Swansea I See

Before I get into trip details, lets discuss the cutest baby sweater in existence! I knit Rocketry over the holidays for Brynmor, Robin and Meg's baby. It's been gifted and it's perfect. Meg said that he had just grown out of his newborn to 3mo jumpers (sweaters) and she hadn't been able to get any new ones quite yet. I had a lovely time having tea at their house in Oxford, and dinner again in Drayton. And Bryn is a little charmer, especially in stripes!

On Sunday Edmund drove myself and Granny (Deborah's mum) to pick up some things from Deborah's oldest friend's house. Holy Crap. It is a huge house. It is a proper manor house, that has been handed down on Ginny's husband's side. Ginny runs it as a tea house, and you can go and walk on the extensive grounds on certain days, provided the weather behaves.

Luckily for us, the weather was lovely, so I ran around a bit taking pictures while Granny had a rest on a bench. The walk around the house was just enough for her.

*Sigh, swoon!* These places really exist!

However, I'm sure that the dashing young men I imagine don't. Cravats and britches aren't exactly in style these days.

We went to see the snowdrops, but I also found some crocuses. It seems like everything is in bloom. I'm assured by the locals that this isn't necessarily usual weather, though no one seems to be complaining too much.

This morning Edmund drove me to the train station at Didcot, and after getting a rail card (for optimal savings!) I took the train to Swansea. There was a transfer at Swindon, which is what this picture is from.

I knew I was in Wales when there were a few too many consonants! Everything is written in both Welsh and in English, just like French is in Canada, only more.

I also took some pictures of myself! Hey, I was bored! Don't go hatin'! (as my brother would say)

I am completely unpacked in my room in the Cefn Bryn residence building. Cefn pronounced Caven. I've gotten my ID card, and I am going tomorrow at 10am to the English Department to figure out my classes, which are called modules. There are apparently two boys from New York on my floor, so I'm going to see if anyone wants a bit of supper. If I don't get any proper food, I'll end up eating the entire pack of McVitie's Chocolate Chip and Hazelnut cookies that I bought. best. cookies. ever. seriously.


First Day!

Only in Britain can you have a regular old house that has no number. This is the Bennett's temporary home while their old one is getting fixed from the floods last summer. The UPS man came by for the neighbours and had me sign for it instead. When he looked for the house number he just said oh, Four Seasons then?

I took this from the end of the common park that their house is beside. I had walked out hoping to get pictures of horses in the field on the other side of that, but they had gone elsewhere by the time I got there.I decided in the end not to go into Oxford for the day, since my stay would be pretty short and I'll definitely go in tomorrow to see people. However, I did still have to go out somewhere to day, so I decided to just go into Steventon early. Steventon is the small town where the Bennetts usually live, and still work in. Their temporary house is in Drayton, which is only a little bit bigger.

The very different thing about small towns here is that they are not only near farms, they often have farms in them. I think there are two farms on the walk from their house to the bus stop, though they might have been the same one. There will be a row of houses, with field's behind them, then a house facing a barn with a very large driveway full of tractors and pick-up trucks. I saw ducks in a pond.And just beyond it, there was a barn, and a bunch of cows.

I don't know why, but I have a bit of a fascination with how different countries do post boxes. This isn't the same as the ones in London, but I saw them all over in the small towns today. Edmund told me last night that a lorry (delivery sort of truck) accidentally backed into this box a few weeks ago.I walked down the main road in Drayton for a bit, wasting time before the bus was to arrive. I didn't quite go down to the main section, since I was worried about missing it, which I needn't have, since it was over 10 minutes late. The bus ride to Steventon is only about 10 minutes anyway, so I was there quite quickly.

Steventon is a quite old town, with many things dating back 500+ years still in use. This is the Causeway, an elevated cobblestone path that ran through the town, used especially when there was flooding. It's a rather lovely walk from the bus stop to the farm where everyone works, probably 2/3 on the path. They don't actually work on the farm, the farmer decided to fix up and rent out a great number of his barns to businesses in order to make the farming itself lucrative. It's rather genius, since it's a lovely place to work, especially if you live in the village.

I found these snowdrops by the side of the Causeway while I was walking. Snowdrops! In January! I also saw daffodils today.

The one thing about Steventon is that the western half of the town is separated by a high speed railway. The trains are constantly going past, sometimes the gates are only up for 10 minutes at a time.

