On Saturday morning I was up bright and early, showered and ready to hit the road just before 7.45am. On the previous night I’d shown Peter the driving instructions I’d printed off from www.nowwhereroute.com … and we decided the best one to follow. Well, let me just say to you that that website has now been deleted from my favourites … and you’re about to find out why …
I have to say my sense of direction is usually pretty good, and something my Mum has often commented on, but I must have left that sense back in Melbourne. The drive from Merriwa (which I now know is pretty much “out bush”) to Glen Forrest should normally take approx 1 hour with no traffic hold-ups … I finally arrived in a very emotional and frazzled state at just before 11am!!! The stupid instructions had me driving through so many different little suburbs (and at one point through a street so small it had small roundabouts to cut down traffic speed) and essentially had a couple of flaws in the driving instructions. At one point I was told to turn left into some street starting with H … there was actually a signpost showing the street name pointing left, but there was basically a paddock sitting there, and sure as heck no road to drive into … thankfully I had a full Perth street map so I managed to eventually locate where I was on the map (and confirmed that the road I was supposed to drive left into was a future planned road and not actually built yet) and managed to find a way back to the next set of instructions, but each of these diversions took some time to work out the new driving strategy. At another point I was told to continue straight along Altone Road and it continues as the Reid Highway … well, in fact, no it doesn’t – you actually have to turn OFF Altone Road to get to the Reid Highway – of course I only find that out when I’ve been driving for ages and thinking “this isn’t right” – I then doubleback again to find the Reid Highway, and turn the wrong way onto it, and end up coming back towards the way I’d already come. I started recognising some road signs I’d already been driving up, albeit it a suburb or two away in the back streets, so I pulled off the highway into an industrial street and phone Judy at the class to say just start without me and I’d get there when I could. I do have to admit I was getting quite emotionally frazzled at this point, which probably had a lot to do with everything else that had gone wrong that week, plus the lack of quality sleep. Anyway, Judy was so lovely and kind on the phone, I started getting a bit ‘choked up’ – when she asked where I was I had to answer I have no idea! Anyway, she gave me instructions once I’d got back onto the Reid Highway how to get there, and her instructions were impeccable and easy to follow … but not before I had a slight detour … yet again!
When I’d got my bearings, I drove back the way I’d came, so I could turn back onto the Highway at the traffic lights … which was good in theory, except there were no right turns permitted – I had no option but to drive straight ahead … which just so happened to be the on-ramp to the Mitchell Freeway. At this point I was ready to throw my hands in the air and give up (this was now after 9.30am and the class was already started). Anyway, eventually I came to an off-ramp and drove around to a side street and worked out where I was, but it took a while before I managed to get back to the Reid Highway again (do you see now why I would have loved that GPS gizmo for the day?).
Well, eventually I managed to arrive at Judy’s home … at about 10.45am … and Judy met me at the door. She was so kind and sweet I just lost it – I started getting quite teary-eyed. We went for a short walk inside the main house to give me chance to calm down before joining the group. I felt really embarrassed, really disappointed, and really frustrated at the whole week really, and this event was just the last straw in a ridiculous chain of events (I think it was also worse because I’m so shy around new people, it’s a big deal for me to walk into a group of ladies I don’t know, so that probably helped to heighten the emotions of the day). BUT, here it gets better … and here is where I can justify my feelings of “no regrets” …
Everyone was incredibly welcoming and sympathetic, and I was immediately plied with fresh coffee (great timing arriving at morning tea time) and something sweet to settle my nerves (although a few thought a brandy wouldn’t have gone amiss LOL), and I was introduced to many of the ladies there. It was a relief to finally be there, and start to join in. I’d missed the Sam and Bertha instructions that happened earlier that morning, but CA was awesome and took me aside to catch me up with what I’d missed. I have to admit the first part of the day I felt quite overwhelmed with everything as it seemed quite fast-paced to me (probably just because I’d missed so much), but after Sunday’s session I feel comfortable to tackle the Etui project now on my own … I think.
