Sunday, 23 March 2008


Happy Easter! Alleluia! (which for some inexplicable reason I prefer to Hallelujah)

The eggs were decorated Ukrainian style (known as pysanky) by my younger daughter and myself at a friend's house a fortnight ago. It's a method not unrelated to batik, and involves tracing patterns on the shell with melted wax before dipping them in a series of coloured dyes. There were a dozen of so of us (all ages and both sexes) seated round the dining room table working away while drinking tea, eating cake and chatting. It was one of the most relaxing and yet most productive Sunday afternoons I have spent in a long time. I'd like more of them. The friend is American and I get the impression, from films such as Witness (one of my all time favourites*), that Americans are traditionally better at communal artistic activity than we are. There's nothing like a bit of manual work to help people relax and communicate with one another.

* due in large part to a memorable scene in which Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis 'dance' round a broken down car to Wonderful World by Sam Cooke, Herb Alpert and Lou Adler.

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