When I looked carefully at the three shops I'd picked for my tour, I realized they were all fairly close to the Regent's Canal. Another thing I wanted to do was walk along that canal. It turned out perfectly. The first shop, Prick Your Finger, was closed when I arrived so I went next door to have lunch at the Worker's Cafe.
I ordered a "bacon sandwich" and got exactly that—a couple of pieces of "bacon" (Euro style) between two slices of well-buttered bread. Ok. It was fine.
I finished up and went next door to the shop, which was small but well stocked.
I saw some nice looking black yarn and next to it, white yarn. Merino, grown, spun and completely processed in the UK. A winner for the future shawl! I chatted with the two women working there and bought three skeins of the black and one of the white. I'm now thinking I should've gotten one more of the white. Mail order perhaps?
After the first yarn shop, I walked towards the canal. Was this public housing?
I hit the canal via Victoria Park, a place I'd never been, in the East End of London. Very pretty, pretty empty. I starting taking pictures in earnest. The canal was very scenic and full of long boats that people actually live on. And try to sell!
View from Victoria Park
This is the spot where I left the canal to find the second yarn shop.
I missed the shop and walked to the end of the street. Because I'd had a light lunch, I decided it was time for coffee and cake. My timing was impeccable because not five minutes after I got my coffee, the rain started to come down in a sheet.
On the way back to the canal, I found the shop, though I didn't buy anything. I browsed around the bags of buttons and ribbon—not much yarn was actually offered. Then the power went out. It was just me and the owner. She said, "Can you watch the shop for a minute?" And before I'd really answered (I did say yes), she ran down to the basement to fix the electricity. A few minutes later she came back, thanked me, then I left. Yes, I am that trustworthy.
Back to the canal path. You know that stereotype of the Brits being super polite? It's kind of true. Look at this sign:
In the States, you'd have a red circle and a bar or a list of dos and don'ts. In Israel, you'd have a big sign forbidding everything. In England, you have firm but friendly suggestions.
Some people taking a boat ride. We waved at each other.
A questionable architectural decision
Waterfowl on the Canal
Around this point, I'd nearly reached the end of the path and my final yarn destination. I walked into the neighborhood as a light rain started to fall. I found the yarn shop and hunted around for a while. I finally settled on a skein of sock yarn of a type that's hard to come by in the US. (Ironically, the color I choose is almost identical to a skein I picked up in New York last month. Whoops.)
The rain was really coming down when I left the shop, so I stopped into a pub and had a beer. Only half a pint, though, I was tired and didn't want to fall asleep. In the pub, I plotted my return route and decided on a bus that would take me all the way to Waterloo station, where I'd need to catch the train back to Alicia's town. Perfect!
The rain slowly let up after I got on the bus and I had a fantastic tour of the center of town, including an almost 360 degree turn around St. Paul's Cathedral. Very nice. Then, home, kids, dinner, sleep. A good day.
Grateful for: a very good, slightly yarny, day.