In 1998, I was bored and yearning for travel, so I went online and signed up for a needlework trip to England for two weeks with complete strangers. They were wonderful and we had great adventures.
This was internet infancy and I did’t know what the rules were so this is what I did:
- I called the shopkeeper/sponsor to ask about the trip and to find out how often she had taken them.
- Next I checked out her shop in the online White pages to make sure there really was a brick and morter building.
- Then I called the Better Business Bureau to see if there were any complaints against them or the travel company that they were using.
- I checked other web sites for previous needlework trip information to get an idea of what to expect.
- Since the trip was to England, there would not be a language barrier, but I did teach myself how to convert money exchange rates on a calculator.
- I also brought some English money that I got from my bank to bring along as pocket money for the first day/ night.
Adventures: While in London we saw the Phantom of the Opera. After leaving, one of our ladies realized she had lost her money, passport and everything somewhere. I led everyone on a search back through the theater and found nothing. While leaving through the back door, I looked down to see all of her belongings neatly shrewn along the wall. That was a miracle that no one else had seen it and gained a windfall.
One morning I overslept and had to take a cab to catch up with the rest of my party to tour the Tower of London. I directed the driver to the place where we were to meet, hoping he would not take the “round about way” and charge me more. Understanding my urgency, he got me there promptly. No one was there from my group so I decided to have some breakfast. My group arrived later very surprised to see that I had gotten there before them and had time to have breakfast.
We had a forty minute stop in a small village. One of our ladies collected antique silver thimbles. I, being the most nimble, volunteered to run ahead sticking my head in each shop asking the owner if he had silver thimbles. If the answer was yes, I shouted, pointed at the door and continued on. I was the nimble thimble runner!
While touring the Royal School of Needlework, which was the highlight for me, I asked so many questions and took so many notes that our guide suspected me of being a writer. I was flattered. That was just me wanting to take it all in.