Thursday 7 December 2017

Following the Thread by Margaret Bulleyment

Margaret Bulleyment began writing fiction and plays, after a long career in comparative education. She has had short stories published in anthologies, including Bridge House’s  Snowflakes and Baubles, in Chapeltown's CafĂ©Lit  and on story websites. Her children’s play Caribbean Calypso was runner-up in Trinity College of Music and Drama’s 2011 International Playwriting Competition and is available on TreePress. She has twice had short plays performed professionally, as a finalist in the Ovation Theatre Awards.

“I remember this last one – The Weston Barton cope, early fourteenth century – from the exhibition poster.” Adam peered down at the faded embroidery. “It’s the angel playing the lute, riding the spotty horse with the ridiculous expression on its face. That horse is definitely not a music lover, Gran. Hang on, while I get you nearer. This wheelchair’s an absolute…”

“Aargh, that’s my foot.” Someone whacked heavily into Adam’s shoulder.

“Sorry, sorry. Are you’ll right?” he mumbled, through a mouthful of curls.

“I’ll count my toes and let you know,” said the girl, regaining her balance.

“I do apologise. My grandmother has a super electric wheelchair, but we had to swap it for this museum monstrosity to get into the exhibition.” Adam paused, looking at his victim. He had never been so close to anyone with blue hair before and even the dim museum light could not tone down the colour. “Usually, the opposite sex do not hurl themselves at me – more’s the pity.”

“It’s my fault,” Eva broke in. “Wheelchairs aren’t suitable in here, but I really wanted to see this exhibition. How often do you get to see craftsmanship like this? How did they manage seven hundred years ago, to sew so exquisitely in dark little workshops without electric light?” She waved her magnifying glass. “I just wish I could see more of it.”

“This cope is the very best exhibit.” The girl moved forward and brushing Adam aside, swung the wheelchair round and gently guided Eva’s arm and the magnifying glass, upwards.      “Look up here, at the beautiful split-stitching on the morse – the Lamb of God in gold and silver thread – all raised in relief. Dazzling! It’s such a pity, you can’t touch it. Textiles are made to be touched.”

“You’re so right,” agreed Eva.

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