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Yarn is expensive in the UK.

I had the opportunity to go into John Lewis in Sheffield on Monday, and I was glad I’d pre-decided yarn wasn’t going to be a souvenir of my England trip. The mean price of a 50gm skein seemed to be £4.00 more or less! That was more than what we’ve been spending on lunch these past few days. And you’d need at least 8-10 skeins for a decent-sized article.

John Lewis is a general department store which also has a craft section. Lots of wool and blends from Jaeger, Debbie Bliss, Rowan. All of them equally expensive. There were some bundles in clearance, but at £1.95 per skein, I’m afraid I wasn’t tempted much there either.
I’m not just multiplying by 84 and baulking. As I said, my lunch was cheaper than one skein. Maybe I’m not a die-hard yarnster? Or just a cheapskate.

The only needles on display were our very own Pony, in the same packaging as we get in India. They had large size Pony straights in plastic (the monster sizes). There were some bamboo straights of a different brand, but again, I’m only looking for circulars in small gauges and long lengths (I want to be able to do magic loop). Like in India, the gauge here seems to stop at 2 mm. I couldn’t find any smaller gauge needles. Perhaps a real yarn store would have some. The only thing I bought was a pack of split ring stitch markers and I’m resolutely refusing to multiply the price by 84. I doubt I’ll be going to a yarn store in the last days of my trip, so that perhaps will remain my only yarnly souvenir.

Is yarn expensive in the rest of Europe, too?

But I’m making lots of memories 🙂 More photos added to my Flickr account.

Here’s a link to my unedited pictures of our trip to England so far.

Reporting currently from Whiston near Rotherham.

Amma and I are going to be in the UK from the 17th to 31st. The land of Dickens and Shaw and Shakespeare and Austen and Sayers and Rendell and James (PD) and Townsend and Heyer and Francis…. I’m excited.

It’s my first trip abroad, the first time I’m taking a long-distance flight, the first time I’ve applied for a visa. There was some drama with my mom’s passport first, a policeman playing havoc with verification and delaying the renewal until the last minute. But the visa magically came through in three days without us having to travel to Chennai for an interview.

Do you know, my parents and my sister came back to India via Europe when they resettled from Canada in 1972? And they actually landed in London two years to the day I was born! They spent 4 days there and also visited Paris, Venice, Rome, Belgrade, and Egypt.

Ruth has very very kindly offered to help with accommodation in London. I was originally planning to go to Edinburgh/Lake District/Yorkshire but friends there haven’t responded to my latest mail, so I’m going to try and see as much as possible via day trips from London. Maybe move into a hostel so we don’t inconvenience Ruth more than we are already.

Anyone has any tips? Ruth says she might take me to her local knitting group, which is a scary idea! Me, the amateur knitter, meeting actual real knitters, who probably make usable items!!! And beautiful ones. It’s terrifying. Gulp.

I don’t plan to buy any yarn, because I’d probably want a little bit of everything and that would be way above my budget/baggage allowance. Too much temptation might sometimes translate into none at all, you know. But maybe some small gizmo, if it is affordable.

Will I meet any of my readers there? Let me know. Did I say I’m excited? I’m excited!

My sister, mother, niece and I went sightseeing today to see the Chowmohalla Palace near Charminar. First, a picture of Charminar, the distinctive landmark of my city, Hyderabad.

Chowmohalla is a complex of 4 palaces (which is what its name means) around a spacious courtyard with a fountain/pool in the centre. The largest is the Khilwat, which has a large durbar hall with a marble dais for the seat of the Nizam. The entire durbar hall is lit by 19 Belgian crystal chandeliers. Upstairs they currently have an exhibition of period textiles. We were not allowed to photograph either of the exhibits, but I have a couple of picture of the outside of Khilwat Mahal, front, back and side.

The entire complex is being restored by the Nizam’s family, to whom it still belongs. There was also a photography exhibition of photos of the Nizam’s family form early last century. We found some smaller interesting details, such as this seal on some fireproof almirahs made in 1857:

and the work on these doors and windows:

Plus, being the flower spotters that we are, we also liked these pink and white hibiscus:

I’ve uploaded some pictures from our trip to the million-year-old Borra caves over at my photoblog, Misfit Travels. Do take a look.

I’ve put up some pictures from our Orissa trip over at my new photoblog, Misfit Travels. Check them out sometime.

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