Tag Archives: train

cross stitch progress

Last week I had the opportunity to indulge in more cross stitch on my train trips to and from Johannesburg, with a night at a hotel in between. Starting out:

cross stitch 1

Arriving home:

cross stitch 2

Thanks to the inability of Shosholoza Meyl to keep to any kind of $#@*& timetable, I had more than nine unbudgeted-for hours in which to stitch. And read and nap, of course. Unpropitiously, the kitchen ran out of water a few hours into the return journey so there was no coffee to be had. Now that was a real test of endurance.

Not sure when I’ll have a chance to carry on with this piece but one thing is for sure – it certainly won’t be on a bloody train!

 

 

Changing pace

Kate’s posts about cross-stitch have long tempted me to take up the last cross-stitch project I started and pick up where I left off. Of course, I had to find it first. And in the Bermuda Triangle that is my house, this was no easy task. But find it I did, eventually, and just in time to take on our train trip to Johannesburg last week. Two days en route, two days there, then two days en route home, viewing parts of this amazing country that we don’t often get to see, giraffes and buck and wildebeest, our berths made up for us with fresh cotton sheets and blankets, no televisions or radios, no domestic concerns – what utter bliss. I say “our” because I ventured forth not alone, but with Karen, my friend of over 42 years. She had been appointed Food and Bedwear Manager, and I’m happy to report that she took her responsibilities very seriously.

twins pyjamas

Twins

Matching pyjamas and silver slippers (although her feet were cold so she insisted on socks as well)! Ciabatta, crackers, butter, ham, English mustard, salami, gherkins, olives, crisps, nuts, Camembert, cheddar, blue and brie, and of course chocolate. Reading, embroidery, a coupe to ourselves, and the rhythm and pulse of a train – that is my definition of bliss.

Karen 2

Karen on top

Oh right, the cross-stitch…sorry, I got carried away. I started this about 11 years ago. Last week I was here:

cross stitch 3

and now I am here:

cross stitch 2

Not sure when I’ll have a chance to pick it up again in 2017, but at least it got dusted off :)

PS. The “best” part of the train journey? Being told, on booking, that as women older than 55, we were entitled to the Senior Citizens’ discount. This is not a category I had thought of myself as belonging to quite yet, but the shock wore off when they reduced the fare by 25%…

52 hours of train

So, Karen and I did the train thing to Johannesburg and back a couple of weeks ago. It’s 26 hours one way (from Cape Town, remember!) People said, “Are you insane? Why don’t you just hop on a plane?”, but we knew better.  We knew better because we’d made the same trip about 15 years ago, when we had small children and husbands and unpleasant jobs. That trip gave us uninterrupted peace and quiet, and ever since our code phrase for “my children are driving me mad” or “I never want to lay eyes on my husband again” or “what a foul day at work” or “the next person who asks me what’s for supper will get punched in the face”, has been “I wish I was on that _______ train….”

MISCELLANEOUS 2110

So we did it again.

It was fabulous. Even better than the first time.

Karen packed a massive hamper full of good food and coffee, enough to feed the entire train. We had books, music, phones, ipads, and crochet, but mainly we relaxed. Karen spent most of her time relaxing, actually, relaxing and looking out the window and resting and sleeping and dozing and reading and napping. And a small amount of crochet.

After my first big rest, I was happy to get some serious work done. We can’t all have a salaried job, after all!

I made nine hats. I cheated a bit because I didn’t use any patterns, so they went pretty quickly. The one with the five horns is my favourite.

train hat 6 train hat 2 train hat 3 train hat 4 train hat 5

I need to do a proper stock-take tomorrow, my market bags have got all mixed up and I don’t know how many hats are in each one. It could go one of two ways — bad, or very bad.

Operation Revamp: Day #5

The worst is over: painting and cleaning accomplished, yucky old carpets and other stuff chucked out, decent but unwanted stuff sold on facebook or charitied, pile of stuff from patio back inside (thank you, strong Rob). Still more sorting of yarn and fabric necessary, but that will come later – because tomorrow I am going away for a week. Yes, bad timing, I know (story of my life). I didn’t fully comprehend the extent of the upheaval that Operation Revamp would entail, and I could do with another 1 or 2 days to complete the process. Also, I’ve lost more than 5 production days because of it. BUT I believe in the long run it will have been worth the expense and the effort – I definitely feel more positive about my living and working space, I have a better idea of the stock and materials I have banked up, and all mouse fossils and dust dragons from under the bed have been dealt with.

Here is a corner of my bedroom, the only 1-metre sq spot in the flat worth photographing right now.

pink chair
May not look like much to anyone else, but I’ve made me proud !

I’m going to Johannesburg tomorrow for a week to visit my mom. Karen and I are travelling together by train (her dad lives there, too) and we’re looking forward to a 26-hour journey across our wonderful country, with lots of crochet, music, pedicure tools and books to pass the time.

Back soon x