I can honestly and truthfully say this was just about the best bunch of ladies I’ve sat and stitched with at a class – it was especially wonderful to be sat with Janie (of Cat’s Whiskers fame) and Ros, who kept me highly amused with their tales throughout the first day of class – and I think I did more laughing than stitching. I took a vow of silence, though, and what goes on tour stays on tour hahaha. Day one was spent working on the Pyramid Etui – I got 1/2 way to getting the baby pyramid finished, and just took a few notes for the rest of the class. A few people weren’t returning for the Sunday class, so I bid farewell to Janie and Ros and vowed to return again for another stitching session. CA seemed to approve of my chosen colour scheme, and in fact a few other people commented how lovely it was – which made me feel good, after having such dramas trying to find the right blues etc 🙂
Before I left for the trip home on Saturday I dragged out the road map and was shown a much simpler route for driving! When I showed them where the instructions had taken me, they couldn’t believe it … and let’s just say the drive home was exceptionally easy 🙂 I joked that I’d probably be the first one to arrive on the Sunday to make up for things … and I was, after a sum total of 55 minutes driving! LOL.
Saturday night I arrived home to my friend Hayley who was already in the kitchen … I told her I’d got some homework to do, as I wanted to finish my baby pyramid before I went to bed … but she promptly brought out a platter of crackers and dips, cheese and tapenade, and we sat outside chatting for a while over a glass of wine … which turned into a second glass of wine … and well, you can probably tell the ending to this tale! LOL. Let’s just say the nibbles turned into dinner when Pete came home and we were still sitting outside drinking more wine … my poor little pyramid never saw the light of day! As CA said, though, I think you needed it after the day you’d had! LOL.
Actually, that reminds me of a wee gift they bought for my arrival … sitting between the pillows on my bed was this huge 2L bottle of L&P – those of you who’ve been reading my blog for a while may remember this is a soft drink only made in New Zealand, and my absolutely favourite tipple is Jim Beam bourbon and L&P (ie Lemon & Paeroa) … I can’t buy it any more in Melbourne, so that was like a gold nugget nestled between the pillows – yummo 😀 OK, now back on to the tale …
Sunday, of course, had a much brighter start to the day – I was sitting with a different group of ladies this time, and once again had lovely company for the day. It was great to get to spend some more time with Georgie on the Sunday, as my fellow Victorian – and of course it was through Georgie that I learned about the class in the first place. The day just flew by, it was a great day. And almost all of us even managed to get our Peacock Needle/Scissorcases finished! I have to admit I was one of the later finishers, but got the final stitches into it just before I had to pack up for my trip to the airport.
I took a couple of photos of people etc from the weekend, but I don’t like to post their piccies without prior consent, so I’ll just have to show you my finished piece instead 😀 Sorry about the wee piccies, but I’ve heard CA isn’t keen on photos due to copyright, so to be considerate of this I’ve left the piccies small enough that they’d be difficult to copy … but big enough to see the finished project.
After saying our goodbyes we braved the torrential downpour that was happening outside, and Michael (Judy’s husband) ferried us to our cars to save us getting drowned on the way up the driveway – driving to the airport was very simple, and I arrived in good time. Unfortunately though there was a mechanical problem with the plane and we ended up leaving almost 1 1/2 hours late … but I was just grateful to get on the flight. It was touch and go whether I’d get on (I was on a standby ticket), but eventually they allowed me a boarding pass yippee. When we arrived at Melbourne we found the city SkyBus only leaves hourly at that time (it was now 1/2 past midnight), so I ended up sharing a cab with two other ladies into the city, then got a cab the final part home … it felt soooo good to be in my own bed, but I have to admit I felt very contented as well due to the wonderful classes I’d been to.
In finishing I just have to say CA is the most wonderful teacher – if you get chance to attend a class, I’d definitely recommend it. She has some of the most exquisite class projects and I’ve already been enticed by the classes planned for next year … Judy asked me whether I will be returning next year – my answer “if I’m allowed to come back, you can definitely count me in!!” I have to say I am now a fully-fledged member of the CA Wells fan club … while I didn’t achieve much on the Saturday stitching-wise, the Sunday class has given me extra confidence in finishing items such as these – and after all, that’s what I originally signed up for … little did I know at the time that it would turn into something that I could become addicted to – and I can’t wait for next year to roll around (of course next year I’ll be doing a few things differently – probably staying with one of the generous ladies, Judy, instead of hiking out from Merriwa, and taking some time out for R&R to see some more of Perth … that didn’t quite happen as planned this year). I have to compliment Judy and Michael, our hosts, as well – they do an incredible job of organising these classes, and it was a sheer joy to spend time in their home in their company.
So, all-in-all an incredible weekend was had – memories that will last a lifetime, some new stitching friendships made, new stitching opportunities offered, and even a project finished … who can ask for more? 😀