Posted by Stitchy McYarnpants On October - 29 - 2005   ShareThis




OK. First of all, it’s October 29th. The autumn air should be crisp and clear. I should be hearing the shoosh of leaves beneath my feet as I walk. Kids should be getting ready to go trick or treating and comlaining that they have to wear a light jacket to protect them from the chilly fall weather.

And yet, when I look out my window, I am confronted with this.


Uuuummmm, I re-check the calendar, wondering if I’ve missed my vacation in November altogether and gone right to Christmas.

Nope. Still October 29th. Huh. Mother Nature sure has a bug up her ass this year, eh? Pull it out, old lady! Pull. It. Out. Boy, oh boy, I sure can’t wait for the hailstorm of ants she’s been working on. I heard she was thinking about a Fun Fur tornado, too. She loves the novelty yarns.

Second, I have been thoroughly and completely busted by Julie in the comments. I purposely didn’t mention it in the previous post. I was repeating the knitters’ mantra “No one else will notice, no one else will notice, no one else will notice it . . . .” But I was wrong. The afforepictured basketweave scarf (yep, it is to be a scarf) has a bit of wonk in the lower left corner. I have decided to pretend that it’s my “signature” and that I did it with all of my faculties engaged. Otherwise, it would drive me crazy and I would have to put it right into the garbage disposal. Of course, we don’t have a garbage disposal, so I’d have to go to the hardware store, buy one, and install it just to get the dark thought of that lower left corner out of my head. So, in order to save me the trouble, it’s my knitting signature and that’s that. Don’t make me send the Feline Home Protection Brigade ofter you. They’ll curl up right on you and you’ll be pinned for hours.

Lastly, since I’m leaving for a two-week vacation on a redeye flight next Friday, I thought it was time to ask my fellow bloggers if they’ve been to London and what have they seen. Charlene and I are going to be spending a week in Andalucia, Spain, but it’s with a tour, so we’ll be pretty well taken care of there. After Spain, we’ll be in London for 5 days looking for some fun stuff to do. We’ll be there from the 13th through the 17th and we already have plans Monday night. We have 4th row seats to see Ewan McGregor in Guys and Dolls. Woo-hoo!

So if you have any tips (yes, I’ve been warned about the pick-pocketers, especially in Spain), know of any good shows or concerts going on, need to tell us what to avoid because it sucks, know where all the cheap Rowan yarn is, or have any particular destination in or around London that we should visit, now is the time to cough it up.

We have already decided to go to the V & A. They’re having a Diane Arbus show and I loves me some Diane Arbus! So, what else should we do?


39 Responses

  1. naomi says:

    It’s probably going to be late in the season for Kew Gardens, but maybe London fall is later? I also really liked the Tate Modern.

    Even if it’s seasonally inappropriate, your snowy view is pretty.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi! I used to live there, and I have lots of suggestions. First of all, the British Museum is free (you are encouraged to leave a donation), so you can go several times during your visit and just pick a few exhibits to see each time. The Tate Modern is lovely, the Tower of London and Crown Jewels admission is worth it if you like that sort of thing. A very nice inexpensive high tea service is at the Orangerie in Hyde Park next to Diana’s old home, Kensington Palace- all the good food and manners without the exorbitant price tag of the Savoy or Ritz. Good cheap eats can be found at Wagamama, a japanese health-nut noodle bar chain that can be found all over the city. And if you like flea markets, try Camden Road and Notting Hill. If nothing else, buy a Time Out as soon as you step off the train and you’ll be all set with all the info you need. Also, bring a small umbrella with you so you don’t have to pay $20 for one when you get there, and remember that the weather in November is chillier than here- lots of layers, woolly scarves, hats, mittens, etc. If you can stand it, try walking to as many places as you can- you get to see a whole lot more architecture, discover little cafes and boutiques, and you get exercise to ward off all the beer and shepard’s pie. Have fun! Sarah- Shannon’s friend

  3. Stephanie says:

    The Tate is awesome but skip the Turner wing (boring!). If you are into history go see the National Portrait Gallery. If you like castles go see Windsor but skip Hampton Court and The Tower of London (both are very touristy and commercial). The London Eye is really cool but there is a wait & you have to get tickets ahead of time. If you like small charming museums & art then go to Leighton House in Holland Park (I think). The food court at Harrods is awesome – you should plan on eating there. And definately try to catch a show at the New Globe Theatre. I think you can get groundling tickets there on the night of the show & the theatre itself is really cool. Shakespeare sounds so much better & makes so much sense when spoken in a true British accent. Have fun – I’m totally jealous! Can you tell I’m a bit of an Anglophile?

