Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I don't handle disappointment too well

I don't know how many times I've started writing this posting, yet seem to get nowhere with it. Last week I travelled to Finland for a short holiday and returned today, only to learn that an important part of my holiday plans were destroyed in the meantime. Well, let's start from the beginning - in a way this whole thing can be connected to the following questions of Secret Pal 10 round.

Several weeks ago I found the following link: Service Civil International (SCI) is a peace organisation that co-ordinates short and long term voluntary projects for people of all ages and backgrounds. I started browsing through the different possibilities, and then there was something that really hit me.

Great Britain - IVS GB Scotland

Begin:July 14, 2007, End: July 26, 2007
Topic: Environment
Fair Isle, Shetland
One of the most isolated inhabited islands in Britain, Fair Isle lies about half-way between the Orkney and Shetland Islands. Famous for its rugged and spectacular rising cliffs, vast seabird colonies and intricate colourful knitting patterns, Fair Isle also harbours a thriving crofting community. Volunteers will be invited to get involved with all aspects of community life. W; Volunteers will help with community activities such as shearing sheep and other aspects of croft work. The majority of the activities will be outdoors so volunteers should be prepared for some moderately hard work and for the variable Fair Isle weather. A; You will be staying in The Puffin Basecamp, a converted stone fish-store at the south end of Fair Isle. The Puffin is comfortable with cosy lounge, drying area, two showers and stunning coastal views. There is now a washing machine! X; As Fair Isle is a remote Island, there are extra costs involved in travelling there. Travel includes getting to Aberdeen, an overnight ferry to Lerwick and a ferry to Fair Isle. This ferry is booked and if you miss it, you miss the project. There is no phone. There is good Vodaphone mobile phone reception on Fair Isle, although you may have to walk up the hill from the accommodation to get a signal! There are no ATM cash machines on Fair Isle Giro Bank available at Fair Isle Post Office.
Number of Volunteers: 10

Although I have a summer cottage (which is incidentally also situated on an island) and could work there flat out, I decided to apply for this camp, having first negotiated summer holiday schemes with my colleagues and making sure that taking July off wouldn't disturb anyone else's plans. So, I sent my application for this work camp, paid the yearly fee of the organisation as well as the costs of the camp and started waiting. Heard nothing, but tried to stay positive. Searched the net for further information, and the more I found and read, the more I wanted to participate. See the landscape. Read the stories of daily life. I even found a a wool shop over there, and a local knit blog.

Unfortunately, like I said earlier, I was turned down because there were "too many applications sent via the Belgian organisation of volunteers, and too many female candidates." I just can't help thinking that had I not followed the rules and sent the papers via a Belgian but a Finnish organisation, my chances would have been much better. Yes, and I know that I can work as hard as I can at my summer cottage back home in Finland but it's not the same thing. I am disappointed - but thanks for the support I've received via e-mail and text messages. There were various suggestions as to how I might feel better: buy yourself a Fair Isle sweater and burn it, or find some alternative activities, or the ultimate comfort: go and buy yourself a new car.... which feels rather tempting but isn't it a bit exaggerated? Aren't we all familiar with the concept "buying comfort yarn" - what happened to that one?

So, instead of making real plans, these questions turn into several "what if"s - here are my answers to SP10 Group Mom's questions:

With the weather turning warmer, many of you are thinking of traveling (though some of you have just returned, you can play along). 1) What do you pack to knit? and 2) What do you hope to shop for?

Assume that you will be gone for ten days to someplace "foreign" that is known for having great knitting locations. (Bonus: Where would you go on a "knitting holiday"?)

I would have liked to visit Fair Isle, and even though it was a work camp, there should have been some time off to spend knitting. I would have packed only a couple of drop spindles and a couple of sets of double knitting needles (plus a note book for inspiration) and would have hoped to find all the other materials on location. Hey, sheepy-sheep, run over here, I'm not going to hurt you, just take a bit of your fleece for spinning... Also, I suppose I would have found some purpose-made thin yarn on the island itself, I would have liked to knit a pair of true Fair Isle mittens or gloves to take with me as a souvenir. But, alas, that was not to be. I guess I'll have to develop a knitting style of my own, named after the island where my summer cottage is. Now, how much does a lamb cost?

P.S. If you're into Vikings, you might find the following camp in Iceland interesting.