It really means that if you have to cross them on any sort of regular basis, or if you have to catch a bus or anything really, your life ends up being ruled by the train schedule. I had to wait for two trains to go by, a commuter train and a freight train to go by before the gates would go up and let me go by.

This is the house the Bennett's usually live in. The inside is almost entirely gutted due to the foot of flood water that they got. The white half of the house is over 500 years old, and the brick part was built by them. What's that I see in the corner?

Why, it's a post box! The mail truck will back into the driveway to pick up the mail, which really confused me the first time it happened while I was there a few years ago. It is literally in the wall, and can apparently be seen from the other side, now that the plaster and such is down from the walls.

This is another really old house down the lane. People do actually live in these houses!

This is St. Michael's and All Angel's Church (or something like that). I think that someone told me that it dates back to Norman times, which makes it something like 900+ years old. Still used and everything. Can you fathom anything that old still being used for it's original purpose in North America? Impossible!

I ended up just hanging about on the farm at Edmund's book shop for a bit, though I forgot to take any pictures of the buildings on the farm. At one point a bunch of people came over and we went up to the top of the hill and pointed at things for a bit. I did take this really lovely picture of the sunset around 4:30 from the top of the hill.

Later Edmund and I drove into Oxford to see a much abridged all girl's high school version of Hamlet with Deborah. Edmund and I got my first fish 'n' chips on the way home. I did take a picture of the place, but it's still on my camera, and I'm too lazy to plug it in again. I'll add it tomorrow.

I did knit a bit on my Conwy, but I think I'm going to rip it all out tomorrow. I'm just not digging the way the colours are going. That's what I get for picking a pattern without consulting the yarn.



Some of you may know this, others may not, but I have just arrived in Britain to do an exchange with Swansea University, in Wales. I'll be here for 7 months doing school and traveling, so this blog is going to get a whole lot more interesting! I'll be posting knitting, traveling and adventures here, and traveling and less shocking adventures at Girl Meets Wales, which is the parent and church friend safe blog. We'll see how I got with updating two blogs!

I arrived at Heathrow very early this morning. My flight was supposed to get in around 9:15am, but actually arrived around 8:30am. Luckily, aside from some shaky business, that was the worst that happened. I was picked up by my friend Edmund, and he drove me back to his house in Drayton, where I am currently staying. The trip from the airport to their house was particularly long due to roadworks (construction) and hedge clipping (actual hedge clipping) which was reducing the two lane roads down to one.

I had lunch with Claire, Edmund's daughter-in-law at her house in Steventon, and saw the farm again, this time as an actual farm. Tomorrow I will go into Oxford, and see an abridged version of Hamlet put on by the all girl's school that Deborah works at.

Now for the important stuff, knitting! I cast on for Ene's Scarf, using Misti Alpaca. I have done a grand total of .... 3 rows! Yay! I some how messed up a few stitch counts here and there, and so had to fudge the numbers on the second pattern row to get it back to normal. It wasn't anything too major, and I just wasn't prepared to rip everything out and cast on those 375 sts again.
I also started a Conwy Sock from Knitting on the Road, in celebration of the fact that I'm going to Wales. The yarn is Socks that Rock in Algae and I am loving these colours. However, as you may notice from this picture, it was too big and needed restarting. I cast on 66 sts instead of 72, which just eliminates one pattern repeat. You have to decrease for the calf anyway, and I don't really like my socks that long, so this way is really better. I'm now back to the same point, but that was a bit of a bummer. I'm hoping the colours pool a bit better in this version. You can kind of see in this picture how they all just stacked up and were creating vertical stripes.


Cold Day

Happy New Years everyone! I like that it super snowed on New Years Day, making everything fresh and white, covering up all the gross snow we had before. However, today is absolutely freezing, so I am going to stay inside all day, and knit on my sweater. I think I'm going to do 15 inches on the body, only 3 left!

I did end up knitting most of my Christmas presents. Jesse's were started while I waited for the Christmas pageant to start on Christmas Eve. I managed to get the first one to where I needed to separate for the fingers. In the end it was a good thing since I was able to consult him on how long he wanted each of the fingers.

They went right into use as soon as they were finished. He always complains about how cold his hands get when he plays his hours and hours of World of Warcraft. I had been lending him my Endpaper Mitts, but I was excited to let him have his own.

He is very serious about the computer gaming!