  4. Gina says:

    Wow! That is too much snow for this time of year. Yes, I do believe it’s still 29 October, but something’s up with your calendar.

  5. Mary says:

    Have a blast in the U.K. – I’ve been trying to get over there to work for the last two years! I’m not jealous, really, I’m not!

    As for the basketweave “wonk”, just remember that the ancient tapestry master weavers purposely left a mistake in their items because only God is truly perfect. So there – you’re a master purposely leaving a mistake.

  6. PuppyMomma says:

    If Ewan MacGregor decides to get naked, take pictures.

    Thats all I have to say.

  7. Colleen says:

    You must have a walk through some of the Royal Parks–lovely. Take the Tube, but also make sure to take a few buses. Go have tea at Brown’s hotel and/or Fordnum and Mason’s. Otherwise, as long as you skip the tourist-y spots you will be fine.

    Also, as soon as you clear customs, buy yourself a copy of Time Out.

    HAVE FUN!!!!

  8. PURLPOWER says:

    RE. where to get Rowan yarn in London (you might be lucky and get some marked down in price but at this time of year pickings are slim I’m afraid)
    Easiest place to get yarn = Liberty’s and John Lewis which are both in the Oxford Street area. They are big department stores with little habberdasheries in them which are mostly Rowan. They bore me rigid ‘cos when I lived in London I did all my yarn shopping there, but for a visitor they might be more interesting. Here’s some links:
    A more interesting yarn shop, recently opened, is Loop: and since it is near Islington you could combine a trip there with a visit to the Craft Council in Angel:
    The Craft Council funded the Knit 2 Together exhibition which is currently touring the UK.

    Have a great time and I hope you do find some Rowan to satisfy you.

    Helen – Purlpower x

    PS. And I say this as a ‘blog-friend’ with the exception of going to see shows, plays etc. AVOID LEICESTER SQUARE AS IF YOUR LIFE DEPENDED ON IT AND DO NOT EAT THERE UNLESS YOU ARE DIABETIC AND ABOUT TO SLIP INTO A COMA (even then I would think twice….)

  9. PURLPOWER says:

    Oops, forgot to say, have a pint of Youngs beer in the Lamb for me please!

  10. Norma says:

    OH.MY.GOD. I’m sorry– I cannot concentrate. You’re going to see Ewan McGregor, 4th row, IN PERSON. I have just died and can’t decide if a) I can no longer be your friend, or b) I should stick close to you for your coolness factor. I’m still thinking. 😉

    BUT I used to live in London, too. Definitely the British Museum. Definitely Covent Garden. Definitely buy a Time Out, as others have said. This time of year it’s pretty dreary and cold, and some stuff is closed. BUT that makes it all the better. No crushing crowds. Yes, definitely bring an umbrella at all times. Crown Jewels I would bypass as not really being my cup of tea (although I obligatorily did it, and took American friends there to see it when they came to visit), but the Tower of London is great. Crapsake, when I went in there, I had a weird experience. I felt like I was brought back in time. Very strange.

    And even though it seems pricey and touristy, I am a believer in those double-decker touristy bus tours as soon as you get off the plane. Right on the corner of Oxford Street is a good one. It’s wonderful for giving you some orientation and helping you make decisions about what you want to hone in on more closely. Well worth it, in my opinion. The London Underground is AWESOME. It is easy to navigate and has very frequent stops. Unlike subways in other cities, it is extremely well marked, and you can get out of one stop and look down the street in either direction and actually SEE where the next stop is…to me it was all very comforting and helped me feel safe and oriented. Five days is a great amount of time to be able to do some great things. You really can’t go wrong in London….at least that’s my slightly biased opinion. :-)

    HAVE FUN! I’m so jealous.

  11. Suzanne says:

    TATE MODERN! It was my favorite part of the whole trip. Well, that and the beer. We took our CAMRA (The society for real ales) guidebook and drank our way around town as well. I LOVE BITTER (you know, that’s what those blokes call the ales)!

