Quite often they were prizes in fun quizzes such as naming flowers in our host's garden or knowing a little something about Washington, such as its State flower*. When Lorene asked the question who's staying the longest in Seattle?, I was surprised to find it was me and even more surprised to find myself the owner of the pictured Felco pruning saw + spare blade, courtesy of David Fishman who'd generously donated it.
I was delighted, but soon began to worry I might not be able to get it home. Having been stopped at customs in Australia in 2003 with a metal kookaburra** in my hand luggage - you might get air rage and attack your neighbour with it madam*** - I had visions of being marched off as a potential terrorist like the shoe bomber or something. Luckily, packing it at the bottom of my suitcase proved to be the perfect solution to the problem.
It was the most timely of prizes to win as I've had to do plenty of cutting back of various trees both on the allotment and in the garden this autumn. I would usually have used my folding pruning saw, but it soon proved it wasn't up to the much bigger tasks I had for it this time. So out came my lovely shiny new Felco saw and it's finished the job with perfect ease. As you can see it's not the folding type, but instead comes with a tough protective holster which can be attached to a belt. I'm pleased no small boys saw me up at the allotment with it - I expect they would have mistaken it for a sword and challenged me to a duel ;)
* = Pacific Rhododendron aka Rhododendron macrophyllum
** = not quite as pictured colour or design wise, but close enough to give you an idea of the dastardly weapon I was carrying
*** = thankfully they saw sense and let me keep it. I slept most of the way home, so didn't have time for any air rage ;)