The title of my blog today comes not from me but the designer of my scarf, Kris Roufa who has been following my scarf escapades since reading about them in the New York Times. She had a career change two years ago after meeting up with an old friend Kelly and together they set up a new business. I had no idea whether she was in Cyprus, Europe or elsewhere. What a joy this blog has brought to me, cementing new friendships around the world. This week I find she lives in the South West of the USA, not too far from Santa Fe. Yes, I have fond memories of that part of the world when we participated in a wonderful international Craft Salon; so how fitting I should remember cows alongside fine artists and decorative craftsmen.
The Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer immediately comes to mind. Restored in 1994 and then scientifically analysed with more modern techniques to undercover the hidden secrets beneath each layer of paint in 2018, she now serenely resides in The Hague in the Netherlands. Like the Mona Lisa, she still keeps her inner feelings to herself. I have always loved this small picture, as the model reminds me of my own mother in her wedding photo.
My scarf’s colour palette is very different to Vermeer’s gentle greens, blues and yellows. Bold emerald green, black, white and then the surprise of bright coral of the ‘earrings’ sported by these contented cows. The scarf’s artist wanted it to remind her of the summer. And so it will be with me, a summer long ago when my children were very young.
At that time it was difficult for us to travel abroad for holidays; we couldn’t afford it, there was a limit on spending money one could take out of the country, so I decided to bring the world to me and opened my doors to foreign guests. There was JUNIOR EDUCATIONAL TRAVEL, mostly for young European students, HOSTS OF BRITAIN, Americans with matched interests host with guest and then evening adult foreign students who came for coffee, biscuits and a chance to practise English. One year I had overbooked and had two German teenagers and an Italian from New York who came with a kilt and bagpipes. His interests were military history and piping. He spent his first week with a host connected to the military museum at Sandhurst.....I suppose, as a Scot, I was providing the bagpipe connection! We had a small home and we had to give up our bedroom to the piper whilst we slept on a couch in the sitting room. That was tricky. We had interesting concerts in the evening with the students playing a recorder and flute and the New Yorker his bagpipes. Now, I come to my cow story.
As part of the German girls’ cultural experience, we took Brigitte and Renate on an hour’s journey from Essex to Surrey, not far from where I now live, to visit Hampton Court Palace where we did all the mediaeval Henry VIII history bit. We had packed a picnic in the big blue Ford Zephyr, or Zodiac, I remember not which. The weather was very hot, our young children had two able minders to care for them in the wide, safe expanse of Bushy Park, so after our picnic, my husband and I stretched out for a snooze. Do remember it was a very hot day. I fell into a deep sleep and the dream was pleasant. A handsome man kissing my bare arm from shoulder to wrist, yet the embrace was rough. The eyes were large, eyelashes long, far too long..... My God.....a huge cow was licking the salt from my sweaty bare arm. I lay there petrified. It was not just one cow. We were in the middle of a large herd. My husband slept on. At a safe distance, onlookers were taking photos and laughing. I roused hubby, trying not to startle the beasts who looked enormous from where I was lying. They were surprisingly gentle. I did not notice one pearl earring.
The cow photo shows cows more recently in Richmond Park. Those in Bushy Park have long gone and the red and roe deer reign supreme.
It’s surprising where these scarves take me. Thank you Kris for reminding me of summer, youth, my mother’s face. Not one to hold back, I am wearing not ONE, but TWO pearl earrings from my beloved Tahiti.
Busy Bee, Scarf Face!
Series 2, Blog 20.