When last we left Amy, she was in Wales…

…and heartbroken to leave. So much so that within days of returning home from the big trip, she (me, actually) and Brenda had decided we needed to make our Retreat an annual thing. Date is set already: October 5-8, 2012, in Pembrokeshire, Wales. To stay in the loop and hear exactly what we’re planning once we’ve finalized it all, sign up for the list here.

Anyway, I digress. We left off in Wales, with me making friends with Bulmer’s pear cider. Which I hear I might be able to find in the liquor stores in Ontario. I will start looking.

I took a very short flight, with a painfully expensive overage charge on my luggage (£98…not kidding) because I didn’t realize allowances were different for inter-UK flights. Oh well. And when I arrived in Glasgow, only just slightly tipsy from my Bulmer’s, I was greeted by the nicest people in Glasgow, the staff of The Yarn Cake, led by fearless leader Antje. They took me to my hotel, and as the knee was particularly horrible right then, carried my luggage up 2 super-tall flights of stairs to my room. Service above and beyond? You bet. And they were like this all weekend, taking the best possible care of me a teacher could ever hope for. I am spoiled for life, Antje.

Here’s what I found waiting for me in my room:

thistles and roses, project bag and scotch, chocolate sweeties and a fab mug

They also brought me my first Scottish meal: pie and chips. The best chips I’ve ever had. Was reminded tonight that it might be the lard they were cooked in. If that is true then mmmmm, lard.

The next three days were a blur unlike any I’ve experienced in my travels. I had a lovely lightweight tour of the city by car, since I couldn’t walk more than a few steps at a time, and got to peek at the unbelievable House for an Art Lover, a house recently built based on plans drawn up by Charles Rennie Mackintosh [whose work I adore]. Here are some snaps:

This is a piano. A ridiculous piano.
I adore the rose motif
what a beautiful bit of ironwork
Paisley obelisks that look like something quite different. Ahem.

The house was fantastic, in the old sense of the world, and a little more twee than I expected. A fascinating afternoon’s visit! Was quite bothered by a motif in the light fixtures that the people who built the house insisted on changing from Rennie Mackintosh’s original design. Dudes, you’re not him; don’t redesign him. But look at this room!

the little motif in the light fixtures? not authentic. why?

End of rant.

Anyway, after this fun bit of whimsy, Antje took me, Carol Feller [!] and her fabulous staff out to The Ubiquitous Chip for an extraordinary dinner. One of my favorite memories of this trip is of four of us cuddled into fur-covered chairs near the outdoor heater, under the roof overhang so we stayed dry, looking at this view, each with a pint of something yummy at hand.

Ashton Lane, beautiful in the rain

And then inside for my first haggis [this one with venison!], and of course, the essential sidekicks: neeps and tatties.

I finished 2 of the three things on this plate. Guess which?

And my first sticky toffee pudding, but not my last. It was unbelievable. Oh, sigh. Here is a nice picture of Carol, who is not pudding, but very sweet anyway. [Oh, stop groaning. It’s 1:20am as I write this. I’m punchy.]

The lovely Carol Feller in her own Killybegs sweater

After that, we got down to the business at hand, which was the Glasgow School of Yarn, an endeavour dreamed up by Antje and brought to fruition insanely professionally, especially for an event of this size and it was their first ever. Really impressed, and I heard the same from the students and vendors as well. It looked something like this:

GSoY held in a church designed by Rennie Mackintosh, of course!
That little black thing in front of my iPad? That's my new pico projector. SO COOL.

I got to use my brand-new pico projector (a Cinemin Swivel) to deliver my presentations on this trip. I’ve wanted something like this forEVER and now that it exists and is affordable, I jumped. It needs a very dark room and the text needs to be larger than it would on a big, expensive projector, but it works absolutely brilliantly. Everyone was stunned by the coolness of this thing.

As a bonus, it also lets you project movies, so I got to watch Lost in Austen in my room later that week. Love this thing.

My students, busily swatching for their own shawl designs

It was a great three days, though it went by so fast, and I really hope I get to go back next year. There are rumours of a return of the GSoY, and I hope they’re true! I also left my new BFF Sharon there, and I owe her a pint. Or three.

I promised you Dublin as well in this post, but as it’s Knitty deadline time, I think I’ll have to save that for next week. Besides, it’s fun to stretch this out a bit.

See you next week!

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9 thoughts on “When last we left Amy, she was in Wales…

  1. Mel

    There is a beautiful Mackintosh bed set at work that I deeply covet. I would like my next tattoo to be inspired by one of his designs.

  2. Brandi

    Wow! What a great time! The knee thing kinda made it suck but you could always return to check out those things you missed. I hope you get the chance to do that. You obviously made some great friends you need to visit anyway.

  3. Sandi

    Delia Smith’s Christmas Cookbook has a great Sticky Toffee Pudding recipe. I am envious on multiple levels, but grateful for pictures and travel-yarn-logue!

  4. Kate

    I’m currently planning a trip to Scotland in 7 months time, and am definitely checking out some of your mentioned stops! Looks like such a fun trip!

  5. Lauren

    We really enjoyed the Ubiquitous Chip! My fearless partner went for the Haggis, Neeps, and Tatties, and he ate all of it (save for the small portion I tasted). Wish we’d had more time to spend in Glasgow…

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