rowanf: (pink hair)
I really meant to write a blog entry a few weeks ago when we went to the murder mystery dinner, but putting hand to keyboard never happened. Fun pictures are on my flickrstream. The first pictures of England are up on Flickr too but Flickr->Lj posting isn't working atm.

Still no movement on the job front and my severance is running out. But there do seem to be a couple of library jobs a month come by. The most recent one required a second European language, preferably Spanish. I do wish I wasn't a monolingue.

So without really much anticipation on my part (Russell was going mad with planning and getting things together), Kurt got us to the airport and we flew off to England on Tuesday. Our flights, from SJC to LAX to Heathrow ran a bit late leaving LAX but was otherwise smooth and we had no-one awaiting us at Heathrow nor evening plans. We found our hotel and checked in. The room is good sized and it has a kitchen but they seem under the impression that one towel is enough for two people. We got more towels but came back to the room today and found we are back to one. WTF?!! But the hotel is right off Trafalgar Square and so getting around (even with me only taking busses and not the Tube due to stairs) has been pretty painless. And the weather has been clear and beautiful. Mid-70s during the day (80 yesterday!) and 50s at night.

We have done museums (Museum of London, Victoria & Albert) and shopped (Harrods, Gerry's Wines & Spirits of Soho) and eaten/drunk (Simpsons on the Strand, Dion, Boyds, Albannach and various small places). We have also eaten in; the joy of having a kitchen. And since food is much more expensive here, this is a great goodness. Russell got the most lovely peaches at Harrods than I think we've had all summer in our farmers market at home. And yay for White Stilton with cranberries (which I had for supper last night). And back bacon which I made for breakfast. Yum.

Urg, I still don't seem to have the blogging thing in my fingers. I think I will go back to reading the new WoW book about Jaina Proudmoore in anticipation of Mists of Pandaria.
rowanf: (Shiny Kaylee)


Russell has put some of his pictures of our vacation up. You've seen the Chihuly already. :-)

hair meme )
rowanf: (Default)
This morning we got up and ate and then walked out to the Elfin Oak. I always loved the Oak but they have put it in a cage and put a playground next to it. I find this very sad really. One used to come upon the oak, at a cross roads in Kensington Park as a lovely surprise. It was carved in 1911 by Ivor Innes when he got back from the War. I think it was his way to reconnecting with the magic of the world. When I lived here in 1972 I used to go by the oak and reconnect myself. Now it is a monument rather than a place of magic. [I found a news release says it was carved between 1928 and 1930 but that isn't how I remember it. It doesn't change that it is now caged.]

Then we took the bus downtown and went to Fortnum & Mason's food hall. We bought presents for people and Russell got some lunch but I wanted to eat at a sit-down restaurant. Then we separated and he went off to Camden Lock and I went to Charing Cross to look for books for my Father. I didn't have much luck (though I bought a couple to read on the plane home since I had run out) and I would up at Tottenham Court Road where I had seen a Cornish Bakery featuring "award winning pasties". I was disappointed to find it was take-away only as I *really* wanted to sit inside and eat. Luckily there was a Starbucks a block away so I got a steamed milk and sat and enjoyed a small traditional pastie and a steak & stilton. Oh my. I wish steak & stilton pasties were something I could find in the normal course of things. Just as well for my waistline they aren't, I suppose.

I tried to call Russell to see if he wanted to do something together but got his voice mail. I headed back to the flat to drop off my packages (books and F&M stuff). He called and we agreed to meet at the Albert Memorial. It was one of those days with a blue sky with occasional bursts of rain. It was too pretty to spend inside but there was a cold wind and you kept getting cloudbursts. Schizophrenic weather. We wandered around the memorial looking at the Goddesses of the continents (Europe, Asia, Africa & America) and of human industry (Agriculture, Manufacturing, Commerce & Engineering). And the great men of history. *sigh* And Albert, of course. It has been refurbished since last I visited it (Russell went on our last trip but I didn't). It looks very gaudy and fine. I really like the Continental Goddesses. I hope he got a good picture of the American ones.

