Overcast Cologne was terrific, and the trip back happily uneventful. It was hard explaining to kids why I had to get up at 11:45 p.m. Toronto time to get return home at 6:00 p.m. the next day, but their imaginations are stretchy, so I think they got it. Feeling guilty about not posting nearly enough patterns while away (2 over 4 days hardly creates excitement), so really concentrating on that over the next while.
The Handarbeit & Hobby show is the equivalent of North America's TNNA. European distributors exhibit to European retailers, and it only happens once a year to TNNA's twice. Yes, this means we got a heads-up on new designs for fall 2010 from lots of great companies-- don't hate us attendees! Cologne seems reasonably central for Europe (some British exhibitors drive there) and has a terrific convention complex. I'm reluctant, as always, to talk about specific new contacts that might result in new publishers. Let's just say I'm very pleased and pumped, and you should see some results of this trip over the next couple of weeks, which is actually not a big lag at all.
A huge heartfelt apology is due to many independents who have submitted work in the last few weeks which has not yet been put up. It's entirely my fault, a time management problem, and in no way a reflection of the quality of the work. Rest assured that everyone should be represented in the next ten days. If you're not seeing yourself by then, by all means email and ask why.
Oh, and a cultural tip. Apparently all over Germany if you are travelling in a taxi by yourself, the done thing is to sit beside the driver in the passenger seat. This is not the case in Canada, and I was very politely but firmly corrected by a cab driver at the beginning of the trip. Just so you know if you ever go there.
No upgrades at all, after all. Must contact Air Canada and see how they want to handle this.
People have been so kind, but no need to worry! Got here safe and am off to the show in a few minutes. No upgrades so far but remain hopeful for Monday's return.
Air Canada flight 848 took off from Toronto as usual last night at 9:15 for London, England; I was to change planes there this morning for Cologne, Germany, to go to the Handarbeit show. About half an hour into the flight there was a fuse problem which resulted in some electrical irregularities, as well as a faint odd smell, and eventually all available AC serving staff were summoned to the aft galley. At least one fire extinguisher was involved. We turned round smartly and landed back in Toronto, where we were immediately surrounded by emergency vehicles and escorted back to a gate. Every moment, the crew and passengers were calm and quiet and professional. I was proud of my country, its citizens, and its airline.
So we landed back home about 10:15 p.m. and disembarked after not too long a wait. For the next few hours the ground personnel tried to fix and test various problems-- the original fuse, a subsequent relay. Apparently another plane was being readied so that we could change to it, but then I heard a rumour saying that they couldn't get the original plane's cargo doors open to get the luggage out. During almost all of this time, the passengers were good-humoured and patient (if hungry, tired, and ill-informed).
Long story short: at about 2:30 a.m. Air Canada made some soft drinks and bar snacks available to the passengers from two galley trolleys. At about 3:40 a.m. they announced that the flight was cancelled, rescheduled for 22.75 hours after the original departure time, and they were handing out taxi vouchers and volunteering hotel room arrangements. The passengers had become audibly unhappy over the last hour before this announcement.
I got my taxi chits and reclaimed my luggage and phoned Air Canada Reservations while still at the airport (there was a hefty wait to talk to a human), explaining that I didn't give a darn how I got to Cologne, that London needn't figure into it at all, and what could we do? The best they could do was to put me in Cologne via Munich at 12:30 p.m. on Friday (missing more than half a Handarbeit show day). I suggested that an upgrade to business class for the Munich flight might be an appropriate 'sorry' gesture on their part. "Never gonna happen," said the Reservations person crustily at 4:25 a.m. or so. "We save those seats for paying customers."
Got home at 5:00 and slept until 10:00, when I had to explain unexpected return to incredulous children, who immediately demanded celebratory Mom-made pancakes as a kind of offering to the Mom-Is-Invulnerable gods, I guess.
The purpose of this post is not to chastise Air Canada (stuff happens when you travel, though I still believe an upgrade would be fair), but to let you know that new pattern posting will be somewhat limited for a bit, since if all goes as planned I should be in Cologne for most of the rest of this weekend. After which I should have much more interesting things to write about.
It's a cloudless and unseasonably warm bright Saturday, and we just posted our 5,000th pattern-- a stunner courtesy of Classic Elite Yarns.
We are still reeling from all this. 5,000? Doesn't that make us just about the largest all-access, pay-only knitting/crochet pattern store on the entire Internet? What happened?
Thanks, everybody. Thanks to all our publishers (207 as I write this); all our customers; all our friends and well-wishers, and in fact all knitters and crocheters in general, everywhere. And thanks to Minister of Technology Phil, and Chancellor Shannon, and Special Guest Star Greg, for all their unsung (and hey, some sung too) contributions. And we're looking forward to publishing many, many more of the best knitting patterns you can buy online.