Category Archives: travel

Hello dear readers

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My apologies for the long silence. What was that? Oh, you didn’t miss me at all. Well then!

I’m sure you realised that I was on holiday and that of course I was staying in a house with no internet, no wifi (oh, the horror!) and I had to snatch moments of internet time at other people’s houses or coffee shops where the speed was as slow as a snail with a broken leg.

I have to admit it’s good to get away from the dependence on ipads/ipods for a bit. We all had more sunshine and exercise than we get at home. We also had some good family and friends visiting time, back in the island of our birth.

For those who haven’t heard of Jersey (no, not New Jersey, the original Jersey) it’s a small island in the English Channel. One of the Channel Islands, close to France but part of the British Isles. There’s a whole lot of info about it on Wikipedia if you’re interested.

We stayed with my FIL, spent time (not enough) with my sister and mum, met up with some of Tai Chi Man’s numerous cousins, had dinner with an old friend of mine from way back when our children were small. It was great to have a mini reunion with two schoolfriends, one of whom I saw four years ago; the other I haven’t seen for over 35 years. I love my sister’s family – my niece and nephew have become delightful young adults, and she has two stepsons and a daughter-in-law now.

I actually swam in the sea – it was freezing!

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We walked a lot, sometimes twice a day, along cliff paths, narrow lanes and beachfronts. We were reminded of the joys and frustrations of living on a small island with too many cars, miles of winding roads (some of which are only the width of one car) and the constant issue of whether one will find a parking space.

I bought souvenir yarn…

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This from a small but well-stocked shop called Country Wools which I came across accidentally next door to a farm shop. They even had Stylecraft!

My sister had booked 12 of us for a tour to the Ecrehous, a reef that lies between Jersey and France. We showed up early on a drizzly Sunday morning, wondering whether it was a good idea, but even though the boat operators gave us the option of cancelling or postponing, we went ahead anyway. We were provided with waterproof jackets and lifejackets and took our seats in the rigid hull inflatable. It’s a good thing we all had handles to grip, because it was a white knuckle ride across the open sea to the reef, but in a good way! The drizzle stopped as soon as we left the harbour, and the sea was pretty calm, but there were still some interesting bumps to make some of us scream as if we were on a rollercoaster. That was fun!

The reef itself is, at high tide, made up of a few tiny islands – at low tide, a sandbar is exposed. There are some fishermen’s cottages built there which are rented out in the summer months. One of Tai Chi Man’s cousins actually honeymooned there. You have to take everything you need, including fresh water, and there is nothing to do except swim, sunbathe and watch birds. The day we went, it was a little chilly, but three of our group did go in the sea, and a couple of seals popped their heads out of the water really close to my nephew as he stood in the sea. Of course it happened when he didn’t have his GoPro to hand.

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This is my windblown tourist look!

We were on the reef for a couple of hours, and hadn’t taken any food with us as we had lunch planned for later at my sister’s house. Or so I thought. I sat on the pebbly beach and dug into my backpack for something and found two bars of chocolate. My brother-in-law is an avid photographer and you can’t move without being in danger of having it recorded for posterity, hence this shot. The boat ride back was more eventful as we were accompanied by dolphins, which really made the day special.

Our round trip to Jersey was over 14,000km, with three flights each way. It’s a long way to go for only two weeks but it was worth it to see everyone again. However it’s good to be home. There’s nothing like your own bed, your own kitchen. Sometimes I think the purpose of going away is to make you appreciate what you have at home.

Before I sign off, I had better show you my FOs. I have no current WIPs as I haven’t decided what to make next.

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More gift bags for jewellery, most of which were given away. And the finished Dragonfly scarf, which was left in Jersey with my sister. The colours are more blended in real life.

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That’s it for now. I have to work tomorrow so I should probably get to bed and dream about my next project!

 

Crochet on the dashboard

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I feel like that title would be great as a blog name, don’t you? I have more ‘crochet on the dashboard’ shots, as today we returned from the coast. I always love looking at the distant mountains with their snowcaps. Last night, we were travelling north through Vancouver and were able to see the floodlit ski runs at the top of Grouse mountain. There’s not that much snow up there right now, nothing like we have closer to home.

