Hello Again Readers,
Since my friends and family are all (mostly) in South Africa and I am now in the UK I have decided that I might post here once a week to sort of give people an update. I’ll play it by ear and see how many people are interested.
So for this first post there is quite a lot to tell you about and also a lot of pictures because it is basically 2 weeks now.
As many of you know, T and I left South Africa on the 10th of January. We went through security at about 5 even though our flight was at 7 because we just didn’t want any fuss. Thankfully because of who T banks with we were allowed into one of the lounges which was really nice. We got free WiFi, free food and drink and some comfy chairs.
This was a great relief especially as we had a little bit of a debacle at the security gate. T had suggested that I fly with my “precious” jewelry on me just in case. I had totally forgotten that one of my things that I packed was a brooch and that this might be a problem. I don’t fly very much so I didn’t really know what was going on when the lady said that she wanted to check my bags. Then she started going through all my jewelry, finally she came to the brooch. Now the brooch was pinned in a box to a rectangle of foam. So she front doesn’t look as pointy as the back. She demanded to know what it was so I told her it’s a brooch. She didn’t seem to know what I meant but after some deliberation with a college they decided that they would let me take it. Thankfully she didn’t turn it over because there was a 2inch needle on the other side! As soon as T and I got through customs (which I must also tell you about) in Gatwick we took the brooch out, bought a stamp and mailed it to my Uncle in London because we were pretty sure that I would not be able to get it through the Gatwick security. You can see the brooch below.
Now the brooch isn’t actually particularly valuable but it is very sentimental. When I was in high school I used to do Irish Dancing (some people call this River Dancing) And my grandmother who has Irish lineage and who is now deceased went on a trip to Ireland. When you dress for competitions in Irish dancing you have to wear a sash kind of thing and it gets pinned to your shoulder, so my Late grandmother brought back this beautiful brooch for me. So like I said, I don’t think that it is that valuable but it is very special to me.
By the way I had an awful flight. I had a stress headache from the security incident and this lead to me feeling nauseous for most of the flight. Thankfully in Gatwick we found a shop that sold Ibuprofen so that took my headache away.
Yes now onto the customs or boarder control. I am currently on a visitors visa to the UK because I am coming back to South Africa in April for my cousins wedding. But I am here for 94 days which could look suspicious to the boarder control and they could decide to send me back to South Africa. (And after that horrible flight all the way there I thought I’d rather die than have another 12 hour flight, this time without T to rub my back.) Now T is a British citizen so he had kept telling me that he was going through a different check which would be super quick because they can’t refuse him entry. I kept asking him to come with me to mine because they can ask so many questions and as someone who doesn’t fly a lot this whole situation was scary. He said he’d do his best but they probably wouldn’t let him.
Miracle #1, when we were asking for directions the lady said that since we are married and flying together Thomas must just go with me!!!! I was over the moon.
Now the lady in front of me was also from South Africa coincidentally and she was having a lot more trouble than me. I won’t go into details but basically she had not read ( or possibly understood) any of the rules and she had not brought any hard copy evidence of intention to leave the country so she was getting a lot of questions and problems. Where as I had a printed receipt of my return flight and all the documents I thought I could possibly need. She was actually still there when we left!
Miracle #2, Now you must understand I am a terrible liar and it is very obvious. So When it was our turn and the lady said to me oh, you are here for 94 days, that is terribly specific. I said without thinking (as I said bad liar here so it was very obvious that I said this without thinking and not lying) oh yes I have to be back for my cousins wedding. Well that seemed to convince her that I was definitely leaving the country, she stamped my book and off we went!
We then had a short flight to Edinburgh and a surprisingly sunny drive to our temporary accommodation. T’s new company is paying for 2 weeks of accommodation for us while we try to find somewhere to stay more long term.
The place that we are staying in is really nice and from what I can tell by UK standards it is pretty massive! We are so spoiled by this, all the flats we have been viewing are so tiny in comparison. I’ll also note here that we have a wonderful friend, E, who has also coincidentally moved from South Africa to Edinburgh and who is working for the same company as T. So she is actually staying in the same apartment block as us. She also grew up in the UK so it has been amazing to have someone who can tell us what shops to go to in order to find what we need.
