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Mama, gardener, teacher, photographer, faffer with paint and colour

Friday, 9 March 2012

Into the city and other worlds....

Spring has been growing slowly around here it seems.Our village friends are getting on with life after death, with bravery and resilience created out of need. I am aware that there is great pain here and loss, real heart wrenching loss. The bright yellow daffodil trumpets, the beginnings of the tiny purple violets and strong sunny blustery days are tempered with the knowledge that someone is being missed,with a deepness that I haven't yet felt in my life.We know of three young parents that died last year and I am amazed at how humans cope with loss, particularly the children. From toddlers to teenagers, children that have lost a parent are playing, learning to talk, doing their homework, singing loudly to pop music,writing exams.....In a secular society where death is generally not talked of often and if they have no religious system to grip hold of it, how do they do it? The same way that the adults who remain in this realm, change nappies, make lunches, wipe tears, do school runs...they just do. xxx to you.

So Spring carries on growing and I ramble on, a bit more mindful.

This week we left the countryside for our Wednesday homeschooling day and went to the museum in Bristol.We wanted to see an exhibition of Wildlife Photographer of the Year that was touring and also check out the Egyptology exhibition. Daisy's school topic this half term is Africa, starting with Ancient Egypt.
The  wildlife photographs were stunning.You can see them here. Spent time looking at these incredible creatures we have on our planet.

The Egyptology exhibition was pretty small but I could have spent a long time in there. I liked it being quiet and dark and none else around so that you could really look at the objects. Daisy was a bit besotted with pressing the computer screen buttons all about the objects, (which as usual say "touch screen here", and then do nothing) rather than the 3,000 year old objects themselves but she is 8, in an age where computers are kings. That's the crazy thing about time, the older you get, the more the past seems interesting and just soooo old! These were my favourite things. I would dearly love to know what this writing says.



I love this foot piece. It was used in conjunctions with masks like on the right before whole coffins become the norm.It looks to me like the colours of a Native American moccasin but also hysterically like the single slippers you can buy from "Innovations" or other such catalogues, for the elderly to keep their feet warm while they are watching TV. I am such an academic I know.

  These are amulets that were often worn like crosses or given as gifts for protection, hope or rebirth.There were so many tiny carvings of amulets, a lot of people holding their faith with them.

"The Egyptians believed that Scarabs were associated with the Egyptian god, Khepri. It was Khepri that pushed the sun across the sky, just like a Scarab beetle would roll a ball of dung. The scarab beetle became an ancient Egyptian symbol for rebirth, the ability to be reborn. Each day the sun disappeared, always to rise again and be reborn the following day.
The scarab beetle was also a symbol of rebirth after death. When the Egyptians mummified a body they would remove the heart and put a a stone carved like the beetle in its place."

Hoodies are clearly not a modern invention. As I tend to live in my comfy hoody it felt a bit weird standing staring at a three thousand year old version.

A child's cradle for a doll and a ball made out of linen and some kind of rope. Egyptian dolls also used to have jointed limbs so they could be moved. These objects made me picture real people in a way that the dramatic ornate coffins don't. According to my minimal reading, ancient Egyptian people at this time had very little freedom in their art, subjects were strictly confined to the gods, the kings, the nile etc. Maybe this formalised art, beautiful though it is, means that you don't see the individual people so much as in their everyday objects.

Being a bit Daisy biased I couldn't resist taking photos of these tiles.

Anyway that was a quick fire tour of Bristol museum Egyptology department and you didn't even need to leave your chair. I love the fact that this museum is still free and that slightly tired mums were wandering around with their pre-schoolers looking at animals, dinosaur bones, ancient art and the toddlers were absorbing it all. Daisy spent about three hours exploring,wearing her spotted fluffy ear muffs throughout, looking at crazy stuff and saying,"Awesome".

One last thing to show you was this mural on an old police station wall in Bristol. On a grimy backstreet where betting shops were breeding and chewing gum was clearly finished with. A  streetwise ray of hope.