Walking in the World

Monthly Archives: March 2017

Reflections in London

I’m feeling drawn to London lately, with its cosmopolitan flair and colourful neighbourhoods. Often it’s woolly things that beckon me into the big city, but yesterday was all about meandering in search of labyrinths and mazes, on foot, train, and bus. Sunshine, spring blossoms, and maze-y artistry are a great lift to the spirits, and our sense of exploration and play helped to dispel the dark violence that invaded our week on Wednesday.

Victory Park Mirror Labyrinth

We met a friend at the Mirror Labyrinth in Victory Park to admire the artistry and play with our fractured reflections, then caught the 97 bus to Leyton where we visited Coronation Gardens with its gentle but profound juxtapositioning of old and new, serious and fun. To get to the hedge maze at the far end of the park, for instance, we passed by a particularly inclusive war memorial that honours all who served the war effort, women as well as men, a reminder not only of war but of equality – issues that are still in the limelight today.

Leyton Coronation Gardens

But further into the park is this sweet little maze, imaginatively evoking the manor houses and grand gardens of the past. I call it a sweet maze because I found it to be inviting rather than confounding. The hedges are only about waist-high to an adult, so there isn’t ever a sense of being seriously lost, though to a child, there would still be a sense of adventure in navigating the paths. I loved it.

Coronation Gardens Hedge Maze

Leaving the gardens, we walked back up the road to Leyton Underground Station in search of more of the labyrinth plaques from the Art on the Underground project – it’s become a London tradition to seek out the black and white plaques as we travel around the city. This one and the one at Leytonstone, one stop up the line, took us into small waiting rooms alongside the tracks – a feature I had never noticed before. I am always appreciative of a quest that helps me focus on details that I would otherwise overlook.

Leytonstone Labyrinth

Similarly, as we slowed down to search for the labyrinth plaque, I also had time to notice the other signs along the platform, pausing as I came face to face with Winston Churchill, whose message is as pertinent in our modern world as it was in wartime Britain.

26 Mar 2017

Spring Buzz

We’ve been enjoying some lovely weather this week, and I thought you might like a little glimpse of southern England’s springtime glory. Our insects are beginning to buzz about amongst the early blossoms; this rather awesome bumblebee was enjoying the flowering cherry plum trees out at Maylandsea on the Essex coast today where Jeff was leading a geology field trip.

19 Mar 2017

Spring Knitting Show

Knitnstitchshow

Labyrinths and wool rolled in to a single day! Part of my birthday celebration this year was a trip to Olympia in London to attend the Spring Knittting and Stitching Show. As we had some shopping and lunching that we wanted to do while in the city, we purchased late entry tickets but headed in on an early train. By the time we saw these colourful posts welcoming us to the show, I was more than ready for anything and everything stitcherly! I had a few little things on my shopping list, but primarily I was looking for people with stories. I am choosing to spend my wool budget with small businesses who are working heartfully to succeed in a competitive field. Unlike Unravel, this show primarily featured larger merchants, but I found a few indies!

Romney Marsh Wools

Kristina and six generations of her family have been raising sheep on the Romney Marshes in Kent, only about an hour from us. Their Romney Marsh Wools are lovely and their focus on sustainable farming is equally admirable. I brought one one skein of wool, a pattern, and a couple of bottles of the lotion they make from the lanolin from the sheared wool. I’ll be ordering more wool soon as I’m already working on some ideas for future projects.

Latvian Mittens

And this is Inese who works in London now, but comes from Latvia where she was involved in a friend’s business of creating Latvian Mitten kits. She says that knitting those mittens are her passion now, and how could I possibly resist attempting a pair myself? I chose my wool, but am feeling a bit awed by the super-tiny needles I’ll need to use to make them. (Stay tuned, but don’t hold your breath…)

Latvian Mittens

There was an overall emphasis on creativity and craftivism which I loved seeing, but I didn’t really have the opportunity to spend much time at any of the public knitting booths – that’s for a future visit, I guess. Nevertheless I felt very proud of the craftiness that flows through my veins and connects me to so many people with big hearts, nimble fingers, and good intentions! And I certainly enjoyed some of the creative projects on display!

Knitting Show exhibits

No trip with Jeff would be complete without finding a labyrinth or two. He actually enjoys these kinds of shows more than he lets on, and always manages to make some interesting discovery…. like these Indian labyrinth wood blocks tucked in amongst all the creative offerings at this immense show:

Indian labyrinths

And, of course, London’s Art on the Underground makes finding labyrinths an easy quest these days, and it is always fun to spot them while dashing through the subterranean stations:

Labyrinths on the Underground

(clockwise from top left: Stratford, Tottenham Court Road, Olympia, and West Ham stations)

06 Mar 2017

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