The one thing which we noticed straight away obviously was the change in weather. The day that we left South Africa it was 31 degrees C. The morning before our flight I was actually lying on my mom’s tiled floor trying to cool down!
When we arrived in Edinburgh it was about 4 degrees C and it went down over the next couple of days to 1 degree. This presented me with a problem that I had not anticipated. Since we don’t and won’t have a car we walk to most places. Being very cold we dressed up warmly, as one does. But after a few minutes of walking briskly (everyone walks fast here and if you are slow, no one is rude but you get the distinct impression that you are in the way) you start to get kind of hot! So you take off your beanie which is trapping all the heat from your head…. but now your chest is still hot but your ears are now freezing. To be honest I am still getting the hang of it but it is getting better. I bought myself some ear muffs so I can have warm ears but not trap too much head heat in.
This cold weather has really put me in more of a yarn crafts mood than a drawing mood but this is what I did when I was trying to keep up some of my drawing. (I have given up for now, but don’t worry I know my self well enough that I know my drawing phase will come back soon enough. It’s always a cycle for me) I made a pretty list of terms that I have to get used to.
As an aside when we first arrived at our accommodation it was stupidly hot! They have a boiler heater system and we had to turn the heaters down because it was way too hot. We didn’t want to fiddle too much but we’ve got it down to 22 degrees now. And before you ask, my father used to work in air conditioning and he writes programs for it so he gave us one of his thermometers.
This shower, pictured below, has become a personal joke for T and I. You see coming from South Africa they are suffering a really terrible drought at the moment, so we said How do you know a country doesn’t have problems with drought? When they have two shower heads! Pictured below.
The next thing that was weird for me is the ice or frost on the ground. Even if it isn’t freezing point in the air, it may be on the ground. So the white in the pictures below is frost I guess. I haven’t quite got a hang of the terminology yet but I know that it isn’t snow! We have some snow later on in the post.
On Saturday the 14th we went on a little walking tour of Edinburgh, I may have mentioned this in my previous post, but one of the places we visited was a grave yard. It also wasn’t just any grave yard. It was the one from which J.K Rowling got some of the names from the tomb stones. Now this isn’t going to be a Potter Fan girling because … shock horror, I am not actually a huge Potter fan. T is actually more than me since he has read all the books. But anyway the point of this is that I kept looking at the ground, poking the ground, toeing the ground and giggling like a silly 5 year old because the muddy slushy looking soft ground was actually frozen hard! As someone from Cape Town where it never gets cold enough to snow this is a very new experience for me.
Then during the week when T wasn’t working yet it snowed!! Okay not a lot and it basically all melted as soon as it hit the ground but there was little white stuff floating down and it wasn’t ash! (Capetonians you know what I mean). I also discovered that I am married to a crazy person. Who says, oooh it’s snowing… let me run outside in my Tshirt? My husband apparently!
So one of the things that I neglected to do was bring knitting with me on the plane. I did consider it but I know that it can be an issue at security and I just didn’t want the extra fuss. I was however stupid for not packing any in my hold luggage. So by Friday the 13th (I know that we are jumping around dates a bit here) I was kind of desperate to have something for my hands to do. So after asking on my lovely facebook knitting group I was given some suggestions for places to go and we chose McAree Brothers knitting shop. It was close-ish to T’s work so we could go past there and he could get an idea of where he needed to be on Monday. I bought: 100g sock yarn for me, 2x 50g sock yarn for T, 80cm 2,5mm knitting needles, a set of 5 2,5mm dpns and some darning needles for weaving in ends.
This is how far I got on Friday evening. For those of you who are not familiar with my knitting, I do one sock at a time.
Saturday and Sunday were taken up with sight seeing so I didn’t do any knitting. On Saturday we briefly popped in at one of the museums and saw Dolly! For those of you who don’t know she is a cloned sheep, and the first mammal cloned I believe.
Our friend E went on an organised pup crawl and sent us this picture. I know a lot of people are going to cringe but I really want to try a deep-fried mars bar!
