Janet's thread

A weblog, mostly about knitting but other topics appear

Have I Been Away? July 17, 2011

Filed under: Air travel,Family,Family history,Music,Ogunquit Maine,Recorders — Janet @ 3:12 am

Late June, early July – that’s a popular time for going away.  And that’s in fact what I did.  We had a big trip to the East Coast to visit family in New England.  Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Maine, with arrival in and departure from Logan Airport in Boston.  Almost immediately upon our return I went off to an Early Music Workshop which lasted all week.  It was great.  I am just back from that wonderful week, my head full of music from the Baroque and Renaissance periods in history.  The workshop was very well organized, the tutors outstanding, and the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma a very suitable setting.  That small college campus reminded me of my alma mater, Middlebury College in Vermont.  And lo and behold, one of the attendees was a Middlebury classmate from way back when.  Small world.  I attended a similar event in Ireland back in 2007.  This one was even better, possibly because I have that much more experience in playing the recorder and other instruments.

On the final evening there was a very well catered banquet and many of the people dressed up in Elizabethan wear.  It was really splendid and we didn’t need any wine to make us feel very merry.  However, wine was provided and then of course the prevailing mood was even merrier.

Here are a few photos taken at random:

Little League baseball in Connecticut proved to be most exciting and dominated our schedule, depending on the team’s fortunes.

Meeting with Middlebury friends.

Then came the lobster the evening before the 4th of July Reunion.

A few left in the pavilion while the rest dispersed to play games etc.

  Sisters and cousins at the reunion

Snapshots from the Music Workshop

  One of the consort groups I played in

  contra line done to swinging music by Shera, one of the workshop leaders.

That’s it for now.  I can’t seem to get these pictures in the right order.  Will try again later.


Have You Ever Travelled to Norway? February 4, 2011

Filed under: Air travel,American Youth Hostels AYH,Cycling,Norway — Janet @ 10:22 pm

Have you ever travelled to Norway?  A question I get asked quite frequently here in Ballard in Seattle Washington USA.  My answer is yes, but it was a long time ago – and I was on an American Youth Hostel cycling tour of England and the Scandinavian Countries.  It was in 1959.  Departure from La Guardia, or was it Idlewild,  Airport, New York.  On a 4 engine propeller plane operated by Flying Tiger Airlines.  Sounds like ancient history doesn’t it.   


This is the plane in which I flew across the Atlantic from New York to London, landing for refueling in Halifax, Nova Scotia; Gander, Newfoundland, Keflavik Iceland, and Shannon. We soon flew on to London and started the cycling part of our adventure there in England.  I’ll save the England part for another time.  Today I’ll write about cycling in Norway.  By the time we reached Norway via the overnight trip on the”Vomiting Venus” from Newcastle to Bergen, our cycling legs were in good shape.  In fact the cycling in England had been very tough – usually uphill and into a headwind and trying to do 25-30 miles a day.  We were a group of 8, 4 men, 4 women plus our Danish leader Fritz.   John and Earl from Indiana, Irwin Rosenhouse an artist from New York City, Chuck Johnson from Seattle,  Scottie from the Mid-West, Ruth, Betty, and myself.  The trip on the Venus was in fact quite smooth and the trip up the fjord to Bergen was very smooth and calm.  We passed isolated houses on the sides of the fjord and that part of the trip before we finally reached Bergen seemed very long.    The month was July, the hours of daylight were long.  We stayed in the Youth Hostel high above the city and we marvelled at the light in the sky well past midnight.  We had 2 or 3 days in Bergen to enjoy the museums and the market and the eating possibilities.  One excursion was to Grieg’s home and to see a stave church.        This photo of Grieg’s home is from this site. 

 I roamed the stores, I think I was looking for handcraft materials, probably yarn.  Although this wasn’t really a phase in my life when I was doing much in the way of handicrafts, I think the latent interest was still there.

When we left Bergen, I think we must have taken a bus and our bicycles were put up on the top in some sort of carrier rack.    Once the bus reached the top of that particular segment of road out of Bergen, we got out and claimed our bicycles and cycled to a hostel on the edge of the Hardanger Fjord.  I can’t quite reconstruct the sequence here because looking at the map it would seem that we would have stayed in Voss for a night and then cycled to another hostel along the edge of the fjord.  The hostel on the edge of the fjord was nestled down on one side of the road and to do our mountain climbing the next day we just went across the road and climbed for 2 or 3 hours to some of the higher meadows.    The meals in the hostel seemed very similar – I couldn’t tell the difference between breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Then back on the bicycles to go to Eidfjord where we stayed in a tiny red school house.  I think there was a small ferry crossing at some point along the way.  Then another bus trip to gain more altitude.  We reached another high point and descended from the bus.   It was snowing!  And here we were only July.  Seemed a bit cold to bicycle but the sun eventually came out and it had only been a snow flurry after all.   The cycling seemed to be mostly gently downhill along the top of the plateau to Geilo and Gol.  Very easy cycling really.  It was in either Geilo or Gol that I bought a ski sweater in the traditional colours of navy with red and white trim.  Next came a train trip to get to Oslo where again we had a few days to enjoy the museums and the various other attractions of that city.  I just loved the Viking Ship Museum and seeing the Kon Tiki raft, and then the Folk Museum, and also the sculptures in Fragonard Park.  Then on to Stockholm, again via overnight train – a most uncomfortable journey sitting up all night with no facility for leaning back.  A very stiff neck was the result.  I’ll leave the telling of the Sweden and Denmark parts of the trip for another day.


