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October 2007

I have lost my voice

What a time to loose your voice!  I had no idea how much you need to be able to speak.

Houston was misty yesterday with a haze that had come in from the gulf of Mexico. I still never see a lot of people on the street but there is a fair bit of traffic.


Di and I helped Pam with her lunchtime lecture yesterday.  It was a wonderful success, she got a standing ovation, which she fully deserved. What a professional.  I learnt so much that I will put  into my own class room teaching.

Then we went to the Mall.  Palaces compared to our shopping centres and so much cheaper.  The new apple 24" screen was $1300.00 compared to $3500 at home.  They had an ice skating rink in this one and I got into trouble for taking pictures in this sweet shop.

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This is a new stretch limo.


Fabric Overload

I never thought that It would happen but I have seen so many fabrics that my mind is a blur.  Now I have to try and think through how I'm going to use those I really have to have.  Good thing they won't be released in Australia for a while.  It will give me a cooling off period.2007_1028airports0016


I have found a wonderful new program for machine embroidery.  It is compatible with every machine on the market, even Bernina.  It is part of the Corel suite so now kids can do their designs in Corel Draw, which just about every school has and there are no licenses.  This can just be copied into the creative DRAW program and digitized.  Then it automatically formats it for what ever machine you have .   Brilliant!!

The other thing I have lashed out and bought is the full Electric Quilt  program.  In the quilting CDs there are 1700 different quilting patterns.  All of them can printed out as is or you can combine and change them.  For people that have problems with computers there is a disc called 'Quilt design Wizard'  This is like quilting 101.  It is a dummies version of the main program but gives you the chance to learn a really simple version before committing to the full thing.  Lets face it.  These programs are expensive and if you only have to spend $40.00 to really test it that must be an advantage.

It is facinating to me the range of quality of products here.  There are really stunning  quilts  and  some shockers.   There  is a  market here  if you  take the effort  to tap  into it.  the Aussies here are the girls from Prints Charming,  Hatched  and Patched,  Melly  and Me,  John  Watts quilting machines, and some Aboriginal fabrics.  All of them are doing well out there on the floor.2007_1028airports0005


Houston Texas

After many trials and tribulations I am now in my hotel room in Houston.  There has been so much to do and see here that I am in stimulus over load.  Still it is exciting.

I spent day one at School House.  That means running from one room to the next listening to speakers re products and advice.  Most of It has been  really interesting. These are some of those products.2007_1027airports0011
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Today we started pacing the floor.  That  means that we start at one end on the convention centre and walk around every booth.  Made it less that half way today.   We (Pam Di and myself) will start again tomorrow.  Problem has been that Pam is such a celebrity that every one grovels.  It slows progress somewhat!

The road to Luton

Stratford on Avon was a non event for me. After the heart problems the night before I decided just to sit in the car.  We drove off onto the minor roads and the spaces between the towns decreased.  I thought that I would like to take a photo of Banbury Cross so we parked the car and I went off for a small wander. I found the cross but it wasn't the original.  This had been torn down by the Puritans during the reformation.


I then decided to walk back through the town.  This is an historic market town and I had no idea what that meant but I found out it meant no streets just alleys that went on and on.  It was only 3 degrees but the alleys kept the winds out.  Once again I was lost.  I have no sense of direction.  I always head in the opposite direction to where I should be.  And there was a patchwork shop, run by a Polish lady.  There is such scope to expand quilting here, especially in these small towns.2007_1023airports0004

Once back at the car we set off for Buckingham to have lunch.  This is like a London suburb.  It has a University and an old lockup, narrow streets and the stone is a funny yellow colour.



There wasn't much to look at any more so we drove to our accommodation in Luton.  It was a hole.  No heating and below freezing temperatures.  The less said about the place the better.  We got Guy to the airport next morning for his flight to Berlin.  I still worry about him and he's nearly 28.  He hates that.