I went back to the flat whilst Russell stopped in at the Goat for a pint. I washed my hair this morning so I didn't want to get it smoky again joining him for a diet coke. I ate more cheese and jubugo ham for dinner with a pot of tea and the last of the biscuits. Yum. We're packed and ready to get up and go in the morning. I'm looking forward to my own bed and reliable wifi.
rowanf: (Default)
After a nap of about 1-1/2 hours, Russell came home with Indian take away. He had bought a bag of potatoes at the beginning of the week and and we're running out of time to eat them. So we had koorma over potato. Yum!

Russell had picked up tickets to "What the Butler Saw" at the Criterion as he passed through Leicester Square on his way to Neal's Yard for his massage. Off we went to Piccadilly Circus in the drizzle. The Criterion is underground, down lots of stairs. It is an attractive theatre but I could do without the stairs! The play was a farce and quite funny. The playbill says "A psychiatric clinic becomes a world of carnivalesque chaos when rampant libidos, mistaken identities, undressing and cross dressing add layer upon layer of mischievous confusion to Orton's farcical masterpiece." At the interval I wondered to Russell if we'd actually have a butler and he explained the phrase just means something scandalous. He said we saw a mechanical peep show of the same name in the York museum. I hadn't remembered or been familiar with the phrase. The play had no butler. *grin*

On the way home we stopped off at the Goat Tavern near our flat (the oldeset tavern in Kensington, there having been one by that name on the spot for 300 years) and I had my 1/2 pint of Strongbow. It was good but I found my stomach hurt afterward. I have convinced my subconscious that drinking is bad evidently. That should make continuing not to drink for the next couple of months easier. *laugh*
rowanf: (metamorphosis)
This morning we ate breakfast and lay around reading the newspaper (Russell went out and got a latte for him and a copy of the Guardian). Since we were going to museums there wasn't a need for an early start. We both wished we were able to sleep in. At 9:30 we headed off in the grey and misty morning to the Victoria & Albert Museum. My sister Martha had some questions about the Tristan Quilt and I asked the fellow at the desk if there was someone I could talk to regarding textiles. I got just the right person and got what information was available. And her email so Mot can talk to her directly. Martha does wonderful medieval recreations and is working on a period quilt. I also looked for pictures of a particular woodburned medieval chest for her but without success.

Russell and I went to some of the 20th century gallery as he wanted to see the exhibit on hearing aids. It was very strange. It wasn't so much about hearing or current hearing aids as designing hearing devices between 2007-2012. One I liked was called TableTalk that used ear buds and a band around a table (say in a noisy bar) to allow the people at the table to hear each other. The exhibit was very strangely constructed, a lot of the signage was at about knee level and not tilted so I had to sit on the floor to read about things over my head. What were they thinking?

About lunchtime we wandered down Brompton Road and ate at a pastry/restaurant. I had a lovely goat cheese with red pepper, tomato and arugula salad and Russell had croque monsieur. When we got out it had changed from misty rain to downpour and I grudgingly went next door and bought an umbrella. *sigh* I would have been soaked to the skin by the time we got back to the Science Museum without it, but still! Bah!

We tried unsuccessfully to find an exhibit on the materials science of agriculture and wandered through various galleries together. Then I watched WWII video whilst he went through the spitfire exhibit. And then the history of computing. They are building another difference engine, this one for an American museum (though they didn't say which one) I realized I was just bearly tracking and decided to head home to bed. Instead I am sitting here writing this. Now I am going to nap!
rowanf: (Default)
We got up and I had cheese and jubugo ham with crackers for breakfast. I love having our own flat! Then off we went to the London Eye where we had a 10:30 booking. They call it a "flight" which seems really silly for me. A flight on the world's biggest ferris wheel. Whee. The views were nice enough but the weather was back to grey again. There were seven people in our car, another couple and a trio of guys (my gaydar went off). One of the guys was nice enough to take our picture with the Houses of Parliament behind us.

After that we walked across the Waterloo Bridge and went to see the Gilbert collection at Somerset House. There are some really wonderful micromosaics and snuff boxes in the permanent collection. (They used to be at the Los Angeles Museum.) I particularly liked the Castelliani jewelry collection from the mid-1800s. The Castelliani jewelers were doing wonderful gold work inspired by classical pieces that were being dug up then. There were some I'd've worn in a heartbeat (except my neck is too big for a 19th c. necklace). The visiting collection was decorative items from the Electors of Saxony called "Princely Slendour: The Dresden Court 1580-1620". I love the way everyday object are beautifully decorated. I still want a toaster with embossed rural scenes on it. I don't see why Bauhaus won, I want beauty and functionality.

