It happened on my way to the salon

Four weeks: The freak-out countdown begins

In less than four weeks, we'll be in London. London, England. The United Kingdom. Holy crap.

It's my first time traveling outside the U.S. since driving across the amazingly gorgeous western two-thirds of Canada with DH (before he was DH) in autumn of 1984, and my first time ever outside of North America. Since I once lived in Canada, that hardly counts in my book except that I am a U.S. citizen, it is a whole 'nother great big country, and a passport is now required to cross the border.

This is sort of a big thing! And now that it's less than a month away, I'm beginning to freak-out because all I can think about is that it's only a month away!

RANDOMLY (I started this post on Wednesday, believe it or not, and have revised in the hopes of posting everyday since)...

Shoes. As recently established, I bought a new pair of shoes well in advance so that there'd be some good break-in time before traipsing through London and the Scottish Highlands and Tintern Abbey (generally speaking). I found a lovely pair of El Naturalistas a few weeks ago, but wished them in Tibet Red so they had to be ordered. I picked them up a little over a week ago and *OUCH* they were way too tight. I took them in to have them stretched a bit -- while I waited, and they were much improved, but it was suggested that it would be even better if left overnight. So I did that, but the leather is very stiff and they are still quite tight, so I took them in again this morning. Did I mention that they're red? I just love 'em and can't wait to wear them!

Now that footwear is on track -- and that's huge because I don't want to remember this possibly once-in-a-lifetime trip (I hope it'll happen again, but look how long it's taken for the first time) in terms of how much my feet hurt (I will have other shoes) -- the next big thing on my mind is the knitting... and luggage... camera, camera bag... and should I rent a lens, or two, or 20... I really need to do something about my hair... new glasses... Montparnasse?

I plan to visit a few yarn shops, but I'm not a very good on-the-fly yarn shopper. And because I'm traveling (lightly, I hope), I'm not likely to buy much more than souvenir yarn. Regardless of what happens while I'm there, though, I will need something to GET me there -- an on-the-way knitting project(s) for planes, trains and automobiles. I've finished another hat, see?

But I am finding a hard time concentrating and finding a new project for right now, never mind to get me through a long trip.

It's gorgeous, isn't it? It's Twin Set Ellen's Hat's Not Another Noro-Scarf. The black is most of the leftovers from the hats I knit for Warm Hats, Not Hot Heads and the other is an odd ball of Noro Silk Garden that was kicking around and seemed to have no purpose.


Luggage. I borrowed a larger bag than any I own from a friend to check. I'll carry on my camera bag, which will also serve as handbag and project bag (as it did last May for Vegas), and will carry on another, as well, for laptop, etc. I think. It seems sort of early, but I guess I need to really start thinking about what I'll be packing and the best configuration.

Rent a lens? Done! Given the other two I'll be bringing (50mm f/1.8 and 24-105mm f/4L), I decided on the fish-eye again. It's an easily over-used lens but, oh, the landscapes.

I don't know what to do with my hair. Blech. Maybe just a trim for now.

I am overdue for new glasses and my eyes are starting to bug me, but I think this will be put off until after our return. I will get both pair (regular + sunglasses) adjusted before we go, though. It's amazing, even after all these years of wearing glasses every waking moment, how often they get in the way and totally smooshed.

I've actually given contacts more than a fleeting thought recently. I haven't worn them in 25 years!

Montparnasse... my Going To The U.K. Sweater. The main pieces are knit and blocked, and I actually started seaming last weekend -- a sleeve. And then unseamed all that I'd done (sleeve to shoulder) because it was too tight! I will tolerate a tight under-arm seam less than any other. I'd sure like to finish that sweater, though, so perhaps I'll take some measurements and try that again this afternoon.

Maybe I'll try to find some buttons for this hat, too.

Have a happy weekend!



you're going to have a great trip! my sister lives over there and i've had several nice visits.

deep breaths...


What fun you'll have!!! The hat is cool...


This is what I call a fun filled countdown!

Don't stress out, you are going to have a fun trip and you know that in an emergency situation one can find all sort of things in the UK, right? :)


I'm getting so excited for you!! My only advice about packing for an overseas trip is to accept that you'll forget something or bring way too much, possibly both. Then forget about it and have a fabulous time!!! :)

Sara Byron

I just started reading your blog - and it's fun! I have a few comments: Don't be scared! You're going to have an awesome time. My advice: if you use a facecloth, you need to know that they often don't have them in hotels in Ireland and Great Britain. Pack a couple. Also, nothing ruins my vacation more than intestinal distress. Bring di-gel, gaviscon, stuff like that. Great Britain food while traveling is not as healthy as I am used to. I also pack fiber bars. It was hard to keep fiber in my diet over there!
Shoes: If the leather doesn't soften, you can try a product called hot glove, bought at sports stores, that s used to soften baseball gloves. You can use it a few times to break in shoes quicker. My Irish dancer daughter uses it on her dance shoes. And also pack your ugliest, most comfortable good old shoes just in case. I like to knit socks while traveling. Small, portable, on wooden DPNs. Sara In IL


Start wearing those red shoes now so they have time to conform to your feet. Otherwise, they won't be comfortable for the trip.

I echo the need to bring a washcloth if you use one. I've been to the U.K. several times and they never provide a washcloth in the hotel room.

On packing light, remember that a basic color and peelable layers will get you through most situations. It doesn't matter if you wear the same outfit three times/week because you'll be with different people and no one will know how many times you've worn that outfit. Scarves are great accessories.


I am sure you will have a fabulous trip, I am only sorry I won't be at home to meet you for coffee.


It going to be exciting for me to hear about your prep for the trip. If I can't go myself, the next best thing will be adventuring vicariously with you!

gale (she shoots sheep shots)

Love the hat! It should be required to have a new hat inmarch, just to make it through that last blast of winter.
Altho I think a trip to the UK will get you through even better.Looking forward to traveling along vicariously!


Have a wonderful time! And do take nibbles for the flight. And that hat is stunning!


In 1979, at 17,I visited Gibraltar with a friend. It was my first trip abroad.
In 1996 I married my husband and moved to Tokyo, where we still live.
Last month my Mom said if she had know one trip to Gibraltar would have lead to my traveling life, she would have said "no".
I say, "Use that passport"
Have a great trip!

Pat Cotten

The very best once-in-a-lifetime trip was when we went to England in 2009. Loved it, and can't wait to return! If you forget OTC medical helps, Boots Pharmacy seems to be all over England. Didn't see many yarn shops, hope you do better than I did in that respect. Have a great time and don't worry. I worried about so many "what ifs" that never happened! Looking forward to hearing about your trip. Lovely hat!


It's going to be wonderful, Vicki. Just wonderful! (When I went to London last year, I dragged along a sweater I was working on. I had no time - or inclination - to knit. Not one stitch!)

kelli ann

Can I just say, thanks for the link to that 'Not another scarf' hat. AAck, so, so great! And:: have a wonderful trip. Travelling just fills us up with new sights, experiences which lead to inspiration...

Steph VW

Ahem... Keen footwear is showing their new line of spring shoes.

Just thought I would throw that out there. :) I believe you share my love of all things Keen.


Have a fantastic time! I wish I still lived in Edinburgh, but that would be one heck of a commute to DC.

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