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Daytime US-to-UK Flights: One Knitter’s Perspective

27 September 2011

We live here now. Here is cool.

Well, folks, we have arrived in Oxford, and a lovely autumn it is in the City of Dreaming Spires. We took a couple of days to get here, because (as we often do) we complicated our trip more than was strictly necessary. But if you haven’t yet realized that Mr. Trask and I tend to overcomplicate things, well, you just haven’t been paying attention.

First, though, a list of things that we have done, and therefore will not have to do again for a while. Everyone celebrate with us that we have:

  1. Gotten six suitcases and four carry-on items through Heathrow, to a hotel, to the car service, to Oxford, and up the narrow, tall stairs to the first floor of our home.
  2. Taken delivery of a very large mattress.
  3. Wrestled said mattress up the aforementioned narrow, tall stairs.
  4. Located Vicks VapoRub in a city that for a time seemed not to know (or care) what it was. Turns out, it was just those two pharmacists.
Checked Baggage, IAD - LHR

Checked Baggage, IAD - LHR. That's right: this is just our checked baggage.

There were other victories, but today it is enough to be able to say that we will not have to deal with that stupid mattress for at least 11 months and change. I might be willing to toss it out the window when the time came, if only it would fit out the window. Perhaps we could shear it in half with very sharp scissors.

But I digress. The main point of today’s post is that we arrived just fine, and that you ought to try a daytime flight from the US to England, if such an opportunity comes your way.

Daytime flights are not the norm by any stretch, as those of you know who have staggered into Heathrow, bleary-eyed and emotionally shattered from trying to sleep in coach. There is one out of Dulles and I think similar flights out of Boston and New York. A friend recommended it to us, and I do think it made the whole move more bearable. Mr. Trask is 6’5″, and neither of us sleeps well on a plane. I know that, if you’re just popping over for a vacation, you don’t want to waste one of your days off on a plane – but, for me, the day I save by flying at night is a day I spend puking due to sleep deprivation and jet lag, so really it’s all the same.

Knitting to Oxford

Here's another photo of me knitting on the flight. To see more of my face (and less of my hands), check out the post before this one.

I will admit that the idea of knitting for 8 hours on a plane might have had some bearing on this decision. Why sleep when you can knit? That’s what I say. [Mr. Trask, on the other hand, thought he could get some work done on the flight. Poor Mr. Trask.]

I’ve broken down the flight by significant events, so that you can decide for yourself.

Breakfast. The first thing that happens is that they serve breakfast. Unlike breakfast on an overnight flight, one is entirely alert for this breakfast, and it’s all the grimmer for it. The jello cake of scrambled eggs, the seedy grime of the sausages: one is lucid for the entire horror. Beware! And consider bringing a breakfast bar or two. That said, the meal is served with strong tea, which is just what you need if you have slept a total of 6 hours over the previous two days. But that might just have been me.

Entertainment. Knitting, of course – but also a movie or two. I watched The King’s Speech on my laptop. (It won out as being more apt than Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog). It was just as good the second time, although I was still distracted by the actor playing Churchill. I kept thinking, “Why would they let Wormtail be Prime Minister?” Meanwhile, the Corinne sweater plugged along very nicely, and I had no trouble from the flight attendants about my knitting needles.

Corinne Sweater 1

The Corinne Sweater, which just looks like a big blob of knitting here, has shown a rebellious streak recently.

Social Life. Everyone else is awake, too, so you have the opportunity to scope out other knitters. I saw one woman sitting in the back knitting a lace scarf, which pleased me. She didn’t seem to understand that we were part of a worldwide fellowship of knitters, but it was encouraging to see someone else plugging along. Later, one of the flight attendants asked about my sweater, and referred me back to the lace-knitter. All friends together here!

Very Little Else. On this daytime flight, you are not told to go to sleep. You simply sit in your seat, accepting refreshments when they appear, and occasionally getting up to use the facilities or to stretch. It’s lovely not to be asked to curl into a tiny ball and stare at your eyelids until you drift off, only to be awoken suddenly by the snore of the person two rows ahead of you. It’s a real luxury, I tell you. I spent much of the flight trying to decide what to do about the Corinne sweater, which was eventually almost finished except for the tiniest little problem: the sleeves don’t match.

End of the Yarn

The very last bit of yarn for Corinne - which I finished in the car to Oxford the day after the flight.

I must have cast on for the incorrect number for one sleeve or the other. I’m not going back, though. I’ve been happily knitting along, alternating skeins like a good girl, and I don’t think I have the emotional maturity to rip back and fix a sleeve. Also, the question of what to do is an interesting one to me. Just adding a few rows to the shorter sleeve will be obvious. So I’m tossing around a few solutions that take advantage of the obviousness of any fix to create an interesting feature of the sweater. All suggestions that do not involve ripping back are welcome.

A Late Snack. If you’re on a flight from 9:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. (origin time) or 10:30 p.m. (landing place time), you would think they would at least give you lunch. They don’t, although they do give you a snack. The snack is just fine.

