Monday, October 17, 2011

Re-entry and more recap

We had a very easy journey home - it is only a five hour flight from Boston to Dublin, and the short hop on to Manchester a mere nothing. Despite having picked up a very minor cold, I really am doing pretty well. Usual slight sleeping problems, but on the whole, I am nearly back to what passes for normal.

We have yet to gloat over the fibre purchases, but the washing is done and everything else prety much sorted. And yesterday, we went to York to visit my mother. I had totally convinced myself that she could not possibly hang on until we returned, and the edge was taken off the trip with some guilt, and the twice daily anxious moment of checking the emails. To our amazement, she is still with us, and indeed was better yesterday (relatively speaking) than when I had last seen her. She is having trouble with her breathing, and can't talk all that much, but managed a bit and we also managed to get her to giggle a bit at some of our lunacy. She is not totally aware of the passage of time, and doesn't seem to have noticed our absence, although she could remember that her grandaughter had visited, which was nice for her, and very good of Alice. It is a question of time, but I feel better about things now.

So, I suppose I should be calling these posts "Guilty Pleasures!" The next was our minimalist SOAR. I did not like Manchester, New Hampshire as a location, but have to admit that the hotel made an excellent venue. Very spacious common areas (as was our suite!) and the Expo Center made for a wonderful market space. Seeing people was as ever a joy, albeit bitter-sweet, as our visit was so short. Still, worth it, though.

And worth it - well worth it - was our Thursday workshop with DY Begay. I enjoyed myself so much - a gently-paced workshop, but with plenty to take in. She had us sitting and practicing with the super spindles, that we got to keep, for long enough to start feeling comfortable before attempting to spin. Her techniques are, I think, somewhat modified from those described by earlier Navajo teachers - things do change and develop - and I didn't have to feel daunted by multiple drafting and winding off. As we practised, as well as discussing spinning and weaving practices, she added little bits of relevant Navajo culture, which was extraordinarily interesting. I feel very fortunate to have been able to take this opportunity.

DY demonstrating spindling.

A sampler spun and woven by DY's aunt, using blends of dark and light churro fleece to obtain different shades - we did some of this blending in class.

The next day, the three of us absented ourselves from SOAR while everyone else was in class and went to the Shaker village at Canterbury. We had been fourteen years ago, and were keen to go again, and to actually do the tour this time! The weather was fabulous - not as hot as it had been, but clear blue skies and lovely sunshine. No Fall foliage, though, unlike our previous visit!

In my memory, I had thought all the buildings were white - obviously, I was wrong!

We had a great time, the docent was as ever, excellent, and there was something of a satisfaction coming from Manchester, England, England to Manchester NH and Canterbury, founded by a group with their roots back in the origianl Manchester. What goes around, comes around, eh? I kind of wish.....The Shakers had a thing or two right, I think.

Now, in all the years we have been going to SOAR, the Saturday night spin-in has always been terrific - lots of tired and happy people, some fun, some music. The DSM and I went down this time, and ..... WTF?? A barn of a room, glaring light, canned music tinkling away in the background, and hardly anybody there. Atmosphere? Celebration? Nope. A total let-down, I fear. We stayed a while chatting with the few friends who were there, and then made our excuses and left. Sad. I know things change, and change can be good, but this particular one can go right back again, please!

Don't get me wrong, I am glad that we went, and I did enjoy myself - differently from previous years, but still good. And as next year is a return to Granlibakken - well, we might just go again....

So, we left Manchester, NH, and moved on to the last stage, which will come in another post as this one is getting huge.

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