Thursday, 21 June 2012

Golden stars and golden Sun-day

As the northern hemisphere’s summer solstice starts our reverse journey towards a colourful autumn, the world waits for news of the Egyptian presidential elections and the future of its freely-elected parliament.  Egypt is a country of golden light, as we found on our honeymoon many years ago.  We’ve been back since, taking our children to see the ancient achievements of its peoples, and climbing the very hot, sticky ascent right into the centre of the Great Pyramid.  For the inspiration engendered by visiting its massive monuments, I hope Egypt returns to peaceful prosperity soon, allowing ever more people to gasp at its glinting treasures. 

The golds and red-brown colours of Egypt have been in my mind over the past week, making yarn towards Fibre-East.  John Gillow and Bryan Sentence’s book ‘World Textiles’ brings north Africa’s natural colours and gold-work vibrantly to life for this armchair traveller.  It’s the nearest I can get these days to the continent’s welcome warmth and dust.  And whilst I ponder the value of my meagre efforts at the spinning wheel, Ruth Brompton-Charlesworth’s article recalls just what currency exquisitely-crafted traditional textiles originally represented to their owners.  I don’t think anything I make will be that valuable to future generations, but maybe I can create a worthwhile degree of individuality for people in the present. 

Looking back on our honeymoon snaps, I realised the golden-embossed leather frame we bought out there is still holding out against the ravages of time.  One of the tombs we visited back then, though, has not been so lucky.  It had a magnificent ceiling, now sadly collapsed, of darkest midnight blue covered in a million gold stars.  The ancients knew a thing or two about the night sky:  they only used their eyes to observe the heavens but they did pretty well.  Today we have vast volumes of information provided by missions like NASA’s SOHO.  For fellow aficionados of colour, the odyssey of pictures on The Sun Now page, which reveal the sun in many different aspects and all in ‘real-time’, is well worth a visit. 

While we’re hoping for sunshine on Mid-Sumer’s day in our rainy country, we should spare a thought for those at the opposite end of the planet in Antarctica, celebrating Mid-Winter’s day.  A cool, wet British summer may seem a bit grey, but I think I’d rather be here than in the -30 to -59 degrees of the frozen wastes! Here’s wishing you a week of golden sunshine on the inside, especially if there’s not so much about outside the window.  

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