I have added about ten more rows to the Road Trip Scarf since Saturday. Of course, progress always seems so fast at first, but the rows get longer and longer. I am almost finished with one 5oz skein and suspect that when it’s finished it will take at least two.

We celebrated Chinese New Year this weekend, seeing in the Year of the Monkey. I learned how to say Happy New Year in Mandarin (in pinyin, it looks like this: xin nian kuai le) and the word for monkey is ‘houzi.’

I had a chance to practice other words and phrases that we have learned in Mandarin class too, though the Taiwanese have a slightly different way of pronouncing things.

One of the highlights of our weekend was playing archery tag. Tai Chi Man and I joined our two boys and a group of other twenty-somethings at a place in Richmond where they have an indoor ‘beach’ where you can go to play volleyball or archery tag. It was a lot of fun and my team won the first few games. Thankfully I didn’t get hit too often with the arrows, which were tipped with large marshmallow-type ends. I am certainly a little sore today from the exertion, but in a good way!
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Happy to be home on my own couch now, with a cup of Yorkshire tea and my crochet blankets. We will sleep well tonight in our own beds.

Road trip

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Typing this out on my iPad on the most boring stretch of highway in BC. Highway 1 from Chilliwack towards Greater Vancouver is long, straight and flat, and gives me an idea of what it’s like to drive across central Canada!

Anyway, I have the usual road trip photos of crochet on the dashboard, because Tai Chi Man is driving the car this time and I’m a passenger, so I have started a very appropriate project – Zooty Owl’s Road Trip Scarf!

This has been in my Ravelry queue for a long time and it’s written for a DK variegated yarn, it’s simple to make (every row is the same after the first two), and it saves me being bored as heck on a five hour drive. I’m using Red Heart With Love in the fruit punch colourway, which is worsted rather than DK but never mind!

The sun is shining here and it’s 10 degrees Celsius, which is like summer to us Okanagan people. We had to go through a lot of snow on the mountain passes to get here, and a minimum of minus 3, and the road was slushy and slippery in places. For a while, we were crawling along behind two snowploughs (and even passed one abandoned in a ditch).

So all is well so far, and we have now crossed the Fraser river and will be at our destination soon. I should probably pay attention to the GPS.

Road trip

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I set my alarm for 6am again this Monday morning. Trying to achieve a new habit of “early to bed, early to rise.” For a person who has mostly been a night owl rather than an early bird, this is a challenge.

It’s been over a week since I had to get up at 5 for work (inventory day) and every day since then I have pushed myself out of bed at 5 or 6am. At least it’s the coolest time of the day, so that’s one benefit.

It also means that I can sit and wake up slowly with my lemon water, Yorkshire tea and iPad, checking email, Facebook and Ravelry. That’s my morning routine and it is a flexible thing that can take a short time or a long time, depending on how far I go through my Facebook news feed or how many threads I delve into in the Ravelry forums.

I have some sore muscles today. Saturday morning we were up and out the door by 8am. Tai Chi Man and ds2 and I had to be on the road by 8am, with the plan to catch the ferry to the Sunshine Coast at 1.35. We packed, closed up the windows and doors, loaded the car, and at the last minute I emptied the compost bucket from the kitchen. On the way back up the garden, my sandal caught the edge of the concrete pad outside the back door and I fell forward, landing on my hands and knees. Thankfully there were no holes in my capris, so I brushed myself down and carried on. The next day I was complaining about a painful shoulder and Tai Chi Man pointed out that I probably wrenched it when I fell. (Nice bruises on my knees too.)

Anyway, four hours in the car and we made it to the ferry. It’s a beautiful scenic crossing from Horseshoe Bay, north of Vancouver, BC, to Langdale on the Sunshine Coast. It helped that the sun was shining and the sea was calm.

Our motel was a short drive from the ferry terminal in Gibsons. The room and en suite bathroom were spacious, if a little under-lit, but the kitchenette was teeny. A sink, stovetop with two burners and a strip of countertop that was maybe four inches wide, with a fridge underneath and a cupboard above.

