Thursday, 16 February 2017

Quel Plaisir!

We studied the medieval period at school, and were given a project for half term; "choose one aspect of life in the period 1000-1500 AD and make a display about it on this piece of paper". 56 or so girls struggled to get an A2 sheet of cartridge paper home without damage [on the bus or on the back of our bikes] We brought them back completed and they went up on display all round the history room [just in time to impress parents at Open Evening] Our them,es were many and varied - although we all felt desperately sorry for one girl who had done an impeccably neat, beautifully illustrated poster unfortunately entitled "The Everyday Life of the Pheasants"
I knew that Needlework would be my topic the moment the task was announced. I divided my sheet into 4 rectangles- and on one of them I recreated a section of the Bayeux Tapestry. I found an old piece of sheeting, and drew out the picture from the front of my Dad's copy of Churchill's book.
This was the famous 'one in the eye for Harold' part! Back in the 1960s, we couldn't just click on the internet and instantly find information. If I couldn't find what I needed on the bookshelf at home, it meant a trip to the town library on my bicycle after school.
But I discovered that William's brother, Bishop Odo commissioned the tapestry and it was probably designed by a Norman but stitched by Englishwomen [it's an embroidery not a tapestry, which you knew already] There are depictions of 600 men, 200 horses, 50 dogs... and just three women upon its 70 metre length. Bob got to see it [on a school trip] when it was brought to England in 1966. 
William Morris helped fund a project to make "England's Bayeux" - a replica now on display in Reading Museum, and three years ago, a man in Norfolk [where else?] carved a half sized wooden replica after the death of his son.
I should love to see the original in Bayeux sometime - the intricacy of the stitching, the detailed work, it all fascinates me.
But, what a delight - last week friends lent me a French jigsaw puzzle of the BT! It shows the part where William is sailing across in his ships to England. If you watch this BBC video clip, with Clive Anderson, it comes in after about 21 seconds!
Inside the box, I found a bag containing all the edge pieces neatly sorted, and a photo of the completed jigsaw. 
This was extremely useful, because if you look closely at the finished puzzle and at the box, you will see another boat with 5 soldiers on the right, and at the bottom, the birds feet and another fabulous creature. French people clearly don't expect to get the whole picture.
Another interesting thing was the different shaped puzzle pieces.
In all the British puzzles I have done recently, there is always a point where the corners of 4 pieces come together. On this French one, there isn't the same matching up of corners - which adds an extra challenge to the completion.
I had loads of fun with this one, especially marvelling at the stitchwork - showing the expressions on men's faces, and the lovely waves on the water, splashing up onto the sides of the boats.

That's 3 jigsaws completed recently - Ambridge, The London Underground  and now this one

Once I have completed them, I have no desire to keep them or do them again. What sort of picture should I go for next....


  1. I am useless at puzzles. Yesterday I had trouble with my granddaughters 'Frozen' one i

  2. Have you tried Wentworth jigsaws? Wonderfully shaped puzzle pieces!

    1. I hadn't heard of these but just visited their website. They are stunning, and intricately cut - which is reflected in their price. Not sure I could justify the cost being a one-off-and-pass-on puzzler. Maybe I shall find one lurking in a CS sometime...

  3. I've never seen a puzzle of the London Underground or The BT or Ambridge come to think of it. They all look pretty good and interesting to have a go at.
    When we move (when being the word) I shall have room for a puzzle table again.

    1. My Tube Map was from a CS, but I have seen them on sale in The Works relatively inexpensively. I do my puzzles on an old red felt pinboard, which stores behind the sofa when not in use!

  4. I haven't done a jigsaw for such a long time! My goodness, how long it is!! I remember loving this Woodland animals scene one at my Grandparents' house when I was young. Totally remember drawing that One in the Eye picture when we learnt about the Normans at school!


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