"properly practiced, knitting soothes
and it doesn't
hurt the untroubled spirit either."
Friday, February 22, 2008
If it Ain't Scottish, it's Crrrrrap!
Last Saturday The Boy and I went to the Scottish Festival on the Queen Mary here in Long Beach, CA. I love the Queen Mary*. I am also a big ol' dorky Anglophile, as you may recall, so this was a must-attend event for me.
First we watched the pipe and drum band parade.
I love bagpipes. No, really. No, really.
This was followed by the clan parade, but my people were not in attendance. At least, not officially. The clan MacClure (sometimes referred to as a sept family of the clan MacLeod) was not representing. Very disappointing for me, since I've only just discovered this connection, and I was looking forward to forcing my attentions on...erm, I mean, getting to know my kinsmen.
After the pipe and drum bands performed, we saw a military demonstration but we didn't get any pictures of that. Probably because we were far too busy covering our ears and cowering in fear at the loud booms coming from the 19th century cannon and machine gun (I'm sure there are more technical terms, but I don’t know them).
We then hightailed it for the sheep herding demonstration--naturally.
First they let the sheep out to just roam. Which they did.
Then they let out the Border Collie to demonstrate how the natural predator/prey instincts work for bringing the sheep to heel.
After seeing how effective the Border Collie was, they brought out a Schnauzer puppy to show that, though the Border Collie gets all the glory for this job, any dog with the right instincts can actually pull it off.
It was then time for the Bearded Collie to show us his stuff.
And where there are sheep...
I knew that my other people must be nearby. My fiber-loving friends. And I found her. A woman whose name I believe was Niamh, which I've always thought was one of the most awesome names ever because one of the two syllables sounds nothing like how it looks (it is pronounced: nee-ev). I love that. But I digress. The-woman-I-shall-call-Niamh was spinning.
I walked up to watch her. Now, I should mention that I've avoided fiber "in the raw" so to speak (non-yarn fiber) and all things spinning-related because I know me and my capacity for resisting new hobbies. (Which is somewhat on par with George Bush's ability to pronounce "nuclear" correctly.) So when Niamh offered to let me give spinning a try, I politely demurred. Then The Boy insisted I should try it. He really ought to have known better.
I had so much fun! I spent the rest of the day playing with my little bit of yarn.
After all that work (ahem), we were starved. So we headed back to the main area and found ourselves some delicious foods. We each got a plate, ate half, and then switched while we sat on the deck of the QM and listened to the bagpiper's competition below.
Savory pork pie. So.Good. Mashed potatoes and two veg. Yum!
Banger sandwich with onions on soft French bread. Mmmmmm.
Onboard the Queen Mary is a shake place (California Shakes) that has received accolades from all over for having the best ice cream shakes anywhere. We hit that place twice when we stayed on the QM last year, so we treated ourselves to a little shake action this time, too. No pics, though. We ate them too fast!
We then spent a good deal of time hunting down my family tartans and finding out that they were very expensive to buy when we had already spent a small fortune just to get in and park, so we didn't buy anything. And the shortbread place was out by the time we made it there—Scottish shortbread is so good; I think each piece uses a half-stick of butter! During our honeymoon through England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, most of the hotels we stayed in provided little packets of Walker's Shortbread next to the coffee and teapots in the rooms. I took all of them and have since become quite addicted.
After all that, we finally said Adieu to the old gal and headed for Los Alamitos Bay Yarn Co. to pick up some gift yarn for Laura (wow, she's a worse blogger than me!). She is now 3 days past her baby due date and extremely grumpy. I made her a Lamb's Pride bouquet of bulky yarn. Early in her pregnancy she professed that she was going to be able to knit as quickly after the baby as she did before**, so I thought bulky yarn would be a good way to maintain the illusion of accomplishing a lot in less time.
Lamb's Pride in variegated jewel shades
Finally, at the end of the day, we hit Buster’s next door to Los Al. Buster's has amazing luau pork. If you're ever in the area, get some! And start with the voodoo chicken skewers; you won't be sorry.
While we waited for our food, I played with my new yarn, spun by my own (and Niamh's) hands.
Dudes! I made yarn!
All in all, a very good (long) day!
*She's located only about 45 miles from my house, but I hadn't been until I had to attend a postal seminar there last November. I fell in love with her for her history and old furnishings, and The Boy and I ended up spending a weekend onboard—she is a hotel, as well as a showpiece—and he fell for her too.
**You don't have to have a baby to know that probably ain't gonna happen!