Sunday, 6 March 2011

First Yurt Road Trip

I spent most of the week preparing for my trip to QGBI Region 15E near Durham after getting in touch with Region 15W to apologise profusely for muddling the two groups together and taking the latter out of my diary. Luckily, Ferret has agreed to take my place at their Regional Day in October as I plan to be out of the country. I rooted around my computer to find lots of construction and work-in-progress pictures to make a PowerPoint presentation. This was a really interesting exercise as it meant that I had to create a chronological sequence of photos and make notes. For the first time ever, it made me realise quite how much was involved from planning, to gathering materials, making, enlisting help, putting it all together with the invaluable help from the Stunt Quilters and then starting to work out how to continue developing the project after LLQS. Bizarrely, on the night before the trip, I dreamt about Kitchenaid Mixers rather than having nightmares about driving several hundred miles with a Yurt on the roof of my car.
 Packing everything up was relatively easy as it was already organised. The tweed roof sections had been packed into vacuum bags which took up very little space. The most challenging thing was working out how to use the ratchets on the roof-rack straps. I think I have it sussed now, after catching a finger in one of them.
The 6 hour journey was pretty smooth all the way to Newcastle then a couple of angry motorists shook their fists at me while meant to be keeping to the 40mph speed limit during roadworks as they wanted to overtake. I almost made it to my final destination then had a last minute doubt that I was in the right place so stopped at a corner shop to ask for directions. In my haste to get away, I backed up the Landy but somehow just did not see a parked car behind as I crunched its plastic bumper. The driver emerged from the shop, understandably annoyed and I apologised profusely while also getting lip from some cheeky teenaged bystanders. I was SO annoyed with myself! There wasn't a scratch on the Landy, of course.
During the evening some of the Region 15E committee members gathered and finally after 10pm we gained access to the venue. The janitor was most concerned about his newly varnished floor but we were very careful. Miraculously, the small team of ladies managed to put up the wooden frame within an hour but it made me realise that however independent I claim to be, this is one job where Manpower is essential.
We arrived early the next morning to hang the wall panels and get the huge tweed roof up.  Despite not having time to hang bunting and fairy lights on the Yurt, it was great to see it in all of its finery again. The visitors were impressed and seemed to enjoy my talk which actually overran a little. I normally worry that I will be over concise and finish talking too soon. I received many compliments and admiration for my crazy project, and for the amazing support of the Stunt Quilters. I was delighted to sell some of my hand-dyed packs and postcards. I even met 2 longarmers who were keen to undertake some tuition and it was really nice that Kath from Darlington came specially – she even volunteered her son to help pack up the Landy afterwards, which was hugely appreciated.
It was fun to meet up with Ferret again as we always seem to get along rather well. We were amused that some members of the audience didn't know which of us was which and wondered vaguely whether we should plan a joint road trip in the future. Her talk also went down very well and it looked like everyone managed to stay awake all day – this has not always been the case at other Regional days that I have attended as there often seems to be some surreptitious afternoon snoozing going on.
I must thank Ann for being a lovely hostess and looking after me this weekend and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting quilters from another area. It was a long drive home but I was able to listen to Radio 4 for most of the way. I stopped at IKEA for lunch on the way home and bought a bolt of black cotton which I daresay wiped out the modest profit that I might have made if I had not ruined someone's bumper. Unfortunately I didn't remember to ask anyone to take photos on my own camera so I hope that someone might send me a picture or two. I believe that Ferret may have taken a quick snap as I climbed on the Landy to load up my floral trimmed army canvas roof-rack bag – I don't suppose it was a particularly flattering shot!

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