No big plans for the day - OK - it was time to find the quilt/fabric shops. What would we do without the internet? I had done a bit of research at home and more when I arrived. There appears to be ONE quilt shop in all of London - note to those in Toronto who lament there is only one in that city!!!!! There are few shops in the entire country of England (yet Europenas seem to be very prolific). We are very fortunate (or not!!!) in Canada - depends on how you look at it.
Once we had our directions from Google Maps and topped up our Oyster cards - we were off. It did not take too long via the underground to get to Tikki Patchworks which is near Kew Gardens in Richmond. As we walked down the street, a local stopped us and said we were going the wrong way. Nope - we are NOT going to the gardens, but thanks anyway!!!!
We quickly found the store and found prices to be pretty reasonable. However - there was no reason to purchase loads of fabric - I have loads already. Nope - so M picked up a few things - OH OH - I may be sharing space when I get home - we are feeling HIGHLY motivated and creative. I've been making lists of things to experiment with. Got a few neat patterns that I had checked out recently on-line so don't have to order them.
We stopped at a weird little organic place for lunch. Checked out the real estate prices which would make your socks drop - well over 1 MILLION pounds for a little house. Yep - prices are crazy!!!!
Back on the underground, past our "home" stop of Earl's Court and off the underground to catch a bus to the next store. I mean - we are good at getting around. Everything is very well marked and we had directions. The traffic was a bit crazy on the bus and it took a bit of time to get to the next shop which was across the Thames. This was called Fabrics Galore. Technically not a quilt shop, but they had a lot of quilting fabrics and many other types. All were reasonably priced at 12 pounds or less. I did get a couple of bicycle fabrics that I do not already have (oh my!) and then M picked up four different fabrics - I know - she has caught the bug????? We only got .5 meters of each - so not a huge deal.
Oh yes - did I mention that I found the most beautiful Liberty fabric. I am NOT into florals and this was a stripe - my current festish. It was at Fabrics Galore - just arrived and part of their new abstract line. Yes - Liberty is now doing NON-florals. The colors are devine and the feel of the fabric - well there is NOTHING softer than a Liberty. They are gorgeous.
A quick trip back on the bus and we took the underground back to the hotel. I think we hit the maximum (Oyster cards) for the day on our little jaunts. It is very hot here - actually we have lucked out with the weather. Other than a smidgen of rain the day we rode the bikes, the weather has been very decent. It is supposed to be even hotter today.
It was mid afternoon by this time, but a night of not sleeping well and a light lunch - we were hungry and tired. A quick stop at the grocery store - where I picked up a pack of pain killers (less than TWO pounds for 16 - seriously?????) and some food and we were back in the hotel for a couple of hours. Slept, goofed off on the internet and read - a GREAT book by Dan Brown - Inferno. Was supposed to be for the flight home????? May have to pick up another book.
Then we were off on another adventure. This time totally by bus. We have been in touch with a girl I used to work with at Hobby Horse (quilt store back home) - Chelsey. She has lived in London for TEN years now. Incredible how quickly time flies. Anyway - she happens to live not that far from where we are staying. We arranged to meet and had dinner down by the Thames. It was so neat to chat with her and M got all kinds of advice from her from the fashion world. It was super. Chelsey - thanks for taking time out of your crazy schedule to meet with us. The traffic was a bear on the bus and it took much longer to get there than we planned, but barely any time at all to get back.
It was late (for us) when we got back to the hotel. Pre-flight check-in (me who has NO flight itinery with me so no booking reference number and could NOT remember my Aeroplan number - ah - but a quick text to DH got me the info and we are set for later today. I tell you - M and I are NOT planners of our vacations and this is our second trip to Europe and both have been rousing successes. We just wing it - I know - pretty wild.
Here's a story so you can see the difference - when we arrived, we had three nights booked at a local hostel (that I randomly booked the day before we left). Read the reviews, looked at the prices and booked it. The only other thing booked was a ticket home. The rest was wide open. We had done a bit of research - M mostly. On our trip to Stonehenge, when we got seperated at dinner - I chatted with this couple from the US. Now they were my age or slightly older. We booked that bus trip TWO days before going on it - this woman had EVERY moment of their trip planned. She booked the same trip - MONTHS before. She purchased Oyster cards MONTHS before and had them sent to them in the US. Holy cow - I would go nuts doing all that. We just went to the machines (Oyster) - very easily figured out how to buy and top up - it is easy and FAST.
I have to say that by being observant - we have learned TONS. Like the underground. There are NUMEROUS trains coming on the same platforms. And the end of the route is on the front of the car. So if you are on the platform - you know that you are supposed to get on this train or maybe wait for the next one. But we had seen people come bounding down the stairs and immediately get on a train. How did they know that it was the right one???? Well in some cases - different trains do parallel each other for a couple of stops, but yesterday we noticed a sign in the station that had a list of all the end stations that a train could go to from that platform. Then an arrow appears beside the train that was in the station. AHA - that is how they know what train to get on.
We have had so much fun - it really has been an awesome trip. We have had numerous philosophical discussions about life, spirituality, being creative and so much more. There are times when I could kill my kid, but all in all - she is a keeper. We do make a good travelling team - between us - we figure it out. Honestly - there are times when I know what to do and others when she picks up the lead. So between us - we are never lost and never NOT know what to do!!!! Pretty uncanny. No bickering (although she could be a bit tidier in the room).
While we still have a few hours to go, here is something to think about on vacations -
How does one know when it's been a successful vacation?
Found a quilt store? - check
Found a geocache? - check
Learned something new? - check
Didn't get lost? - check
No injuries or sickness? check
Everyone happy? - check
Did we forget to bring anything? - nope
Since we had NO expectations - we had NO disappointments!!!!!!!
On that note - it is going to be time to pack up the suitcase (which is my case will take about five minutes) - in her case - a LOT longer. We do no leave until later this afternoon so have time to squeeze in one, possibly two more stops before we head out via the underground to the airport.
Have an AWESOME DAY!!!!!!!!!!