London is a very long way from where I live. The most direct train leaves the city of Preston, which is 25 minutes away from the village where I live, and arrives in London 2 hours and 45 minutes later.
And that's the train that doesn't stop before London Euston.
I know, I know, it isn't really all that far away - it's closer than Sacramento is to San Jose by train - it's all psychological; it just emphasizes how far away this very little village is from all things modern and metropolitan. I live in Blue Rinse Central, or in my own WB-esque sense of humor, Oldville.
Oldville is nothing like Smallville - no meteor shower has ever bestowed special powers on the people of this town, there are no hunky supermen, no weirdo billionaires, but there are dozens of overly-made up, crackpot wannabe-vixens.
I hadn't fully realized the implication of living in such a small village, with such an elderly population until I started going about my day-to-day activities. You see, the upside to not working is that you can get your shopping done during the day - Scottish raspberries, mackerel fillets, fruit, veg and pikelets and you're on the way back home before 11 a.m. The downside to shopping during the day when you live in Old Wrinklyville is that it takes from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. to get those things because you spend 65 percent more time trying to navigate aisles that are clogged with tottering old betties desperately trying not to clean their own clocks with jars of pickled onions or potted beef. Their shopping trolleys are cocked at odd angles and the aisles look strangely reminiscent of the parking lot. Very old men are attempting to take direction from equally old women who are trying to determine the actual number of canned peaches you get per pence and whether they should splurge on the market brand or a more generic (if possible, and it is!) brand. Neither can hear the other, she can't walk over to the other side of the aisle and he can't read the can, they are too far apart to hand things to one another and all I want is my damn Carob Crunch made by a carbon-neutral, environmentally-friendly company so that I can get to the meat aisle and get wafer-thin organic ham before they run out (not bloody likely!). Hrrrrumph!
So, despite the fact that it takes nigh three hours to get there by train - made longer by the fact that if I don't rush onto the train and nab one of the few unreserved seats I'll have to stand the entire way - I headed off to London to have a hair consultation, visit a yarn shop that I'd found on the net and get the hell out of Oldville for a while.
The hair consultation was fine. I made an appointment for two days later an am looking forward to having something other than braids for a while. My own hair is a little too long to braid it into the style that I like, so it's time to make a change.
The real treat was Stash. Man, have I missed good yarns shops. The Yanks reading this will be pleased and amused to know that the one shop I've found that I really like is owned by an American (America, Fuck Yeah!). They actually carry Malabrigo and Misti Alpaca. They have Koigu and yarns by Tilli Thomas that are unreal - silk with Swarovski crystal beads or semi-precious stones. Here's hoping they make it to Stitches West! I must warn you though; it's spendy yarn - £75/skein for some of the yarns. Yowza. The women who worked there were quite nice, stayed open late for myself and one other customer, let me walk in off the street and wind my own yarn, troll through their books and even gave me guidance for a pattern when I came in and said that I was looking for a pattern for a specific yarn instead of the other way around. It was well worth the trip.
The shop is in Putney, South London and I have to say that I enjoyed South London a great deal more than I did Central London. My earlier excursion sent me to the Oxford Circus station and it was ridiculous. Not the good ridiculous as Karen Tanner usually means it, but ridiculous in the usual OED sense. It was like a caricature of what people who have never been to the Big City expect it to be.
While I was in Putney, I decided to take a later train and have dinner by myself at Pizza Express, which I'd spied on the way down to Stash. I thumbed through a copy of Selvedge and enjoyed the Padana pizza, which was excellent. It's something I am looking forward to on my next visit to Stash.
Back on the tube, I got to London Euston just in time to miss the train to Preston (and to learn that I had an hour to wait), but in time to find that there is a Krispy Kreme stand at the station - crazy. I had a latte and the last Belgian Chocolate brownie at Starbucks, sat in the cool night air listening to people I couldn't quite see laugh and talk and waited for my train. As I said, well worth the trip.