Our afternoon was spent discovering the local IGA supermarket and then Soames Hill Park. This park was maybe ten minutes drive from our motel and is a beautiful shady old growth forest. The trails varied from easy to challenging – we chose to take the steep route right to the top of the hill, about a 700ft elevation, to enjoy the view out to sea.

My calves are still sore, two days later, but it was worth the climb.

I had a dip in the pool when we got back to the motel, which just happened to be a few feet from our door. Perfect!

Dinner was basic but edible. I made some tortillas with flour/baking powder/salt that I’d mixed at home. Of course I had nowhere to roll them out and even if I had, I had no rolling pin, so they were very smaller and thicker than usual. Still, they worked okay with the refried beans, avocado and tomatoes.

Ds2 looked settled in for the evening after dinner, with his bag of tortilla chips, TV and iPod to hand. Tai Chi Man and I went out to find a sunset. Having checked the map, we found a road that led to the ocean, where we enjoyed a gentle walk followed by a rest on the natural seating at the top of the beach (aka driftwood). There we watched and waited while the sun set.

The beauty of it was that we were both just sitting there, enjoying the present moment, nowhere else we needed to be, nothing else we needed to do. No iPads, books or even crocheting to distract us!

Sunday we had a slow start to the day, but had to be checked out by 11, which worked perfectly for going to pick up ds3 from summer camp. That was a short drive away in Roberts Creek. He’d had a great time, just like last year.

We drove back to the ferry and had to wait, of course. They had an unseasonably hot weekend on the coast and we were parked in full sun for an hour. Thankfully we could get out of the car and go to the washrooms or stand in the shade for a bit.

On the ferry, ds3 met up with some of his camp buddies again and they ganged up and circuited the ship numerous times.

We had plans to do some shopping in Richmond at some Asian stores so that added about three hours to our drive. (Tai Chi Man drove over 800kms in two days.) Unfortunately the last store was closed, with it being a Sunday ‘n all.

We made it home safely at almost 9pm and even though we were only gone for a weekend it felt longer. I feel we must return for a longer stay one day though.

There was crocheting on the road, of course, in between the snacking, reading and navigating. I am making a pair of bobwilson123’s Granny stitch slippers again – and I had a big DOH moment when packing a project on Saturday that for ages now I’ve had these plans to make lots of slippers and instead I used up a bunch of scraps on hats instead. Hmmm! Silly me.

I could easily have finished the pair this weekend, maybe even two pairs, but I don’t seem to have the concentration required when on the road to crochet constantly. I have one and a half slippers done and it won’t take long to finish the second one.
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I’m so glad I don’t have work today. In fact I have the next few days off, and I know that today is going to include lots of laundry. We all know that road trips = laundry, right?

I probably should throw the first load in now.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend. Happy magnificent Monday!

Cabin love

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It’s such a wonderful time, recharging one’s batteries away from the usual work and home commitments. Everything is simplified, especially the meals. The snowshoeing at Larch Hills Nordic ski area was lovely and peaceful. The snow was pretty crispy and compacted but it was still nice to have a couple of hours tromping through the woods.

We also drove up to Salmon Arm, which is the nearest sizeable town, for a cup of tea. My favourite corner of town is the one where Hudson and McLeod intersect. You have Intwined Fibre Arts yarn store on one side, across the road is Culinary Inspirations who make a decent inexpensive cup of tea or coffee as well as selling kitchen stuff and gourmet foods, and across from that is the Saga public art gallery.

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Can’t beat waking up to that view in the mornings.

And the specs on the latest arm knit – Loops & Threads Chunky (REALLY chunky, actually super-bulky, 27 yards to 5.2oz) in the colourway Stonewashed. I bought two skeins and used part of the second because it wasn’t quite long enough to double around the neck with only one.

This is a gift for a friend. It’s fun to play with yarn in different colours than I usually use. The colours in this are natural neutrals and work well together.

