Thursday, May 31, 2012

Moving Along

Yesterday we braved the Cape Town train and downtown. The Castle, really more of a fort like the Citadel, was charming and well presented. It is till a working garrison and has a nice museum of the governor's home. Very simple, a bit sparse, but beautiful European aesthetics and a nice mix of cultures and customs, almost all of them new to us.
We enjoyed meeting the very friendly people with their lovely manners and mostly fluent English.
The walk to the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront was a bit long and hot, but we seem to do that sort of thing on holiday when others would figure out transport.
Some great shops in the hotel we first came upon, next to the Tow Oceans Aquarium. Repurposed and hand made lovelies, and a women's initiative shop of weaving and carving. Pretty well met our wishes for souvenirs and I was able to hunt out the books and chocolates for our hosts. Neil Gaiman, you know.
We had some time before we were collected for supper, so we found ourselves in our native habitat, the Scottish Ale House. It was a lovely, exhausting day.
Today I was a bit punky and not well in the night. My hostess cheered me up with a sale at the used book store down the street in support of thenRural Child Fund, and a stop at an interesting wool warehouse that didn't have anything I would call souvenir yarn.
Tomorrow we fly to Victoria Falls, so I must get to my repacking, and maybe another walk up to the Rhodes

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Temporal Ping Pong

The inaugural run of the Jenny going all the way to Simonsville (I know, it doesn't mean much to me either.

We spent the day driving around in the rain and visiting some very nice wineries. The road got a bit windy and steep in sections and D got a bit peaked even though I was the one in the back seat.

There is a certain amount of sitting around in the chilly house while our hosts are attending to their real loves, so I'm grateful for Internet contact from home. None from the kids yet, but friends and knitters are doing their bit.
The weird thing is that when I'm getting up in the morning, North America is going to bed and vice versa. I send out an email and have to wait till the next morning for a reply. Rather like the days of snail mail.
Tomorrow D and I go poking about the waterfront and downtown.
There has been knitting, my Taize shawl that is in the colours of all the orange, pink and purple flowers. My hostess is cranking out baby hats like no one's business. They are for a local maternity ward and she can almost make two a day, knitted flat with stripes and seamed.

Sometimes it doesn't seem like I'm in Africa. Just another British colony, or the Dutch part of the Fraser Valley. Looking forward to some direct contact with the locals.
Good luck we'll have a fire tonight as we sit and visit and test the bottles we bought today

Location:Salford Rd,Cape Town,South Africa

Monday, May 28, 2012

It's Already Tomorrow

We are lucky to have such good hosts. D went cycling yesterday (60km) and we met the boys at a wonderful brunch in Kalk Bay.

The university grounds are splendid and the birds and beasts are crazy.

Just going for an afternoon walk means beautiful scenery and light. D is worried we will fill up our cameras before we even leave for Zimbabwe and canoeing down the Zambezi River.
Today we hope to explore the waterfront. Still figuring out how to get to the wool shop.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Cape Town

Saturday, May 26, 2012

South of South

We travelled 30 hours to Cape Townvia Amsterdam (and our luggage didn't to see Africa and visit some generous friends whom we really barely know. Anthony and Elizabeth teach at the University of Cape Town, she is in Medieval Studies. She knit for my babies, so you know she's alright. It took us a while to catch p with ourselves. On the plane we read and I knit as we watched different shows and movies. KLM is very generous. Our first day we walked up to Rhodes Memorial and then went into the bush to find the road to Kirstenbosh and the botanical gardens. We hiked up and down the dense bush of the Devils Peak on Table Mountain and were lucky to find our way down to the road. We did have a guide. But we were too tired that night to sleep. The next day it rained and we copied up on the house for the most part. Today was lovely mixed weather and we drove down to the Cape Point National Park to hike to the second most southerly point on the continent. There were antelope and marmotty things and birds and flowers and trees to knock you out. You know you're in Africa when there's a mama baboon in the parking lot. I'm struggling a bit with my iPad so I'll try to link some photos in edit.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Time Zone

 I finished the baby layette for the Fair-Share class in August. These will be donated to the Hospital after the fair. I still need to block them, but they seemed to go together rather quickly.
 Plus I knit a maple leaf to do some yarn bombing on Canada Day (July1) in Africa. This was a freaky, follow the directions and get a leaf pattern. Quite brilliant.
I'm just packing on this long weekend Monday. The kiddles come home tonight and we'll curl up with pizza and a video as if it were a Friday night. We can't stay up too late, because we've been changing our internal clocks and getting up before 0500! With the cold rain, it feels as if we already lost our summer. But when we get back at the end of June, the garden will have changed. I won't have any bleeding hearts, columbine, solomon's seal or lily of the valley. Sure glad I enjoyed them now.
I have set up my Ravelympics knitting. I'm on Team Owlie from Tiny Owl Knits and I'm doing the WIP Wrestling event, trying to finish my Black Flowers shawl.
I'll be taking the Taize shawl in the Marakkesh by Hand Maiden in a bollywood colorway.♥
I learned to insert hearts like all the good owlies.
Now is the time I will be shutting down my computer and living off the ipad. Wish me luck. I'll try to post pictures if I can, and we will be updating on Facebook while we're away.
Take care.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