Then we walked over to Simpsons in the Strand for our lunch. We came to England together for the first time in 1984 for our first wedding anniversary. Here we are at our 22nd. The food hasn't changed but the dress code has relaxed (no coat & tie required at lunch) and there are women servers which there certainly weren't back then. We talked to Guiseppe who has worked there for 46 years (though he's really retired he says). We had the lamb off the carving rack and I had the lobster soup for starters. The food was very good. For desert I had a treacle sponge with custard and I realized that it was the same as the South African national desert "malwa" that I ate so much of in Cape Town. This was slightly orange flavoured and a perfect sponge texture. This desert was my peak dining experience in England this time. I know I've had it before, but somehow this was just perfect.

We caught the No. 9 bus back to Kensington, riding on the 2nd floor so that we can see the interesting architectural features of the upper stories instead of looking at the sidewalk. Now I'm writing this journal entry whilst my computer tops up from 97% so I can walk over to Caffe Nero and post it. The day has gotten hot and bright after all. I'm just not used to the humidity!
rowanf: (Default)
This morning we got up and went to the London Tourist Info office on Regents Street and got info on various things. Then we walked over to Soho and checked out various shops. The window of Agent Provocateur (may not be worksafe) is on a prestidigitation theme. The exchange rate really makes lingerie seem outrageous. Of course the prices at AP are always high anyway.

Then we took the tube to Hampstead Heath and walked around under the trees. We had meant to look at historic houses too but we decided we'd hiked enough. Russell grabbed a sandwich and we headed back to the flat to rest a bit before our anniversary tea. Russell took me to The Savoy Hotel for our 22nd Anniversary tea. It was yummy, and outrageously priced. We had a pot of Assam and scones with jam & clotted cream, various small cakes and tea sandwiches (salmon, cucumber & egg, ham & pickle, and shrimp salad). When they asked if we wanted more sandwiches I said, "Sure, can we have just the ham & pickle and shrimp salad?" Evidently this threw the kitchen into a tizzy. They are used to doing five kinds per plate. *laugh* Silly Americans with their outrageous demands. I was just tryig to save them giving us things we wouldn't eat. They brought a plate half and half the two I'd asked for. Or about two whole sandwiches apiece. *shrug* We thought we weren't hungry enough but we ate them! As we left we stopped in at Simpson's to make lunch reservations for tomorrow. Our Anniversary luncheon. *laugh* One does see a theme emerging... food! Our actual 22nd anniversary is Saturday whilst we're flying transatlantic. We have been thinking up fun mile-high things we might do to celebrate. *crazy grin*

I shopped at Marks & Sparks for groceries and Russell kindly brought me my laptop. I'm in the Caffe Nero using their Surf & Sip wifi connection. Soon I should go back to the flat and get some rest. We have a lot of things planned for tomorrow.
rowanf: (Default)
9/12 - 9:10pm UT

This morning I took the bus to Bournmouth and the train to London arriving about 1:30 at the flat. Russell arrived sometime thereafter being stuck on the Tube somewhere. The flat is quite spacious and the bed is comfortable. Bliss! He proposed that we head out to Kew to see the Chihuly glass sculptures since it was a sunny day and the sky was blue. It is true that people may not believe the skies in some of his pictures... blue with fluffy cumulus is not how we think of English weather.

We eventually got out there and first went to the Palm House which mostly had outside glass at its entrance and in the pond. There was supposed to be a "star" inside but we did not find it. We went on to the Temperate House where the main exhibit is and it was really quite fun. The organic shapes of the glass echoes and highlights the shapes of the planets they "grow" amongst. I am fonder of art that is symbolic and meaningful, but this installation did bring on expressions of "oh, pretty!" and "how cool is that?". It is on a scale that needs something like a Victorian conservatory to hold it. Viewing it as we did in the late afternoon meant we got some really beautiful slanting light illuminating different bits quite beautifully. On the other hand they started closing things down at 5:30 so we were a bit rushed in getting through everything. I am really glad we went for the light through. If it gets all grey again it won't be anything as nice.