It took nearly 3 hours to get through the traffic to our hotel for the last night.  I had booked the Renaissance Hotel near Heathrow.  Comfort!!!  I had a haircut, at last.  Now it's goodbye to Bill who has some more time here and I am off to the USA.  For a while there I thought that I would be sleeping in the airport at LA, everything was booked out but I finally got a room.  I hope it's not a hole.

Shewsbury to Stratford on Avon

We set out next morning on the last stages of our stay in England.  We wanted to wander back to London through the countryside.  I am a big fan of Ellis Peters novels which are set in Medieval Shewsbury and as this was on our way wanted to stop there.

The road snaked over and back the Welsh boarders a number of times and we drove through very dense fog.  It was strange driving over bridges that you could see nothing beneath.

We parked on the edge of the city and I immediately saw this carving of a dragon.  It was so similar to the ones in Denmark.  Just like a crocodile with little wings.  It makes you think that there may have been a creature in past history that became extinct and people embellished into the dragons we know today.

2007_1022airports0093 It was Sunday and most of the shops were shut but this gave me the chance to photograph their window displays and not spend money!  Some really lovely merchandise in quaint shops.  I was interested to see the crocheted toys.2007_1022airports0125

The market hall must have been very impressive back when it was built.


As I came down the over the hill from the city I found a hat shop full of hats and a needlework shop and this was open.  So you know what happened.


These western cities must have been thriving back in the old days.

I walked on over the river to the Abbey that features in the books.  Not much of it left and the rebuilt Cathedral is not as smart as Chester but still has a lot of charm. They knocked down part of the walls to prevent the Royalists using the Abbey during the civil war.


I tried to rush back to the car, which was a mistake as my heart rhythms started to play up due to those wretched bites.  It was 5 steps stop, 10 steps stop.  It took me nearly an hour to get back by which time the men were looking for me.  I would have liked to spend more time here but time was running short. In this city like many of the others we past through it is time to put up the Christmas decorations.

  So, on to Stratford on Avon and another B&B .  This one was called 'Quilts and Croissants.'  The owners had framed lots of blocks around the house, quite nice.  No more walking for me so we found a hotel to have dinner and so to bed.


It took me till about 1pm to be able to reason normally.  The poison from the bits makes me really ill, or maybe it is the antibodies that my system puts out.  What every it is I wandered around from about 10.30am to1pm.  I did find the watering can handbag I have been looking for.  It is French, which explains a lot.  I had intended to go to the Cathedral but really needed something to eat so stopped for lunch.  2007_1022airports0017 In my wandering I fond a Patchwork shop.  Full of American fabrics and some really nice stuff.2007_1022airports0015


Chester is a very old city dating back to Roman times and there are some ruins to be seen.

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It is also the place the King Charles saw his troops defeated by Cromwell and much of the city walls still remain.


In the shopping part of the city they built a two story row with shops on both levels and verandas so that no matter what the weather you were under cover which was pretty smart for the 15 and 16 hundreds.  These shops are still used today and it is a new sight at every turn.

Chester had some of the best buskers that I have seen on my travels and the street entertainment kept the kids happy.

By the time I got to the  Cathedral there was a big service just beginning for the induction of readers, that is lay people who help the priests. The place was packed for the service so I walked the city walls until 4pm.  When I got back there was a concert of church music performed by 'Canticum'.  Now this is a famous choir and I was able to see them for free followed by an organ recital.  That was a wonderful bonus to the day.

I enjoyed my time in this city.  There were lots of concerts and galleries that I didn't have time to see and these bites took the edge off it for me. But this little fellow didn't see me and nearly ran into me. These little fellows are cute.



We decided to head for Chester.  So, onto the morway andaway wewent.  Three and a half hours later we arrived at our destination. Themotorways arefast here and things are not that far away.

I am still ill with these bites and not functioning. We found a B&B and it’s off to bed.  I will look at Chester tomorrow.