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Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Florence and knitting

Life has been busy chez Pixie Towers so the blog has been neglected so a quick posting rather late as we went to a talk by Stephen Twining about Twinings and their link with Twickenham. I did say I'd continue writing about our Florentine holiday but that time has nearly passed but I will talk about knitting, especially whilst we were there.

My fears about taking my knitting through security checks at Gatwick were completely unfounded, maybe the wooden magic loop needles and the metal crochet hook secreted in a ball of wool didn't show on the x-ray but I was able to knit on the plane both ways. By the time we returned I had made nine hexipuffs, I knitted whilst queuing to go into the Cathedral, whilst having coffees and in other odd moments. One of these opportunities was when Ian climbed Brunelleschi's Dome, (I knew I would never manage over 400 steps, sometimes climbing one floor of a building is enough) so I sat in the courtyard of the ticket office courtyard and worked on a hexipuff. Inevitably I was joined on the bench, a lady spoke to me, she and her husband were from Philadelphia, but she was keen to stress her father was from Florence, they were driving north to visit family whilst in Italy.

Once rested they moved on, I knitted and people watched, a tall  young guy came to sit down, then asked me if that wallet was mine. I hadn't noticed a wallet at the other end of the bench, so I told him it wasn't mine but I knew whose it was. I popped it into my linen knitting bag, went to the ticket desk and asked if they handled lost property, they didn't want to know, I went outside, checked the queues and crowds for the Cathedral and the Baptistry. No sign of the lady in the red top and her husband with the walking stick, also by this time I was concerned Ian would return and panic if I had gone missing from that bench.

He did return shortly, I told him what had happened, we opened the wallet using the bag as cover, there were credit cards, driver's licence giving a Philadelphia address, cash and best of all, a paper holder bearing the name of a hotel. Briefly, Ian and I had another look around for the couple before returning to our hotel so they could locate Hotel Ambassador. Fortunately it was near ours, but the couple, C and J were in a partner hotel also nearer so we walked there. As they hadn't  returned the desk clerk gave us paper and an envelope so we could write a note, identifying myself as the knitting lady, we couched it in terms of I believed I had something they had lost, enclosed my card and the card for our hotel, a map showing its location and left the envelope with reception.

We returned to our hotel, Ian went off to buy ice creams, as he returned the room phone rang, it was C, she was so relieved her husband's wallet had been found. He'd missed it whilst in the Baptistry, they'd returned to their hotel rather slower than us, received my note before they had had a chance to cancel the credit cards. C came to collect the wallet, sat on our comfy sofa, explained J wouldn't carry a man bag as it wasn't done in America for a guy to have a bag, especially one across the body. We tried to explain that it was common practice in Europe. (Subsequently I have noticed the local teenage boys going to school near here seem to do just this) C declared she would be taking care of J's wallet in future!

What have we learnt from this? One, carry the card of the hotel in which you are staying; two, continue the practice I learnt as a commuter, namely look behind you when you leave a train, bus, seat anywhere to check nothing missed; thirdly, be friendly and a bit nosy for if I hadn't asked C and J from where they came I wouldn't have been so sure it was his wallet; fourthly if you are a knitter take it with you and count your stitches one by one (and your blessings). I suppose I should add that good has come from the fact I cannot climb stairs otherwise I wouldn't have been in the right place at the right time and I wouldn't have a new friend on Facebook.

As there are no photos recording this I shall add the first picture of the Rowan wrap I have started, 2 ply wool on 5mm needles so a steep learning curve. Progress will be slow, with a 16 row pattern to follow.


  1. You really were at the right place at the right time! How good for that couple that someone honest and kind found the wallet.

  2. Those people must be very grateful that you were so honest and saved their holiday from turning into a disaster.

  3. Gosh that couple were very very lucky! My advice would also be -- especially in Italy (Rome most especially!) is never ever put anything in your back pocket!

  4. A very lucky couple!!! What airline did you fly with?

  5. Not only the relief of getting everything back, but doing so before they'd cancelled their cards. Meeting you was certainly their lucky day.

  6. J. had his wallet in the side pocket of his trousers so it had fallen out onto the seat. I assume there wasn't the depth of pocket to take the wallet, also J. wasn't that mobile, he had a walking stick and I suspect was a bit tired that afternoon.

    My first reaction was to find C and J, it would never have occurred to me to do anything else following the philosophy do as you would be done by. I quite enjoyed the challenge of tracking them down, researching without the Internet as I was trained to do many years ago.

    Caz, we flew with Easyjet, it all worked well, was pleased flight was under two hours as seat a little cramped. we managed to eat the sandwiches we bought on board with us, as I said, I knitted as well.

  7. What a great story. And what a great way to make a new friend!

    I'm told that UK and European airport security now allow crochet hooks (as non-pointed) and wooden knitting needles of any sort (as not strong enough to be used as a weapon, apparently!!!).

    How's the wrap coming along?