We got home and ate and I did laundry. There is no dryer so I don't actually know if I'll have dry clothes tomorrow. I can wear my new gypsy skirt and dance tshirt if I have to. I shall try *very* hard not to let it be an excuse to wander High St. Kensington looking in all the clothes shops. Really. This has been a very expensive vacation. *grumble* In fact, in addition to the exchange rate and extra hotel rooms and jet jewelry, the latest is that I left my brand new umbrella that I bought in Toronto in June that hasn't even been opened up for rain in the wardrobe of the B&B in Swanage. I asked her to check for me to see how much it would cost to put it in a mailing tube and post it home. I am very picky with umbrellas (they have to sling across the back) and this one is brand new! But I'm kicking myself for leaving things in closets. I never did get any help from UNLV about the ritual gear I left at NAIN. The beautiful Plant Print dress that was made for me with plants for wisdom and eloquence will be particularly missed. I'll need to get new Interfaith ritual garb at some point. Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket. *grin*
rowanf: (Default)
9/11 - 4:45pm
This morning after breakfast I finished Nightseer and then took off over the hill and out to the cliffs and on to Peveril Point. Then I wandered back to town and watched various dance sides doing sets near the seaside. The Morris/Stick dancing folks have the coolest decorated top hats with flowers and masks on them. My favorite had a green man mask on the back and she let me take a picture. I hope it shows up! The day was so grey that most of my pictures are probably fuzzy from lack of light.

Morris Hats )
I had lunch at a tea shop and then wandered off to the Conservative Club to hear Sid Kipper. He was really very funny. Although he says humor isn't worth much... you just smile and go on. But a good sulk can last for a week. And a grudge properly fed can last a lifetime. *grin* Nonetheless, it was fun to smile for a couple of hours, having been in such a funk yesterday. He had lots of silly Morris Dancing jokes (his village is hunting Morris Dancers instead of foxes these days). One I liked was "Someone said, 'dance is the vertical expression of a horizontal desire'... what exactly is it that Morris Dancers want?"

I wandered through the festival vendors looking for a tee shirt like the one Margery was wearing last night. I found it and also a colorful skirt that was handmade by "Magical Mackerel" of Cornwall. Most of the booths were selling jewelry or Indian clothes. I can find those at home and more cheaply.

Walking back to the hotel I picked up a pie and one of those hazelnut florentine things. I'm writing postcards and this journal entry and will rest a bit before going back down for the New Scorpion Band concert tonight. I hate to finish the chocolate Russell bought me from Chococo, a local chocolate factory. It is right up there with the best chocolate I've ever eaten. "Luscious Lime: Our origin chocolate slab bar made with Tanzanian cocoa beans, infused with natural lime oil and loaded with organically grown Italian candied lemon peel." Well, I'd have to quibble with "loaded" but still I'd've bought some more if they were open on Sunday (or before I leave tomorrow). They ship in the UK, so I may have to have some shipped to Simon & Mary for transhipment to California.

10:30pm UT

The New Scorpion Band concert was great. They mostly did songs from The Downfall of Pears, their last album before the new Sea Shanty one. (Which I decided to wait to buy later when the exchange rate is, hopefully, better.) I finally found out who The Scorpion Band they're the "New" of was. It was a Puddletown (Dorset) band just after the Napoleonic War. The range of instruments is really something, they said the had about 25 of their more than 30 instruments they collectively play on stage with them. We're talking guitar, madoline, banjo, fiddle and whistles to bassoon, tuba, trombone and other horns. Well played with tight harmonies as well. I'm really glad I got to see them in person. I will add another dimension to listening to their music.

New Scorpion Band )
After the concert I got lost heading the wrong way up High Street from the church. I did find "The Owl Pottery" which I wish I'd seen whilst it was open. Probably just as well I didn't. Between Peveril Point and my nocturnal ramblings I walked over five miles today. Tomorrow I rejoin Russell! Yay!
rowanf: (berries)
9/10 - 4:30pm UT
Russell and I had dinner last night at the White Horse, a pub just down the hill. He had fish and I had a truly wonderful steak and ale pie. They are one of the folk music venues but the music wasn't to start until 10-10:30 and we just couldn't imagine staying up that late. So we came back up the hill to bed.

This morning after breakfast I walked with him down to the station and put him on the bus to Bournemouth. He will meet the Home From Home agent and get the key to our London flat. I miss him already.

