Stratford and Oxford!

Sorry bout the lack of posts. The uni decided to do the most irritating thing for easter; they had everyone completely move out of residence for the month*. So the past week has been a bit hectic. My friend Dan's family offered to take all my things for the month, and since they would be schleping Dan anyway it's not much of a hastle. Plus, Dan is ... well he's my boyfriend here, so that just works out too.

Dan lives in Evesham, about an hour south of Birmingham, and very close to Stratford-Upon-Avon. We drove there one afternoon and walked around. It's a very pretty town, lots of colour. Especially the flowers!

This clock tower is in a central sort of square in Stratford, above the river.

I believe this is the house Shakespeare was born in. We didn't actually go inside, though it is a museum now. There were lots of school groups wandering around being generally annoying, so we decided that avoiding them would be more fun.

What we really wanted to do was walk down the river, but it was closed off for some sort of construction, with fences all around one bit of it. We did see a swan chase a Canadian Goose though, which was really amusing.

There were lots of houseboats along the river, most of them selling food. I think one was a proper restaurant.

In between Evesham and Stratford, there is a gypsy camp on the side of the road. Dan went around the roundabout twice so that I could get a picture of the pikey pony. Gypsy's are a bit of a sore spot around here, since they kind of get in the way a lot.

On Thursday Dan drove me to Oxford so that I could spend Easter with the Bennett's. We left a little earlier so that we could wander about a bit, as Dan had never been before. We decided to go to the Ashmolean, the museum I talked about the last time I went to Oxford. There wasn't much on display since it is under construction, but there was a large Egyptian exhibit, as well as some random collections of things.

We saw a really cool ring display, this one was our favorite, partly just because it was a bit unexpected.

This neclace was also pretty cool, with all the little acorns.

The temperature has taken a bit of a dip for the worse, and it has been snowing on and off for the past two days. It's also really windy, which is never fun. Hopefully today will be a bit better, for Easter.

* Yes a month! We get a full month off for Easter break, which is kind of awesome.


In which I am clearly not paying attention

I just started a new pair of socks, Pembrokeshire Pathways by Brenda Dayne this morning. I'm using this lovely pumpkin coloured Nature's Palette that I got around Christmas time. Delicious stuff.

However, as you can see from this picture, I seem to have gotten completely distracted a few minutes ago. The top thread is my working yarn, but the bottom one is where I skipped a needle without knitting it and went straight on to the next needle, thus resulting in a completely useless bit of yarn. Not to mention some tinking back.

Anywho, there seems to be some tinking in my future as I also have to rip out some of a pair of fingerless gloves. Neither seem to be to the patter, nor are they the same as eachother. How I managed this, I don't know.

Blogging over the next month will be spotty at best since I am on my month long Easter break, and will be doing some travelling. I will be starting in earnest next week, and will see how I do in terms of updates. One exciting thing is that there will be train travel, which therefore means lots of knitting time. Yay!


New Knitty!

How about some knitting eh?

I've been all about the small projects lately, mostly mitts. These are simple fingerless mitts I made up using the STR in Algae from the failed Conwy socks. They are short in the wrist, but long in the fingers, which is just how I like them!

I also knit a pair of legwarmers from Jaeger Matchmaker DK. It took three tries to get the number of stitches right. It's not much of a pattern, just a tube with some stripes and ribbing.

I've also finished another pair of fingerless mitts, but they are a super secret belated birthday gift for a friend who may or may not be reading, so the report will have to wait until she gets them. In the mean time, I'm almost done my Berry High Knee Highs.

With projects almost off the needles, it's hard not to think about what to knit next. Knitty to the rescue! As you probably know, the Spring 08 issue went live on Tuesday, and my thoughts have been filled with what to make next. Which is bad, because I should be writing an essay! That said, I will be making the lace ribbon scarf, and salto and an american in china have been added to the queue. However, what I want to make most is laminaria. I'm going to be travelling quite a bit in the next month, so I will keep an eye out for something that would work for it. Someone on Ravelry suggested Malabrigo lace, which would be amazing, but I don't know how available it is on this side of the ocean.

