. I have enjoyed being in "the country" so much with my friends. That is the real Britain. I am still looking forward to two more days in London, but it is just too full of people for me.

Tomorrow is a day of relaxation. I can't wait. We are going to a local farm for a brunch, coming back to the house for the rest of the day and then C_ and B_ will drop me off back at the school

DAILY DAVID

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Day 8

Today was my first day on campus here at the University of Northampton.

I got up early so that C_ could take me to the Milton Keynes train station on her way to work this morning. I admit to being a little bit nervous as the last time I was on British trains it was a mess and some poor guy had to help me transfer trains twice. This time it was so easy it was almost scary. I went up to the counter to buy the ticket and told the guy I didn't have a clue what I needed to do. Considering that the customer before me was a complete ass, I think he was relieved. Got my ticket and was on a train to Northampton in 10 minutes.

I took a cab from the train station to the university and was dropped off at the Sunley Centre...my new digs for 2 weeks. They have no elevator and this poor dude had to carry my 50+ pound suitcase up a flight of stairs. I immediately fell into unpacking and I got all settled in. My professor for the course I am taking came by and introduced himself. Then I basically vegged on TV until 4pm.

Then all the people in the program met up at the "pub". I put that in quotation marks, because I think I would use the term hole-in-the-wall. But we all introduced ourselves and had a pint together. Then we had what the dinning service considered a "light dinner". A chipmunk could not get full on what they fed us!! Tiny sandwiches and chips...

Then the professor walked a bunch of us down to the local pub off campus.. Cha-ching! Real food...so I ordered some. Most of the other people are still a bit off having just arrived today so hardly anyone else got food. It was a good meal for cheap...cheaper than the craptastic lunch I had on campus today. I will be going to the pub from now on!.

As I type I am sitting in the commons area where I can get some wi-fi. Tomorrow we are going to tour Norhtampton and do some shopping. The my friends C_ and B_ will come to pick me up for the weekend. Might be going to London this weekend, not sure yet. I am hoping to get my pictures ready for download so I can show you all what is up!

DAILY DAVID

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Day 7

Today I woke up and remembered the Sim card reader I had tossed in my suitcase, thinking I don't know what. Anyway, I thought hey, I could try putting my card from my camera into that and IT WORKED! I have now downloaded all the photos and videos I have taken on my trip so far. You will not see them here now because it is too late at might for me to be fussing with it. Tomorrow I am basically just going to Northampton and getting settled in. I am hoping I can use the day to do some homework and upload my photos. We shall see.

Today C_ and I went to Bletchley Park, an place of importance during WWII were they were able to break the German codes and read their radio transmissions. I thought about dad a lot today while we walked around and learned about the earliest computers. He would have really loved it. WE managed to sneak in on a school group's tour of the Colossus computer which was fantastic.

Then we headed home to eat some lunch and pick up the dogs for the next adventure. C_ has a National Trust membership, which means with her card she can get into all National Trust properties for free. Well, this afternoon I was C_ while she took the dogs on a walk around the grounds. Yea! to free!

Claydon House was beautiful on the inside and the outside. Not quite as grand a showcase as Waddesdon Manor, but still VERY impressive. I couldn't believe all the wood work and plaster ceilings...simply amazing. And it had a nice little church next door that was pretty cool. Since C_ and I finish ed so early, we had time to go to the tearoom...damn if they didn't have cream tea...LOL...yeah, we totally did that again.

Got home and did some laundry to get ready for my transfer to my new digs at Northampton University. Tomorrow we check in and have dinner together, then a little party after. We shall see. I am hoping they will let me check in earlier than the 4:30pm time I was given.

DAILY DAVID

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Day 6

Today, the three of us went to Stratford-Upon-Avon, the home of William Shakespeare. The weather was a variety from bright and sunny to pouring down rain. The town itself was bigger than I thought it would be and so spread out. We walked into town from the south and it was gorgeous.

There were a number of canal boats moored up in an area just off the river connected to the river by a canal lock. We were lucky enough to see two boats, one coming and one going. It was cool. I got video and pictures, that's all I'll say...

We crossed the river and went through the town. There were lots of "ye olde" buildings and they were wonderful to see. We stopped at a little cafe and I tried my first packet of prawn cocktail crisps (shrimp cocktail chips), not foul, but not exactly tasty.