It’s not easy to read the map but above are a few of the places – Bergen, Voss, the Hardanger Fjord,  Geilo, Gol, Oslo.  I can’t seem to find Eidfjord but I’m quite sure that was the name of the little settlement where we stayed in the red schoolhouse.

Not only am I trying to construct an answer to the question “have you ever travelled in Norway?”, I am also trying, in my mind, to relate, at least geographically,  to another recent experience – the viewing of a documentary film about life as it used to be in some of the more remote parts of Norway.  That too will be the subject of another post.


Time Capsule November 16, 2010

Filed under: Air travel,Family,Family history,Time zones,Travel — Janet @ 5:57 pm

Idle thought for today – as I write this, one of our sons is living his day 3 hours of us, another son is 13 1/2 hours ahead of us, and 3rd son is a whopping 16 hours ahead of us.  Our day has hardly begun and today is almost tomorrow for our son in India and it is already  tomorrow for our son in Hong Kong.

Now let’s go backwards, so to speak.  Here’s a photo I found recently as we continue our unpacking.     This was taken in December 1982 when we were living in Bangladesh.  The boys are in running step near our house in Gulshan.  (We lived next door to the Saudi Arabian Ambassador.)  James is the one in blue socks and  the boy with him is Marcus…..).


It All Started On An Airplane August 22, 2010

Filed under: Air travel,Book covers,Books,Detective Stories,Knitting — Janet @ 2:00 pm

Less than a year ago, late September 2009, I was flying across the Atlantic to attend my 55th reunion of the Belmont High Schoool, Class of 1954.  I was seated next to a person with a very interesting looking handknit sweater – she was not ready to tell me about her sweater – only that her sister had knit it – very abrupt conversation-stopper answer.  As the air miles went by I cast sideways glances at what this person was doing.  She had several books stacked up on her tray, including a book of Crosswords from the Guardian Newspaper, and 2 books by an author I had not heard of, Andrea Camillieri. 

After the reunion in Waltham Mass., I went down to Connecticut with one of my classmates and visited with son David and family in Glastonbury.  That gave me a chance to have a look in Barnes & Noble for the author that my uncommunicative airplane seat companion had liked so much.  Well, the graphic designs of the covers of the Camillieri books were so appealing that I felt compelled to try reading one.  Hard to choose.  My choice, according to the cover I liked best, was The Terra Cotta Dog.        

                                    Now, less than a year later, I have read almost all 11 of his books – and the 12th one is due to be released in October.  I can hardly wait.

 Andrea Camillieri, born 1925        image from this website

  another one of the Camillieri books

  coming in October 2010

List of Camilleri’s Inspector Montalbano books

Inspector Montalbano
1. The Shape of Water (2002)
2. The Terra-Cotta Dog (2002)
3. The Snack Thief (2003)
4. Voice of the Violin (2003)
5. The Excursion To Tindari (2005)
6. The Smell of the Night (2005)
     aka The Scent of the Night
7. Rounding the Mark (2006)
8. The Patience of the Spider (2007)
9. The Paper Moon (2008)
10. August Heat (2008)
11. The Wings of the Sphinx (2009)

If you have a look for any of these books, the one you find might not necessarily have the cover shown here on this blog.  The publishers keep changing these covers – rather annoying – when I find a different cover I can’t be sure that I have read the book!!


Shannon 1959 June 21, 2010

Filed under: Air travel,Ireland,Travel — Janet @ 1:01 pm

  Flying Tiger Airlines, Shannon, 1959

This is the plane in which I flew across the Atlantic from New York to London, landing for refueling in Halifax, Nova Scotia; Gander, Newfoundland, Keflavik Iceland, and Shannon.  It was late June or early July so the hours of daylight were long in this part of the world.  If I recall correctly it was about a 14 hour flight but I would hazard a guess that the plane was more comfortable than the jets that we fly in now to cross the Atlantic.  I only have a vague feeling about the touch-down in Iceland, just milling around in a rather basic building while the plane was refueled.  But I do remember the touch-down in Shannon.  We were nearing our London destination and this was our first stop on European soil.  Some members of our plane load disembarked and started on their cycle trip around Ireland.  I bought a kilt skirt in the airport shop – a skirt which I wore for many years.  I liked it so much that I bought another one when we stopped in Shannon 2 months later en route back to the U.S.  The atmosphere in the shop was just so different from the U.S.  I guess the girls were classic Irish colleens, at least to my wide-open but sleepy American eyes.  The shop was very small – little if any resemblance to the metropolis that the Shannon Airport has become.