Iceland - SEEDS Iceland
Begin:June 4, 2007, End: June 20, 2007
Topic: Art, culture, history
Hafnarfjörður, Víkingahátíð - Viking Festival
Hafnarfjörður takes its name (meaning Harbour-fjord) from the area's excellent natural harbour and it is located 10 kilometres away south from the capital, Reykjavík. The town is first named in the medieval "Book of Settlements," and the earliest reports of voyages to Hafnarfjörður date from the end of the 14th century. Englishmen began trading in Hafnarfjörður in the 15th century, but German merchants followed in their wake and eventually drove the English out. After that, Hanseatic traders prevailed in town until 1602, based at Hvaleyri. At this point, the Danish monarchy established a Danish trade monopoly in Iceland which lasted until late in the 18th century. During this period, Hafnarfjörður was the nation's busiest trade centre. Today, Hafnarfjörður is one of the nation's largest fishing centres and the site of Iceland's first fish wholesalers' auction market. Through the years, Hafnarfjörður's dynamic local economy has been strongly linked to fishing, although freight transport has recently become the major harbour activity. It is Iceland’s third-largest town, with just over 23,000 residents. And yet that number is open to debate, since legend has it that some of Iceland’s elves and hidden people live in Hafnarfjördur’s lava cliffs and rocks, in peaceful coexistence with the town’s human residents. In fact, it is possible to tour the elf lands, and those with second sight may even be lucky enough to spot one or two!! The last country in Europe to be inhabited by the human race, it was the Vikings who started to settle Iceland around 874 AD. During the annual Viking Festival modern-day Icelanders and visiting Vikings from abroad celebrate their heritage with appropriate vigour. The Vikings' wild and adventurous spirit lives on today, in the people of this unique country. The event is a lot of fun; there are displays of ancient arts and crafts, and large gruff men in full Viking attire demonstrate their ancient battle skills to anyone brave enough to challenge them.
Work: Volunteers will be active during the whole stages of the Viking festival, helping during the preparation, the festival itself and after it has finished. During the festival all volunteers will receive Viking typical costumes to wear and perform different tasks. Diverse types of tasks may be performed as control at the venues, assistance to visitors, and help to the “real” Viking volunteers in the kitchen or serving the meals. The festival will take place partly in Hafnarfjörður and partly in another location in the Northern Icelandic countryside. It starts on June 8th and last until June 17th. Apart from SEEDS “Vikings” there will be around 100 more Viking volunteers (Norsemen) coming from all around the world! A colourful collection of artists will be at the Festival: artists, warriors, bowmen, wrestlers, woodcarvers, stonemasons, blacksmiths, storytellers and enchantresses, musicians and magicians. Volunteers shall be aware of quiet times during the festival, with few visitors; then they can have free time but cannot leave the Viking compound and shall still wear the typical costumes.
Accommodation: Volunteers will be lodged in a house inside the Viking compound, while in Hafnarfjörður, sleeping on mattresses on the floor. A warm sleeping bag is highly suggested, especially for the 4-5 days in the countryside, where we will sleep in tents. SEEDS volunteers will share the facilities with the other Viking volunteers.
Language: English will be the language in the camp, but high proficiency is not a requirement.
Study: Environmental messenger in the project. S/he will be in charge of delivering ecological and global education messages to both, International volunteers and local hosts through organised activities. We intend to raise awareness and to encourage the participants to undertake simple but easy-to-implement actions which will affect the way we deal with the environment and the world we live in.
Terminal/Region: Closest Intl. Airport: Keflavík (Reykjavík), KEF. Direct bus connections via the flybus.
Extra info: Participation fee EUR 140,- . Excursions and free time activities will be arranged for volunteers. Transport from Hafnarfjörður to the countryside and back included.
Number of Volunteers: 8


katinkontti said...

Voi harmin paikka! Kyllä varmasti sapettaa. Mutta uusia kesiä tulee, jos vaikka ensi vuonna tärppäisi.

Fair isle faerie said...

For next time.

You do not have to book via any organisation, you can book via the camp itself..

I really like it when the camps are running, you meet such a wide diversity of people & spend a lot of time with them & end up exchanging skills & idea's.

Hope to see you one year !


Dominique said...

Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog. I could not find your e-mail, so am replying here. Sorry it took some time to get back to you. We were away for the long weekend, spent it in Luxemburg, cultural capital of Europe.
Thanks for the information about yarn shops in Copenhagen. I was planning on mailing you anyway ! I visited Copenhagen in 1997, and visited sommerfuglen and uldstedet then. It was in Sommerfuglen that I saw the Hanne Falkenberg sweaters for the first time. At that time, I wasn't knitting with wool much, and I found them 'too scratchy'. I have learned to appreciate shetland wool since then. I bought my very first Falkenberg kit on summer holiday in Aarhus. I tried on several designs, and every time I hear somebody is visiting Copenhagen, I send them to sommerfuglen and ask them to buy me a Falkenberg sweater kit. I'll have to go now and try on some of her newer designs !
I would appreciate it if you ask other Finnish knitters about the yarn shopping opportunities in Helsinki and Talinn. I am really looking forward to this trip. I am sorry to hear your trip to the Fair Isle won't be happening. Maybe better luck next year ?

Anonymous said...

Hei, olen menossa kesäkuussa Saksaan, Hampuriin ja Dusseldorfiin; osaatko suositella noissa kaupungeissa lankakauppoja? Mitä lankoja Saksasta kannattaisi ostaa? Sähköpostini on Kiitos!

Bobbi said...

Sounds like fun!