Friday, June 19, 2009

England coming to an end...

I have had a few lovely days R&R with my mates Anne and Steve amidst a very busy time teaching...lots of invites to teach again when I am in the country, which is very gratifying.
Anne and Steve are lovely, gentle souls with a really cheeky streak- so lots of giggles and laughs, and they always organize the most delightful mystery tours for me.
Their great eye for detail, sense of history and enthusiasm for places makes things seem magical, and as it is always a mystery where we are going I generally feel like a kid witha bubble of excitment in my belly- thanks Guys!!
We explored Leeds the other day, an old industrial city re-inventing itself in recent times with stunning modern architecture, re-vitalisation and an urban use for its canals and some fine museums.

The Royal Armory
was one port of call, as you can imagine they house the nations collection of arms- not usually my cup of tea but I did find the top floor fascinating, housing the oldest pieces in the collection and many of their oriental pieces...the detailing is what caught my eye, and lots of ideas for projects.
The assemblage of a japanese suit of armour suggested a way of assembling textile"postcards" for display....
this suit of armour is similar to ones used by the Saracens at the time of the Crusades and it is postualted that that is the entry path of quilting into of the many things the returning Europens took back home with them.
The armour is made by quilting straw between fabric to create a flexible, protective garment, this one has lovely surface embroidery as well...

How to dress an elephant, wouldn't it be scary on a battle field?
Especially for the first foreigners to see one, when they had previously only been a creature of scary stories around the fire, perhaps real but you would tell yourself something that big must be a phantasy -until your saw one that is!!.
War and warfare does make sad- I could not face the lower floors where much of the dispaly is set up 'in action' so to speak- what a way to face the world,
I do like Gandhi's philosophy of non-violence seems a better way to approach problems.
I am so happy to be leaving, I am meeting Praveen in Damascus, and I do miss him now we are doing the old married couple thing of living in the same house, it is hard being away....but I have really enjoyed spending time with my friends here and the students I have taught...oh well life is all about change, and there is no use hanging onto the past, the future is there waiting to be stepped into.
Enjoy what and where you are my moto.

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