No apologies for not having posted in so long. My excuse is the same one I use to excuse my scrapbooking – I’m too busy living life to spend time documenting it! But memories fade, and I do want to remember this year in particular – so here we go again anyways.

Since I last posted here, much has happened. We sold our house in July of 2013, and bought a condo that will not be ready until September 2015. So, much of our personal “stuff” was sold off, donated or gifted upon others. Sometimes forcibly. For one memorable week, no visitor could leave the house without taking something with them, no matter how hard they protested. Finally, the remainder of the “stuff” went into long-term storage.

Since last July, we have couch-surfed and housesat our way through a succession of other people’s homes. We are amazed by how much Canadian real estate is vacant at any given time. Although we understand very well why people disappeared this recent viciously cold winter!

Yesterday was day 261 of being “Home-Loose.” That’s a term I like from the internet, a mash-up of being homeless and footloose. It describes the way we feel. We started a 60-day vacation in the United Kingdom, flying from Toronto to Birmingham, England, via Dublin. From Birmingham we took a roundabout train to Peterborough, where our hostess Sarah, our friend of many years, met us and drove us to her home in Huntingdon, near Cambridge, England. It was a long trip with a number of delays – but all part of the adventure.

Our Aer Lingus airplane glints in the sunset as we fly over still snowbound eastern Canada.


Barry drags everything we own for our two-month stay in the UK alongside our train on arrival in Peterborough.


We were so glad to see Sarah meeting our train in Peterborough with her custom sign!

I was going on 34+ hours of sleeplessness when Sarah and I left Barry on his own to attend the monthly meeting of the Cromwell Quilters, but I wasn’t about to miss it! She is the president of the guild, and a powerful combination of introverted and determined, which explains how I was pressed into giving the “thank-you” to the speaker at the end of the meeting.

Sarah introduced me to Susan and we helped her unload her quilts and her Sashiko quilting supplies for a small sales table. That’s when I noticed her books – literally, HER books, which included the familiar “The 1718 Coverlet,” which details the oldest known dated patchwork quilt.

I was about to find out that Susan’s enduring passion is Sashiko quilting, ignited when she first travelled to Japan as a teacher years ago. Her trunk show was full of treasures – samples of her work over the years.

Here is more information about the 1718 Patchwork Coverlet:

Here is Susan’s official website:
And her book:

Susan says she would come to Canada if invited – so if you are interested in inviting her, let me know, and we’ll have her come to The Common Thread as well at the same time!  (Click on the thumbnails for a larger image.)

Today Barry and I took it easy, going out for a walk to re-set our internal clocks.  We had tea (for me) at a local pub, The King of the Belgians, which dates back to 1541 and is said to have been Oliver Cromwell’s favourite spot.  He was born and lived in Huntingdon.   Originally known as the King of the Prussians, its name changed after WW1 when Belgium annexed most of Prussia.  It is still largely original, with low windows and ceilings that barely clear a tall person’s head, wooden beams – everything you think an English pub should be, right down to the small rooms filled with a friendly crowd of people and a dalmatian lying at his master’s feet.  If we were to go there three times in the same week, we’d all be on a first-name basis.

All the houses on Owl Drive have hand-painted numbers.
16th century manor farmhouse – now on the busy Main Street of Huntingdon.
Willow tree and people enjoying the sunny day along the River Great Ouse, Huntingdon.
All Saints, Hartford, parts of which date back to 1180. Photo credit: Barry Walker

We finished the evening at the other local pub, the Barley Mow, an up to date spot with plenty of head room, windows that open and modern lighting.  Several of Sarah’s friends joined us for an excellent fish pie supper with an IPA ale (for me), and between the 7 of us  managed to come in dead last of 22 teams at the trivia game.  (Tonight’s helpful fact:  the name of the capital city of Hell, according to the Greeks, was Pandemonium.)