However, a gentle float down the Nile on a Dahibeya was an experience I was very willing to try!
Having loved the exciting escapades of Amelia Peabody in Elizabeth Peter's wonderful books, there was no way we were visiting Egypt without time on the Nile in an Egyptian style sail boat. Lounging on the open-air deck, listening to an audio book of David Suchet reading Agatha Christie's 'Death on The Nile', whilst watching everyday life happen on the riverbanks, has to be one of the most memorable relaxing 'holiday' experiences of my life.
It wasn't all laid back laziness though. One of the attractions of this particular tour was that each day we had an excursion with an expert to a site quite often not easily accessible by road & tour buses.
The inspiration for this week's art project comes from the Tombs of Al-Kab.
After disembarking we followed a dust track through farmland, past camels, buffalo & sugarcane to to a series of cave tombs. These tombs are unusual because they are on the EAST bank of the Nile, usually tombs are on the west, because the sun sets in the west. The ancient Egyptians believed that man was like the sun; weak when it arose (born), strongest in mid life & getting weaker again as it sinks into the west(heads towards death). However, Al-Kab chose to put their tombs on the East bank because their location was very susceptible to flooding & they wanted to protect the tombs. They are, however, facing west.
We were able to visit four tombs & once again, I was overwhelmed with what a privilege it was, to see something so old yet so spectacular.
In one of the tombs the paint work was white, not coloured at all, creating a very graphic dimensional effect.
One of the images was of a monkey eating a date from a basket. I've always had a soft spot for the Primates, (when my friends had their walls lined with horse posters, mine had chimpanzees!) This particular monkey brought to mind the first Indiana Jones movie when the poor little monkey ate a poisoned date!
How could I not have this little character as my muse?!
Using both of the photos above as my guidance, I put pen to paper to try & get my head around drawing a monkey!! (It's been a while!)
I was aware that my monkey would fit into a square shape more easily than a rectangular A4, so eventually I opted to create an square within the rectangle, which allowed for a border top & bottom. This allowed me some leeway to create a bit more interest.
Fabrics chosen, cut, ironed, stacked & the design sewn through. It was time to cut back!
So far, so good. I was very happy with how this little fellow was coming along. It was now time to think of tweeking to add interest.
I am so happy with him. He is a charming reminder of that wonderful visit.
Because I just couldn't help myself....