I wandered over to the Sandpit Field where the tents were set up for the Festival. They said some Ceilidh tickets had shown up for Saturday night so I bought one. It started raining a bit harder and I decided to walk up to the hotel and get my umbrella. I stopped at a jumble sale and bought a copy of Terry Pratchett's Monsterous Regiment. I stopped in a couple of shops and looked at dancing skirts but they are all "free size" which means too small for me. I feel very disgruntled. When I got to the B&B I sat in the front room and read for awhile and when I went upstairs it was already 11am. Bah! I had meant to go to the RSCDS workshop in town. So I just stayed in my room and read. I heard the music when the massed dancers went by at 2:30 but felt disinclined to go out into the wet to see them. I *hate* grey rainy weather. With all the rain there is no place to sit down outside. So I either have to be inside in my room or pay for food or something to be able to sit in someone else's space. I perched on a bench arm in the park but that is hardly comfortable. I tell myself that you only get out of an event what you put into it, but I just don't feel like trying to become part of this Festival. I don't have any clean clothes, I feel out of place without any friends to hang with. And what's the use of trying make some that I'll probably never see again. And I'm not a photographer to want to wander around looking for dance sides and taking pictures. Most of the workshops require you to have a drum or other instrument (or hankies for the Morris ones). What am I doing here? I wish I was back home with my own waterbed, a nice fluffy feather pillow and a shower with water pressure and really hot water and friends who care about me.

I can really see why folks who are refugees and otherwise ripped from their own place can become disoriented and lost. If a day without moorings on holiday can throw me into melancholy how much greater must the loss of home overset one.

10:30pm
I finally threw off my ennui and wandered down to Masala's for dinner. The duck tikka was nice but the cauliflower bakti had too much cilantro taste to be edible. I am now reading Nightseer by Laurell K. Hamilton.

I got over to the tent at the Sandpit Field by 7:30 and was told my ticket was for last year but someone remembered them selling it to me this morning and the let me in. Mawkin was just starting up and Gordon Potts was calling the first dance. I had sat down next to a group of local folks and I asked if one of the gentlemen would like to stand up for the dance. Eddie obliged and off we went. Most of the dances were very easy and most of the folks knew enough country dancing that there weren't any real blunderers. It was fun. I stood up with Eddie several times and once with a woman called Margery. About 9pm the Bismarcks came on but I was starting to yawn and I wandered off to bed. I still don't feel all that connected with the Festival but I did enjoy the dancing. I would really like a cider though. Can diet coke really be that much better for my liver?
rowanf: (Default)
This morning we got up late since the B&B doesn't serve breakfast until 8:30. Nevertheless we were down at the Info Center by 9:30 only to find it doesn't open until 10am. *sigh* We sat in deck chairs and looked at the mist on the water. It was really peaceful and I didn't mind waiting at all. At 10am I found out the Folk Festival was sold out of "all weekend" tickets two weeks ago. *sigh* I did get one-off tickets for Sid Kipper and New Scorpion Band at least. All the Saturday acts were sold out. *grumble* I shall just have to wander around and watch the dancers and otherwise amuse myself. There are "over 40 sides" of dancers... from Morris to Bellydance evidently. The latter being quite unexpected by me anyway. Or perhaps I can get into one of the pub venues which are sort of a fringe to the main festival.

Then Russell and I took the steam train to Corfe Castle and toured the Castle which has been a ruin since 1646. In 975 King Edward (the Martyr) was killed which made way for the succession of my 32nd great grandfather, Aethelred II (the Unready). Funny how so tenuous a connection gives greater interest. *laugh* I wonder how many thousands are descended from Aethelred?

We came back to Swanage and grabbed pies and ate sitting on the sea wall. Lots of families had taken over the beach which had been empty just a couple of hours before. We wandered around town and out the pier. There was a great exhibit of pictures of early postcards of Swanage in the pier shop. I love looking at "then and now" shots. They have lots of that sort of postcard here and I think I'll buy them to paste in my paper journal.

