Monday, 3 April 2017

Day 35: Home!

My journey home was relatively uneventful- just long.

We were early into Dubai and scheduled to be early into Sydney. I spent my hour in Dubai in the British Airlines lounge using their wifi to send messages and catch up on email.  We ended up leaving a little late from Dubai. I had a few hours sleep, but by now my body clock was on English time and was trying to wake up. I read 2 novels (eBooks are a great boon on long flights), did a little stitching and rested very comfortably.

This is the progress on my seagull.

We were still scheduled to be early into Sydney  but winds there caused us to slow down. This flight has an exemption from the Sydney curfew so it can land before 6am - but only if it can approach from the East over the sea so the noise doesn't affect too many residences. It the winds are more than 20mph they can't use that approach. We circled to the north for about 10 minutes, then the wind dropped below 20mph. We landed about 5.20am.

I got through customs and immigration ok - then waited for the bus to the domestic terminal. Just when we were pouring out of the bus and up the stairs a rainbow appeared. Surely a great welcome and good omen.

I had been struggling with my hand luggage. The bag I bought at Melbourne on the way over did the job of holding my  on board stuff comfortably - but with its contents it was very heavy.  This was fine when I had my suitcase, as it sat on top. Once however, I had booked my luggage through, it was heavy and there were quite a few long walks in airports.  The bag contained my laptop, iPad, connecting cords & adapters, Qantas PJs & toiletries,  a change of underwear and Kindle. The laptop was the culprit.
In the Sydney Qantas club I got into a conversation with a young woman demonstrating Samsonite luggage - to ask about small wheels bags that fitted on top of suitcases. As I result, I took myself and my heavy bag down to the luggage shop in the airport concourse where I ended up buying this Catherine Manuell bag. It has wheels, a computer pouch AND a broad strap thing for slipping over a larger suitcase so it sits on top.    Plus it's a great colour!
It is extravagant, to say the least, to buy two bags in one trip to solve the same problem. I decided however, it was ridiculous to spend what I have on this trip and then struggle with a heavy bag,
I changed over straight away and packed the old bag into the new. I'm more than ever a bag lady at heart.

 We were delayed leaving Sydney because someone failed to board and their luggage had to be found and removed. We arrived in Adelaide at 10.30 am and I was home by 11.10. -that's 31.5 hours from the Mitre at Hampton Court to my apartment.

The new bag fitted easily on top of my suitcase and was easy to manoeuvre.

All is good. My plants have survived - even thrived in their containers of water - thanks to Anthony topping them up.

I've unpacked.

I'm tired but relaxed and rested (I don't think that is contradictory!). I hope to stay awake to celebrate Fionn's 12th birthday this evening then hope my tiredness brings sleep.

Thanks to those who have followed this blog. This is the last posting. Progress on the seagull will continue in my embroidery blog.  Keeping this blog has provided me with a means of reflecting on and framing my travels and adds considerably to my enjoyment and understanding. Thanks for sharing that with me.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Day 34: Ready to go

A sunny day at Hampton Court. Ducks out on the river.
I was curious to see if there were hoards of joggers on the bridge and river banks but there weren't. Last week's joggers must have been part of an event and not just what people do on Sunday morning.

After breakfast I got my packing organised (not finished), then settled down to finish my Applique piece from yesterday. I had two and a half leaves to finish.

It didn't take long. It is faster working without a hoop for this kind of work - fly stitch and chain stitch and my tension was fine.

I also went over my couching of the flower edge and added a few couching stitches in places where i hadn't quite covered the edge. I can see that the tricky bit of this kind os work is managing the fray. It's easy to exacerbate it when covering the raw edge.

The piece is now finished and in my suitcase. I have really enjoyed doing it and will make it into something useful on my return. It seems a shame to cut the piece much smaller than it is (about 10" square) as the background fabric shows it to such good effect. Maybe another bag????

When my stitching was finished I completed my packing. I was a little surprised that I needed the expander. I have abandoned my Qantas pyjamas, my spencer and a pair of trousers, added two tops a few small gifts and a few (small) stitching supplies. It doesn't matter - I won't be carrying the bag on board, but I had thought I'd balanced out losses and gains. I had to open it again when I realised I didn't have the grey thread I need to stitch my seagull on the plane!

