Saturday, 28 July 2012

The Javelin - an historic train journey

As one of the senior stakeholders for Southeastern Railways, I was invited to participate in a historic train journey - the first official running of the Javelin train which will take spectators from St. Pancras International to the Olympic Park at Stratford in approximately 7 minutes. It normally takes about 40 - 50 minutes on the tube!

It meant an early, early start yesterday morning, as I had to be at St Pancras by 6.45am and, as you will see below in the photographs I got there with time to spare! It's surprising how busy the station was even at 6.30 in the morning!

St. Pancras International Railway Station

Trying to find my way to the Javelin train

I finally found the train!
Despite all the confusion of the signs with arrows pointing in the
wrong direction - why? Because they are pointing towards the end of the
queue - it runs the whole length of the station which is immense!!!

One half of the Javelin

Journey's end in 7 minutes - a surprising lack of bunting etc - why?
It's not allowed...

I bought a Great Britain team mascot (I love his smile), to go along side my
New Zealand Kiwi and Australia Koalas which grace my shelves at work
- guess what I teach!

Friday, 20 July 2012

The Olympic torch arrives!

On Day 63 of the Olympic torch relay around the United Kingdom and with just 7 days to go until the opening of the London Olympic Games, the torch finally arrived in Seal, Kent, just a mile away from where I live.

So I decided to take the day off and join the crowds...

With two hours until the torch arrives - first problem, where to stand to get a good view?
I headed for the bus stop

Those grey clouds look ominous!

1 hour to go and Samsung arrive with blow-up banging sticks to keep us amused :-)

Seal Primary School arrive en masse outside the village hall

The police motorcyclists did a marvellous job of keeping us all amused with
high 5's!

With 15 minutes to go and Seal High Street is ready for the arrival of the torch

Looking down Seal High Street

The Seal Library lion strikes the eponymous Usain Bolt pose

The start of the Torch parade

The Coco-Cola float - I missed out collecting a free frisbee taking this photograph :-((

The Samsung float

The Lloyds-TSB float

It's nearly here...!

The next torchbearer arrives - 17 year old Manuel Harris from
Coulsdon, Surrey

The torch is readied and the gas turned on...

Although he said he was very nervous, he was very excited...

The Olympic torch "kiss" when the flame is passed on...

The torch is lit and on its way to Sevenoaks

All the flower displays in the village had a red, white and blue theme and
many people living along the torch route into Sevenoaks held
lunch parties in their front gardens

My freebies!

and finally... my tickets for the Olympic and Paralympic Games have arrived.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Some more works in progress...

Lately,I have been finishing off some blocks that have been sitting around in various bags, which does not get me very far. So, here are some completed blocks from various quilts in progress.

Beyond the Cherry Tree Quilt
Block 13

Block 14

I now have just 11 more blocks to applique and then it will be on with the borders which I have decided to leave until I complete the blocks so I can ensure the borders will fit. I have just noticed that I didn't stitch on an eye for the bird, so not quite complete after all.

Maltaville Album Quilt

I have often wondered at the significance of the Saturn and its' moons block in this quilt, as I think Saturn had been discovered long before 1847 when the original quilt was made. We will most probably never know.

Just Takes 2
8-pointed star
This quilt is coming along very, very slowly. I have two other blocks in progress for this quilt, both applique, but they not quite ready to be photographed.

Finally, a photograph of part of a panel I began when I was in Nantes in April. The panel was designed by Brigitte Giblin for the workshop I took with her, but I have made a few minor changes. I am not showing all of it just yet, but I am thinking that I might let it "grow". I am planning it as my "Olympics" project quilt...

and finally, a box of hexagons - my current rail commuite project.

Thanks for reading my blog!

Friday, 13 July 2012

London calling...

After a meeting up in south London yesterday, I braved a trip up to London's West End - I must have been mad! and the weather didn't help either, so I am sorry for the poor quality of the photographs.

Count down to the Olympics in Trafalgar Square
Count down to the Paralympics

The Olympics is just 14 days away and all the signage is in place and the VIP routes are being painted on the roads (much to the annoyance of the London bus and taxi drivers who will not be allowed to use them!).

After some retail therapy, I took a taxi back to Charing Cross station - I was tired, wet and miserable! London is so busy and it was trying to get photographs without half the picture being taken up with umbrellas!

Here are some more photographs sans umbrellas :-)

The national flags of the Olympic teams down Regent Street
The banners in Oxford Street

 My absolutely most favourite department store in the whole world!
John Lewis, Oxford Street

Display window in John Lewis

Display window in John Lewis

This picture has been added, just to prove that we can have nice...ish weather in London!
 This is the Shard. It is Europe's tallest building and completely faced with glass. It officially opened last Thursday. Poor old Guy's Hospital, which is to the right of the Shard, is the world's tallest hospital building (I trained and worked there. My office was on the ground floor - no windows and therefore no views!! but the views from the top were spectacular). It was the tallest building on London's South Bank, but now it is completely dwarfed :-(

The Shard will have offices, a shopping centre, hotel and, private flats reputed to be on sale for the bargain price of just £ 50,000,000 each!

The exterior walls of the Shard have been designed to lean in, so that when the sun hits the glass there is a shard of light, which is quite spectacular, but I haven't seen it myself... yet!

The photograph below was taken earlier this month and appeared in the Daily Telegraph.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

A work in progress!

Like many other quilters I have more than one quilt on the go at any one time! The problem for me is to limit the number of projects, but with all the wonderful patterns and quilts I've seen in museums and on-line this is soooo... hard!

Last week I received a pattern for the Aunty Green Quilt. Designed by Irene Blanck you can see it in the gallery on her website Focus on Quilts. She distributes through various stockists in Australia. I got my pattern through Threadbear, but strangely when I checked their website tonight, the pattern wasn't there - I know it has been flying out of the shop ever since it became available, so maybe they are waiting to re-stock.

This quilt has been on my wish list for many years, primarily because it is all applique! The Australian Patchwork and Quilting magazine published the pattern over three issues back in the mid-1990's and despite having practically every copy of the magazine since its inception - guess what? I "lost" these issues in my move from Australia back to the UK.

Brigitte Giblin has published her version of the quilt in her new book Feathering the Nest published by Quiltmania. It's much larger than the above and original version and requires quite a bit of half-square triangle piecing but, as those who know me well, I loathe piecing!
 So I have carefully put my new pattern away, but will keep my eyes open for useful fabrics and start another project crate for some time in the future.
Brigitte Giblin's version of Auntie Green's Quilt
In the meantime, I do not like to admit to myself just how many quilts are in "production", but I do finish them... eventually! I suppose it is the process of auditioning fabrics and the making of the top that I enjoy the most. To finish a quilt is the end of a long journey and I do not want that journey to end - it seems so final.