Russell found (via our landlord) a gallery that has internet access (I'm on ethernet... now quaint ;-) and so I'm posting these notes. It seems like we must have done something else today since it is after 4pm but I can't think what it might be. I guess we did a lot of wandering!
rowanf: (Default)
9/8 - 5:40pm UT

We had a last breakfast at the Queens Hotel and headed off to the railway station in York. We spent the entire day it seems getting to Swannage. We got to Bournemouth about 3:30 and caught the 4pm bus to Swannage. And we just arrived at our hotel! Not a lot of report of the day. There was a fire in one of the connecting train stations which caused a lot of people to be re-routed and we got stuck behind a slow train that made us 10-20 minutes late at various stations but since we didn't have connections to make we were fairly sanguine.

When we got to town we found no cell connection downtown. Eeek! Our landlord isn't sure there is an internet cafe in town. He says Dorset is behind the times... "we're barely on the electric let alone the internet". Double Eek! But sitting in my hotel room I was able to get two bars of service and phone Kurt, so I'm not as isolated as i feared. OTOH, we are isolated enough that I am goihng to have to stay another day if I want to see the New Scorpion Band as their set isn't until 7pm on Sunday. And there is no way to get back to London at that hour. From my computer in San Jose it seemed insane to book an extra night when we're paying for an apartment in London... but here it seems silly to have come this far and fail to see the main band I wanted to see. (Sid Kipper is on at 1:30pm and I wouldn't have any problem seeing him.) Gah. This really is my last extravagance of the trip! Jet earrings and extra hotel nights. Really.

Russell is off taking Golden Hour photos at the end of this beautiful sunny day. Which, as I mentioned, we spent travelling after suffering entirely grey days until now. *laugh* England! I am exhausted. I know I should go walk around but, as is generally the case in a coastal town, it is all hills and though I've done nothing but sit on a train all day I'm just that tired. I think I'll put the computer down and take a nap.

7:35 UT

Russell came back from his wanderings with Indian take-away. I am full of a lovely lamb koorma but still quite tired. He's wandered off again to chat with Erika and I'm going through Purbeck guidebooks. Life is good.
rowanf: (navigatrix)
9/7 - 8:25pm UT

This morning, after going back and forth for forgotten camera and iPod, we picked up a Renault Modus at the car hire and headed out for Castle Howard. Between our lateness and the bad traffic we didn't arrive until almost 11am. We wandered through the rose gardens and there was a really lovely smelling pink rose called Wenlock English Rose which I should like to check the availability of for my own garden! Russell went back to the car for something and I wandered into the Castle shop. I bought myself a scarf. Yes, the Imelda Marcos of scarves strikes again. It is a red-green taffeta with a contrasting ruffle. It takes the place of an aviator scarf which I haven't had one of in awhile. I love it. So far it has gone with everything I've worn.

By the time we reached the entrance of the house there was a bottleneck of tourists as there were folks in the first two small rooms giving talks that left a bunch of us standing in a long hall with nothing much to look at. (Well, there were some architectural drawings but they didn't hold enough interest for the length of the queue. The castle is really huge -- on a scale bigger than I would like to live in. But they had some really lovely classical statuary. There was a special exhibition on the women of Castle Howard that gave information on various Countess Carlyles and their daughters. Evidently there has been a recent study of the household papers, accounts and diaries such that the women's lives can be better understood. The exhibit also talked a bit about the number of women working belowstairs though only two were actually named. Throughout the house tour there were life size silhoettes of serving women to remind one of their presence. In some periods there were 10 servants for every member of the family in residence.

After eating in the restaurant there we headed off to Whitby about 2pm. The traffic was terrible! We took the A64 to Scarborough and kept getting stuck behind slow trucks. Then we took the A171 up the coast and kept getting stuck behind farm vehicles. We always forget inbetween times how long it takes to get anywhere in England. *laugh* I asked for directions to a museum on Whitby jet at the information center and she said "across the bridge, second left". What this helpful advice concealed was that she was seeing me on foot and I was actually in a car. The two streets in question were both pedestrian areas and so we didn't count them as "streets". We ended up on the headland and the fellow taking tickets for the Abbey set us straight and we went back down the hill and parked and then walked along Church Street which has many jet shops. Each one had a carver who create the work shown! I had several interesting conversation and was steered up the hill to the Whitby Jet Heritage Center which is run by a fellow named Hal Redvers-Jones. Hal is a carver and used to have a shop like the others but about eight years ago a friend of his was doing renovations and found an intact jet studio from the 19th century in a boarded-up attic. Even the jacket of the last worker was still on a peg. Hal and his friend trasported the attic just as it was into a bottom floor and put up many posters with information written by Hal on the jet trade. Hal got a local historian, Alan Whitworth, to write "Whitby Jet: A Brief History" which he then published in 2005. He says his website http://www.whitbyjet.net hasn't been updated from his days as a jet shop and he hopes to do that soon. He still has a jet shop in the front of the premises and he does some of the best work I saw in town. In fact I went back and bought a pair of earrings that cost more than I really could afford but they were just that lovely and unique that I knew I would kick myself if I didn't buy them. When one comes thousands of miles to a place it is false economy not to buy the local product which isn't available at home at all. I'll have to take a picture and post it. :-)