Now back to the essay!


Mumbles Castle

Last week Tuesday I biked out to Mumbles again. Part of it was for errands, but I also wanted to get a closer look at the castle. Unfortunately it has mostly fallen into disrepair, so it is not possible to see the inside. However, I did wander around most of the perimeter and took lots of pictures. It was a very magical spot, with blue skies and green everywhere.


Oxford, Coventry and Birmingham

Another belated post, sorry Mum!

Last weekend, well actually by now it's the weekend before last, I went to Oxford to visit my friends the Bennetts again. I stayed with them when I first arrived as well. I took the train from Swansea to Didcot, where Deborah picked me up just in time for dinner! Edmund is very enthusiastic and involved in the local theatre groups, so we went to a play he was in in the evening. I would wax poetic about how great it was, except it really wasn't at all. Edmund was very good in his parts, but it was a very technically difficult musical and the skill level they were attempting was over almost everyone's heads. Plus the play was just badly written in the first place.

The next day, Friday, I went into Oxford to wander about. I went to Oxford a few times the first time I was here, but then only went at night for music gigs the second time, so I was really looking forward to seeing the city again. I'm really starting to get a feel for where things are, which is really nice.

The main shopping part of town is mostly pedestrian, which is really nice. The roads are fairly wide, and there are plenty of shops. The building on the corner is apparently the oldest pub in Oxford, or at least it was. It is now a mobile shop!

Oxford is obviously full of old historic buildings, most of them part of the university. This is the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archeology, which houses what I understand to be a very extensive collection. It was built in 1683 and has undergone many transformations over time. This building is only part of the museum.

This church is located on a triangle of land, surrounded on everyside by busy roads. I think it is St. Mary Magdalen Church, on St. Giles.

While wandering about I found and followed signs for Oxford Castle.

When you walk in from this entrance, there is a time line inlaid in the stone courtyard recounting the history of the site. It began construction in 1071, and was used as a functional jail until 1996, at which point I suspect they realized they could make more money off tourists.

They don't seem to have taken the grills off the windows from it's former jail days, but it is still a lovely old medieval castle. The bit on the right is actually the tourist shop, which is very modern looking with floor to ceiling glass windows. From what I saw, the additions onto the building were done very tastefully, using lots of glass, which let the castle itself remain as the focus.

Like many castles, this one has a big pointless hill to go along with it. Well, I'm sure it served a purpose at the time, probably spotting the enemy or something, but now it's a big hill. I think you can usually climb it, but there was a sign saying it was temporarily closed due to a landslip caused by heavy rains. It will take them a while to put it back together.

Afterwards I had tea with Meg and Robin, before heading back to eat dinner with Deborah and Edmund. Edmund had another performance to do, so I headed over to Claire and Joe's to hangout. We talked about me doing some learn to knit workshops in May for the festival they are running. It's a eco-friendly weekend of music and workshops for the whole family. I'm very excited. I ended up sleeping over there, since I didn't want to bike back in the dark. I was woken up very early by the postman!

The next day Claire and Joe and I drove to Birmingham for Joe's sister's engagement party. Katy is the one girl of the four Bennett kids. Their younger brother Chris was there as well, and it was excellent to see everyone again, as well as meet Katy's fiance Lorna.

On the way we stopped in Ikea in Coventry which was great fun. Claire is from New York and we both got a little nostalgic for home while we were running around. Since Ikea is exactly the same everywhere in the world, we both forgot where we were. I heard someone talking and I though "hee, that person is British!" before mentally kicking myself for being silly. Of course they're british! Coventry is a most unfortunate town though, and I hope to never go there ever again. It has the stupidest ringroad in the world, which involves a terrifying game of chicken every time you want to get on or off.

The next day I was lucky enough to get a ride back to Swansea with the boyfriend of a friend of Katy's. Steve is Welsh and lives in Cardiff, so it just worked out. We did get stuck in a traffic jam though, which wasn't fun, but we made the most out of it and just played lots of music.

All in all, it was an fun, but pretty relaxing weekend away with lots of friends around.