Sunday was my birthday, but to find out more about that and our sight seeing you can read my previous post. Oh and for you South African’s, this dress is amazing. It is a complete fluke but I bought it from Mr Price and it’s actually really thick material. I never wore it in ZA because it was just too hot. So with Leggings and a coat it was perfect for Sunday, which was also a bit warmer at about 9 degrees.
On Monday I sadly discovered that I had over worked my Achilles Tendon during all our sight seeing which we had walked everywhere. And a lot of up hill too. On Sunday evening my one ankle was really sore. Then on Monday I was doing some dishes and I noticed that that same ankle felt like there was a rubber band sliding up and down my ankle bone as I moved. Sorry if you are skweemish. As it didn’t really hurt that much I didn’t want to go see a doctor I just googled a bit and apparently it is called creaking. I also spoke to a friend of mine who is a Dr so she gave me some advice. Since I hadn’t actually damaged it and only really over worked it I just rested it a lot and took some Ibuprofen which I already had from the airport. Unfortunately towards the evening it got really uncomfortable so my darling husband was kind enough to make our delicious supper, pictured below, even though it had been his first day at work. I felt really bad but he said it was such a simple recipe he didn’t mind. (He is an AMAZING cook, way better than me)
On Wednesday T got send to London for 2 weeks (thankfully he gets to come back for the weekend) which was kind of lonely for me. Not too lonely as I do have E near by. But I got a lot of chance to work on my socks and I even discovered an awesome podcast, Knitting Expat. The awesome thing about her, I have started at the beginning of her videos, is that she started her podcast when she moved to a new country and didn’t have friends. Her husband was also working long hours with a long commute so I kind of feel like I relate to her at the moment. Although T wont always be working away and I am sure that I will make friends here soon. I also decided to teach myself to flick instead of throw. (knitting jargon I am sorry). I have considered picking but when I do the stitches always seem to come out twisted. Bare in mind I did this while knitting a sock. I may experiment some more with the left over sock yarn.
On Thursday I had finished both of T’s socks! We are such a similar sized foot that we actually both use 64 stitches! This socks are just a bit longer than mine. So these are my feet below.
Then I started my sock on Friday. I have discovered that if I have nothing else to do (at this apartment there is housekeeping so I don’t even have that) it takes me about 4 days to knit a complete pair of socks. I don’t know why I thought this but I thought that my socks would be more purple and less pink, but anyway they are kind of pink now.
As you can see below… we don’t have any scissors here so I have been using the cuticle cutter side of my nail file to cut my yarn.
We also don’t have any measuring instruments here so I had to make my porridge up by guessing. The instructions on the packets are also no help as the oats are in grams and the water is in ml so i can’t even work out a ratio. But as you can see below I think it turned out alright.
My mom… has been such a meanie poo and keeps sending me pictures of my darling cats and making me miss them sooo much. I am just dying for a furry snuggle. I think that I am going to spend most of April in South Africa just cuddled up with PanPan. I love Salty too but she doesn’t tolerate cuddles as much as PanPan. PP will let you cuddle her all day if you want to.
On Friday I tried to do a different style of heel as I always do the heel flap and gusset, but after a couple of attempts I frogged it back and did my trusty heel flap as I just wasn’t managing the new heel.
On Friday night when T came back I made soup and friend E came for dinner and brought Elderflower Cider. It is soo yummy, and I love the bottle cap.
On Saturday I didn’t do much knitting as T is back and has to leave on Sunday evening so I wanted to spend time with him. But we decided to try out using the bus day pass for the first time so we went to a whole lot of the yarn shops here and I got a few things. The stylecraft yarn is for me and the West Yorkshire Spinners is for T. The funny thing is that T was born in West Yorkshire. Also the two colours are Blue lagoon (the cocktail) and Juniper. How cool is that?
So that is it for the last two weeks. I am sorry that it is SOO long! I plan to do next weeks one on next Sunday so hopefully there will not be sooo much stuff to show and tell you about.
Lots of Love,
Diella aka xYOOPx