We started Monday with a fun workshop where we combined knitting with fabric, matching the colors in the knitting to the fabric. I made a hat I’ll never wear but was inspired and made lots of notes of things to try at home. We had the rest of the day free and I considered going to Stonehenge with a few of the others but decided against it so I could explore Bath some more. It was also our last chance to shop because the next 2 days were full. So Andrea and I hit the streets. We had a bath bun at Sally Lunn’s (should have skipped that!), hit a grocery store so I could stock up on muesli and biscuits (cookies) to bring home and checked out a few more Bath sights. We went back to the hotel exhausted and I wished we’d picked up sandwiches for supper but we hadn’t so had to head out again for noodles at Wagamama. We then watched TV until bedtime. It was a nice day.
There had been a bug going through the group, starting with the California crew and, unfortunately, hitting Andrea on Tuesday. So she stayed at the hotel in bed all day and the rest of us headed to Stroud for their textile festival. We started at the museum with a presentation by a weaver then were dropped downtown to explore. We found a wonderful café for lunch and decided immediately that we do some shopping and then go back for tea before we had to meet up at the bus. I found a beautiful woodcut print at the Made in Stroud shop that I had to have so bought it and had them wrap it in bubble wrap so I could put it in my luggage. From Stroud we went to Malmesbury to tour the abbey gardens – yet another gorgeous English garden with an amazing foot high fence of espaliered dwarf apples trees that I just have to try at home. No wonder I love England so much! – and then had dinner at the Old Bell.
Wednesday was our last day and we started it with a workshop on braiding, which Philip had said wasn’t knit related but he’d booked it because the presenter was fabulous. I had low expectations but ended up loving it. We used threads and yarns to make all different kinds of trims by twisting them. It was magic! After class we did some shopping at a small pedestrian street near the hotel then were on the bus again going to Frome, a small town with a fun yarn shop and good place for lunch. Then it was on to the medieval village of Lacock. We split into two groups – one went to the museum and the rest of us opted to sit in the sun at the tea shop garden and enjoy some relaxation. When the museum group joined us later, we went to our farewell dinner at the Sign of the Angel in Lacock. Since the bus was leaving for the airport at 7:00, I packed that night, loading all my heavy stuff (books and breakables mostly) into my carry on in hopes that my checked suitcase wouldn’t be more than 50 pounds, which would cost me $50.
It was hard to believe the trip was over! I had been concerned with losing interest in the knitting part and just being away for so long but I worried for nothing. All the knitting was fun, the time flew by and it was already time to leave the new friends I’d made. Most of us were on the same flight to Newark, which was uneventful. I watched 2 movies and read a bit so it wasn’t bad at all. But it was going to be a LONG day because we had an 8 hour layover in Newark.
Andrea still wasn’t up to par so decided to stay at the airport rather than head out with Dottie, Thomas and me. The fact that we were going to an abandoned asylum to photograph it may have played a part in her decision too. Tee hee! We drove directly to Morris Plains to photograph the Kirkbride there. It is not a pretty one but we were able to walk all around it and even could put our cameras through open windows to take some interior shots so it was great. I was fading by the time we were done so we stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts for an iced coffee – YUM! From there we drove to Bud Lake Diner where I had a burger, which felt like the most normal food I’d eaten in weeks. Then it was back to the airport to reunite with Andrea and take the final flight home.
It was a dinky plane and I had to put my carry on under the seat in front of me and so had nowhere to put my feet. I was miserably uncomfortable and fidgeted for the whole flight. I could have loved to grab some sleep but the two bozos sitting in front of us were busy yucking it up and making so much noise I didn’t sleep a wink. Anne Marie and three of her kids picked us up and I got home ~12:30, having been up at that point for 26 hours straight.
I was excited to see my house because I had arranged to have the entire inside painted while I was gone. I opened the door, looked inside and saw – nothing! The painter had only finished part of the back room and nothing else. She left a note but I was pretty upset. I took Anne Marie’s advice though and just took a shower and went to bed. I fell asleep almost immediately but unfortunately woke up 4 hours later (damn birds!) at 5:30 and couldn’t get back to sleep. After watching the Survivor final first thing, I did manage to unpack and start some laundry but that was about it for the day, except stewing about the lack of progress the painter had made and hating the color of the one room she did get mostly done. I counted the hours until 8:30, the point at which I figured I could go to bed and sleep all night. I put in ear plugs to be sure the birds wouldn’t wake me up again and slept for blissful 8 hours, awaking feeling like a new woman.
I had a Friends meeting at the library Saturday morning, did some food shopping and errands afterwards and then headed home to get productive. I didn’t get a ton done but managed to finish the laundry, slog through papers and mail, catch up on some TV I missed, make some phone calls and write this. I ended the day Sunday with pizza and the Lost finale. Tomorrow it’s back to reality and my new office. I had a wonderful vacation and am looking forward to a big dose of normal life.