We went to the birthplace of Shakespeare, got a lovely picture of that too...was that 12 pounds to go in? Uh, I don't like Shakespeare THAT much.

We went back down through the town and went to Tudor World which was small but a lot of fun. They had so much information about people living in Tudor times from the plague, to medicine, to food.

Poor C_ and B_, I made them go to some incredible cheesy tourist shops, but I love that stuff. I got a London Underground mug and a magnet with thermometer that says Stratford-on-Avon. I got a number of postcards today and I might send them out tomorrow.

I haven't bought any gifties yet...I see things and think of people who might like them, but then I am afraid I'll get something and then find something better later.

We walked down to the church where Shakespeare was buried. We went in and looked inside, but once again, one pound fifty to see his burial site, no thanks.

Then we walked back along the river and took the chain ferry across the river. Then walked along the river, stopped at another cafe and the information center and then we headed out.

For dinner we went to the Blue Monsoon, "A contemporary Bangladeshi & Indian Resturant". I had the Mixed Tahli which is a number of small dishes consisting of Onion bhaji, chicken tikka masala, lamb jefrezi, prawn bhuna, shobji bahar, pilau rice and plain naan. Very yum!

Tomorrow is Bletchley Park and Claydon House.

DAILY DAVID

Monday, July 6, 2009

Day 5

Today it was the Cotswolds...very beautiful, most of the buildings are made with a yellow limestone which makes them look bright and sunny.

C_ and I spent the day in a town called Bourton-on-the-Water in the Cotswolds. It was a beautiful little place with a river running through the middle. We walked along the little river through town and saw tons of ducks with lots of baby chicks just learning how to swim. Very high cuteness factor.

We then went to Birdland which is basically a zoo for birds. Right when you walk in are the penguins. So cute, I even took some video of them swimming and waddling around. You can get so close to them, it was amazing. We saw so many beautiful birds from all over the world. Even though we did get rained on some.

Next we went to lunch at a pub in The Old New Inn. I had a half pint Strongbow Cider, Roast Beef baguette with mustard and crisps. Then we headed to the Model Village which is a one ninth scale model of Bourton-on-the-Water. I got some cool pictures you might see some day.

Then we headed off to find somewhere where we could have cream tea, which consists of 2 scones, butter, strawberry conserve, and clotted cream. We found a place called the Mad Hatter Tearooms and had our cream tea there. I took a picture of this bit of fabulousness, but since you can't see mine I found a similar, less tasty picture.



Then we hit the shops. Lots of cheesy touristy stuff, but I got some postcards to send out. Then we went into Hartwells, Ironmongers and unusual gifts, and I saw the sign that said "Upstairs...blah blah blah RECORDS" I bolted to find the stairs and climbed them in excitement to find BOXES of LPs and 45s. My American mind screamed "These are ALL imports to ME!" I managed to find an Erasure, two Yazoo and a Depeche Mode LPs! Sweet...and I found the ultimate in cheese...a salt and pepper shaker set that are a red phone booth and a post box. I love them.

We came back home to have Chili made by B_...absolutely fabulous. When I sat down to type this a double rainbow appeared. I got pictures of those too...yeah, you know the drill...

Tomorrow is the hometown of Shakespeare...Stratford-upon-Avon.

DAILY DAVID

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Day 4

Today I did not wake up at the complete crack of dawn...I think it was 7:30 am this morning?

Thank goodness B_ read my blog, I was able to conquer one of my electronics problem. I was able to use their Apple charger to charge my IPod, that problem solved. We tried a bunch of different ways to download my photos to preserve them in case something bad happens...like I were to delete all my pictures...not that I know anyone who that has happened to, right J_? But I think we will continue to work on that before I got to Northampton for class.

C_ and I went to Quainton and walked around the village and went to the windmill. There was a great guy there who knew EVERYTHING about that windmill and the village of Quainton. I cost a mere pound to climb to the top (and I do mean climb, the top four floors were kinda a ladder type stairs). The view was beautiful and I was able to discover how a windmill actually works...although C_ and I couldn't work out how anyone every came up with the idea of a windmill in the first place.

The village was beautiful and I got loads of pictures of both...you might see them one day. On the thatched roofed houses there are these animals made out of straw. I had only ever seen birds on my last visit. Today in Quainton I got to see a straw cat...whiskers and all!

