I had a fun day yesterday with a "surprise" visit from Lorraine!
Lorraine was supposed to come to patchwork last week but she came down with a cold and couldn't attend. And she is going back to Australia day after tomorrow so I assumed that she wasn't going to be in a traveling mood and still getting over the after affects of her cold. Still, I invited her to visit if she felt up to it. AND SHE DID!
Unfortunately yesterday was one of the rainiest days we've had in ages. CATS AND DOGS! Ah well,
"I will pick you up at the station."
I got my wires crossed about WHICH station. My fault. I never use the train system and told Lorraine's daughter-in-law the wrong station name. I realized my mistake a few minutes before I expected Lorraine's train.
"Wait a minute... Where is this train bound? I thought that was where I AM!"
Can you imagine me racing through the rain to my car, screeching out of the parking lot, racing 15 minutes to the NEXT train station and scanning the dripping crowds as they drizzled out of the station?
"Where's Lorraine? No Lorraine. Well, I'm 20 minutes late... She's been left with a cold in a strange town with no way to get in touch with me. Poor woman!!! What do I do? What do I do? Call her daughter-in-law... No telephone number... Call Mrs. Harada and get the telephone number!"
So I frantically called Mrs. Harada who must be praised for her quick deduction skills and gleaning my situation with the few gasps into the telephone.
"Lorraine's coming! But she's not here! She's supposed to come today. I can't find her. I need her daughter-in-law's telephone number. HELP!"
Mrs. Harada promised to call me back and she went looking for a telephone number. AND just at that point Lorraine stepped out of the station. Yeah! Because of the rain, her train was late. So. She didn't have to wait in the rain and feel lost after all. I called Mrs. Harada back to give her an update and tell her she could go back to whatever she was doing on her holiday... (I need to call her again and apologize for my frazzled conversation.)
Well, the pouring rain put a damper on the day's tourist plans. I had hoped to take Lorraine to the shrines and temples. Instead we decided to find someplace for coffee. Ah, I know just the place... Meiji-no-Yakata, a historically famous western style vacation home made of stone and now turned restaurant. Instead of just coffee we had an elegant (and expensive) lunch. Lorraine treated!
After lunch I wanted to show Lorraine a wood-carving center. Nikko is also famous for its woodcarving handcrafts. When the shines and temples were built (hundreds and hundreds of years ago) woodcarvers were employed to carve the decorative lintels and reliefs on the walls, From there the carving industry expanded and Nikko is filled with shops selling exquisitely carved cupboards and shelves and boxes and trays. (Again, all at a very dear price.) Lorraine and I stopped at a center do try a little hand carving of our own.
We each chose a pre-printed image on the back of a wooden hand mirror. The "sensei" gave us basic carving instructions and after a bit of practice we dove in. Okay... A bit more difficult than it looks...
"Pull the knife towards you and carve a nice line without gouging out a trench."
Doing a good job there Lorraine.
The "sensei" put the finishing touches on our mirrors making them look not quite so beginners'-work. Look at the hands of a real carver...
Proudly showing off our handwork. Lorraine, do you think we should give up patchwork and start doing woodcarving? Nah... We still do better work with a needle.