January 5, 2007
We’ll start with the tragedy of our fambly trip to London.
The guy at Heathrow took my needles. I should have expected it, given the generally freaked-out state of transatlantic air travel these days. But after flying with needles for five years without a problem, I was crabby. “Listen, mister, I hope you realize that by taking this pair of size 6 needles you are WRECKING MY TIDY LITTLE SET OF KNITPICKS OPTIONS NEEDLES.”
OK, so I didn’t really say anything except “WOULD A TERRORIST BE USING BLUE SKY ALPACA SILK FOR A PAIR OF SOCKS? AREN’T TERRORISTS MORE PRACTICAL THAN THAT?”
OK, so I mostly muttered “These things aren’t CHEAP, ya know” as I yanked them out of my knitting.
Mr. Security also took two pairs of size 2 Addi Turbos, which had been involved in a sock I had started and re-started three times at Liberty on Thursday night. The sock? Not such a loss. The needles? That was a sad little parting. Those were the historic needles. I learned how to make socks with those needles. With a few more decades of use, they could have ended up in the Victoria and Albert Museum in their “Used Knitting Implements of the Early 21st Century” collection.
I Saw with Mine Own Eyes the Wallpaper of Liberty
Speaking of which, did you notice my use of the phrase “at Liberty on Thursday night”? I finally got to visit Liberty of London. I got to knit with Polly and Yvonne and Brigid and Belinda and Sue and Jacinta and Shea and Johanne and Jill, for heaven’s sake–Jill whose immortal words “I never regret my luxuries, only my economies” I will someday needlepoint onto a pillow. It was a lovely interlude, such fun. I forgot to take enough photos, of course.
Yvonne and Brigid. Note please Brigid’s corrugated ribbing on the cuff of that crazycomplicated glove. Brigid is on a Latvian mitten binge, apparently.
Jacinta and Jill. It cracks me up that Jacinta and I have met before, in Alexandria, Virginia, during the book tour last April. The knitting world is, like, tiny. You can knit with a southern accent or a British accent and it’s still knitting. It’s the Esperanto of crafts, you know?
I still can’t get that store out of my head. Such a perfect curiosity shoppe, with floor after floor of divine clothes, furniture, pillows, yarn, fabric–with creaky stairs and dim lighting and treasures in every corner. We left only when they were turning out the lights, and I did think for a minute that a person could hide behind that sofa and spend the night there.
Remember when travel meant you ended up with a couple of rolls of film, which you ceremoniously took to the Barbara Mandrell One Hour Photo to be developed? Digital photography means that I have drifts, pallets, buckets of photos. One travel tip: do not give your camera to your seven-year-old son and say “Here! You take some photos!” Clif added fifty photos which included at least four pictures of his hindquarters, three of him pretending to pick his nose, and many self-portraits.
I’ve finally digested the photos enough to show you a few of the things indelibly stamped on my memory. Today the focus is on People:
Here are Belinda and Neil having lunch with us at the Serpentine in Hyde Park. If there were a kiosk selling medals of valor, I’d have given them each a decoration for surviving a morning with the Shayne family. They showed unflappable poise in the face of a seriously underfed boy. I loved spending time with these Londoners who turned me into a monarchist, just like that.
The only weird thing about Belinda and Neil was how normal they looked. I don’t mean to be critical or anything, but people in London dress very oddly:
As close to Monty Python as we have ever come.
Man who has his picture taken 400 times a day.
So friendly, this guy. The boys were totally knocked out by Blue Man Group.
I want this guy’s job: senior medieval sausage roaster.
PS Middle Tennesseans: Knitting at the Downtown Nashville Public Library this Monday, Jan. 8, noon to 2 pm. It’s Elvis’ birthday, so you know what that means: Elvis poetry readings.