We’ve had a busy August few weeks here in western Massachusetts. We were delighted to entertain my friend Simmy and her family from the Cotswolds in England at the beginning of last week. Oh, how I wish we lived closer to each other. She and her family were delightful, easy going, high-spirited, and fun-loving. Simmy’s two boys, Rohan and Raj, and husband Tom helped The Farmer with some of his chores and helped me feed my chickens and pigs too. Julia idolized Amber, Simmy’s tall and beautiful daughter who was loving American Teen Vogue. I only wish she had gotten to spend time with my 13 and 14 year old fashion fanatic nieces Olivia and Celia. We showed them around our local area and we all got along splendidly. All her children are lovely, polite, smart and fun and Julia had a great time with each of them. I learned a lot about their Waldorf School which sounds like a great education. We live quite far from one so it isn't even an option for Julia.
I know it takes a long time to get to places here – something our British visitors were not used to. We do spend a lot of time and money driving here. To get to the local grocrey store, it is a 14 mile round-trip. To go to a local historic site – it is about 25 minutes one way. To get to a largish mall it is 45 minutes one-way - no wonder I barely frequent the big-box stores (not that I am wild to do so anyway). I guess we are used to the driving but for Simmy’s family, they seemed to be amazed. And this isn’t even Texas where I’ve been on driveways to someone’s house on a ranch that alone are a 45 minute ride. I guess it puts it all in perspective as to how big the USA actually is, even if we are in little old New England.
It’s amazing how you sometimes discover new things in your backyard when newcomers show you. There’s a splendid restaurant/country store up in Ashfield, MA called Elmer’s that Simmy and her family were wild about. They dragged Julia and I up there (not really dragged, we went willingly) for a great breakfast. After, the kids swam at the Potholes in Shelburne Falls. I had never been swimming there although I have visited many times and enjoyed looking at the amazing rock formations. Even if Simmy and I did visit the quilting shop instead of jumping in the water, it was great to see the kids having such fun.
We all went to Historic Deerfield and the kids patiently toured the Wells Thorn House above. Yes, it really is a bright turquoise color. I like to take guests to this home because it shows how housing in New England changed over the years. This house shows the bare bones of one room living and then morphs into a very fancy lawyer's home (hence the blue color). There is some great wall paper and colors inside along with beautiful needlework and porcelain. Julia and I are touring a new home every few days and by the end of the summer, we should have seen them all. (It was her suggestion and I gladly went along). Our house is actually older than most of the homes in Historic Deerfield so it's fun to compare and contrast our real home to the historic ones. One thing - they are much cleaner and there is no clutter!
Saturday, Marilyn of Knitting Curmudgeon fame, was here taking some photos for a feature article she is doing about me for the Winter 2007 issue of Interweave Knits. I absolultely hate having my photo taken and I’m sure I wasn’t as pleasant as I usually am. It’s funny – I don’t mind being behind the camera torturing people but make me the subject and I am miserable. Anyone else feel that way?
Marilyn is lovely to spend time with and not exactly a "curmudgeon" in real life although she is opinionated and quick witted! She worked in needlework publishing (McCall's Needlework and Crafts and MacKnit) back in the 80's when I was just beginning my career. We knew many of the same people and so it is fun to swap stories. I can't wait to see the article and am thankful that she proposed it to IK. It is perfect timing for my book since it will hit in the late fall, just a bit after the book comes out.