    Oh, and indian food. Ate loads of indian food; it was really class. Goes great with BITTER!

    Enjoy–we will miss you–

  12. Emily says:

    My favorite things when I was there 7 years ago: Liberty of London, John Lewis department store, the food court at Harrod’s, the V&A Museum (the glass room at the top, the costumes, and the tapestry room), and eating at Wagamama. Least favorite: the Tower of London. Have a great time!

  13. Mary says:

    Hey, I found another entry for your MOKS:

    Appropriate for Halloween, but for any other time of the year, these are freakin’ disturbing!

  14. Spark says:

    *sigh* i did a tour of andalucia in high school and have been dying to get back. have a wonderful time, and please, tell us where you’re going in spain.

    as for london, the globe theater is an awesome recreation (accurately created) of shakespeare’s theater. it’s a good tour and fun to see. also, check out the churches (although after spain, you may have enough of that). st. maarten’s in the field (right off of trafalgar’s square) has lunchtime concerts every day (and they’re good…the organ used to be played by mozart (or someone else like that…)) drink plenty of strongbow (sucks state-side). go see the royal jewels! bask in the 50-some carat diamond!! (it’s all at the tower of london). walk across london bridge. go to the tate (i didn’t get to go, but i regret not going…)

    hmm, that’s all i can think of. this is what i get for only going to europe on choir tours where we had a concert a night and rehearsal each day…

  15. Amy says:

    It’s been too long since I’ve been to London to comment, sadly, but check with Katie
    She lives in the UK, she might have some up-to-date info, especially about yarn.

  16. KT says:

    MIND THE GAP! The tube is great for getting ’round, DO take a double decker (tour bus or otherwise) and sit up top. Food court at Harrod’s is a WONDERFUL way to get lots of tastes of things, then cart them home and ingest. We loved the London Eye and bought tickets ahead of time for an early AM ride and didn’t have a wait at all. Science museum was great, and get traditional fish-n-chips at a tiny shop in Covent Garden called “The Rock And Sole Plaice”(they have a wesite! We loved the Tower and the Crown Jewels, too. Have fun!

  17. LauraJ says:

    For obscure fun, get off the Tube at MONUMENT and climb the tall hollow monument to the Fire of 1666. It used to be free, probably still is. Fine thing. Very odd plaque muttering about the Fire Of Popery (not potpourri) still burning in the city. But anyway. I also love, love LOVE the National Gallery and the National Portrait Galerry and the Museum of the City of London isn’t half bad either. And Foyle’s is said to be the largest bookstore in the world. You’ll manage to enjoy yourself somehow, I am sure.

  18. Bev says:

    As soon as you get there, get a brochure for London Walks (or other such company). These are cheap (5poundsish) walking tours to all the great things around London. At a minimum, you have to do the Jack the Ripper walk. You go down all the streets and see the buildings better than any other type of tour. I also loved the pub walk down the Thames. It started with one of the oldest pubs in London and ended with one of the newest. Stick to 1/2 pints and you can manage to drink in all of them!! The best Indian food in the world– in my opinion and not in the opinion of any reputable travel guide– Brick Lane cannot be beat. Its near the Aldgate East tube and near the Jack walk. I don’t know why the tour books diss Brick Lane, its cheap and great food. I go to London almost every year and eat there several times each trip. We also loved RockSolePlaice. Take a bike cab from Covent Garden. A ploughman’s lunch in any pub is great– Bread, cheese, ham and a pickled onion!! Be careful with any knitting needles and airports. I knit on a flight from France to London, then my needles were confiscated from London to Italy. No reason given. Have a ball. I’ll shut up now. Bev

  19. Gwen says:

    You might also think about getting outside of London for a day. I was in London for 5 days and I took a day trip down to Stonehenge and Bath. Stonehenge was just some stones, but it was kind of one of those must see things. I’m a Jane Austen fanatic, so Bath was great. They even had a Jane Austen store.

    I second the person above who suggested Wagamama’s. Cafeteria style, but a lot of fun. The Food court at Harrod’s was great as well. I mainly did the touristy things in London propor, Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Victoria and Albert Museum. Depends on your interests. The tower was really touristy, but I had fun there anyway. Watched the changing of the guard. Using the tube to get around it so easy. I rode it around by myself all the time. Of course, as with anywhere, you do need to be careful about your purse etc., but I never felt unsafe.