Being the American I am when I saw the bricks on a duplex declaring "17" and "22" I thought how cool...the house numbers are in the wall in brick. No dumbass, that would be 1722, the year it was built. You know, older than my country...

We came back the the house for lunch...ham and cheese sandwiches, salad with salad cream (kinda like Miracle Whip) and Roast chicken flavored crisps (that's potato chips). Very yummy.

Then we headed out to Waddesdon Manor. While the morning was gorgeous, the sky was getting ever blacker as we got nearer the manor. By the time we got parked it was pouring down rain. Not lame-o Southern California warm mist they call rain...I mean "so-cold-is-this-really-summer?-rain" and the parking lot wasn't very close to the manor house. C_ got us both in for free flashing her and her husband's National trust cards. We ended up getting the audiotour because there was nothing written to tell you what was in the rooms. By the last three rooms we got a bit burnt out and stopped listening. By the time we were done the sun was out and we were able to visit the gardens and aviary.

We had roast lamb with carrots, peas, cabbage, roast potatoes, gravy, and mint sauce. FANTASTIC and a nice Primativo wine called Pillastro from Puglia, Italy. Also tasty. And tonight while I type I am having my first cup of Red Bush Rooibus Tea, vey good. And people say British food isn't good!?! What are they having?

Tomorrow C_ and I are going to Bourton-On-The-Water in the Cotswolds where we are going to go to Birdland. No other set plans for the day, but it will be spent in Bourton.

Even though I can't share my pictures with you, C_ and B_ had a nice picture of their place, taken from the back garden.

The west wing is mine!

DAILY DAVID

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Day 3

July 4th...Independence Day in the UK

I woke up at the dawn of crack what, 5:30 6 am and could not go back to sleep? But I was able to get some reading done for my class...so that was good. I doubt I will get up so early tomorrow morning.

It was a very nice day. We didn't really rush around or anything and we got to the Hollowell Steam and Heavy Horse Show about...11am? It was basically like a country fair with cars and steam engines. We wandered around all the vender stalls and we looked at a ton of old cars and antique steam engines.

We caught an act in the main arena which was called "Dancing Digger" which was a guy doing stunts in a huge backhoe. I was highly impressed. I was also able to try a Welsh Apple Cider from a Brewery named Gwynt y Ddraig. I asked for the driest cider they had and the man offered up one call Yarlington Mill. I really liked it, it had a wonderful aftertaste and it got better as you went along.

We had fish and chips for lunch which was very good. Oh, and I also tried a Gooseberry flavored yogurt, fabulously tart!

Near the beer stall we watch the Bacteria Acid Samba Band play. Basically a crew of about 20 people all playing different percussion equipment. I got some video of them playing.

In fact, I took a lot of nice pictures and video I would love to share with you, however technology has not been my bitch today. Nothing I plug into the UBS ports on my computer is recognized. That means I can't download my pictures and I can't recharge my IPod...I am highly miffed. I can only assume it is the power conversion? Then I got a chance to call mom on the cell phone my friends set up for me. One of those pay as you go things. Yeah, it only had 10 pounds on it to begin with...I'd done some texting and whatnot. The phone quit while I was finishing my call with mom. Unless I used more money than I thought on the texts, that international call was nearly a pound a minute. Not cool. Sorry mom, guess we won't be talking much.

SO now my IPod and phone are dead...oh and my US cell phone is also dead. Apparently I left it on during the flight and the battery ran out. I don't know what I am going to do about my ride home from the airport.

Tomorrow I am going to add more money to my phone and I am wondering if I can't make CD's of the pictures I am taking...maybe one a week...through a grocery store or pharmacy that would take the card out of the camera and read it? I don't know if this will work. There is no hope for the IPod while I am here, which is a bummer since I don't have songs on my laptop.

As for tomorrow's adventure...C_ and I are going to start the day at Quainton Windmill and then We'll have lunch at a pub and then head off to Waddesdon Manor. We need to go to the store for more camera batteries, nail polish, shave gel and I want to see about the photo thing.

Then we are going to have roast for dinner.