I went for a final walk next door to Gardinarium to check for any new stock or anything I'd missed. I hadn't.

The crowds were out again. Sunday is obviously the day for Hampton Court visits and the Mute Swan was packed.

My car arrived a bit early and it was a relatively easy drive to Heathrow. Check in was fast, security not too bad (probably took 15 minutes all up by the time I had been screened for my titanium knee).

I rarely do any airport shopping but decided to spend some remaining £s on a new watch and some nail polish. My watch died in the Lakes District, not long after I arrived (I only noticed because an observant fellow student asked me if I kept my watch on Australian time!) It may just be a battery problem, but since I had my battery changed in January, I suspect not. I bought it at Auckland Airport at 15-17 years ago - so I can't complain.  These days I check my phone so regularly, I can manage without, but, it's much easier to use a watch on a plane.  As a wise friend said to me recently, "Who goes travelling without a watch?"

So I bought one. The twenty-something sales woman assures me it is a very modern-looking watch!

I didn't bring a manicure set with me and my nails are now quite long. I prefer them painted when they get this long, but it is too much trouble to maintain, remove and repair the polish when travelling. I therefore indulged in some nail polish and painted them in the BA Lounge. I arrive home on Fionn's birthday and need to look my best.

So here I am, in the BA Lounge at Heathrow, ready to board QF002 in just over an hour's time. This is my final post from England. I will make a final post from Adelaide in about 33 hours time.

My thanks to all the people who helped me make it a great trip.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Day 33: Applique at the RSN

The river was quite busy this morning, cyclists, walkers and rowers in a variety of craft.

At Hampton Court things were quieter - none of the crowds of last weekend. The only people in sight at 9.30 am were the security guards and people coming to courses at the RSN.

There were two courses running today, the Applique one in which I was enrolled and a Crewel Work one.

We were met in the usual place and escorted to our respective classrooms, past numerous chimneys and the old kitchens.

We were not in the same classroom as last Sunday, so I was unable to take more photos of the Crewel work screen. So many people have commented on it that I hoped to show more of it.

There was a Crewel work fire screen in our classroom. It was under glass, so not so easy to photograph. I gather that the works on display in classrooms are from the RSN Museum collection, but not their most valuable works - possibly done by students at some point in the past.

Deborah Wilding was our teacher today. She had prepared a very attractive kit.

All the pieces for our applique were inside and ready for our use.

Our first task was to lay out our work, then pin and baste the bottom layer - in this case the leaves. We moved on, layer by layer


Meanwhile, from our classroom window, the garden remained quiet.

Deborah was very well organised and sequential in her teachers. She had some really good tips and techniques.

By the end of the day I had progressed quite a long way. I was also keen to continue working on it. As the hoop and stand I was using belonged to the RSN, and I have no hoop with me, I decided to finish any areas for which I definitely needed a hoop, then try to finish it out of a hoop in the next couple of days.

It was an excellent project, designed to teach a small number of key techniques of applique. There were only six in the class, which was warm and sociable.

By the time we finished, there were more people about - still, indeed arriving. Nowhere, however, the numbers of Mothers' Day last Sunday.

I caught glimpses of costumed people walking the corridors.

I can't resist the detail of the architecture.

Back at the hotel, I had a phone call from my Watford friend Christine to wish me bon voyage. We had a good chat and lots of laughs. It has been lovely to talk to her. I hope her health issues are soon resolved.

At dinner tonight tI shared a table with a woman who had been in the Crewel Work class at Hampton Court today. We exchanged notes about our classes and our lives.  It was a very pleasant way to spend my last evening in the hotel.
I had my last beef and ale pie for some time. The vegetables here at the hotel have been great - lightly cooked whole peas, with cabbage and carrot. The chef has become accustomed to my heresy of chips instead of mash potato with his ale pie!

There was a ninetieth birthday celebration taking place in the bar which looked like continuing for some time.

I however, returned to my room to do more work on my applique.

I am really enjoying it - so want to finish it.

Tomorrow my flight leaves Heathrow at 9.35 pm. My airport transfer picks me up at 5.00. I have organised to extend my room until then, so have plenty of time to pack and prepare.

This is roughly where I am now up to with my applique. I hope to finish it before I leave for the airport tomorrow.

With a bit of luck my next post will be from Heathrow tomorrow night.