  20. KnittingRabbit says:

    Oh, love your snow. Now, London resident here, so…. London Eye. Just got to. Not too busy at the moment I think. Wagamama is as good as everyone says, plus there’s Masala Zone which is an Indian-type Wagamama. Dim Sum in nice surroundings – PingPong on Great Marlborough St, not far from Liberty. The Tower can be very spooky if you let yourself think about all the things that happened there. All the big museums are free now (donations are asked for), unless you want to see one of the big, special exhibitions. Any Carluccio’s cafe for decent, real Italian food. Tas / EV (behind The Cut at Waterloo) for fantastic Turkish food. I could go on, but I might be boring….

  21. Kristine says:

    If you get to Madrid, there is one yarn shop that you MUST go to…
    El Gato Negro. It’s very fun, yarn is put on a scale when sold to you, and they have some scrumptious wool and cotton- perfect for dyeing adventures.
    El Gato Negro
    Plaza mayor, 30
    Tel: 913 665 800

    – LANAS SIXTO Calle Atocha, 9 [metro: Sol].

    – DE PUNTILLAS Calle García de Paredes, 34 (Chamberí) and
    calle José Abascal, 28
    28003 Madrid
    [metro: Iglesía] (pretty central)
    One of these sells only yarn, the other one cross stitch kits – unfortunately I can’t remember which is which but they’re only a few hundred metres apart.

    – INKE Calle Don Ramón de la Cruz, 47 (Salamanca)
    [metro: Núñez de Balboa, Lista]

    – KATIA calle Doctor Esquerdo, 54 bis
    Metro: Saínz de Baranda
    [a 10 minute walk from Ibiza metro station and Retiro

    I haven’t spent much time in England, except when I was younger… so my advice is a little immature- visit the pet store in Harrod’s. :)

  22. ginchy says:

    I was going to rave about the V&A, but you’ve already decided to go there. It’s like the nation decided to open the attic and let you wander round. They’ve got Rodin Sculpture in the stairwell for crying out loud!

  23. katiedid418 says:

    we’ve had snow here TWICE already. the first time the western part of the state got 18-24 inches! thank god i live on the east part and got a light dusting.

    have fun in london!!

  24. Fiber Fetish says:

    English yarn!

    As for things to do I’ve got two words for you:

    Duck Tour

    They drive right into the water!

  25. Jackie says:

    Ewan. Yum.

    Sorry I don’t have any first hand pointers, but the one thing I do know is if you like a good curry, London’s the place to be, so don’t be afraid to duck into any curry shop to grab a bite. (Per Eric and my Malaysian and Indonesian crew who lived there for years.)

    Have a great time on your trip!

  26. Clara says:

    I did all the touristy things when I visited London, and I LOVED it. But I like being a tourist, haha. I loved the Tower of London and Trafalgar Square and Kensington Palace and Hyde Park and Westminster Abbey. I found the Underground to be a little confusing, but I come from a city with no subway, so it should be peaches to you as an Eastcoaster. Have fun and remember to look left before crossing the street!

  27. Kellee says:

    Oh come ON! It’s not bad enough that you get to go to Andalusia, but you also get 5 days in London? *sigh*

    Here’s my list:
    STRONGBOW.ON.TAP. – just sayin’

    Indian food!!!!

    Turkish Kebabs in the Ladder district (Turkish neighborhood)

    The Eye – touristy, yes, but still really fun. Well worth the effort to get the advance tix.

    The Tea Shop in Covent Gardens – called, yes, The Tea Shop. Not so original, but mmmmmm. If you’re a tea sort of girl, that is. And I am. Hmmm? Oh, Blood Orange or Caramel, thanks for asking. 😉

    And those people up there suggesting the Harrods ‘food court’? Believe them. Run, don’t walk. Also? Don’t miss the cigar store inside the men’s department.

  28. Micky says:

    Happy Halloween!