From the wall of the Whitby Jet Heritage Center:

Lycia her jet in medicine commends;
But chiefest, that which distant Britain sends;
Black, light and polished, to itself draws
If warmed by friction near adjacent straws.
Though quenched by oil, its mouldering embers raise
Sprinkled by water; a still fiercer blaze;
It cures the dropsy, shakey teeth are fixed,
Washed with the powder'd stone in water mixed.
The female womb its piercing fumes relieve,
Nor epilepsy can this test deceive;
From its deep hole it lures the viper fell,
And chases away the powers of hell;
It heals the swelling plagues that gnaw the heart,
And baffles speels and magic's noxious art.
This by the wise and surest test is styled
Or virgin purity by lust defiled.
Three days in water steeped, the draught bestows
Ease to pregnant wobe in travail's throes.

Hal found it in C.W. King, Antique Gems London, 1860 quoting the Bishop of Rene (1067-1081) on the virtues of jet.

Russell and I grabbed dinner at a fish & chip shop and then headed back to York. This time we took the A169 over the moors and fairly flew back compared to our earlier pace. It was unclear to me whether it was the road or the hour that caused this. The scenery was certainly lovely. It is the largest area of heather moor in England and there were cumulus clouds piled high in the sunset with "god lights" streaming down. I hope Russell got a good picture!

We were back in York a bit after 8pm and now here we are, charging various phones and flash units and getting packed up for the trip to Dorset tomorrow.
rowanf: (Default)
9/6 3:50pm UT

We got up at about 7:30 and wanted down to the breakfast room. The hotel offered a full English breakfast. I had bacon, eggs, beans on toast, mushrooms and stewed tomatoes. Ah! I do love a good breakfast. Russell warns me that I'll gain weight if I keep eating like that. *sigh* Probably true. But it was yummy!

We called a car hire place and found they wouldn't have a car available today until about 10:30, so we reserved one for tomorrow at 9:30 for our trip to Castle Howard and the coast. That left today to look around York. The earliest opening attraction was the York Castle Museum and I'm very glad we checked it out! It is a large museum that centers on life in Yorkshire. There were Victorian and Edwardian storefronts and rooms recreated from period pieces to look as they would in different periods (from about 1750 to the present). There was a whole gallery called "Spotless" on the history of cleaning with lots of soap recipes, early vacuum cleaners, washing machines and such. It was fascinating! There was a "cradle to grave" gallery with everything from birthing instruments to a horse drawn hearse. I liked the wedding and christening gowns. By the time we'd walked through these galleries I really couldn't face the stairs for the other half of the museum. Russell went through that had and tells me I would have really liked the several costume galleries on offer but I just couldn't do it.

Then we rode the beautiful carousel set up in the museum lawn. It was a fun period piece itself and went quite a bit faster than I am used to going. The attendant said they were playing music with a CD player because they had such a problem with vandalism that even though they had all the pieces for the calliope it just wasn't worth keeping it running. And they only had electric lights on the swags rather than the whole of the interior because vandals like to break them. I thought that was very sad.

