Uta has sent me an interesting link about immigration boundaries in Europe. Whilst this enlightens my ignorance, it does not explain why, on entering France, the official glanced at my passport and waved me through, and in contrast, on entering the UK (which happened crossing a line from the French to the UK part of Gare Nord) there were 15 minutes of questions - (What had I been doing in Europe? What countries had I visited? Where was I staying in the UK? Had I been to Africa? Had I visited a doctor in Europe? Did I have any diseases?) Possibly the French official could see at a glance that I don't speak French and took pity on me. Maybe I looked more like an undesirable visitor after a long morning walking around Paris than I had after 33 odd hours on aeroplanes and in transit lounges? Or maybe the UK official knew that the train was about to leave and was tormenting the passengers a bit. There were a lot of people behind us in the line. I wonder if they caught the train? I guess this is the luck of travel, but next time I will make sure to allow an extra hour for immigration into the UK!
However, I was safely in London by this time, and after our touristy day,
went back to Elizabeth's place to meet RuthieK, whom I also "knew" from Stitcher's Guild. Ruthie had been travelling for most of the day, but after I begged and pleaded (well, actually, after I asked nicely), she kindly agreed to come to Knit Nation with me, although she is not a knitter. After discovering that Elizabeth seemed very familiar, it was not as surprising to me that so did Ruthie, which is why I asked her for this favour within 5 minutes of meeting her for the first time! (That is my excuse, and I am sticking to it)
I was very pleased to find that our dates in London co-incided with this 3 day knitting expo). Originally, I had bought tickets for my husband to attend (amazingly, this was his idea) but as he had been directed to a fabulous bookshop by Elizabeth's husband, he was very keen for someone else to keep me company so that he could start the first of his new books (and nurse his cold a little).
I was really looking forward to seeing some of the independent dyers and yarn producers, and was not disappointed. There were a few hiccups. I had looked up the trip on the London transport site, and we took the underground, but I had seriously underestimated the time it takes to get around the underground circle. Elizabeth told me later that I should have caught another line across the circle. She is more time efficient than the London transport site. Ruthie did not seem to mind the trip though, we were talking so much that we nearly missed our stop.
There was a bit of a walk to the exhibition, but we spotted the V & A Museum, which we planned to visit later, so that helped us get our bearings, as did the many women wearing gorgeous hand knits and carrying very full shopping bags who kept passing us in the opposite direction. One of these ladies came up to us and told us a short cut. She had spotted my hand knits too!
Unfortunately my camera battery died after I took the first (bad) photo at the exhibition, so you will have to make do with photos of my loot.
This is all hand dyed British yarn, except for the cashmere. (I was feeling self indulgent)
Ruthie was great company at the exhibition. She has a terrific dry sense of humour, and kept telling the stall holders that she was not a knitter. This, of course, elicited plenty of demonstrations of enthusiasm for knitting. I have a sneaking suspicion that Ruthie was gently teasing the stall holders (and maybe me).She stuck to her guns, and managed to get away without a learn- to- knit pack, which required some fast talking and ducking! (She did buy some yarn for a friend).
I learnt a new beading technique, and was impressed by Ruthie's ability to pretend she was not bored out of her brain whilst listening to the demonstrator. I bet she is very sharp and clever in dull work meetings where everyone else is going to sleep.
Eventually we arrived back near our accomodation, and met my husband and Elizabeth at a Turkish restaurant - delicious, and the company was excellent. Ruthie and Elizabeth were very kind to my husband and did not talk about clothes or sewing (very much). This restraint did not seem to slow down the conversation at all. It is lucky that people eat late in London. We needed a good dinner, as the next day was very busy. I will reveal Elizabeth's master plan for us later......