Friday, March 03, 2006

Flights of Fiber Fancy

Despite the proliferation of a certain handheld tool that make its user think that the world is their living room therefore they can hold a phone conversation in full voice for all to hear, I have enjoyed the technological advances that have occurred in the last 10 years. When the personal computer first reared its head, I've been curious about it and excited when I finally was able to afford one. I knew I was destined to be a geek. I was already a geek so the acquisition of another facet of geekdom was a matter of course. I cannot claim to be a full-blown guru; my paltry skills at the keyboard pale in comparison to those who can decipher a computer's whimsies. At best I'm a translator for the less geeky, able to take the eldritch and incomprehensible instructions and translate them into conversational English. Or at least help a sweating and frightened user return their toolbar back to its expected location from the black hole it had been inadvertently sent into by an over-excited mouse click.

This geekdom has given me the confidence to surf the Web and build dreams without paying a penny beyond my usual ISP fee. Today it was a dream trip to visit Brenda Dayne, her partner Tonia, and the wilds of Wales. Brenda's the intrepid host of Cast-On: a podcast for knitters. She is also a fellow Portlander who confessed to me missing Oregon Chai. My dream trip would be to load up two suitcases: one for clothes and knitting, the other with Oregon Chai; and depart eastward for the wilds of Wales on a mission of mercy. So how would I get to Llanteg, Brenda's home and abode?

First off, I had to find out where the hell it was. My atlas has the entire British Isles on a page 14 by 18 inches in size, which pretty much eliminates any tiny villages from view. However, the Web was a great source of maps of the area and once I had located the village, I set about to find larger towns that could be possible rail stops.

My next stop after noting a few likely candidates was the website for British Rail. My most likely air connection was going to be London, so I looked at how long it would take for me to take the train from London to the towns I had chosen. I ended up choosing Whitland as my final train destination. The train from London to Whitland would take as little as 4 hours. Fine. Now while I was looking at the rail map, I noticed a ferry coming across the Irish Sea from Ireland. Hmm. A trip to Dublin, then the train and ferry to Wales? Pbbbt! was my reaction after I plugged them into British Rail's itinerary planner. It took me on a roundabout trip from Dublin, across the Irish Sea to northern Wales, then the train went through Shrewsbury south to Whitland. Other forays into other British cities (Birmingham, Manchester) also came up with disappointing results, though Birmingham's train ride would have been the same as London's.

On to the airlines. I figured that September would be ideal, so I went into several international airlines to see what they came up with. If I took KLM, I'd be flying to Amsterdam before coming into the UK. Aer Lingus required I fly to Los Angeles before flying east and then they only flew on certain days. Air Canada was the most promising costwise, but some of the flights had a 10 hour layover in Vancouver BC. I can drive there faster than that!

But if I do decide I want to do this, the cost of the flight would probably be around $750. The train ticket's $141 round trip. Then there's making the arrangements with Brenda and deciding what other excursions I'd like to make while over there. Hmm.

So what's your dream vacation?

Olympic Sweater Redux

I've taken out the zipper and put in one button band with these lovely pewter buttons with stylized horses on them. I know that a certain Witt wants to see the detail, but he's just gonna have to wait. I'm not done with the buttonhole side or the pockets, so there nyah.

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