  29. thatfarmgirl says:

    Diane Arbus? Diane Arbus? Diane Arbus? I am so beyond jealous. Have a wonderful time in London and stay away from the Bag O’Glass Pub…there are some raunchy (and I do mean RAUNCHY) characters there.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Oops…sorry for the 2nd post. We always buy the red bus/blue bus tour for 24 hours. You can hop on and off and there are all sorts of routes and stops. It’s the easiest way to get about town!

  31. Kristy says:

    I have heard great things about Liberty in London. Of course, I have never been there so it is pure speculation. I know that blogger emma ( is in London and she always has such beautiful things to show on her blog. You might check her out if you don’t already.

  32. Liz Stein says:

    The Globe theatre is closed for performances in November, but the displays are still fascinating, if you’re into theatre. I love history, so I enjoyed the Museum of London; finding the remnants of the Roman wall; Hampton Court; the Tower; the Monument (my kids liked that, too); the British Museum (break it into shorter visits–and there are bookstores all around it); the Library (for booklovers, it is absolutely necessary. They have some great exhibits–some online, too, by the way). There’s nothing wrong with being a tourist!

  33. Aldona says:

    I have to say “Liberty of London” just like so many others. It’s such a cool building–all dark timbers with a open center that you can look all the way down to the first floor. Even if you don’t buy a thing, it’s sooo worth a visit! Have fun!

  34. Wendy says:

    Hey Stitchy! Don’t see your email address on your blog . . .

    I understand you won the Peacock Shawl. Also understand you’re going on vacation this Friday?

    Do you want me to mail the shawl right away, or wait til you get back? Lemme know!

  35. Becky says:

    Dang! I wish you’d done this before we went to London last year between Christmas and New Year’s! The comments you’ve gotten would have been an enormous help to us.
    My favorites:
    1. London Eye — very cool! and a great way to get a basic overview of the city before you do anything else
    2. The Tube — not only convenient, but it RUNS ON TIME! Wait till you see the giant, almost straight-up escalators (yeah, I’m a country girl). Buy a pass for the entire time you’ll be there — well worth the money
    3. Tower of London
    4. Walking, walking, walking everywhere
    5. The original Hard Rock Cafe, especially The Vault in the basement — go there and sit on Jimi Hendrix’s settee!
    6. Evening barge ride down the Thames
    7. Covent Garden and Picadilly Circus late at night
    8. All the places you’ve seen in pictures are REAL! LOL…
    Take the Tube from the airport — taxis are expensive, but it is cool to ride in one at least once. The exchange rate is ruinous. Remember to double the price of everything to get the U.S. equivalent. Our daughter-in-law manages a Burger King so we took a picture of their menu board to show her that the price of a Whopper was equivalent to $8.00 American!
    Have a great time, and take comfortable shoes.

  36. claudia says:

    Hey babe, have a blast! When at the V&A, please, please please see the Plaster Cast Room. I also skipped this one cause it sounded so weird. But it ended up being my favorite part of the whole museum. Kinda weird and a bit creepy in spots but WAY COOL.

    And have a scone from Harrod’s Food Hall for me, OK?

  37. Diane says:

    Rowan is in good supply in Libertys..i bought some when i was there in Feb this year….also saw Mamma Mia for 2nd time…and if it doesn’t make you feel good well then theres no hope left!LOL Very uplifting.
    Be careful on the tube,ticket touts and pickpockets etc…and be careful and only use black cabs if you want a taxi,some private cabs charge you what they want…it’s not metered like the black hackney cabs
    Kew will be good because you go inside the big and i mean”big” glass houses where it’s like being in the tropics , i know there was a big glass sculpture exhibit there earlier this year and it may still be on ,it look outstanding on the TV,check the website if you really fancy that one
    I hope you really enjoy your visit to our fair shores… have a great time:)

  38. Chris says:

    Hey, just found your blog, so I went a wanderin’ through. Me and Woolyheaded as a couple – we’d at least have both ends covered!

    London: went a few years ago, hit all the top tourist spots. Changing of the guard is not the big deal I though it would be, but worth going, I guess. The palaces have pretty spectacular gardens. My son took a look around the portraits of all the old royalty in a ballroom at Kensington Palace and announced quite loudly and amplified by the room’s echo, “these people have strange taste in art.” Oh, yeah, British Museum of Art was great. My favorite place wasn’t London, though – I really loved seeing Oxford. Have fun!

  39. Gwyn says:

    Snog Ewan for me.

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