When the Poppies Bloom

We were married 23 years ago today. When we drove down the Oregon Coast to San Francisco and Mendocino, the California poppies were blooming on the roadside. It was charming and I'll never forget it, even though I wasn't taking many pictures back then.
We went out for supper last night and came home to a childless house. It's a bit spooky. Emily is a director at May Retreat, a youth event at our camp, and Scott is on the Sunshine Coast with his girlfriend's family for the long weekend.
We are going to take it quietly. The usual cabin, camping, BBQ May Long Weekend events are a bit much for us. We're getting up gradually earlier (0500 for me and 0400 for D) to get our clocks moved over to African time. The packing is almost finished, the lists checked and the guidebooks discussed over glasses of South African Pinotage wine. It's pretty exciting.
Today I hope to finish the booties for the baby layette that I will enter into the Fair Share class. Then maybe work on the Taize shawl I'm bringing on the long flight. Bamboo circular needles are my flying choice. It looks like KLM is not opposed to knitting, but I don't want to take any chances.
The warm weather has receded and I had to wear a polar fleece sweater for our walk today. It was really cold on the deck this morning, but I was determined to read the Globe and Mail outside (with shawl and afghan).
Hope you all have a great weekend, catch up on podcasts and knitting and visiting with friends and family.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Small things.

 Today is warm and sunny and I am out on the deck with my breakfast coffee. Yesterday at work I was dozy until about 0900, but I had a great partner and we helped each other with the early risers, serving breakfast and early pain medications to invest in a good day.
What a treat to be reading blogs and answering mail in the sunshine.
What I really like about some of the blogs I read are the pictures of people in community and the insights others have into their own lives. I don't include many pictures of people because this is largely an underground blog. I am reaching out beyond my friends and family to the knitters who have connected with me. I try not to post a picture of someone without their permission, and that would mean bringing up the blog.
Perhaps there are lurkers from my real life who read this to try to understand me in my quiet moments. But that's a bit like reading my journal. These are not secret thoughts, but ones that belong with those caring and sharing crafters who make up much of the magic of my knitting life.
Thank you for your support and comments, and for making your own blogs so warm and interesting.
 I taught crochet at the Common Threads knit night last week and it was a great success. It helped that I had an exceptional learner who brought the cutest pattern. We both ended up with baby hats. I'm trying to convince Emily to make them to sell. It's the embellishments that make the difference.
I started the baby layette for the Fair Share class that I cooked up and my Mom pushed through at the fair board. We have a judged class for baby sweater/hat/booties and all the items are donated to the hospital. I'm making up a prize basket for a draw and have decided to do all baby knit/crochet treats. Now I have a theme, I can have some fun hunting for little things.
And I found time to knit an afghan square for the Knit Girllls swap. I'm sending it with little doo dads and chocolate to the UK.
These swaps are also a great way to connect with other knitters. Just a little square, but over time it builds into a warm afghan.
Like the flowers of the dogwood, so small and simple, but together make a stunning tree.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Morning Visitors

 This morning I put my coffee down to go outside and take pictures of a Canada Goose family. We normally let the dog scare away the geese. She doesn't believe in ducks.
 They walked down to the water.
 One jumped in right away but the others were checking out the lawn.
 It was a big jump.

But they made it, swam down to the little landing, came out and went walking down the lawn again.
It was a real treat for a quiet, sunny morning.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Favourites, Old and New

 My favourite flower is the apple blossom. I love how the colours shift from pink to white. I love the promise of fruit and how the flower may not even know how beautiful it is, because it has a purpose and a future. We have a very special old apple tree near the river in our back garden.
Yesterday I pulled some weeds: two wheelbarrows full of buttercup. I don't mind buttercup, but it chokes my flowers and it is an insult that it is the best growing thing right now. The end of the rain is the best time to pull weeds because they are satiated and relaxed and don't resist.
My lily of the valley is blooming, I brought one sweet blossom in. After the first blossoms of magnolia and snowdrops, I lose track of the blossoms. The lilacs and dogwoods are doing their best to catch my attention. Maybe now, after working so much this week and preparing for our choir concert, I can spend more time outside.
I'm loving walking the dog while listening to the Night Circus. I'm loving doing anything while listening to the Night Circus. I'm supposed to be reading Henry James' The Ambassadors, but it's slow pace and subtle plot don't connect with me right now. Not my favourite. Shall I be obstinate at book club?
My new favourite is this Silk Moon Crescent Shawlette by Jaala Spiro that I saw on Susan B. Anderson's blog. I bought Aya, a silk and cotton Noro blend in No. 4 which has just a hint of the yellow of my handbag. It was a delightful garter stitch knit for a week of early mornings at busy work and late nights of practice. Perfect intersection with this week and a finished object! This will come to Africa with me later this month.
This afternoon we have another concert. I made up vases of flowers to decorate the church and to be given after the show today to our choir director and accompanist.  I asked someone from the front row to present them.
The pieces are carefully chosen for our voices and to connect with the "Earth Sings" theme. I will be drumming in the African harvest piece, Kaki Lambe, and in the final "Africa" (as sung by Toto in my youth). Emily drummed for us last night and I know the children's choir will miss her today, but I hope no one else notices much. If you're a good drummer, no one notices you at all.
Several of the pieces can be filed under new favourites, and I will miss being with my choir friends, but will love having Monday night free.