Coming down…

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I feel like I’m coming down from a bit of a high at the moment. Not in a bad way. I need a quiet day to rest and recuperate from a busy couple of days.

I am part of a team who officiates in ceremonies with my spiritual group and sometimes we get to go out of town with our Master to do ceremonies elsewhere. Monday, five of us shared a car to Vancouver. We left at 10am. The drive, with one stop for lunch, took five hours. The afternoon was spent preparing, the ceremony took place in the evening, and then we had to travel another hour to another home to sleep. A driver was needed because the Master was exhausted from his early start that day, and I volunteered to do it. It was dark and raining, I was driving an unfamiliar large car, and the roads were busy despite it being late in the evening. There was construction everywhere (you know the saying, we have two seasons – Winter and Construction)!

Suffice it to say, I was very glad to get there safely and be able to freshen up and let my head hit a pillow.

Breakfast was abundant – my Taiwanese friends really know how to cook and eat well – and then we were off for some shopping in the Richmond area. Most stores had signs in both English and Mandarin. We went to a herbal store, a Taiwanese supermarket, an Asian mall with a huge grocery store with the most amazing display of fresh vegetables I have ever seen, and a place that sells frozen vegetarian meat substitutes, all without onion and garlic, some of which are also vegan.

I bought something at each store, including a huge bag of goji berries, some Chinese curry powder, chili paste, black bean sauce, vegan organic Worcestershire sauce, cedar leaf spice (a savoury herb that has a wonderful flavour) and lots of noodles. I passed on the dried sea snail and sea stars!!

We had finished our shopping by lunchtime and returned home, snacking on the way and only stopping for a couple of pee breaks. Home by 5.30pm, shower, Yorkshire tea and a greens bar, and out the door again at 6.20 for an evening meeting.

I was a little hyper and over-chatty – it may have been the gas station coffee, or the Yorkshire tea, but also a kind of energy that I get when going to spend time with my friends. We came home after 10 and I still didn’t get to bed until midnight.

As I said, coming down now, enjoying the wonderful abundance of summer. My boys are like many, in that they would rather grab some cooked carbs than wash and eat fruit. So I washed some grapes and blueberries and strawberries, cut up some cantaloupe, and put it out in the hope they will at least start the day with some raw antioxidants!

Forecast is excellent for a beach day, not so much for tomorrow, so planning to take those boys swimming this afternoon. Then yoga tonight.

While I was a passenger in the car, I crocheted a lot of the time, and have finished the body of a market bag using the pattern from bobwilson123. It’s called Mesh Market Bag, One handle, and has a written pattern and a You Tube tutorial. I’ll publish this, so as not to lose it, and go find a link afterwards. (ETA: link added, you’ll need to scroll down to find the specific pattern)

A few photos from the last few days…

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A day to myself

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Tai Chi Man and I are spending a couple of nights away from home. He was awake early this morning to drive to a day of workshops so I have the day at leisure.

It was a slow start to the day with some crappy TV (99% of TV is crappy!) and tea and breakfast, then at 10.30 I set out to walk along the waterfront then up Main Street.

I was wearing a cardigan that soon came off – there was no wind and the sun was out and I soon became overheated. I headed up the road, not planning how far I was going to walk, just noting the stores I wanted to pop into on my way back. When I’d had enough of walking one way, I turned around. Went into the health food store, a thrift store, a yarn shop (all without buying anything). By that time I really needed to sit down as I’d been on my feet over two hours so I stopped in at Blenz for a London Fog.

Then I browsed around the book store, which has thousands of books stacked to crazy heights.

Back to the motel to freshen up then over to the beach, just across the road, for some knitting. The sun was warm but I needed my padded vest, and after a while the wind and cloud made it too cold to stay.

I have dug out the Carolina DK with the thought that I will knit some mitred squares to assemble into a cardigan wrap – the kind that is basically a rectangle with armholes. I have an achey right elbow these days, and it may be all the crocheting I am doing, or it could be that the yoga is aggravating a snowboarding injury. Whatever, I think knitting will be less stressful on the arm.

So, that’s my update. Here are some photos of my day…

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