- Cleaning the back of the van is an utterly futile activity. It will stay clean until it rains or it moves, whichever comes first. The only sane way to keep the back window window like is a a rubber scraper designed to take water off the shower cubical. If used on the wet window whenever you stop and it's damp you night have some rear view.
- However well you plan and prepare something will still go wrong. Admittedly I did know this but I really thought more planning and preparation might have reduced the problems more. Leaving slack in the planning is essential.
- I'm lazy (again not really news) if I have to move stuff to open a cupboard I probably won't. Make important things very very easy to get to. By the end of the trip I had this one pretty much mastered.
- Being lazy I skip too many meals and drinks. Dehydration doesn't help anything. Again I should know better but this trip has reminded me and I will try to get better at this honest.
- Have food in the van but show local when possible. I discovered that being able to choose something for dinner on the spur of the moment made me more likely to eat, but the security of knowing I didn't have to was great too.
- It's all about the people. Great people can make anything good. I don't think I would have made it through this trip without the help form the Isle of Wight ladies and their mechanic, but every group refueled and sent me on my way with new ideas and fresh energy.
- England (and Wales) are really beautiful. One of the advantages of having to drive slower in the van is you get to see more of the countryside, and it's worth looking at.
- I got to learn more about Welsh quilts and Durham quilts, and the chance to handle some. I really want to be able to make a quilt that feels like them, but I have to admit I haven't quite got to the point where I can be certain which is which. I guess this is another area I can look into more when I get a chance.
- Speed quilts work great with recycled fabrics and fancy Oakshott fabrics. One group tried both extremes and it worked. Even I get caught up by the obvious and it was great to be shaken out of that. The wool blanked does work as wadding, I would say pretty well although it does need very robust pressing. In the Oakshott fabrics the quilt looks elegant and really quite posh. I had also not considered adding hand quilting to these patterns but I think it's going to be amazing. I can't wait to see pictures. Please ladies, don't forget to send me some.
- Oakshott have a shop front. I guess I should have known that but I didn't. I also didn't know they were so friendly. They are on an estate not in a town centre but they will make you feel so welcome. I can't recommend them enough. Maybe it is something in the air as the Tesco just down the road from them had great staff too. I also didn't realise how closely they work with the weavers who make their fabrics. I like the fact that they know the weavers get paid properly and I love how much input Michael has in the design of the fabrics.
- I've got to ask more questions about parking. I do bring a lot to my talks (and a fair amount to classes). Getting to the venue can be a problem and I think it is only going to get worse. One lady, who was helping move my stuff said she wasn't risking her back carrying my bag. I replied I had to as that was what I was being paid for, but she got me thinking. As a long term solution that just won't work. I need to be able to park close to the venue to unload. I can carry my bags a fair way but there is a limit and actually I shouldn't be damaging my back and shoulders either. My shoulders are bruised and very sore today so hopefully this will be a lesson I take to heart.
- All campsites are not created equal. The best are amazing the others.... I think I should let Tet book more of my sites as even after checking the reviews I still got a bad one. Fortunately he moved me to a wonderful 5 star site which I will be visiting again.
- Filling the van with fuel every day is some what depressing but OK, the third time in one day is just too much.
- Whatever you take, you have too much of some things and not enough of others. I think this will mean in future I take what is convenient. Given I am going to get it wrong anyway I may as well make my life as easy as I can. On the other hand I will take requests, so if there is something I sell that you want (or indeed something bulky from Patchwork Corner) let me know and I will see if I can manage to help you out.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
What I done learn this time.
You might think I should know what I am doing with this teaching and talking lark by now, but each trip teaches me stuff. Here is a selection of what I learned this time.