A Much Shorter Line at Immigration. This is key, as well. It would seem that there aren’t as many flights landing at Heathrow at 10 p.m. as there are at 8 a.m. This leads to a much shorter line at immigration, and less of a crush going through customs, as well. There’s a catch to landing at 10 p.m. local time, of course – it’s not a great time to continue your travel. We stayed in an airport at Heathrow and got a car down to Oxford the next day – another delay that you probably wouldn’t consider for a vacation, but that kept me from lying on the floor and crying at several points.

So – do consider it, if you’re looking at a longer-than-two-weeks trip to Britain, or if you’re high maintenance the way I am, or even if you just want to spend an entire day knitting. The flight was only about 3/4 full, which made an enormous difference, as well.

The next post will tell you about our house and what I saw in London (although, sadly, I did not make it to Wool Modern) – and about plans for the future. Ooh, aah!

What have you guys been up to?

11 Comments leave one →
  1. 27 September 2011 12:22 pm

    I would really like to paint my front door Tardis Blue! However it just wouldn’t look appropriate on my Modern American house. I’m so glad you and Mr. Trask arrived safely and are reasonably settled in your new home. Your insight into daytime traveling across the pond was helpful. Especially the customs part. It is something to keep in mind for future adventures.

    Col. Hreczuck’s King’s College Student ID card arrived today via Registered Royal Mail. It’s expiry date is 31/07/2014. I’m wondering what unknown benefits it might offer? His programme is in the Dept. of War Studies which is in the School of Social Science and Public Policy.

    I haven’t been knitting for a couple of weeks due to a sprained thumb/and index finger on my right hand. I’m anxious to start my next project but can’t until the Dr. will let me. It is killing me and all I want to read right now are knitting magazines so that doesn’t help!

  2. 27 September 2011 12:26 pm

    I’m happy to hear you made it to Oxford. I must say that I’m more than just a little jealous. I love Europe (was born in Ukraine) and someday would like to live there again. It seems like a more civilized way of life to me. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that I really enjoy reading your posts. They are both witty and eloquent. And I’m not just saying that because I was a beneficiary of your de-stashing, because I wasn’t. Keep up the great writing. Looking forward to pictures of the new abode. Love the Moroccan blue door!
    All the best,

  3. consuela permalink
    27 September 2011 1:34 pm

    Loved your blog! I just took a trip to LA for work. It’s been over a year since I’d flown (“what do you mean I have to pay $25 to check my bag?”). I was trying to decide which knitting projects to take but at the last minute left all knitting at home. I watched two movies on the plane over on my iPad, Dodsworth and The Best Years of our Lives. Yes, I know no one has ever heard of them, but TBYOOL is my all-time favorite movie. Good thing I didn’t take knitting because I was so busy in LA (working a convention) that I couldn’t even THINK about knitting. This is the longest I have gone without knitting since I started a year ago. But I’m picking it up again tonight and looking forward to it. Thanks again for the wonderful descriptions…I look forward to many more!

  4. Brooke permalink
    27 September 2011 2:09 pm

    Sweater fix: ruffles!

  5. Alissa permalink
    27 September 2011 2:53 pm

    Glad you went for the daytime flight, I love that flight. On the sleeve, I have to say that I learn the most from frogging. However, my friend the designer says any mistakes should be viewed as your signature and distinguishes hand made from machine made. So if you can live with the mistake, embrace it. I am making an Aran sweater that has a band inserted between the sleeve and the opening, knitted in a different direction.

  6. 27 September 2011 4:46 pm

    A blue door! Just like in Notting Hill! What an adventure. Also – the Corrinne pattern is gorgeous…. I’ve favorited it. I am really wanting to make more grown-up sweaters (i.e. FOR ME) and this one is beautiful! I can’t wait to see it done.

  7. 27 September 2011 5:10 pm

    That looks like the door to Rory and Amy’s house! And you should’ve picked Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog… You can’t beat NPH! Plus, The King’s Speech is all gloomy and gray… not exactly something you’d want to watch when arriving in England in the fall!

    We miss you here in the states already! Glad to hear that the trip went smoothly.

  8. 28 September 2011 7:16 am

    Hooray for a most excellent daytime flight and fabulous front door! Oh, and a new mattress (why wouldn’t the delivery people take it upstairs for you?) and Vicks VapoRub.

    Have you come up with a sweater solution?

  9. 28 September 2011 7:25 pm

    I’m glad to hear that you made it to your final destination safely. I can’t help but wonder when you’ll be changing your image header to reflect your new country’s rules of the road. 🙂

    As for the knitting suggestion you are looking for, I’m not clear though if the sleeve is longer than the other, or just wider. If it’s wider, I would tear it out because I don’t think I could ever bear to look at it for all I would see is my mistake. But if it’s longer, maybe you could add a lot of extra rows and create a cuff effect.

    Good luck! I’m curious to see the changes!

  10. Jeannie permalink
    30 September 2011 9:21 am

    Love that blue door and love reading your posts. Haven’t been knitting too much due to painful sinus infection lasting way too long. Heard my husband telling one of my knitting buddies that he thought I just might survive since I had finally started to knit. Good one.
    The project on my needles is Jared Flood’s Romney kerchief (the sheep, not the politician).
    I will be forever grateful for your de-stash adventure since it introduced me to you and your blog:)

  11. 5 October 2011 9:44 pm

    Glad to know that you arrived safely!

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