Friday, September 6, 2013

All's quiet.........or so I thought..

Things got very hectic for a while. I shut the door on the studio and decided I should start packing for my trip to England. I was attending the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham on behalf of the ACCQF, acting as the representative promoting Quilts of Great Britain next May.

Cathy came over and loaded me with posters and bookmarks to hand out at the Festival. I decided to take little with me as I wanted to do some Christmas shopping,(yes, I know it's early but I like to get a head start on things). So off I went.

The airport was busy, but I got checked in early but too early for my luggage so, "leave it over there", well, hope I see you in London, suitcase. I am beginning to learn that I need to lighten my suitcase a lot more, it's a hard shell, which several years ago would cause no problem but because airlines are now so sticky about weight, cost me excess baggage on the way back. In fact, I think they got cross with it, dropped it from a great height as it is now broken, so I guess I am buying a new one. Anyway, I am getting ahead of myself, but I just wonder why the staff at airports have to make the experience as unpleasant as possible. I spent my time sitting at the boarding gate watching aircraft take off, land, and listening to the last calls for passengers, and actually watched them unload luggage from one aircraft at the next gate for a passenger who failed to show. The flight itself was uneventful and I slept all the way, only waking for food which we will not discuss, it was as bad on the way back.

I landed on the Tuesday morning at Gatwick and found my way to car hire, checked in, was shown to my car, Hyundai i40, and told how to use the handbrake and off I went, drove out the car park on the wrong side of the road, but soon got into it. I was staying with friends in Croydon, so a half hour drive.
I arrived safely you will be pleased to know, found my way and parked to be greeted by my friend with a big hug and .......couldn't get the car key out of the ignition. There followed a good fifteen minutes of fiddling when all of a sudden, it popped out. Apparently, you had to push it in and then slide it out, who knew?

Well, I had a lovely day and managed to last until quite late which pleased me and after a good nights sleep, I was up bright and early as I was going to be seeing my Aunt the following day as she was holidaying in Sevenoaks. Aunty had been born and brought up in the village of Ide Hill, not far from Sevenoaks, so was making a trip down memory lane, normally I would be staying with her at her home near Cambridge. We had a lovely day at Chartwell, the home of Winston Churchill. I love visiting this National Trust property, it never fails to bring me a certain peace and calm, the gardens are beautiful, and I particularly love the Sun Room. 

The view over the Weald of Kent is spectacular, although it was a little cloudy this day. It was lovely to catch up with the news and also to see my cousin and his wife, we keep in touch sporadically, so it was good to see them. Jane is a quilter, and last year, I was able to see her at the Festival of Quilts last year along with her two daughters, Philippa and Susannah. So we talked quilting for a bit.

The day went by all to quickly and then it was back to Croydon and get myself ready for the following day as I was travelling to Birmingham for this year's Festival of Quilts. I left at six in the morning thinking there wouldn't be much traffic at that time. What was I thinking? It's a while since I've driven the M25 but I wasn't prepared for it. I thought I was travelling a reasonable speed, but others were flying past me, I didn't remember the traffic being this bad last year. 7am saw me the other side of Oxford, so I stopped at the first services I found, got out of my car and shook like a jelly. I thought this was slightly ridiculous as I used to travel these roads regularly and went up to Liverpool every six weeks at one point, but, I guess you get out of the way of traffic. Living in the boonies of Southwestern Ontario, heavy traffic consists of maybe a dozen extra cars between the hours of 6 and 9, and the school buses! I exaggerate, but you get the idea.

I made good time on the rest of the journey, and got parked easily at the NEC and followed the stream to the Convention Centre. The queue had already formed, and quite by chance, I met my contact with the Quilters Guild of the British Isles. She very kindly got me sorted out with an Exhibitors pass and took me into the hall. The stand for the Guild is the first thing that greets you upon entry, and I had a table which had been draped in purple cloth with an advertising poster and a power point, so I set up my computer, turned the music down, and played the presentation I had put together showing the ACCQF from set up to take down and shots of all three shows.

I put my poster up and a display of bookmarks out and waited for the doors to open. Oh my goodness!! I'm not sure I was prepared for the rush through the doors! I spent the next four days talking to hundreds of people about the Festival and barely leaving the stand, although I did pack things away and go for lunch, leaving plenty of bookmarks out only to find the table empty when I got back! I was busy which was good, everyone was interested in what a small town was doing and amazed at the support we get. I was able to meet with my teachers who will be coming next year, and they were just delightful, I think we have a great mix of workshops.

These were a few of the quilts on display, I took so many photos and haven't got room for them all.

Inner Circle, flower of Scotland by Kay Bell

Gillian Travis- Wired Flowers

Gillian Travis-Indian Women and others

It should never have happened- Edna Standley

EQA display-Italy

EQA display-Spain

Transported-Tolpuddle by Kate Dowty

A small taste of what was on display. The show was excellent this year, the standard was good and the layout much better. I was very tired by the end of the show on Sunday, especially as the fire alarm had gone off at 4am that morning in the hotel! We all dutifully trooped outside and found it was a false alarm, but better safe than sorry. My journey back to London took three and a half hours and I was glad to be able to relax and was looking forward to the following week....

To be continued........

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