Catching up on film viewing June 2, 2010

Filed under: Air travel,Films — Janet @ 5:06 pm

I had a bonanza of film viewing on my Air New Zealand flights to and from Hong Kong.  I wasn’t great though at figuring out how to work the remote control and consequently was not able to navigate my way around.  I had help from my seat companions by then they fell asleep.  On the return flight I did better, I again had help but when she fell asleep I worked it out myself and felt a degree of control and power.

On the 12 hour flight out I watched a few episodes of Cranford (with Judi Dench) and then selected The Last Station, a film with Helen Mirren about the last year of Tolstoy’s life.  There was a lot of historical footage and it was so interesting.  The other film, Nodame Cantabile, I chose for the music.  A Japanese film and indeed it had a lot of good music in it as it was about 2 aspiring musicians.  There were subtitles so as long as I stayed awake I could follow the action.  And in any event I could listen to the music.  A very good film and on the return flight I saw in the catalog that there was a sequel but there were other films available that took precedence.  As I said, on the way out I didn’t really understand how to operate the remote control and what I found was rather by chance.     

On the return flight I watched Mao’s Last Dancer, a film in Chinese with subtitles.  That film has excellent ballet sequences and of course accompanying music.  And then Walk the Line, about Johnny Cash.  Interesting, o.k., I was delighted with the happy ending.  And Alice in Wonderland which I enjoyed very much. 

I saw the beginning of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as we were approaching London and the plane was landing.  I wanted to see the rest of the film.


Book Titles May 22, 2010

Filed under: Air travel,Authors,Book covers,Books,History — Janet @ 11:03 am

  A rather lurid cover for Margaret Mitchell’s classic Gone With the Wind.  This edition was published by Pan in 1974.  I found it a few months ago, brand new,  and put it aside for reading on a long plane journey.  In the blurb on the back cover I note that “on the 60th anniversary of its first publication, Gone With The Wind endures as a story for all our times.”  That might well be but Gone With The Wind was first published in 1936 so that makes it age 73.   In a google search you can find various covers for the paperback editions of the book.  Also, according to one source it sold over 1.3 million copies in its 1st year, been translated into 40 languages, and in 1937 was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Literature.  It is an historical novel set against the backdrop of the American Civil War, 1861-1865.  I read it years ago in the ’50’s.  Now I am going to reread it as I wing my way over sea and land to Hong Kong to welcome an impending grandchild.  I think Gone With the Wind is an appropriate title for my journey – and also appropriate in these anxious days of air travel when that ash cloud is being blown hither and thither.


Long Distance Travel April 9, 2010

Filed under: Air travel,Books,Crochet,Cycling,Films,Reading — Janet @ 5:01 pm

  In case you are wondering what I have been doing lately, here’s the answer.  A few days ago I flew from Seattle to Chicago to Dublin.  I had been planning to return to Dublin soon but not quite so soon.  Sadly I received the news that a very close friend had passed away early Easter Sunday morning.  It meant a lot to me be with the family and friends to attend the funeral.  At such short notice I got the last seat on the flight from Seattle to Chicago and then was on the connecting Aer Lingus flight to Dublin.  In Seattle Airport I purchased this book of New York Times stress-free crosswords – easy, relaxing puzzles, edited by Will Shortz.  I am ordinarily not much of a crossword puzzle doer but this book was just the thing for my trip.  And I worked on these puzzles almost all the way home.  The time flew by, like me as I flew over all those states and Canada and the Atlantic Ocean from Seattle to Ireland.

  When I travel I usually immerse myself in a book but this time I only read a little bit.  I started Sigrid Unsets’s famous trilogy Kristin Lavranstatter, for which she won the Nobel Prize in 1928.  And very good it is.  It’s pretty serious reading so maybe that’s why I found it easier to try to do the crossword puzzles.

I love the cover of the crossword puzzle book – the bicycle is very like the one I purchased just a few days ago.  Alas, I left the bicycle behind in Seattle.

  Here I am with my new bike – a joy to ride

On the Chicago to Dublin flight we had individal screens – that’s the way to view a film on a plane.  So I did watch Nine and found it enjoyable enough.

And finally, a bit of crochet.  This is the state of one of the projects I left behind in Seattle.

  crochet blanket, work in progress

  And I found this notice in the Irish Times today – the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef Project installation at the Science Gallery on Pearse Street behind Trinity.  On view until June 11 so I have plenty of time to go and see it.