J&J visited the Tower of London, London Bridge, Wimbledon and the Chelsea Football Pavilion. Apparently they spent much of their day on the tube and walking around looking for these places.
I met Jean Pearce (a quilter from the Oxford Quilt Group), at the McDonald’s next to the Botley Road “Park & Ride”. I had to take a bus to the Park and Ride and asked the bus driver if he knew where the McDonald’s was. He told me where to go, but then added “but the food is nasty”. I assured him that I was not gong there to eat, but just to meet someone!!!!
While I was walking I saw a Swan nesting on a bale of hay by a river. It reminded me that we were told that the Swans on the Thames River were all owned by the Queen and could not be disturbed or killed.
Jean and I drove to the “Three Counties Showground” near Malvern. It should have taken about an hour, but we got lost TWICE in one of the cities that we had to go through. It was interesting to be driving on the English roads and makes me wonder what our trip to Yorkshire is going to be like!!!! I learned a bit about how to read the road signs and other bits of information that should help when we are traveling by ourselves.
While we were driving, we ran across horses and wagons parked alongside the road. I asked, and Jean confirmed that they were gypsies….just like the ones we had seen on “Midsomer Murders”. Jean said that it was very unusual to see them on the roads anymore.
We arrived at the Show Ground and had to park well away from the quilt pavilion. We were walking on grass and mud so it was good that it wasn’t raining at that point. There were a lot of buses moving into the parking lot, all filled with expectant women. The first thing that we came on was the “food court”. It was made up of several trailers that served sandwiches, hamburgers, drinks and donuts and ice cream. The tables and chairs were outside under two HUGE umbrellas.
We passed through the food and headed into the show. IT WAS WONDERFUL!!!!! They displayed approximately 275 quilts and had 109 Vendor booths. This Show is exciting for British quilters because it marks the beginning of the “Quilt Show” season, with several national shows happening in the next 6 months. Many of the quilts were the same as those seen in the US, but there were also some spectacular quilts that were very different from ours, both in design and in technique. Most of the vendors carried things that were easily found in the US, but I was able to find some British fabric, some Indian rayon thread and some wonderful British magazines.
I was reminded of my guild’s first quilt show when a set of the PVC frames started creaking and swaying. Everyone grabbed a vertical pole as all of the horizontal bracing poles started to pull loose. The show is run by a professional company and they hurried to fix the frames. A little swaying didn’t deter the quilt gazers….we all just walked around the ladders and kept on going!!
Jean returned me to Oxford and I arrived at the house about 20 minutes before Jenny & Jimmy. We fixed dinner and settled down to relax for the evening.
All of us had seen groups of young people who were really dressed up and were obviously ready to celebrate. The reason was that the 3rd year (final year) students were taking their last exams and we ready to relax. I saw two this morning that were dressed in dinner jackets (tuxedos) with red carnations in their lapels. Michael found out that as the week of exams start, they wear a white carnation. As the week progresses, they dip the carnation in red dye so that it turns pink toward the middle of the exam period and then red as the last of the exams approach.