Then we walked past Fairfax House (and I saw the several story spiral staircase and decided I didn't need to see it! Russell remembered seeing a restaurant called Judge's Yard or something like that and we headed over and had tea and guiness and a salmon parcel stuffed with shrimp and cream cheese. It was nice to dine under a tree and just sit for awhile. Russell then got a balti chicken pie for lunch and we wandered over to York Minster. I chickened out from paying 7 quid to see the church and told him I'd be back in 20 minutes and did a whirlwind souvenier shopping tour. I got my usual walking stick mount and patch. I really need to figure out what to do with all the walking stick mounts I have! Perhaps a shadow box or something to display them in. I picked him back up at the Minster and we walked to several camera stores to see if they had a card reader as Russell had forgotten to bring his. The first place had one for 29, the next for 24 and the last for 15. He decided to go ahead and get the last one as he'd spend that much having CDs made in shops. He brought blank CDs so he could burn things from my laptop, but somehow the reader didn't make it into the luggage. Not that it might not have disappeared when they searched his bag. They took his UK power adapter. Luckily, I had thought we might need two and had one i my bag. We're hoping I'm wrong about needing more than one. *grin*

He's gone off to the train museum and I'm writing this entry and eating a scone from the bag I bought at a church jumble sale. Six scones for 50p... I couldn't resist!

7:54pm UT

I finished my novel and fell asleep. At about 6pm Russell phoned from the train museum and asked if I wanted to meet him at the York Boat dock to go on a tour. I had bounced out of bed and off toward the bridge when he called back and said it looked like they'd stopped for the evening. We saw a York Boat out when we left dinner last night but evidently it isn't tonight. *grumble* Russell wasn't hungry but agreed to go have an appetizer whilst I ate at Kapadokya Turkish BBQ restaurant. It is close to our hotel and I had a lovely feta appetizer (their house made bread was incredible!) and then a grilled lamb chop (pirzola) plate which was a bit overcooked but still yummy. Russell ate dolmas and a glass of port. I really wanted to have dessert but really was too full. As we were walking home we passed a coffee bar in a Ramada Inn that had wifi so I picked up my laptop and headed over to post these journal entries. :-)
rowanf: (navigatrix)
9/5 9:40 am PST/ 5:40pm UT
We got to SFO and to our gate... and not long after they announced our 7:45 flight had a faulty window seal and they weren't sure when we'd take off. One of the advantages of going first/business class is that the attendants in the Admiral's Club quickly rebooked us on another flight (without our asking) at 9:45 and so it happened that we flew through O'Hare rather than JFK. Our arrival at Heathrow was five minutes before it would have been if we'd taken the earlier flight. *shakes head* Everything went very well and I didn't particularly mind spending the extra couple of hours sitting compared to what consequences we might have faced!

Arriving at Heathrow we to the tube to King's Cross and the train up to York. The Queen's Hotel was easily found and is quite convenient to the old town. Since it was only about 11am local time we decided we needed to try and sightsee so as to get on local time despite having been up for so many hours of travel at this point. We went to the Jorvik Viking Center and took the ride. It has expanded since I was here just the year after it opened. I think there is more diarama and also more artifacts on display at the end. There were docents dressed as Vikings who answered questions and demonstrated crafts which I also don't remember from the last time. Then we wandered through the Shambles to York Minster but I really just didn't have the energy to enter. Local time or not, I needed a nap. So I napped from 2pm to almost 6pm. Russell is off somewhere taking pictures and I'm writing this journal entry. Soon he'll come back and we'll go off to dinner.

Russell came back and went we across the river to a restaurant we could see called "Taj Mahal". They had quite a selection! I had Lamb Malaya which was a mild curry with pinapple and banana! I've never seen that on offer before. Russell had a chicken koorma which was okay but nothing to write home about. After dinner we walked along the river. I really like our location!
rowanf: (navigatrix)
I spent another morning fussing about hotels in York. Since all my self-catering inquiries came through I'm on to regular hotels. The cheapest I've found is L80/$140 a night with most being about L140/$250. Yikes. My current candidate is Queens Hotel.


Continuing to contemplate the Swanage Folk Festival. Swanage seems rather back-of-beyond. One could train to Bournemouth from London (2 hours) and then take a ferry it seems. This is not sounding like a day trip. Both performers I'm particularly keen on are playing on Sunday. We're supposed to have checked into our London apartment on Saturday. And I had planned to travel late afternoon so we could go to the Brigantia Crafts Faire at Castle Howard that morning. So it would be hard to travel to London, get our apt, train out to Bournemouth and spend the night there or Swanage to go to the Festival on Sunday. Unless I decide to leave York early and forget the crafts fair. Maybe get to Swanage and do some Dorset/Purbeck sightseeing. I need to figure this out because I need to book the hotels soon.

Well, I've spent enough hours on this for today. *sigh* I need to get off the computer, my touchpad finger is numb.

May 2015

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