||[Apr. 8th, 2014|10:31 pm]
My browser is all open tabs and locked posts - drafts posted as private until ready to face the world. (More than one because something I had thought lost, eaten by internet failure, reopened itself from previous draft when I wasn't expecting it to. Some you win...) Time for some serious tidying up. First, the short version of the last two Sundays:
Eight days ago we went to an exhibition of Egyptian textiles, described as 'The Art of Egyptian Tentmakers': pieced and embroidered hangings on display in the Norman chapel of Durham Castle:
This was the oldest piece on display, actually dated 1899, and not typical, with its restricted range of muted colours, but so perfectly positioned. The more modern pieces filled tiny chapel, their colours glowing like stained glass against the stone, their arches and arabesques echoing the arched windows and metalwork grilles of their surroundings. Here's a characteristic example, photographed when we called at the World Heritage Centre, the other week:
- again, I loved the juxtaposition of the Islamic design with the panorama of Durham's Cathedral and Castle. Again, the little Centre was crowded with brilliantly coloured hangings, work from Shari'a al-Khayamiyya, the Street of the Tentmakers in Cairo. The display illustrated - and was to some extent explained by - a small exhibition by Italian photographer Massimiliano Fusari, titled Tentmakers of Islamic Cairo, and through his website I discovered that it was only the tip of an iceberg, and beneath the waves was the ongoing Khayamiyya Project.
It's at this point that the post I was writing ran into the sand, as I tried to put together what I knew, what I had seen, what I had learned at the lectures that followed the exhibition, what I had managed to find on the internet - less than I would have liked in all cases, and then I became entangled in trying to balance my frustration that the exhibition had not been well documented, and the lectures likewise (programmed speaker dropped out because of illness, replacement was interesting but obviously unprepared; Seif El Rashidi was good but brief on the historic aspects). Some suggestions for further reading, then:
Last Sunday was Carlin Sunday, two Sundays before Easter - "Carlin, Palm and Pace-Egg Day" when it is traditional to eat a pudding made from dried carlin peas. But D., who was visiting, offered to take us out to lunch, so we went to the Stables at Beamish Hall, and ate a traditional Sunday lunch, followed by a traditional after-lunch stroll.
It was the most notional of walks - I hadn't even taken my boots, though it was muddy enough to make me wish I had - at Causey Arch, the oldest railway bridge in the world (built to carry coals to Newcastle, when the waggons were still horse-drawn). Down into the Gill, along the river, where the wood anemones starred the banks, up again and across the arch in time to see a steam train come in on the Tanfield railway
ETA photo, now that Flickr is with us again...