Which reminds me C_ and B_ decided we would have a cook-out tonight when I told them that's what we Americans do on the 4th. We had home made potato salad, steak, lamb, sausage and chicken and a garden salad. Very good.

I am fading, so I will type to you all tomorrow!

DAILY DAVID

Friday, July 3, 2009

Day 2

Today, I woke up in America on Thursday, going to sleep in the UK on Friday.

Thank you C_ for taking me to the airport. Check in was super easy. My checked in bag weighed 47 odd pounds. So close to the 50 limit!

The flights weren't that bad. The nearly ten hour flight from San Francisco to London got old after about 5. I got up and walked around a couple of times. I felt so dried out.

But I am here at my friend's house, I have internet, all is well. Tomorrow I will go celebrate Indepence Day with the Brits. We are scheduled to go to Hollowell Steam and Heavy Horse Show> I think it will be fun!

OK, I need to stop now, because I am very close to incoherent.

DAILY DAVID

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Day 1

I am counting this as the first official day of my trip to England.

I woke up at 5:30am and I thought I wasn't going to be able to go back to sleep for awhile there I was so excited. I did manage to fall back asleep until 8:30 am. I am showered and dressed...the bags are packed. I am ready...just one tiny glitch...it is 9:43 am and I have hours to wait until I leave for the airport. I am so glad I knit, because I would probably go insane with the waiting.

I do have some things to do today...I need to go to the bank and deposit my first paycheck (YEA!) and then I must do my nails! No really, they are totally skank, I want to have nice nails on the trip. I am NOT taking nail polish with me (I can just see what that would look like all over the inside of the suitcase) But I figured I could get some when I got over.

BAH! I am so excited I can't believe this day is finally here!

I would like to thank C_ for blocking my cardigan so I could take it on the trip and look fabulous (that is when it isn't 90 degrees) and the fact that she is taking me to the airport! Hooray!

Everyone keep your fingers crossed for me that one hour will be enough for me to get my connecting flight in San Francisco. I hate changing planes and I apparently need something to worry about and I have chosen this to be my "thing" for the next bit. I am sure I will find something new after I make my connecting flight.

I hope I have enough to keep me busy on my flight...I have a cryptograms book, Fill-ins book, a Sudoko book, two different knitting projects, a Doctor Who magazine, a Doctor Who book, my textbook (you know I am going to be riveted to that!) a Charlaine Harris novel, my IPod...is that enough for ten hours? Hahahahaha

I know this update is early in the day, but I probably won't have internet access until Friday afternoon...UK time. So, the next time I post it will be from across the pond!

DAILY DAVID

Monday, June 29, 2009

Tamed!

The yarn of satan has now been tamed...nanny, nanny, boo, boo!

This is a fabulous lace pattern for this yarn! HOORAY! It may have redeemed itself enough to be brought to England with me...maybe...we shall see. I can honestly say I am getting enjoyment out of the project now.

The pattern is Airy Shawl by Jojoland. I am also using the Jojoland yarn asked for in the pattern. Although my colors will be different (mine is a brown to blue colorway) here is what the finished shawl had better look like:



No other knitting news to report!

DAILY DAVID

Friday, June 26, 2009

Yarn of SATAN!

Ok, so this morning I woke up early, couldn't go back to sleep so I decided to work on the shawl from hell...I will conquer you biotch *shakes fist* Yeah, I don't know how long I worked on the shawl and I stopped and looked at it, it was totally jacked. I gave up, amputated what I had knit so far and decided to find an easier pattern at the store today

So Miss S_ helps me find a pattern for this cobweb yarn, grab the yarn and the size needles it says on the PATTERN and I begin. Well, not right away, for me the math wasn't matching the stitch number blah blah blah anyway M_ and D_ helped me figure it out and I began. What 11 o'clock? Fast forward to nearly 3pm. Things are going way to well, I should have expected failure...

A woman came into the store and wanted to knit the same shawl. They are reading the TAG and I discover to my horror that the displayed shawl was knit on larger needles. I am a big girl and I need all the size I can get on pattern. I didn't need to be making one smaller than the original! Craptastic.

So guess what...I am starting over AGAIN. Now I am convinced that it is the yarn and not the pattern that is the bringer of evil. I am still determined to make a shawl out of this yarn.

Bring it, yarn! I am going to open up a can of whoop ass on you!

DAILY DAVID