Showing posts with label Safranbolu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Safranbolu. Show all posts

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Travel research


an ancient town on the Silk and Spice Road

 famous for its Saffron             and its timbered houses


Going off the beaten track is my idea of enjoyable travel. The usual reason for any visit is to do research for a story. In this case, the museum-city of Safranbolu provided a perfect setting and rich details of Ottoman life for a couple of my tales set in Turkey.

The local style of architecture set the standard for all Ottoman architecture throughout the empire. So the environment is special, with the black and white beamed houses and cobbled alleys. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage site.

And it isn't just any hotel owner who greets you on arrival with a tray of tea and cakes, and then asks what are your favourite dishes, so she can prepare them for dinner. During our time in the town we were offered endless free cups of tea and coffee, we had a free tour of the ladies' bathhouse [hammam] and were allowed to spend as long as we wished in any of the museums and galleries. 

Thank you, kind people of Safranbolu, for outstanding hospitality. 

The town is so special it deserves an article just about itself.  The piece I wrote starts on Page 61 in the December issue of The Writers and Readers' Magazine.

Sunday, 6 December 2020

A bit of Bling

  As well as writing stories and articles I enjoy travelling, both at home and abroad, the excuse being that it's all research. 

This year all my planned journeys had to be cancelled, for the reason we know. 
That left swathes of time for another longtime hobby - metallic embroidery.
I love all types of embroidery and marvel at the infinite variety of invention to be seen in different countries.  

My Woodbine chainsmoking great-aunt Hannah taught me my first embroidery stitches, as well as Making The Back As Neat As The Front.
Thank you, Aunt Hannah, embroidery is a still a pleasure.

Making pictures with beautiful silken threads fascinates me. The brighter the colours, the better.

I also adore sparkling jewellery, so discovering how to do metallic embroidery with all the gold thread, sequins, beads and pearls was like having a private Ali Baba's cave. There is no such word as 'overload' in my vocabulary for my various pieces. There is never too much Bling. My aim is for the finished item to sparkle, shine, gleam or glow, preferably all at the same time.

This one is called 'East-West'
It represents all the intrepid explorers and travellers in times past.

This one was inspired by a Turkish song about a town near a mystical mountain. I modelled the town on Safranbolu, an ancient trading centre on the Silk and Spice Road through northern Turkey.

You can read my article about Safranbolu on Page 62 in the December issue of 

A résumé of my French friend's life in her large house. 

The wine bottles symbolise the family's winegrowing business. The trellis loaded with grapes is for shelter from the sun. The pictures because she's an artist. Her ladder and tools as the old house needs constant repair. Oh, and her grandmother's pompom rosebush and mother's bougainvillea.
The chaise longue for the essential siesta.

                                         Close-up of the 3-D grapes on the trellis vines