Summer 2014: visiting mosaic sites.

Kalamaki beach, Pelion, Greece.
Kalamaki beach, Pelion, Greece.

The time has come. Summer again. Summer, summer and more summer, on and on and on. Beaches, yes. Travel, yes. Visiting family, yes. Packing, unpacking, repacking, forgetting things, going back to get them, yes. The odd novel, if I’m lucky, yes. Making mosaics, no.

Heraclea Lyncestis, Macedonia. Photo: www.panacomp.net
Heraclea Lyncestis, Macedonia. Photo: www.panacomp.net

You might detect a note of resignation. A slight hint of summer fatigue (before summer has even arrived). You might even think that summers are not my favourite time of year. You might be right. When the boys finish school, I stop making mosaics for the whole summer long. Two months to be precise. It could be an indication of my own inadequacies, but I just cant make mosaics when at any moment a large chap, usually still in pyjamas, comes up to wonder when lunch will be. It’s that sleeping, electronic-screen blurry, unwashed, all pervasive boy energy that somehow just doesn’t chime with the calm zone of total concentration which I get into when I make mosaics. Besides, with so much to-ing and fro-ing and never more than a week in one place,  it’s hard to get down to anything serious on the mosaic front. Or any front, for that matter.

Fish skeletons and empty ouzo glasses
Fish skeletons and empty ouzo glasses

So with a heavy heart, and a certain amount of grumpiness, I usually try to make sure that if I don’t have any opportunity to make mosaics, then at least I can jiggle things about over the weeks and months ahead to order to allow opportunities for visiting mosaic sites. It must be said I am well placed in that regard. Greece has plenty of its own mosaics to visit (see mosaic sites in the tabs above), but is also not far from Turkey and Italy and smack bang next to Fyrom (alias Macedonia).

Stobi mosaics, Macedonia. Birds and lilies. Image from: users.stlcc.edu
Stobi mosaics, Macedonia. Birds and lilies. Image from: users.stlcc.edu.

Moreover, I have jiggled things about so darn cleverly this year that I have a whole day and a whole night during the UK tranch of the summer in which to do whatever I want. Needless to say, I will be spending my precious time visiting mosaic sites in a leisurely, self indulgent kind of way, drifting about with an idiotic expression of delight, savouring each tesserae, each tea shop, each moment of uninterrupted mosaic-gazing bliss, contrasting it inwardly with the usual mad dash escorted by a team of disgruntled boys.

Rock jumping. Pelion, Greece.
Rock jumping. Pelion, Greece.

So here’s what I’m up to this summer on the mosaic front when I’m not jumping off rocks.

1. Chedworth Roman Villa, near Cirencester:

Chedworth Roman Villa mosaic, near Cheltenham, England.
Chedworth Roman Villa mosaic, near Cheltenham, England.

2. Corinium Museum, Cirencester.

coriniummuseum_duckmosaic

3.  Kaffe 2014: The Colourful World of Kaffe Fassett, The American Museum in Britain, Bath. Watch the video at the bottom of the page when you click on the site and you will see Kaffe standing there waving his arms around and explaining how much he hopes we will come to the exhibition and leave wanting to add more colour to our lives. I couldn’t agree more, Kaffe.

Kaffe Fassett mosaics
Kaffe Fassett mosaics.

4. I will then join a friend in Bristol, UK, whom I haven’t seen for two years and who has kindly agreed (under a little pressure, it must be said) to drive me to see the Lod mosaic from Israel, which is currently touring the world and is doing a stint at Waddesdon Manor, near Aylesbury:

Lod mosaic, overview Lod mosaic, fish

5. After Bristol and spells in Normandy, France, visiting my oldest university friend and Perthshire, Scotland, with my parents, we will be back (for a bit) in Athens before heading up to Thessaloniki (which has it’s own share of mosaics), where my husband works and which is not far from the Macedonian border. During those few days, I intend to rise at dawn and sneak off to Stobi in Macedonia while the rest of the household sleeps.

Stobi mosaics, Macedonia. Pear tree and deer. Image from: users.stlcc.edu
Stobi mosaics, Macedonia. Pear tree and deer. Image from: users.stlcc.edu
Stobi mosaics, Macedonia. Pomegranates. Image from: users.stlcc.edu
Stobi mosaics, Macedonia. Pomegranates. Image from: users.stlcc.edu
Stobi mosaics, Macedonia. Birds and lilies. Image from: users.stlcc.edu
Stobi mosaics, Macedonia. Birds and lilies. Image from: users.stlcc.edu.

6. Then, if that goes well, I will also try to fit in Heraclea Lyncestis in Macedonia in the same day, or race back to Thessaloniki before absconding a second time:

Heraclea Lyncestis. tripadvisor.se Heraclea Lyncestis. panacomp2.net

You might be reasonably thinking that I will have had my fair share of visiting mosaic sites at this stage, but I’m indefatigable. From Thessaloniki, we head up by car through Serbia to Hungary to visit friends with a flat in Budapest. In an idle moment, I Googled our route and, lo and behold, I discovered:

6. Gamzigrad, Serbia, with it’s Roman palaces, temples and mosaics which seems to be an easy detour:

Maze mosaic. Gamzigrad, Serbia.
Maze mosaic. Gamzigrad, Serbia. Image from: gamzigrad.com

I think even I will be satiated by then and the beleaguered team of resigned off spring will be more than willing to head back to the beaches of Pelion while their mother sits contentedly staring out to sea and running pebbles through her hands…

Pebbles. Pelion, Greece.
Pebbles. Pelion, Greece.

 

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